Three presidential candidates, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Governor Jay Inslee, and Senator Bernie Sanders announced their support in recent days for MAXIMUS call center workers as they join together for better working conditions.
In a video message to MAXIMUS workers, Warren said, “I stand with you in your fight to organize at MAXIMUS to be able to bargain collectively and get fair wages for the vital work you do for our government. Thank you for the powerful and important work you do as labor activists, and thank you to the Communications Workers of America for being in this fight. Unions built America’s middle class, and unions will rebuild America’s middle class ... Stay in this fight at MAXIMUS, I’ll be right there by your side. Persist!”
“I’m so excited to know that you’re making an effort to create a union at MAXIMUS,” said Inslee in a video message to workers. “People having the ability to form a union is fundamental to America. I want to encourage you and tell you that I support you. We need to make sure that people have a right to form a union and make their own decision free of management interference … Let’s make sure working people are treated fairly in this nation.”
Sanders, who has met in the past with workers at the call centers that MAXIMUS now operates for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, tweeted his support on Friday for MAXIMUS workers, declaring “I stand with them in their fight.”
The candidates expressed their support as MAXIMUS National Organizing Committee members met over the weekend in Richmond, Virginia. The committee members attending the event all work at MAXIMUS' federally contracted call centers that handle inquiries about Medicare and the ACA Federally-Facilitated Marketplace. MAXIMUS operates 11 such call centers, which are located in Phoenix, Arizona; Lynn Haven and Riverview, Florida; Lawrence, Kansas; London and Winchester, Kentucky; Bogalusa, Louisiana; Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Brownsville, TX; Sandy, Utah; and Chester, Virginia.
“More and more people are joining our movement for the better pay and working conditions we deserve at MAXIMUS call centers every week,” said Sheronda Dove, a dual-trained Medicare and Federal ACA Marketplace agent at MAXIMUS’ call center in Hattiesburg, MS. “It’s inspiring to see that we have leaders like Senator Warren, Governor Inslee, and Senator Sanders backing us up. It motivates me to know that we have their support, and makes me more confident that our organizing will be successful.”
“Jobs at federal contractors like MAXIMUS should be good jobs,” said Logan Stinemetz, a senior specialist for Advanced Resolutions Center (ARC) casework at the MAXIMUS call center in Lawrence, KS. “Every day, we provide an essential service to Americans, helping them get the health insurance their families need. We’re really excited that we have national leaders who are hearing our voices and are taking a real stand with us to support us in our fight to get the pay that we deserve.”
The committee members held their convening in Richmond near MAXIMUS' Chester call center to strengthen relationships among MAXIMUS employees across states and worksites, conduct skills trainings, and develop strategies for continuing to grow their power in the workplace to improve their wages, benefits, and working conditions.