Press Releases

Labor Committee votes to protect call center jobs in Connecticut

HB 5273 Passes Out of Labor on a 7-5 vote.
Tuesday, March 10, 2020

For Immediate Release:  March 10, 2020
Contact: Roger Senserrich | rsenserrich@workingfamilies.org | 203.565.7298

Labor Committee votes to protect call center jobs in Connecticut
HB 5273 Passes Out of Labor on a 7-5 vote.

Hartford, Conn - The Communication Workers of America issued the following statement in response to the Labor Committee vote today to pass H.B. 5273, a bill that aims to protect Connecticut call center jobs by requiring reasonable public notice of closures and accountability measures for businesses that receive state funding. The bill passed on a party-line vote with seven Democrats in attendance voting in favor and five Republicans voting against it. Two Democrats have yet to vote but are expected to support the bill. Rolls are open until 5 pm.

Statement by Dave Weidlich, CWA Local 1298 President

“Today´s Labor Committee vote in support of H.B. 5273 is an important first step towards ensuring that companies that offshore call center and customer service jobs are not rewarded with taxpayer dollars.

 

For too long, our state has turned a blind eye to corporations that take millions of dollars in state contracts, tax breaks, and subsidies while outsourcing jobs overseas. Today´s vote sends a powerful message: Connecticut will now keep those that send jobs overseas accountable and will stop rewarding companies that send call center jobs overseas.

 

We want to thank Senator Kushner and Representative Porter for their leadership in this legislation leading up to the vote, and applaud the members of the committee that voted in favor of standing up for workers in our state. We will continue to work with legislators to ensure the bill´s passage.”

Additional Background

Connecticut legislation:

  • H.B. 5273 establishes a requirement for call center operators to notify the Labor Commissioner at least one hundred days prior to relocation and creates a penalty in case of shorter notices.  
  • Companies that have relocated a call center out of state will be ineligible for any direct or indirect state grants, state-guaranteed loans, state tax benefits or other state financial support for a period of five years from the date such list is published.
  • Companies that relocate a call center will have to reimburse the state of any grants or loans received during the previous five years. 
  • New state contracts that include call center customer assistance work should include a clause that establishes they will be located in-state. 

A federal call center bill, the “U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act,” would deter companies from shipping American jobs overseas and incentivize them to locate in the U.S. by: 

  • Creating a public list of companies that shipped their call center work overseas. Being on the list would make these actors ineligible for federal grants or guaranteed loans. 
  • If a “bad actor” company on the public list relocates an offshore call center to the U.S. – bringing the jobs back -- they would be removed from the bad actor list. 
  • The legislation also would require overseas call centers to disclose their locations to customers and would require them to comply with U.S. consumers’ requests to be transferred to a service agent physically located in the U.S.

Read a July 2019 article in Roll Call: “Lawmakers push new bills to deter call centers from leaving the US”