Rep. Bishop makes new push against call center outsourcing

Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) is calling on Congress

Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) is calling on Congress to end federal loans and grants to companies that send American call center jobs overseas. (May 31, 2013) (Credit: Randee Daddona)

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Rep. Tim Bishop is calling on Congress to end federal loans and grants to companies that send American call-center jobs overseas.

He said that over the past five years, more than 500,000 U.S. call-center jobs have been outsourced to foreign nations, including 3,300 just last year at one company with seven centers in six states.

"The economy grows when the middle class grows, and I consider outsourcing to be a scourge on our economy," said Bishop (D-Southampton). "Sending good middle-class jobs overseas to pad a corporate bottom line is something taxpayers must not be forced to support."

Bishop introduced legislation Aug. 1 that would direct the U.S. Department of Labor to identify corporations that outsource call-center jobs. The firms would be barred from any direct or indirect federal loans or loan guarantees for three years. Companies that restore the jobs to the United States would be eligible again for the federal aid.

Bishop said he introduced a similar measure in 2011, backed by a bipartisan group of 134 House members, but added that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) never called the legislation up for a vote.

Attempts to reach Boehner on Friday were unsuccessful.

Michael Gendron, executive vice president of the Communications Workers of America Local 1108, said his union represented 550 call-center operators in the state five years ago, but now "that number has dropped by more than half."

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