Call Centers and the Global Division of Labor
A Political Economy of Post-Industrial Employment and Union Organizing
Call centers have come, in the last three decades, to define the interaction between corporations, governments, and other institutions and their respective customers, citizens, and members. The offshoring and outsourcing of call center employment, part of the larger information technology and information-technology-enabled services sectors, continues to be a growing practice amongst governments and corporations in their attempts at controlling costs and providing new services. While incredible advances in technology have permitted the use of distant and "offshore" labor forces, the grander reshaping of an international political economy of communications has allowed for the acceleration of these processes. New and established labor unions have responded to these changes in the global regimes of work by seeking to organize call center workers. These efforts have been assisted by a range of forces, not least of which is the condition of work itself, but also attempts by global union federations to build a bridge between international unionism and local organizing campaigns in the Global South and Global North. Through an examination of trade union interventions in the call center industries located in Canada and India, this book contributes to research on post-industrial employment by using political economy as a juncture between development studies, the sociology of work, and labor studies.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction m2. Political Economy, Post-Industrialism and the Global Division of Knowledge Labor 3. The Political Economy of Offshoring 4. The Global Division of Call Center Work 5. India: Labor Organizing Offshore 6. Centers of Steel 7. Global Division of Knowledge Labor, Global Unionism 8. Conclusion
Andrew J.R. Stevens is Assistant Professor of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations in the Faculty of Business Administration at University of Regina.