Congresswoman Tubbs Jones Offers Amendment to Preserve Jobs at EEOC
WASHINGTON, June 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones offered an amendment to the Science, State, Justice and Commerce Appropriations bill. The Tubbs Jones/Capps amendment will prohibit the EEOC from consolidating its offices and further reducing its staff. She released this statement:
"The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), charged with enforcing civil rights protections within the workplace, is now undergoing a workforce repositioning effort. This effort is detrimental to EEOC's ability to carry out its mission and is contrary to statutes established by the Congress.
"The Omnibus FY2005 Appropriations bill, passed by Congress and signed by the President, contained language stating that 'the Commission shall not have fewer field positions in fiscal year 2005 than in fiscal year 2004.' This language was added with the endorsement of both Chairman Frank Wolf and then Ranking Member Jose Serrano of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and State.
"Unfortunately, complementing a trend that began with the 2001 hiring freeze, EEOC continues to lose employees. For FY 2006, EEOC has requested funding for 2,400 employees, 240 less than the previous year and 500 less than 2001. As a result of the commission's shrinking workforce, EEOC is experiencing a tremendous case backlog.
"The EEOC Chair's current workforce repositioning proposal downgrades vital offices, reduces their size and removes their authority to approve litigation. In total, nine -- over one-third -- of EEOC's 23 district offices including Cleveland, Baltimore, Denver, Detroit, New Orleans, San Antonio, Seattle, and Milwaukee will be downgraded from District offices to Area offices. Many of these very cities have the highest percentages of racial minorities in the nation. "Under this new plan, numerous counties in Maryland and Ohio will now fall under the jurisdiction of the Philadelphia District Office. The Chicago District office would gain jurisdictions including Iowa, North and South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The San Francisco District Office would inherit jurisdictions in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Nevada and Washington. The Commission has no plans to increase staffing in these expanded offices.
"The average district office has 63 employees. The average area office contains 18 employees. The largest area office holds only 28 employees, 35 less than the average district office. Based on the staffing levels of current area offices, the EEOC could stand to lose an additional 405 employees through restructuring, a 17 percent reduction. It is unclear where the cost-savings of the restructuring plan come from, if not to starve these offices of resources and close them down the road. To aid local people, we need a local presence. The Tubbs Jones/Capps amendment will make sure quantity is complemented with quality regarding EEOC's workforce."
This amendment is scheduled to be considered this evening.