In a move aimed at curbing outsourcing of jobs to countries like India, a bipartisan bill has been reintroduced in the US Congress to make companies that move call centres overseas, ineligible for grants or guaranteed loans from the government.
Introduced by Congressmen Gene Green from the Democratic Party and Republican David McKinley, the US Call Center and Consumer Protection Act would deter companies from shipping American jobs overseas and incentivise them to locate in the US by creating a public list of “bad actors” consisting of those that shipped all or most of their service work overseas.
“Being on the list would make these actors ineligible for federal grants or guaranteed loans, would require overseas call centres to disclose their locations to customers, and would require them to comply with US consumers’ request to be transferred to a service agent physically located in the US,” the two lawmakers said.
The legislation is similar to a bill introduced in 2013 that would have required disclosure of a call centre location to consumers, along with the option to transfer to a domestic call centre.
Green said there are 54,000 call centre jobs in the Greater Houston area alone and 2.5 million nationwide.
“It is important that American workers continue to have access to good service sector jobs and receive a livable wage,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we have seen call centre jobs moved overseas to India, the Philippines, and other countries. This bipartisan legislation will protect call centre workers in Texas and throughout the country, and American consumers from unfair treatment,” he added.
According to Green, in the last decade there has been a big increase in companies relocating their call centres overseas where foreign workers are often exposed to dismal labour conditions and paid cheaper wages.
“Our number one priority in Congress is protecting and creating American jobs,” said McKinley.
“Plain and simple, we should not be rewarding companies for moving jobs offshore. This bill does not mandate that companies keep call centres here in America, but simply says if you move call centre jobs offshore, you don’t receive funding from the government. This should be common sense,” he added.
(With inputs from agencies)