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VancouverEmergency Communications Corporation for Southwest B.C.s (E-Comm) failure to address critical issues related to working conditions has left emergency dispatchers with no alternative other than to withhold services. As of Monday, October 2nd, E-Comm emergency dispatchers are stepping up their job action by refusing to process non-emergency calls.

For over a year, the more than 200 dispatchers, members of CUPE Local 873-02 have been working to resolve these issues which impact both public and emergency personnel safety and have been bargaining with E-Comm for more than eight months.

The Lower Mainland is in emergency service delivery crisis, says CUPE Local 873 President John Stohmaier. Weve raised concerns over inadequate communication systems, harassment, workload and staff shortages. Weve told them that our members are forced to log overtime far in excess of what any emergency personnel should be allowed to work. Yet our concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

The emergency dispatchers are also calling on the provincial government to intervene and use its authority to appoint an industrial inquiry commissioner to mediate this dispute.

It was the provincial governments decision to support the creation of E-Comm, says Stohmaier. Unfortunately neither the province nor the municipal governments whose citizens are being put at risk are treating our concerns with the urgency thats required to resolve these issues. Nothing short of a serious undertaking by government can prevent what has been a quiet, administrative dispute into becoming far more public and volatile.

John Stohmaier, President,
CUPE Local 873
(604) 728-2704
Robin Jones, National Representative, CUPE
(604) 603-4166

opeiu 491/rp