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Emergency dispatchers at E-Comm in Vancouver hit the bricks for a third time on April 20 to push for a new collective agreement.

Carrying signs that said 911 saves lives, save 911 and 911 on hold, Local 873.02 members confronted the board of the emergency communications centre.

Were calling on the E-Comm board to stop denying the problems that exist, spokesperson Meena Cheema told media at the rally. We want them to start participating in improving the system and to start negotiating fairly.

E-Comm has made statements that 95 per cent of all 911 calls are answered on the first ring. Well, what about that 5 per cent? Cheema asked. What if that was your call that was in that 5 per cent that didnt get through? If an airline said 95 per cent of the time our planes land safely, the public would be outraged.

We fear were going to lose more qualified, experienced 911 emergency dispatchers if we dont get a fair settlement soon, Cheema said. Theyre dropping like flies, theyre quitting and going to other municipalities that pay more. The stress level is unbelievable there, and were all frustrated.

The E-Comm board, partly made up of local mayors and councillors, has the power to settle the dispute that began on Sept. 17, 2000. The 200 dispatchers have been without an agreement for 15 months.