Today, Democratic legislators from both the House and Senate announced the introduction of legislation aimed to protect Ohio’s call center jobs. The Consumer Protection Call Center Act of 2016 would ban state grant or loan opportunities for companies that transfer or relocate call centers from Ohio to overseas for five years.
“Now more than ever, it is imperative to protect Ohio jobs that pay above the minimum wage,” said Representative Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood). “If passed by the Ohio General Assembly, this legislation would help pave a path to economic stability for working families by keeping call center jobs from being shipped overseas. The end goal of the Consumer Protection Call Center Act is to keep Ohio jobs in Ohio, with a workforce of Ohioans.”
“Ohio is home to many call centers that are located across the state,” said Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman). “The key is to making sure that these jobs stay in Ohio and this bill would incentivize employers to do just that.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 171,700 call center workers throughout the state. Since 2006, Ohio has lost 13,900 call center jobs – a decline of over 7.5 percent.
"Call center workers and consumers are rightfully concerned by the offshoring of call center jobs,” said Frank Mathews, Administrator Director with the Communications Workers of America. “In this digital world, calls can be rerouted anywhere simply by flipping a switch. This costs American jobs and allows our most private business, health and financial information to be shared with and possibly accessed by less than secure eyes, in another country.”
“Our goal with this bill is to keep jobs in the state of Ohio instead of sending them overseas. Protecting our own workers needs to be a priority for the state,” said Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville). “Taxpayer dollars should not be used to send jobs overseas.”
In addition to the ban on state aid, the bill would also increase transparency by creating a list of companies that relocate their customer service centers overseas. Companies would be required to notify the Director of the Department of Jobs and Family Services at least 120 days prior to relocating any call center jobs overseas. Failing to do so could result in a civil penalty against the employer.
“This legislation is important to someone like me because I don’t think the state should be rewarding companies who are taking jobs overseas,” said Robert Taylor, a call center employee from Columbus. “Those tax dollars should be going to creating jobs here in Ohio and not the Philippines. As a call center worker it’s important that these middle-class jobs stay in Ohio and I think that this legislation will help do that.“
This legislation will be introduced in both the House and Senate today.