“On a Friday conference call that was organized by the office of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)… Hal Salzman, a Rutgers University public policy professor, said current wages in the high-tech and information technology (IT) industries do not reflect a labor shortage,” Lee reports. “‘Average wages in IT today are the same as they were when Bill Clinton was president well over a decade ago,’ Salzman said. ‘So one has to wonder if there is in fact a shortage, why doesn’t that reflect in the market? Why don’t wages go up?’ Norm Matloff, a professor of computer science at University of California at Davis, simply said, ‘When you talk about solutions, you have to ask whether there was a problem to begin with.'”
“Matloff said the high-tech industry has gotten a ‘free ride’ from the media and enjoys a very ‘positive image’ in this debate, which he said has ‘really been a non-debate,'” Lee reports. “The myth that there are such widespread labor shortages in the high-tech industry has been debunked in numerous studies, but Republicans and Democrats have continued to, as the scholars noted, perpetuate it without being challenged on their specious claims. High-tech lobbies like Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us have poured in millions of dollars in high-profile campaigns to secure more high-tech visas.”
“Ron Hira, a public policy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology who has worked on these issues for more than a decade, said on the conference call that the H-1B visas that are filling the supposed ‘gaps’ are ‘doing more harm than good’ to the U.S. science and engineering workforce,” Lee reports. “He noted that the majority of the H-1B visas are being used for “cheaper workers” from abroad and mentioned that offshoring firms used 50% of the cap last year to further their business model of bringing in ‘lower-cost H-1B workers to replace American workers.’ Salzman said that even after American software engineers train their replacements, they cannot speak out about their experiences for fear of being blackballed or having to forfeit their severance payments.
“Hira said that the H-1B program has run amok because ‘Congress sets the wage floors way too low’ and ‘far below the market wages for American workers’ while not placing any ‘requirement to look for or recruit American workers first, so there is no displacement of American workers,'” Lee reports. “‘As a result, you are basically inducing companies to game the system to bring foreign workers to undercut American workers,’ Hira noted. ‘Instead of complimenting the U.S. workers as it should, it’s substituting for the U.S. workforce and taking away future opportunities by shifting the work overseas.’ Salzman said that in this arrangement, the employer has nearly total control of the ‘indentured’ H1-B workers because they hold their work permits. Matloff agreed, saying that figuratively ‘handcuffing’ foreign workers is even ‘more important than saving on wages’ because employers can ‘prevent foreign workers from leaving’ in the middle of projects, unlike with American workers.”
Read more in the full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]
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