January 18, 2001, Vancouver; BC-911 Emergency Dispatchers, members of CUPE Local 873 begin mediation with GVRD negotiators today. The Minister of Labour, Joan Smallwood, appointed senior mediator Stan Lanyon as Special Mediator to help the two sides find common ground and bring about an end to a strike that commenced last September at E-Comm.
According to John Strohmaier, President of CUPE 873, the 911 dispatchers, a predominately female group of workers, are treated differently than their male counterparts in other emergency services.
Strohmaier said, The union is prepared to escalate strike action in the event that E-Comm and their GVRD hired guns do not immediately recognize the serious inequities being faced by emergency dispatchers.
Meena Cheema, Chairperson of emergency dispatchers said, Understaffing, lack of training, excessive overtime and equipment failures seriously jeopardize not only the public safety, but the health of emergency dispatchers. A failure by E-Comm (negotiators) and the GVRD to address these and other deficiencies quickly will necessitate increased job action by CUPE Local 873.
Meena Cheema: 722-4611 (cell) 632-0780 (pager)
John Strohmaier: 728-2741 (cell)