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Former Disney IT Worker's Complaint To Congress: How Can You Allow This? (computerworld.com) 605

dcblogs writes: At a congressional hearing Thursday on the H-1B visa's impact on high-skilled workers, the first person to testify was Leo Perrero, a former Disney IT worker. He was overcome with emotion for parts of it, pausing to gather himself as he told the story of how he was replaced by a foreign visa holder. Perrero wondered how he would tell his family that "I would soon be living on unemployment." He paused. The hearing room was still as the audience waited for him to continue."Later that same day I remember very clearly going to the local church pumpkin sale and having to tell the kids that we could not buy any because my job was going over to a foreign worker," he said. But a person who made a case for access to foreign workers was Mark O'Neill, the CTO of Jackthreads, an online retailer. He argued that there is a need for more skilled workers. Competition is so fierce for developers "that my developers' starting salaries have risen by 50% in the last eight years," said O'Neill, and "senior positions command compensation that meets or exceeds even that of United States Senators."
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Former Disney IT Worker's Complaint To Congress: How Can You Allow This?

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  • Congress answers (Score:5, Informative)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @09:34AM (#51597857)

    Campaign donations. Lots and lots of campaign donations.

    • Re: Congress answers (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It makes no sense especially when you have kids struggling to pay their student loans. Corporations do not want to pay a liveable wage. That girl who wrote the yelp flame bait this past week is spot on. Corporations will hire you for pennies on the dollar.

    • Seriously. Fuck this particular guy for assisting DisneyCorp in its DMCA-abuse environment. Fritz Hollings was known as "the Senator from Disney" for a reason - they buy the best laws they can afford. Live by the sword, die by the sword, dude. Now at least there will be fewer Americans assisting Disney in its attacks on America.

      • Great. Now when the kids can't watch Disney movies, Daddy has an empathetic out.

        "Hey, I can't get any Jackthreads, either, you entitled little gripers."

    • Re:Congress answers (Score:5, Informative)

      by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @10:07AM (#51598031) Journal

      Campaign donations. Lots and lots of campaign donations.

      The tens of millions that Disney spends on political donations, lobbying and superPACs net them a nice little benefit:

      Between 1991 and 2012 Disney received subsidies from state governments worth an estimated $415,029,259, according to data compiled by Good Jobs First. The top five states that have given subsides to Disney are:[17]

      California: $202,003,320, including $200 million the city of Anaheim agreed to spend on a parking lot and infrastructure development in 1996.[18]
      Connecticut: $146,476,555, including a corporate income tax break for ESPN worth $75 million from 2000-2004 and a $17.5 million low-cost construction loan in 2011.[19]
      South Carolina: $31,765,067 in tax credits/rebates for subsidiary Touchstone Television Productions
      New York: $18,893,594 in tax credits/rebates and property tax abatements for ABC
      Louisiana: $7,099,287 in tax credits/rebates

  • Investment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Feyshtey ( 1523799 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @09:35AM (#51597859)
    If Mr O'Neill and the rest of these corporate leaders were actually so desperate for qualified tech people, perhaps they could consider starting extensive intern programs. If they failed to get adequate enrollment, they could work with high schools and/or community colleges, and even community outreach programs in economically suffering areas. Detroit comes to mind. Broad areas of the south do as well. They could provide valuable skills to people who wouldnt otherwise reach out to get them and reverse what these companies market as a shortage of talent and bloated wages.

    Invest in Americans and quit acting the victim.
    • Re:Investment (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @10:11AM (#51598051)
      Good comment. It makes me wonder why Bill Gates and the like have to fight for computer science in school curriculum at all. Their corporations should just be doing it on their own. Oh, wait, they want the government to pay for it, that's why. Even making life wonderful for the people working right now would go a long way, because parents would WANT their kids in technology and push them that way. Right now, as a tech worker my kids are going into anything but.
      • huh? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You think Gates et.al are fighting for "education" in schools? If so, think again. Common Core was brought to you by Gates Foundation truckloads of cash. You can start there. Once you have a good grasp, really look at the code.org "education" and see what it does.

      • Re:Investment (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Shadow99_1 ( 86250 ) <theshadow99NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday February 27, 2016 @11:18AM (#51598301)

        The real irony is that while one side pushes for the government to do the educating, the other pushes for the government to get out of education and privatize that 'industry'. To make it worse a lot of talent exists that just doesn't dot the i's and cross the t's the HR people or those who decide who gets hired wants.

        Where I live (in PA) there are to many people looking for to few IT jobs. Yet even so, we aren't just competing against people from here... Local colleges, universities, and trade schools have scaled up their Comp Sci/CIS/MIS programs due to 'demand'. But the number of jobs for you after getting a degree has remained low locally. Those who can afford to leave, go elsewhere. Those that don't become unemployed or underemployed and compete for the small number of positions in the field that exist locally. Having recently gone back to finish my degree I saw people just graduating who have moved to every state in the union. Anyone who stayed can't find a job.

        Even in what most people would call 'the middle of nowhere' all the larger companies (GE transportation division for instance which is the largest company in my region) hire out nearly all their internal IT to foreign workers. The example I just used tosses away apps that don't have bachelor's degrees or higher and even a bachelor's is a bare minimum. Does maintaining a small server environment require indepth knowledge of data structures or programming? No. The place uses MS products and doesn't locally do any software coding. Sure a degree shows you could work through the crap of school for 4 years or so, but most university or college programs are complete overkill for basic IT positions and don't teach the more practical things they will need on the job anyways. Then most 'require' skills that would be impossible to get outside of an industry that utilizes a particular piece of software or hardware (since no one is buying a server and a $200k piece of software to learn it for a $40k/year job). Worse are the ones that require knowledge of a product built internally at another segment of the company. In other words a job that requires skills impossible to get outside of the company for entry level employment. This is a glowing red sign saying 'We train people outside this country on our software, please don't bother applying'. After all if you already have training in that software, you worked for them already and why would you move from one job within to a different entry level one?

        As if those two things weren't enough a third issue is that most companies need IT, but hate it. They see it as not bringing anything to the company and so minimize it (nearly insuring it doesn't do anything to useful for the company). Often thousands of machines with little to no automation. Primitive tools and equipment below what's required to even maintain the existing infrastructure. Business people making IT decisions with no reasonable expectations of the requirements. This is why we all hear stories about those '5 million dollar boondoggles' where consultants and outsourced companies were called in and the money seemed to all get wasted away. Hell most companies don't even trust their IT people. And really often they shouldn't. I've seen way to many cases where even the good guys are treated like shit, payed almost nothing, and expected to regularly perform miracles without ever even being appreciated. Given the treatment even good people can be tempted because they come to resent those they work for.

        Oh and lastly my own personal favorite... I turn 38 years old this year. I now regularly get asked 'Why are you still in IT?' And have to explain that I actually like the problem solving and adaptation that is at the heart of IT. Or even more how I can apply for positions above 'network adminsitrator' all day, but business people don't take me seriously so I can't be 'executive material' and of course with more small companies around than large ones there are few jobs between 'network admin' and 'C** level employee'. While still being called a

        • Oh I hear you on the job quality and environment that we work in. In the time I have been in the industry I have seen sales people promise the moon to clients and then the stars. You end up working on 10 year old equipment, with no money spend on efficiency or capacity. You get horse whipped to keep it running at all hours of the night.
        • Re:Investment (Score:5, Interesting)

          by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudson@gmai l . c om> on Saturday February 27, 2016 @12:39PM (#51598663) Journal

          Education costs have far outpaced both inflation and the value add thanks to government subsidies that get hoovered up by the universities. In Germany, a university education is free, even for foreigners. The higher taxes graduates who get good jobs will more than make up for the cost to the taxpayers. Those good jobs exist because graduates, not being bogged down by 6-figure debts, can actually spend money that goes into the economy, rather than just paying back their student debts until they're on social security, or even longer.

          Crazy student debt has created a generation that gets out of school so far in debt that their earnings don't prime the economy and create a virtuous circle of spending to create jobs.

          Let's go to extremes - imagine if you had to go into debt for your primary and secondary education. Many wouldn't go, and those that did would be financially strapped, with whatever income they made going back to basic survival and debt repayments.

          I'm just glad that my eyesight forced me out of programming, because it's now the pit from hell, a dead end trap, for the vast majority, and one that "more education" in the same field will never solve.

          • Re:Investment (Score:4, Informative)

            by nbauman ( 624611 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @04:46PM (#51599981) Homepage Journal

            Totally agree. All I can do is add some supporting citations.

            http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08... [nytimes.com]
            Germany Backtracks on Tuition
            Published: August 25, 2013
            (German colleges are now free again, like the Scandinavian countries. Under the German constitution, the 16 state governments control finance and education. A 2005 federal court decision allowed them to charge tuition. 8 states, in former West Germany, did, but it was unpopular and they reversed their policy. Lower Saxony charged €1,000 ($1,300)/year. An economist estimated that tuition caused 20,000 potential students (6.8% of all students) to forgo enrollment in 2007. Denmark, Norway and Sweden have free tuition, although Germany, with 2.5 million students, is the largest. Britain raised its tuition caps to £9,000 ($14,000). In France, most public universities charge a few hundred euros per year, though the grandes écoles are more expensive.)

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]
            7 countries where Americans can study at universities, in English, for free (or almost free)
            By Rick Noack
            October 29 2014
            Since 1985, U.S. college costs have surged by about 500 percent, and tuition fees keep rising. In Germany, they've done the opposite.
            The country's universities have been tuition-free since the beginning of October, when Lower Saxony became the last state to scrap the fees. Tuition rates were always low in Germany, but now the German government fully funds the education of its citizens -- and even of foreigners.
            Explaining the change, Dorothee Stapelfeldt, a senator in the northern city of Hamburg, said tuition fees "discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up study. It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard free of charge in Germany."
            What might interest potential university students in the United States is that Germany offers some programs in English -- and it's not the only country. Let's take a look at the surprising -- and very cheap -- alternatives to pricey American college degrees.
            Germany's higher education landscape primarily consists of internationally well-ranked public universities, some of which receive special funding because the government deems them "excellent institutions." What's more, Americans can earn a German undergraduate or graduate degree without speaking a word of German and without having to pay a single dollar of tuition fees: About 900 undergraduate or graduate degrees are offered exclusively in English, with courses ranging from engineering to social sciences. For some German degrees, you don't even have to formally apply.
            In fact, the German government would be happy if you decided to make use of its higher education system. The vast degree offerings in English are intended to prepare German students to communicate in a foreign language, but also to attract foreign students, because the country needs more skilled workers.

            http://www.bbc.com/news/magazi... [bbc.com]
            How US students get a university degree for free in Germany
            By Franz Strasser BBC News, Germany
            3 June 2015
            While the cost of college education in the US has reached record highs, Germany has abandoned tuition fees altogether for German and international students alike. An increasing number of Americans are taking advantage and saving tens of thousands of dollars to get their degrees.
            More than 4,600 US students are fully enrolled at Germany universities, an increase of 20% over three years. At the same time, the total student debt in the US has reached $1.3 trillion (£850 billion).
            (Hunter Bliss, South Carolina.)
            Each semester, Hunter pays a

    • With the high cost of education now, I could see this becoming the norm for the future- reasonably capable people getting on the job training to fit the unique needs of a business.

      Also, Mr. O'Neil, businesses like Caterpillar are doing just that, and their trainees are also commanding high salaries. I find it suspect that you can't procure talent except abroad. If there is such a dearth of talent here, perhaps you should relocate your business to where the talent is.

      Capital is fluid, labor is not. This is a

    • Re:Investment (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 27, 2016 @10:51AM (#51598201)

      Spot on.

      The real problem besides simple corporate greed and sociopathic behavior is the whole outsourcing mentality and the culture of instant gratification. Most developers simply aren't great. That's perfectly normal and, for most things, perfectly fine. The problem is when most of these idiot executives and managers are trying to hire one, they've dug themselves so far in a hole that they need someone great to save whatever it is--and finding that person is difficult. Always has been, and always will be.

      Enter outsourcing, where I can hire someone that somebody else says is great, and if (more likely, when) it's proven that the greatness was, pardon the pun, greatly exaggerated, then I either live with it and blame the other company or I try to make a legal claim out of it. In either case what I've done is kick the failure down the road, hopefully for someone else to deal with.

      Enter India: a country full of people who are as good at and as bad at things as anybody else but which has come to symbolize the whole IT outsourcing movement because of some not so great traits: "helping" in school, cheating, and outright lying on resumes is absolutely rampant there. I don't know if it's a total culture thing, but from experience and with very few exceptions it seems to be an Indian IT culture thing to say one is awesome at anything and never admit you don't know something. American IT people who have talent see right through it, which is why all the anti-India remarks regarding programming, tech support, etc. American managers don't always see right through that because it's relatively easy to bullshit a bullshit artist for some reason . This kind of behavior will of course catch up with them and unfortunately probably hurt a lot of truly talented people. The notion, though, that somebody from halfway around the world is the only possible solution to a technical problem is in 9 out of 10 instances utter crap designed to deflate salaries, which is the fraud that is H1-B visas and everything like them.

    • They could start those internship programs in highschool for students that showed interest. Getting hands on experience while taking courses at the local union^H^Hversity. And once they're done with their appren^H^H^H^H^H^H "internship" they can join together with each other and present a single front to the corporation to fight for rights. Maybe even pool their money for when they don't have a job. Brilliant idea.

      Low to midlevel IT work doesn't need a college degree. It's a 21st century trade at this point

    • If Mr O'Neill and the rest of these corporate leaders were actually so desperate for qualified tech people, perhaps they could consider starting extensive intern programs.

      Perhaps colleges should start turning out people who are qualified to participate in extensive intern programs. Perhaps they could change the ABET accreditation standards for computer science programs back from being "outcome based", and instead actually teach people how to code again. There are maybe two handfuls of universities in the U.S. who have programs that are actually worthwhile, and most of those programs are legacy hold-overs bas on what used to be taught in the early to mid 1980's, and not all

    • I'm absolutely with you. In my experience, H1B visa holders fill the lowest ranks as a rule. Having worked with a lot of immigrants in the tech industry, it's pretty consistent (that is, those that immigrate through other means are invariably good at what they do in my experience). I could find you a huge number of bright high school grads and community college students that would jump at the chance to learn and gain experience for 40-50k a year (even in my expensive locale), filling these same positions.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 27, 2016 @09:35AM (#51597863)

    I don't disagree with the idea that there may be a requirement for H1B visas to fill positions where there are not enough skilled workers, but something doesn't add up when you bring in H1Bs to replace existing workers. You can't claim there aren't enough and displace the ones you have. That's like saying, "I only have 1 gallon of water, so I need to go get another gallon. But, I'm going to dump out my first gallon when I do." If there really is a shortage, the H1Bs should be added along side the existing employees. If there is a need to remove one of the two, there wasn't really the shortage that was claimed.

    If A and B are members of the workforce and A isn't enough, you need A+B not B instead of A. If you are bringing in the workforce of B because you can use the H1B process and the individual's resident only because of employment status to keep their salary lower, you are abusing the purpose of the H1B process and the requests should be denied for violating the reason. In fact, one would think such actions are really a case of filing false federal paperwork to get the H1B applicants.

  • Supply and Demand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by weave ( 48069 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @09:36AM (#51597865) Journal

    It's the free market at work. If these jobs keep paying better and better, more and more people will get the training to go into the field and balance it out. But that's not happening because...

    I teach computer information science at a college. We have a hard time recruiting students into the program because they pretty much all say they don't want to spend years learning how to be a programmer when all of the jobs are being replaced by foreigners or outsourced overseas.

    • Re:Supply and Demand (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @10:10AM (#51598043)
      The years I spent becoming a Systems Engineer were a waste when each time I found a new job, it would only be stable for about a year or two until I was training my H1-B visa replacement. Finally, I left it altogether for a career in truck/bus driving where the average time spent unemployed is around 4 hours. I make almost 65,000 a year which is what I was paid at my last IT job (which was a demotion.) If you ask me, the problem is the entire H1-B Visa program. College-bound kids ask me if they should go into a career in IT and I give them the real downsides. I tell them to learn a trade. If I had had a crystal ball, I NEVER would have gone into IT - I would have learned a trade. Certainly, driving a truck can be a bit mind numbing at times so I'm learning to code in C and C++ on my own time to keep my mind engaged. Computers and networks are so much more fun when you can hack.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Oh get off your high horse. When a company can get rid of a domestic worker and bring in a foreign one it is NOT a free market. It is deleberately stacked against domestic workers. People would go into tech if they SAW PEOPLE WITH TECH JOBS DOING WELL. As a tech parent, my kids will not be going into tech unless something changes drastically, and soon.
      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by wisnoskij ( 1206448 )

        So your definition of a free market is a market where a company is restricted from hireling the best person for the job?

        • In my mind, the best person for the job is the most qualified person, and domestically we have plenty of those. First hand, I know that H1Bs are not the most qualified people. So yes, I think a free market involves hiring the best person for the job.
        • They are supposed to exhaust local hires before hiring an import. That is how imports are supposed to drive down salaries and satisfy need. Actually, they are just to satisfy need. Lowering salaries is irrelevant.

          You are not supposed to fire people and replace them with imports. That is supposed to be illegal (you are even supposed to advertise locally in a paper to show you tried.) Firing someone local ain't exactly trying hard.

        • Let's say that the whole system was scrapped and anyone anywhere in the world was eligible to be hired.

          Now consider the cost of living. The reason why $7000 a year is a respectable salary in India is because they consider a refrigerator to be a luxury option. Not a double-french door, 2 bottom compartment water-and-icemaker model with iPad in the door - just a basic fridge-and-freezer combo with manual ice trays will do.

          Replace the central A/C with a fan. Expect the electricity to go out at intervals. Kiss

      • Despite Disney's actions, the future looks really bright for tech workers. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that for software developers, the job outlook is "much better than average." http://www.bls.gov/ooh/compute... [bls.gov]

        If your children are interested in tech, you'll be hurting their futures if you try to steer them into other professions.

        There might be some parts of the country, such as Detroit, where the job outlook isn't great. But in most places, technical professions are very much in de

        • Well I'll tell you when I see it. As for right now, I'm highly qualified. I have an internet startup that I have started totally on my own time for crying out loud. I've done the web design, the software design, the coding.. everything. It's doing well but not a day job yet. I have a day job for a good company but looking for something better. So far it seems unless I'm in silicon valley, New York, or LA, no one is interested. All the local companies tell me I'm asking for too much, but that they'll
        • Also, yes I am aware I can move. But what is the point of moving if my quality of life goes down after considering mortgage, commute time and working hours?
          • Yes, you do typically have to live in or near a big city to get good tech jobs. Being from Texas, I know that the market for developers is hot in all of the major cities in this state. Home prices, the cost of living, and taxes are all low in Texas, even in the cities. Pay for programmers is good, well into six figures, and that pay goes a lot farther than it does in Silicon Valley. I'll grant you that commute times are often around one hour each way. But that's true with or without H1(b)s.

            All this lea

            • Well I can tell you if I had an hour commute it would impact my kids mostly. There is no way I would be able to have them in any extracurricular activities. The timing would never work. That kind of impact to them is just not acceptable to me. If you consider that 'shooting for the moon' then that's really sad in my opinion, and that should not be what the job market demands. A fair market should give my family increased quality of life.

              At least we have nailed why childhood obesity is such a large iss
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by wisnoskij ( 1206448 )

      That is happening, it is just happening for Asians. The free market is providing jobs and training to the most needy. Indians need these jobs more so the free market is giving them to them. What you are looking for is some form of communism designed to protect a privileged class that gives jobs and resources not to the needy or skilled but to the upper classes.

  • by Daemonik ( 171801 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @09:39AM (#51597875) Homepage

    But a person who made a case for access to foreign workers was Mark O'Neill, the CTO of Jackthreads, an online retailer. He argued that there is a need for more skilled workers. Competition is so fierce for developers "that my developers' starting salaries have risen by 50% in the last eight years," said O'Neill, and "senior positions command compensation that meets or exceeds even that of United States Senators."

    So... scarcity equals higher price which is bad for business, except when it's business taking advantage of that scarcity. Would Mr. O'Neill complain to congress that we should allow foreign companies to build more Disney knockoffs, because Disney makes more money than some countries? I doubt it.

    • by NormalVisual ( 565491 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @02:43PM (#51599297)
      O'Neill didn't make a case for access to foreign workers. He merely whined that workers are more expensive than he'd prefer. So what if a senior dev makes more than a U.S. Senator? That, in fact, is the "free market" at work, but the free market debate has been framed solely in terms of corporate benefit, totally ignoring the fact that labor doesn't have the same options available.
  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @09:48AM (#51597907)

    Really ?, I have never been paid with a refrigerator full of money

    http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITI... [cnn.com]

  • math (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 27, 2016 @09:52AM (#51597931)

    Competition is so fierce for developers "that my developers' starting salaries have risen by 50% in the last eight years," said O'Neill

    Sounds a lot less if you run the numbers! That is only a moderate increase of 5.2% annually, compared to 2.8%-2.9% you need to adjust the budget by on average (!) for all salary increases.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Crashmarik ( 635988 )

      Competition is so fierce for developers "that my developers' starting salaries have risen by 50% in the last eight years," said O'Neill

      Sounds a lot less if you run the numbers! That is only a moderate increase of 5.2% annually, compared to 2.8%-2.9% you need to adjust the budget by on average (!) for all salary increases.

      Good point, If you factor in productivity gains I would bet that it was actually negative.

    • Re: math (Score:5, Funny)

      by pr0t0 ( 216378 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @10:50AM (#51598199)

      The larger problem is a lack of well-trained CEOs. There are so few in this country with the experience capable of leading a corporation like Disney. That's why we need to expand the C3-O worker visa program. In 2009, Bob Iger's total compensation was $29M. Just six short years later, the company now has pay him $45M to keep him. That's an increase of 64% in that short span of time.

      Without an influx of less expensive upper management from India, I fear the Disney Corporation will cease to exist. We need your help senator!

      When they complain about the cost of IT wages, the above is all I hear.

  • Demand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @09:59AM (#51597985)
    If there is a demand for more skilled workers, then why are companies replacing existing skilled labor with foreign workers on the H1-B visa program? The CTO of Jackthreads makes no sense whatsoever. The H1-B visa program is all about trying to save corporations money at the expense of domestic skilled workers. The argument about a lack of skilled programmers is baloney.
    • Re:Demand (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @11:59AM (#51598497)

      If there is a demand for more skilled workers, then why are companies replacing existing skilled labor with foreign workers on the H1-B visa program?

      There are three aspects tot he answer to this question:

      (1) Disney didn't actually replace the workers with H1-B workers; they replaced an internal department with an outsourced department consisting onf a third party company, which happens to have a lot of H1-B workers.

      (2) In many cases, the labor being replaced is not actually all that skilled. The U.S. education system isn't what it used to be, and the graduates aren't what they used to be, back when they were getting through their degree programs on academic scholarships, rather than student loans. A lot of this has to do with the U.S. workers having experience, but not degrees, since they were in many cases sniped out of degree programs by companies in the .bomb era who needed cubicle warmers to prove to their VCs that they were hitting their hiring targets. Now we have an non-degreed generation, which gets us to the third part.

      (3) A lot of these people are greying. That's a kind way of saying that they are expensive, compared to new graduates. Usually, that's couched as "culture fit", but what it really means is that CEOs tend to prefer people younger than themselves be working for them, because it's cheaper, and in many cases, you can hire better quality: they may have gone through a crappy degree program, but at least they didn't leave a crappy degree program after two years to become a cubicle warmer for some company that later tanked, going down with all hands.

      So in combo, that pretty much covers why they want H1-B's, and why the outsourcing companies are able to do for Disney what Disney wants done, cheaper than an in house IT department would be able to do it.

  • Easy to fix (Score:5, Insightful)

    by trout007 ( 975317 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @10:00AM (#51597993)

    If they don't want to follow the laws then just refuse to enforce the intellectual monopoly laws. Let's see how they like having all of their characters enter the public domain.

  • by firesyde424 ( 1127527 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @10:04AM (#51598011)

    How is this legal? It's my admittedly weak understanding of H1B law that it can only be used to fill a job position if there are no qualified domestic workers. It sounds very much like a case of Disney replacing a current employee with an H1B visa worker.

    • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @12:03PM (#51598519)

      How is this legal? It's my admittedly weak understanding of H1B law that it can only be used to fill a job position if there are no qualified domestic workers. It sounds very much like a case of Disney replacing a current employee with an H1B visa worker.

      Disney is not hiring H1-B's to replace their existing IT people; they are outsourcing the jobs that used to be handled by their in-house IT department to another company. That other company happens to have a bunch of H1-B workers, because they are well known for having a lot of H1-B workers, and because all of the U.S. talent that they would have potentially hired to do outsourced work for various companies was locked up in companies like Disney.

      It's really not that hard to understand.

      • by pla ( 258480 )
        and because all of the U.S. talent that they would have potentially hired to do outsourced work for various companies was locked up in companies like Disney.

        Okay - So now that all that talent formerly "locked up" at Disney has entered the job market, the company to which Disney outsourced its IT department now has qualified domestic workers available and no longer has any excuse to hire H1Bs.

        It's really not that hard to understand.
  • by Chas ( 5144 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @10:06AM (#51598023) Homepage Journal

    I can't believe the bullshit logic.

    "We're firing US workers and hiring H1B workers because we need more skilled workers and competition is fierce."

    Uh. WHAT?

    If they need MORE skilled workers, and the pool of US workers is too small, HIRE FROM THE H1B POOL AND KEEP YOUR EXISTING WORKERS!

    But, again, we know this isn't truly about a dearth of talent in the worker pool.

    It's actually about a race to the bottom for salaries and the money saved by paying pennies on the dollar to the equivalent of an IT sweat shop. Economizing US workers out of their livelihoods.

    And it needs to stop...

    • Seems like we're talking about two different pools. Perrero was an IT guy. The CEO is talking about Sr. Devs. Its possible there's a huge shortage of Sr. Devs and not much of a shortage of "IT guys".
  • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @10:08AM (#51598037) Homepage

    Mr. Jackthreads says that he pays senior developers $200k. Does anyone actually believe him? In Switzerland, where IT jobs are hard to fill, a good salary for a senior developer might reach at $150k. It's probably about the same in Silicon Valley - and in both cases, that's because the cost of living is pretty high. I want to see his accounts, because I don't believe he pays any of his developers that kind of salary. He's lying, and no one had the guts to call him on it.

    • by godrik ( 1287354 )

      I do believe him. Salaries in Silicon Valley are ridiculous, probably because the cost of living is just as ridiculous.
      Actually for the location, $200k/year for a senior developer is on the low side if you include health care, stock options, end of year bonus, ... I know multiple people that make more than that.

      • If he has such problems he should move his operation to where things are simply cheaper. Where I live in PA he could higher a senior developer for less than half of that and that developer could not only afford to own their own home, they could live in a gated community for $100k/year.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Actually, he's not lying. Top developers do make over $200k in SV because they are worth it. There are lot's of professions that pay better and require far less talent, such as being a senator, a salesperson, a real estate agent, a recruiter, a lawyer, or a dentist.

      When do we start the H1-B program to replace our over-paid senators? It should be funny to see senator Weiner train his replacement.

    • There's a shortage of developers *at prices he wants to pay*. (Translation - he can get developers elsewhere for cheaper and is happy to dump local grown for imports. And then, makes up stories to create the false impression there is scarcity here.)

    • by Shados ( 741919 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @12:04PM (#51598521)

      In Silicon Valley it's not uncommon for someone straight out of college to start at 100-110k these days. One of my friends is working -remotely- (while living in the middle of nowhere, so cost of living is super low) for a west coast company as a Sr Engineer and makes 200k~.

      I'm on the east coast and while my title is one notch above Sr, I'm still just your every day software engineer, and I make about 230k. I'm not leading a team. I'm not architecting anything large. I used to, and I'm qualified to, but right now I don't.

      The market for qualified software engineers is -brutal-, because you need software engineers to do ANYTHING, and the market is getting flooded by "I didn't finish highschool but I went into a bootcamp so I'm awesome at Rails" and "I have an MIT degree so it means im good, right?" peanut gallery folks (even though I do know a lot of good engineers who went that route). Even paying in the 200k+ range, giving every benefits under the sun, giving people everything they want, the hardware they want, the software they want, the money they want, the projects they want, the location they want (including remote), it's STILL hard to find good people.

      H1B is supposed to help with this. And the idea is good: if a position cannot be filled locally, get someone from abroad so we're not at a disadvantage. If it worked that way, it WOULD be perfect.

      But it doesn't. I know a bunch of TN1s from Canada who are fantastic engineers, and are filling positions that would take forever to fill up, and are commanding 250k+ a year...and because they're not lucky at the H1B lottery, they're stuck with the TN1 leash, year after year.

      During that time those subcontracting crooks are using up all of the H1Bs for bullshit that goes against the spirit of the program. And then we allow spouses of those H1Bs to work, so it takes up low skill positions (which the country has a huge shortage of), forcing people on food stamps. Its terrible.

      Yes, there is a shortage of H1Bs for the companies that have genuine need for the system in the spirit it was meant for. The solution isn't to increase quotas though, its to make sure it's used the way its meant to be.

  • by michaelmalak ( 91262 ) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Saturday February 27, 2016 @10:36AM (#51598143) Homepage

    50% rise in eight years? That's only 1.5^0.125 = 5.2%/year. That's less than the rise in college tuition [collegeboard.org]. For the extremes of the range, there is the ridiculously low CPI of 10% over eight years [bls.gov] and the ridiculously high ShadowStats.com of 100% over eight years [shadowstats.com] (view page source to see the hidden value). The geometric mean of those two extremes is sqrt(1.1*2.0)=48%.

    Maybe 50% over eight years (5.2%/year) is in fact overstating actual inflation, but it's far from self-evident. By just stating the number and expecting people to be shocked, Mark O'Neill is, intentionally or not, advancing the wage-suppression-through-inflation scam.

  • If jackthreads can't afford to pay the market rates for someone who puts together the infrastructure that *runs their business* then perhaps they can't afford to be in business.

    Perhaps Jack-ass-threads (sorry: I *had* to get it out of my system) O'neil should be lobbying congress to reduce the financial debt someone gets to be able to accumulate the education required. Then *more* people capable of doing what they want will be available and the market rate will change.

    Instead they all continually argue to

  • "Competition is so fierce for developers "that my developers' starting salaries have risen by 50% in the last eight years," said O'Neill, and "senior positions command compensation that meets or exceeds even that of United States Senators.""

    At the pretense that it's the unavailability of skilled workers has been stripped away. It is, and always has been, about the money.

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