Plutocrats Versus the People
• Meet the new generation of rapacious robber barons.
By Ronald L. Ray —
Moral corruption has become a way of life among top executives in corporate America. Too many have forgotten that the purpose of being in business is to help provide a stable, secure living for employees and their families, not use them as units of capital, whose only value is in creating outrageous gobs of money for a few privileged poobahs or pay their own undeserved stipends. The avaricious rapacity of international banksterism and dignity-destroying, exploitative libertarianism has infected an astonishing array of economic sectors, grinding the honest workingman into the dirt.
Almost nothing demonstrates this better than the crass extermination of well-paid American jobs through the use of H-1B foreign guest worker visas. One of the clearest examples of that heinous practice was given recently by energy provider Southern California Edison (SCE), in a move which may even threaten United States national security.
The H-1B visa originated over 15 years ago with then-Senator Edward Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.), allowing U.S. companies to “temporarily” hire ostensibly highly educated foreigners for up to six years in specialized fields, but only when qualified American workers are not available. Most of the visas are issued in information technology (IT), finance, healthcare and education.
H-1B use, however, has become a major means of sending tens of thousands of Americans into unemployment and exploiting lower-paid foreigners, because Congress established sub-standard wage levels for H-1Bs and removed significant workplace protections. It is grotesquely obvious corporate welfare—in some cases, the return of the sweatshop.
In this, SCE is a sort of piratical pioneer itself. While Microsoft, Apple, Google and IBM long have used H-1Bs to get rid of American IT professionals and hire lower-paid, less-skilled foreigners, SCE is apparently the first energy provider, through H-1B, to eliminate U.S. IT employees directly responsible for supporting their power grid, says Pat Lavin, business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local No. 47. AMERICAN FREE PRESS spoke with Lavin on March 20.
Lavin is a patriotic, Vietnam-era Marine and SCE retiree, whose union represents 4,200 SCE employees. He excoriated the company for laying off 800 non-union, “competent and experienced people with degrees”—software engineers and other IT professionals. IBEW has held three large protest rallies in support of their co-workers. Insultingly, most of the victims were required to train their replacements and sign non-disparagement agreements as a condition of receiving severance pay and unemployment compensation. Lavin reports that SCE also plans to soon replace 1,500-2,000 U.S. call center workers with foreigners, by shipping those jobs straight overseas.
These actions are creating great distress and suffering in the lives of affected workers, most of whom are older and will find new work with great difficulty. Meanwhile, Edison International (EIX) CEO Theodore “Ted” F. Craver, Jr. made $11.2 million and cashed in over $15 million in EIX stock last year. SCE President Pedro J. Pizarro received $2.5 million and over $10 million in stock. Yet the company claims it cannot afford even to pay for a twice-yearly retiree dinner. And with a collateralization of only $20 billion (very low for the industry), Lavin says that, through all these moves, “It looks like they’re getting ready for a ‘fire sale’ to Warren Buffett.”
SCE hired notorious India-based Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services to bring Indian workers into the U.S. to learn the Americans’ jobs, preparatory, Lavin believes, to moving the positions over to Mumbai—a clear violation of law. Lavin says there is no reason, even financial, for displacing Americans. He calls SCE—a regulated public utility—an “oligopoly” with no competition. With an annual return on investment of 14%-15%, he notes SCE cannot lose money, “unless they’re really stupid.”
Lavin points out, disturbingly, that SCE’s power grid, supplying over 5 million customers, ultimately ties into the national grid, and that putting Indians in charge of the technological support places direct access to that grid in close physical proximity to terrorists and unscrupulous governments. Lavin declared, “I think that’s a national security risk.”
SCE’s moves are not unique in their treasonous aspects, though. Los Alamos National Security, Kansas State University, the National Institutes of Health and others tied to homeland security operations are major H-1B employers.
Let’s be blunt. Despite what Google executive Eric Schmidt and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce falsely claim, there is no shortage of American technology workers, and the only real purpose of the H-1B and similar visas is to take stable jobs away from Americans and destroy the U.S. economy for the enrichment of the robber barons. Yet most in Congress want to expand the program geometrically.
Only a very few are defending U.S. workers. Notably, Senators Charles Ernest “Chuck” Grassley (R-Ia.), Jefferson Beauregard “Jeff” Sessions III (R-Ala.) and Richard Joseph “Dick” Durbin (D-Ill.) want to end the exploitation and protect American jobs.
Lavin best summed up the H-1B “outsourcing visa” problem in recent testimony to Congress: “This is yet another prime example of what happens when you have Wall Street bankers out running amok . . . and thinking only of their precious bottom lines and not true American values and family values.”
Contact your congresspersons and senators today, and tell them to end H-1B and other job-destroying, corporate welfare programs.