Abbott Laboratories fires 180 IT workers, replaces them with H-1B, L-1 visa workers from Wipro

Sen. Dick Durbin asks Abbott to reconsider decision.

AB Wire

abbot laboratories

In yet another case of ‘knowledge transfer’ through H-1B visa and L-1 visa workers, the Illinois-based health care company Abbott Laboratories has allegedly awarded an outsourcing contract to the India-based IT servicing giant Wipro, to provide tech workers who will replace existing workers at the company.

Sen. Dick Durbin, the Illinois Democrat, has complained to Abbott about the issue, reported The Chicago Tribune.  In a letter to CEO Miles White released Monday, the senator urged Abbott to cancel the layoffs.

“It should go without saying that such harsh and insensitive conduct is not justified by whatever marginal financial benefit might accrue to your company, which is already making billions of dollars in profits every year,” Durbin wrote.

Abbott spokesman Scott Stoffel declined to comment on Durbin’s criticism.

The company hasn’t publicly disclosed any layoffs in recent weeks. Durbin heard about the planned dismissals during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week on the impact of temporary visa programs, including H-1B visas, said the report.

The senator’s staff then spoke with some Abbott workers who confirmed the layoffs, according to Durbin’s letter.

Durbin’s letter said 180 Abbott employees were given 60 days’ notice and told their last day will be April 22. People who lost their jobs also were told they would have to train their replacements, adding insult to injury, the letter said. After they are trained, the foreign workers will do these jobs outside the United States, his letter said.

Stoffel would only confirm that the company “recently outsourced some IT capabilities.” He declined to confirm any details of the layoffs that Durbin disclosed.

“We’re retaining the vast majority of our U.S.-based IT jobs,” Stoffel said in a statement.

Many other companies have used the same technique recently to outsource or get cheaper labor force in the IT department, including Disney World in Florida, Eversource in Connecticut, Hertz and Toys R Us.

Durbin letter also said: “You are offering the U.S. workers severance of a week’s pay for each year they spent at the company, but in order to receive this severance you are requiring these employees to sign away their right to sue or disparage the company. “The severance packet you gave your workers contains a full-page ad listing jobs at Wipro.”

Durbin also said he would “continue to push for legislation to reform the H-1B and L-1 visa programs, but the gaps in current law are no excuse for your company to treat your employees so unfairly.

“It should go without saying that such reprehensible conduct is not justified by whatever marginal financial benefit might accrue to your company, which is already making billions of dollars in profits every year,” he said in a statement.

Since 2007, Durbin said he has repeatedly introduced bipartisan legislation to end the exploitation of the H-1B and L-1 visa programs to displace qualified American workers and offshore American jobs.

Chicago Daily Herald reported Abbott spokesman John M. Koval saying the company recently outsourced some information technology work.

“Abbott regularly evaluates its competitive position and makes changes that reflect the strategic needs of its business,” Koval said.

One Comment

  1. Jose Grimez

    My response to Abbott is to stop buying Insure. Since I’m an elderly gent,(Didn’t git my first computer until age 70) I have been buying it for over 20 yrs. I will tell my MDs not to write any med manufactured by Abbott Labs…I have no connection to Abbott Labs other than that of a customer.I have put up with their shrinking product for “profit”but I will not put up with the economic destruction of American Families.When I was a youngster in the Armed Forces defending this country, it was a country other than what it is now.Then it was a country for The American People…I urge young Americans to despises greedy corporations and those who sell”ame brands” made with slave labor that take American worker jobs. Get wise and economically defend your country that so many of my boyhood friends died for…Abbots actions is one of the reasons for our government should bring back tariffs to level our economy. Young Americans need a career job path.

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