Union Members Set a Record for Handling 311 Calls in 2016
By JOSEPH LOPEZ
New Yorkers in need of vital information contacted 311 nearly 36 million times in 2016, setting a new record for the service’s handling of calls.
Call Center Representatives–members of NYC Clerical-Administrative Employees Local 1549–played an important role in providing this service.
Thanks to DC 37’s recent agreement with the city to move away from using private contractors at 311, the jobs of the workers are no longer threatened, and they continue to provide the best quality experience possible.
“The job is fast-paced and changes with the climate of the city,” said Brunetta Tanner, chair of the Local 1549 chapter that represents 311 operators. “I’ve been doing this for 13 years, so I know the system well and often know the answers to questions before the person even finishes asking it,” she said.
New Yorkers call 311 about everything from how the weather will impact their neighborhood to where they can find services to help with immigration. They do not handle emergency calls.
“I feel like we’re involved with everything this city has to offer on a customer service level,” Tanner said.
Recently, the public has made more use of 311’s digital platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the 311 smartphone app. Digital communication accounts for nearly half of the almost 36 million 311 interactions last year. DC 37’s members at 311 are the workers who respond to digital inquiry.
“311 is such an important agency and the work that our members do there is essential for New York City,” said Local 1549 Executive Vice President Alma Roper. “We’re very proud of the outstanding job they do,” she added.
The new new agreement between DC 37 and the city went into effect Feb. 1. Today, Call Center Representatives at 311 will no longer have to worry about losing their jobs because of outsourcing. Their numbers would likely increased if 311 operations are shifted to a larger facility. The agreement reduces minimum amount of work time given to private contractors to 1,500 hours a month.
“We are continuing to fight for our members at 311 who are doing incredible work that literally keeps this city running,” said Local 1549 President Eddie Rodriguez, who is also president of DC 37.