Thursday, September 1, 2022

City and Union Sign EMS Labor Contract Following Council Approval

The Austin City Council today approved a one-year labor contract negotiated by the City's Labor Relations Office and the Austin EMS Association over several months.

Leaders from both sides of the negotiations met at City Hall shortly afterwards to formally sign the agreement, which will come into effect on Oct. 1, 2022.

The meet and confer agreement with the Austin EMS Association relates to wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment for certain employees of the Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services Department.

It was approved by Council today after union members ratified a tentative agreement struck by the City and the EMS Association last month.

The contract will allow the City to hire experienced paramedics directly into the rank of paramedic. Without this agreement, state civil service law would have continued to limit hiring to only the entry level rank of EMT with eligibility for promotion after two years. This significant change will enable the City to better address current staffing shortages.

"This agreement, which increases starting pay for EMTs and paramedics, allows us to aggressively focus on recruitment and retention over the next 12 months," said Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk, who has acknowledged the "serious staffing shortage" facing the City. 

The City and the EMS Association will continue to review the rapidly changing landscape of paramedics in today’s workforce.

"This agreement responds directly to the very real financial pressures facing many EMS medics by providing additional pay over the next year, while also balancing the City’s responsibility to our taxpayers,” said Deven Desai, outgoing Chief Labor Relations Officer for the City of Austin.

Emergency Medical Services Chief Robert Luckritz added: “This agreement will allow us to continue to focus on recruitment and retention of our sworn staff through improvement of their quality of life, while helping us enhance the already exceptional care provided by our Austin-Travis County EMS clinicians to the residents and visitors of Austin and Travis County.”

Anyone interested in joining Austin-Travis County EMS can find out more and apply at www.emsrecruiting.org

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