The U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act
As U.S. companies offshore and outsource call center jobs, communities across the country lose out. In many places, the closure of a call center means the loss of a pillar of the local economy. The offshoring of U.S. call center jobs has a range of negative impacts – it is a trend that is bad for American workers and communities and could be harmful to the security of U.S. consumers’ sensitive information. The U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 3219/S.1792) was introduced on June 12th with a goal of protecting these good jobs from being shipped out of the country. The prime sponsors are Rep. David McKinley (WV) and Rep. Mark Pocan (WI) in the House and Sen. Bob Casey (PA) in the Senate.
The U.S. should not subsidize corporations that destroy jobs, should incentivize corporations to bring back good jobs, and needs high-quality jobs!
- About 3.6 million people are employed by the industry, 2.5% of the U.S. workforce
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth of 5% by 2026 for customer service representatives, on par with overall job growth.
- Advances in technology have made it possible for operators to move tens of thousands of jobs overseas, where the workforce is available at much lower costs
- The average wage for customer service representatives is $15.81, which compares favorably to other entry-level jobs
- There's been a huge increase in outsourced customer service work, as well as a 3% decline in real wages for U.S. customer service representatives over the past 10 years
The Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act would accomplish the following:
- Disclose Call Center Location to U.S. Consumers: The Act would require the relocated overseas call center agent to disclose their name and physical location of their operation. For example, a customer may hear, “Hello, my name is Jane from Manila.”
- Right to Transfer: U.S. consumers would have the right to request that the call be transferred to a customer service agent who is physically located in the U.S.
- Create a ‘bad actor’ list of U.S. Companies that make a practice of sending U.S. jobs overseas: The Act would require creation of a publically available list, maintained by the Department of Labor, of all employers that have relocated all or a significant portion of their customer service work overseas. These companies would be ineligible for federal grants or guaranteed loans. Preference would be given to U.S. employers that do not appear on the list when awarding civilian or defense-related contracts. Employers that relocate a call center would remain on the list for up to 5 years after each instance of relocating a call center.
- List removal: If a ‘bad actor’ relocates an offshore call center to the U.S. and brings jobs back, they will be removed from the bad actor list.