NYC EMS potentially facing hundreds of layoffs: ‘Yesterday we were heroes, today we’re zeroes’

NEW YORK – The jobs of hundreds of Emergency Medical Services personnel in New York City could disappear on October 1, as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to lay off 22,000 public workers due to the pandemic.

“This is disrespectful when you risk your life and then to be told ‘Thanks for your help, you’re no longer needed,’” said Oren Barzilay, EMS Local 2507 President.

The city is facing a $1 billion COVID-induced budget shortfall, putting thousands of jobs on the chopping block, including 400 EMTs, paramedics, and fire inspectors with the FDNY.

The union says that even before the pandemic, they were short-staffed, and making cuts now will mean risking New Yorkers’ lives.

“If you’re gonna call for an ambulance, you’re likely to wait an hour, two, three, four,” Barzilay said. “It’s not unusual to wait for an ambulance in New York City for four or five hours.”

Barzilay says that this is not a labor issue, but a public safety issue and that the Mayor needs to take that into account.

“This is the wrong time to play politics,” Barzilay said. “Anything that you do that could potentially go wrong, the blood will be on your hands.”

While Mayor De Blasio continues to say that the federal government should step in to provide the city financial assistance, Barzilay says the Mayor has plenty of other options.

No layoff notices have been sent out yet, however, if they do go out, EMS workers will receive a pink slip at the end of the month and will be laid off by October 1. Mayor De Blasio says he is speaking to unions to find alternative savings.