An Open Letter to the Laid-Off Disney Workers

Your being laid off, replaced by foreign workers, and forced to train your foreign replacements has brought you the nation’s sympathy, and even a few sympathetic comments from politicians. One of the pols even invited you to one of his rallies. Your plight has put the most focus on the H-1B program it has had since 1998, if not earlier. You are paying a very high price, but maybe some good will come from it.

I’d like to mention that I believe that the press will at some point seek your comment on proposed solutions, and I urge you to think very carefully before endorsing them. Most of them are not cures for the disease, but are instead merely palliatives — even placebos — for the symptoms.

I bring this up because I have seen at least one of you comment that Donald Trump’s statement in the debate the other night was limited to granting visas to foreign students “in the Ivy League.” Indeed, Trump did mention Harvard, Stanford and the Wharton School. I believe he meant exactly that, the really top schools, but I also believe that whoever had talked to him had misled him, using rare cases to convince him to support  very broad, general “Staple a Green Card” legislation giving automatic green cards to all foreign students earning graduate STEM degrees at any American university.

They key word here is any. “Staple” would not be limited to the Ivy League, but instead would cover hundreds of schools across the U.S., including in Florida.  The point is that under Staple tens of thousands of foreign students would be given green cards — and then hired by U.S. employers such as Disney. And since they would be new graduates, almost all of them would be YOUNG, in their 20s — and thus employers would hire THEM instead of you, who I am told are mainly in your 40s and 50s. Though the foreign workers who replaced you were cheaper due to several factors, the biggest single factor is that they are YOUNG, thus cheap.

In other words, even if Congress were to BAN outright firms like Infosys, and BAN outright replacing Americans by foreign workers, enactment of a Staple policy would mean that you would still lose jobs opportunities to the YOUNG foreign workers. Or, I should say, they would be “recently foreign,” with their newly-minted green cards. Good for them, but still, employers would hire them instead of you. Indeed, employers could even hire them to REPLACE you, because the ban on replacement by foreign workers wouldn’t apply, because hey, they would no longer be foreign. Slick, huh?

I have stated here before that I believe that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the only ones who would have substantial likelihood of addressing the problem of foreign tech workers. I still believe that. (I do have some hope for Cruz in this regard, but don’t see that this is a big issue for him.) But the industry lobbyists and their allies are very, very slick. Beware of lobbyists bearing placebos.





19 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Laid-Off Disney Workers

  1. Lots of us in our 20s and 30s, US citizens, whose applications to technology-using employers merely go into the garbage (or the electronic equivalent) because the jobs have already been offered to H-1B’s. Its not just people in their 40s and 50s suffering severe pain on account of the H-1B visa.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Norm: Thanks for your analysis of the proposed STAPLE Act harms to the career interests of experienced American citizen technical professionals such as myself. Similar harms would result from the IEEE-USA backed “Instant Green Card” proposal advanced by Morrison Public Affairs Group (MPAG,) 6004 Onodaga Road, Bethesda, MD 20816, Phone: (301) 283-1142, . MPAG consists of a pair of lobbyists, Bruce Morrison and Paul Donnelly.

    IEEE-USA has paid MPAG a total of $515,000 between 2008-2015, per the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) tabulation of the Senate Office of Public Records (SOPR) data. This is one of the reasons I discontinued my IEEE-USA membership. I urge readers of this blog to take the same action.

    Attorney Bruce Morrison is recognized as the “father of the H-1B” for his leadership in the passage of the Immigration Act of 1990 while a member of Congress. This legislation created the controversial H-1B Visa program. MPAG collected a total of $6.501 million between 2001-2011 in lobbying fees, per my tabulation of SOPR records.

    Clearly, Bruce Morrison has profited handsomely, to the tune of millions of dollars, from his H-1B Visa program advocacy. I heard him call from South Africa on behalf of the American Hospital Association during a DHS H-1B Stakeholder meeting that I attended in Washington, DC on 26 March 2010. (Details available on request.)

    For additional information regarding Attorney Bruce Morrison, I recommend the informative 22 December 2015 letter regarding citizenship discrimination when U.S. citizens are displaced by H-1B Visa beneficiaries from the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Office of Special Counsel to MPAG

    Liked by 3 people

    • IF the H-1B program had been implemented as intended, and IF employers had not started to misuse/abuse the program, and IF politicians would not have ‘sold the kitchen sink’, US workers would not be in the current mess.

      – H-1B’s were meant more as consultants, not just doing the job but also mentoring US workers, thus making themselves and similar workers in that area, no longer needed.
      – H-1B’s were meant to be in the US short-term, 2-3 years, without their wives and/or child(ren). These could visit, not live here.
      The workers had to keep their home etc. in land of origin and theyhad to go back after 2-3 years. Only in exceptional situations would another 3 years be granted.
      Green Cards would be issued to only a few of them.
      – The H-1B had to be the person needed exactly for the job the petition was filed for. The first decision in the process was made by the DOL of the State where the co. – and the job – were located.

      The first rot set in when employers were allowed to pay ‘prevailing wage’ instead of consultancy fees (2-3x times higher).
      The second set-back was allowing ‘staffing co.’s’ to bring in workers.
      The third strike was the Y2K scare that employers saw as a great opportunity to bring in larger numbers of H-1B’s.

      Please learn from history. Otherwise it will be repeated.


      • Unfortunately, your history is not correct. There was never any requirement, for example, that “the H-1B had to be needed exactly for the job.” You seem to be thinking of green cards, not H-1B.


        • I remember my husband’s H-1B petition in 1993: a thick file that had to be evaluated at the State DOL. Our lawyer kept hammering on the requirement I mentioned. We needed to provide extensive documentation about my husbands education, work experience – degrees, letters from previous employers, etc. The co. that wanted to hire my husband needed to provide detailed information about the job. The position had to be advertised (again) a few times. The approval of the petition took several weeks.

          For the Green Card procedure the employer needed to advertise rather extensively and the responses had to be forwarded to the DOL in the state where the co. was located. Applicants deemed adequate had to be invited for an interview with the employer, and a report had to be submitted to the DOL.
          The requirement for a Green Card was not simply “the right person for the job”. The employer needed to provide proof that it was not possible to find a US worker who could do the job.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Again, don’t confuse H-1B and green cards. They are both abused, and are both harmful to Americans, but they have quite different requirements. And the GC process is not nearly so rigorous as the massive paperwork would seem to imply.


          • Thanks for sharing. It seems like the DOL has softened their due diligence process or even outright thrown it out the window. It’s like they’re just rubber stamping these LCAs.

            I’ve commented here about the DOLs ‘processing’ of the LCAs is where most of the fraud and government’s lack of enforcing regulation.


  3. You don’t have to be a STEM worker to appreciate the plight of these American workers who are being sacrificed on the Altar of Greed. Both political parties are part of a well-orchestrated war against American workers at all skill levels, and nothing is going to change until our citizens in larger numbers rise up and hold accountable those people they send to Washington to represent their interests.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’d like to see the former Disney employees set up their own tech shop and compete directly with Disney. That would be interesting, given their experience and skills would exceed their replacements. Might be funny to see Disney demoted to a 2nd-rate outfit as a result.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The “staple green card” legislation will never become true. Not only immigration hardliners will oppose, tech industry will also oppose because they will lose control over their workforce. The only group which will support is those lower ranked / low quality US colleges who cannot find enough students but I do not believe they have strong lobbying power in congress.

    Even I myself , as an international student, will oppose “staple green card” because I believe green card should be earned and it should not be gifted through automatic channel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is a lot the tech industry could do to Staple to make it palatable to them. One would be to make the “stapling” process very slow, either explicitly or subtly. Also, even with Staple, the industry would still get a large supply of young workers, which is major.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. There are a whole variety of things that i have about the H1B program. One of the biggest ones is that it takes away my right to boycott a company and make an impact. For example, I have a skill set that would be valuable to intel or Microsoft, but I will never work for them because of their love of the H1B program. I will never apply to an open requisition. I would rather work at McDonalds.

    I think that there needs to be a way to ask “Is there no qualified workers, or do they not want to work for you?”

    At the very least, I think the visa fee should be about 45k per visa, maybe per year. To offset the cost of the American worker being on government programs. And, a 110k salary minimum isn’t high enough because a recent PhD grad could make that in SV today. This only “kinda” fixes the problem.

    The other problem that I have with the H1B program is that a person in Ohio applying for a job in CA is not qualified because the company doesn’t want to relocate them and because the company doesn’t think that that person is willing to relocate themselves. If there is a shortage and we want the best and brightest, we should be willing to pay to relocate an Ohioan to California. We need to search America first. Companies willing to sponsor a visa should be willing to sponsor relocation cost of the guy moving from Ohio or Kansas.

    I’ve been at companies that will say an American is not a cultural fit. Maybe, but if he’s the only American that applied and he can do the job then he should get it. Ruling Americans out because they are not cultural fits one, sounds like discrimination, and two, sounds like a person has the choice to be picky. Why do companies get to be picky about American workers if there’s a (haha) shortage?

    There are about 50 jobs I’ve applied to in the past 2 years that were looking for what would be an equivalent of a Junior Mechanical or Physics Engineer (~2 yrs ex) using or making a labview program to take measurements. Now, Labview offers about a dozen plus courses about 300 each. The companies claimed they couldn’t find any one to fill the job. Why should they be able to hire someone abroad instead of paying for a few hours of labview training? This has to be the most outrageous part of this whole thing. Companies expect “instant worker” without investing into their workers at all. And, knowing a software someone else doesn’t doesn’t make you genius.

    There needs to be a regulation that forces companies to train US workers. I would support an H1B program that had a 6 month long visa stay and the visa holder TRAINED AMERICAN workers. Since the recession companies have cut their training programs too. How can they cut training programs for the past 5 years and expect there to be workers with 5 years of experience?

    Also, the program should understand that STEM is a variety of fields not just one. Right now, IT is getting hit hard. But passing the problem off to another section like chemical engineering isn’t the answer. If the program must exist, it should look at which “niche” fields have a shortage.

    Finally, if we have an H1B program, we need to look at how grads from top US colleges are doing. Here is Ohio State:

    54% of the EE’s from last years graduating class found work. OSU has one of the top EE programs in the country. The school is telling the students the economy is hard and to be happy if they get an offer after they spent roughly 50k to 60k on tuition (not including housing books, etc). This isn’t right. This kids thought an EE degree was the ticket to the middle class, avoided “arts” and “women’s studies” and yet they are probably even more screwed because you can’t get an EE degree from one of the most competitive colleges in the country and have a part time job. There needs to be a tie in with the schools on why these programs are failing to poorly ranked schools in India that don’t have a GPA or accreditation system, and are ranked at around 350 as opposed to osu which is like #34 in the worlds best university listing.

    On a personal note, I want to know how a company like Intel compares an OSU grad with a 3.0 GPA to an India grad from Mumbai Technical Institute. Because the education system and ranking are different. And I think grads from OSU are better because it’s a better school. But, then again, Intel doesn’t have academic requirements for it’s positions in India. They only want the “best and brightest” in the US for some reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent points. You have brought up several issues that are rarely discussed – how companies do not invest in training or apprenticeship programs anymore or have unrealistic job requirements (the ‘unicorn’ job postings). I’ve commented on these in Mr. Matloff’s other blog posts.

      In a job that a recent college grad can do, they’ll advertise it as requiring someone with 3-5 years of experience, or in a job that can be done by an IT professional who can learn a specific software program in an afternoon or a day or a week, they’ll post the job as requiring someone with 3-5 years of experience in that software program, or in a developer/engineer job that works with the latest technology or programming language, the company posts the job as requiring X years of experience of this latest version when a developer or engineer with many years of experience with multiple previous versions can easily learn the newest version. I’ve seen job postings requiring 5 years of experience with a technology that just came out 3 years ago.

      This ‘pickiness’ or unrealistic requirements also extends to companies not considering non-local (out-of-state or in a different city in-state) American workers who are willing to relocate or to consider remote work. With technology today, a lot of work can be done remotely. I know – I’ve done remote work via email, phone, skype, desktop sharing (webex, gotomeeting, etc), slack, online file repositories (git, dropbox, etc).


  7. >>> the industry lobbyists and their allies are very, very slick.

    Amen to that. employers and (immigration) lawyer cartel is very very powerful. the allies include chamber, IEEE and the likes… they are so slick that in one instance Donnelly (Morrison’s associate) was placating some one over twitter that their proposal would ‘increase’ greencards, but deliberately left out the fact that H-1 visa numbers would be hiked several times higher than the proposed greencard visa ‘hike’.

    Sadly, such is koolaid that congressmen and their staffers are given by these lobyyists/cartels.


  8. Mr. Matloff,

    Thank you for pointing this out. It’s like a diversionary tactic or a head fake for an end run. We and the media are all focusing on calling this the ‘companies are bringing in foreign workers who are cheap’ problem when the fact is that companies are also doing this to hire young(er) workers who are not only cheap but can work longer hours, don’t have a family or kids that may distract them from work, easier to manage/control, don’t question authority, don’t rock the boat, etc.

    I really think that there are 3 attractive things about these foreign workers & students, and that is they are:
    1. cheaper
    2. younger
    3. subservient

    What you bring up is important because we keep bringing up that H1B rules be changed so that companies pay more/higher wages if they want to bring in foreign workers. If companies value numbers 2 & 3 just as much, then they won’t mind paying the higher wage because they’ll still get younger, more subservient workers.


  9. You will hear businesses say they have moved offshore because of the regulations.
    What you won’t hear them say is that they want to be able to work these guys 24 hrs per day until they drop with little money so that they can say “Next” when they drop.

    With an American they couldn’t do that.

    Saiyed also states in the complaint — and I have a little trouble believing this one — that he had stay at work after the office was closed and had to work in the dark.


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