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Protect Consumers Keep Call Center Jobs in NY NJ 6-14-12

Protect Consumers Keep Call Center Jobs in NY NJ 6-14-12

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Published by Nick Reisman

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Published by: Nick Reisman on Jun 15, 2012
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How State Legislation Can Protect Consumers and KeepCall Center Jobs in New York and New JerseyJune 2012A Center for Working Families
 
ReportBy Nathan Newman and Chloe Tribich
 
 
2
 
About the authors
 Nathan Newman is a fellow at New York University’s Information Law Institute and thefounder of Tech-Progress.org, an organization dedicated to promoting economic growthand public accountability in the new information economy. His book 
 Net Loss: Internet  Prophets, Private Profits and the Costs to Community
was described by the
 Harvard  Business Review
as a “provocative case for business civic-mindedness.” He served asPolicy Director and Executive Director of the Progressive States Network where heoversaw the Broadband Buildout and Technology Investments program, as well asProgram Director at NetAction, a consumer watchdog group.Chloe Tribich is Communications Director at the Center for Working Families, where shedoes research and media work on campaign finance reform, green jobs and economicequity issues.Her writing has appeared in
City Limits
, the
 Huffington Post 
,
 Newsday
, the
 Albany Times-Union
, and various political and literary journals.
 
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Introduction
Call centers—centralized offices that handle large volumes of telephone calls for the purposes of providing consumer support, conducting telemarketing and collecting debts,among other functions—are a major source of employment in the United States. Aboutfour million people are employed in the call center industry, or three percent of the U.S.workforce.Improved telecommunications infrastructure now allows companies to more easily“offshore”—that is, to move their call centers to countries where they pay lower wages,face weaker oversight (particularly in relation to consumer privacy standards) and avoidstate and federal taxes in the U.S.In this report, the Center for Working Families, an independent, unaffiliated research andadvocacy group, reviews the problems caused by offshoring of call center jobs and proposes policy solutions. The report draws heavily on previous research conducted bythe Communications Workers of America.
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 Accurate, timely data on offshoring are scarce. Still, it’s clear that residents of New York and New Jersey have reason to worry about loss of call center jobs:
 
By one estimate—an examination of Bureau of Labor Statistics data, which chartsemployment changes by occupation—New York State lost 8,930 call center industry jobs between 2005 and 2010.
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By the same measure, 18,110 jobs have been lost in the New Jersey call center sector.
In other words, New York andNew Jersey lost over 27,000 call center jobs combined from 2005 to 2010.
(See graph on next page.)
 
The finance industry, which is a bulwark of New York’s economy and importantto New Jersey’s, is expected to move 15 percent of its operations overseas by2015, with information technology (and therefore call centers) comprising a large portion of offshored work.
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Verizon, one of the states’ large employers and a major operator of call centers,has been shedding jobs for over a decade. Over 4,500 Verizon call center jobswere lost in New York between 2000 and 2012. In New Jersey, the company haseliminated 2,370 high-tech customer service jobs.
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