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Senate Democrats' Letter to President Trump Calls for Action Against the Off-Shoring of American Call Center Jobs

CWA Commends Sen. Casey and Senate Democratic Colleagues for Leadership and Effort to Protect and Bring Call Center Jobs Back to America
Friday, January 27, 2017

Washington, DC – The Communications Workers of America (CWA) commends Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and fellow Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) for their leadership in fighting against the off-shoring of American jobs. Today, these Senators sent a letter to President Trump encouraging the Trump Administration to take action to help protect and bring call center jobs back to the United States, noting that the industry had lost hundreds of thousands of jobs over the past decade due to off-shoring. The new letter to President Trump reads, in part:

“We appreciate your comments on bringing back to the United States jobs that have been offshored. We are writing today to strongly encourage you to not only focus on bringing back manufacturing jobs, but service sector jobs as well; in particular customer service and call center jobs. We urge you to take executive action and to support legislation to help protect and bring call center jobs back to the United States.”

Many American communities have committed millions in taxpayer dollars to fund incentives for companies opening customer service/call center jobs in their communities. However, the last decade has seen many of those jobs shipped overseas. Companies pocketed taxpayer dollars but off-shored the call center jobs just a few years later. As the letter notes:

“Between 2006 and 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S lost over 200,000 call center jobs. At the same time, offshore call center jobs servicing the U.S. have skyrocketed. Call center and customer service jobs can offer the opportunity for good jobs for many Americans. In many of our communities, as many of the manufacturing jobs were shipped overseas, an influx of call centers offered hope for workers who lost their jobs. Their pain has been compounded when call centers move overseas as well.”

Additionally, the letter highlights that off-shoring call center jobs has put American consumer information at increased risk. For example, in October 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice released an indictment against a group of perpetrators operating out of Indian call center whose “enormous and complex fraud scheme … resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in victim losses from … over 15,000 known victims” in America.

The Senate Democrats’ letter concludes with a call for President Trump to take related executive action and for the White House to support soon-to-be-introduced call center legislation similar to bipartisan bills introduced in past sessions of Congress. For example, Senator Casey’s “United States Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act,” introduced in the last Congress, would require that U.S. callers be told the location of the call center to which they are speaking; would offer callers the opportunity to be connected to a U.S. based center if preferred; and would make U.S. companies who off-shore their call center jobs from the U.S. ineligible for certain federal grants and taxpayer-funded loans. As the letter notes:

“We urge you to issue an Executive Order to stop federal government contracts from going to companies that send call center jobs overseas. This step would send a clear message to companies that they should create jobs here and not in other countries. This is an especially important when these companies are benefitting from taxpayer-funded contracts. Another step that can be taken is to legislatively target federal grants and loans for companies that offshore call center centers and also give consumers the right to know if they are speaking with an offshore customer service representative and allow them to talk to an agent in the U.S. instead. We hope this approach would also have your support.”

In response to the Senators’ letter to President Trump, Shane Larson, Legislative Director at the Communications Workers of America (CWA), said, “Senator Casey and his Senate colleagues should be commended for their leadership and efforts to forge new consensus around this important issue. At a time when voices across the political spectrum are emphasizing the dangers of off-shoring and the importance of prioritizing American workers, their focus on bringing back American call center jobs would strengthen a domestic industry and better protect American consumer information.”

The full letter to President Trump from the Senators is available below

Dear Mr. President:

We appreciate your comments on bringing back to the United States jobs that have been offshored. We are writing today to strongly encourage you to not only focus on bringing back manufacturing jobs, but service sector jobs as well; in particular customer service and call center jobs. We urge you to take executive action and to support legislation to help protect and bring call center jobs back to the United States.

U.S.-based call centers not only provide American jobs and high-quality customer service, these facilities typically have more robust security measures to protect personal data. Numerous security breaches at overseas call centers have led to personal information of Americans being compromised leaving customers open to fraud. Additionally, workers trained at overseas call centers have gone on to use this training to engage in scams targeting U.S. citizens.

While many companies have maintained or brought back call center jobs to the U.S., others continue to send these facilities and jobs overseas. Between 2006 and 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S lost over 200,000 call center jobs. At the same time, offshore call center jobs servicing the U.S. have skyrocketed.

Call center and customer service jobs can offer the opportunity for good jobs for many Americans. In many of our communities, as many of the manufacturing jobs were shipped overseas, an influx of call centers offered hope for workers who lost their jobs. Their pain has been compounded when call centers move overseas as well.

One way to protect call center jobs is through executive action. We urge you to issue an Executive Order to stop federal government contracts from going to companies that send call center jobs overseas. This step would send a clear message to companies that they should create jobs here and not in other countries. This is an especially important when these companies are benefiting from taxpayer-funded contracts. Another step that can be taken is to legislatively target federal grants and loans for companies that offshore call center centers and also give consumers the right to know if they are speaking with an offshore customer service representative and allow them to talk to an agent in the U.S. instead. We hope this approach would also have your support.

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