To my brothers and sisters in miserable calling centers across the country: cheers to you. The author of this article linked this to a listserv I'm on, and I had to pass it to you.
Dozens Of Call Center Workers Walk Off Job In Protest Rather Than Read McCain Script Attacking Obama
Some three dozen workers at a telemarketing call center in Indiana walked off the job rather than read an incendiary McCain campaign script attacking Barack Obama, according to two workers at the center and one of their parents.
Nina Williams, a stay-at-home mom in Lake County, Indiana, tells us that her daughter recently called her from her job at the center, upset that she had been asked to read a script attacking Obama for being "dangerously weak on crime," "coddling criminals," and for voting against "protecting children from danger."
Williams' daughter told her that up to 40 of her co-workers had refused to read the script, and had left the call center after supervisors told them that they would have to either read the call or leave, Williams says. The call center is called Americall, and it's located in Hobart, IN.
"They walked out," Williams says of her daughter and her co-workers, adding that they weren't fired but willingly sacrificed pay rather than read the lines. "They were told [by supervisors], `If you all leave, you're not gonna get paid for the rest of the day."
The daughter, who wanted her name withheld fearing retribution from her employer, confirmed the story to us. "It was like at least 40 people," the daughter said. "People thought the script was nasty and they didn't wanna read it."
A second worker at the call center confirmed the episode, saying that "at least 30" workers had walked out after refusing to read the script.
"We were asked to read something saying [Obama and Democrats] were against protecting children from danger," this worker said. "I wouldn't do it. A lot of people left. They thought it was disgusting."
This worker, too, confirmed sacrificing pay to walk out, saying her supervisor told her: "If you don't wanna phone it you can just go home for the day."
The script coincided with this robo-slime call running in other states, but because robocalling is illegal in Indiana it was being read by call center workers.
Representatives at Americall in Indiana, and at the company's corporate headquarters in Naperville, Illinois, didn't return calls for comment.
Paid callers are desperate and unhappy with their jobs, only working there if they absolutely cannot make it without the pay from that awful job (and I should know, I've done similar work for over four years now), but even callers have limits. Enough lies and filth and even callers have pangs of conscience.
Perhaps you don't get how important this is. I raise money for nonprofit organizations. This means I will ask you three or four times for set dollar amounts no matter who you are, what your finances are, what terminal illness you have (no really, I have no problem hounding cancer patients because sometimes they do give), or how long you've been on disability or social security. I will ask you for money because I don't care about you, I care about doing what I'm told and making my rent.
But even callers--and the good ones are all as ruthless as I am--have their limits. Karl Rove calls McCain on his dishonesty, and now paid call center workers are saying no.
Congratulations, McCain. You did what cancer patients, sweet old ladies, angry nuns, and impoverished grad students can't. You made callers feel dirty, and you lost them.
Good work, asshole.