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Anti-Outsource Bill Grows; QVC Lays Off 600; C3 Adds Okla. Center

The U.S. Call Center and Consumer Protection Act (HR 3596), a bipartisan bill proposed by Congressman Tim Bishop (D - N.Y.) to render any American companies that outsource ineligible for any direct or indirect federal grants and loans for up to five years, has exceeded 100 co-sponsors. Under the legislation, the U.S. Department of Labor would track the activity of the outsourcing firms; it also requires all overseas call center employees to disclose their location to U.S. consumers and gives customers the right to be transferred to a U.S.-based call center upon request. The legislation is gaining momentum and House support as reports of identity theft and sale of customers' personal information by overseas call center employees are gaining media exposure. Source.

QVC has announced that it will be laying off more than 600 employees from its Chesapeake, Va. call center. The layoffs are a result of a significant increase in online orders that has rendered the company’s hotline services obsolete. The layoffs will happen in phases; the first phase will be completed by June of this year and all 606 positions will be eliminated by 2013. QVC has already cut hours for all part-time and full-time call center employees, and is offering severance packages for those being let go. The company also stated that the Chesapeake center will remain open and continue to house its customer service operations.Source.

C3/CustomerContactChannels has announced the addition of a new contact center in Tahlequah, Okla., the only company facility in the state. The contact center began operations on April 1, supporting a new travel and hospitality client. Source.

Convergys Corp. will be closing its Baton Rouge, La. call center in May – just seven months after the company announced plans to add 150 workers – and approximately 300 workers could face unemployment. Convergys did not disclose the reason for the closure of the call center, but stated that it was in the process of determining the availability of "work-at-home positions" for its displaced employees, and that employees may also pursue job openings at other Convergys locations. As per federal law, companies are required to give workers 60 days notice before closing, and according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, Convergys has not filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice. Under the WARN Act, an employer who doesn’t provide the 60-day notice is liable to each affected employee for an amount including back-pay and benefits for the period of violation, up to 60 days. Failure to notify the local government may result in fines up to $500 for each day of violations. Convergys has not stated when in May the call center is expected to close. Source.

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