WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) today launched a national awareness campaign to highlight the crisis in staffing and funding at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency tasked with protecting employees and job applicants from workplace discrimination.
“The EEOC is in a state of crisis because it doesn’t have the tools it needs to do its job,” said AFGE National Vice President Andrea Brooks. “If the EEOC doesn’t have the staff or funding to investigate and litigate workplace discrimination cases, the jobs of millions of Americans are in jeopardy.”
The elements of AFGE’s national awareness campaign include radio and newspaper advertisements targeted to adults 35 years and older in major U.S. cities. The radio ads will be broadcast on Radio One radio stations while the newspaper advertisements will appear in a variety of daily and weekly newspapers.
The radio ads describe the EEOC crisis while the newspaper ad features the slogan “What are you going to do when they come for you?” above a picture of a group of multiethnic men and women with the word “Fired” written across the faces of some group members.
AFGE believes workplace discrimination is still running rampant in some organizations and will use its EEOC campaign to show that the problem encompasses more categories than just gender and race. In addition to highlighting staffing and funding issues, the AFGE campaign will also stress the agency’s role in fighting against other types of workplace bigotry such as ageism, religious intolerance and disability bias.
The EEOC is experiencing significant staff attrition and has a backlog of cases numbering in the tens of thousands. The agency’s own budget projections estimate that the backlog will grow to nearly 48,000 in fiscal year 2007. Additionally, the EEOC has lost 20 percent of its workforce, and a hiring freeze has been in effect since 2001. Despite this situation, the administration still wants to cut the EEOC budget for next year by $4 million.
AFGE’s EEOC radio and newspaper ads will debut this month in the following cities: Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Baltimore; Birmingham, Ala.; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Chicago; Dallas; El Paso, Texas; Los Angeles; Miami; Montgomery, Ala.; New York; San Francisco; and the Washington, D.C., metro area.
In addition to the advertising piece, the campaign features a new Web site, www.protectyourjob.org. The Web site features information about the campaign, AFGE and its Women’s and Fair Practices Department, and the campaign advertisements. Additionally, the Web site hosts an EEOC campaign blog and links to letters demanding more funding for the EEOC that can be sent directly to members of Congress with the touch of a button. The Web site also features a list of civil rights organizations representing a variety of interests and issues.
During today’s campaign launch announcement, AFGE also described plans to hold a June 13 press conference on the EEOC crisis involving several civil rights organizations representing minority groups, the disabled, the elderly, women and the gay community.