On Monday, essential workers across the country held a series of "Moral Monday" rallies outside of state offices of U.S. Senators in support of a $15 per hour minimum wage, the elimination of the subminimum wage for tipped workers, union rights for all, and full and just COVID-19 relief. The events were organized by CWA, the Poor People’s Campaign, SEIU, One Fair Wage and other allies, and livestreamed online.
"I only receive the bare minimum required by law for my job as a federal contractor worker, just around $11 an hour for complex work," said Tonya Jackson, who works at a Maximus call center as a home health aid for supplemental income. "When your employer pays you the legal minimum, whether the criminally low federal minimum wage of $7.25, or the minimum amount the federal government has set for its contractors' employees, it tells you something. It tells you that your employer would gladly pay you less if they could get away with it."
Maximus employs one of the largest federally-contracted workforces in the country, under a contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), to operate call centers that handle Medicare and ACA Federally Facilitated Marketplace calls. Maximus workers at the CMS call centers are organizing to join the CWA to win better working conditions and a voice on the job.
"A $15 minimum wage and expanded union rights would go tremendously far in ensuring frontline workers – the backbone of our economy – can put food on the table going into year two of the COVID-19 pandemic," said CWA Secretary Treasurer Sara Steffens. "It is no secret that families and communities everywhere are struggling now more than ever, and they deserve the promise of good benefits and dignified wages. As they work day in and day out – at times risking their own health – to get America back on track, a living wage is the least our government can do, and the only thing that will help our economy and communities recover and thrive."
CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens (center) and Tonya Jackson (right), a Maximus worker who is organizing to join CWA, were featured on a livestream of “Moral Monday” rallies in support of a $15 per hour minimum wage.