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Somerville Dispatchers Meet With State Officials, Discuss Pay Equity, First Responder Status

April 13, 2023

911 Dispatch Centers Across Massachusetts are at a Crisis Point

Wednesday morning, emergency telecommunicators from the Somerville 9-1-1 PD Dispatch Department met with State Senator Patricia Jehlen and State Representative Erika Uyterhoeven to discuss the future of emergency telecommunicator work, the importance of recognizing emergency telecommunicators as first responders, and increasing telecommunicator retirement and health benefits.

Local 888 staffers Anthony Landry and John Peavy organized the meeting as part of a broader strategy of getting 888 members in front of their representatives to advocate for more respect, benefits, and recognition on the job. SEIU 888 Political Director, Anthony Landry, is a former Local 888 member and spent over two decades in the chair as an emergency telecommunicator in Boston. Between Landry, Joan McKenna, Susan DeSousa, John Hickey, and Christine Cornelio, there was over 100 years of emergency telecommunicator experience in the meeting.

The meeting ended up being a productive learning experience for both sides. Senator Jehlen has served in the Massachusetts Legislature for over 30 years and is the Senate Committee Chair on Labor and Workforce and Development, as well as the Senate Vice Chair for the Committee on Public Service.”I clearly see you all are first responders,” said Jehlen.

Representative Uyterhoeven is in her second term and serves on the Public Service and Revenue Committees. Uyterhoeven and Jehlen pledged to use their positions of influence to advocate for emergency telecommunicators to access Group 2 retirement benefits, be included on the Heart Law, and be officially recognized as first responders.

Interested in helping these and other SEIU 888 members get the respect and benefits they deserve? This upcoming Tuesday, April 18th at 10AM, there is a public hearing at the Statehouse for the previous bills mentioned as well as bills that affect the benefits of 888 members at the Soldiers’ Homes, Environmental Resource Officers, and Lowell Nuclear Reactor workers. Union members, friends, family, and other advocates can click here to submit written testimony. More info about the hearing can be found at the link below.