Daily Labor Report 9/22/04

EEOC Awards $4.9 Million Call Center Contract

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission awarded Pearson Government Solutions in Arlington, Va., the $4.9 million contract to operate the commission's new National Contact Center, the commission announced Sept. 20. The call center will be housed in Lawrence, Kan., and headed by a former EEOC official.

The call center, which was approved by the commission three days earlier (181 DLR AA-1, 9/20/04), will handle the approximately 1 million routine telephone inquiries that currently are directed to EEOC field offices. An internal commission task force found that about 40 percent of those calls were from charging parties, while the other 60 percent were from callers seeking general information that could be given through an automated message machine or callers requesting technical assistance or other information that could be accessed through a computer database (38 DLR A-1, 2/26/03).

The call center is opposed by EEOC unions, which argue that the center will be unable to provide the kind of customer service that employees could provide. The center, which the commission approved 3-1, was opposed by EEOC's sole Democrat, Commissioner Stuart Ishimuru.

Pearson operates contact centers for a number of federal agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission, the departments of Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Justice, Labor, and Veterans Affairs, and the Office of Personnel Management. The EEOC project will be headed by Elizabeth Thornton, a former deputy legal counsel and director of field programs for EEOC.

"By partnering with a company prepared to deliver the outstanding service and cutting edge technology options that our customers expect and deserve, the Commission will vastly improve both our professional face to the public and, in turn, our full range of operations," EEOC Chair Cari Dominguez said in statement announcing the contract.