Brown Leads Group of Senators Urging AT&T to Protect Call Center Workers’ Jobs

Senators Urge AT&T to Reach Agreement with CWA Workers that Improves Job Security and Includes Commitment to Create New Jobs in America; Brown Introduced Legislation to Keep Call Center Jobs in Ohio

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) led a group of Senators in urging AT&T to reach an agreement with the Communications Workers of America District 4 union that improves workers’ job security and includes a commitment to create new jobs in America.

“American call center workers are being laid off in large numbers, particularly as corporations continue to offshore call center work.  Since January 2016, AT&T alone has laid off thousands of call center workers and closed dozens of U.S. call centers.  Hundreds of layoffs and several call center closings have occurred in District 4.  Understandably, American workers, including AT&T employees in our states, fear their jobs being offshored.  We urge you to assuage those fears by making explicit contract guarantees to increase the number of U.S.-based call center jobs,” the Senators wrote in their letter.

The letter was signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Joe Donnelly (D-IN).

CWA’s District 4 represents call center workers in Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. lost 200,000 call center jobs between 2006 and 2014.

Brown previously introduced legislation to protect US-based call center jobs. Brown also urged President Trump to sign an executive order that would ensure companies that have US-based call centers receive preference when it comes to receiving federal contracts over companies that ship call center facilities overseas. Earlier this year, Brown stood with Ohio workers in Dayton at CWA Local 4322 as he called for Congress to pass this legislation.

Brown’s bill, the U.S. Call Center Workers and Consumer Protection Act, would:

  • Give preference in federal contracts to companies that haven’t relocated call center jobs overseas.
  • 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.
  • Require companies to notify the Department of Labor (DOL) before they relocate call centers and create a public list of companies that outsource call center jobs.

Brown introduced his legislation to keep jobs in Ohio following a report from the Communications Workers of America showing that big banks are aggressively offshoring call center jobs outside of the U.S., even after the same banks disproportionately benefitted from the recent tax bill. Brown pushed for an amendment to the Senate tax bill to reward employers who keep jobs in the United States and pay workers well – encouraging them to create even more good-paying jobs in the U.S. Senate Republicans voted down Brown’s amendment.

 

A copy of the Senators’ letter to AT&T can be found below and HERE.

Randall Stephenson

CEO

AT&T

208 S. Akard St.

Dallas, TX 75202

Dear Mr. Stephenson:

As AT&T and the Communications Workers of America District 4 continue contract negotiations, we urge you to reach an agreement with the union that improves workers’ job security and includes a commitment to create new jobs in the U.S.

American call center workers are being laid off in large numbers, particularly as corporations continue to offshore call center work.  Since January 2016, AT&T alone has laid off thousands of call center workers and closed dozens of U.S. call centers.  Hundreds of layoffs and several call center closings have occurred in District 4.  Understandably, American workers, including AT&T employees in our states, fear their jobs being offshored.  We urge you to assuage those fears by making explicit contract guarantees to increase the number of U.S.-based call center jobs.

We understand the District 4 contract between AT&T and CWA expired in April.  We are sure you share our desire for a quick resolution that is amenable to AT&T and the union.  We urge you to continue negotiating in good faith until an agreement is reached, and we urge you to include commitments in the contract that improve job security for your highly competitive workforce and reverse the trend of call center offshoring in our states.

Sincerely,

Senator Sherrod Brown

Senator Tammy Baldwin

Senator Richard J. Durbin

Senator Tammy Duckworth

Senator Joe Donnelly

 

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