This week, the New Jersey Assembly passed the "New Jersey Call Center Jobs Act," legislation supported by CWA to protect call center jobs by ensuring that companies that offshore New Jersey call center jobs to overseas locations do not reap the rewards of taxpayer-funded grants, loans, and tax credits. CWA members have been fighting to pass similar call center legislation at the federal level and in numerous states.
Passed by a strong 51-23 margin in the Assembly, the call center bill now moves to the state Senate where it awaits action. The legislation, co-sponsored in the State Assembly by Democrats Shavonda Sumter, Dan Benson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Eric Houghtaling, and Benjie Wimberly, would create a list of New Jersey companies that move at least 30 percent of calls to overseas locations. Any company on this list, which would only apply to businesses employing more than 50 workers, would be ineligible to access to New Jersey taxpayer-funded state grants. The bill also would require that all customer service work done on behalf of the state is performed within the state.
Call centers are an important economic lifeline for many communities in New Jersey and across the country. But thousands of call center workers have lost their jobs in recent years as companies have offshored customer service operations to cheaper markets overseas. This trend has harmed working families and communities, while endangering consumer security and hurting customer service.