Excerpted from “Sold Out: How High-Tech Billionaires & Bipartisan Beltway Crapweasels Are Screwing America’s Best & Brightest Workers,” Mercury Ink/Simon & Schuster, out this week.
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From the “Happiest Place on Earth” to Silicon Valley and across the Heartland, America’s high-skilled workers are getting screwed.
Brutally, insidiously and comprehensively screwed.
Big Tech CEOs and their Washington lobbyists claim there’s a catastrophic “shortage” of American tech workers — as they’ve dubiously claimed for the last 25 years.
What planet do they live on?
Outside the Big Business/Big Government bubble, this is the reality America’s best and brightest face:
“Walt Disney World information-technology workers laid off”
“Intel to cut over 5,000 jobs”
“Cisco execs try to put best face on 6,000 layoffs”
“Cargill to outsource IT services; 900 jobs affected”
“Qualcomm lays off 4,500 workers while demanding more H-1Bs”
“Southern California Edison IT workers ‘beyond furious’ over H-1B replacements”
“Microsoft won’t lay off H-1B before U.S. workers”
* THAT LAST ONE REALLY FROSTS ME...
The plight of Disney employees — and of tens of thousands like them nationwide — is a nightmare.
Disney managers summoned hundreds of their American information-technology workers (called “cast members”) to mysterious meetings in October 2014. The data-systems programmers and engineers had just completed an IT project; several proudly bore blue ID badges identifying them as Disney “Partners in Excellence.” Yet they were given a death sentence — and handed shovels to dig their own graves. Before getting the boot, the employees would be forced to participate in “Knowledge Transfer” sessions with their younger, cheaper, less-skilled replacements imported from India. Supervisors warned: “If you do not cooperate, you will not get a severance or retention bonus.”
While these Disney tech workers struggled to complete their last, humiliating assignment and find new jobs, Disney CEO Bob Iger and his fellow co-chairs of a corporate front group called the Partnership for a New American Economy lobbied in Washington, DC, for increases in temporary worker visas — and baldly denied to Congress that they were sacking American workers in favor of cheap foreign labor.
At the center of the storm is H-1B, the foreign tech worker visa program that turns 25 years old this month. It was supposed to be a program for high-skilled guest workers to alleviate shortages in specialty fields. While H-1B boosters in the U.S. hype the program as the “genius visa” for “braniacs,” the former commerce secretary of India, Kamal Nath, revealed the truth. H-1B, he said, “has become the outsourcing visa.”
Our review of the past quarter-century of data shows:
With very few exceptions, the purported shortages of American workers don’t exist.
There is nothing special about the hundreds of thousands of H-1B visa holders flooding our workforce. Only that they work for less money.
Most H-1B workers are sponsored by companies that specialize in offshore outsourcing of U.S. jobs to India.
Yes, companies hire and fire workers all the time. But only in the case of H-1B and related foreign guest worker programs are American corporations and offshore outsourcing rackets explicitly aided and abetted by the U.S. government — and routinely in violation of the basic principles of these programs.
With no well-financed, high-powered interest group in Washington, DC, to advocate on their behalf, American technology workers have endured this systemic displacement and humiliation for at least two decades.
U.S. Census Bureau data show that roughly 11.4 million of 15 million Americans with science, technology, engineering and math degrees aren’t working in so-called STEM fields. The crisis is not a lack of high-skilled workers, but a lack of high-skilled job openings. Employment site Bright.com found 4.08 American job candidates for every one electronics-engineering job listed as an H-1B position. Meanwhile, foreign guest workers account for one-third to one-half of all new IT hires.
(*CLENCHING MY JAW*)
Here’s the dirty little secret, America: Double-talking politicians from both parties on Capitol Hill bear the blame for facilitating the systemic replacement of U.S. workers with temporary foreign guest workers.
Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) are co-sponsors of legislation to expand H-1B without any meaningful American worker protection reforms.
* AND THEN OF COURSE THERE'S THE GOP...
One GOP-sponsored bill would raise the annual cap on H-1B foreign guest workers from 65,000 to 180,000.
Another, fronted by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), allows annual H-1B limits to rise up to 245,000 per year in the future.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) would triple the H-1Bs issued every year.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) would quintuple the number.
* GEEZUS FRIGGIN' CHRIST...
So, who in Washington will stand up for our nation’s best and brightest workers?
President Obama, Hillary Clinton and the Democratic leadership stand on the side of high-tech billionaires.
Bernie Sanders talks tough on H-1B but voted for the Gang of Eight bill that expanded the program.
Among current GOP candidates, only Donald Trump, Rick Santorum and (just recently) Mike Huckabee have challenged the H-1B racket and its devastating impact on America’s high-skilled workers.