Offshoring Bill Shows Path to Returning U.S. Call Center Jobs

Call Center Postcard

Focusing on ways to return jobs to the United States, a White House forum on "insourcing" this week highlighted the return of 400 US Airways reservations jobs to Winston-Salem, N.C., Phoenix, Ariz., and Reno, Nev.

CWA, which represents US Airways agents along with the Teamsters, negotiated for the return of reservations work; another 300 jobs were returned to the U.S. about 18 months earlier.

U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.), who is sponsoring bipartisan legislation to keep U.S. call center jobs from being offshored, asked President Obama to include the bill in the forum's work going forward.

In a letter to Obama, Bishop noted the half-million call center jobs that have been lost over the past four years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the American Teleservices Association. "These job losses are a direct consequence of corporate practices and incentives that encourage continued off-shoring and outsourcing...and also placed consumers' personal information at risk to security breaches," he wrote.

He said he and other lawmakers are working with CWA and allies "to identify new incentives and expand accountability and transparency in the call center industry."

Forum participants included CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins. "To those who say they must ship call center jobs overseas because of cost, we challenge them to look at U.S. companies that are bringing jobs back to the U.S.," he said.

Collins said Bishop's bill "doesn't stop a corporation from moving jobs overseas. But it makes it clear that corporations must make a choice. Corporations 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. No more handouts from the taxpayers for those who choose not to keep good jobs in the U.S."

CWA Legislative-Political Action Team activists are distributing and collecting postcards from CWAers that call on members of Congress to support H.R. 3596, the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act. Activists also are sending op-eds and letters to the editor to local newspapers and are reaching out to their members of Congress to build support for the bill.

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