CLEVELAND (WJW) – The Fox 8 I-Team has learned an arbitrator has come back with a ruling on a new contract for Cleveland EMS workers, and it awards more money.

But, the union believes it may only begin to help with the problem of attracting more paramedics and EMTs.

The I-Team has repeatedly reported delays to high-priority 911 calls in medical emergencies, often due to chronic EMS short-staffing.

The arbitrator awarded an increase in starting wages. The award calls for raises to be given to all EMS employees of 11% over three years. That falls in line with the new contract recently agreed to by Cleveland police.

Mark Barrett, President of CARE, the EMS union, said, “The award addressed problems with recruiting by increasing the new starting wage to $27/hr. I believe we will now be able to bring people in the door. Unfortunately, the award did nothing to address our increased workload and less than competitive top-out wage. While we may again be able to bring people in the door, retaining them will be an issue in itself. I fear the city of Cleveland will continue to be a Paramedic training ground for the suburbs .”

The arbitrator’s award calls the decision “a final and binding decision on all unresolved issues.”

However, the mayor’s office has not commented yet.

A spokesperson sent an e-mail to the I-Team, saying, “It is being reviewed and wage calculations need to be made and/or confirmed internally. We will be able to comment when the CBA is fully drafted and executed.”

The I-Team has reported on EMS staffing issues for years. We’ve revealed that there has been no ambulance to send, many times, to critical calls. And, just last week we revealed that no ambulance was sent to high-priority calls, sometimes, for 20 minutes to an hour.