WASHINGTON, D.C. - Workers at five federal contract call centers operated by General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) filed new wage theft complaints with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division today. Since January, over 2,000 current and former GDIT call center workers have come forward to call on the Department of Labor (DOL) to investigate violations of prevailing wage law at the company.
The new complaints – filed on behalf of current and former workers in Corbin Ky., London, Ky., Tampa, Fla., Phoenix, Ariz. and Waco, Texas – allege widespread misclassification and underpayment of workers by GDIT, the top federal contractor in the call center industry. GDIT call center agents help Americans navigate Medicare and other programs under contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The new group of workers came forward after the Communications Workers of America (CWA) filed wage theft complaints on behalf of workers in recent months at four other GDIT call centers: Hattiesburg, Miss., Bogalusa, La., Lawrence, Kan, and Alexandria, Va.
“These complaints provide further evidence that thousands of workers at a majority of GDIT call centers across the nation are systemically underpaid,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “That’s why we are calling on the Department of Labor to conduct an enterprise-wide investigation at GDIT.”
“I’m tired of just surviving, of making tough decisions like which bills to pay and which bills to delay,” said Roy Wingfield, a call center agent at a General Dynamics CMS call center in London, Ky. “General Dynamics needs to stop underpaying us. I’d like not to live paycheck to paycheck.”
“I’m proud of the work that I do – helping Americans gain access to healthcare under the Affordable Care Act and Medicare programs,” said Kelly Grove, who handles Medicare claims in the London, Ky. center. “I love talking to the people we serve, I always remember to treat them with special care because they are somebody’s grandmother or grandfather. But GDIT doesn’t offer me the same care. They’re not concerned about who I am or what type of service I’m providing.”
"I hope we get the justice we deserve for the work we do. The wages need to be increased, we are always busy and we do a lot for so little. If the people we talked to on the phone knew they would be shocked that our pay is so pitiful. It's disgusting that we are so under-appreciated by GDIT." said Tatiana Baez who is a call center agent from the Tampa call center. "Before we started organizing and coming forward about these issues of wage theft, GDIT made it seem like we were replaceable. I am glad that we are standing together to make things better for my fellow agents who work so hard day in and day out."
GDIT currently employs about 10,000 workers at 11 call centers under contract with CMS. These jobs are covered by the Service Contract Act (SCA), a federal law that sets prevailing wage standards for federally contracted service work. The complaints show an extensive pattern of misclassification of workers under the SCA to avoid paying workers the wages their job duties merit.
GDIT and Vangent, a call center company acquired by General Dynamics in 2011 and merged into GDIT, have a history of wage theft. Since 2007 the companies have agreed to pay their workers $4.2 million in back wages based on Wage and Hour Division investigations.
If DOL confirms this widespread wage theft is occurring, CWA estimates that tens of thousands of current and former GDIT employees stand to recover more than $100 million in back wages since 2013, which would make it the largest federal contract wage theft case in history.
GDIT also has been the focus of unfair labor practice charges for illegal threats, surveillance and interrogation of workers seeking to exercise their freedom to join together and negotiate improvements in their wages and working conditions.