Is getting cheaper labor the crux of the matter?
By Raif Karerat
WASHINGTON, DC: As the H1-B visa controversy in California continues to simmer toward an inevitable boiling point, multi-billion dollar utilities provider Southern California Edison (SCE) has stoked the fire by outsourcing the jobs of hundreds of longtime employees.
At least 400 American IT workers at Edison have had their positions terminated in recent months and the majority of their replacements emigrated from India.
According to Ron Hira, co-author of the book “Outsourcing America,” for The Hill’s congressional blog, most are employed by the two leading India-based outsourcing firms, Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys.
Adding insult to the injustice of losing their jobs, the SCE workers are being forced to train their replacements under the threat of losing their duly owed severance package and eligibility for unemployment insurance.
“We were told if we wanted our severance that we were required to train our replacement,” a multiple-decades long-veteran employee of SoCal Edison told Breitbart News on the condition of anonymity. She was terminated this year from her IT position and replaced with an H1-B worker.
Hira spoke with several Edison workers, who revealed they were, “demoralized; in disbelief; beyond furious; down in the dumps; feeling anguish; depressed; feeling dehumanized; feeling humiliated; worrying about the future; [and] worrying about paying the bills.”
At the crux of the matter seems to be the issue of bottom-line for companies in the US: to replace longtime workers who command higher salaries with new workers on H1-B visa on much lower salaries.
Increasing the number of H1-B visas in the U.S. is a move that has been largely supported by the Democratic Party and also has backing from established Republicans like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. It’s also likely to become a hot-button issue in the 2016 GOP presidential primaries.
Civil rights stalwart Rev. Jesse Jackson is one of the only figures on the left voicing his disapproval of H1-B expansion.
“We need to get rid of H1-B workers,” Jackson said in a recent interview with Fortune Magazine. “There are Americans who can do that work, and H1-B workers are cheaper and undercut wages.”
As the landscape of big business and information technology diversifies and continues to look ever-different from that of decades past, overarching demographics in the United States are also shifting.
For almost two centuries, “from the time of George Washington’s presidency to the election of Ronald Reagan,” Caucasians of European descent made up at least 80% of the population, according to figures listed by The Economist. That share is currently below two-thirds, with the white majority slated for relegation to minority-status by 2044.