ICYMI: U.S. Taxpayer Money Helping to Train Overseas Call Center Competitors

USAID Suspends Program After Bi-Partisan Letter from Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) Raises Questions
Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Washington, D.C. – April 24, 2012 - The Communications Workers of America (CWA) today said the revelation that U.S. taxpayer dollars have been used to train overseas call center workers raises worrisome questions about priorities, accountability, and common sense as the domestic call center industry continues to shed jobs, losing over 500,000 since 2006 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Last week, U.S. Representatives Tim Bishop (D-NY) and Walter Jones (R-NC) issued a letter to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) inquiring about the agency’s involvement in the American taxpayer-funded training of overseas call center workers in the Philippines. Subsequently, USAID announced the suspension of its participation in this program.

“We commend Representatives Bishop and Jones on their efforts to call attention to this program and to ensure that taxpayer money is used to strengthen the American workforce above all,” said CWA Legislative Director Shane Larson. “Representing 150,000 customer service professionals gives us the responsibility to assure they go to work every day on a level playing field.”

The original letter from Rep. Bishop and Rep. Jones noted the stakes: to “essentially underwrite our international competitors is short-sighted public policy and a direct threat to our economic competitiveness.”

Following the USAID announcement about the program’s suspension, Rep. Bishop pledged to “ensure that America's international economic development efforts in no way contribute to shipping our jobs overseas."

CWA strongly supports the continuing bipartisan efforts by Rep. Bishop along with over 100 members of both parties, who support legislation to strengthen the U.S. call center industry and to crack down on fraud emanating from overseas call centers in the process.   

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Contact: Chuck Porcari or Liz Schilling CWA Communications 202-434-1168 cporcari@cwa-union.org or eschilling@cwa-union.org