What Happens When Call Center Jobs Are Shipped Abroad and Workers Try to Organize?
One of the world's largest "contact center" companies, U.S.-based giant Alorica, has been expanding in the Philippines, where more than 1.3 million women and men work in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector. These workers and their allies came together through BIEN, the BPO Industry Employees Network, to defend workers' interests in this booming sector. Alorica, a global player in this industry, offers "customer experience" services to the U.S. market for clients like Comcast, AT&T, Citibank, Barclays and Caesars.
Since 2015, Unified Employees of Alorica (UEA) has been organizing to defend these workers' rights. At every step, Alorica has denied workers their right to form a union, broken laws and refused to recognize the union, retaliating against workers who unionize by firing them.
In September 2018, the union filed a notice of strike and began planning a legally protected strike to protest union-busting by Alorica. The United Employees of Alorica have the following demands:
- Drop the criminal charges filed against the union leaders.
- Reinstate the terminated officers of UEA.
- Just this week, Michael Concepcion, a regional organizer for BIEN who has worked directly with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), received a death threat by text message.
This and previous threats show a pattern of harassment, extra-judicial detentions and killings that have affected more and more union activists in the Philippines under the Duterte administration. Large corporations like Alorica and AT&T use this repressive climate to their own benefit.
Starting today, CWA and Filipino activist groups Migrante and Bayan are holding solidarity protests in San Francisco and Los Angeles, along with other local supporters in California.
Support the UEA and allies like BIEN in their efforts to defend workers’ rights in this key industry in an economy globalized according to rules written by corporations and governments desperate to attract investment. Please tweet or post the following to Facebook and other social media:
Respect workers’ rights in the Philippines @OfficialAlorica @ATT Drop charges against UEA union leaders. #HumanRights #Alorica