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
April 17, 2006
SURVEY OF EEOC’S CALL CENTER CONFIRMS "NATIONAL CALAMITY" -WASTE, ADDED LAYER OF BEAURACRACY AND INFERIOR SERVICE
The National Council of EEOC Locals, No. 216, AFGE/AFL-CIO has released the results of a year long survey of its employees who interface with the agency’s outsourced call center pilot. The results demonstrate an expensive pet project that yields poor quality service to individuals seeking help with complaints of civil rights violations. The price-tag for EEOC’s contract for the 2 year call center pilot is $4.9 million. According to Council President Gabrielle Martin, "The survey results confirm that it is time to pull the plug on the call center when the contract expires in September. We cannot continue treating the most vulnerable members of the public like lab rats, while EEOC tinkers with its failed customer service experiment."
Since March 2005, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) began routing
1-800 number calls from the public to the "National Contact Center (NCC)." Prior to outsourcing, the public could call the agency’s 1-800 number, reach the closest office and speak with a knowledgeable EEOC professional, usually a Senior Investigator. Now calls are handled by telemarketers with 7 days of training in EEOC’s laws, using scripts to try to answer questions about discrimination. The telemarketers collect minimal information from their 6 minute "interviews" and forward a message to an EEOC office for actual processing.
Significant findings of the survey reveal:
Employees’ comments on the survey consistently cite concerns about inaccurate and incomplete information provided by the call center. With little or bad information, investigators must reinterview callers, subjecting them to an extra layer of bureaucracy. According to Martin, "The call center is nothing more than a glorified answering service. Not only is the whole premise flawed, but for millions of dollars they can’t even take a good message."
While the call center was billed as a means to reduce unsolicited calls to field offices, 85% of employees responded that the number of calls they need to return has either stayed the same or increased, since the implementation of the call center. In recent months the EEOC has tried to bulk up the number of calls handled by the call center by sending callers who reach local offices back to the "National Calamity Center," as it is referred to by the agency’s employees.
EEOC’s intent always has been to deprive the public of the ability to speak with EEOC staff by routing all calls to the "National Calamity Center. Martin questions the wisdom of this troubling trend of cutting the public off from their local EEOC offices, "Why would you increase the flow of traffic from all directions to an intersection with a broken traffic light? Local offices are the experts in regional trends and employers. The public should not be forced to call a long distance telemarketer, rather than speaking with a professional EEOC employee in their community."
For more information on the findings of the survey please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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