Thomson Reuters is moving its Toronto-based global online newsroom to Bangalore, India, which will eliminate the jobs of 22 members of the Canadian Media Guild.
“It’s really disappointing that Thomson Reuters – a profitable Canadian company – is offshoring jobs to pay people a pittance,” said Glenn Gray, staff representative of the CMG. “It’s not in the interest of our members or of Canadians for employers to throw people out of work and put downward pressure on our wages.”
Editorial job cuts in the United States earlier in the week prompted a bitter response from The Newspaper Guild of New York, a fellow CWA member: “In one of the shabbiest moves made by this increasingly shabby company, seven of our Guild colleagues … some of whom have worked here for over 30 years, walked into the office Monday morning only to be told, 12 days before Christmas, ‘Your job is gone, as of today.’
“As soulless as this layoff of Guild members was, it was better than what happened to a handful of editorial managers this week,” said the New York Guild. “Upper management simply picked a few and sent them packing. If there’s any question about the worth of union membership, the answer can be found at the empty desks of managers who had no Guild contract.”
The CMG, which represents about 60 Thomson Reuters employees in Canada, said the move of the online desk to India on March 15 will cut the company’s newsroom by a third. The online operation, based in Toronto since 2005, creates content for Reuters’ public website.
The Guild plans to hold a meeting at the Toronto office on Monday to ensure the rights of the 22 members affected will be respected.
Thomson Reuters said in a statement it has greatly increased the number of Reuters.com staff over the last eight months. “As part of restructuring of our production staff, we’re moving some roles in our global online newsroom from Toronto to Asia. The online visuals desk remains in Toronto.”
The New York Guild called the company’s offshoring of jobs “standard operating procedure.” It said employees get “long chirpy emails from the top brass on how well we’re doing and how much high-priced talent we’re hiring, but public silence on the forced departures of the workers who have created this success.”
CWA leads push for crackdown on offshoring call centre jobs
While the offshoring of editorial jobs is a fairly recent development in North America, it’s a firmly established practice for companies that operate call centres. The CWA, which represents more than 150,000 customer service and call centre workers throughout the U.S., is agressively pushing for legislation to crack down on companies that ship American jobs overseas.
More than 4,000 CWA members have called on Congress to pass the United States Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act. The bipartisan bill, sponsored by New York Democrat Tim Bishop and Republican David McKinley of West Virginia, would prevent companies that operate foreign call centres from receiving taxpayer assistance, put protections in place for U.S. consumers to know where their calls are going and provide consumers the right to be transferred back to a more secure call centre in the States.
The CWA argues that offshoring hurts not only workers, but small communities that offered tax breaks to lure jobs, and consumers, who are increasingly victims of identity theft, which has soared in the past decade. The union notes that the personal information of millions of Americans now resides in countries like India, the Philippines and Egypt, which lack basic security measures to safeguard their privacy.