Tech Workers Group Takes a Wrong Turn

Many in the world see us Americans as being obsessed about race. Today, for instance, a journalist and book author whom I admire (and have praised here) tweeted that the only reason people, indeed “progressive” ones!, voted for Trump was that they are racist. In certain circles, the “R word” seems to be the default explanation for any problem.

This is not to say that everyone in the US has 100% healthy racial attitudes. Far from it. Today’s testimony in the Harvard admissions lawsuit includes some disturbing stories about the way white students view and treat underrepresented minorities. And need I mention the acts of violence against, blacks, browns and now Jews?

Over the years of my writing on the H-1B work visa, I have explained, with some irritation, to numerous reporters who contact me that H-1B is NOT about race. If one loses a job, directly or indirectly to a foreign worker because the statutes are so lax, one does not care what the race of the foreigner is; losing a job is losing a job. Reporters, coming from their “race is the answer” echo chambers, have a hard time getting this. I’ve been interacting with anti-H-1B activists for nearly 25 years, and I’ve never encountered any with bad attitudes toward people of color; indeed many are POC themselves.

And yet…I was contacted last week by a member of an organization called Protect US Workers (PUW). The member, whom I’ll call Lucinda, asked if I might join in their teleconference. I knew little more about the organization than it was headed by attorney Sara Blackwell. I told Lucinda that I have a profound disagreement with Ms. Blackwell, who I am sure is well-meaning but who is actually harming the cause of H-1B reform by her emphasis on the “Infosyses”; this will result in a LARGER H-1B program, as I’ve explained before.

But Lucinda, in urgent proselytizing mode, repeatedly pressed me to look into PUW’s lobbying against HR 392, a bill being promoted by Immigration Voice, an organization of H-1Bs who are stuck in an interminable wait for green card approval. The cause of their troubles is that current green card law allocates the same yearly number of green cards for each country of origin. Since the tech green card applicants are mainly Indian and Chinese, their wait times are years or even decades. HR 392 would remove the per-country limits while preserving the current overall cap.

I am well aware of the bill (on which I have been neutral), but I wondered why Lucinda was so agitated. If enacted, the bill would not increase the number of jobs available to US citizens and permanent residents. After a few more DM iterations on Twitter, it came out: Lucinda resents the Indians. She’d been mistreated by them, and extrapolates that to all Indians. HR 392 would reduce green cards for “our allies,” in Europe and Israel. She is not bothered by the Chinese H-1Bs, just the Indians. Revenge.

Mind you, I can understand Lucinda’s frustration. I constantly hear from American techies who tell me (and often show me) that Indian recruiters are contacting them for jobs that they (the Americans) will never be actually considered for. And Lucinda’s racial problem appears to be rather mild. But it IS a problem, and apparently is one that is common in PUW, judging from the public tweets.

PUW, “Keep your eyes on the prize.” Don’t get sidetracked.

40 thoughts on “Tech Workers Group Takes a Wrong Turn

  1. Norm:

    I think it is about Nationality, Race, Gender and Age
    or Affirmative Action in general.

    The rational reason why I think this way is because
    the H-1b program utilizes Affirmative Action ( Virtue Signaling )
    to achieve it’s goals.

    However, laws are reflexive.
    That is, in theory, the laws also protect a white male ( for example ).
    The laws protect . . .

    all nationalities,
    all races,
    all genders and
    all aged / elderly.

    If lawyers don’t use these same laws to protect US Citizens,
    then how do you propose lawyers protect the US Citizen clients ?

    Or are you suggesting that in the context of H-1b program problems,
    US Citizens should not even try to protect themselves, legally ?

    What’s your solution ?

    Like

    • First, specific to your post,
      There is nothing “affirmative action” about H1B usage. Quite the opposite.
      The “embrace diversity” messaging is disingenuous miscast as “affirmative action”, to bury wide spread abuse of illegitimate work visa usage, and illegal employment. Both used to discriminate against citizenry.

      Second, your understanding of Norm’s post is WAY off.
      He’s saying objections to H1B, cast as racism by reporters, is misinterpretation of what the objections are based on, using it to supplant citizen workers. It is discriminatory against citizenry. Furthermore, something Norm spends some time on, is that it is discriminatory against visa’d workers.

      Lastly, prolific use of illegal and visa’d workers is creating a second class workforce, to evade labor market competition and labor law. And much as Wall St spends on the spin “worker shortage”/”skills shortage”, note none of the political mouthpieces propose “Hired? Green card from day 1.”, because cheap and employer indenture is the goal.

      Like

  2. Amen,

    People of all countries need jobs.
    The reason for the caravan is that they believe we have jobs here.

    First grade math will tell you that as our population increases, we need more jobs for the people that want to work no matter what race they are and where they are from.

    But free trade agreements decrease available jobs by sending them to other countries.
    And a tidal wave of non-immigrant guest workers and even illegal immigration also decreases the available jobs.

    Which leaves highly skilled American citizens with nowhere to turn other than this.

    Like

    • Thanks for posting that. I would recommend that everyone watch the PBS episode at https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/brutal-job-search-reality-for-older-americans-out-of-work in which Geoffrey Weglarz was interviewed. You can also read the transcript there. At 3:21, economist Alicia Munnell describes the reasons that HR people have given for their aversion to hiring older workers. At 6:12, Nick Corcodilos of AsktheHeadHunter.com puts most of the burden on the job-seeker, saying “it’s up to the worker to go out and bring themselves up to speed and do it in an aggressive way, do it as quickly as possible.” Then, at 7:02, I was surprised to hear Munnell say that “most of the studies show that people’s abilities peak around age 40 and then sort of decline gently thereafter”. I think that the best comment was at 9:23 where Joe Carbone, President of “The Workplace” says the following:

      > We have got special programs here for veterans, and we should, for people with disabilities, and we should, you know, for dislocated workers, and we should. We see a new population that are unemployable because of the length of their unemployment occurring during the worst recession since the Great Depression, and we’re just ignoring them, ignoring them.

      > I can’t tell you what that does to me. I love this country so much, but I can’t imagine that we would ever leave any of our citizens, any of our brothers and sisters, to be part of a process that’s declaring them hopeless. And that’s what’s going on.

      The one change is that this situation is likely to continue far into the future, long after the Financial Crisis. It’s long seemed questionable that we have something that’s necessary to life, a job, almost totally dependent on the vagaries of the free market. The solution is not simple. Of course, you cannot guarantee people a certain type of job at a salary that they feel they deserve. But our current system seems to be to throw people into the deep end of the job pool with the knowledge that necessity will motivate the great majority to somehow find their way to the shallow end. Geoffrey Weglarz did not, despite being a seemingly intelligent and sincere person in the interview. Even being able to state his situation on national television did not help him make it to the “shallow end”.

      Like

      • It’s not a matter of deserve. It’s a matter of fair competition, in the labor market.
        For instance, visa’d workers are 360 degree non-compete, illegal to have non-compete among employers for US workers.
        For many reasons, hiring a foreign worker is an endrun around US labor law.
        And for many foreign workers, accepting a US job is an endrun around US immigration law.
        There is no good reason employers should have control over immigration. Either in visa usage such as H1B, L1, etc., or in employment based green card allocation.
        Shortage has never been verified by anyone.

        Like

        • Agreed. In working with H-1B workers, I found that negative conditions experienced by one group of workers often affect all workers. The fact that an H-1B worker is largely tied to the company that they work for makes them more valuable to the company. As a result, it makes native workers less valuable, regardless of how qualified they might be. Regarding claims of STEM shortages, I’ve posted links to analyses of many of them at http://econdataus.com/h1bdata.htm and am yet able to find one that stands up to any scrutiny. Regarding H-1B workers, it is useful to look at the document titled “Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers, Fiscal Year 2017” at https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/nativedocuments/Characteristics_of_H-1B_Specialty_Occupation_Workers_FY17.pdf . Table 4B shows that 75 percent of all H-1B are from India and Table 5 shows that nearly 90 percent of continuing H-1B workers are under the age of 40.

          Like

          • A few questions for you Econ Admin, regarding your web site’s data,
            – 1 LCA requesting 200 workers, do they submit 200 resumes and 200 job descriptions with the 1 application?
            – 1 LCA is 1 lottery entry, or 200 entries because of number of workers requested?
            – Ernst & Young, thousands upon thousands requested and certified, way beyond what they claim as their total staff, yet not H1B dependent, any idea what’s going on?
            (given OFLC calls it the H1B database, I’m presuming they don’t have a second
            Thanks for any clarification you may have.

            Like

          • Regarding http://econdataus.com/claim600k.htm, the claim that there are 600K jobs open and you list reasons there may be “bogus” ads, you missed one.
            Employment based green card applications require the employer advertise the job in 3 locations.
            If this article is right, then there are at least 1,119,000 bogus jobs ads from pending Indian/Chinese employment based GCs queued alone.
            https://www.politico.com/newsletters/morning-shift/2018/08/21/who-cares-about-country-caps-322742

            Like

    • First of all, we don’t have free trade.
      The trade agreements trade entire markets, including labor, as in visa’d. This is further promoted by UN’s Migration Policy Institute, as both direct aid to third world via jobs in the West and resultant remittances, and as a means to up GDP, which is mainly going to the 1%, in saved wages, and in new household goods purchases.
      Furthermore, industry is free to move goods and workers, however, the public is not free to move goods or themselves. Can I move to Germany and start importing pharmaceuticals to sell there, of my own volition? No.
      This, around the world, has wiped out small business and the micro-business of selling one’s labor. The majority of the population in West/Westernized countries.
      In the dismantling of economic stability of populations, so comes the unraveling of political and cultural stability. Because moving the public toward $7.25 or less, doesn’t pay for cars, homes, college education. And neoliberalism’s Investor State First And Only trade “deals” are not democratic.

      Like

  3. That group is not headed by me-Sara Blackwell.
    Also, I have several aspects of the outsourcing/offshoring business model that media won’t pick up.
    Keep up your work. I do appreciate all you do.

    Like

  4. FYI, Norm, I saw that you were referenced in this thread:

    https://politics.stackexchange.com/questions/33883/do-immigrants-to-the-us-use-up-more-welfare/33888#33888

    Part of the problem is that there no longer seems to be diversity in the H-1B population. When I first met H-1Bs in the ’90s, they were not just from India. I met Chinese, Koreans, Brazilians, Russians, Ukrainians, Middle Easterners, Israelis, Mexicans and other nationalities. But in the last ten years, its rare that I meet any H-1Bs that are not Indian.

    In my past 2 organizations, 90-100% of the DBAs were Indian males. A large percentage of the testers were Indian females. IT management is increasingly Indian. In the trade papers, I’m seeing more and more CIOs that are Indian.

    If you lose your job in IT and all you’ve seen are Indian faces, its easy to understand the anger and resentment. You feel that the deck is stacked against you. But I’m not trying to justify hate, violence or prejudice.

    Where are all the SJWs that scream about diversity?

    Like

      • Norm,
        Maybe that means Intels are good and Infosyses are bad? Hee Hee…

        I think when you look at the Total Number of H-1B Visas (for ALL Companies) granted a majority of them are Indian. Back in the late 1990’s early 2000’s before I left the industry, the consulting company I worked for was like a mini Infosyses. They would hire 70% Inidan, 20% South African, and 10% American. The latter two groups were for conversing with our customers writing specifications etc.

        Despite my poor writing skills, about 50% of my job was writing specs and proposals, phone calls, and customer meetings.
        PS
        Many of the Indians were nice guys, a few even spoke the Kings English with a British Accent.

        Like

      • It’s neither irrelevant, nor “diverse”, Norm.
        Google HR, as I’ve mentioned before, publicly said their interviewing staff has “unconscious bias”, in which only male, young, and white or Asian are the only ones they’ll consider for candidacy. There’s nothing “diverse” about that. And that is not at all unusual in tech hiring.
        Second, the racism in H1B usage is not irrelevant either.
        https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-05/india-s-tcs-faces-u-s-jury-over-why-it-fires-so-many-americans
        The industrial driver may be cheap, indentured, but also used for compatriot immigration, the rollup is race, age, gender and nationality discriminatory. Which is anything but “diverse”.

        Like

    • That StackExchange thread suggests that StackExchange may be overreaching in trying to include politics among its stable of fact-based topics. Political discussions do not resolve to agreed facts, and often involve deliberate obfuscation.

      For example, there’s an attempt to de-legitimize CIS by referencing think-tanks and scholars, while omitting the fact that CIS is itself a think-tank, and respected scholars write for it. Also, some of the think-tanks they seem to rely on are often considered to be biased.

      The reference to Norm’s paper implies it’s been refuted, by presenting one claim, but fails to recognise or acknowledge that the claim is irrelevant.

      What a mess.

      Like

  5. Your National Origin ( USA ) and your Race and your Age and your Gender are extremely relevent.

    Otherwise, the EEOC would not exist.

    If you have a complaint, share it with the EEOC.

    Also contact a Civil Rights attorney.

    Like

      • > EEOC is useless, at least in San Francisco.

        In a way, the EEOC is useless because ironically, they have their own inherent biases, limited budget and the EEOC is likely to choose to NOT support one’s case ” financially ” in a court ( nor file the case for you ).

        However, the EEOC will do an investigation and produce a ” Right To Suit Letter “.
        The letter is required before filing the case in a court and the EEOC investigation results are the input to the courts discovery process.
        This is why I say file complaints with the EEOC and get guidance from an attorney along the way.

        It sucks that individuals, especially engineers, would have to dedicate their own resources to become knowledgeable with Civil Rights, but that’s the way it is ( unless there is a class action suit ).
        Civil Rights, theoretically, protect individuals but unfortunately requires legal action.
        It sucks.
        I don’t know of any other solution.

        Like

        • I was referring to a specific case. The EEOC invited me to give a talk, very nice, but when I suggested a specific employer they should investigate, they stonewalled. (There was a victim but he understandably was not willing to bring a complaint.) The District Director (N. CA, OR, WA etc.) is Bill Tamayo, a long-time activist in promoting immigration.

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      • EEOC and attorneys are useless here in Texas as well.

        I know somebody that worked for usaa for about 26 years as a project manager.
        As a kid, he got into trouble that was considered a misdemeanor.

        This year, apparently he has a new boss, who apparently has a live in H-1B friend who has now taken his position after they let him go because this was on his record, even though he had worked there for 26 years with this on his record.

        I gave him a list of all of the attorneys I knew about who talk the H-1B talk.
        Apparently they don’t walk the H-1B walk as none would take his case.

        And we wonder why nobody will support our cause?

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  6. When I started in tech in the 1980’s about half the staff were female programmers because we were cheap labor. I was hired for my first job by an Indian guy, probably because I was the only assembly language programmer he could find.

    The H1B system is all about getting the cheapest most subservient labor you can get. It’s modern day slavery. Unfortunately, that’s a cultural reality in India that translates well into the H1B system, at the expense of US workers.

    Like

  7. Wonder how did this happen? It’s not an Indians’ fault that they train for skills that are in demand and eventually get the jobs. Let’s not get into the argument of quality or that Indian H1b are mediocre etc., in fact reverse is true actually non-Indian H1bs are mediocre and get hired only for diversity sake these days. Folks in Silicon Valley are being hired for QA and other low tech (like customer support) type of jobs out of 6-week boot camps and these are not Indians.

    Another case in point, when I lived in America a few years back in the Bay Area. I used to meet a lot of Japanese students / part-time restaurant workers and most of them were studying accounting at De Anza College with the hope to transfer to universities after 2 years. On the contrary, the Indians were studying Computer Science and other engineering at San Jose State as well as Cal Poly.

    Like

    • “It’s not an Indians’ fault…”
      It is when compatriotism is the min criteria to be considered a candidate for hire.
      We call it racism.
      Even worse, my H1B coworkers argued over which part of India the next hire had to be from. Before the job was even posted. That’s not skills based.

      Like

      • That’s quite interesting from a cultural point of view. What were the regions they preferred to hire from, and did they discuss the reasons?

        Like

        • My cube was surrounded by H1B workers from India and China, and they argued overhead between the cubes the next hire should be North Indian, South Indian, China born Chinese or American born Chinese. No, they never gave any reasons.
          Now, years later, as Americans, with American born children, they (themselves, their spouses, their children) are feeling the effects of what they used to be proponents of.
          Mr’s experiences even worse. Only hires with the same last Indian name. Each hire must be from a different country. Only hires from those he (employer) personally knew back in India.

          Like

  8. Indian American immigrant here that also works for PUW. In fact, our group has a small number of Indian immigrants who support and push our message, and 2 of them including me are the lead executives of the organization. Norman, you have to understand that the H1B visa is now monopolized by predominantly Indian citizens. 75% of H1B visas go to one country alone – India! So it’s easy to see how the H1B has become a race issue that targets the Indian folks specifically. Also, it is ONLY Indian folks that are working at these labor brokerage companies (Tata, Infosys, Wipro, etc) and are the ones replacing American workers (Disney, Carnival, Verizon, UCSF, etc.), not the Chinese or the Koreans. So it is understandable if some members of the organization are emotional and have some not so nice things to say about what the foreign Indians are doing. But I can assure you, no one is racist in our organization that we know of.
    Concerning Sara Blackwell, you have to understand that she brought on many clients who were displaced by H1Bs at Disney by labor brokering companies. So it only makes sense why she has been targeting the Infosys of the world. In fact, based on your blogs and articles, we have used this information to specifically target ALL companies, not just the TATAs and Infosys. We are specifically going after the whole H1B, L1, OPT, H4EAD, and EB GC categories and trying to get ALL of them reformed to benefit American graduates and American workers. HR392 is a disastrous bill, and as an Indian, I can already see the devastation it would create if the bill were to pass. Our focus is to put a halt to this bill and stop it from becoming law.
    We admire all the work you have done in the past, including the work done by Ron Hira, and our task is to bring ALL folks together who want to protect jobs for American workers. Hope we are able to work with you in the future in trying to combat work visa abuse and reforming our immigration system.

    Much Respect!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Well, there IS a serious issue of Indian people only hiring other indians. I’ve seen it first hand at a company where everyone is being replaced by Indian people who are doing the hiring. And it happens in government as well- they have a very very strong preference for their countrymen.

    Like

  10. Thank You vbiersch for posting the video…
    “Buchanan vs. TATA Consultancy Discrimination Trial – Recap of Testimony From November 14, 2018”

    Now google ” EEOC 1607 ” and in the results, you will find links to
    “UGESP, Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (1978) “.

    UGESP basically describes the hiring process and yes, it’s a law.
    Basically, the job interviews and job offers are required to go to the most qualified / the most meritorios candidate.
    If that candidate declines the offer, then the next offer goes to the next meritorious, etc.

    Companies not following EEOC 1607 are likely discriminating based on your National Origin(USA) and/or Race and/or Gender and/or Age.
    When filing an EEOC complaint, I recommend checkmarking these four as the basis of the complaint.
    The EEOC will investigate.

    Like

  11. Interesting final remark about Indian recruiters. I’ve had quite a learning experience with them. American recruiters have gotten me phone screens, interviews, and actual jobs, often quickly. The Indian recruiters, whether from a small company or working for an American recruiting company that I’d dealt with in the past, have achieved zilch for me. Not even a phone screen, for jobs I’m very qualified for and have actually done well. I no longer send them my resume or sign RtRs with them after a year of nada for all sorts of openings, including verifiable reqs from local governmental entities. All they have accomplished is tying up my candidacy so that I can’t be submitted for a given req by another recruiter. Perhaps that was the idea?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Entirely possible. There are so many scams occurring, it’s not even funny.

      A local tech company tells me Indian “recruiters” submit resumes to them with candidate contact information removed, trying to solicit payment for contact info. Their doing so, is without knowledge of the person who is owner of that resume. And, it does terminate any/all interest in that candidate.

      A friend who is a hiring manager, told her neighbor who’d approached her, tell your son to send his resume in through the regular channels and I’ll take a look at it along with the rest. When only H1B resumes came to her she questioned her HR, who said she’d posted at the 3 usual local universities, and these resumes were what she got. We called the 3 universities, none had received job listings for her company. Smells of corrupt HR, “for a fee, I’ll pass on your resume” marketeering. This same friend, who came as an H1B, said long ago of scams, “Americans are naive.”

      Liked by 1 person

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