NATIONAL COUNCIL OF EEOC L0CALS No 216, AFGE, AFL-CIO
Office of the President
c/o Denver District Office, EEOC
303 East 17th Avenue, Suite 510, Denver, Colorado 80203
Tele: (303) 866-1337 Fax: (303) 866-1900
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Gabrielle Martin
April 23, 2007 (303) 725-9079
EEOC UNION PRESIDENT MARTIN WILL TESTIFY BEFORE CONGRESS 4/24/07
Gabrielle Martin, President of the National Council of EEOC Locals, No. 216, AFGE/AFL-CIO, will testify before Congress on April 24, 2007, regarding the sorry state of the nationís "premiere" civil rights agency. Ms. Martin represents the investigators, attorneys, administrative judges, paralegals, mediators, and support staff in 53 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) offices located around the country.
Martin states, "I have never seen things worse at the EEOC." EEOCís FY07 year end statistics demonstrate that staffing losses have resulted in staggering backlogs and longer case processing times. FY07 also saw the benefits EEOC obtained for victims of discrimination plummet by $100 million. An expensive pilot program to outsource civil rights to a call center was skewered for poor performance in a 2006 Office of Inspector General report. "I am thankful to Congress for the opportunity to cast a light on the sad fact that EEOC is letting down the countryís workers, who depend on the agency to make sure they are not discriminated against on the job."
Martin plans to tell EEOCís House appropriations oversight subcommittee that, "In recent years the EEOC has seen its effectiveness diminished as it has been starved of resources." The administrationís budget request for EEOC represents the fourth consecutive year of flat funding for the agency. Since 2001, EEOC has lost 23% of its staff to a multi-year hiring freeze. In 2006, twelve offices, many in cities with high minority populations, were downsized as part of a controversial EEOC restructuring.
Martin is also critical of EEOCís administration for throwing millions of dollars away on a privatized call center pilot, "Before the public can talk to their local EEOC, first they have to talk to a contract operator reading a script and then they must fill out a four page form the call center sends them. The outsourced call center just adds an extra bureaucratic layer between victims of discrimination and getting the help from EEOC that they need."
Martinís bottom-line to Congress: "Unfortunately, discrimination is alive and well, so EEOC needs resources in order to avoid becoming a toothless tiger. Congressional oversight is required to ensure that EEOC prioritizes funding for hiring frontline employees, who will directly assist the public. Furthermore, if EEOC doesnít act to pull the plug on the failing call center, then Congress should pull the funds."