The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

24-Hour Shifts at 911 Call Center

Jul 16, 2012

A woman in Montgomery County, Maryland, recently called 911 when her husband had breathing trouble and turned blue. But then she listened horrified for six minutes as the dispatcher slept and snored. The dispatcher, an experienced uniformed firefighter, happened to be 17 hours into a 24-hour shift.

Fire and rescue dispatchers regularly work 24-hour shifts in that emergency call center. The fire chief defended the inhuman hours, claiming they make it easier for workers to plan daycare and travel. The vice president of the firefighters union that negotiated the long shifts even called them normal! And yes, dispatchers work 10 hours in Washington, D.C. and 12 hours in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Politicians impose policies like these killer shifts in order to get more work out of fewer public workers.

The man in Montgomery County survived. But who will it be next time?

Capitalist society needs crisis intervention!