Dozens of working North Carolinians gathered in Greensboro Tuesday for a town hall discussion on the future of call center work in the state and to discuss concerns about middle class jobs being moved out of state or overseas. CWA, which represents North Carolina call center workers at AT&T and American Airlines, hosted the discussion with union members from multiple industries, trade experts, and elected officials.
AT&T call center worker Ricky Totten, auto worker Jerry Hodge, and CWA legislative representative Dan Mauer addressed an auditorium packed with a diverse group of labor union members including telecommunications, airline, steel and auto workers, and others. They fielded questions on the fight against offshoring and outsourcing and highlighted the need for elected leaders to champion working people and fight for the future and protection of good call center jobs.
“I’ve been laid off before so I understand the negative impacts on our families and communities when companies decide to move our jobs,” said Totten, who has worked in an AT&T call center in Greensboro for 12 years. “When I started working for AT&T, the call center provided the pay and benefits my family needed to join the middle class in this new North Carolina economy. Our economy can’t grow if we’re always operating under the threat of companies like AT&T shipping jobs overseas, so we are working together to keep them here.”
Many attendees spoke in support of introducing a bill in Raleigh that would encourage companies like AT&T to keep jobs in state. The legislation would make U.S. companies that offshore their call center jobs from North Carolina ineligible for certain taxpayer funded grants, loans, and tax credits, and require that all state government call center work be done in-state. CWA has been advocating for the passage of similar call center legislation at the federal level and in other states.
“The companies that call North Carolina home today need to recognize their responsibility to the communities building their profits and provide good pay and benefits,” said CWA legislative representative Dan Mauer. “North Carolina workers need their elected leaders and candidates to stand with them in the fight against offshoring and job loss, especially in call centers.”
Congressional candidate Kathy Manning, State Senate candidate John Motsinger, and State House candidate Terri LeGrand attended the discussion, listened to the concerns of residents and discussed the importance of keeping good jobs in the state.