Within the past three years, Sioux Falls has lost more than 1,000 call center jobs.
Citi is breaking ground on a new headquarters in Sioux Falls, but area labor unions are questioning how committed the large employer actually is to the city.
“Citi, what’s the real story? Are you saying there’s no link at all between the South Dakota layoffs and the fact that you’ve been aggressively hiring overseas call centers?” Sioux Falls AFL-CIO President Kooper Caraway said.
Here’s a look at the numbers. Capital One closed its Sioux Falls call center in 2015, laying off 750 people. Alorica followed, putting 260 employees out of work, and Citi has laid off at least 80 people since April in Sioux Falls. The company has told us it’s making the cuts to align staffing with current business needs.
“Just take the company’s operations in the Philippines. As of 2013 they had more than 3,000 call center workers in the country with plans to ramp up hires even more in the coming years,” Caraway said.
On Tuesday the groups also urged lawmakers to support proposed legislation that would further regulate call centers.
“Introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate, the bipartisan call center bill would require that U.S. callers be told the location of the call center to which they are speaking,” CWA Local 7500 President Kim Thompson said.
If the center is not in the U.S., the act would require employees to offer callers the chance to be connected to a U.S. based center, centers that these unions say are important to the local economy.
“We need to reign in this behavior,” Caraway said.
KELOLAND News did get a statement from Citi, saying that some of the Sioux Falls jobs were eliminated; others are being relocated to Florence, Kentucky.
Here’s the full statement:
“As our customers increasingly choose to bank on digital and mobile channels, the dynamic of how we interact and serve them is changing. To align staffing with current business needs, we recently announced some customer service positions in Sioux Falls were being eliminated while others were being relocated to our operations center in Florence, Kentucky. Those affected are encouraged to explore other employment opportunities with Citi and will receive outplacement services and assistance. Citi is committed to Sioux Falls and the state of South Dakota and we look forward to opening our new facility next year.”