Non-News: SCE Exonerated (and Watch This Senate Hearing)

A new Computerworld article is really non-news, but will be highly relevant to a Senate hearing to be held on February 25.

Last year, a storm of controversy erupted after it was revealed that Southern California Edison, Disney and others had fired American IT workers, replacing them with foreign workers and forcing the Americans to train their foreign replacements. Since these firms obtained the foreign workers from the Indian outsourcing giant Infosys, a number of people concluded (falsely, as discussed below) that the “Infosyses” — not just that firm, but also including Tata Consulting Services, Wipro and so on — are the main abusers of the H-1B work visa. Calls for federal investigations ensued.

The Dept. of Justice has just finished its investigation of SCE, and found that the firm had complied with the law. In my blog title here, I characterize this finding as “non-news.” I’m sure that many reading this will think I mean something along the lines of “Our corrupt government has once again ignored the law and sided with Big Business.” Well, the word “corrupt” is correct here, but the conclusion is wrong; the fact is that SCE truly was in compliance with the law, as I’ve stated all along. Thus the DOJ finding is non-news.

Instead the real corruption is in Congress, for enacting such an industry-favorable statute in the first place, back in 1990 — and for continuing to do the industry’s bidding ever since.

Case in point:  A hearing to be held by the Senate Immigration Subcommittee next Thursday titled “The Impact of High-Skilled Immigration on U.S. Workers.”

I’ve heard only rumors, but it’s a good bet that this hearing will be a kangaroo court that excoriates the Infosyses but implicitly (maybe even explicitly) gives the “Intels” (mainstream U.S. firms) a free pass. No doubt the committee will point to the DOL finding and state the loopholes in H-1B law need to be plugged, and offer the Durbin-Grassley bill as the remedy. If this is indeed how the hearing indeed unfolds, it will mislead the American people into thinking that the bill would plug the loopholes when it in fact would do very little to help American tech workers, even making things worse. This way, the Senate will protect its industry patrons while assuring Americans that its action will help them. Downright Machiavellian, I’d say.

Even more Machiavellian is the fact that I’ve heard the IEEE-USA — a leader in the Intels Good, Infosyses Bad movement — has been recruiting American tech workers to testify at this hearing, or at least submit written statements. Like the title of the hearing, this sounds great, but actually it will likely be a move to present the Americans as supporting the bill — a bill that they won’t realize will NOT help them.

Granted, the Infosyses are no angels, but the Intels are in fact just as culpable as the Infosyses, in some senses even more so. Moreover, even if Congress were to legislate the Infosyses out of business entirely, the SCEs and Disneys would still enjoy business as usual in terms of hiring foreign workers.

Watch the hearing. The senators will begin with speeches, each of which will mention the word replace repeatedly, itself egregiously misleading, a sure tipoff of what is to come. As cases of congressional deception go, this one will be hard to beat.

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14 thoughts on “Non-News: SCE Exonerated (and Watch This Senate Hearing)

  1. Which is why I would love to be there.
    Sure I would probably stick my foot in my mouth, but it is better than what we are getting so far.

    Please, somebody.
    Somebody with more political skills than I have

    Stand up tall and proud for Americans in America.

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  2. Norm: You are correct that it is almost impossible to obtain a finding that employer conduct regarding the controversial H-1B Visa program is actionable. The reason is that employer interests inserted so many loopholes into the program to protect their economic interests. Thanks to a Rob Sanchez article archive, I was able to quickly locate the informative title of a 09 March 2003 Business Week article, “A Visa Loophole as Big as a Mainframe” The URL is http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/stories/2003-03-09/a-visa-loophole-as-big-as-a-mainframe. This article discusses one of the loopholes that permits employers to import essentially unlimited numbers of L-1 Visa beneficiaries each year (in addition to myriad other work visa programs such as H-1B)

    To see the millions of work visa admissions under the “top 5” higher-skilled work visa programs, please see
    http://tinyurl.com/10-Trillions-Lost and http://tinyurl.com/Greedier-Gates-Scheme Spoiler Alert: The tabulations show that in excess of 37 million work visa admissions have occurred between 1976-2010. As a consequence of employer interests aggressively “lobbying” the Obama administration, the sum of the annual admission rates for these five programs jumped well above 2 million/year in 2010.

    Even though it seems to be an exercise in futility, given the outsized influence of greedy amoral economic elites, I continue to call for termination of programs such as H-1B under the principle that this legislation constitutes harmful “bad law.”

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    • Actually, I created the app at https://labor.shinyapps.io/lca1/ . Hence, if anyone sees any problems or has any suggestions, please let me know. The Usage tab gives instructions for using it. As I see it, it has two basic functions. The most common one is display information on every Labor Condition Application (LCA) for H-1B workers by any specific company, including the worksite city and state if desired. This includes the prevailing and offered wages. The second use is to look at applications across companies. The Usage tab describes how this can be used to find numerous errors in the LCAs. Among other things, the errors suggest that the validation of LCAs is very good at catching an offered wage below the prevailing wage but is very bad at catching obvious errors in data entry.

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      • @Econ Data, Thanks for the portal on H-1. While that is certainly a good thing, I’d love to see some data on L-1s as well – Only source that can provide L-1 is DOS (by the way of # of visas provided). So much that everyone is yelling about the recent layoffs at Disney/Edison/other places on H-1, no one really knows how many L-1s were in that mix that the workers had to ‘transfer’ their knowledge to.

        The Grassley/Durbin/Sessions bills touch briefly upon the L-1, but that’s just the tip of an iceberg. In fact, there is an uptick in recent years in L-1 visa issuance (ever since H-1 quota is getting oversubscribed). That said, I am yet to see the actual numbers on L-1.

        My fear is that with all the anti H-1 rhetoric going on, congress might say “okay we will tighten H-1” but relax/open up L-1 rules in the background.

        As for tomorrow’s hearing, I don’t expect to hear anything new to make the congress act – The job losses will continue unfortunately with a status quo. Senators will “appear to be” aggravated/exhausted/frustrated – That’s pretty much it!

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      • its a darn good start and I’m glad to see that you created it.

        I published it so that the viewers out there searching for answers could see for themselves using your data and because I have been challenging the programmers of America for over 45 days now to step up to the plate, analyze the data, and expose the data to their circle of friends so that their name will not end up on the displaced list

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  3. No one is giving Intel or IBM or Convergys or MSFT or Bank of India a “free pass”. Yes, they abuse the H-1B visa program. Yes, they abuse it just as they and their lobbyists planned when they hatched it. And so do Tata, Infosys, Princeton, Felonious State, Wipro and all the rest, and each and every one if them deserves severe criticism, boycotts, derision, infamy, law-suits… Until and unless they apologize, cease, make sone restitution, and desist.

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    • No. The highest bidder would end up paying less than the benefit they would accrue. This would not occur in a perfect market, of course, but this would not be a perfect market, in lots of ways.

      Just look at the figure given in that article: An auction process would raise as much as $1 billion annually. With 65,000 H-1Bs, that would work out to $15,000 per foreign worker — much less than the employer gains in salary savings in employing the H-1B at cheap labor over 6 years or more.

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  4. “Instead the real corruption is in Congress, for enacting such an industry-favorable statute in the first place, back in 1990 — and for continuing to do the industry’s bidding ever since.”

    Recall the H-1B’s low income cousins, the H-2B and H-2A visas. Employers want to pay 3D workers (dirty, demanding, dangerous) minimum or near minimum wages (<$10/hour). I found guest lawn workers earning less than minimum wage (six month training wage for a job that last less than 10 months (seasonal worker)). These workers should earn more than an indoor retail worker.

    If Corporate America can justify importing workers to do jobs paying less the $10/hour (no qualified applicants, americans lazy, etc) then Corporate America can use the same logic for higher skilled jobs with higher wages.

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  5. Vote for Hillary! She can get something done… Well, maybe not. She has Tata ties. Vote for Bernie!! Love his politics. But maybe not. His proposed economics are worse than that of the Republicans, and he probably couldn’t get anything done. God forbid, vote for the Donald!! No, his economics are worse than Bernie’s….but he said he’d bring back jobs. Is this what it would take to break the stranglehold of Congress and set right this whole H-1B mess? It’s a bit too much the man on a white horse-scary!

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