Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Blue states have 3,104,204 jobs removed

We have created a parallel workforce of over 4 million workers across the country who do not have the basic American freedom to change jobs easily. 3,104,204 jobs have been reserved in the Blue states alone, between October 2000 and October 2004.

CA ... 967,982
NJ... 411,513
NY... 383,463
PA... 247,574
IL... 230,006
MI... 222,058
MA... 218,515
CT... 104,400
OH... 89,169
MN... 74,162
WA... 71,406
WI... 39,101
OR... 28,109
NH... 25,224
RI... 10,788
VT... 6,846
HI... 5,853
ME... 4,035

This searchable databse will allow you to see the companies that have taken advantage of this program, along with the jobs that aren't competively awarded and the salary for each job.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Falling Off the High Tech Throne

The US is no longer king of high-tech. This is very hard for non-technical people to understand, since in your world if one has a head start you always maintain that edge. This is not true with technology. There is something called a “leap-frog effect” in technology adoption. This explains why people late to the technology game can jump ahead of the pack. As an example, South Korea and Costa Rica, have better quality and higher penetration of broadband service than the US. South Koreans are probably the most advanced users of the Internet in the world now.

Falling Off The Competitive Edge, written by two researchers at the Center for American Progress, reports on the successful “leap-frogging” that several 2nd and 3rd world countries have achieved:
"The United States' trade in advanced technology products used to be one of our economic high points. But in the last year, the United States dropped from number one to number five in the list of successful information technology economies—replaced by places like Singapore, Malaysia and Ireland. We're now running trade deficits in high-tech products—something that won't change without serious policy intervention, says economist Christian Weller.

To regain control of the slipping competitive edge, policymakers need to act. A comprehensive innovation policy would be one place to start. Policymakers should allocate more resources into research and development of new technologies and to the distribution of existing technologies, so that they can enhance U.S. productivity on a broad scale.”

Guest worker programs aid the conversion from domestic to import

“Outsourcing converts domestic supplied goods and services into imports. It divorces Americans from the incomes and careers associated with the production of the goods and services that Americans consume. By turning domestic production into imports, outsourcing increases the trade deficit.” – Paul Craig Roberts, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and former Treasury official in the Reagan Administration

Guest worker programs aid the conversion from domestic to import In service outsourcing, the guest workers, in combination with domestic workers, form a transmission belt that extracts the technical knowledge to do the job from the domestic worker. The guest worker then returns home so that we can purchase this worker’s production as an import. Pretty nifty, eh?

Currently, offshoring companies are the middle men between domestic production and domestic consumption. They divert the production, convert it to an import and we buy it back. This is not an economically feasible business model. However, it works due to government intervention, in a similar fashion that slavery worked due to government intervention. Once government support for slavery ended, the plantation system collapsed to a trickle.

The key point I want to get across is that without massive government intervention via the guest worker programs, offshoring would collapse to a trickle. Offshoring companies would spend time restructuring their businesses so that their aren’t dependent upon government programs. (And ultimately dependent upon us, since we have a role to play in government programs.)

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The end of H1-B abuse: Equal Opportunity

Americans can be proud of its world leadership in developing information technologies over the last 25 years. Tens of thousands of technical professionals (many of whom jumpstarted their careers with NDSL grants) went on to create the computers and applications we depend upon today. Just over 10 years ago, a new generation of technical professionals joined this seasoned crew and transformed the government funded ARPAnet into the vibrant and indispensable Internet.

Every stage in this information evolution has contributed to the American Dream by providing a variety of challenging, high-paying careers. However, too many of these technology pioneers are living the nightmare of contributing to their own obsolesce at the height of their careers. The younger pioneers, those approaching their 30’s and 40’s, too often are delivering pizza rather than higher bandwidth. In the past 4 years, these pioneers have been joining millions of other hard-working people who have been proud to play by the rules – and shocked that they have been rewarded with truncated careers and diminished hope.

All of us, who for years have been preaching technical education as the path for the jobs of tomorrow now, find ourselves confronted by colleagues bearing high tech degrees in one hand and 2-year-old pink slips in the other. Research suggests that a lot of this unemployment is due to the removal of at least 2 million jobs via the H1-B program.

Amazingly, the federal government has, over the last 15 years, been aggressively engaged in a program that has prevented these technical professionals from even applying for these 2 million jobs. The H1-B program has used the one-two punch against these professionals by denying an opportunity to compete for positions, coupled with a job reservations process that guarantees that citizens from abroad are the only people considered for these positions.

When this legislation was first introduced, it was seen as a great aid to American business and technology. But the discrimination in technical fields that victimized only Blacks, Hispanics and women has now been expanded to white and Asian-American men by this program. This has created a legal “glass ceiling” for technical skills advancement and has the effect of isolating the US workforce from the increasingly digitalizing world economy. Just as the Black Codes excluded newly freed Black men from trade skills, this program is further isolating the US workforce from participation in the expanding Digital Age.

Under this program, corporations are wielding the stick of deportation and the carrot of permanent residence to create a patron-like dominance that induces a cowering posture in the guest worker. Many employers contemptibly take advantage of these guest workers to short their wages and benefits.

Participating corporations have become addicted to this intoxicating concoction of job immobility and declining wages. Evidence of this corporate addiction keeps surfacing. Rather than quickly filling a position from the local market, corporations now are willing to wait over 6 months to hire a citizen from abroad. They are willing to incur the cost of delayed hiring along with the higher fees we have just imposed, in order to hire a citizen from abroad.

We can no longer wait. We must modify the H1-B program to give American citizens and green card holders an opportunity equal to that being afforded to citizens from abroad.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Even Republican State Lawmakers Block Offshoring

According to the National Foundation for American Policy’s Table Tracking State Global Sourcing Legislation, 140 state bills have been submitted to monitor or curtail some aspect of offshoring since 2003. Only 8 were submitted in 2003, but a whopping 132 bills followed in 2004. The trend doesn’t seem to be subsiding either.

Democrats sponsored most anti-offshoring bills in state legislatures but many had bipartisan sponsorship. However, Republicans in Viriginia, South Carolina, Missouri and Indiana introduced measures that are virtually no different than Democratic-sponsored bills. Here’s the list that Republicans have sponsored:

Virginia – House Bill 315 (prefiled January 9, 2004). Provides a 3 percent preference to any person with facilities in Virginia in awarding contracts over $500,000.

Virginia – House Bill 243 (prefiled January 8, 2004). Provides preference in procurement to U.S. based firms or corporations so long as “not more than 20 percent greater than the bid price of the low responsive and responsible foreign-based firm or corporation.” Companion to Senate Bill 151.

Tennessee – House Bill No. 3235 (introduced January 5, 2004). Prohibits state contract work from being performed overseas as well as state contracts with companies headquartered outside the U.S. Identical to SB2822.

South Carolina — House bill 4434 (filed on December 3, 2003). Virtually identical legislative text to North Carolina Senate bill 991. Prohibits state government contracts for telemarketing or call service centers with any company that does not perform the work in the U.S. and only with individuals authorized to be employed in the U.S. Also requires a call center operator to disclose the employee’s location upon request and written permission for call center to send a person’s financial, credit or other information to a foreign country. (this has 1 Democratic sponsor)

Missouri — Senate Bill 853 (prefiled on December 1, 2003). No state government contracts "where personal information regarding residents of the state who are not a party to the contract will be collected in performance of the contract, shall be made or maintained with any bidder who intends to or actually performs any part of the contract outside of the United States, either directly or indirectly through a subcontractor." Such personal information includes, but is not limited to, social security numbers, medical and financial information, date of birth and names of relatives.

Indiana — Senate Bill 4 (introduced November 18, 2003). The bill would permit work in service contracts with the state to be performed only by U.S. citizens or individuals authorized to work in the United States.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Companies Must Train their Suppliers

Remember how the news stories focus on techies training their replacements? Training is at the heart of manufacturing and service outsourcing. If you aren’t willing to train your supplier – you can’t successfully outsource .

Successful outsourcing means that a company must pick an internal process, then extract it from others, put this process out to bid, and then have the current employees train their foreign replacements.

Take the human body as a business example of outsourcing. You would pick a process say, the circulatory system. You would then segregate it from the human body and convert it to stand-alone so that a supplier could bid on maintaining the circulatory system. Part of the bid would specify that you would train the overseas supplier to maintain your circulatory system.

The most devastating part of off shoring for the nation is not the loss of jobs, but the loss of knowledge! This is true for both manufacturing and service.

The only real problem with off shoring is that, even in the short run, we are committing technical suicide. Government agencies will want to maintain this technical knowledge, especially when making decisions on economic development.

Illinois will have Stats on Offshoring in 3rd Qtr 2005

Companies that bid on state contracts must now report where contracts will be executed because of a new law that takes effect in July, 2005. Although some might be tempted to think this law "curbs" offshoring, don't you make that mistake. It's a data gathering bill, with a report on offshoring due by 2007, written by Central Mangament Services, the major procurement division of the state of Illinois.

prospective vendors shall disclose
in a statement of work where services will be performed under
that contract, including any subcontracts, and whether any
services under that contract, including any subcontracts, are
anticipated to be performed outside the United States.

What goes into a Bill may not always Come out as Legislation
This bill was originally written to prevent companies that offshore state work. Apparently, members received word that Central Management Services (CMS), was dismayed by the intent of the original bill. Because of this, successful efforts were undertaken to subsantially change the impact of the bill.

Legislators then re-worked the bill so that companies bidding on contracts must report their offshoring activities. Rep. Harry Osterman, from Chicago, added some teeth to the bill at the last minute by allowing the state to end a contract early - if the company decides to offshore the work after receiving the contract.

As may of you are aware, offshoring is a new phenomanom. Most foundations and think tanks aren't yet studying the issue yet, so in this regard this legislation may provide some data in the later part of 2005.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Bi-partisan Effort to Block Offshoring in Arizona

I'm taking my hat off to all those Arizona techies whom made this happen.

A measure has been put forward at the state Legislature prohibiting the foreign outsourcing of state government work.
It prohibits the state from entering into contracts or taking other actions that results in state government jobs, contract positions or other work being shipped outside the United States.

The legislation is sponsored by three conservative Republicans and 18 Democrats.

Congratulations for working together on this. Could these legislators soon find themselves humming Howie Day's new song, "
You and I Collide"?

This legislation is probably in response to a brew-ha-ha over offshoring government customer service. Arizonans who were down on their luck found themselves calling India to get help managing their food stamp alottment.

Here's a short 4-minute clip from the nightly news. My colleague, Rob Sanchez appears in this. I'm mentioning as an effort in full disclosure.

Can other states, particularily Illinois, make sure that the dollars they spend go into the local or domestic economy?

Keep checking back; I've got some stuff I'll be rolling out. Maybe we in Illinois could soon be humming Maroon 5's new song, "And She Will Be Loved!"

(Is it obvious to you that my radio is playing in the background?)

Democratic Insiders Listening

I am pleasantly surprised by the messages I have received. I encourage everyone to post here with the details of your circumstances. Why? Because I just spoke with a Democratic insider who is keen to understand our issues and circumstances. He wants to listen to our knowledge and experience and needs to understand what we face.

Government policy is shaped from detailed information.
As you know, this issue hasn't gotten the detailed attention that it requires. At the present time, we have this detailed information in our heads and we can convey some of this rich detail here. Otherwise, we will wait years for foundations to realize that they need to fund researchers to study us to tell politicians how to address our circumstances.

So let's cut out the middle man, right here on this blog.

When you post to this blog, you are the star and your story is unique. Pack your sentences with names, dates, and figures. This will help some of the Democratic insiders understand us.

Politicians think differently than we do. They see specific examples and extrapolate from there. We tend to organize our thoughts by understanding the general and then boring down to the specific.

So instead of writing, " I worked for a company in southern CA..." try to this:
I'm a systems programmer with a Masters in Computer Science, 1992. I worked for Lockhead Martin in Van Eyes, CA from 1995 to 2000....

If you're unsure how to word something and want an editor, send me your post and I'll return it with comments or edits.

I'll change the settings to allow Anonymous posts.

Great jobs, gals and guys. Keep up the good work.

Friday, February 04, 2005

On-the-Job Training is Only for H1-B’s

On-the-job training is not available for the majority of technical professionals - unless you have a visa the company can hold.

In the '70 & 80's high tech jobs were paths to upward mobility, especially for women and minority groups. Veterans were scooped up immediately, regardless of their race. The reason I was able to break into the industry was due to a labor shortage. I was a smart kid and they gave me a break! Labor shortages always advantage disenfranchised groups.

Congress should allow companies to solve their staffing problems the old-fashioned way – thru in house training, giving smart kids a break, and using the Human Bonding method of transferring knowledge to the young upstarts.

H1-B: tech knowledge transfer via Human Bonding
Tthe IT industry is highly exclusionary and government programs like the H1-B provide the best guarantee that the Human Bonding method of knowledge transfer - mentoring - will result in a worker remaining with the company for at least 3 years. ALL H1-B’s go through a training period – some are even trained by their replacements!

Training is rarely provided to IT professionals – they are expected to “hit the ground running” and we do! f this training were provided to you or me, there would be no guarantee that we couldn’t be snatched away in one day by another tech company who needs that skill or experience. The H1-B program substantially lowers the risk that a tech professional will seek employment elsewhere during his stay.

The H1-B program legally creates a glass ceiling. Once the job is removed from the domestic workforce with approval by the Department of Labor, federal hiring guidelines can legally be circumvented. It also creates a glass floor where technical knowledge will never flow. So in this scenario, how does a sharp kid get a break?

Now, the tech knowledge transfer is the part that’s so devastating to the US workforce. The H1-B and the L1- programs are the crucial players in successful offshoring. Without transferring technical knowledge via the Human Bonding method, the company cannot offshore the job. This very intensive training takes at least 6 months to 1 year.

Tech Firm’s Project Driven Business Model needs H1-B’s
The vast majority of tech work is now project driven. In fact, this business model has evolved in tandem with the H1-B program. This project-driven business model is dependent on long-term temporary labor, similar to major construction projects. So we now have the majority of tech guys (their increasingly guys now) who are hired like tradesmen – all qualified the day they start, work for 6 months to 3 years, and are then let go.

This would be a good model if we were unionized, since the union would get us the jobs, negotiate our rate and mentor the young upstarts via union-provided training. Providing skilled labor and providing knowledge transfer would be the union’s responsibility – not the governments or the tech firm’s.

Instead, the government via the H1-B program provides skilled labor and training. So in this model, how does a smart kid get a break?

The End of Aspiration
The H-B program is crucial in constricting opportunities into the Digital Economy for citizens, green card holders, and even the undocumented. This is part of the reason the Gen-X'ers have limited opportunities.

Sharp kids that got breaks created the computer industry. We were trained by the company, mentored and furthered our education. We were ordinary folks who took the opportunity and ran with it.

The tide was turned in 2004. The combination of loss of jobs, offshoring and the reservation of jobs via the LCA database means that the next generation of average technical kids must have an easy path to immigrate – especially to India.