With more than 198,000 call center jobs in Ohio, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that he is supporting new legislation that could help keep jobs in the U.S. by requiring companies to notify consumers that their calls are being transferred abroad.
"Most Ohioans that have had to call a major company for a service repair or to get an answer about their cable bill have ended up speaking with a worker in a different time zone, on a different continent," Brown said. "When companies send call center jobs overseas, they don't just frustrate consumers--they hurt our economy as well. With thousands of Ohioans looking for work, it just doesn't make sense to ship these jobs overseas. By requiring companies to disclose when their calls are being transferred abroad, businesses could be encouraged to keep their call centers jobs here in the United States.
"This bill will also stop giving American tax dollars to big businesses that ship call center jobs overseas. Why should we hand over federal grants or loans to companies that hand over American jobs to other countries?" Brown continued. "We should reward American workers and American companies that remain loyal to creating jobs in our communities."
On a news conference call, Brown was joined by an AT&T call center worker from Cleveland, Terez Woods, to discuss how this legislation could make it less likely that businesses would outsource their call center jobs overseas, as well as give consumers important information about the companies they give their business to. According to a Communications Workers of America (CWA) analysis of May 2011 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, 198,450 Ohioans were employed in call center occupations such as Switchboard Operators, Telephone Operators, Bill Collectors, and Customer Service Representatives. The CWA also estimated that Ohio saw a net loss of 2,330 call center jobs between 2008 and 2011.
Specifically, the United States Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act of 2012 would:
Require companies to disclose to callers when their calls are transferred abroad;
Make businesses that move call center jobs overseas ineligible for federal grants or loans;
Direct the Department of Labor to make a public list of such companies--employers would remain on list for three years after each relocation; and
Require agencies, including Department of Defense, to give preference to U.S. employers that do not appear on the list.