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Allegheny County's 911 Call Center Losing Dispatchers Who Feel Overworked

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Allegheny County's 911 call center is losing some of its dispatchers.

One of those workers said the county is overworking its dispatchers, forcing them to work 12-hour shifts.

These mandatory shifts start Sunday, according to the dispatcher. A union rep said they are in talks with county management after learning on Nov. 26 of the shift changes.

A spokesperson for the county said this is nothing new, but the worker said enough is enough.

"I was pretty much was told I was jeopardizing the operation if I refused the mandate," the worker said. "The stress part is real. That is one of the big things about the job."

The dispatcher, who did not want to be identified, will work her last shift on Saturday. The single mother said she learned last Friday that the county is switching from eight-hour shifts to mandatory four 12-hour shifts starting this Sunday until February.

"Mainly the staff shortage, vaccine mandates, and that's why we are going to the 12 hours," the dispatcher said. "They are saying it's an emergency. We really just need to have more people there."

She said a 12-hour shift doesn't mean you won't stay longer.

"If somebody calls off from a 12-hour shift, you may have to stay another four hours to get 16," the worker said.

A county spokesperson said it is not uncommon to move to extended shifts at 24/7 facilities around the holidays to accommodate for time off. It was done at the 911 center last year, the spokesperson said.

The dispatch worker said others are leaving.

"Four or five people in my actual zone have quit and left for different jobs because they couldn't take the mandates and they didn't want to do 12-hour shifts," she said.

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