Legislation introduced in Congress December 7 would prohibit companies that outsource call center jobs overseas from receiving federal grants and loans.
The bill, called the "U.S. Call Center and Consumer Protection Act," was proposed by Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) and cosponsored by Reps. Dave McKinley (R-W. Va.), Mike Michaud (D-Maine), and Gene Green (D-Texas). It would require the U.S. Department of Labor to track firms that move call center jobs overseas; the firms would then be ineligible for any direct or indirect federal loans or loan guarantees for five years.
The legislation would also require overseas call center employees to disclose their location to U.S. consumers and give customers the right to be transferred to a U.S.-based call center upon request. It would further require companies to notify the U.S. Department of Labor 120 days prior to any proposed moves offshore and require the list of companies that off-shore call center work to be made available to the U.S. public.
"It's common sense that we should not be rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas while millions of qualified Americans are looking for work," Bishop said in a statement. "Taxpayer dollars should only be used to incentivize good corporate citizens who create American jobs."
McKinley called the proposed legislation "a common-sense jobs bill that will protect American workers and consumers." "Our taxpayers should not be financing those who send our jobs overseas," he said in a statement.
The bill also has the full support of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the labor union representing about 700,000 telecommunications workers, including about 150,000 call center employees.
"Americans are fed up with good-paying, family-supporting call center jobs here in the United States being shipped overseas so the one percent can make a little extra money," said CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins in a statement. "This legislation does not prevent them from moving if they want, but it prevents them from gaining access to our tax dollars while they do so."
According to the CWA, total call center employment has dropped from 5.2 million jobs in 2006 to 4.7 million in 2010, a loss of approximately 500,000 jobs in just four years. Analyst firm Ovum last year estimated the number of call center operators abroad taking calls from U.S. consumers at 243,000.
A HOMECOMING OF SORTS
Meanwhile, the Jobs4America Coalition, a broad-based group of companies and organizations, committed itself to working with American businesses to create up to 100,000 new U. …