ICYMI: Mitt Romney Pioneered the Off-shoring of Call Center Jobs & Why it Matters

CWA: Alongside House GOP Vote Against Advancing Call Center Bill, Revelations a ?Stark Reminder? of Differing Worldviews on Day that T-Mobile Closes 7 U.S. Call Centers
Friday, June 22, 2012

Washington, DC – A new investigative report in today’s Washington Post highlights the fact that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney helped to usher in the detrimental practice of shipping call center jobs overseas.  This news comes as the U.S. call center industry continues to shed jobs - this very day seven T-Mobile call centers facilities in six states are closing, affecting 3,300 American workers.

The news also comes on the heels of a Republican-led vote against advancing legislation that would revitalize the domestic call center industry and strengthen consumer protections against security problems continually seen in overseas call centers.

“The revelations should not be viewed as a run-of-the-mill political attack.  Instead, it’s a fundamental insight into why this election will matter.  Along with the House Republicans’ vote against advancing the call center bill earlier this week, it’s a stark reminder of the Republican ideological worldview that profits seem to matter more than people and that value to shareholders matters more than what’s best for America,” said CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins. 

As Tom Hamburger’s investigative piece in the Post notes, “During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain, a private equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission…Bain played several roles in helping these outsourcing companies, such as investing venture capital so they could grow and providing management and strategic business advice as they navigated this rapidly developing field.”

Earlier this week, in a near party-line vote of 238-178, the U.S. House of Representatives voted against considering legislation sponsored by Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) and Rep. Dave McKinley (R-WV) entitled the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act.  The legislation would have helped to revitalize a U.S. call center industry that has lost over 500,000 jobs just in the past six years, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics and largely due to “pioneers” like Mitt Romney. 

The legislation also would have strengthened American consumer security against ongoing security problems associated with overseas call centers.  The legislation would require that U.S. callers be told the location of the call center to which they are speaking and offer callers the opportunity to be connected to a U.S. based center if preferred.  The legislation also would make companies who off-shore their call center jobs from the U.S. ineligible for certain federal grants.  

A series of revelations over the past few months underscored the importance of this legislation – including, the news of U.S. taxpayer money going to train workers in overseas call centers, revelations of multiple scams operating out of overseas call centers, and disturbing findings that the Big 4 Wall Street banks moved their call center operations to the Philippines despite a lack of rudimentary security precautions, privacy standards, and legal accountability.  Not to mention, the ongoing need for domestic job creation due to high levels of unemployment and the related fact that the call center industry continues to shed jobs due to corporate off-shoring.

Announced by T-Mobile USA March 22, call centers in Allentown PA; Ft. Lauderdale, FL;, Frisco TX; Brownsville TX; Lenexa KS; Thornton, CO and Redmond OR are shuttered as of today. While this has been happening, T-Mobile USA has increased the volume of calls handled through off-shore call centers in the Philippines, Honduras and Guatemala.


Contact: Chuck Porcari or Elizabeth Schilling at 202-434-1168 or cporcari@cwa-union.org or eschilling@cwa-union.org