from the New Mexico News Connection - A statewide news service for New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - New Mexicans know the drill: call a company's customer-service line and, often, you end up speaking with someone in another country. It's an annoyance to some people, but a new report from the Communications Workers of America points to more serious concerns.
CWA's Legislative Director Shane Larson says the report documents a risk of fraud related to employees in overseas call centers.
"Over the last five, six years, a large number of identity thefts have happened. There is an overall lack of basic data security protections in those countries."
The bill suggests some of this can be avoided by allowing U.S. customers to ask to be transferred to call centers located in the United States.
Larson supports bipartisan legislation known as the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act. Co-sponsored by New Mexico Congressmen Ben Lujan and Martin Heinrich, the bill would give people the right to be notified where a call center is located, and to request a transfer to a U.S. center. It would also take steps against corporations that send U.S. call center jobs overseas.
"The Department of Labor would keep a record. You would be ineligible for loans, grants, and would go to the back of the line for any federal contracts."
Larson says that in 2006 there were 27,000 call center jobs based in New Mexico, but the number shrank to 21,000 by 2010. He hopes the report and legislation will encourage companies to take another look at their outsourcing decisions and, at a time when the nation is focused on job creation, consider bringing those jobs back.
The CWA report, "Why Shipping Call Centers Jobs Overseas Hurts Us Back Home," is at http://bit.ly/zwflu4.
Beth Blakeman reporting, firstname.lastname@example.org