POLITICS

Call Center Outsourcing Opponents To Get Endorsement Of Communications Workers Union

Aug 14, 2012 | Updated Aug 15, 2012

Citing the results of a new poll, the Communications Workers of America union said it intends to devote its resources to candidates who oppose the outsourcing of call centers.

According to a poll commissioned by the union, 78 percent of voters rank overseas call centers negatively. Voters also overwhelmingly back anti-outsourcing proposals, such as allowing calls to be transferred to a domestic call operator, and preventing companies that outsource call centers from receiving grants or tax breaks.

"There are, frankly, very few polls that show this kind of unanimity, this kind of intensity in America today," Celinda Lake, president of the polling firm Lake Research Partners, told reporters on a conference call Tuesday afternoon. The firm primarily does polling related to organized labor and liberal causes.

With that polling evidently in mind, CWA announced it will back candidates -- through radio advertisements and social media -- who support legislation intended to prevent companies from outsourcing call centers. Ron Collins, the union's chief of staff, told reporters that CWA would be rolling out radio ads this week for Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.), Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio), Wisconsin Senate candidate Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).

Those candidates all support a CWA-backed bill, the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act, which would make companies that outsource call centers ineligible for federal grants or guaranteed loans.

Collins also said the union will also launch a social media campaign to promote the issue and to support anti-outsourcing candidates, as well as using its legislative political action teams to lobby elected officials.

Companies in the telecommunications and banking industries have often outsourced call centers. Roughly 500,000 call center jobs were lost in the United States between 2006 and 2010, according to the union.

Clarification: Language has been added to indicate that the poll found that overseas call centers, and not call centers generally, were viewed negatively.

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