From Rush Limbaugh to the Economic Policy Institute, the Obama Administration is under attack for illegally allowing American workers to be replaced by H1-B workers in violation of US law. Below is a letter to Obama’s US Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez asking for an investigation of this well chronicled illegal activity on the part of corporate leaders. American workers have been forced to train their lesser paid H1-B replacements. The difference between the old higher wages earned by American workers and the new lower wages and benefits paid to H1-B workers goes straight into the pockets of the 1 percent. In other words, the H1-B program is used to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent via higher corporate CEO pay, higher profits, rising dividends and soaring share prices.
Hon. Thomas Perez
United States Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210
Dear Mr. Secretary:
Several newspapers and journals, including Computerworld and the L.A. Times, have reported that Southern California Edison (SCE), a public utility, has laid off hundreds of its U.S. employees and replaced them with H-1B guestworkers employed by the India-based IT services firms Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services. As my colleague, Ron Hira, has written, “Adding to the injustice, American workers losing their jobs are being forced to do “knowledge transfers,” an ugly euphemism that means being forced to train your own foreign replacement.”
As you know, the law (the Immigration and Nationality Act) forbids the hiring of H-1B temporary foreign guestworkers whose employment would “adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers comparably employed.” Clearly, taking away the jobs, wages and benefits of the laid-off SCE employees does adversely affect their wages and working conditions.
You have authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act to investigate this case, but I have seen no announcement that you intend to do so or that you share my sense of outrage that the H-1B program is being abused in such an egregious way. I hope that we will soon learn that the Department of Labor intends to investigate and remedy this harm to skilled U.S. workers who have pursued education and training in a technical field, worked hard, and played by the rules. Our government should, at the very least, ensure that its programs, including its visa programs, are not used to destroy the careers and financial security of its people.
Economic Policy Institute