Six senators led by Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) sent a letter today to Maximus calling on the company to respond to workers’ demands to meet with their organizing committee. The letter is co-signed by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
The letter highlights the Senators’ concerns about recent reports about working conditions at the call centers Maximus operates for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These include concerns stemming from an NBC report about Maximus holding a training for 70 CDC Info call center employees in a facility that was not large enough to allow for social distancing, and concerns that Maximus’ paid sick leave policy leaves approval to management’s discretion and does not provide paid leave to many workers when a worksite is closed due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
“We are also concerned that, at some of its call centers, Maximus has implemented premium pay that is contingent on working a minimum number of hours each week. Accessing that pay increase may create a financial incentive for workers to come to work while sick—thus increasing the risk of workplace transmission,” the Senators wrote.
“We’re calling on Maximus CEO Bruce Caswell to meet with our workers’ union organizing committee to make sure the company hears from us directly on our working conditions and so we can work together with the company to make sure that proper safety procedures and leave policies are being consistently implemented,” said Will Magnant, who works at the Maximus call center in Chester, Va.
“It’s time for Maximus CEO Bruce Caswell to stop dodging his workers and meet directly with their organizing committee,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “At a time when many Maximus workers are putting their lives on the line to help ensure Americans have access to health coverage, Maximus must be willing to give workers a seat at the table and a real voice at work to serve the American people in this time of crisis.”
In the letter, the Senators request that Maximus provides a written response to the concerns raised in their letter, and to the questions listed below, no later than May 20:
• Will senior leadership at Maximus agree to meet with the workers’ organizing committee to address concerns around workplace safety?
• What steps has Maximus taken to ensure its workers are able to maintain social distancing while at work?
• What is the timeline for Maximus creating a telework infrastructure to allow its workers to work remotely?
• Will Maximus provide premium pay to all of its workers, not just those who meet the threshold of hours worked?
Read the letter here.