Worker Power Update
Missouri 911 Dispatchers
Missouri 911 dispatchers belonging to CWA Local 6360 are celebrating their new ability to receive recognition as first responders following the passage of Senate Bill 24. Prior to the bill’s enactment, 911 dispatchers were designated as clerical workers. This meant dispatchers lacked access to benefits, such as mental health care services and retirement at age 55, available to workers categorized as first responders. This change is critical, as 911 dispatchers experience a great mental toll as they help people navigate personal crises from afar.
Local 6360 represents 911 dispatchers in Jackson County, Independence, and Blue Springs. While SB 24 does not confer automatic recognition as first responders, local governments in both Jackson County and Independence have taken action to ensure that 911 dispatchers are properly recognized. Blue Springs is not far behind, as their city council is poised to pass the requisite resolution later in September.
This change in recognition coincides with the recent success of Local 6360 in bargaining for a three-year agreement for Independence, Mo., dispatchers. The contract, which received a unanimous vote of approval, includes wage increases, retirement benefit upgrades, and the addition of a retention wage to annual pay increases.
Local 6360 President Tom Gebken recently interviewed dispatcher Zach Cobb on the Heartland Labor Forum radio show about what it is like to be a dispatcher and the benefits of being in a union. You can check out this fascinating and informative interview here. Zack’s segment starts at the 12-minute mark.
Reversing Runaway Inequality
CWA members from across District 9 gathered in Sacramento, Calif., last week to participate in a Runaway Inequality training to learn about the increasing wealth gap and systemic inequality, how the economy is rigged against workers, and how we can put a stop to it.