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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers 529

dcblogs (1096431) writes On the floor of U.S. Senate Thursday, Sen. Jeff Sessions delivered a scalding and sarcastic attack on the use of highly skilled foreign workers by U.S. corporations that was heavily aimed at Microsoft, a chief supporter of the practice. Sessions' speech began as a rebuttal to a recent New York Times op-ed column by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, investor Warren Buffett and Sheldon Adelson ... But the senator's attack on "three of our greatest masters of the universe," and "super billionaires," was clearly primed by Microsoft's announcement, also on Thursday, that it was laying off 18,000 employees. "What did we see in the newspaper today?" said Sessions, "News from Microsoft. Was it that they are having to raise wages to try to get enough good, quality engineers to do the work? Are they expanding or are they hiring? No, that is not what the news was, unfortunately. Not at all."
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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 19, 2014 @08:55AM (#47488249)

    Basic economics says if you are having a skills shortage in a certain sector then you should see wages increasing as employers attempt to attract the required labor. If wages are not going up then you do not have a skills shortage. This is something economist Dean Baker points out all the time.

  • Re:Silly argument (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tandava Nadesan ( 3623123 ) on Saturday July 19, 2014 @08:59AM (#47488261)
    true but a few decades ago they would have retrained the competent engineers in areas where they needed skills instead of firing them and getting an h1b visa worker.
  • Re:Silly argument (Score:4, Informative)

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot.hackish@org> on Saturday July 19, 2014 @09:21AM (#47488319)

    It's not clear yet how the the layoffs will be distributed, but they certainly won't be all in Finland. Microsoft's already given notice [] of 1351 layoffs in Redmond, and that's likely only the first round of Redmond layoffs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 19, 2014 @09:39AM (#47488393)

    That visa already exists. It's called an L-1.

    From Wikipedia: "The visa allows such foreign workers to relocate to the corporation's US office after having worked abroad for the company for at least one continuous year within the previous three prior to admission in the US. The US and non-US employers must be related in one of four ways: parent and subsidiary; branch and headquarters; sister companies owned by a mutual parent; or 'affiliates' owned by the same or people in approximately the same percentages."

  • Re:Silly argument (Score:5, Informative)

    by MeNeXT ( 200840 ) on Saturday July 19, 2014 @09:46AM (#47488415)

    I say that in the 18,000 is more than one.

    It's amazing how people are born with skill sets and training has absolutely nothing to do with it. /sarcasm If you are a programer by trade you should easily adapt.

    The programer that they want to hire costs less. That's it. That's all.

  • Re:Not fungible (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Saturday July 19, 2014 @10:18AM (#47488589) Homepage

    If tech companies weren't shit at training they would be somewhat more fungible, though not perfectly so. Engineering companies are somewhat better at this: if a company is looking for chemical engineers and can't find someone with experience in exactly the process they're hiring for, they'll hire a chemical engineer with experience in a different process and get them up to speed. Tech companies seem incapable of doing that, and instead they have a big list of really specific background they want, "must have 7 years of experience in J2EE and 3 years experience using Joe Bob's Serialization Framework", then complain they can't find anyone so it must be a "programmer shortage".

    At which point they bring a foreign worker over and train them in J2EE and Joe Bob's Serialization Framework.

    I've written about this at length in the past. My own wife came over on an H1A as a nurse. The reason that they got her had nothing to do with a "shortage of nurses". Instead, it had to do with a "shortage of nurses that would work for the shit wages that the nursing homes wanted to pay". Big difference - and frankly that's the same thing I see in the tech industry.

    If the Department of Labor simply forced these companies to follow the law and compensate the foreign workers on par with American workers it would somewhat alleviate the problem. But they don't, and the law's a joke.

    The other issue is that these workers are essentially indentured servants until they get a green card and the power disparity also plays heavily into this. Looking at my wife's situation again I know of nurses who pissed off the wrong people in their job and ended up on a plane back home. If you hate your job you don't have the ability to simply get another. I'd like to say that everybody acts like an adult and that doesn't matter but the reality is that it matters a lot. When you don't really have the option to quit there's little pressure on management to make sure you like your job.

    In the nursing industry it's even worse because of regulation. I don't mean the regulation makes it worse - hiring foreigners is a great way to get around regulation and not worry about your employees turning you in. After all, if your understaffed shit hole gets shut down by the state you get a plane ride back home.

    In my wife's generation this was even worse because they had to come up with US$5000 to pay the staffing agency to bring them over. That's about a year and a half of wages for your typical middle class Filipino - it would be analogous to an American coming up with $75,000. Not easy. And if you lose your job in America you'll spend 10 years working in the Philippines to pay that off.


  • by danheskett ( 178529 ) <> on Saturday July 19, 2014 @10:37AM (#47488677)

    This doesn't end the discussion because this will force down domestic wages, by exactly 20%.

  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Saturday July 19, 2014 @11:37AM (#47488961) Journal

    "You must be stupid if you believe that" is not a logical fallacy. "You are stupid, therefore what you believe is false" is a logical fallacy (ad hominem). "People who believe things that are obviously false are stupid. That is obviously false and you believe it, therefore you must be stupid" is valid, assuming you accept the premises.

  • by LSDelirious ( 1569065 ) on Saturday July 19, 2014 @12:43PM (#47489321)
    The bulk of GWB's massive contribution to the debt was more Iraq and Afghanistan than Wall Street. All Obama did was officially recognize it as part of the debt instead of continuing whatever fuzzy accounting allowed Bush to keep it seperate
  • also evil.

    The layoff wasn't much of a surprise.
    I've been expecting it for a few years and I expect that Apple and Google will follow suit,
    just not sure of the timeframe. They're all engaged in verticalizing their information
    equivalent of a supply chain, i.e. an indicator of saturating markets.

    http://nodemy-ghost.herokuapp.... []

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.