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911 operators stage sickout to protest furloughs and pay cuts, causing LAPD personnel to cover shifts

Nearly three dozen emergency 911 operators staged a wildcat sickout Thursday at two Los Angeles call centers, prompting the LAPD to have administrators and other personnel work their shifts.

The sickout to protest furloughs and pay cuts was confined to operators who field emergency calls for the LAPD, officials said. The fire department has its own operators.

LAPD Asst. Chief Sandy Jo MacArthur said that department officials became aware of a possible work action late Wednesday and prepared plans to cover shifts. She said the sickout's effect was minimal, even though nearly a third of the operators were out on the day shift.

"Our administrative and training staff were able to cover those who had called in sick," MacArthur said. "We were up to full speed by p.m. watch."

On a typical weeknight, there are 45 operators working at the Metropolitan call center downtown and 40 at the West Hills station, officials said.

MacArthur said that although the department is sympathetic to the issues facing civilian employees, the primary responsibility of the LAPD is public safety.

"We have contingency plans in place to ensure the citizens of Los Angeles are safe," said MacArthur, who acknowledged that "there could be an impact on the speed in handling non-emergency calls" if the sickouts were to continue.

Police union President Paul M. Weber said he received two messages about the action via Twitter from the address "LA City Workers." The first read: "Mr. Weber, I would like to discuss our planned job action with you so that you may inform the department to ensure public safety."

A second read: "I anticipate a tac alert due to personnel shortages so your membership may get a few hours of overtime :)."

Weber said he forwarded both messages to the department to ensure it would be prepared to deal with the fallout from a possible work action. The sickout affected about half of the personnel at the two 911 centers during day watch, which is approximately from 6 a.m. to late afternoon.


The work action forced the police department to have some administrators and others to fill the shifts. 

Weber said he was concerned that the sickouts could continue and spread to the jails. "We are worried that this is going spread beyond the 911 operators," Weber said.

"This is really a reaction to the City Council implementing furloughs and layoffs," he said. "We are concerned that the department is going to have to take officers out of the field to backfill these critical functions."

In April, Weber warned that cuts to civilian jobs would negatively affect patrol officers on the streets.

"For every 100 officers who are pulled from the field work to backfill vacant civilian positions, it is the equivalent of removing about 30 police cars citywide," he said.

-- Andrew Blankstein  

Comments () | Archives (78)

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Right. No doubt there are plenty illegal aliens more than willing to work in their stead.

Give me a break!

Police Service Reps make a lot of money for positions that don't require a college degree...and lets not forget the benefits they enjoy. In fact...whenever they get raises..their retired counterparts also enjoy that perk!

The Captain AND our Chief should call them in and suspensions without pay should be in order!

911 is crucial to have fully operation 24 hours a day. Like air traffic controllers, it should be illegal for them to strike or stage sick-outs. They should be happy they have jobs. This is another reason we don't want Jerry Brown for Governor. He sleeps w/the Unions.

Are you kidding... They should all be fired. What a disgrace, furloughs, cuts. Do they think they are above everyone eles, that the economy does not effect them...

You people have high wages and generous pension benefits. The state/city/county is going broke because of this strong arming by the employee unions.
Why mad at the govenor? He is trying to get a budget passed that the DEMOCRATIC legislature wont pass.

Sounds like they mage a BIG mistake with this walkout. Fire them all like they did the air controllers and make the jobs non-union. They are so out of touch with what is going on fiscally these days and need to be re-grounded.

They need to fire them all, break the union, and hire people who want those jobs.

Everyone should quite their jobs....now go!

My only hope is that all of the EDD workers will quit or lose their jobs and then try to collect their unemployment. I hope they get the expediency with that the rest of us get

It might be a good idea to rotate the officers into the call center to see what it is like, then when they do this again, they can step right in.

This also reminds me of when the air traffic control tried this on Reagan.

Employees of tax payers position should not be allowed to strike or negotiate anything regarding pay. There are thousands of people in this state who would give anything to have your job and enjoy your wages and benefits at only half the amount of what you presently collect. The rest of society has taken cuts, are doing without insurance, food,shelter, etc. If you take a cut, that is what is expected in times of deep recessions. You will not find any sympathy from the private sector. Don't like the cuts, then step down and let someone who can appreciate a JOB PERIOD do yours!

What a bunch of cry babies! everyone who staged this sick out should be fired! They are just a group of over paid telemarketers any way. Man up and help reduce our deficit, lousy parasites....

So some of the 911 operators scheduled to work decided that officer and public safety wasn't as important as their 10% pay cut? I guess it was just easier to call in sick, enjoy your extra day off, and let others work twice as hard. Their priorities are clearly screwed up. They shouldn't be trusted in the job if they care that little about putting others in danger. We need to know the 911 operator will be there and cares about helping us.
But this article is confusing because first it says that about a third of the operators called in, then later it says about half. Also I don't see any attempt to obtain a statement from anyone who organized this or participated. So there is probably more to this story.

SO fire these useless morons and give the jobs to people who will be grateful.

In a job like this a sick out is crazy, fire them.

Since none of you do this JOB ...... you should ALL be QUIET !!! I am a Dispatcher who was just ordered to work for the Federal Minimum Wage rate of $7.25 an hr until there is a State budget !!! I am very blessed to have a job, but won't be able to survive financially !!I'm glad LAPD PSR's had a sick out !

The public needs to know that our POSITIONS are VITAL to the PUBLIC & OFFICERS in which we serve ! All of you say we should be FIRED for these sick-outs. How about you go do our day for 8-12 hrs a day ... I bet NONE of you would last an HOUR.

And perks ? What perks do you people think us dispatchers receive ? We are treated like 2nd class citizens, because we are NOT OFFICERS. I don't expect to be treated like nor receive the perks in which the officers do.

REMEMBER whether you people ... what you people do NOT understand is ... WITHOUT US 9-1-1 OPERATORS & DISPATCHERS ... the OFFICERS can't survive with out US ! When that officer requests back up or goes down .... who do u think they call ?? ME !

And what the heck did the RTO's accomplish? Fire them all, like Regan did with the airtraffic controllers. Most people would be happy just to have a job in these tough times. So I guess for them, it was all about the love of money, and not about helping the public. Oh well, hope they get replaced with operators that are less grouchy and self-righteous.

They should be fired! Wildcat strikes are Illegal. Those that staged it as such should face disciplinary action

Funny how people think just anyone can be a 9-1-1 operator. The general public is comprised of a lot of idiots. Officers can't just step in & do the job either, neither can administration. Since when does having a college degree indicate intelligence?? Most people CANNOT do a dispatcher's job & the public has no clue as to what the job really entails.

In a world many people do not have a J O B! Be thank full you have one. Soon we'll have call centers in India...Then you'll have something to cry about. We'll pay them 4.00 bucks a hour instead paying you 10X that amount! Welcome to whats been going on in the REAL world.

Funny...You don't hear a word from assembly person Norma Torres regarding this issue; after all, her big claim climbing the political ladder was her experience as a 911 operator...She certainly isn't helping w/ a timely, balanced budget, that's for sure.

This is how people react when you are discriminate against The city, and some of you people have said that police are more important than they are, and their families are not important. The transportation department should have been collecting the parking tickets' fines, and not making excuses. The inept mayor has been too busy doing favors for AEG, others, and taking care of his life to solve the budget mess. It has been cut personnel, raise taxes, and fees.
You have said fire these people for thinking about their families. The DWP, the city council, the council staff, and the deputy mayors pay has not been cut. All of that is fine with you people, but if it was one of you, it would not be fine. From your comments about their benefits, I take it that your benefits are not 1/4 of theirs. All of you choose the job you are on, and jealousy will you get you no where. The inept mayor has been giving out to many tax breaks to AEG, and the rest of his friends.
We are paying more for our trask services to hire new officers, but they also use it to pay OT.

I heard recently that it is hard to get a 911 call answered. These people are paid by citizen tax dollars. We are never asked about union negotiations. We are never asked what their rate of pay benefits should be. As their employer I say they need to be replaced. I would gladly take their job and probably do a hell of a lot better. I have a work ethic that is sadly lacking in these people.

i hope they are all fired for endangering the public. when crap like this happens, i hope there is some agency that can step in and get rid of idiots that are willing to sacrifice the lives of citizens in such a careless manner. i think we should all file complaints with the district attorney, or anyone that can make sure these fools are terminated and incarcerated for endagering peoples lives during an emergency.

Fire them. In the real (non-public sector) world these jobs would be outsourced to agents in the Philippines or India making $1.00/hr. These union whiners have no idea how good they have it.

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