Where’s the outrage, Mr. President, when the New York Times just reported that at least 250 Disney World employees have been discharged, with many forced to train their own foreign replacements that have temporary H-IB work visas? Those are visas that are supposed to supply foreign workers where no American workers can be found. Yet Disney discharged those supposedly ‘irreplacable’ American data managers, in order to replace them with foreign workers.
Where’s the outrage when this is not even a “loophole” as characterized by the NYTimes, but flagrant violation of federal guidelines for the H-1B visas? And this during a jobless recovery from the worst depression since the Great Depression?
The Times reported the legal requirements for eligibility of such work visas. According to federal guidelines, the visas are intended for foreigners with advanced science or computer skills to fill discrete positions when American workers with those skills cannot be found.
Their use, the guidelines say, should not “adversely affect the wages and working conditions” of Americans. Because of legal loopholes, however, in practice, companies do not have to recruit American workers first or guarantee that Americans will not be displaced.
“The program has created a highly lucrative business model of bringing in cheaper H-1B workers to substitute for Americans,” said Ronil Hira, according to the Times article, a professor of public policy at Howard University who studies visa programs and has testified before Congress about H-1B visas.
As if to compound the hurt for American workers, former employees said “many immigrants who arrived were younger technicians with limited data skills who did not speak English fluently and had to be instructed in the basics of the work.”
This is not the first time you didn’t speak out for American workers, Mr. President. You were also conspicuously silent during the reelection of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, when he turned Wisconsin into a right to work state and banned collective bargaining of public workers, which has reduced union membership drastically.
This is even though Wisconsin was one of the first states to establish unions and the right to collective bargain, which should be the right of every worker employee.
So when will you finally begin to lead the support for working Americans whose incomes haven’t really risen since the 1970s (when inflation factored in), and wealth virtually destroyed from the busted housing bubble?
“Many American companies use H-1B visas to bring in small numbers of foreigners for openings demanding specialized skills, according to official reports,” said the Times. “But for years, most top recipients of the visas have been outsourcing or consulting firms based in India, or their American subsidiaries, which import workers for large contracts to take over entire in-house technology units — and to cut costs. The immigrants are employees of the outsourcing companies.”
You should be lauded for Obamacare, and the many other programs you support for the poorest Americans, but what about skilled American workers that are still losing their jobs through no fault of their own?
And now you want U.S. workers to trust your word that the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement will be good for American workers, not just American corporations?
Harlan Green © 2015
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