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Schumer Slams National Grid's Outsourcing Plan

200 IT jobs in peril at energy company's upstate New York offices.
New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer on Thursday called on energy supplier National Grid to ditch its plan to outsource as many as 200 IT jobs from its Syracuse offices.

"National Grid should know the right thing to do is to keep the jobs here in Syracuse, and I believe we swayed them in that direction," said Schumer, in a statement.

Schumer said he had a phone call with National Grid CEO Tom King, during which he urged King to backtrack on the plan, which could see the company send programming and other tech positions overseas.

Schumer said he reminded King that UK-owned National Grid's 2006 merger with KeySpan Energy received approval partly on the condition that the combined companies maintain their American job base. "Any attempt to outsource these jobs violates the spirit of that agreement," said Schumer.

"Syracuse has a world-class workforce and during these tough economic times, we should be focused on keeping these jobs in the United States, not sending them overseas and that is why I have called on National Grid to fulfill their original promise to keep all the jobs at National Grid right where they belong—in Syracuse," said Schumer.

National Grid has not commented directly on the matter.

Numerous U.S. companies have outsourced tech work to India and other low-cost countries in recent years. Advocates of the strategy argue that it helps businesses reduce costs, leverage additional time zones, and establish a footprint in Asia's high-growth, emerging markets.

National Grid's plan to outsource IT jobs was broken by the Syracuse Post-Standard, which obtained copies of Requests For Proposals issued by National Grid through which the company was sought to identify an offshore outsourcing firm that could handle its IT needs.

National Grid recently outsourced a number of back office positions to India's TCS through a BPO deal. InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis on application delivery. Download the report here (registration required).

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