Take Action: Meet Face-to-Face with Your Senators During the August Recess
Your Senators will be back home during the summer district work period. This is a good time to schedule face-to-face meetings with them to influence EEOCís FY Ď05 Appropriations Bill. The Senate breaks from July 26 until September 7. The recess could be shorter if they are called back to a special session regarding the 9/11 report recommendations.
Our efforts to date have had some positive effect. The House has already completed EEOCís appropriations bill, which requires that the EEOC notify its committee before restructuring and possibly closing offices. However, the House affirmatively authorizes $1.2 million to let the EEOC go forward with its unfortunate call center project. This is money that will not be spent on hiring people to replace those who have left your offices during a three year hiring freeze.
But the fight is not over. After the recess the Senate will make its decisions on the EEOCís bill. After that, a conference committee will square the House and Senate versions. So it is very important that the Senate gives us a better bill.
The two things to stress with your Senators and their staff: 1) Do not fund a call center. EEOC employees can do a better job then private contractors. According to EEOCís solicitation, the private operators will only have 6 to 7 days training in EEOCís laws before they hit the phones and answer calls from the public about their workplace issues. Call center money siphons money away from the agency that could better be used on replenishing the staff we have lost during a three year hiring freeze. 2) Do not fund restructuring. The EEOCís plan to go from 51 field offices to 10 mega offices will be bad for the citizens of your state. Check out the March 2004 Repositioning Workgroup report to see if your office will be a mega office. If not, losing an office or having it downsized is a powerful area of concern to raise with your Senator. Even if your office is listed as a mega office, look at all the other offices assigned to it and consider that they could be closed or downsized. Could your office pick up all that slack with resources already so thin? Click here to see Repositioning Workgroup Report.
Stewards are encouraged to try something a little different during the summer recess. Invite your Senators to join you at your workplace to talk with members directly about our concerns. An on-site event in a room packed with members gets a lawmaker's attention. It sends a strong message that we care deeply about EEOC issues and we're willing to turn up the heat if our concerns are not addressed.
If you feel more comfortable conducting a traditional meeting at the lawmakers office, that's fine. The point is to meet with Senators back home in August before they sign off on EEOC's FY 05 budget.