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VancouverSurreys announcement that it will not be throwing its support into the Vancouver-based E-Comm emergency dispatch center comes as no surprise to CUPE Local 873.

The union representing Emergency Dispatch operators who work for E-Comm has been warning of serious problems at the year old emergency center since before the opening.

Weve been calling E-Comm a disaster waiting to happen for a long, long time. says John Strohmaier, President of CUPE Local 873.

Our messages to the public via the media and our warnings to E-Comm and the provincial government have gone unheeded. Regionalization was doomed from the beginning for all the reasons that Surrey council has indicated in their formal rejection of the E-Comm approach.

Strohmaier has also indicated that the problems at E-Comm are getting worse, not better. He notes that 600 shifts for the summer months cannot be filled in any way except through compulsory overtime.

The dilemma over summer staffing is not new either. E-Comm management has known about staffing problems since last December when staff submitted vacation requests, but there are no trained staff to be pulled out of a hat.

The convoluted system down at E-Comm seems to eat up resources at the top end leaving little left over for staffing and the kinds of technology training needed to do this work.

In addition, Strohmaier indicates that there may well be difficulties with the City of Richmonds participation in E-Comm. Richmonds entry date into E-Comm has already been put off until Novemberand from what we hear that could be indefinite. said Stohmaier.

The situation at E-Comm, says Strohmaier, has a bearing on all members of Local 873 who work in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD). Emergency dispatch is stressful work under any conditions, but with the current work overloads and not enough time off, the stress load has become unbearableand the potential for accidents increases.


Meena CheemaEmergency Dispatcher 722-4711(c) or (pgr) 632-0780