Hundreds of Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicare call center employees of federal contractor Maximus walked off the job on Thursday, November 9, over better pay, affordable healthcare and the right to unionize.
The Communications Workers of America (CWA), which organized a press call for the workers, said in a statement that 700 workers walked off the job, calling it the largest federal call center strike in history.
Workers at call centers in Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York and Virginia were on strike, CWA said, adding that the Mississippi and Louisiana centers were “largely shut down.”
Maximus told Kiplinger in a statement, however, that “there was no disruption in service for the tens of thousands of Americans seeking to sign up for essential benefits.”
Maximus operates the largest federally contracted call centers nationwide under contracts with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control, CWA said.
Maximus said that it has successfully partnered with national, state and local governments for 50 years. “During the past five years, we have increased compensation, reduced out-of-pocket health care expenses, and improved the work environment," it added.
Citing President Joe Biden’s support of the UAW’s strike, CWA said that the president must “do the right thing and stand up for the workforce his own administration employs through a multi-billion dollar contract with Maximus.”
Workers demands include that the Biden administration:
- Require wages of $25 per hour, which the CWA said is commensurate with what federal employees doing similar work are paid.
- Ensure that workers have affordable healthcare.
- Investigate racial disparities and potential obstacles to equal employment opportunities at Maximus.
- Investigate Maximus to ensure it is a responsible federal contractor.
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