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) 966-1900
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 18, 2007 (303) 725-9079
EEOC’s 2006 FAILING REPORT CARD:
CIVIL RIGHTS AGENCY TAKING LONGER TO HELP LESS PEOPLE
Without fanfare, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) quietly leaked a failing report card for 2006. Embedded in the text of a thick bureaucratic document titled the "Fiscal Year 2006 Performance and Accountability Report," EEOC admits that customer service has taken a hit, because EEOC has lost 25% of its staff to a multiyear hiring freeze: "While our receipts have stayed level between FY 2005 and FY 2006, our investigator staffing levels have declined, which has resulted in a growing pending inventory [backlog] that is correspondingly older."
Specifically, the EEOC reports that the agency’s backlog has reached 39,946, its highest point since 1999. The EEOC also concedes that its private sector case processing times are "up significantly" from 171 days in 2005 to 193 days in 2006. Additionally, the agency did not meet its case processing targets for its Federal sector workload. Moreover, the EEOC also resolved fewer cases in 2006 than in 2005, dropping from 77,352 to 74,308.
The most disheartening 2006 statistic that EEOC has disclosed is that the monetary benefits garnered for victims of discrimination have plunged over $100M. Likewise, litigation benefits are down by over half since 2005. According to Gabrielle Martin, President of the National Council of EEOC Locals, No. 216, which represents employees at the EEOC, "It is not surprising that for 2006, when EEOC downsized a third of its District Offices and eliminated a third of its Regional Attorneys, we see that benefits sunk by about a third."
Martin states, "When we look at the 2006 report card, we see that EEOC is helping fewer people and taking longer to do so." Martin worries that matters will worsen in 2007, because EEOC is facing at least a $4M budget cut: "Improvement cannot happen without an infusion of staff and restored budget levels. EEOC blames staff shortages for its poor performance, but where’s the fix? There’s no talk of hires."
The FY 06 report also states "the agency relied on the transfer of cases between offices to address workload and staffing imbalances. All of these factors adversely affected our ability to achieve this measure [meeting the processing time target]." Martin responds, "The Union has complained about case transfers for years. Cases are best investigated where the violation occurred. Transferring cases around the country, instead of hiring staff, doesn’t work and merely hurts those affected by discrimination."