Before this evening's Santa Ana City Council meeting, union workers will stage a rally in front of City Hall to draw attention to layoffs they claim will lead to 9-1-1 emergency calls being answered by an electronic menu rather than a live dispatcher.
Santa Ana city workers represented by SEIU Local 721 and supporters from the Teamsters, Latino Health Access and the Laborers International Union plan to gather at 20 Civic Center Plaza from 4 to 5 p.m. to demand the same thing they will at the 5:30 p.m. council meeting: alternatives to budget cuts they allege will "jeopardize public safety."
Besides eliminating the jobs of live receptionists who answer emergency calls placed to the Santa Ana Fire Department, the upcoming layoffs will also hit the Police Department, threatening "the unsung support services that help to keep officers on the street and the department serving the public," according to the alternatives-seeking coalition.
They further alleges that cuts will "hurt Santa Ana businesses as the city's Planning and Building department reduces bilingual staff, making it "harder for Spanish-speaking builders, developers and homeowners to get plan approval and building permits—just as new building helps to fuel economic recovery in this majority Spanish-speaking city."
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Those message will be carried into the council chambers after the rally. The Santa Ana City Council's closed-session agenda includes a "Conference with Labor Negotiatior" involving the city's Personnel Services Executive Director Kathie Gonzalez and Santa Ana Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Santa Ana Police Officers Association and Santa Ana Firemen's Benevolent Association.