Aug 22, 2013
With the full support of CWAers, New York Rep. Tim Bishop unveils his call center bill.
Outside a Verizon call center, Long Island CWA members joined New York Rep. Tim Bishop (D) in support of the congressman's legislation to block corporations that send U.S. call-center jobs overseas from obtaining federal grants and loans.
Under Bishop's "U.S. Call Center and Consumer Protection Act of 2013" (H.R. 2909), the Labor Department would track firms that outsource call center jobs and the firms would then be ineligible for any direct or indirect federal money for three years. It would also require overseas call center employees to disclose their location to U.S. customers and give them the option to be transferred to a U.S.-based call center.
Bishop introduced the legislation earlier this month with bipartisan support from cosponsors Dave McKinley (R-W.Va.), Chris Gibson (R-NY), Gene Green (D-TX), Mike Grimm (R-NY) and Mike Michaud (D-ME). Bishop introduced similar call center legislation in 2011, but it was denied a floor vote by GOP House leadership, despite attracting 135 bipartisan cosponsors.
"Outsourcing is a job killer that hampers our economic recovery, and we must take strong measures to discourage it," said Bishop. "Only good corporate citizens who grow jobs in America deserve taxpayer support."
Over the past five years, more than 500,000 U.S. call center jobs have been moved to foreign countries. In 2012, T-Mobile USA closed seven call centers in six states, while sending an increasing number of service calls to facilities in Central America and the Philippines. CWA Local 1108's Michael Gendron said that five years ago, CWA represented 550 call center operators in New York State, but today that number has been more than halved.
"This call center right here in Patchogue used to have twice the number of workers, and outsourcing of these jobs is punishing the middle class on Long Island and across the country," said Gendron. "Also, Americans should have the choice to deal with American operators who must comply with American laws and protect the security of their personal information, so Congressman Bishop's bill is a win-win for American consumers and workers."