skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

NH gun-safety advocates advise services, bipartisan laws after deadly shootings; Food banks, pantries address rising food insecurity during winter holidays; Despite cost debate, some MN businesses intrigued by paid-leave law.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Muslim American leaders in swing states like Michigan threaten to Abandon Biden, VP Harris criticizes greenwashing at COP28, former congresswoman Cheney calls the GOP a "threat," and George Santos is expelled.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

MS Call Center Workers Want Better Healthcare, Wages, Union

play audio
Play

Friday, September 8, 2023   

As the open-enrollment period for people who need health insurance fast approaches, some Mississippi workers are threatening to walk the picket line.

They handle tens of millions of questions about the Affordable Care Act and Medicare at the Maximus Call Center in Hattiesburg. The open-enrollment period will be critical for those who may have lost their Medicaid coverage when the pandemic officially ended.

Denotra Clayton, a dual-agent customer service representative for Maximus and the Communications Workers of America, said she was part of a Thursday rally demanding that Maximus provide affordable health benefits and job security, along with better balance between work and home life.

"The demands that we are predicting for the increase in pay - hourly rates, more respect, more leeway, more time for even to use the bathroom, for breaks," she said. "And if, basically, Maximus doesn't meet our need for better pay, then we will strike again."

She noted that workers have walked off the job several other times, adding that the customer service agents are predominantly Black and Latina women. They're asking for a pay rate of $25 an hour, up from the starting pay of $16.

Maximus was awarded a $6.6 billion contract last year to handle calls and questions about the federal insurance marketplace.

The union has claimed that Maximus recently laid off 800 workers. Clayton alleged that the company has used what some see as "intimidation tactics" to try to keep people from striking, by offering bonus pay on the first day of the strike.

"I stand up for the CWA and I am definitely participating to join a union, to make a better workplace," she said. "So of course, I'm going to go on strike to demand these better means, these better pays, less micromanagement. Of course, I'm going to do that."

Clayton said she can't speak for her coworkers, but has encouraged them to learn more. She added that most would need more than one day of bonus pay to continue to provide for their families.

Disclosure: Communications Workers of America contributes to our fund for reporting on Human Rights/Racial Justice, Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
more stories
According to the National Family Farm Coalition, the average U.S. farmland value is now $3,800 per
acre, the highest since the 1970s. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

North Dakota's farming landscape is seeing policy shifts dealing with corporate ownership of agricultural interests. Now, there's fresh debate at the …


Social Issues

play sound

Advocates for unpaid family caregivers in Maine say they'll need continued support beyond the recently passed paid family and medical leave program…

Social Issues

play sound

The Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida are filing lawsuits against the deacti…


An estimated 40% of recent college graduates in the U.S. are underemployed, according to Statista. (Adobe Stock)

play sound

A new report from WGU Labs, a nonprofit affiliate of Western Governors University based in Millcreek, Utah, is shedding light on the importance of …

Social Issues

play sound

Many older residents of Washington state are facing strains on their budgets -- and the government programs that could assist them are underused…

The Thrive Indianapolis Annual Report 2022 says Indianapolis has been recognized as a Tree City USA for 35 consecutive years. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

Bloomington and Indianapolis are getting some international recognition for the work they're doing to help the environment. The two have been named …

Health and Wellness

play sound

New Mexico activists are tapping today's World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, to announce they'll ask the State Legislature to provide more money for treatment …

play sound

Bipartisan legislation that proposes the installation of solar panels in schools across Pennsylvania awaits a vote in the state Senate. The Solar …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021