WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hosted a news conference call as he reintroduced legislation to protect call center jobs across Ohio and the United States. In recent years, many call center operators have shifted operations overseas and shut down or downsized their U.S. operations at an alarming rate.
“The threat of outsourcing hangs over call center workers constantly. It’s why I introduced the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act, to help protect these Ohio jobs. Workers contribute to their businesses and bring ideas to make it work better. We need to value their contributions – not end their careers and ship their jobs overseas,” said Brown.
Brown’s bill, the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act, would
- Make companies that ship call centers overseas ineligible for federal grants and guaranteed loans;
- Require that all call center work performed on federal contracts be done in the U.S. and that the federal government give preference to companies that do not off-shore jobs when awarding contracts;
- Require U.S. companies to identify the location of the call center and allow the customer to be transferred to a call center located in the U.S., if asked.
The list of companies that offshore call center jobs would be maintained by DOL and be available for public reference. Any companies on the list would be ineligible for federal grants or loans, with an exception for national security or substantial job loss in the U.S. Federal agencies would also be required to give preference to U.S. employers that do not appear on the list.
Brown was joined on today’s call by Erin Walling, a call center worker from Dayton, to talk about the importance of protecting Ohio jobs in the face of continued offshoring. Walling discussed how Brown’s bill will help Ohio workers.
“Locally in my office we have shrunk form 150 people down to the mid 50’s. These are employees who have dedicated 20, 30, or more years with the company who are left with nothing. The proposed call center legislation is a must to hold these corporations accountable,” said Ms. Walling.
Call center closures and downsizing have occurred across the country and across industries, as companies have moved service centers to countries where working conditions and information security practices are often far inferior to those in the U.S. This has both devastated communities that have lost jobs and placed American consumers’ sensitive information at greater risk. There are roughly 3.6 million call center positions across the country, according to industry data.
This bill is supported by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and was introduced by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA). The bill is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Brown (D-OH), Blumenthal (D-CT), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Baldwin (D-WI), Rosen (D-NV), Manchin (D-WV), Stabenow (D-MI), Harris (D-CA), Van Hollen (D-MD), Durbin (D-IL) and Peters (D-MI).
More information about Brown’s bill can be found HERE.