Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced bipartisan legislation to protect jobs in call centers across Pennsylvania and in the U.S. With almost 200,000 Pennsylvanians working in call centers, the bill aims to provide more transparency for consumers and ends tax breaks that promote outsourcing.
“Companies shouldn’t be rewarded for sending jobs overseas,” Senator Casey said. “This bill will ensure that companies that outsource jobs will not see the benefits of government grants and loans. It is a common-sense bill that will protect middle class jobs in the United States, protect consumers personal and financial information, and provide customers a choice in speaking with a U.S. employee.”
The Communications Workers of America today released a report. “Offshoring Security: How Overseas Call Centers Threaten U.S. Jobs, Consumer Privacy and Data Security” The report revealed that shutting down call centers in the United States and moving them offshore is weakening the economic recovery, harming workers and communities, and putting U.S. consumers’ data at risk. The situation demands federal and state action.
Link to the report here: http://www.casey.senate.gov/download/offshoring-call-center-security.
Senator Casey’s bill is the S. 1565 the “United States Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection act of 2013”
The last decade has seen a stream of call center jobs now being shipped overseas leaving those communities devastated.
Oftentimes, calls into service centers go to countries where workers are exploited and/or human resource and information security practices are far inferior to those in the U.S. These centers are often referred to as modern day sweatshops.
A PricewaterhouseCoopers survey found that 83 percent of Indian outsourcing companies surveyed had information security breaches during the previous year. There is a strong link between overseas call centers and security problems, putting American consumers at risk for identity theft, fraudulent transactions, and general mishandling of sensitive information.
A growing trend for Indian call center companies is to subcontract the call center work out to other politically volatile countries, that often times have even worse security protections. U.S. taxpayer money should not be awarded to companies that make a practice of sending U.S. jobs overseas. This epidemic has resulted in greater job losses here in the U.S and the erosion of middle class communities while risking the data of millions of American consumers
If passed, this bill would accomplish the following things:
- Create a ‘bad actor’ list of U.S. Companies that make a practice of sending U.S. jobs overseas: It would require a publically available list, kept by the Department of Labor, of all employers that relocated entirely or a significant portion of their call center or customer service work overseas. These companies would be ineligible for Federal grants or guaranteed loans. Preference will be given to U.S. employers that do not appear on the list for awarding civilian or defense-related contracts. Employers that relocate a call center will remain on the list for up to 5 years after each instance of relocating a call center.
- List removal: If a ‘bad actor’ relocates a call center into the U.S. (brings jobs back) they will be removed from the list.
- Disclose Call Center Location to U.S. Consumers: It would require the relocated overseas call center agent to disclose their name and physical location of their operation. For example, a customer may hear, “Hello, my name is Jane from Manila.”
- Right to Transfer: U.S. consumers would reserve the right to request the call be transferred to a customer service agent who is physically located in the U.S.