BUFFALO, N.Y. - Dispatchers met with the Erie County legislature's public safety committee Thursday morning to voice their concerns about a potential schedule change.
The head of the union that represents them said it would mean going back to extremely long shifts that affect their quality of life and negatively affect their work.
Workers voted back in January to switch to a 12-hour shift where they wouldn't be scheduled more than three days in a row before they had a day off. The union representative said most want to keep it that way.
They agreed to the 12-hour shifts for a six-month trial period. That ends June 1st. Then they'll reassess and vote on whether to keep it or change it.
The union rep said there were rumors swirling about going back to their old schedule where dispatchers worked 8-hour days and worked seven or eight days in a row before they got a day off.
Denise Szymura, president of Local 815, said under the old schedule, there were always sick calls and forced overtime to cover shifts, which sometimes lead to dispatchers working 16-hour days.
The dispatchers in question work in Central Police services. They handle 911 calls from land lines in the City of Buffalo and all cell phone 911 calls in Erie County.
There are about 30 dispatchers.
During their busiest time - 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., they answer between 1,500 and 2,000 calls, according to Szymura.
No date has been set at this point to vote on the scheduling policy.