Worker Retention in Call Center Contracts

At our states’ public institutions of higher education, graduate student employees who are relied on to teach classes, grade papers and conduct research are collapsing under the weight of onerous school fees.

The Problem

  • Some state and local governmental bodies in New York contract with private sector employers for call center services.
  • The government entities that contract for such services periodically re-bid the work, often required by law. However, the re-bidding can be extremely detrimental to the employees who do this work.
  • Even though these may have become highly knowledgeable and efficient in their work, they may be entirely displaced if the successor contractor decides to use a different workforce. Call center employees live in dread of this kind of displacement.
  • The State of New York should be the ultimate, exemplary employer and follow best practices for responsible contracting.

 

Responsible Contracting for State-Contracted Call Centers (Legislation sponsored by Senator Ramos. Bill number pending.)

This bill requires only that when the State decides to procure new contracts for call center services, they require bidders to agree to retain the existing workforce for a period of 90 days. During the 90-day period, the employees may be dismissed only for just cause. At the conclusion of that period, the employee must be provided a written evaluation and if the employee’s service has been satisfactory, the employee must be offered continued employment.

Such worker retention policies are a best practice in service contracting. Nondisplacement requirements for government service contractors ensure continuity of a well-trained and experienced workforce, which can help ensure high service quality. It also prevents disruption to vulnerable frontline workers. This is why several states and cities have workforce retention requirements on certain publicly-funded service contracts, including California, Rhode Island, and New York City.1

This is new legislation, soon to be introduced by Senator Ramos. The bill number is pending.

1. N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 22-505.

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