Anti outsourcing bill in US targeting offshore call centers

December 9, 2011: In an attempt to prevent the jobs being outsourced to offshore locations, the legislatures in US have put forward a bipartisan bill in the parliament that would penalize American firms for moving their call centers to offshore locations, by declaring such companies ineligible for grants or guaranteed loans from the government.

The bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Tim Bishop and Rep. David McKinley. It is said that the bill will introduce some belligerent regulations in the operation of call centers. For instance, the call center executives who work for US companies will have to disclose their location to the caller and also provide the customer with an alternative to transfer the call to call centers in America.

According to rep. Bishop, outsourcing is a disaster in the country and is one of the reasons for increasing unemployment in the United States. He said that it is not possible to prohibit it, but can discourage the practice.

Recently few of the call center jobs have come back to the US, but still there is thousands of customer service jobs being offshored to locations in India and Philippines, as the cost of workers is cheap when compared to the US. Recent reports say that Philippines have surpassed India in the call center industry and have become the largest Call center destination in the world.

The bill is being strongly supported by the Communication Workers of America, a union that acts on behalf of 700,000 workers, out of which about 150,000 are customer service representatives. Ron Collins, chief of staff, Communication Workers of America, says that Americans have been deprived of fairly paid call center jobs, as companies outsourced such work to reduce cost. He appreciated AT&T for its effort to take 5000 call center jobs back to the United States. According to him this bill is an important move as far as workers and customers are concerned.

The bill require all the companies that are planning to offshore their call center function to notify the Labor Department 120 days in advance. Such companies will then be put on a public list. The bill is not going to get support from anti-protectionist members of the House. Most of the US customers are frustrated with the long hours of waiting and long calls with executives abroad and with the quality of service offered by Indian call centers. The Communication Workers of America will soon release a report on the customer fraud and identity theft, which is found to occur more at call centers in offshore locations than in the America.

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