New Proposed U.S. Bill Aims to Prevent Offshoring of Call Center Jobs

Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown said that call center jobs in Ohio and across the United States were being outsourced to Mexico, India, and the Philippines.


A new proposed legislation in the United States Congress seeks to allow customers to ask a call center agent to reveal their location and transfer the service to someone in America. The bipartisan bill was reintroduced by Congressmen Gene Green from the Democratic Party and Republican David McKinley, and Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio held a press conference on March 14 emphasizing the bill.

The bill also proposes to create a public list of companies that outsource call center jobs and give preference in federal contracts to firms that haven’t shipped these jobs overseas. Companies would have to inform the Department of Labor (DOL) before they relocate call centers.

“Most Americans want to support American jobs by buying American whenever they can and that includes the customer service they get from call centers,” said Brown.

“Jobs at call centers are some of the most vulnerable to offshoring. Too many companies have packed up their call centers in Ohio and across the country, and moved to India or Mexico,” he said.

“Just as I take pride in that fact that the suit I’m wearing is made 10mi from my home by union workers in CLE, most Americans want to support American jobs by buying American whenever they can—including the customer service they get from call centers,” he had tweeted.

Earlier this month, the bill was reintroduced in the Congress.

“Unfortunately, we have seen call center jobs moved overseas to India, the Philippines, and other countries. This bipartisan legislation will protect call center workers in Texas and throughout the country, and American consumers from unfair treatment,” Greene had added.

According to an Ohio-based conservative newspaper, there are 180,000 call center workers in the state. The Communications Workers of America, the biggest union of communications and media labor union in the United States, reports that about 500,000 of them have been outsourced to foreign countries, most notably to the Philippines and India. Companies in the United States have also opened call centers in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, China and Mexico, the study noted.

Meanwhile, India’s back office sector has said that the bill, if passed, would have a marginal effect only since most of the call center jobs have been moved to the Philippines, and India focuses on integrated service offerings.

“Of the $30 billion (Indian) BPO revenue, the customer interaction pie is around 30 per cent. Of this, Indian companies mostly offered integrated services which have more transactions-related work. This bill, when it is passed, will impact pure call centers,” KS Vishwanathan, who leads the business process management (BPM) initiatives at Nasscom, told the Economic Times.

According to Nasscom data, the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry provides nearly 4 million direct and 12 million indirect jobs in India. There has been a slowdown in hiring with more automation but it is still the largest private sector employer in India.

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