Press 1 for America: Casey bill aims to save U.S. call center jobs

November 15, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – You know that credit card commercial where a foreign man named “Peggy” tries to answer customer service questions? It’s pretty funny! But if you’ve ever had your own “Peggy” experience, you know it can be anything but.

Sometimes, all you want is to talk to a real-life human being, but then you’re transferred to a faraway place like India, Mexico, Honduras, or any of the other countries where U.S. companies have outsourced call center jobs to in recent years.

“Can I say it sucks?” Jamone Ross told Washington correspondent Ted Fioraliso.

Ross was laid off from T-Mobile last year when the company outsourced his call center job.

“You’re taking [the job] to someone who’s not going to do it as efficiently, and, at the end of the day, is just ticking the customer off. What’s more important — the dollar, the customer, or the employee? And it really seems like the dollar won,” he said.

Some lawmakers on Capitol Hill agree with Ross, and they’re working on a bill to help keep call center jobs in the U.S. The “U.S. Call Center and Worker Protection Act” is a bipartisan piece of legislation that would prohibit American companies that ship call center jobs overseas from receiving federal loans, grants, and subsidies for three years.

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey sponsored the bill.

“If you’re going to send jobs overseas, you shouldn’t be rewarded for doing it by getting tax breaks and other help,” said Casey.

Also, call takers would have to tell callers what country they’re in. And callers would have the right to be transferred back to a U.S. call center. They’re calling it “Press 1 for America.”

“Consumers are badly damaged by the loss of privacy or questions about the privacy of their records when these call center jobs are shipped overseas,” explained Casey.

As for Ross, he’s back in school. And he’s thankful lawmakers are taking action to try to prevent what happened to him to others.

“The economy needs the money. Our families need the money. If they’re going to service American customers, they should have American employees. It just makes sense,” said Ross.

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