911 Dispatchers File Suit Over Pay

9:25 AM, Sep 16, 2012   |    comments
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LOCKPORT, N.Y. - A group of local fire-police dispatchers are fighting for large amounts of wages they claim are owed to them.

A lawsuit that's just been filed in Niagara County claims the local sheriff's office there and the City of North Tonawanda are withholding funds.

Specifically, the dispatchers say that they're being denied seniority pay, meaning that they should be getting more pay for their jobs than they're actually getting.

For each dispatcher, this lawsuit is all about fighting for about $7,000 or $8,000 more per year.

The fire-police dispatchers used to work in the City of North Tonawanda, but in a consolidation move to save money, officials transferred the dispatchers to the Niagara County Sheriff's Office in Lockport.

This all happened in early July.

On Friday, 2 On Your Side heard from both sides on the issue.

"The concept of seniority applies no matter where you are and if there is a change, the time they've earned on the job should be applied and it's a very straight forward concept in the law that should be observed," said Stephen Madarasz, director of communications for CSEA, the union that represents the workers.

Meantime, Shawn Nickerson, the attorney for the City of North Tonawanda said, "if you looked at the current seniority scale of where they fell in the county they are on the top half of seniority as it stands now even prior to this lawsuit."

The dispatchers also want to have the right to bid on shifts and on other types of benefits like vacation.

If the dispatchers win their lawsuit, the city says that more tax dollars will need to be spent to cover the wages.

Nickerson says that the lawsuit doesn't apply to the city because the dispatchers are now county employees.

Regardless, the city plans to respond to the suit in 30 days.

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