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Keeping Call Center Jobs in Our Communities

A new CWA report is exposing more about the offshoring of U.S. call center jobs and the adverse effects on U.S. jobs and consumers.

Why Shipping Call Center Jobs Overseas Hurts Us Back Home” is a comprehensive look at how the growth of overseas call centers has hurt our communities and hurt workers by making it harder for CWA members to bargain good contracts. Companies that send work offshore are pushing down the wages and working conditions of all call center workers.

CWA represents more than 150,000 call center workers, in telecommunications, airlines, media, health care, public service and other sectors. Members know firsthand how employers have tried to use the threat of moving those jobs overseas to force workers to accept unfair contract demands.

Adding insult to injury, many companies force the soon-to-be-laid-off U.S. workers to train their foreign replacements. Wells Fargo in 2012 laid off hundreds of U.S. workers when it closed call centers in California, Florida, Pennsylvania and other locations, forcing those employees to train their Filipino replacements.

Big corporations – and some government agencies – are looking to take advantage of well-educated and skilled workers overseas while paying them far less than U.S. workers.

The new report spotlights not only the impact on U.S. workers and communities, but the growing risk to consumers of fraud and identity theft.

The Filipino call center industry now is the largest in the world, with more than 1,000 call center operations across a range of corporations, including Verizon, Citibank, Chevron, Aetna and more. Yet the industry still doesn’t follow global data security standards, and in 2015, a Filipino call center employee sold the financial information of Australian Citibank customers to a Sydney crime syndicate, costing those customers more than $1 million.

In April 2015, the Federal Communications Commission fined AT&T for the consumer identify theft that resulted from company operations in Mexico, Colombia and the Philippines, harming 280,000 Americans.

To keep good jobs in our communities, CWA is mobilizing support for the bipartisan “United States Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act.” The legislation:

  • Requires that U.S. callers be told the location of the call center to which they are speaking;
  • Provides callers the opportunity to be connected to a U.S. based center if preferred; and
  • Requires U.S. companies that off-shore call center jobs ineligible for certain federal grants and taxpayer-funded loans.