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About 50 emergency dispatchers picketed E-Comm in Vancouver last Friday in an escalation of job action that could include a ban on overtime as the strike moves into its eighth month.

We know how important 911 emergency calls are to the public, said CUPE Local 873 spokesperson Meena Cheema. We know because we answer them and we want the board of directors to be aware that the public is not being well served by this companys management.

A key issue for the E-Comm workers is chronic under-staffing. They are also concerned about wage equity, sick leave, training and technological change.

Our employer says everything is business as usual, Cheema said. But we know that E-Comm is dangerously understaffed. Seven people have quit over the past few weeks. It would take at least another 50 people to give the public the emergency service they need and deserve.

Our dispute is about improving our wages and working conditions, she added. But it is also about public safety and the quality of this crucially important public service.