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LABOR DAY NO TIME TO CELEBRATE FOR EEOC WORKERS

Gabrielle Martin, president of the National Council of EEOC Locals, No. 216, AFGE, AFL-CIO, issued the following release Thursday in advance of Labor Day:

NATION CELEBRATES LABOR DAY AS EEOC LETS DOWN AMERICA’S WORKERS AND ITS OWN EMPLOYEES 

On the upcoming Labor Day Holiday, this nation will celebrate its workers.  However, workplace discrimination threatens the American dream for thousands of workers and their families.  In fact, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) anticipates that it will receive over 100,000 charges of discrimination this year, according to its budget.  

Gabrielle Martin, President of the National Council of EEOC Locals, No. 216, AFGE/AFL-CIO, (“the Council”), which represents employees at the EEOC, says, “Labor Day is a sad reminder that EEOC, which exists to enforce laws enacted by Congress to protect workers against discrimination, is too dysfunctional to carry out its mission.”

The EEOC is facing an enormous backlog of almost a 100,000 cases.  Additionally, Martin points out, “Three new laws and record high filings have bottle-necked EEOC’s intake process.”  The Union has offered solutions, including an intake plan to get the EEOC back on course, as part of a top 10 list to the Chair.   However, Martin states, “The intake plan is still ‘under review,’ despite the need to implement by the start of the new fiscal year on October 1.”

For Martin, “Labor Day is a sore reminder that EEOC has still not done right by its employees two years after a Federal Arbitrator ruled that EEOC had willfully violated overtime laws.”  Based on the realities on the ground and EEOC’s poor results on the Government Employee Satisfaction Surveys, Martin suggests that EEOC’s help wanted ads should read:

HELP WANTED:  EEOC seeks talented, but fungible employees. Lack of benefits include:  minimal training; overwhelming caseloads and severe understaffing; restricted telecommuting.  Must be willing to work overtime without complaint or pay.  One third of your time will be spent performing your own administrative/support staff/IT functions.  Earned promotions rare and delayed.  Limited upward mobility.  Severe micromanagement.  Awards program: secret, sporadic and unfair.  Specifics for various positions –   Attorneys and Hearings Examiners:  Must be willing to pay for your own required bar dues, continuing education, and costs of attending national organization training seminars.  Demanding case loads and time constraints.   Limited paralegal, legal clerk or intern assistance.  Customer Service Reps (IIRs):  Must be willing to be overwhelmed with calls and e-mails, while remaining isolated from the office you serve.  Daily equipment failures will be standard.  Bathroom breaks will be monitored.   Mediators:  Overwhelming caseloads, limited travel funds.  Investigators:  Must be willing to spend 50% of your time in Intake while assigned more than 100 cases to investigate and extremely tight deadlines.  Support Staff and paraprofessional staff:  As endangered species, you are responsible for enough work to consume the work days of ten times the number of you. Due to overwhelming need, applications open next year.

Martin continues, “On this Labor Day, I must pay tribute to EEOC’s workers, who despite their own deplorable working conditions, work each day to try to make things better for others.”

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