Maximus, the largest federally-contracted call center in the United States, has laid off 143 employees from its Hattiesburg location.
The call center, which provides customer relations services for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was the focal point of numerous worker strikes in 2022 due to employees demanding higher wages and better healthcare.
In a company statement, Maximus explained that employees were laid off as a result of overstaffing and that those released were chosen based on scheduling and how long they had been with the company.
“Due to low attrition rates with employees in multiple Maximus facilities, we have experienced surplus staffing. As a result, Maximus will be releasing select employees in all locations where we provide customer relations services for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,” Maximus stated. “In Hattiesburg, we are releasing 143 out of the 930 employees currently employed. Staff being released were selected based on their tenure and schedule.”
Communications Workers of America (CWA) issued a statement in response to Maximus. A CWA spokesperson said that the recent layoffs would have been prevented had Maximus granted employees the opportunity to unionize.
“This is a perfect example of why we have repeatedly called for Maximus to stop interfering with workers’ rights to organize. By forming a union, workers would be better protected from arbitrary layoffs like these,” Tiandra Robinson, an organizer at CWA, said “Moreover, Maximus cannot possibly claim that it treats its employees with respect and sensitivity when, as a billion-dollar corporation, it’s failing to provide enough notice of their termination or sufficient severance pay for workers to take care of their families.”
Maximus says that it will monitor potential opportunities for laid off employees to receive remote positions within the company. The call center also claims that impacted employees will be a priority if other jobs become available.