Economy & Business
3:30 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Dial One For America Bill Gets PA Support

If you have ever wondered where your call has been sent when you dial up customer support you might be happy to learn that legislation moving through Washington would force the operator to answer just that question.

The U.S. Call Center and Workers Protection Act of 2013 has been dubbed the “Dial one for America” bill.  Among its provisions is a requirement that call center operators handling calls from the U.S. identify their location as part of the call.

“They know when that phone is answered on the other end and the jobs have been sent overseas they ought to know that it’s being answered in India or some other country,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) who authored the senate version of the bill. “It’s kind of a consumer by consumer measure of accountability.”

Callers would also have to be given the opportunity to be transferred to a U.S.-based call center.

Another provision of the bill would set up what Casey calls a “bad actor” list of every company that uses overseas call centers. That list would be maintained by the Department of Labor and be made available to the public.

Companies on that list would not be eligible for federal tax incentives, loan guarantees or grants.

“Why should we reward a company that is a bad actor?  It’s about time that there is some sanction, some penalty, for the arbitrary shipment of — when we are talking industry wide — million and millions of jobs overseas,” Casey said.

Casey admits it will be hard to enforce the measure but he hopes just having it on the books will act as a deterrent to companies sending their customer service calls off shore.   

“There really has been no countervailing force against that and I thin its about time that companies are Held accountable,” Casey said.

The Communications Workers of America is trying to rally support for the bill and Casey believes he has the support of most Democrats in the Senate but said it has been harder to get help on the other side of the aisle. 

Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY 1) and Rep. David McKinley (R-WV 1) authored the House version of the bill.  Casey hopes McKinley will be able to rally his party’s support.