Victory! NYS Senate Passes Call Center Job Act

You may remember we got the bill passed on the Assembly floor in both 2017 and 2018, only to see it die in the NYS Senate. Not this time.  With a new group of representatives, many of whom CWA worked hard to get elected, the Senate passed the bill overwhelmingly. It will now go to the Assembly for a vote. Thanks to everyone for their hard work and perseverance. When we fight, we win!

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CWA: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Save NY Call Center Jobs Coalition Applauds Senate For Passage of New York State Call Center Jobs Act

Legislation to End Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Call Center Jobs, Require New York Agencies to Use New York Call Centers

In New York, over 40,000 call center jobs cut since 2006, with AT&T recently slashing another 150 in Syracuse despite $20 billion tax windfall

ALBANY, NY – The Save NY Call Center Jobs Coalition, an advocacy campaign formed by community organizations, civic leaders and labor groups, including the Communications Workers of America, applauded the Senate today for passing a bill that would stop tax breaks for companies that ship call center jobs out of state.

The bill, New York State Call Center Jobs Act, would impact call center employers with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent workers.  Employers, like AT&T and others, would be required to notify the Department of Labor if they intend to relocate at least 30% of call volume in a year. Those companies would lose all grants, loans, tax benefits and state contracts. The bill would also ensure that all state business-related call center work is performed by New York State companies.

“It is time to stop rewarding companies that move good jobs out of New York and protect families and communities across New York, said Dennis G. Trainor, Vice President of CWA District 1. “If Albany does not swiftly pass this common-sense bill, more and more call center workers will become at risk of losing their jobs. We are grateful to the new leadership in the Senate for recognizing the need to pass this common-sense legislation and make it clear that companies can’t get tax breaks for shipping jobs out of New York and give New York families some economic security. 

Last year the bill passed in the Assembly and was supported by a majority of State Senators.  The Senate bill primary sponsor is Senator Tim Kennedy and in the Assembly, it is Linda Rosenthal.

“When New York State companies receive tax incentives only to ship jobs out-of-state or overseas, it is simply unacceptable,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “The ‘Save New York Call Center Jobs Act’ is a common-sense, jobs-protection bill that will ensure New York taxpayers are not left footing the bill when corporations outsource jobs overseas after exploiting state contracts and incentives. The message is simple: if you ask for help from the state, you need to create and retain jobs for hardworking New Yorkers.”
Senator Jessica Ramos said, "There are over 260,000 call center workers in New York but over the last twelve years, we have lost nearly 40,000 call center jobs in New York. I am thrilled to join CWA and my colleagues in celebrating the passage of the Call Center Jobs Act, which will keep these jobs in New York and put workers above corporations."

“Working families in Central New York face larger hurdles to success and stability. Big corporations continue to profit off of the taxpayers and then leave workers high and dry. The loss of these 150 local, high paying jobs in Syracuse is devastating to our families and our economy. These employees were not given a real choice: either they picked up their families and moved to Florida, or they lost their job. We must work to safeguard our communities against the outsourcing of jobs to other states or countries. The Call Center Jobs Act is one step we can take to keep these jobs right here in New York. Companies should not be able to benefit from tax breaks or incentives in New York and then turn around and lay off our workers,” said Senator Rachel May.

Senator Jamaal Bailey said, “Our call center workers deserve to be treated with fairness and respect for their livelihood. We should not reward corporations with tax incentives, especially when they are outsourcing their labor. The ‘Save New York Call Center Jobs Act’ is a step in the right direction that will protect our working class. I want to thank Senator Kennedy for his leadership on this bill, and I am proud to be a part of a legislature that prioritizes our hardworking New Yorkers.”

Senator Alessandra Biaggi said, “We should not be giving tax breaks to companies to create jobs if they then move jobs elsewhere. I stand with the Save NY Call Center Jobs Coalition. No rewards for corporate bad behavior.”

Senator John E. Brooks said, “Outsourcing call center jobs is not a fiscal necessity as much as it is a shameless profit-grab by companies who do not see the struggling middle class in NY as a priority. This legislation will go a long way in protecting the middle class, and making sure that corporations are not rewarded with tax breaks and other incentives for seeking out low-wage contractors elsewhere.”

Senator David Carlucci said, “We must protect jobs in New York so people can afford to support their families and stay in their homes. Large companies should not receive state incentives and tax breaks if they are going to eliminate jobs. Supporting the New York State Call Center Jobs Act will ensure a stronger workforce remains in the Empire State.”

Senator Jim Gaughran said, “Companies who receive tax incentives then buck their social and responsibility by shipping jobs out-of-state or overseas should be ashamed of themselves. This bill will provide important protections to make sure employees and State taxpayers are not left holding an empty bag when corporations receive incentives and tax breaks, then leave New York.”

Senator Andrew Gounardes said, “Tax breaks should be used to incentivize companies to hire workers here at home, never overseas. I’m proud to stand alongside CWA and the Save NY Call Center Coalition in supporting this legislation which when signed into law will prevent tax breaks from being awarded to corporations that send much-needed middle class jobs to call centers in foreign countries. We can't continue to ship New York jobs to other countries on the state's dime.”

Senator Pete Harckham said, “It’s a slap in the face to the taxpayers when companies that have received tax breaks to do business in New York outsource call center jobs overseas or to other states. The loss of these good paying jobs has damaged New York’s economy and devastated laid off workers. It’s about time we demand that companies report call center outsourcing. And, it’s time that those who do outsource can become ineligible for tax and other economic incentives.”

Senator Anna M. Kaplan said, “The steady loss of call center jobs to other states and countries has had a devastating effect on our state economy and on local communities across Long Island.  With changes in the federal tax code now creating incentives to move jobs out of New York State, it’s more urgent than ever that we take action to protect call center workers from outsourcing.  I’m proud to be a co-sponsor of the New York Call Center Jobs Act, because these jobs are critical to a robust and diverse economy, and this bill is an important step to protect them.”

Senator Liz Krueger said, “Working families need the security of knowing their jobs are here for the long term. When New York State does business with call center companies, we must ensure they are real partners offering good jobs that stay in New York. Today we are making it clear that if you send jobs out of state, you can also say goodbye to tax breaks and credits and state contracts. Thank you to my colleagues in both houses for looking after the needs of working New Yorkers.”

Senator Shelley B. Mayer said, “I am proud that the New York Call Center Jobs Act is passing the Senate today and proud to be a co-sponsor of this important bill. It is our responsibility to fight to keep good paying jobs in New York and end to taxpayer-funded subsidies for corporations that cut New York jobs. With this bill, corporations who intend to relocate call center jobs out of the state would be required to notify the Department of Labor and meet other obligations. Those corporations would then be ineligible for future state grants, loans, tax benefits, or contracts. I am glad to support this bill which protects New York workers and taxpayers.”

Senator Jen Metzger said, “New York taxpayers should not be subsidizing the outsourcing of jobs, which is having a devastating impact on working families and our communities. This bill will encourage companies to keep their call centers right here in New York. By using clawbacks and prohibiting future state contracts for companies that offshore call center jobs, we’re holding them accountable and protecting working families. The message is clear: you can’t take taxpayer money and then move jobs out of New York.”

Senator Zellnor Myrie said, “Our state government should support companies who create jobs, not ship them overseas on a day’s notice. This legislation should send the message that if you want to do business in our state and partner with the local government, then you have to do right by our hardworking people and make a positive impact on our economy.”

Senator Roxanne J. Persaud said, “Tax incentives are designed to encourage businesses to employ residents of the area in which they operate.  A business that receives these state benefits must understand that if they choose to outsource jobs elsewhere, they will lose such benefit. The NYS Call Center Jobs Act protects the workers of our state from unfair job practices by companies who choose profit above all else. The message to businesses is clear: If you ask for incentives, then you must keep the jobs in our state."

Senator Julia Salazar said, “I am proud that New York State will no longer be rewarding companies for moving jobs out of our state. New York State needs to wake up to the potential of using its market power to protect New Yorkers and the high quality of life they deserve. For many people, a call center job is all that stands between them and homelessness or food insecurity, and I plan to fight for more legislation that centers working people in our state.”

Senator James Sanders Jr. said, Economic justice is central to creating the foundation for every individual to live a productive and meaningful life. Call centers are the lifeline of many of our communities in New York State and across the nation, as they provide many employment opportunities locally. It is time that we put an end to outsourcing a number of economic opportunities overseas and in turn destroying the financial stability of many families. The New York State Call Center Jobs Act is the first corrective step in putting New York State families first and halting the removal of their economic security. Economic justice demands that we protect the economic opportunities of our citizens with the utmost fervor. We are beginning to do just that.

Senator Diane Savino said, “I’m proud to join my union brothers and sisters in preserving countless middle-class jobs across my district and the state. We are taking yet another step in the right direction to ensure good  jobs remain in New York.”

Senator James Skoufis said, “The New York Call Center Jobs Act is an important and long overdue step that protects our working families. Any corporation that outsources our jobs after receiving so-called incentives ought to be held accountable to the taxpayers they’re ripping off. This bill is a big step in the right direction.”

Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said, “New York is a vibrant state, filled with energetic and determined people who work hard to support their families. It is our job to support and protect these dedicated people against the forced downsizing by big corporations. The New York State Call Center Jobs Act is crucial in keeping New Yorkers where they belong—in New York, with their families. I want to thank the Coalition Members and my colleagues for bringing this issue to light."  

Senator Kevin Thomas said, “The Saving New York Call Center Jobs Act is a pivotal piece of legislation that restores work in our state, while making sure taxpayers are not on the hook when companies decide to outsource. Call centers with at least 50 full-time employees would be directly impacted, making this a common sense bill to protect our working families, who struggle from paycheck to paycheck. This bill will enable companies to expand by hiring hard working New Yorkers."


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Coalition Members:
Communications Workers of America
SEIU 32BJ
Working Families Party
Citizen Action New York
Coalition for Economic Justice
Community Voices Heard
Long Island Progressive Coalition
Labor Religion Coalition
Strong Economy for All
ALIGN
Long Island Jobs with Justice
New York State Nurses Association
Westchester for Change