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Lawmakers Unveil Bipartisan "Press One For America" Bill

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CWA call center activists, Jamone Ross and Charlice Boston, and CWA Senior Director George Kohl joined Sen. Bob Casey, Rep. Tim Bishop and Rep. Dave McKinley at the press conference.

 

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle on Wednesday joined together in support of legislation that would end tax payer subsidies for corporations that send U.S. call center jobs offshore, as CWA released a report outlining massive data security issues at overseas call centers that leave Americans' personal information at risk.

Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) joined House sponsors Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) and Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) to formally unveil the bipartisan "U.S. Call Center and Worker Protection Act of 2013." (S. 1565/H.R. 2909)

The "Press One For America" section of the legislation requires call center employees to identify the country from which they are taking the call, and if outside the United States, offer the consumer the opportunity to be transferred back to a facility located in the U.S. Further, companies that send U.S. call center jobs offshore would be barred from receiving federal loans, grants or subsidies for three years.

Finally, the bill requires that a list of companies that send call center jobs offshore be made available to the public, and allows firms that bring jobs back to America to be removed from that "bad actor" list.

"This bill would not stop a corporation from moving jobs overseas, but it makes it clear that those that don't want to keep good jobs here in the U.S. won't be able to benefit from federal grants and guaranteed loans," said CWA Senior Director George Kohl. "There should be no more handouts from taxpayers for those who choose not to invest in American workers."

CWA also has pointed out that the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, as currently structured, would enable other countries to challenge and potentially overturn U.S. legislation that seeks to promote quality U.S. jobs, including call center legislation. CWA and allies are fighting to stop "fast track" authority, also called Trade Promotion Authority, which would prohibit Congress from taking up any amendments to TPP.

The call center bill, cosponsored in the Senate by Banking Committee Chair Tim Johnson (D-SD), is sponsored in the House of Representatives by Democrats Tim Bishop (NY-1), Mike Michaud (ME-2) and Gene Green (TX-29), along with Republicans David McKinley (WVA-1), Michael Grimm (NY-11) and Chris Gibson (NY-19).

CWA member Charlice Boston, a Winston-Salem North Carolina-based US Airways reservations agent, is one of the 5,000 agents who filled jobs brought back to the U.S. from overseas as part of a collectively bargained agreement with the company.

"I want to say 'thank you' from my co-workers and customers to Senator Casey, Rep. McKinley and Rep. Bishop for their leadership on this important legislation," Ms. Boston said. "I encourage all of our Senators and Representatives to think of the impact quality jobs have on their constituents and to co-sponsor and pass this bill."