National Council of EEOC Locals, 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 Contact: Gabrielle Martin
September 29, 2004 (303) 725-9079
OCTOBER 1 DAY OF MOURNING FOR EEOC’S LOST CHARGES
October 1, marks the end of FY 2004 and the beginning of FY 2005. At EEOC, employees will wear black to observe a day of mourning and a moment of silence for the “Lost Charges.” The silence is to recognize the fact that charges are lost because sufficient staffing is not EEOC’s priority. Only one of EEOC’s field offices, the offices responsible for investigating charges, has sufficient staff to handle the current workload. Several of EEOC’s field offices do not have Directors. Yet, EEOC will start the 2005 fiscal year with a “thank you” from its current Chair for somehow processing a record number of cases. The year-end numbers will be phenomenal!
But each of these closed cases represents more than a bureaucratic accomplishment and a number for the "closed" column. Each closure represents the story of an individual who feels that he or she has been subjected to illegal employment discrimination at work, in violation of the laws EEOC is charged with enforcing. Each number represents someone who believes he or she was not promoted, was fired, was subjected to unwanted sexual or racial harassment or discriminated against based on age, religion, sex, race, etc. In too many instances the charges were processed--not investigated. For these individuals, what will be their recourse? Who will investigate?
To exacerbate this situation comes EEOC's call center! EEOC is without sufficient funding to pay for both a call center and to hire sufficient staff to perform the work. EEOC just signed a $4.9 million dollar contract for a call center that will not handle charges or charge processing. The call center will merely transfer calls to already severely understaffed field offices. FY 2004 funding did not contain adequate monies to fund the call center. The FY2005 budget markup does not provide enough money for EEOC to fund the call center, absorb employee raises and hire needed staff. To fund the call center, EEOC must rob Peter (sufficient staffing) to pay Paul (Call Center). In the meantime, who will handle the calls and investigate potential charges transferred to EEOC field offices? Sadly, once again, the same dedicated EEOC field staff, continuing under pressure to do more with less, must find a way, in assembly line fashion, to process cases.
Now, for that long moment of silence.