Workers at the city's 911 call center were among those who rallied on the steps of City Hall on Wednesday to demand 400 new operators and dispatchers for the center.
The assembled workers, union leaders and politicians said a lack of dispatchers handling emergency calls has the city fire department assigning workers as many as 21 hours of overtime per week.
They said that endangers call center workers as well as the public.
"This is ridiculous and this is inhuman. These operators are physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. This situation endangers the public and puts the police officers on patrol at risk," said Alma Roger, the executive vice president of Local 1549.
"These people standing behind me, these are very hard operators, they work hard every day. They care about the public, they're concerned about the public," said John Armstrong, the chair of Police Communications Technician. "And we're just tired of the abuse that we're being put through."
Fire officials say the centers are not understaffed, and union complaints have prevented the department from training new workers for positions more quickly.
They also say response times have never been faster.