On Wednesday, President Barack Obama announced a new initiative to combat outsourcing. The so-called 'in-sourcing' initiative would push a series of policies that would create jobs in the United States, including inviting more foreign companies to invest in U.S. jobs. Some of the suggested policies include tax breaks for companies that create jobs in the U.S. and tax disincentives for companies that continue to engage in outsourcing.
The White House announcement was made in conjunction with an in-sourcing forum that brought 14 large and small U.S. companies to meet with President Obama and discuss what kinds of policies might work to encourage the generation of jobs here instead of abroad. The 14 were Ford, DuPont, Otis Elevator, Intel, Siemens, ThyssenKrupp, Rolls Royce, Master Lock, Lincolnton Furniture, GalaxE Solutions, AGS, KEEN, Chesapeake Bay Candle and NOVO 1.
Some of the companies involved in the forum called for deregulation and lower corporate tax rates. Another tactic, used successfully by GM, is to increase productivity by increasing the use of automation and paying workers less.
Rep. Tim Bishop is calling on the president to focus on call centers:
In a letter, Bishop urged the President to consider the "U.S. Call Center and Consumer Protection Act," the bipartisan bill he sponsored to bar corporations that outsource U.S. call center jobs from receiving federal grants and loans, as a framework for Executive action to encourage the retention and growth of call center jobs in America.
Highlighting the fact that U.S-based call centers account for approximately three percent of jobs in the American workforce, Bishop wrote: "I hope your Administration will seriously consider the remedy my colleagues and I are confident will reduce the incidence of outsourcing by creating new incentives to insource call center jobs and provide a measure of stability and longevity to a sector of America’s workforce that needs our help as our economy continues to recover."
Bishop's "U.S. Call Center and Consumer Protection Act," which is co-sponsored by Reps. Dave McKinley (R, WVA-1), Mike Michaud (D, ME-1), Mike Grimm (R, NY-13) and Gene Green (D, TX-29), would require the U.S. Department of Labor to track firms that move call center jobs overseas; the firms would then be ineligible for any direct or indirect federal loans or loan guarantees for five years. The provision is partially a response to the practice of companies taking millions in incentives from local taxpayers to open call centers in the U.S., only to off-shore their operations a short time later and leave local communities devastated and still paying the bill.
Bishop's bill also requires overseas call center employees to disclose their location to US consumers and gives customers the right to be transferred to a US-based call center upon request. The legislation has the full support of the 700,000-member Communications Workers of America.