Thursday, September 14, 2023

City of Austin and Austin Emergency Medical Services Association Approve Four-Year Contract

The Austin City Council approved a 4-year contract with the Austin Emergency Medical Services Association (AEMSA) today that recognizes Austin-Travis County EMS (ACTEMS) as one of the most progressive and highly trained EMS Departments in the country. 

 “We recognize that the high vacancy rate in our EMS Department is not sustainable for our community or our employees,” said Interim City Manager Jesús Garza.  “This contract utilizes broad strategies to address both hiring and retention.” 

The contract brings ATCEMS to an all-time high wage increase aimed at improving recruitment and retention with a 4-year term and wholescale pay adjustments in the first year, an across-the-board wage increase of 4 percent in the second year and 3 percent in the final two years of the contract. The first-year adjustments address entry-level medic pay with over a 10 percent increase and retention adjustments near the end of an employee's career. Current employees will see a minimum increase of 4 percent with the majority seeing 6 percent. 

“We are particularly pleased with the outcomes of these negotiations,” said the City’s Lead Negotiator, Sarah Griffin. “AEMSA’s bargaining unit was willing to look at issues and work jointly with the City to find solutions in the best interest of the employees they represent, the City and the community they serve.” 

This contract builds on the 2022 one-year contract extension that gave the average employee an increase of over 6 percent at that time.  These comprehensive changes are part of a concerted effort to recognize ATCEMS as an integral part of the City’s public safety sector and bring them closer in pay to Austin’s fire and police departments. 

 "The caliber of professionals at ATCEMS are unmatched in this industry and this agreement is a great step forward in recognizing their hard work, professionalism, commitment to the community, and unrivaled clinical excellence that the residents of Austin are accustomed to," said ATCEMS Chief Robert Luckritz. “I am thrilled that the City and our Employees Association have come to a long-term agreement. I believe the new agreement will help us to not only increase recruitment of new employees but will also allow us to focus on improving retention of our more tenured personnel." 

Separately, the City has added pay incentives for employees assigned to integrated services, expanded our special operations pay incentives, and added certification pay to those paramedics who are most highly trained. All of this is in recognition of the department’s and individual employees’ accomplishments. 

Because the agreement enhances the promotional path for employees and assists with retention, both employees and management benefit, according to Griffin. The new contract expands eligibility for promotional testing, creates an easier promotable path to cross between various divisions within the department, modifies the promotional process working toward diversity best practices outcomes, authorizes the chief to hire employees directly into the clinical specialist communications position, and allows the chief to appoint his executive staff. 


About Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services (ATCEMS) 
The City of Austin's Emergency Medical Services Department provides 9-1-1 emergency medical response to the citizens of Austin and Travis County serving a population of over 2.2M citizens in a service region of over 1,039 square miles. While most of the assistance we give to the community is medical in nature, the smallest part of what we do involves truly time-critical life-threatening emergencies. Yet everything we do is about service: service to our patients, their families and loved ones; service to our community; and service to the people who make up Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services.