Call center workers in Kentucky strike for better working conditions

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11
Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 3:28 PM EDT
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Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11

LONDON, Ky. (WYMT) - Maximus call center workers in London are wanting higher pay, more time off in between calls and clear policies that protect them from abusive calls.

“In this instance, our contract is mostly doing work for the Affordable Care Act, known as the Health Insurance Market Place, and the Medicare program, mostly acting as customer service,” said worker Clinton Sams.

Workers across the country at Maximus call centers went on strike. Workers say they see an increase in callers when open enrollment begins for the Affordable Care Act which starts Tuesday. Workers want to go from making $15/hour to $25/hr.

”Like I said, versus most other federal contractors, we are working very low below the bar. he said. “It’s definitely a concern about a living wage and better respect in this case.”

Call center staff say some callers are frustrated when they call in and take it out on workers. Workers say they want to see Maximus have clearer policies on disruptive phone calls so they can better serve their callers.

”Also, knowing that year-round we’ll have proper food and shelter and things that we need,” he added. “Of course, rent is up, housing issues are a major concern for a lot of people, it’s tough all over.”

You can read a statement from Maximus below:

Maximus welcomes the opportunity to work directly with our employees and discuss and hopefully resolve their concerns. Over the past several years, Maximus has improved pay and compensation, reduced employees’ out-of-pocket health care expenses and improved work processes and safety. We continue to look for ways to assure that Maximus is an employer of choice.

  • We do not anticipate that the people we serve will experience any disruption. Our teams have plans in place to ensure there is no disruption to assist those seeking help.
  • Maximus provides reasonable and flexible break policies. Employees can request bathroom breaks at any time and employees who work 8 hours can take two 15-minute rest breaks in addition to their half hour lunch break.
  • Maximus respects the dignity and wellbeing of our employees. While we haven’t seen evidence of a growing trend in abusive or obscene calls, we have a very clear Standard Operating Procedure to protect our employees when we occasionally receive such calls. If a caller is persistently inappropriate or obscene, or uses derogatory or disrespectful language, our employees are empowered to immediately end the call. They are not required to warn the abusive caller that the call is being terminated and are not required to ask their supervisor for permission to disconnect a call.