Proposed legislation would hold call center companies more accountable

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — House bill 273 would require Tennessee-based companies that transfer at least 30 percent of their calls to overseas locations, to notify the state before doing so and penalizing these companies if they received tax breaks.

Members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) said about 3,000 call center jobs have been cut over the past decade in Tennessee.

“Our tax dollars are going to these companies to bring jobs here and they’re keeping the money and then shipping the work out of the country,” said Misty Robertson, CWA’s Tennessee legislative and political director.

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In addition to notifying the state, Robertson said this legislation creates a list of these companies for state agencies.

“Once they're reported, those state agencies will look and if they're currently receiving any kind of grants or incentives from the state of Tennessee they would be clawed back with interest form the time they started to receive,” Robertson said.

This legislation comes a week after FOX13 discovered Conduit Global's notice to lay off 112 employees from its call center in Cordova.

The company, which employs people in eight different countries, received $2 million in state grants to open its office in 2014.

FOX13 received out to Conduit Global but no one responded to our phone calls or email. 
Companies would remain on this list for five years.

“Say Conduit (Global) comes to back to Tennessee and says ‘Hey we want to open another call center in Knoxville but we want another two million to help us out,' then we would look and say, 'Well you know we need a cooling off period for five years to earn back trust,” Robertson said.

Currently, Speaker of the House Glen Casada is debating whether to hold the bill or send it back to the Employees Affairs subcommittee for more review and a vote.