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by Derek Loosvelt | June 04, 2015


I get that companies are in the business of making money and one of the ways to make money is to cut costs, but this move by Disney to layoff 250 tech employees in order to replace them with cheaper labor in the form of H-1B visa holders is downright disgraceful. And here’s to hoping it will backfire against Walt & Co.

… about 250 Disney employees were told in late October that they would be laid off. Many of their jobs were transferred to immigrants on temporary visas for highly skilled technical workers, who were brought in by an outsourcing firm based in India. Over the next three months, some Disney employees were required to train their replacements to do the jobs they had lost.
“I just couldn’t believe they could fly people in to sit at our desks and take over our jobs exactly,” said one former worker, an American in his 40s who remains unemployed since his last day at Disney on Jan. 30. “It was so humiliating to train somebody else to take over your job. I still can’t grasp it.”

The layoffs have added fuel to the fiery issue of H-1B visas—temporary visas issued to overseas workers to work in the U.S. which “too often, critics say, are being used to bring in immigrants to do the work of Americans for less money, with laid-off American workers having to train their replacements.”

Each year about 85,000 of the visas are handed out, and “technology giants like Microsoft, Facebook and Google repeatedly press for increases in the annual quotas, saying there are not enough Americans with the skills they need.”

In other words, there are not enough skilled workers willing to work for below-market wages.

Other companies that have recently laid off tech employees in similarly disgraceful moves include Fossil (the watch company) and Southern California Edison.

Although the H-1B visa program, at its core, is not a bad thing, the abuse by employers has become a major problem, as companies increasingly hire workers with H-1B visas only because they can pay these employees with scraps of cheese.

In any case, look for this to be an important topic in the run-up to Election 2016.

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