With about one-third of positions currently filled, Maine's public safety dispatch center in Augusta is chronically understaffed, according to state union representatives.
The dispatch center fields emergency calls from the public and first responders in southern Maine.
Maine State Employees Association Executive Director Alex Maybarduk says understaffing can lead to increased wait times, which he says is unacceptable and compromises public safety.
"If you're in distress, you know there's not a moment to loose," says Maybarduk. "It doesn't matter if you're a member of the general public or you're a first responder in need of support. They need to know that in short order they're going to be able to get somebody on the line that can help."
The union has filed a complaint with the State's Labor Relations Board alleging the state has not met bargaining obligations.
Representatives from both parties are scheduled to meet and discuss the issue later Tuesday afternoon.
The Commissioner for the Department of Public Safety was not available for comment.