Alorica fires Wisconsin workers and hires 9,000 workers in the Philipines

Alorica fires Wisconsin workers and hires 9,000 workers in the Philipines
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Alorica fires Wisconsin workers and hires 9,000 workers in the Philipines

Press release: Alorica to Close Green Bay Call Center and Lay Off 143 Wisconsin Workers After Announcing 9,000 New Hires in the Philippines. Call center layoffs of American workers replaced by foreign hires

Washington, D.C. – Customer service outsourcing vendor Alorica announced this week it would close its Green Bay call center in early 2020, laying off more than 100 Wisconsin workers in the process. The news comes after Alorica announced in October 2019 its plans to hire 9,000 additional call center employees in the Philippines and a total of 25,000 workers globally.
The announcements of the Wisconsin layoffs follow other recent announcements from Alorica of plans to close at least six other U.S. call centers. Since August 2019, the company has also indicated plans to close call centers in Arizona, California, two locations in Florida, Indiana, Michigan, and North Carolina, laying off more than 2,000 U.S. workers in the process (see research summary below of Alorica’s offshoring practices).
According to Linda L. Hinton, CWA District 4 Vice President, “Alorica is laying off Wisconsin workers while ramping up their overseas presence in the Philippines and other countries. Their business model is all about creating a race-to-the-bottom for workers, by laying off U.S. workers and exploiting workers overseas in places like the Philippines, where they keep wages rock bottom low and are virulently anti-union. It’s time we end the corporate offshoring and outsourcing model that hurts both U.S. workers and communities as well as their overseas counterparts.”
Lakelabnd Florida Call Center courtesy of Wikipedia

Lakelabnd Florida Call Center courtesy of Wikipedia

Alorica’s expansion in the Philippines will bring Alorica’s workforce to nearly 50,000 in that country, servicing the U.S. customer base for corporate clientele including AT&T and Citi. In the Philippines, Alorica takes advantage of weak worker protections in order to intimidate employees and prevent them from joining together to advocate for improved working conditions. A delegation from the Communications Workers of America (CWA) recently traveled to the Philippines to meet with Alorica workers firsthand and described learning of a climate of hostility that has allowed Alorica to fire dozens of union supporters and bring trumped up criminal charges against Filipino union officers, just for holding a protest outside an Alorica office.
Alorica’s practices make the case for anti-offshoring legislation, such as the bipartisan federal “U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act” (S.1792 and H.R. 3219), and trade agreements with enforceable labor protections, while underscoring the importance of the ongoing solidarity efforts between call center workers and advocates across the world.
See below for a snapshot of recent layoffs and offshoring by Alorica as well as details about allegations of its mistreatment of workers overseas
Alorica has announced the layoffs of approximately 4,000 U.S. call center workers since September 2018 – including more than 2,000 since August 2019
 
Snapshot of Alorica’s presence in the Philippines
 
  • Alorica announced in October 2019 it was hiring 9,000 additional BPO workers in the Philippines, part of a global hiring expansion of 25,000 new workers at Alorica’s locations around the world.
  • The new 9,000 Filipino workers will bring Alorica’s workforce in the Philippines to nearly 50,000. Alorica previously employed approximately 40,000 workers after hiring 10,000 Filipino call center workers announced in March 2017 (Business News Asia 3/14/2017). The Alorica website highlights 17 different call center facility locations in the Philippines alone.
  • Alorica’s corporate clients in the Philippines include “Comcast, AT&T, Barclays, and Citi, among others,” according to a 2019 American Prospect article.
  • In January 2019, Alorica leaders in the Philippines projected “significant growth” moving forward in the country
Allegations of mistreatment of workers in the Philippines
  • Alorica workers in the Philippines have been speaking out against their treatment at the hands of Alorica. As BPO-focused outlet NearShore Americas described in September 2018, “A labor union in the Philippines has called for a strike, accusing global call center and BPO services provider Alorica of harassing and dismissing employees.”
  • A January 2019 article in the American Prospect highlighted how call center operators in the Philippines, most notably Alorica, and the country’s government are cracking down on efforts by Filipino call center workers to organize and improve basic working standards and conditions by refusing to recognize the legally established union of Alorica employees, illegally firing union supporters and leadership and filing frivolous legal charges against union members and supporters. A follow-up article in the Prospect in May 2019 highlighted solidarity efforts between CWA and labor organizers and call center workers in the Philippines.
  • In addition to the recent CWA delegation that traveled to the Philippines, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and CWA President Chris Shelton earlier this year sent letters to President Trump and Alorica CEO Andy Lee highlighting concerns over the treatment of workers by Alorica and the larger anti-union climate in the Philippines under the government of President Duterte.
  • The Duterte administration has engaged in ongoing retaliation against union organizers, most recently in the unlawful November 2019 raids and mass-arrests of nearly 60 progressives and trade unionists by military police, including longtime CWA ally Anne Krueger.

Ray Hanania
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