Barzilay will lead Local 2507 for third time

Union seeking contract talks

BY DUNCAN FREEMAN | May 16, 2023

Oren Barzilay, president of DC 37’s Local 2507, which represents about 4,000 EMS workers and fire protection inspectors, will begin a third three-year term as head of his union following a contest in which he faced no opposition. Barzilay’s top lieutenants in the vice president, recording secretary, and treasury positions were also reelected without opposition alongside several members of the union’s executive board. 

“It’s a sign that people are happy with the work that we’re doing,” Barzilay said in a phone interview Monday. “The members see that we fight for everything that they need and through the years they have seen that we are always in the front lines speaking about their issues.” 

Barzilay’s top priority is negotiating a new labor contract with the city on behalf of his members. The union president says he put in a request to bargain with the city weeks ago after the Police Benevolent Association and the city reached agreement on a contract but added that he had not yet heard back from city labor officials. “I’m just hopeful that the mayor does the right thing,” said Barzilay, who noted that next week is national EMS week. 

Citing a “pronounced gap in wages and benefits” between firefighters and EMS workers, the union filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against New York City in December 2022 following a federal judge’s finding that the city discriminates against EMS first responders on the basis of sex and race. Fire protection inspectors are also suing the city over pay disparities between them and Department of Buildings inspectors. 

Barzilay frequently appears in front of the City Council to testify about the conditions his members face and their need for pay parity with other first responders in the city. He also travels to Albany with members of his executive board in order to lobby lawmakers there. Barzilay was also a loud advocate for his members when vaccine mandates for city workers came into effect. 

Among the union’s executive board members who were reelected are John Rugen, Eddie Mendez, Douglas Guzman, Sammy Gounden, and Jazmine Moore, all of whom are EMS workers. Two others, Darryl Chalmers and Mike Reardon, are fire protection inspectors.  

“I’m honored to serve the members of FDNY EMS,” Barzilay said. “And I’m humbled that they have placed their trust in me.”