Patchogue - (WALK) Dozens of Long Island communications workers rallied in Patchogue recently in support of proposed legislation to bar U.S. corporations who send call center jobs overseas from receiving federal grants and loans.
The "U.S. Call Center and Consumer Protection Act of 2013" would preserve U.S. jobs, and better protect American consumers from fraud and identity theft, according its House sponsor, Congressman Timothy Bishop (D-Southampton).
Bishop introduced the bill (H.R. 2909), earlier this month. It would require the U.S. Department of Labor to track firms who outsource call center jobs; those firms would then be ineligible for any direct or indirect loan guarantees for three years.
Among its provisions, the bill would require employees of overseas call centers to disclose their locations to U.S. customers and give customers the right to request their call be transferred to a U.S.-based call center.
During a presentation Thursday near the Verizon call center building on North Ocean Avenue in Patchogue (see photo), Bishop explained how his proposal may also protect U.S. callers from identity theft.
"Call center operations are often outsourced to nations where lax security standards, --and unauthorized sub-outsourcing, have exposed sensitive financial, medical and other personal data of millions of Americans to fraud and identity theft," said Bishop. Sub-outsourcing is the practice of operators, including those in India, opening call centers in nations where wages are even lower, and low security-standards make it even more difficult to protect a caller's identity and to prosecute fraud.
Among communications workers who rallied in support of the proposed legislation Thursday was Stella Pererra of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1104.
Perrera responded to critics of "protectionism," who say outsourcing benefits American consumers by holding down costs. "It doesn't help us here in America. If we have a high unemployment rate, people here in America are paying more taxes to off-set the unemployment. So it really makes more sense to keep the work here and keep us gainfully employed."
Bishop introduced what is his second attempt at keeping middle-class jobs on Long Island on Thursday. A similar measure failed in Congress in 2011, but he says this version has strong bipartisan support among House Republicans. A Senate sponsor will be secured when Congress reconvenes after the August recess.
Photo: David North/ WALK