A new, bipartisan bill introduced in Congress Wednesday takes aim at companies who ship call center jobs overseas.
The U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act, sponsored by Reps. Tim Bishop (D-NY) and Dave McKinley (R-WV), would prohibit federal grants or loans to U.S. based companies who move call center jobs outside of the country following enactment of the legislation.
If a company moves call center jobs overseas, the U.S. Department of Labor must be notified no fewer than 120 days in advance. In turn, the company will be placed on a list, for up to three years, to notify the public that a particular employer moved the jobs .
The bill also mandates that call center workers disclose their location when speaking to a customer. If the call center is located overseas, the consumer must be offered the opportunity to speak to a U.S.-based employee. This requirement will apply to foreign-based call center workers employed both before and after enactment of the bill.
In a conference call with reporters, Bishop noted there were about 4.7 million call center jobs in the U.S., down from 5.2 million in 2006.
That's 500,000 jobs that we need to get back in the United States, he said.
Although the bill targets companies in all industries, telecommunication companies were singled out in the conference call. The largest telecommunications union in the U.S., the Communications Workers of America, has been especially vocal about the shipment of call centers overseas. The union specifically targeted Verizon Communications as a company with a penchant for the practice.
No more handouts from the taxpayers for those who don't keep good jobs in the United States, CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins said on the call.
Verizon spokesman Rich Young declined to comment to the International Business Times on the legislation or CWA's claims.