As I noted the other day, a number of UC San Francisco IT workers held a rally yesterday, to protest being laid off and forced to train their foreign replacements. Several reports have been posted in the press, including one in Computerworld, one in the San Jose Mercury News, and one on KPIX-TV, the SF CBS affiliate.
The print pieces have more detail, but the TV report is useful for its visual depiction of the racial diversity of the protesting workers. This diversity is in stark contrast to UC’s post-election statement, which stated that, in spite of Donald Trump’s election,
The University of California is proud of being a diverse and welcoming place for students, faculty and staff with a wide range of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Diversity is central to our mission.
That UC would have an official and negative response to the election of a president is, I believe, unprecedented, especially in view of it being at odds with the manner in which UC treats its diverse labor force.
Oakland (UC talk for UC system headquarters) seems to be compounding this PR problem by stating, “UC does not plan to use the H-1B program to bring in foreign professionals…” This seems to be one of those fingers-crossed-behind-back statements that are so common in employer announcements. From the press reports, firms like HCL, not UC, are the actual employers, and of course the workers may be L-1s rather than H-1Bs. So the UC statement amounts to slick evasion, as is the fact that at least some of the training appears to be international communication via Skype.
I heard a rumor, unconfirmed, that UCSF sent an e-mail message warning workers not to attend the rally. If true, that would violate UC policy in umpteen ways, so I presume no such message was sent, but the situation as a whole is already disturbing enough.