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News : General Dynamics Call Center Employees Rally for Fair Wages in Hattiesburg

#contactcenterworld, @GenDyn_IT

Hattiesburg, MS, USA, Oct, 2018 -- Dozens of employees at General Dynamics Information Technology gathered Monday afternoon outside their workplace to rally for fair wages and an attempt to unionize, giving them a collective bargaining tool.

Regenia Keys of Hattiesburg has worked at the call center for more than two years. She said employees this summer received pay increases to $10.35 per hour, but that still isn't enough for a living wage.

"When I get paid this Friday, I've got a car note that's due," she said. "I've got to pay my rent. My check is gone. My paycheck is not even enough to cover my bills. I'm having my kids come to help with odds and ends and whatever."

Keys said her experience did not factor into the wage increase. The pay rate is the same for new employees without any experience.

GDIT handles enrollment and customer inquiries from across the country about Medicare and the Affordable Care Act’s Federal Insurance Marketplace.

GDIT announced earlier in October that it is selling its call center operations to Maximus Inc. GDIT officials did not respond to a request for comment. A Maximus official said the company is not in a position to comment.

"I will need to refer you over to GDIT," said Lisa Miles, Maximus senior vice president of investor relations and corporate communications. "The acquisition has not closed and your questions are more suitable for GDIT."

Don Freeman of Hattiesburg, who has worked at GDIT for three years, said $10.35 an hour is not a living wage. He lives with two roommates since he can't afford to live on his own.

"I don't have any dependents, but $10.35 is nowhere near enough to take care of myself," he said.

But more importantly, he said, is his qualifications and the nature of the work demand a higher salary. He said he has a college degree and has had to have a lot of training for the job.

"I work for the (health care) Marketplace," he said. "I work for a federal contractor, so I am ostensibly a federal employee."

Keys and Freeman said they are in favor of unionizing so they can get the help they need to improve their wages, but understand that others have concerns, including fear of losing their jobs since Mississippi is a right-to-work state.

"A great number of us are in favor of joining a union, but I understand that a lot of them are scared," he said. "Unions are not looked at favorably in these parts."

Communications Workers of America in February filed a complaint with the Labor Department on behalf of GDIT employees, claiming General Dynamics Information Technology misclassifies its call center agents "at a lower prevailing wage rate than their job duties merit," union officials said.

In addition, a federal lawsuit filed in September against the company in Mississippi's Southern District claims the company did not pay hourly employees overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a week.

The lawsuit also says employees were misclassified as being exempt from overtime pay. It also claims racial discrimination and is calling for a class-action settlement, including $75 million in damages.

A report issued in October by Georgetown University’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor shows that better pay at the call center would inject millions of dollars into the local economy and help create hundreds of new jobs in the region, CWA officials said in a news release.

The study shows most GDIT customer service professionals in Hattiesburg make $10.35 per hour. Of the 10 call centers in eight states where GDIT operates to serve Medicare and ACA callers, GDIT pays its Hattiesburg employees the least.

The low wages also "compound existing racial and gender income disparities because the majorty of employees are women and people of color," the study says.

Patrick Dixon, research analyst at Georgetown University’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, said the research included quantitative analysis and interviews with GDIT workers during a visit in August. The organization is not affiliated with the labor union or GDIT.

"We found that given the level of responsibility, the complexity and level of expertise that is required of workers at GDIT, they are significantly misclassified and underpaid according to federal regulations for their position," he said. "Many are finding it hard to get by to feed their families."

Dixon said there are two paths that could lead the workers to better pay: Reclassifying employees to positions that align with their daily responsibilities, according to the Service Contract Act, and to form a union to be able to negotiate better pay rates.

"We found that under those conditions, full-time employees would see their salaries increase by over a third by 2022," he said.

Higher wages would not only be good for the workers but for the Hattiesburg area.

"That would bring in almost $40 million into the Hattiesburg economy and create almost 200 new jobs since people will have more disposable income," Dixon said. "Everyone stands to benefit."

In 2013, Gov. Phil Bryant announced GDIT, located in the Cloverleaf Center on U.S. 49, would bring more than 1,000 jobs to the Hattiesburg area to support General Dynamics' contracts with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services by providing responses to inquiries from CMS customers and beneficiaries across the nation.

The new call center began staffing employees in summer 2013. The Area Development Partnership lists the company as having more than 1,500 employees.

#contactcenterworld, @GenDyn_IT

Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Source: https://www.hattiesburgamerican.com


About General Dynamics Information Technology:
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Today's Tip of the Day - Keep Your Options Open

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Thursday, November 1, 2018

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2021 Buyers Guide Recording

 
1.) 
ASC

ASC Recording Insights and neo
ASC Recording Insights guarantees legally compliant recording and analysis of all communication channels in Microsoft Teams - including audio calls (internal and external calls), chat conversations and video meetings.

neo Recording, QM & Analytics address all enterprises with recording needs, especially contact centers. The content of communication becomes accessible and critical information and trends are revealed, providing real-time business intelligence for immediate management action.
PH: +1 917 475 9200

2.) 
Call Center Studio

Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.
PH: +1 512-872-7565

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Geomant

Microsoft Teams Cloud Recording Service
Geomant offers a fully managed recording service for those organisations who need to address compliance or quality management while working on Teams. The Service utilises Verint’s market leading recording technology and is hosted by Geomant in Microsoft Azure. Our managed service approach is unique in that it allows organisations to benefit from advanced recording features, all while being free from any technical infrastructure or maintenance requirements that come with a traditional on-premises set up.
PH: 01789 387900

4.) 
Lieber & Associates

Recording System Consulting
L&A provides vendor-independent consulting services to select, contract for, test, and implement contact center recording systems. The firm's consultants specialize in contact center I.T. and have several decades of experience each with all major and many smaller makers of phone and call recording systems.
PH: +1-773-325-0608

5.) 
Numonix

IXCloud
Numonix's IXCloud is one of the first fully managed compliance recording solutions for Microsoft Teams. IXCloud securely records, stores and analyzes interactions in the cloud without physical or virtual servers. As a fully managed Azure-based, Software-as-a-Service cloud interaction recording solution, IXCloud takes interaction capture into the future. It enables instant and elastic scalability to support business growth and provides the necessary tools to enhance business performance while maintaining compliance. IXCloud redefines versatility with its OpenAPI framework that enables application development. Companies and third-party developers benefit from IXCloud native capture technology, whether it be integrating with internal systems or building a third-party application.
PH: 561-952-2600

6.) 
Nuxiba Technologies

CenterWare
Enterprise recording management for storage, retrieval, playback, and monitoring communications throughout your contact center.

Record screen activity and calls across agent workstations, measure and monitor quality levels across all campaigns and analyze recordings to capture first-hand customer data and requirements.

Easly access all recordings and critical information to provide improved customer experience, sales, and productivity!

7.) 
OrecX

Oreka TR
Oreka TR total recorder includes all of the call recording capabilities you will need, at about half the cost of competing for call recorder solutions, including screen recording, mobile phone recording, live monitoring, on-demand recording, multi-tenancy, multi-site recording, audit trail, call exporting, retention management, auto-tagging (for speech analytics and phrase spotting) and so much more.
PH: 3109672003

8.) 
PCS Software

PCS GD
Call recording solution fully integrate to all main pbx solutions.
PH: +55 11 3075-2933

9.) 
Teckinfo Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

InterDialog UCCS
InterDialog UCCS enables organizations to adhere to all compliances with its inbuilt call recording software and also has an option for screen recording. With centralized repository of all voice logs, its easy to maintain & retrieve all voice files and have a central control in case of multiple branches set up.
 

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