August 21, 2015
The Burlington Free Press reports on August 21 that the State is being forced to close the Derby and Rutland 911 Emergency Call Centers two weeks ahead of schedule because there are simply not enough dispatchers remaining in those centers to warrant keeping them open. As many frontline dispatchers predicted months ago, more than a few dispatchers in Derby and Rutland saw the writing on the wall about the prospect of having to commute as much as four additional hours to call centers in Rockingham and Williston and decided instead to seek employment elsewhere in the area where they live.
“Our members were very clear, staring in January, with lawmakers and with the administration that this was a likely outcome of their policy,” VSEA Executive Director Steve Howard tells the reporter. “It was not a well-thought-out policy, and they were going to have a hard time transitioning and staffing these facilities.” He adds that VSEA is working now to ensure that any dispatchers who are unable to transfer to Williston or Rockingham will get full rights under their contract, despite the early closures.
Howard’s and VSEA’s efforts on behalf of the dispatchers did pay off late yesterday, when the union received word that the State had agreed that in addition to the negotiated rights already afforded the dispatchers, the State would also agree to:Limit mandatory overtime for the impacted employees to four hours per shift, exclusive of travel time; and
Any employee who has received a RIF notice, but elects not to go to another PSAP, will immediately be placed on the RIF re-employment list when their PSAP closes.
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