IBM, Infosys, Manpower all cited for discriminatory practices.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: Three US-based worker advocacy groups have called for a boycott of three of the biggest companies in the IT sector: IBM, Infosys, and Manpower.
The groups in question are Bright Future Jobs, The Programmers Guild, and Washtech. According to them, the aforementioned companies have been consistently been engaging in discriminatory practices against US workers, choosing to hire employees from overseas because they can be gotten for far cheaper than US-based workers. The labor boycott even has the support of an Indian advocacy group called Nostops.
In the paper announcing their boycott of IBM, Infosys, and Manpower, the advocacy groups claim that these IT companies go out of their way to hire workers from India, putting out ads for jobs more than a year before the positions are actually open. This allows foreigners to get the ball rolling on their immigration processes, but also completely excludes US workers from any available jobs during that timespan.
The organizations, which have a total membership of around three million individuals, are imploring stateside IT firms to hire more domestic workers, and to rely less on immigrants coming her on H-1B work visas. They are not alone in feeling this way, as the debate over whether or not H-1B visas are used simply as a source of cheap labor for tech firms has hit a fever pitch over the last year.
As the debate on immigration reform rages on, both sides of the H-1B battle have been vocal in supporting and decrying provisions that would increase the H-1B cap for high-concentration countries, like India, and other provisions that could see H-1B petition fees go up to exorbitant rates.
Last year, the US Department of Justice fined IBM for engaging in such discriminatory practices, while IT giant Oracle is in the midst of a lawsuit alleging that it not only engages in, but actively encourages, hiring workers from India and other nations because such employees will happily accept a lower salary than a US worker.
For now, Bright Future Jobs, The Programmers Guild, and Washtech are encouraging would-be applicants to these three companies to turn their attention elsewhere. But these three firms are only part of the problem, as companies like Oracle and Tata Consultancy Services also hire a significant number of H-1B and L-1 visa workers.
It remains to be seen if this boycott will have any effect on not just the three firms named in it, but also on the immigration reform debate. Will IT workers who want to come to the US actually care about such a boycott, or will the lure of the American Dream be too powerful for them to resist?