Indian Workers on H-1B replace Americans at Disney

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Rashna, Jun 5, 2015.

  1. Rashna

    Rashna Senior Member Senior Member

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    Indian workers at Disney trained by Americans they replace

    ORLANDO: The employees who kept the data systems humming in the vast Walt Disney fantasy fief did not suspect trouble when they were suddenly summoned to meetings with their boss.

    While families rode the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and searched for Nemo on clamobiles in the theme parks, these workers monitored computers in industrial buildings nearby, making sure millions of Walt Disney World ticket sales, store purchases and hotel reservations went through without a hitch. Some were performing so well that they thought they had been called in for bonuses.

    Instead, about 250 Disney employees were told in late October that they would be laid off. Many of their jobs were transferred to immigrants on temporary visas for highly skilled technical workers, who were brought in by an outsourcing firm based in India. Over the next three months, some Disney employees were required to train their replacements to do the jobs they had lost.

    "I just couldn't believe they could fly people in to sit at our desks and take over our jobs exactly," said one former worker, an American in his 40s who remains unemployed since his last day at Disney. "It was so humiliating to train somebody else to take over your job. I still can't grasp it."

    Disney executives said that the layoffs were part of a reorganization, and that the company opened more positions than it eliminated.


    But the layoffs at Disney and at other companies, including the Southern California Edison power utility, are raising new questions about how businesses and outsourcing companies are using the temporary visas, known as H-1B, to place immigrants in technology jobs in the United States. These visas are at the center of a fierce debate in Congress over whether they complement American workers or displace them.

    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.

    Too often, critics say, the visas are being used to bring in immigrants to do the work of Americans for less money, with laid-off American workers having to train their replacements.

    "The program has created a highly lucrative business model of bringing in cheaper H-1B workers to substitute for Americans," said Ronil Hira, a professor of public policy at Howard University who studies visa programs and has testified before Congress about H-1B visas.

    A limited number of the visas, 85,000, are granted each year, and they are in high demand. Technology giants like Microsoft, Facebook and Google repeatedly press for increases in the annual quotas, saying there are not enough Americans with the skills they need.

    Many U.S. companies use H-1B visas to bring in small numbers of foreigners for openings demanding specialized skills, according to official reports. But for years, most top recipients of the visas have been outsourcing or consulting firms based in India, or their U.S. 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.

    In 2013, those firms - including Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services and HCL America, the company hired by Disney - were six of the top 10 companies granted H-1Bs, with each one receiving more than 1,000 visas.

    H-1B immigrants work for less than American tech workers, Hira said at a hearing in March of the Senate Judiciary Committee, because of weaknesses in wage regulations. The savings have been 25 to 49% less in recent cases, he told lawmakers.

    In a letter in April to top federal authorities in charge of immigration, a bipartisan group of senators called for an investigation of recent "H-1B-driven layoffs," saying "Their frequency seems to have increased dramatically in the past year alone."

    Last year, Southern California Edison initiated 540 technology layoffs while hiring two Indian outsourcing firms for much of the work. Three Americans who had lost jobs told Senate lawmakers that many of those being laid off had to teach immigrants to perform their functions.

    In a statement, the utility said the layoffs were "a difficult business decision," part of a plan "to focus on making significant, strategic changes that can benefit our customers." It noted that some workers hired by the outsourcing firms were Americans.

    Fossil, a fashion watch maker, said it would lay off more than 100 technology employees in Texas this year, transferring the work to Infosys. The company is planning "knowledge sharing" between the laid-off employees and about 25 new Infosys workers, including immigrants, who will take jobs in Dallas. Fossil is outsourcing tech services "to be more current and nimble" and "reduce costs when possible," it said in a statement.

    Among 350 tech workers laid off in 2013 after a merger at Northeast Utilities, an East Coast power company, many had trained H-1B immigrants to do their jobs, several of those workers reported confidentially to lawmakers. They said that as part of their severance packages, they had to sign agreements not to criticize the company publicly.

    In Orlando, Disney executives said the reorganization resulting in the layoffs was meant to allow technology operations to focus on producing more innovations. They said that overall, the company had a net gain of 70 tech jobs.

    "Disney has created almost 30,000 new jobs in the U.S. over the past decade," said Kim Prunty, a Disney spokeswoman, adding that the company expected its contractors to comply with all immigration laws.

    The tech workers laid off were a tiny fraction of Disney's "cast members," as the entertainment conglomerate calls its theme park workers, who number 74,000 in the Orlando area. Employees who lost jobs were allowed a three-month transition with resume coaching to help them seek other positions in the company, Disney executives said. Of those laid off, 120 took new jobs at Disney, and about 40 retired or left the company before the end of the transition period, while about 90 did not find new Disney jobs, executives said.

    Living in a company town, former Disney workers were reluctant to be identified, saying they feared they could jeopardize their chances of finding new jobs with the few other local tech employers. Several workers agreed to interviews, but only on the condition of anonymity.

    They said only a handful of those laid off were moved directly by Disney to other company jobs. The rest were left to compete for positions through Disney job websites. Despite the company's figures, few people they knew had been hired, they said, and then often at a lower pay level. No one was offered retraining, they said.

    One former worker, a 57-year-old man with more than 10 years at Disney, displayed a list of 18 jobs in the company he had applied for. He had not had more than an initial conversation on any one, he said.

    Disney "made the difficult decision to eliminate certain positions, including yours" as a result of "the transition of your work to a managed service provider," said a contract presented to employees on the day the layoffs were announced. It offered a "stay bonus" of 10% of severance pay if they remained for 90 days. But the bonus was contingent on "the continued satisfactory performance of your job duties." For many, that involved training a replacement. Young immigrants from India took the seats at their computer stations.

    "The first 30 days was all capturing what I did," said the American in his 40s, who worked 10 years at Disney. "The next 30 days they worked side by side with me, and the last 30 days they took over my job completely." To receive his severance bonus, he said, "I had to make sure they were doing my job correctly."

    In late November, this former employee received his annual performance review, which he provided to The New York Times. His supervisor, who was not aware the man was scheduled for layoff, wrote that because of his superior skills and "outstanding" work, he had saved the company thousands of dollars. The supervisor added that he was looking forward to another highly productive year of having the employee on the team.

    The employee got a raise. His severance pay had to be recalculated to include it.

    The former Disney employee who is 57 worked in project management and software development. His resume lists a top-level skill certification and command of seven operating systems, 15 program languages and more than two dozen other applications and media.
    "I was forced into early retirement," he said. The timing was "horrible," he said, because his wife recently had a medical emergency with expensive bills. Shut out of Disney, he is looking for a new job elsewhere.
    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.

    HCL America, a branch of a global company based in Noida, India, won a contract with Disney in 2012. In a statement, the company said details of the agreement were confidential. "As a company, we work very closely with the U.S. Department of Labor and strictly adhere to all visa guidelines and requirements to be complied with," it said.

    The chairman of the Walt Disney Co., Robert A. Iger, is a co-chairman with Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, and Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of News Corp., in the Partnership for a New American Economy, which pushes for an overhaul of immigration laws, including an increase in H-1B visas.

    But Disney directly employs fewer than 10 H-1B workers, executives said, and has not been prominent in visa lobbying. Iger supports the partnership's broader goals, including increased border security and a pathway to legal status for immigrants here illegally, officials of the organization said.

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...ericans-they-replace/articleshow/47541877.cms
     
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  3. Rashna

    Rashna Senior Member Senior Member

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    So cost cutting means Americans are losing their jobs to Indians.....


    Southern California Edison IT workers 'beyond furious' over H-1B replacements

    Information technology workers at Southern California Edison (SCE) are being laid off and replaced by workers from India. Some employees are training their H-1B visa holding replacements, and many have already lost their jobs.

    The employees are upset and say they can't understand how H-1B guest workers can be used to replace them.

    The IT organization's "transition effort" is expected to result in about 400 layoffs, with "another 100 or so employees leaving voluntarily," SCE said in a statement. The "transition," which began in August, will be completed by the end of March, the company said.

    "They are bringing in people with a couple of years' experience to replace us and then we have to train them," said one longtime IT worker. "It's demoralizing and in a way I kind of felt betrayed by the company."

    SCE, Southern California's largest utility, has confirmed the layoffs and the hiring of Infosys, based in Bangalore, and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in Mumbai. They are two of thelargest users of H-1B visas.

    The utility has a large IT department. In 2012, before any layoffs, it had about 1,800 employees, plus an additional 1,500 contract workers.

    Computerworld interviewed, separately, four affected SCE IT employees. They agreed to talk on the condition that their names not be used.

    The IT employees at SCE are "beyond furious," said a second IT worker.

    The H-1B program "was supposed to be for projects and jobs that American workers could not fill," this worker said. "But we're doing our job. It's not like they are bringing in these guys for new positions that nobody can fill.

    "Not one of these jobs being filled by India was a job that an Edison employee wasn't already performing," he said.

    SCE said the transition to Infosys and Tata "will lead to enhancements that deliver faster and more efficient tools and applications for services that customers rely on. Through outsourcing, SCE's information technology organization will adopt a proven business strategy commonly and successfully used by top U.S. companies that SCE benchmarks against."

    The employees say that some of SCE's U.S. workers have been training their replacements, either in person in SCE's IT offices or over Web sessions with workers in India. The IT workers say the Indian tech workers do not have the skill levels of the people they are replacing.

    The SCE outsourcing "is one more case, in a long line of them, of injustice where American workers are being replaced by H-1Bs," said Ron Hira, a public policy professor at Howard University, and a researcher on offshore outsourcing. "Adding to the injustice, American workers are being forced to do 'knowledge transfer,' an ugly euphemism for being forced to train their foreign replacements. Americans should be outraged that most of our politicians have sat idly by while outsourcing firms have hijacked the guest worker programs."

    "The majority of the H-1B program is now being used to replace Americans and facilitate the offshoring of high wage jobs," Hira said.

    SCE said Infosys and Tata were selected through a competitive process that began "with eight potential vendors, some of them United States-based.

    "The decision made to contract with Infosys and TCS was made following vendor site visits, some in India, and in-depth reviews of prospective vendors' operations," the utility said.

    SCE employees said that since August, when the layoffs began, the composition of the IT workplace began to change. "I see a lot of Indian people walking the halls, and less Americans," said a third IT worker interviewed.

    Employee observations of an increasing number of foreign workers in their workplace is backed up by U.S. Labor Department filings. Employers have to file wage data of foreign workers and their workplace location with federal authorities in a form called a Labor Condition Application (LCA). In Irwindale, California, where SCE runs a major part of its IT operations, the two offshore companies had as many as 180 LCAs, and in a random check of these applications, every address matched an SCE location.

    Displaced IT workers have long protested and complained about the use of H-1B workers, but they are overshadowed by large tech companies that lead H-1B lobbying efforts in Washington. IT workers are also effectively silenced through severance agreements that include non-disparagement clauses and confidentiality provisions, as well as fears that public complaining may hurt re-employment prospects.

    Replacing U.S. workers with H-1B workers violates the spirit if not the letter of the law. Hira pointed out that as a part of the application process to obtain H-1B approval from the Labor Department, an employer is required to attest to the following: "Working Conditions: The employer attests that H-1B, H-1B1 or E-3 foreign workers in the named occupation will not adversely affect the working conditions of workers similarly employed." This statement is in Form 9035CP of the LCA.

    Further, Hira noted that the Labor Department states, "The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires that the hiring of a foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers comparably employed.

    "The SCE case is clearly one where the hiring of the H-1B is adversely affecting the wages and working conditions of American workers," Hira said. "There isn't a clearer cut case of adverse impacts - the American worker is losing his job to an H-1B." Hira believes that the U.S. Secretary of Labor has the authority to investigate these cases.

    The use of H-1B workers has other implications as well. They are mostly young, under 35 years of age, according to government data, and the SCE workers interviewed said many older workers were being laid off. H-1B workers are also overwhelmingly male. The IEEE has estimated that as many as 85% are males.

    Although H-1B workers have to be paid prevailing wages, a data analysis of wages that Hira conducted found that H-1B workers cost employers less. The national median wage for an Infosys worker over a recent three-year period was $60,000 per year and for Tata it was $64,900, he said. These are figures that are lower than what appear in salary surveys, includingComputerworld's annual survey. H-1B workers employed by offshore outsourcing companies are less likely to become permanent residents. Infosys sponsored only 2% of its workers for permanent U.S. residency over a three-year period and Tata, none, he said.

    Northeast Utilities in Connecticut last year made a similar decision to SCE's and brought in foreign contractors on visas. More than 200 U.S. IT workers lost their jobs.

    Some of the SCE employees say the outsourcing move is linked to a 2012 report that found fault with the IT management culture. The report, by a consulting firm's incident management team, followed a December 2011shooting, where an employee fatally shot two IT managers and wounded two other workers before taking his own life. The gunman worked in the IT department.

    The consultants interviewed IT workers who told them that some managers were "autocratic, authoritarian and draconian in their approach." Full-time employees complained of working excessive hours, including weekends and holidays. The report said that "these difficult and exhausting conditions are reportedly having adverse consequences on employees health, including increased stress and irritability."

    Prior to the outsourcing agreements, the SCE employees said there were a series of layoffs, including managers.

    SCE said it is helping affected employees with severance, and other benefits, including "job fairs and other possible opportunities with other organizations within SCE."

    "SCE does not take this action lightly and it is assisting employees through this difficult period," the utility said.

    But the third employee interviewed said it did not appear that the company was interested in keeping any of the IT workers targeted for layoffs, and they weren't being offered the chance to apply for other jobs. "They just want to get rid of us and clean house," said this IT worker, who now worries about keeping her home.
    http://www.computerworld.com/articl...rs-beyond-furious-over-h-1b-replacements.html
     
  4. Rowdy

    Rowdy Co ja kurwa czytam! Senior Member

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    :devil::devil::devil::devil::devil::devil::devil::devil:
    Get ready for Mukesh and Suresh USA .. :rofl:
     
  5. Rashna

    Rashna Senior Member Senior Member

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    You mean Mukeshland....:biggrin2:
     
  6. Rowdy

    Rowdy Co ja kurwa czytam! Senior Member

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    Hahaha ... now US will suffer..... Muahahahhah .....
    On a serious note.... most these guys will be UP wallahs with degrees from Banglore :rofl:
    Let us see how it works out. :biggrin2:
    One thing is for sure.... The indian lobby is gonna get bigger.
     
  7. Rashna

    Rashna Senior Member Senior Member

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    Next time you are at mukeshland u gonna get 20% off on all rides... and a free aam drink.:cruisin2:

     
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  8. Rowdy

    Rowdy Co ja kurwa czytam! Senior Member

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    Hahaha ... mickey mouse will be replaced by Munna - the domestic pet chooha.
    :rofl:
    Donald by Dheeru :lol: Goffy with Gappu hatthi
     
  9. Rashna

    Rashna Senior Member Senior Member

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    And u can play Dakuzzz af Chambal (renaming Pirates of the Caribbean) ....
     
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  10. Rowdy

    Rowdy Co ja kurwa czytam! Senior Member

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    Dakuzz of Chambal....Baba ji ki potli (dead mans chest )
     
  11. Rashna

    Rashna Senior Member Senior Member

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    Bhoot bangla (haunted mansion), Pagal Chai Sabha (Mad tea party) , Ee to chotasa duniya hai (Its a small world)......:laugh:
     
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  12. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    How does one quantify less money?

    H1B workers have to be paid a minimum salary which is decided by the county where the worker works. This is not to be confused with the minimum wage, but the minimum wage for highly skilled workers. If American workers are willing to work for that wage, they will retain their jobs.

    In other words, if an American worker costs 25% to 49% more to do a job than an H1B worker can do, where the H1B worker's salary in itself is good, then the forces of market will take effect. This is called water finding its own level.


    This is true. Working with some people can be really difficult. Many people do not understand the meaning of the words "estimated," "could," "required," etc..

    That is how many companies operate. Their own employees are small in number and they contract out projects to other companies. Whether these companies hire locals or H1B workers is up to that company.
    ___________________________________________________________________
    H1B workers are a great benefit to the country as a whole.

    • They pay hefty taxes.
    • They have to make a minimum of certain amount of money which guarantees a certain amount of money in taxes.
    • They don't vote.
    • They don't use food stamps.
    • They have to stay employed, and hence, there is no question of unemployment benefits.

    Bottom line is, H1B workers contribute more than they receive in doles, thus they are assets, not liabilities.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2015
  13. Rashna

    Rashna Senior Member Senior Member

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    1)Less money would be relative to what the US workers would get paid for doing the same jobs i guess...

    2)Is the minimum wage for H1B workers the same as the minimum wage for American citizens? If not then the employers would find it difficult to ask the american employees to take a wage cut.. I think they sometimes ask employees to work lesser number of hours to reduce the CTC.

    3) I am sure these workers are assets for the companies because they improve their profitability...I think there is also a difference because H1B workers need to stay upgraded so they can still be employable while the resident americans would more likely stagnate in their jobs rendering them unemployable in the long term.


     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2015
  14. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    To each point above:
    1. Less money relative to what the US workers were making. This means, the US workers were making more than what such a job required.
    2. Minimum wage for highly skilled jobs that H1B's do is usually around $60,000 per annum. This is much more than the federal or state minimum wages that an average Joe at McDonald's would make. So, this highly skilled job's wage is same for an employee, whether he is a a US citizen, H1B, EAD, GC, etc.. There is no difference. Hence, if a US citizen loses out to an H1B, then the reason can be a lot of things, but "cheap labour" is not the reason.
    3. These workers are assets for the company, but if you look at the holistic picture, they form a demographic that pours in more money into the government's coffers. H1B workers almost always stay upgraded. They are usually working for companies that take projects in contract. So, if they don't perform, they know they will be sent back to India. So, they study hard, constantly update themselves, and remain competitive. Some Americans are also like that, and they get to keep their jobs.
     
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  15. Rashna

    Rashna Senior Member Senior Member

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    So the claim that Americans are losing their jobs to cheap labour is untrue.... But that's how some Congressmen portray this issue and i think H1B has long been in the firing line for all the wrong reasons...

     
  16. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    They are making noises to endear themselves to their constituents. This is called pandering, or in some cases, mending the fence (look up these terms in some political terminology webpage). They are politicians. The Congress has the power to stop the H1B programme. The fact is, the H1B programme is a legal programme because laws were passed by the Congressmen to that effect.
     
  17. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    @Rashna and @Peter, I corrected a typo. The minimum salary for an H1B is decided by what county (district) he or she works in. I had written country, but I have corrected it now.
     
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  18. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Huh - same old, same old. Americans have been "beyond furious" about outsourcing for nearly 15 years now. They have been abusing Indians, their own politicians, mocking Indian workers as "cheap labour", and much more.

    There were dire predictions about how America would become a wasteland as hi-tech jobs moved to India, and lots of anti-outsourcing movements started. There were websites dedicated to bashing outsourcing (ironically, Google ads on those websites were all like: "Looking to outsource to India? Contact Accenture", etc.).

    None of those doomsday predictions came true.
     
  19. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    But of course, I am more than happy if they really put their money where their mouth is, and really "clamp down" on H1-B Visas. It will only lead to more outsourcing. American companies will scramble to open more offices in India. And this time it won't just be Bangalore/Hyderabad/Pune/NCR. They will scramble for space in Mysore, Jaipur, Coimbatore, Surat, Guwahati, etc. Nothing can be better for India.

    Indians will work in India, spend here, pay taxes here, stimulate our own economy, develop our own country.

    I say, go for it - scrap the H1-B. Nothing could be better for India.
     
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  20. Rashna

    Rashna Senior Member Senior Member

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    But one thing that did come true was their litany that the Chinese and Indians would overtake them..

     
  21. indiatester

    indiatester Regular Member

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    Oh my.. I had 3 friends working at Disney gaming section :eek1: not via the HCL route. Need to check up on their status
     
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