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

www.council216.org

 

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 23, 2006 Contact:

Gabrielle Martin

(303) 725-9079

Rachel Shonfield

(305) 496-7939

 

LAWMAKERS OPPOSE CUTS TO CIVIL RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT

Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) and Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) have just spearheaded a sign-on letter to House appropriators expressing concern over budget and staffing decreases at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). A total of 113 members of the House of Representatives co-sponsored the letter, which decried an administration budget request for the civil rights agency that is $8 million dollars less than last yearís request. The cut could result in possible furloughs or lay-offs at the small cash-strapped agency.

Gabrielle Martin, President of the National Council of EEOC Locals, No. 216, AFGE/AFL-CIO, which represents EEOCís employees, applauded the outpouring of support: "Congress recognizes the important work we do at the EEOC." The Congressional letter highlights the staffing crisis at EEOC. "Since 2001, EEOC has lost over 575 employees, which is 20 percent of its workforce." Martin explains the staffing crisis, "Our investigators, attorneys and other staff ensure an even playing field for workers, regardless of their race, religion, color national origin, age or disability. But you canít enforce laws on the cheap or without staff. Having adequate staff to address our core mission is critical." Martin says, "We disserve the both public and Americaís work force when we allow cases to sit in backlogs and grow old, while witnesses move away or their memories about events fade over time."

The letter also asks appropriators to "reconsider allowing additional funding toward EEOCís bid to make its privatized call center permanent, especially in light of EEOCís diminished budget request." According to Martin, "Headquarters sends out memos that we can no longer afford fax and copy machines and online legal subscriptions. Yet the agency keeps paying a contractor millions for a glorified answering service. Given the extremely poor service provided by the call center, the agency should pull the plug on this boondoggle when the contract ends in September."

To view the Congressional Letter and its signatories, please visit www.council216.org.

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