Are U.S. jobs vulnerable to workers with H-1B visas?, CBS 60 minutes March 19, 2017, Loophole allows American companies to fill gaps in the workforce from overseas with highly skilled employees
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I watch little network TV.
Occasionally I watch 60 Minutes.
I am glad I did so last night.
From CBS 60 minutes March 19, 2017.
“Are U.S. jobs vulnerable to workers with H-1B visas?
“60 Minutes” investigates how some businesses have fired American workers and replaced them with cheaper labor: temporary, foreign workers with H-1B visas”
“Protecting American jobs was a signature theme of President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign. A frequent target of candidate Trump was the H-1B visa program. The program, created more than 25 years ago, allows American companies to fill gaps in the workforce from overseas with highly skilled employees, who can’t be found in the U.S. Many businesses use the program as intended, but we discovered more and more are taking advantage of loopholes in the law to fire American workers and replace them with younger, cheaper, temporary foreign workers with H-1B visas. But before the American workers walk out the door they often face the humiliating prospect of having to train the people taking their jobs.
Last October, Robert Harrison, a senior telecom engineer at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, was called to a meeting at the university with about 80 of his IT co-workers.
“It’s gonna be a matter of time before everybody else feels the same burden, the same pinch, the same hurt that we’re feeling right here at UCSF. It’s a matter of time.” Robert Harrison
Bill Whitaker: What did they say to you?
Robert Harrison: We are sorry to inform you that as of Feb. 28, you’ll no longer have a job. We’re going to outsource your position to this company in India.
Bill Whitaker: To a company in India.
Robert Harrison: Yes, sir.
Robert Harrison CBS NEWS
Harrison was told he could stay on the job, get paid for four more months, and get a bonus if he trained his replacement.
Robert Harrison: And now I’m being told that I h– not only gonna lose my job, but also have to train these people to take my job.
Bill Whitaker: Are you angry?
Robert Harrison: Pissed. That exceeds angry. I’m really not a violent guy. I love people. But I’ve envisioned myself just backhanding the guy as he’s sitting next to me, trying to learn what I know. And I was like, God, please don’t let them send anybody to sit next to me, to shadow me. I don’t want to do this. I really don’t.
“I think, for once, we’re gonna stand up as Americans and say enough is enough. We’re not gonna take it anymore.” Kurt Ho
Harrison and his colleagues staged a protest outside the Medical Center. His fellow worker, senior systems administrator Kurt Ho is losing his job too. He had just trained his replacement from India.
Kurt Ho: I think, for once, we’re gonna stand up as Americans and say enough is enough. We’re not gonna take it anymore.
Sara Blackwell: Thank you for standing up for what you believe in.
Their rally was organized by this woman: Florida attorney Sara Blackwell.
Sara Blackwell: This is about the companies making the decision that you are worthless to them.
She represents hundreds of U.S. workers who were fired and replaced by foreign workers with H-1B visas.
Sara Blackwell: When you tell someone their real reason for getting rid of these jobs is for cheap foreign labor that should offend everyone.
Bill Whitaker: They have to train the worker who’s going to take their job?
Sara Blackwell: Right. They are told by their company: if you don’t train this person in a way that we approve of them being trained, then you don’t get your severance.
The UCSF Medical Center is a highly regarded state-run institution. Administrators say outsourcing the IT jobs could save $30 million taxpayer over the next five years. That’s a fraction of the university’s $5.8 billion annual budget, but to Robert Harrison, it’s his job.
Robert Harrison: I can’t wrap my mind around training somebody to take my position. You know, it’s my livelihood. How am I supposed to feel?
Bill Whitaker: I’ve heard some workers say this is like digging your own grave. Is that what it feels like?
Robert Harrison: It feels worse than that. It feels like not only am I digging the grave, but I’m getting ready to stab myself in the gut and fall into the grave.”