Union: EEOC Should fill “Desperately Needed” Front Line Positions

The U.S. Congress has given the EEOC  an additional $15 million for 2018 and the union that represents EEOC employees has some ideas about how the money should be spent.

The American Federation of Government Employees’ (AFGE) National Council of EEOC Locals (Council 216) this week urged the EEOC to spend the money “to ensure desperately needed front-line assistance for the public.”

Meanwhile, acting EEOC Chairperson Victoria Lipnic said the commission has set aside funds to hire six additional attorney-examiners and is”committed to ensuring that our approved positions are up to date and to updating our agency’s succession plan to ensure that our staff is well-equipped and poised for the future.”

The union  recommended the following proposed “spending and management priorities”:

  1. Restore front-line positions rather than “squandering” funds on “case closure schemes” that focus on “quotas” or “micromanagement.” [The EEOC  in 2017 reduced its backlog by 16.2 percent to 61,621 complaints, which it said to be the lowest pending inventory achieved by the agency in over 10 years.]
  2. Flatten the EEOC’s “top-heavy 1:5 supervisor-to-employee ratio.” The union contends “the EEOC has too many layers of management removed from helping the public. “
  3. Invest in technology to make EEOC’s new digital charge and appointment system more user friendly and accessible. The union expressed concern “the EEOC’s digital systems were built on a 1990s platform that undermines efficiencies.”
  4. Stop costly turnover and practice what the EEOC preaches.  The union says the EEOC’s “reasonable accommodation program is in shambles” and the  Federal Labor Relations Authority has issued several Unfair Labor Practice complaints against the EEOC.

Council 216 President Gabrielle Martin said Congress showed its commitment to civil rights and “[n]ow EEOC must show that it is up to the task of deterring discrimination that robs workers of the American dream.”

Last fall, Martin was highly critical of the EEOC ‘s touted backlog cuts, attributing them to a new performance management system.  “Realistically, justice could not have been served for 12,000 Americans complaining of workplace discrimination who got moved off of EEOC’s books this year,” she said.

Of the EEOC’s $379.5 million total budget, $29.5 million must go to state and local “enforcement agencies,” while the rest  goes to EEOC salaries and expenses.

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