Contract Talk: What About EMS?
Police impasse overshadowing EMS?
At the tail end of Austin-Travis County EMS Association President Tony Marquardt's Monday presentation to the Public Safety Commission on his union's stalled meet-and-confer negotiations with the city, Commissioner Ed Scruggs asked if Marquardt felt like his group's impasse has been overshadowed by the city's ongoing contract issues with the Austin Police Association. "The police have the resources; our association is much smaller, and we have no staff," Marquardt responded. "And so, while I empathize with the police association, this issue has been overshadowing our issue. We were out of contract first, and I think we offered the most reasonable track back into contract."
Marquardt has maintained that his membership is underpaid compared to other EMS services in comparative jurisdictions, and has sought at least a 2% wage increase. The original negotiation process broke down last summer when the two sides found themselves at least $8 million apart on that front. Marquardt and his team met with city negotiators to discuss a stopgap measure on Wednesday that could restore some elements of the contract while the two sides continue to hash things out.