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News : Ohio Democrats Want to Protect Call Center Jobs
Columbus, OH, USA, Aug 4, 2016 -- Legislative Democrats want to make Ohio companies uncomfortable if they decide to ship their call center jobs out of the country.
Under the new bill, if a company wants to relocate those jobs overseas, it would be required to notify the state Department of Jobs and Family Services 120 days prior to the move. The state would keep a list of such action, and companies on that list would be generally prohibited from getting future state loans, grants or tax benefits.
Ohio has a rich history of being friendly to call centers, said Frank Mathews, administrative director of the Communications Workers of America District 4. Ohio has nearly 172,000 call center workers, though that number is down by 13,900 since 2006.
Call center jobs, he said, helped lessen the sting of the loss of manufacturing jobs. He knows calls can easily be rerouted almost anywhere with the flip of a switch.
"I think (this bill) gets Ohio out in front of a trend we’re seeing nationally of call center jobs being moved overseas," he said. "I believe we are seeing a movement by some corporations to chase the lowest labor costs."
The bill doesn’t prevent sending call center jobs overseas, Mathews said, but it will make such moves more transparent, gives workers warning that jobs are going to leave, and does not continue to reward companies for making such moves.
The bill also would require a company to give back current state aid if it moves call center jobs out of the state. A company could be exempted from the loss of aid if it would mean substantial job losses or if the company decides to reinvest and create other jobs.
It is important for Ohio to protect jobs that pay above the minimum wage, said Rep. Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood.
"I would hate for companies that decide to move jobs overseas to continue to be rewarded for that," said Robert Taylor of Columbus, who has spent nearly 16 years working for a call center.
The legislature returns to session after the November election.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, August 8, 2016