DENVER – The union representing federal employees charged with enforcing workforce anti-discrimination laws says the bipartisan spending bill that President Trump signed into law March 23 will provide a much-needed spending boost to the chronically underfunded Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The American Federation of Government Employees’ National Council of EEOC Locals (Council 216) says EEOC will receive a $15 million funding increase through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
“We are thrilled for the nation’s workers that Congress has shown its bipartisan commitment to civil rights,” Council 216 Chair Gabrielle Martin said. “Now we need to ensure that EEOC uses the increase well, to provide front-line resources to help the public.”
In that spirit, the council has identified a list of spending and management priorities for the agency that will translate into real help to the public.
“The union is sharing this wish list because we are on the front lines and know what would make a difference in more efficient service and help for those experiencing discrimination, including sexual harassment, and to prevent it in the first place,” Martin said. “EEOC must use the funding to help workers, rather than squander funding on case closure schemes that focus on quotas or inefficient micromanagement.”
EEOC’s front-line staffing is at an historic low. The demand for intake appointments exceeds available EEOC staff. The public can wait an hour for live help from the 1-800 number. Average processing delays are over 10 months. EEOC has pointed to lack of resources in promoting controversial strategies to “substantially reduce inventory” that result in fewer mediations and more case closures without substantive processing, Martin said.
Council 216’s list of spending priorities:
“The #MeToo movement highlights EEOC’s important work and leads people to our door,” Martin said. “Congress has shown its commitment to civil rights with this budget. Now EEOC must show that it is up to the task of deterring discrimination that robs workers of the American dream. EEOC must not squander this budget and must ensure desperately needed front-line assistance for the public.”