On Monday, April 23rd, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) announced in a press release a new complaint to the Department of Labor on behalf of General Dynamics IT (GDIT) employees, alleging the company misclassified and, in turn, underpaid call center employees working under a call center contract for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CWA estimated the wages owed could exceed $100 million since the start of the contract in 2013.
The contract for “Contact Center Operations” was awarded in 2013 to Vangent (a part of GDIT since its purchase in late 2011), for call center operations support to “field inquiries for CMS programs such as 1-800 Medicare, MMA, the Health Insurance Marketplace, and other relevant programs.” The contract has a 1-year base with nine 1-year options for a total period of performance of 10 years, and a primary NAICS code of 561422 -Telemarketing Bureaus and Other Contact Centers.
According to a report, CWA first made news with a complaint in January centered on a call center in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, alleging systemic underpayment of employees. CWA does not represent the call center employees, but has filed a number of complaints on their behalf. According to CWA, call center employees on the CMS contract are covered by the federal Service Contract Act (SCA). According to the Department of Labor, contractors must follow minimum wage guidelines determined by the job classification and the work locality. CWA claims that GDIT misclassifies the call center employees on a large scale, identifying them as lower-pay positions than the work and skills actually necessary for performance. With the complaints submitted to the Department of Labor illustrating a misclassification of “thousands of workers at a majority of GDIT call centers across the nation,” CWA hopes for an “enterprise-wide investigation at GDIT” by the Labor Department.
According to the Washington Post, GDIT responded to the allegations in a statement: “The company takes seriously our obligations under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Service Contract Act. Our call center employees are not represented by the Communications Workers of America. Similar to other federal contractors, the company is subject to routine compliance reviews and as with any notice received it will engage with the relevant parties including our employees and the Department of Labor.”
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