Delta to Bring Call Center Jobs to U.S.

ATLANTA ( TheStreet) -- Delta ( DAL) became the latest airline to say it will bring call center jobs back to the U.S.

Delta Cargo will bring back work from a contract call center in Montego Bay, Jamaica, where customers can call to inquire about shipments of animals, CEO Richard Anderson said Thursday, on a recorded message for employees.

"One of the ways to mitigate the impact of the recession is to insource work," Anderson said. "It provides job protection and it is consistent with what the administration wants companies to do in the U.S. today, which is to bring back work from overseas and do our best to increase employment."

Forty contract employees had been taking Delta's animal-transport related calls at the MBJ call center in Montego Bay, but cross-training will enable employees in Atlanta and Minneapolis to handle the work, Delta said.
Delta will close its call center in Montego Bay, continuing trend of U.S. carriers closing offshore call centers.

Last week, TheStreet reported that US Airways ( LCC) will close a passenger call center in Manila later this year.

Delta has nine U.S. call centers and, on rare occasions, outsources calls to Cape Town, South Africa, Montego Bay and Santiago, Chile, a spokeswoman said.

United ( UAL), the only other airline to use an offshore center for domestic, English-language calls, has centers in seven cities including Manila; Delhi, India and Pune, India. United's reservations agents, represented by the International Association of Machinists, are currently involved in contract talks. It is not unreasonable to assume that returning the offshore jobs to the U.S. is a subject for negotiation.

In 2009, Delta closed a reservations call center in India. In a telephone message to employees at that time, Anderson said, "The customer acceptance of call centers in foreign countries is low, and our customers are not shy about letting us have that feedback."

Delta began sending reservations calls to India in 2002.

In midday trading Friday, Delta shares were up 1.19% to $12.76.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed

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