WASHINGTON, D.C. – Continuing his ongoing efforts to protect essential front-line workers during the pandemic, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) today pressed the federal government’s largest call center contractor on workplace safety, following recent reports that it hasn’t been adhering to federal safety guidance. He was joined by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
“We write to express our concern that Maximus, the largest call center contractor for the federal government, has not taken the necessary steps to protect its workforce from Coronavirus,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter sent today to Maximus CEO Bruce Caswell, noting that the company had received nearly $2 billion in government contracts over the past decade.
Maximus provides call services to the federal government and agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), employing roughly 10,000 workers across the country.
“We understand that the call centers that Maximus operates are critical to the health and safety of millions of American families. It is equally critical that the health and safety of Maximus’s call center employees remain paramount,” the lawmakers added.
Specifically, the Senators outlined concerns that Maximus has continued to hold large trainings without proper social distancing or enough hand sanitizer for participants, and that the company has not yet shifted to telework. They also expressed concern with the contractor’s paid sick leave policy and its compensation system, which is structured in a way that could incentivize sick employees to show up for work.
The lawmakers asked the company to respond to a series of questions by May 20.
Full text of the letter is available here.
Booker has been a leader in the Senate in protecting front-line workers during coronavirus. Over the past six weeks he has spearheaded efforts to call attention to workplace safety concerns at Amazon, FedEx, Walmart, and the U.S. Postal Service.