Save NY Call Center Jobs Act of 2017 (S.1804/A.2170)

Date: 2017

S.1804 Kennedy

A.2170 Peoples-Stokes

MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION

Unshackle Upstate, a non-partisan, pro-taxpayer, pro-economic growth, education and advocacy coalition made up of business and trade organizations from Upstate New York, opposes this legislation.

This bill would penalize companies that relocate their call centers from New York State to a foreign country by making them ineligible for “any direct or indirect state grants, state guaranteed loans, tax benefits or other financial governmental support.” It would also impose penalties of up to $10,000 per day on companies that relocate call center jobs without notifying the state Department of Labor.

The sponsors do not provide any rationale as to why this measure is necessary, or how it would protect or otherwise benefit the people of New York State.

This legislation is being advanced by a special interest group, the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Unfortunately, CWA’s sole concern is using the state’s authority to guarantee job security for their members. This measure completely ignores the needs of employers, who are responsible for providing valuable and useful services to their customers.

It is worth noting that CWA has entered into collective bargaining agreements that permit call center jobs to be outsourced. It is completely inappropriate for the Legislature to grant specific union benefits via statutory means that the union was unable to achieve at the bargaining table.

Protectionist legislation, such as this bill, is “penny-wise, pound foolish.” The sponsors’ goal of addressing the issue is jobs that have already left the state makes this tantamount to closing the barn door after the horse has run off.

While enactment of this bill law may prevent some existing jobs in New York State from being moved, it will have a number of adverse long-term impacts. First, it will serve as a major disincentive to any company looking to bring new call center jobs to New York State. Second, it will undermine the ability of companies that do maintain call center jobs in New York State to compete effectively in the global economy.

While CWA is looking to target one particular company with this legislation, the adverse impacts of this bill will affect many business sectors throughout the state, including manufacturing, insurance, financial services and retail, among others.

Instead of approving legislation such as this, which will add to the state’s already high costs and regulatory burdens, we urge lawmakers to instead take steps to make New York State a less costly and difficult place to do business. A better option than imposing new rules on call centers is for New York State to reduce its tax and regulatory burdens so that New York State is a better place to invest, start and grow a businesses.

Unshackle Upstate strongly urges lawmakers to reject this legislation.