Union and Lawmakers Rally Behind Anti-Outsourcing Call Center Bill

Members of U.S. communication workers’ union (CWA) are in Washington this week to persuade lawmakers to push the Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Bill through the U.S. …

Photo courtesy: Communication Workers of America (CWA)

Members of U.S. communication workers’ union (CWA) are in Washington this week to persuade lawmakers to push the Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Bill through the U.S. House and Senate.

The Call Center Bill aims to bring back the call centers relocated to Asian countries, such as India and the Philippines, and create jobs for Americans.

Six US lawmakers, including Dave McKinley, Chris Gibson, Gene Green, Mike Grimm, and Mike Michaud, have cosponsor the Bill, introduced by Congressman Tim Bishop.

If passed, the legislation may require call center agents to identify their physical location. For example a US customer may hear, “Hello, this is Philips in Manila,” or “Hello, this is Anupam in Bangalore.” If the customer requested it, overseas call centers would have to forward the call to a center based in the United States.

The attempt to push through this bill has created a huge outcry in global call center destinations such as the Philippines. Indian outsourcers, who have re-outsourced their call center service contracts to cheaper countries, will also be harmed.

However, India’s outsourcing industry association Nasscom seems to have chosen to ignore the bill. In a recent chat with reporters in Bangalore, Nasscom’s President Som Mittal said that US would not pass any legislation that is “detrimental” to its own corporate sector.

The bill requires American companies that relocate their call centers to overseas countries to notify the Department of Labor within 60 days. Any failure to do so may lead the government to penalize the company by $10,000 a day. Under the proposed legislation, companies will also be required to inform the Labor Department 120 days in advance of any plans to relocate their call centers to a foreign country.

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The proposed bill also calls for the government to refuse grants and loans to companies sending call center jobs overseas.

The CWA says it represents 700,000 union workers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.

 

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