Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Technology Activists Fight Discrimination Against Americans
A group of technology activists called Brightfuturejobs.org believes that corporate reliance on H-1B employees is discriminatory and destructive, and is lobbying Congress to pass the H-1B reform bill. According to Brightfuturejobs director Donna Conroy, a study entitled "'Low Salaries for Low Skills: Wages and Skill Levels for H-1B Computer Workers, 2005" found that 87 percent of H-1B technology positions filled are entry-level jobs that require minimal skills and, in some cases, merely "a good understanding of the [programming] occupation." This disproves the myth that foreign H-1B workers are "the best and the brightest" and that they are "smarter and more qualified than their domestic counterparts."
Nonetheless, American corporations maintain the "self-loathing" fiction that American workers lack sufficient technological skills so that they can continue to hire H-1B workers at lower salaries, often bypassing the domestic job market altogether. But Americans are not the only people who suffer. Once hired, many H-1B workers are compelled to work long hours for sub-standard compensation under the implied threat that they will be deported if they don't deliver.
Hundreds of American corporations will hire only H-1B IT workers, pitching advertisements specifically to this group, often promising free training - which American IT workers rarely get. As Conroy says, "20 years ago, when there was a labor shortage in the technology industry, technology firms routinely hired unqualified Americans and trained the hell out of them. Music and sociology majors were transformed into top-notch programmers. Now the only people who benefit from extensive training are H-1Bs."
Senators Richard Durbin of Illinois and Charles Grassley of Iowa introduced the H-1B reform bill, which will outlaw the practice of advertising only for H-1Bs, requring instead that all IT jobs - including those that offer free training - are advertised for 30 days on the Department of Labor web site.
"Technology Activist Pans the Myth that Americans Can't Cut-it in Technology" from PR Web