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Tampa workers accuse General Dynamics unit of underpaying

The Tampa call center of federal contractor General Dynamics Information Technology is being accused of underpaying its employees. Pictured is a screenshot of its site in April 2018.
Published Apr. 23, 2018

TAMPA — The Tampa call center of a federal contractor is being accused of underpaying its employees. Workers for General Dynamics Information Technology filed wage theft complaints with the Department of Labor Monday, calling for an investigation into five of its call centers, including one in Tampa.

"The work they were doing was more complex than the work they were getting paid for," said Beth Allen, spokesperson for labor organization The Communications Workers of America.

General Dynamics contracts with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to field calls about Medicare and help callers with issues such as getting medical equipment approved.

"General Dynamics Information Technology values our people and the work that they perform. The company takes seriously our obligations under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Service Contract Act," the company said in a statement. "Similar to other federal contractors, the company is subject to routine compliance reviews, and as with any notice received it will engage with the relevant parties including our employees and the Department of Labor."

The complaint alleges the misclassification took place at the Tampa location, as well as centers in Corbin, Ky., London, Ky., Phoenix and Waco, Tx. About 1,000 people work for General Dynamics at the Tampa operation.

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Tatiana Baez, a call center worker in Tampa who filed a complaint, fields calls for several different aspects of Medicare. According to Baez, employees can develop specialities in particular areas of coverage that come with new titles but no pay bump.

"For the job we do, it feels like we should be getting paid a lot more," she said. "Some of the calls can be really complex."

Baez said she is paid $13.21 per hour.

This isn't the first time General Dynamics has been accused of misclassifying workers. CWA filed a similar complaint on behalf of 1,600 workers at four call centers in Mississippi, Louisiana, Kansas and Virginia in January.

General Dynamics has 11 call centers around the country under its contract with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Contact this reporter at mcarollo@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo.

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