Riverview call center workers stage picket, demanding $25/hour, better healthcare, and more

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Demonstrators outside Maximus Call Center in Riverview // Chris Young, November 9 2023

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On Thursday, call center workers at Maximus, the federal government’s largest call center contractor, picketed to demand higher wages.

Call center workers want the Biden administration to increase wages to $25 dollars an hour, improve healthcare benefits, and investigate working conditions at Maximus.

Katherine Charles is a single mom and has been working for Maximus for 9 years. She makes $18 dollars an hour.

“With the wages that we’re making right now, we cannot afford to have a good quality of life for our children.”

Maximus workers handle millions of Medicare calls and answer questions for the CDC-INFO line under a nine-year, $6.6 billion federal contract.

A report by the Communications Workers of America Union shows that Maximus’s healthcare coverage burdens workers with higher-than-average out-of-pocket costs.

“When we get paid, if we have to go to the doctor we have to make a decision. Either way pay rent on time, or we don’t pay a bill like the electricity or groceries, or we go to the doctor and take care of ourselves so we can continue to work”

The union is calling on Department of Health and Human Service Secretary Xavier Becerra to investigate Maximus.

In a statement sent to WMNF, Maximus says the union made false claims that don’t represent the majority of Maximus Workers. They called a recent survey released by the union “inappropriate and intentionally timed” during Medicare and Affordable Care Act open enrollment.

Read the full statement from Maximus sent to WMNF:

There has been a significant amount of erroneous information being distributed, misleading our employees, customers, as well as national and local leaders. The level of false information is inappropriate and intentionally timed at the expense of 75 million Americans who are navigating open enrollment in Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. The contact centers we operate on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are the only point of contact for Americans seeking vital information about their Medicare benefits and insurance programs available through the Federal Marketplace.

The facts are that for 50 years, Maximus has successfully partnered with national, state, and local government to deliver critical health and human services to Americans. During the past five years, we have increased compensation, reduced out-of-pocket health care expenses, and improved the work environment. Maximus leads with an employee-centric focus, which is demonstrated by the employee satisfaction scores from our 2023 Global Employee Engagement Survey which is administered by a third-party, PricewaterhouseCoopers. With more than 76% of the 40,000 Maximus employees participating, 75% of surveyed employees stated they would recommend Maximus as a great place to work, up 5% from last year. Our contact center operations employees had an even higher favorable response, with 77% stating they would recommend Maximus as a great place to work. Our employees can take a break at any time.  No one is shamed for taking a break. 

Our team is proud of the work we do on behalf of CMS and the millions of Americans we are privileged to serve.

 

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