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New report suggests significant racial inequalities at Hattiesburg company

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House Homeland Security Committee chairman, U. S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., questions Jere Miles, Special Agent in Charge of the Homeland Security Investigations for Immigration and Customs Enforcement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, unseen, during a field hearing at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss., Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, about the Aug. 7, 2019 ICE raids in Mississippi which resulted in nearly 700 workers being arrested at seven chicken processing plants.
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A new report is suggesting that a government-contracted call center in Hattiesburg is guilty of racial inequities in its workforce. 

Lacey Alexander

New report suggests significant racial inequalities at Hattiesburg company

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The Communications Workers of America, the Strategic Organizing Center, and the NAACP are calling on the federal government to investigate racial inequities at Maximus Call Centers. The company, which serves the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, reportedly employs black or latina women in only 5% of its executive positions despite the demographic making up 50% of its frontline workforce.

U.S. Representative Bennie Thompson called on the Biden Administration to take action and hold the call center accountable for the hiring discrepancies.

"Either fix it or find us another contractor who will. That's all you have to do." he said. "They need their job but they want to get paid a decent day's wage for a decent day's work. That's all we're asking for."

The report reveals that 75% of the workers who applied for higher positions said they were rejected or ignored. Over half of the current Maximus managers were hired externally, and are mostly white men. Cassandra Welchin is the leader of the Mississippi Black Women's Round Table. She said that discrepancies like those found in this report are quote "no accident."

"It is absolutely unacceptable that Maximus gave its top executives more than 1.4 million in bonuses tied to diversity and engagement goals, she said. "At the same time, black women call center workers report that they feel stuck in dead end jobs."

Employees of the call centers went on strike earlier this year due to a multitude of layoffs.