Laid-Off Federal Call Center Workers at Maximus Call on Biden Administration to Abide by “Good Jobs Principles,” Ensure Their Job Security
Amid More Layoffs, Maximus Workers Hand-Deliver Job Security Petition to HHS Secretary Becerra at National Press Club Event;
CWA Files Unfair Labor Practice Charge In Response to Supervisor Threatening Consequences for Maximus Workers Participating in November 2023 Strike
(Washington, D.C.) – In a hand-delivered petition to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra at the National Press Club today, recently laid-off workers at Maximus, the federal government’s largest call center contractor, called for Secretary Becerra and the Biden Administration to protect Maximus workers from unpredictable layoffs and ensure the Administration’s Good Jobs Principles are applied to the company. The Biden Administration has defined a "good job" as one where workers have job security with predictable schedules and without discrimination, and the Administration has called for employers across the U.S. to implement these practices. However, the federal government’s largest call center contractor, employing nearly 18,000 workers on its federal contracts, is blatantly ignoring these good job principles, right under the nose of the Biden Administration and HHS.
Maximus workers, who help Americans access Medicare and Affordable Care Act (ACA) services and yet often cannot afford healthcare themselves, confronted Secretary Becerra ahead of his speech about HHS’s ongoing efforts to combat healthcare disparities and close the equity gaps. Also today, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge (ULP) on behalf of Maximus workers and against Maximus after a supervisor threatened employees with adverse job consequences if they participated in a lawful labor strike.
Each year, Maximus call center workers face massive disruptions to their employment due to the company conducting extensive hiring during ACA and Medicare Open Enrollment periods and then laying off workers en masse with little notice. In 2023, more than 800 Maximus workers were terminated over the course of 6 months, with many only given notice of 10 days or less. The system, which is already heavily stacked against Maximus workers, has driven further instability for the workforce and forced many Maximus workers into economic crisis. 80 percent of surveyed Maximus workers report using safety net programs to make ends meet, and 90 percent have medical debt. Maximus is a multibillion dollar company, with over 80 percent of its revenue coming from federal and state government contracts.
“I have been hired and abruptly laid off by Maximus twice since 2021. Maximus has deprived me of any financial stability or job security. This process has been an absolute nightmare,” said Gabrielle Scurry, a former Maximus Customer Service Representative in Tampa, Fla. “Even when I had a job at Maximus, I couldn’t afford rent because my pay was so low. I’ve been struggling with homelessness since November and now, on top of that, I can’t receive medical care since I lost my health insurance. The Biden Administration, Maximus’s main funder, needs to step in, hold this company to account, and stand by their Good Jobs Principles because right now, Maximus jobs are not good jobs.”
In Maximus workers’ job security petition, which has over 1,200 signatures, current and former Maximus workers demanded minimum notice of 60 days for layoffs, or in cases when minimum notice is not possible, severance of at least 60 days’ pay; transfer opportunities to other Maximus contracts that are at least 60 days in advance of layoffs, not after; an end to the unfair attendance policy; and communication with seasonal hires about their likely end date at the time of hire.
“Like so many others, I have been hired and laid off by Maximus multiple times. Last month, I was the latest casualty of Maximus’ unfair attendance policy. It’s a never-ending cycle, draining me physically and emotionally and putting an unbearable burden on my financial stability,” said Sarah Jeffers, a former Maximus Customer Service Representative in Hattiesburg, Miss. “My last paycheck, which was around $1,000, is the only thing I’m surviving on, and I’m terrified what will happen when that runs out. We always hear about all the good jobs that have been created by the Biden Administration in the last few years, but for so many Maximus workers, the reality is that we have no job security and are struggling to make ends meet. Maximus needs to do better. The Biden Administration needs to do better. We need job security now.”
Maximus has become notorious for its rampant issues of low pay, racial inequity, and job insecurity. In an attempt to secure better working conditions and respect on the job, Maximus workers have been organizing nationwide with CWA and elevating calls to the White House to hold Maximus accountable. In November 2023, Maximus workers organized the largest federal call center strike in history to demand livable wages and better working conditions. CWA’s ULP filed today is in response to a supervisor threatening workers planning to participate in this strike. In December 2023, Maximus workers traveled from across the country to rally outside of the White House and protest and take arrest as part of civil disobedience in front of the Department of Health and Human Services headquarters in Washington, D.C.
About CWA: The Communications Workers of America represents working people in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, health care, public service and education, manufacturing, tech, and other fields.