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UPDATE: Call Center Legislation Gains Momentum

Sending jobs overseas means everybody loses, and it has to stop

In April and May, the CWA-backed U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act saw positive momentum as a result of our collective efforts. In May, two more Senators—Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin of Illinois—signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. To date, we’ve collected more than 26,000 petition signatures in person and online. If you haven’t signed your name yet, you can still add it here.

 In April, CWA members in more than 60 locations across the country participated in actions to support the bipartisan legislation designed to keep good jobs in the United States in the airline, telecommunications, healthcare, and other sectors. We’re working hard to pass this legislation.

At the same time, CWA members are taking this fight for good jobs to the bargaining table. Legacy US Airways agents remember when our union negotiated with the company to return 900 previously offshored call center jobs to the United States in 2011. Check out what Lori Manuel, Executive Vice President of CWA Local 3640 in Winston-Salem, NC, said about the impact of that victory in this video.

American Airlines reservations agent and Local 3640 Area Vice President for RDU and Legislative Committee Chair Kenneth Grunwald says, “Offshoring has become a huge problem in the past few years. Sending jobs overseas means everybody loses—workers, families, communities, and customers. Our union is fighting to save good call center jobs at the bargaining table, but laws like this one would make a huge difference.”

In April, former T-Mobile call center worker Jamone Ross published an article in The Hill about the impact of offshoring American jobs. Along with thousands of others, Jamone lost a solid, middle-class job as a customer service agent in 2012 when T-Mobile shut down seven call centers. “Thankfully, because the Communications Workers of America stood up and fought for us, we were able to prove that T-Mobile actually was offshoring our jobs. We won training and education benefits,” Jamone explains. But most workers whose jobs are offshored aren’t that fortunate, so Jamone says legislation to prevent jobs from leaving the United States in the first place is the real answer.

As offshoring of U.S. call center jobs skyrockets, families and communities bear the burden, while corporate profits boom. CWA President Chris Shelton explains, “In many communities, the loss of a call center means the loss of a pillar of the local economy. Lost jobs mean lower tax revenues to fund important public services. And when companies offshore U.S. jobs, it puts more pressure on workers at home to accept lower wages and benefits and poorer working conditions.” Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the bill in the Senate. He says “I see no reason why we can’t work with employers to keep those jobs right here.”

For more information about the alarming trend of offshoring call center jobs, take a look at the CWA report, Why Shipping Call Center Jobs Overseas Hurts Us Back Home. And don’t forget to sign the petition!