Yesterday, 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 sought to help revitalize the U.S. call center industry, which that has lost more than 500,000 jobs in the past six years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In the process, the legislation also would have strengthened American consumer protections against ongoing security problems associated with overseas call centers.
Ron Collins, chief of staff of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), was clearly disappointed. "The House of Representatives faced a stark choice today: Side with American consumers' security while revitalizing the job prospects of thousands of American workers or side with actors in corporate America content to ship jobs overseas at any cost. It's both unfortunate and unsurprising that today's result broke along party lines and that most House Republicans sided with corporations like Bank of America, T-Mobile, and Wells Fargo ahead of the best interests of the American public."
The legislation would have required 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. It also would make U.S. companies that off-shore their call center jobs ineligible for taxpayer-funded grants and loans.