This week, call center workers at federal contractor Maximus, who answer Medicare and Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace lines, went on a two-day strike demanding affordable healthcare and an end to poverty wages. The workers went on strike on Monday and Tuesday at Maximus’ largest call centers in Bogalusa, La., and Hattiesburg, Miss.
On the second day of the strike, workers across the country hosted a virtual town hall to discuss the impacts of Maximus’ policies and practices on its workforce and steps the company must take to ensure justice and fairness for its employees. CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens, Reverend William Barber, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Congressman Andy Levin (D-Mich.) along with other leaders and community allies, participated in the town hall. Watch the recording of the virtual town hall here.
“By striking, you are sending a strong message that you are ready to stand up and fight for the treatment and respect you deserve,” said Steffens.
For the workers, most of whom are Black women, the fight against Maximus’ exploitation of workers is also a fight for racial justice. On the first day of the strike, Lakeisha Preston, one of the Black women who works at Maximus’ call center in Hattiesburg, told a Poor People’s Campaign rally in Memphis, Tenn., “For a full family coverage, the [healthcare] deductible is $5,000 and I have a 6 year old son. I couldn’t even afford to put him on there…This is why I am here to support the national struggle to lift lower wage workers out of poverty.”
Maximus workers organizing with CWA on strike in Bogalusa, La., (left) and Hattiesburg, Miss., for liveable wages and affordable healthcare.