U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act
Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle reintroduced the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act this week to ensure taxpayer dollars do not support companies that offshore customer service jobs. The bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.), Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.), and Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.), also gives consumers a voice in deciding where their calls are handled.
If passed, the legislation would provide incentives to locate call centers in the United States and create a list of companies that have shipped customer service jobs overseas, which would make them ineligible for some federal grants and loans. Similar legislation has been passed in state legislatures in recent years in Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, and Nevada.
Congress Moves to Save GE-Savant Jobs
Last week the U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to a defense appropriations bill that could affect dozens of IUE-CWA Local 84704 workers laid off in March at a GE-Savant plant in Bucyrus, Ohio. The amendment, which requires the Department of Defense to buy only LED bulbs made or assembled in the United States, is a victory for workers and their allies after months of mobilizing to bring jobs back from China.
In an article that ran in the Bucyrus Telegraph Forum, IUE-CWA Local 84704 President Will Evans said he appreciated the effort by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) to save jobs with the amendment. Ryan is a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “We are asking for bipartisan support of this initiative in order to protect and promote U.S. jobs right here in Ohio,” said Evans.
Local Journalism Sustainability Act
A bipartisan bill that provides a path to financial stability for struggling local newspapers, digital-only publications, and local television and radio stations through a series of tax credits, has been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate.
“The Local Journalism Sustainability Act would provide a much-needed boost to save local news jobs,” said NewsGuild-CWA President Jon Schleuss. “Half of America’s journalism jobs have been wiped out in the past decade and the losses have accelerated during the pandemic. The erosion of local news puts our democracy at threat of extinction. We enthusiastically support this plan to save local news.”
Philippine Human Rights
Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and 10 other senators sent a letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressing their concerns about the human rights situation in the Philippines and urging the U.S. government to stand with human rights defenders and labor activists. The letter specifically cites attacks on trade unionists and labor organizations. A recently published report illustrated the targeting and violence faced by call center workers who are members of the BIEN workers’ organization in the Philippines.
CWA strongly supports Senator Markey's effort as well as legislation like the Philippines Human Rights Act, which would protect working people by blocking U.S. funding for the Philippines police and military—including equipment and training—until human rights conditions improve.