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‘Work you for nothing’: Hattiesburg call center workers demand better pay, healthcare costs
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At least 80 workers at Maximus call center in Hattiesburg were on strike May 23 and 24, demanding better pay and healthcare costs. 
Photo submitted by Call Center Workers United campaign

Tishma Saucier has been working at Maximus call center in Hattiesburg for almost a year. She spends her day on the phone, answering questions about Medicare and the Affordable Care Act Marketplace. Saucier takes home just under $2,000 each month to provide for herself and her two children.

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‘Work you for nothing’: Hattiesburg call center workers demand better pay, healthcare costs

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"It takes everything. Every dime I make," Saucier said.

That’s why over 80 workers at Maximus – the nation’s largest federal call center contractor – were on strike yesterday in Hattiesburg. They’re pushing for better pay and affordable healthcare. Right now, call center workers make $15 an hour, the minimum wage for federally contracted workers, and they pay thousands of dollars in deductibles on their health insurance plans.

"Impossible for us all to meet making $15.58 an hour. We work for someone that provides healthcare for millions of Americans," Saucier said.

Today is day two of the strike and the second time this year Maximus workers in Hattiesburg have gone on strike. In March, workers walked out, calling for paid sick leave.  Now, it's for better pay and healthcare costs. Saucier said she’s on strike to keep the job she enjoys doing every day.

"I like my job. I don’t want to have to look for another one. I’m not complaining about the job itself," Saucier said. "I’m complaining that they just are willing to work you for nothing."

Labor union Communications Workers of America, who’s backing the strike, said Maximus CEO Bruce Caswell took home almost $8 million dollars last year.