A legislation has been introduced in the Congress that would require call centre employees in countries like India to disclose their location and give customers the right to ask to transfer their call to a service agent in the US. Introduced by Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio, the legislation also proposes to create a public list of companies that would outsource call centre jobs and give preference in federal contracts to companies that haven’t shipped these jobs overseas.
The bill also guarantees US customers the right to ask to transfer their call to a customer service agent who is physically located in the US. For far too long, US trade and tax policy have encouraged a corporate business model that shuts down operations in Ohio, cashes in on a tax credit at the expense of working Americans, and ships production to Reynosa, Mexico or Wuhan and China, he said.
“Jobs at call centres 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. Brown said the constant threat of outsourcing hangs over workers like Renee Rouser of Youngstown, who he talked with last week. Renee has worked at a Youngstown call center for 13 years and knows call center jobs are where people build careers.
“So many companies wouldn’t be able to function without their customer service staff. Ohio workers like Renee contribute to their businesses and bring ideas to make it work better. We need to value their contributions – not end their careers and ship their jobs overseas,” Brown said. According to a study by the Communications Workers of America, the largest communications and media labour union in the US, India and the Philippines are the top two destinations for US companies off-shoring call center jobs.
American companies also have opened call centers in countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, China and Mexico, the study noted. According to National Association of Software and Services Companies estimates, the Business Process Management industry in India is a global leader with revenues of over USD 28 billion annually.