Contra Costa County Call Center Comes Under Scrutiny
August 12, 2013
While the Affordable Health Care Act will be providing countless call center jobs to educate Americans about their new options and potential benefits, one call center’s potential benefits to the community are overshadowed by issues that have arisen concerning part-time work vs. full-time work. The San Jose Mercury News has reported that several applicants who left full-time positions under the impression that they would be receiving full-time work from Covered California[BW1] ’s Contra Costa County call center have recently been informed that they would only be receiving part-time work.
An anonymous source told the Mercury News’s Matthias Gafni that the applicants received “verbal contracts,” stating, “We were asked if we would accept the full-time employment in a phone call and were asked to respond that we would accept the offer. Which we did.” Gafni added that many of the call center’s new employees said that they “would have never left previous jobs to take the call center positions had they known they were not guaranteed hours or health care.” He went on to note that the irony of employees enrolling others in universal healthcare while failing to receive healthcare benefits has not gone unnoticed, and Contra Costa County has come under scrutiny as a result.
The county is not unsympathetic to the position that the new employees have found themselves in. Contra Costa County District III supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho remarked that the impact on these employees is “real” and that the county must be “mindful” of them. District IV supervisor Karen Mitchoff added, “We have to fix the problem that we’ve created for the people who have left other jobs, who thought that they were getting a full-time job with benefits.”
Contra Costa County is not alone in its setbacks. After hitting a snag in a rental agreement for call-center space, Fresno nearly lost its own call center. County officials worked hard to ensure that the Fresno call center jobs would not be sent elsewhere, and their efforts have been successful. Hopefully, Contra Costa County will find similar success.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson
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