The Lobbyist Congressional Cheap Labor Drone Marches On

The Lobbyists are gearing up in hopes of obtaining more methods to flood the U.S. labor market with cheap, controllable foreign labor.  The target is to include their agenda in the upcoming Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation.  As a result, we have been inundated with lobbyists lies, planted articles and even faux pas Congressional hearings, all geared to media spin the public.  CEOs are even  having summits, all to make sure they obtain more foreign labor so these businesses do not have to hire Americans.   This is in spite of the obvious, America has a jobs crisis.  We are not offering stable career level employment to millions of highly qualified people and very obviously there is no worker shortage at any level.  

Foreign guest workers have been the bane of the American workforce for decades.  Instead of hiring American workers, businesses import foreign workers under Visas.  Worker displacement is so brazen, even 2009 Stimulus funds went to hire foreigners instead of Americans, in areas with unemployment rates above 30%.  Corporations have turned labor into a commodity, with Congress frothing at the mouth to give business even more of a cheap labor supply.   

Upon occasion, even lobbyists slip up and speak truth about what is going on.   In one biased hearing where only corporations demanding their cheap labor testified, one accidentally admitted the purpose of a H-1B foreign guest worker Visa hire.   Multinational corporations use these foreign guest workers  to technology transfer large projects out of the United States.   In other words, businesses need these Visas in order to offshore outsource production.  The imported foreign guest worker goes right back to the offshore outsourced destination, along with the product development or service itself.

Not every job is going to be a permanent job. There are instances where design team leaders or engineers are hired in the U.S. with the understanding that as the product or service being developed moves through the global supply chain, that position will move with the product or service,

Fortunately many in the press are catching on to the never ending lobbyist drone of the mythical tech worker shortage lie.  Information Week labeled it a purple squirrel hunt and Mother Jones just outlined how H-1B Visas are screwing American tech workers.    This site has analyzed the great tech worker shortage lie many times, including analyzing National Science Foundation occupational and graduation statistics.

Just last week, The Economic Policy Institute released a new study which analyzed STEM occupations by the most common lobbyist and corporation talking points used as spin to hide their demand  for cheap, exploitable labor.  The study dismantled each talking point,  one by one, and exposed them for the lies they are. 

The assertion that the foreign graduates offer superior skills or ability relative to U.S. graduates is found not to be supported by the data:

  • On a variety of measures, the former foreign students have talent lesser than, or equal to, their American peers.
  • Skilled-foreign-worker programs are causing an internal brain drain in the United States.

The lack of evidence that the foreign students and workers we are recruiting offer superior talent reinforces the need to assure that programs like H-1B visa are used only to attract the best and the brightest or to remedy genuine labor shortages—not to serve as a source of cheap, compliant labor. We must eliminate employer incentives for using foreign workers as cheap labor, and we must end the practice of using green card sponsorship to render foreign workers captive to the employers who bring them into the country.

  • The primary task in removing the cheap-labor incentive is to reform the legal definition of prevailing wage, which is riddled with loopholes that permit the underpayment of H-1B workers relative to the true market wage.
  • We must close the legal loopholes involving the definition of what constitutes a “qualified” worker for purposes of permanent labor certification. The laws should not force an employer to hire an American who cannot perform the job well, but neither should they reward employers who narrowly tailor job requirements so that only the desired foreign applicants qualify.

Everyone on either side of the high-skilled immigration debate can agree on two axioms: (1) skilled-foreign-worker programs should be designed to facilitate the immigration of those who are truly talented, and (2) immigration policy that causes the loss of America’s own best and brightest from science, technology, engineering, and math fields must be reversed. The findings and recommendations in this report are designed to help make those aspirations more concrete.

EPI generally is sounding the alarm bells on various bills being introduced in Congress per the demands of corporations and their lobbyists.  EPI is taking apart legislation line by line and showing how it will seriously harm U.S. labor, in particular American technical professionals.

It is not just the H-1B Visa that is used to displace American workers.  There are numerous foreign guest worker Visas used as an offshore outsourcing conduit and cheap labor import.  The J Visa, as an example, is a guest worker Visa supposedly used for visiting scholars and cultural exchange.  Yet the J Visa is now being exploited to obtain cheap labor burger flippers.   Did you know we have a burger flipper shortage with over 12 million official unemployed?   McDonald's seems to think so and is using the J-1 Visa to exploit workers so badly it's akin to slave labor.

The J-1 visa program is officially intended to promote educational and cultural exchange.  But advocates allege that J-1, like the other guest worker programs that collectively bring hundreds of thousands of workers in and out of the United States each year, is rife with abuse.  The National Guestworker Alliance (NGA), the organization spearheading today’s strike, charges that such programs—whose future is intimately tied up with the fate of comprehensive immigration reform—offer ample opportunities for employers to intimidate workers, suppress organizing and drive down labor standards.

McDonald’s is just the latest in a long line of corporations that have hijacked the US guest worker program to get cheap, exploitable labor, and that’s what the students are, The conditions are horrific, but have become the norm for guest workers.

The J-1 workers are striking over what they charge are rampant abuses at their stores in Harrisburg and nearby Lemoyne and Camp Hill. According to NGA, the visiting students each paid $3,000 or more for the chance to come and work, and were promised full-time employment; most received only a handful of hours a week, while others worked shifts as long as twenty-five hours straight, without being paid overtime.  “Their employer is also their landlord,” said Soni. “They’re earning sub-minimum wages, and then paying it back in rent” to share a room with up to seven co-workers. “Their weekly net pay is actually sometimes brought as low as zero.”

CEOs are ramping up the rhetoric so heavy, it is even to the point of putting down American workers to justify their bad treatment of the U.S. workforce.   Yet, voices from field are speaking out.    Even the Chronicle of Higher Education documented recently that there is a glut of PhD graduates and their job prospects have shrunk dramatically.

As the number of Ph.D.'s increases, their academic job prospects are diminishing.  Indeed, the number of students receiving doctorates in biology increased from 3,803 in 1981 to 8,135 in 2011, while the number of biological-science Ph.D. recipients in tenure-track positions dropped precipitously from 55 percent in 1973 to 15 percent in 2006.  Thus, a large majority of students are being trained for jobs they will never obtain.   Along with the decreasing job prospects, the time spent as a graduate student and as a postdoc is increasing.  In 2007 the average total time to degree in the United States was almost seven years in biological sciences and nearly 10 years in medical and other life sciences, up from six and eight years, respectively, in 1977.  The number of graduates in postdoctoral positions has also drastically increased along with the percentage of graduates completing more than one postdoc position.  Tellingly, the average age of a first-time National Institutes of Health grant recipient was 42 in 2008, up from 36 in 1980.   As tenure-track faculty positions become less obtainable, many Ph.D.'s spend increasing amounts of time in a postdoctoral "holding pattern," waiting for an academic job.time in a post-doctoral 'holding pattern', waiting for an academic job.

There are also many cases of fraud surrounding guest worker Visas.    Just this past week The DOJ indicted Dibon Solutions for fraud and illegal immigration activity.

The Texas Department of Justice has just revealed another secret the American public doesn't know--American temp agencies use visa programs like the H1-b to warehouse unemployed foreign citizens and then sell them to larger American companies and your local government.  The American public is led to believe that H1-bs are working, but that's not true.  How does this happen? Because these temp staffing agencies don't have to seek Americans first, they promise jobs to people in other countries, lie on the H1-b application stating that they have a job opening, and then don't pay these foreign citizens until the staffing agency finds them work.  The Texas division of the DOJ just indicted Dibon Solutions for doing just so.  In this case, Dibon would be company 1, crying to the U.S. government that they have jobs to fill at Dibbon headquarters and cannot find any U.S. workers, company 2 and 3 would be your local government office, 7-11, Intel and many companies choosing to bypass the U.S. workforce with plausible deniability of their actions.

There was even a fraud case against one of the largest Indian body shops, settled out of court, but brazen fraud is not the biggest problem with guest worker Visas.   There are systemic legal ways to displace U.S. workers with foreign ones, all perfectly within current law and a booming business for immigration attorneys, contract houses and cheap labor body shops.   Now Congress wants to make the situation even worse.

All of this is going on as Silicon Valley becomes a model of wealth inequality.    In the midst of incredible wealth are tent cities where the homeless are being evicted.   These people are not drunks or drug addicts.   Many have college degrees and have worked hard all of their lives, yet in the midst of record stock market highs, they surround the towering tech campuses in homeless camps.   The cost of living in the area is absurd as well.   A family of four needs $90,000 a year just to make rent in the valley.

The Silicon Valley is adding jobs faster than it has in more than a decade as the tech industry roars back.  Stocks are soaring and fortunes are once again on the rise.  But a bleaker record is also being set this year:  Food stamp participation just hit a 10-year high, homelessness rose 20 percent in two years, and the average income for Hispanics, who make up one in four Silicon Valley residents, fell to a new low of about $19,000 a year— capping a steady 14 percent drop over the past five years, according to the annual Silicon Valley Index released by Joint Venture Silicon Valley, representing businesses, and the philanthropic Silicon Valley Community Foundation.  Simply put, while the ultra-rich are getting even richer, record numbers of Silicon Valley residents are slipping into poverty.

Probably the most odious offense being committed by Congress at this point is how they plan to flood the U.S. labor market with more workers instead of making jobs for Americans job #1.  It has been over five years since the financial crisis, five years of labor hell for most Americans, yet representatives cannot lift a finger to pass policy to get people back to work and stop this global labor arbitrage insanity. 

Meta: 

Comments

Being born American + educated = death sentence after 30

If you have an education that cost any amount of money and can't find a job in your own country, basically the message is clear - just die already because no one in power cares. And in blue collar gigs, same deal. Back in the day, jobs were available in every field for people with all sorts of education. If you were in college, you could walk in to a construction firm, get hired for the summer the same day, and they'd have no problem with the education or the fact you'd leave. Same with farm work. Painting, stock work, warehouses. Every American could find jobs for summers, during school, whatever. Wages were decent too. Now Hershey's brings in foreign students to drop wages in Pennsylvania instead of hiring American college kids. Non-skilled foreigners get visas.
Look at what's happened. Wages are the same in these jobs and have decreased. Employers refuse to even entertain applications from all walks of life. Application process is ridiculous and only works to keep HR looking busy. And labor arbitrage from construction to law to health and engineering and military contractors is rampant.

We've been sold out, slandered (the whole "jobs Americans won't do" insults us all that have busted ass in every field throughout our lives), and have been told to just die already. But, but, we should open up businesses according to them, because selling stuff on eBay will feed us or competing against corporations that control our government is actually possible (?). Sure, I'll go ahead and open up an oil company or start a pharmaceutical company. Granted, I don't have any training or education in those fields, but I'm sure the government will help me so my friends and I can compete with those welfare beneficiaries Exxon and Merck. Any field I retrain in (at my own expense, of course), someone with more resources and lobbying groups will just make sure I can't make living in and will absolutely refuse to hire me if I'm too old, or earned too much ever in my lifetime or if I might question visa abuses.

There are only so many times people with degrees and skills can keep spending their own $ to retrain, retrain, and retrain again before they realize multinationals have no intention of hiring them, ever. When an ad says they want someone that is fluent in Hindi, or Mandarin, or Spanish, it's not because they want a citizen to learn those languages, so spending a dime to study those languages is a waste because it's not meant for citizens, it's a bar to keep citizens from getting hired (even Americans fluent in those languages because of their families will lose out to foreigners). But no doubt a 50 year old with a PhD and 25 years of experience in civil engineering and bad knees with a shrinking bank account will be told to retrain to be a truck driver or mow lawns to make a living or go to North Dakota (despite no $ to move and a house underwater). These stock answers are insulting and ignore the truth - that 50 year old will never be hired again, someone cheaper will replace him/her from overseas, and that American's experience and education will be wasted and sidelined to America's detriment.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.