Sunday, October 23, 2016

NumbersUSA - Judge rules in favor of companies who replace American workers

Roy Beck
Roy Beck - founder

This Issue: H-1B ruling proves that existing law allows employers to replace American workers

Fri, Oct 14th
A federal judge in Orlando, Fla. ruled yesterday that the Walt Disney Company did not violate the law when it laid off roughly 250 high-tech American workers in 2014 and forced them to train their H-1B, foreign-worker replacements as a condition of their severance.
The plaintiffs, two of the laid off Disney workers, claimed that Disney and the two companies they outsourced the jobs to, Cognizant Technology Solutions and HCL America, had conspired to violate visa laws.
Federal Judge Gregory A. Presnell's ruling wasn't too surprising given the fact that existing federal law allows employers to do exactly what Disney did. But Disney's response to the ruling was a bit more appalling given the national fallout since news of the layoffs went public. According to the New York Times:
A spokeswoman for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Jacquee Wahler, said, "As we have said all along, this lawsuit was completely baseless, and we are gratified by the decision."
In other words, Disney is pleased that federal law allows American companies to replace American workers with cheaper, more compliant foreign workers.
Under existing H-1B rules, it's easy for companies like Disney to replace existing American workers with foreign workers. The law allows companies to replace their workers as long as
they pay H-1B workers more than $60,000 a year, show that the worker has an advanced degree, and wait at least 90 days between the time the H-1B petition was filed and the replacement date of the American worker.
The waiting period is rarely an issue because the wait time from when an employer files a petition for an H-1B worker and when they receive an affirmative answer is usually more than 90 days. And according to Salary.com, an entry level software engineer in Orlando makes a little more than $61,000 per year, so the wage requirement isn't an issue for most employers either. In reality, the American workers doing the same job are likely making at least 50% more than that, so employers are still saving thousands of dollars by hiring cheaper H-1B workers to replace them.
The H-1B program is one of the most explicit examples of federal immigration policy working against the interests of American workers and the nation as a whole. And yet, Congress has done nothing to address it. In fact, there are more elected officials calling for increases in the H-1B program and an even further loosening of the rules than those who are calling for meaningful reforms that would prioritize American workers.
Supporters of the H-1B program argue that there is a shortage of American workers to fill these jobs and there are adequate protections in place to protect them. But yesterday's ruling undermines that argument. Clearly, the law, as written, allows companies to legally displace American workers, and the Disney example shows that there is no worker shortage.
In these remaining weeks before the general election, we urge you to hold your Members of Congress accountable on this issue and ask what they'll do to put an end to the abuses within the H-1B program.


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