WASHINGTON, DC -- This week, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) introduced the Treating Workers With Dignity Act, cosponsored by U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). The new bill would guarantee employees a break to eat a meal, use the restroom, or tend to their medical needs while on the job.
“I am deeply appreciative of Senator Schatz for proposing this legislation,” said Anna Flemmings, a call center worker for MAXIMUS in Mississippi. MAXIMUS call center workers are joining together to improve their working conditions with CWA. “For medical reasons, I had to get an accommodation for additional bathroom breaks and even after obtaining notice from my physician, MAXIMUS refuses to pay me for this time. It is deducted from my pay for that day, reducing my already low pay of $11.40 an hour. I can’t afford to lose this time, but I also cannot physically not take it when I need to. This is definitely not right.”
“Working people have a strong ally in Senator Schatz, and Communications Workers of America thanks him for introducing legislation to help workers like Anna who need reasonable accommodations for medical issues,” said Chris Shelton, President of CWA. “Having adequate bathroom breaks is a basic human need, and for many workers, being deprived of them can cause serious health problems. Nobody should be uncomfortable or risk health problems at their job because an employer is depriving them of necessary bathroom breaks.”
Maximus' workers fight to improve their working conditions has drawn attention nationally. Three presidential candidates, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Governor Jay Inslee, and Senator Bernie Sanders announced their support in August for MAXIMUS call center workers who are organizing with CWA.