U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is backing a bill that could help keep jobs in the U.S. by requiring companies to notify consumers that their calls are being transferred abroad.
Brown, D-Avon, talked about the bill Wednesday in a conference call. He said that between 2008 and 2011, Ohio saw a net loss of 2,330 call-center jobs, according to Brown.
Accompanying him on the call was Terez Woods, an AT&T call-center worker from Cleveland.
“It’s a job that pays well enough to take care of a family, buy a home and live the American dream,” Woods said.
Woods said she will have 39 years with the company on Monday, but she fears younger workers might be outsourced.
Woods said that U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that U.S. call-center jobs that were outsourced to India and the Philippines have been reportedly outsourced from those countries a third time to Egypt, she said.
Security is a concern when call-center jobs go offshore, Woods said.
Brown said that according to labor bureau data, 200,000 Ohioans were employed in 2011 in call-center occupations such as switchboard operators, telephone operators, bill collectors and customer-service representatives, according to analysis, according to Brown.
The legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., called the United States Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act of 2012, would:
- Require companies to disclose to callers when their calls are transferred abroad.
- Make businesses that move call center jobs overseas ineligible for federal grants or loans.
- Direct the Department of Labor to make a public list of such companies, and employers would remain on the list for three years after each relocation.
- Require agencies, including the Department of Defense, to give preference to U.S. employers that do not appear on the list.
Lorain County learned in July its largest call center, TeleTech, was losing its contract to handle customer service for T-Mobile and would lay off 247 people on Sept. 15.
At that time, a TeleTech spokeswoman said the company pulling out wanted to handle its own customer-service calls and was leaving because of declines in customer base and call volume.
She said that 183 employees would remain at the call center at 1230 Park Ave., Amherst Township, which opened in 2007 and once employed 800 people.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or email@example.com.