Tuesday, April 25, 2006

DOL: Programmers Approved for Trade Adjustment Act Protections

InformationWeek reports that...

In a turnabout from earlier decisions, the Department of Labor—in a note published this month in the Federal Register—said that four employees of IT services vendor Computer Sciences Corp. that were laid off in 2003 from a facility in East Hartford, Conn., are eligible to apply for benefits under the Trade Adjustment Act. The act provides a number of relief measures for workers who've lost their jobs to cut-rate foreign competition, including extended unemployment payments, federally funded retraining, and relocation allowances.

My Analysis...

This is long awaited news from the Department of Labor. This move does two things: first it offers a safety net for programmers who lose their jobs to offshoring, second and perhaps most importantly it is an acknowledgement from our government that offshoring is harmful for American technology workers.

The U.S. Court of International Trade did not agree with prior rulings that software is not an imported "article" as defined by the act, overruling the prior DOL view that software code must be embodied on a physical medium to be an article under the Trade Act calling it "arbitrary and capricious." In short, the programmers (from Computer Sciences Corporation) won this round. Their jobs had been offshored to India through CSC India.

Tax payers will be required to pay for retraining of those who file for TAA protections. My view is that companies who shift jobs offshore to companies where salaries are much lower should be required to foot the bill when it comes to retraining American programmers and not tax payers, most of whom don't engage or benefit from this practice. After all, companies are the ones directly benefiting from offshoring while most tax payers lose. Doing so would cause the total cost of offshoring to rise and perhaps help save American more jobs.

Additionally, I am hopeful that this ruling could be used as precedence (I am no lawyer mind you) so that we could file complaints in the trade unions, like the WTO, against companies who unfairly dump cheap software services on our markets, which are harming American companies and workers.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

2006 Q1 IT Jobs Report by Roy Lawson

Today marks the release of the Q1 2006 IT Jobs Report by myself: http://www.freedomcast.com/ITJobsQ106.pdf

I will be releasing quarterly jobs reports and be giving more coverage to the IT jobs situation; the report will be released quarterly while this blog will serve to provide information between such releases and further analysis and opinion of the results.

In summary, Q1 of 2006 appears to be the point where IT jobs have broken even. This comes after drops in the H-1b visa in 2003 from 195,000 to current numbers of 65,000 and a better economy.

On the down side, jobs in the software occupations have seen a reduction of 4% in total employment since 2000 to current date while on up side IT management occupations appear to be experiencing strong gains.

If you are in the IT industry or considering a career in the industry this report is a must read.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Yahoo cracks down on free speech - snitches on Chinese dissident

Yahoo appears to be involved in another case of providing information to the Communist Chinese government which resulted in the imprisonment of yet another dissident who wants democracy in his nation.

According to Reuters "The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said it had obtained a copy of the verdict showing that Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) helped Chinese police to identify Jiang by confirming that the e-mail account ZYMZd2002 had been used jointly by Jiang and another pro-democracy activist Li Yibing."

Microsoft shut down an activists website in December at the request of the Chinese government. I wonder if Bill Gates and Chinese President Hu Jintao discussed this issue over tea while dining together yesterday, or if the talks were aimed at billion dollar deals. Gates became the richest man on Earth because he lives in such a great nation - I would hope he would impart our democratic ideals on President Jintao while dining together. Censorship and imprisonment of freedom seekers has no place in a democracy.

If the technology companies won't regulate themselves, Congress should pass laws preventing these companies from conspiring with the Communists to oppress freedoms.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

"Harris Miller Hates Black People"

"Harris Miller Hates Black People" is a bit over the top, and not a statement I would support. However Harris Miller, the Virginian high-tech lobbyist running for U.S. Senate, has attacked his opponent Jim Webb for prior statements regarding affirmative action. Miller has even gained the support of black leaders in his state on this issue.

I don't know what Webb has said in the past regarding this issue, however his campaign site clearly states that Webb "fully supports affirmative action for African Americans" and goes on to say that he "has a long history of supporting and fighting for minority rights". Regardless of your views on affirmative action you should take a close look at what Harris Miller has done to set back opportunities for American workers - black, white, asian, and hispanic.

Many of you know that Miller is a lobbyist - well don't you forget it. He has fought on behalf of the IT industry to make it easier for companies to offshore jobs to foreign nations like India and to increase the H-1b visa cap - importing hundreds of thousands of foreign tech workers as labor arbitrage to drive down American wages and displace American tech workers. The minority groups under-represented in the tech workforce are black and hispanics - thanks in large part to the works of Harris Miller on behalf of corporations.

Prior to becoming a tech lobbyist, Miller lobbied on behalf of farmers so that illegal immigration was largely ignored. What you see today are illegal workers who earn on average $9-10,000 per year which is far below the poverty level. These jobs were once good opportunities for low-skilled workers and paid enough to sustain a family. Now these jobs are a ticket into poverty. Once again, Harris Miller has a history of betraying the American worker.

Black, white, Hispanic, or Asian - Harris Miller has sold you out. So Harris Miller might not "Hate Black People" but he certainly doesn't seem to seem to care about their families nor the families all Americans. Harris Miller is anti-labor, and that is not a Democratic ideal.

If you are tired of the special interests running the nation, you should oppose Harris Miller. He represents corporations and their interests. He is a lobbyist - and I think we have enough of them in Washington.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Infosys and Tata File Fraudulent LCAs

Tata Consultancy Services Limited
Programmer Analyst

Infosys Technologies Ltd.
Programmer Analyst

Source: 2005 LCA Database; Department of Labor - Approved applications

Infosys and Tata are the ONLY major technology companies certified by the DOL for salaries paying below $20,000 a year.

You would think they are smart enough not to file an LCA at this amount - they must have known somebody would make political hay of this. That will cost them much more than whatever savings they see here.

Please make sure everyone knows that these companies from India are using the H-1b program to replace American workers and offshore American jobs. They are helping to destroy high paying, high-skilled, technology jobs which are vital to our national interests.

The DOL is by law prevented from validating compliance with labor and immigration laws. They must rubber-stamp each application within 7 days, the only ones not approved in 2005 were because of errors on the form - and that amounted to 0.33% - not even 1% of applications were rejected by the DOL!!!

Tata and Infosys should not be off the hook for the lack of enforcement by the DOL. They are legally certifying with this LCA that they are paying prevailing wages - which clearly they are not.

These wages are not prevailing wages for any IT job requiring a 4-year degree in any part of our country. We must demand that the federal government investigate Infosys and Tata under suspicion of fraudulent LCA applications.

If found to be abusing the H-1b visa program they should be barred from participation in the H-1b program permanently.