Mayor Mike Duggan, Fire Commissioner Eric Jones and Detroit Fire Fighters Association, President Mike Nevin announced a new three-year, collective-bargaining agreement amendment for the City’s EMTs and paramedics.  The agreement was ratified on Monday by EMS members and approved Tuesday by Detroit City Council.

Under the new contract, the City will provide a 4 percent, across-the-board raise for all 213 EMS Division field staff. It also includes the following provisions:


  • Attendance Incentive Program effective January 1, 2018
  • Eligible employees may receive up to .25% Attendance Incentive quarterly
  • Eligible employees may receive up to 1% Attendance Incentive annually
  • Any changes to Active Employee Health Care Options for Fire will result in same coverage being offered to EMS personnel
  • Miscellaneous work rule changes to maximize the efficiency of EMS staff.


The cost of the new contract – approximately $800,000 per year – is being paid for through cost savings in the department.  The Detroit Fire Department previously operated a separate medical first responder service called Romeo Units.  With the recent training of firefighters as medical first responders, the Romeo Units were eliminated and the savings used to fund the EMS pay raises.


While the EMS contract originally was not set to expire until the end of 2018, the City followed the pattern of the last two years with the police and firefighter contracts to open them up and add a 4% wage increase to bring them closer to the pay of surrounding communities. The new contract runs through the end of June 2020.


“Our EMTs and paramedics have done incredible work to get our average response times down significantly to the national average of 8 minutes at the same time the number of runs they are taking has increased,” said Mayor Duggan. “Our residents are safer as a result and this new contract reflects our appreciation for their hard work.”


The amended EMS agreement comes seven months after EMS members joined with firefighters and became members of the DFFA, after having been represented for years by the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM). Today, the DFFA represents all 892 DFFA members, including all 213 EMS field personnel.


Last year, the EMS division responded to more than 132,000 medical runs up from about 117,000 in 2014.   During that same timeframe, the average EMS response time for priority (life-threatening) medical runs has been reduced from nearly 20 minutes to eight minutes.


“The EMS Division is one of the most overlooked functions of our public safety family,” said DFD Commissioner Eric Jones.  “This contract extension gives recognition to our employees and ensures the Detroit Fire Department can retain its more important assets, the men and women who serve our citizens.”


DFFA President Mike Nevin thanked the Mayor and City Council for their support of his members. “The City has once again proven its commitment to the Detroit Public Safety Worker,” said Nevin.


The City of Detroit is operating under a state-appointed Financial Review Commission (FRC), which must approve any collective bargaining agreements after determining that the city can fund the contracts without running a deficit. The new EMS contract is expected to be considered by the FRC and voted on before August 1.

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