By Bob Katzen
A bill before the committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight would discourage businesses from closing call centers and customer service centers in the Bay State and relocating overseas.
The measure, which would apply only to businesses with 50 or more full-time employees, would impose a $10,000 per day fine on any businesses that do not comply with the new law. The secretary would be allowed to waive the ban if the employer demonstrates that a lack of a loan or grant would result in substantial job loss in the state or harm the environment.
Other provisions would require that the secretary of Labor and Workforce Development compile a semiannual list of all businesses that relocate a call center; ban the state from providing any business on the list for receiving any state grants, guaranteed loans or tax benefits for five years; and require all state-business-related call center and customer service work be performed by state contractors entirely within the state of Massachusetts.
“Family-supporting jobs in call centers across the commonwealth have served as a source of economic growth and a pathway to the middle-class for countless Massachusetts residents, yet communities are seeing these opportunities dramatically reduce year-over-year due to the greedy practice of corporate offshoring,” said sponsor Sen. Paul Feeney (D-Foxborough). “This bill will reduce and eliminate the offshoring of call-center jobs in the commonwealth by creating greater scrutiny, transparency and oversight to ensure that none of the commonwealth’s taxpayer dollars are lost to offshoring. This practice only benefits companies who are often hiring workers for very low wages, and in many instances horrible working conditions overseas, for pennies on the dollar of wages and benefits here in Massachusetts in what is a global race to the bottom.”