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Outsourced IT Workers Ask Sen Feinstein For Help, Get Form Letter in Return ( 813

Reader dcblogs writes: A University of California IT employee whose job is being outsourced to India recently wrote Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) for help. Feinstein's office sent back a letter addressing manufacturing job losses, not IT, and offered the worker no assistance. "I am being asked to do knowledge transfer to a foreigner so they can take over my job in February of 2017," the employee, wrote in part. The employee is part of a group of 50 IT workers and another 30 contractors facing layoffs after the university hired an offshore outsourcing firm. The firm, India-based HCL, won a contract to manage infrastructure services. Since the layoffs became public, the school has posted Labor Condition Applications (LCA) notices -- as required by federal law when H-1B workers are being placed. UCSF employees have seen these notices and made some available to Computerworld. They show that the jobs posted are for programmer analyst II and network administrator IV. For the existing UCSF employees, the notices were disheartening. "Many of us can easily fill the job. We are training them to replace us," said one employee who requested anonymity because he is still employed by the university.
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Outsourced IT Workers Ask Sen Feinstein For Help, Get Form Letter in Return

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  • by rainmouse ( 1784278 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @10:53AM (#53061711)
    Yeah I spent my 4 weeks notice once having to train a Ukrainian to do my job (whole office got closed and outsourced). A few weeks later the Russians annex Crimea, not so far from where the office was moved to.
    • by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi&evcircuits,com> on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:11AM (#53061857) Homepage

      Why would you then train him at all? You got your 4 weeks notice, go to work, throw them a manual and let them figure it out. If they complain, say "he doesn't understand me very well".

      • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:21AM (#53061915) Homepage Journal

        Usually they make your severance dependent upon it.

        Haven't been in exactly the same situation, but was given three months notice when the US branch of a UK company decided it was time to shut down the US branch and have the development be centralized at the UK offices. I had to train my UK counterparts during that three months, or else not get severance.

        In my case the situation was understandable (which is not to say I agreed with it), and we went our separate ways on good terms. I can't imagine how horrible the workers described above felt, and Diane Feinstein is up there with DWS as one of the worst Democrats ever.

        • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <> on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:33AM (#53062041)

          You probably had grounds to force the payment of the severance anyway, in your case, as its a UK company and under British rules severance is not contingent on anything - the company makes you redundant and pays your severance, they cannot put strings on it. You would probably have had to file in a UK court, but thats not much of an issue.

          That is why you don't hear of these horror stories of "I had to train my replacement" in the UK - we simply don't have to do that.

          • by stealth_finger ( 1809752 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:39AM (#53062121)

            That is why you don't hear of these horror stories of "I had to train my replacement" in the UK - we simply don't have to do that.

            Also our companies for the most part aren't farming out work to cheap foreign labour on the basis that locals can't do the work even though they are doing it and have to train the people that are apparently more capable of said work, all while having to pay them the same anyway because that makes no fucking sense. As I understand it that's pretty much the h1b situation. If I'm wrong please correct me.

          • by Skuld-Chan ( 302449 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @02:10PM (#53063529)

            It's kinda funny too - as I've had to train my Indian replacements (at Adobe). I heard from the layoff survivors that not a single one of them had any clue what I was talking about or showing them.

            In other words - its a pointless waste of time. You simply can't uproot a whole office and replace everyone and expect smooth sailing.

      • Because the alternative is to have to write the manual....

    • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:16AM (#53061891)

      At this point it's better to actively sabotage the effort while you look for other employment and then quit. I've fought this battle in a different field, it didn't do anyone any favors to go along with it, including the corporate masters who thought they were saving money. The best policy is subtle sabotage: make enemies, say vague things, give wrong directions when someone talks to you without a paper trail then deny or dissemble. The government has sold you out, unions won't work here, so at this point misbehaving and taking their money for as long as it lasts is the best policy.

    • Why did you not sue? This is ILLEGAL.

  • Silly rabbit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @10:54AM (#53061715)

    Democrats tagline about being the party for the little guy is every bit as truthful as Republicans ideas about being the party of fiscal responsibility. They're both so full of shit that they could make billions in the fertilizer business. Lets be clear - all politicians today are there for their own personal enrichment and power. If you ain't the one who paid their bribes, you ain't getting anything back except maybe a form letter.

    • Maximum yield (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:35AM (#53062065) Homepage Journal

      Scott Adams (who writes Dilbert) is on vacation in Switzerland, and his recent blog post [] had this snippet, which got me really angry:

      [...] I also asked the Swiss man what kind of problems they have in Switzerland. He laughed again. The answer is “none.” Literally.
      Good economy.
      Plenty of jobs.
      No racial strife.
      Low crime rate.
      Highest standard of living.
      No real pollution.
      No litter.
      No homeless that I could see.

      The reason it angered me is that here's a country where the government tries to give the citizens a good life. They have fixed all of the major problems and are just letting their citizens live in quiet enjoyment.

      The Swiss government is considering implementing a guaranteed minimum income.

      Over here in the US, our infrastructure is crumbling, our healthcare is at 3rd world level, jobs are scarce (and we're outsourcing more and more), and two thirds of the people are on the brink of poverty [], and the government spies on and opresses everyone.

      It's as if the government sees the people as some sort of harvest-able crop whose purpose is to provide taxes, where their only efforts are towards maximum yield.

      • Re:Maximum yield (Score:5, Informative)

        by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:48AM (#53062185)

        That's where my wife is from. They are very strict about secure borders, control of the money supply, and having the government live within its means. Unlike European countries (Switzerland is totally autonomous and not part of the union) it is not importing refugees.

      • Re:Maximum yield (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kokuyo ( 549451 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:48AM (#53062187) Journal

        Yeeeahhh... That Swiss dude? He was lying.
        Regards from Switzerland.

      • by Kagato ( 116051 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @12:42PM (#53062681)

        What he doesn't know about the Swiss is they regulate the crap out of everyone. Health Insurance must be not for profit and the Gov't have price controls on the fees doctors and hospitals can charge insurance. The Swiss are the most capitalistic lot in Europe and even they recognize when you're injured or hurt you're in no position to negotiate. I don't see conservatives (or Scott Adams) lining up behind gov't mandated price controls.

      • Re:Maximum yield (Score:4, Informative)

        by l0n3s0m3phr34k ( 2613107 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @01:50PM (#53063315)
        Comparing the US to the Swiss is a false equivalency. IMHO, the biggest is that many of the Swiss are distantly related to each other, unlike the US. When half the country is part of your extended biological family, you feel far different towards them than the "melting pot" situation here in the US. I'm not condoning the US's attitude, but it's just a very basic and probably pre-human part of our evolution. All animals are more helpful to fellow family / tribe members.
    • No man can get rich in politics unless he's a crook. It cannot be done. - Harry S. Truman

      Hillary and Bill were worth about $700K when they entered the White House. Now they are worth around $111 million [].

  • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @10:57AM (#53061739)
    H-1B abuse like this is one of many reasons why some people feel that their only choice is to vote for Trump's insanity. Desperate people do desperate things.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:07AM (#53061809)

      Trump is against H1B. He also knows the game.

      Hillary is in the pocket of big business. You don't get $1 mil for a 15 minute speech unless they want something else from you.

      • by bgalbrecht ( 920100 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:58AM (#53062279)
        Trump says he's against H1B, but he brings in at least 1000 foreign workers under H2B for all his casinos, resorts and hotels. Actions speak louder than words, and in this case, it's clear that Trump is in favour of hiring cheap foreign workers instead of citizens.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @12:13PM (#53062383)

          He's against tax loopholes like depreciation but has exploited them mercilessly in the past as well.

          He believes that every person has the right to act in their best interest in whatever rules framework exists. If the rules are shitty, that's the problem; you can't expect people to abide by the "spirit" of the rules against their own interest.

          The real problem is that the rules are shitty, and he _says_ he intends to fix the rules.

          • "he _says_ he intends to fix the rules" " in their(his) best interest"

          • I don't get the manufactured outrage over Trump's tax situation. I don't know about you, but I take EVERY tax deduction that I'm legally entitled to. If I ran a business, I'd consider it my fiduciary responsibility to my employees and shareholders to do the same for the business. So according to the bias in the media, that somehow makes me a bad guy and I should be paying more. No. Simply no.

            The "foundation" loopholes must be pretty lucrative since all the uber-rich have them.

            But back to the

          • by Creepy ( 93888 )

            Saying you're against depreciation doesn't mean much on its own - let me explain depreciating assets and then why. Say I buy a refrigerator for the office for $2000. The IRS has an enormous multi-volume set of books (and a smaller 2 volume one that covers most cases - and yes, they still print them, but there are software versions) that lists pretty much anything you can buy in its depreciation schedule. For the sake of simplicity, let's say the refrigerator was a 5 year depreciating asset (I think it's act

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      That's probably because it's true. If the establishment on either side is saying "fuck you" choosing someone who isn't establishment is the best choice, if to do nothing else then to toss a giant wrench into the gears. The democrats in general have been all over H1B's and being for it like flies on shit. Establishment republicans have also been all over it. And while IT has been the big punching bag taking the vast majority of "internal outsourcing" it's been the general white collar and elites in acade

  • by avgjoe62 ( 558860 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @10:58AM (#53061749)

    H-1B Visas are meant to cover skills not readily available in this country. I would argue that if the current workers are training their replacements, then the skill set is readily available in this country. To quote Wiki :

    The regulations define a "specialty occupation" as requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor[1] including but not limited to biotechnology, chemistry, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, law, accounting, business specialties, theology, and the arts, and requiring the attainment of a bachelor's degree or its equivalent as a minimum[2] (with the exception of fashion models, who must be "of distinguished merit and ability").[3] Likewise, the foreign worker must possess at least a bachelor's degree or its equivalent and state licensure, if required to practice in that field.

    Tell the university that you simply don't have the skill set required to train your replacement...

    • by Kagato ( 116051 )

      Usually they send LS-1 workers. They are more like a visiting foreign worker who can only be around for a limited period of time. There's nothing in the law preventing LS-1's from coming to the US to learn a job for the sole purposes of putting citizens out of work.

  • Epic tone deafness (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sethstorm ( 512897 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @10:59AM (#53061755) Homepage

    I wonder how much Feinstein gets from various pro-offshoring groups to be completely tone-deaf to her own constituents.

  • Good for India (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RandomSurfer314 ( 4412795 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @10:59AM (#53061757)
    People in India need to eat something, too, and most of them are piss poor in comparison to US standards anyway. It's hard to find a reason why they shouldn't deserve to get work on an international labor market. I bet I'm going to be downvoted for this, and fully understand the personal problems of the workers who get fired, of course, but there is also another side to these kind of stories.
    • Re:Good for India (Score:5, Interesting)

      by stabiesoft ( 733417 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:10AM (#53061841) Homepage

      Probably because it is a country's duty to first support its own citizens. Otherwise, what is a country?

      • Re:Good for India (Score:4, Insightful)

        by harrkev ( 623093 ) <kfmsd AT harrelsonfamily DOT org> on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:23AM (#53061945) Homepage

        Probably because it is a country's duty to first support its own citizens. Otherwise, what is a country?

        What are you smoking? The current groupthink is to give full rights to non-citizens. Did you smuggle yourself into this country illegally? There are a lot of people who want to give you a driver's license, the right to vote, and free health insurance. Clearly, the job of the US government is to provide benefits to everybody, regardless of their citizenship status. The only qualifications are to either be born in the US, or be crafty enough to break the law and get yourself in.

        • Re:Good for India (Score:4, Insightful)

          by swb ( 14022 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @12:05PM (#53062325)

          The groupthink is to support a set of universal "human rights", with an emphasis on groups at the most disadvantaged end of the scale. This emphasis on universalism has removed any emphasis on the rights of local populations if their rights status is judged "higher" than other groups.

          And the calculus of judging rights status of groups is kind of weighted, which is why you see groups who at face seem oppressed (ie, white poor, unemployed Appalachian coal miners) judged as "privileged" by universalists who weight some criteria (like race) as privilege status above others (economic power).

          Regional disadvantages are disregarded because privilege and power are aggregated and its presumed that all regional members share these. If the US is a rich country, then all US citizens are presumed to actually possess these privileges, even if specific members of the US don't share any of these.

      • Probably because it is a country's duty to first support its own citizens.

        No, it is not. The government's duty is to protect us from external enemies and internal criminals. Nobody owes you any actual support — that is, you can not count on other people giving you anything of theirs, only on them not taking away anything of yours.

        Back to the original topic, I can not see, how an employer can be considered wrong not buying labor from the same folks, who are themselves happy to buy imported goods. We a

    • how about india does something for their own people?
    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      The problem is that these sorts of companies don't really lift anyone out of poverty over there. They don't have the same labor standards, they exploit their workers while paying the minimum they can get away with. Many "IT workers" moved from the farm to live in city slums while destroying the environment doing so.

      Sure people over there need to eat there too but they're barely eating and corporate colonization is not a good solution. This is akin to saying "hey, don't worry about us outsourcing the cotton

  • Silly serfs (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Spy Handler ( 822350 )

    You thought senators and secretaries of state were supposed to work for your benefit?

    Almost too cute.

    • You thought senators and secretaries of state were supposed to work for your benefit?

      Unfortunately, they are: they sell themselves out to the highest bidder.

      IT workers, of course, could become the highest bidder. In that case, they'd get some protectionist measure passed and someone else would get screwed.

      But someone always gets screwed when "senators and secretaries of state" work for the "benefit" of some group.

    • Why should she help you? What are you going to do, vote Republican?

      You made yourself a captive and an enabler of a one-party system. Don't be surprised when you end up taken for granted and your concerns are ignored.

      • by Fire_Wraith ( 1460385 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @02:27PM (#53063679)
        In California, you can vote for another primary candidate. They now have a top-2 system, where the two candidates with the most votes from the primary, regardless of party, face off in the general election. California actually has two democrats on the ballot for Senate in November - Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez. This is a relatively new change, that hopefully should help be a moderating influence (at least in theory).
  • really? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 )

    > "I am being asked to do knowledge transfer to a foreigner so they can take over my job in February of 2017,"

    I have no idea why employees just sheeplike say yes to doing this shit, instead of taking all your accrued leave and looking for/starting a new job at the same time.
    At least dick the company around, phone in sick all the time, and do nothing for your last few months. Certainly never give the foreigner any training or actually true information.

    • by nomad63 ( 686331 )
      They say yes because it is the prerequisite to getting any form of severance pay from the assholes who are firing you for the cheap indian dude/dudette. If you are losing your job, you at leasy want to get some money to survive. Being sheep is not remote possibility.
      • Re:really? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:44AM (#53062155)

        >> If you are losing your job, you at leasy want to get some money to survive.

        Thats why you need to never take on debt unless absolutely necessary, then pay it off ASAP and save while you are working.
        My biggest life rule is to ensure I always have an emergency fund that is a minimum of 6 months (ideally a year) of pay (after tax/deductions), I maintain a minimal lifestyle (no "toys" or luxuries) until I have that in the bank, and I never touch it for ANY reason other than to absolute emergencies to keep myself alive/fed/housed/clothed.
        A side-effect of doing that is that you become free to live like a man, with some self-respect, not a corporate slave/sheep.

        • by nomad63 ( 686331 )
          I just saw this in the captiva screen they have in our office building elevators: more than half the US millenials who have bank accounts, have less than $1000 in their savings account, as in emergency funds. To top it off, close to 1/3 of those people do not have a red penny saved. This is what you get by raising sheep by instant gratification, telling them, "Don't worry, government has your back" And we see the government who has your back in people like Diane Fu(%stein idiot, whose main purpose for being
    • Re:really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pla ( 258480 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:17AM (#53061895) Journal
      Easy to say, not so easy to do when it happens to you.

      For starters, having a job makes it much, much easier to find a new one. Telling your employer to go pound sand has a way of leading to unemployment in short order.

      Second, very few Americans have any sort of massive bank of accrued leave; meaning unless they keep working, two weeks from now, they stop getting paid.

      And finally, companies often make these situations too good to turn down - Train your replacement, and we'll give you a bonus of six+ months' salary, but only if you stay until they tell you to.

      Sure, we may all feel morally indignant about these situations, but how many of us would really choose "unemployment" over a check for $80k? I'd dare say not very many.
    • > "I am being asked to do knowledge transfer to a foreigner so they can take over my job in February of 2017,"

      I have no idea why employees just sheeplike say yes to doing this shit, instead of taking all your accrued leave and looking for/starting a new job at the same time. At least dick the company around, phone in sick all the time, and do nothing for your last few months. Certainly never give the foreigner any training or actually true information.

      Many need the money and can't afford to walk away from a few more months pay and benefits simply to satisfy an urge to screw their employer. Of course, there is a difference between showing somebody the textbook way a system operates and showing them all the nuances and little things not in the manual that need to be done to really make the system work properly. A Brit friend of mine explained that to really mess with someone you need to be "maliciously complaint," i.e. follow the exact wording of what they

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:02AM (#53061779)

    She's 50% of Silicon Valley's home state senate team. Expecting her to take a position anywhere remotely opposed to H1B seems as likely as a NY Senator opposing Wall Street.

    It hits too close to home.

    • by Creepy ( 93888 )

      She's also shown to be completely uninformed on technology, sponsored CISA [] and pushing a bill that makes encryption illegal []

      I really can't see how Silicon Valley would ever have voted her in, but if I recall correctly, she's been in office practically forever, so maybe being the perennial incumbent means change never happens. Probably also easily wins Hollywood voters since many studios are run by Jews like her (might be favoritism based on shared religion is all I mean).

  • Go on strike? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vermonter ( 2683811 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:03AM (#53061783)
    This may be a silly question since I've never been in this kind of situation, but why doesn't the IT staff all collectively refuse to train their outsourced replacements? Or go on strike? Even if they aren't unionized, they could go on strike (I assume). Am I just making some bad assumptions here?
    • This may be a silly question since I've never been in this kind of situation, but why doesn't the IT staff all collectively refuse to train their outsourced replacements? Or go on strike? Even if they aren't unionized, they could go on strike (I assume). Am I just making some bad assumptions here?

      Two main reasons - One of the conditions of getting a half-decent severance package will be that you have to train the outsourced labor to a standard satisfactory to the remaining management; secondly, one of the unwritten but impossible to avoid/prove conditions of getting a good reference from the employer will be training the replacement.
      So... refuse to play nice with the managers screwing you over like this? No problem, you're fired immediately and you will get no reference from the employer (or even wo

  • It's worth noting that calling, or even visiting in person, are the most effective ways to get a response from a public official. As stated in the article, public officials are deluged with email. Phone calls and visits are less common, therefore getting more attention than other ways of communicating. Something as serious as a request for an investigation is serious enough to warrant the time investment into a more personal method of communication.
    • by bigwheel ( 2238516 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:29AM (#53062007)

      Getting to see or talk to a senator is dang near impossible. (Unless of course, you've donated large sums of money to the campaign or money-laundering foundation.)

      I know this first-hand from when I was starting a company and trying to get support for a particular program. It took us several weeks of trying, and the best we could do was fly to D.C. to meet with a mid-level staffer for 20 minutes.

      I'm sure that senators are busy people. Listening to their constituents ranks right up with answering robo calls.

      • by Bob the Super Hamste ( 1152367 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @01:43PM (#53063223) Homepage
        I find that consistently being a thorn in their side gets good results. My soon to be former congress critter John Kline suffered from this. I was invited to one of his constituent town halls once and he was on a tear about bringing out troops home from Obama's wars and I asked him when we would be bringing all of our troops home. He blathered on about how he agreed with this and that we should bring troops home from Obama's wars as soon as possible. I responded that I was referring to bring all of our troops home that we also have stationed in Europe and Asia as Europe are big boys and that China, Japan, Korea, and India need to step up and take care of their parts of the world and that we don't need to play world police. I never got invited back to one of his town halls but he has called me personally twice since then when I have written him and after the first call has always responded to my letters personally. The first time he called me was about my letter on the USA FREEDOM act where he disagreed with my assessment of what it would do and said that the law didn't say that. My response that he was either retarded or willfully ignorant and then I read him the part of the proposed law that said exactly what I was complaining about. I pointed out that I would be informing everyone I know about this and working diligently to show that he is unfit for office. The thing is that you have to keep after them and follow through otherwise they forget and I usually send about one letter a week to my US elected officials. I feel that I am somewhat responsible for his decision to not run again and the world may be a better place, but neither Angie Craig, or Jason Lewis seem all that great either but at least Lewis has taken a stance on things instead of offering platitudes.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:03AM (#53061789)

    Sorry for the AC posting, but...

    My company worked with HCL. Not a bad company in their own right. They took over our tech debt so we could, in theory, focus on building new things. Started off with a big seminar about how indian culture is different from american culture. Uhhh, OK, informative I guess.

    It lasted about 9 months before we dropped them. We had to wait a full year for the contract to run out. Their coding was decent, language was decent. Time was the real barrier here. They were working when we were asleep and vice versa. It's just not an ideal setup to try and have people submitting code and doing QA work in the middle of the night. Because if you have a question on why they did what they did, you send out an e-mail, wait a day, get a response, send it back. Everything just grinds to a halt.

    It might be cheaper on paper, but it's fucking stupid. It creates to much of a time barrier between you and the people doing the work.

    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:50AM (#53062199) Homepage Journal

      The cultural differences thing is real. I inherited a team of Indian H1Bs which we picked up as a favor to a VC who had over-extended himself. It took me almost a year to figure out how to manage across the cultural divide.

      While the first thing most Indians will tell you is that there isn't just one "Indian culture", it's fair to say that Indian business manners tend to be a lot more hierarchical than American manners. There are of course fire-breathing outliers; people are not cultural automatons, after all. But for the most part my Indian supervisees were much more reluctant than an American would be to do anything which might be construed as challenging my authority or competence in a public way.

      That took a lot of adjustment; as an American you feel free to speak your mind to power; and as a supervisor you implicitly rely on your people to tell you to your face when you're going off the rails. I found I had to manage in a different way with the Indians; it wasn't better or worse, it was just different. What worked for me was to really get to know each of them; to take them out to lunch or drinks after work. One on one, in a relaxed and informal atmosphere I could get their true opinion of things. In a meeting they'd take my spitballing suggestions as orders to go out and fall on their swords. At least at first. As we got to understand and trust each other more they became more assertive, but I had to make the first move.

      It was a rewarding experience, and I highly recommend it, but I really can't imagine navigating that divide with me in the US and the team in India. If your relationship was merely a matter of handing over specifications and reviewing finished code, maybe. You'd need to have a strict, well-thought out division of responsibilities that did not rely in any way on any kind of implicit communication.

  • Form letter printed and mailed by Raj in Mumbai.

  • Protectionism (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:11AM (#53061849) Homepage Journal

    Farm jobs, 1790, 90% of the labor force. Manufacturing took all our hard-working farm jobs.

    Dock and rail worker jobs, 1920. The shipping pallet cut 4 days work down to 4 hours.

    Manufacturing jobs, 1990. Globalization took away all our jobs.

    IT jobs, 2015. H1B foreigners are taking our jobs.

    Long-term result has been expansion of population, increase in per-capita GDP, increase in the buying power of the middle- and lower-class families, a stronger job market, people spending less on food and clothing and more on entertainment and HEALTHCARE of all things, and the development of things like IT jobs instead of just a bunch of factory workers and shit shovelers. The long-term result has ALSO been the creation of a lot of retail and service (fast food) jobs, and a lot of domestic shipping jobs.

    The short-term result has always been a displacement of workers. 40% of the U.S. workforce turns over every year (which is why there's always Help Wanted signs--no, folks, the 5% unemployed aren't lazy drug addicts abusing the welfare system; there are legitimately just not jobs for everyone), and some 1.5%-2% retire and get replaced by new workers (college graduates), which means a skill replacement rate of some 1%-2% is safe. Still, those displaced workers mean the rest of us get richer, and even they benefit in the long run; but 6 months from now is a distant thought when you've just lost your job.

    I get it, really. I don't want to lose my job. You don't want to lose your job. I also don't want to live in 1990 forever. You see all these cell phones, high-speed Internet, and all the cheap food? The sheer buying power of the middle-class, the increase in available health care, and the massive amount of shit like video games and tablets and audiobooks we buy? Netflix, the entire IT industry (which only exists because it can sell things like Netflix), the like? That's the result of people losing their jobs for a little while along the way. What brought us from 1990 to 2016 is this kind of shit.

    Yes, it's irritating. It's sad. It's unfair. It's ALL unfair. We either kick a few good people out on the street and wait for the economy to cycle around and get them (or a proportional number of others who were facing terminal unemployment) back into new jobs to enjoy the new economy; or we protect their jobs and make *everyone* suffer a stagnant, decaying economy until, 50 years from now, we look like North Korea. Which is fair?

    I keep pushing for a Universal Social Security []. No tax increase required. Remediates the welfare system completely. Gives everyone an absolute share of technical progress--the savings these steps forward bring us, the new wealth, has a fraction cleaved off and distributed equally to all Americans. The poorest benefit most; the richest aren't taxed anything more for it; everyone else kind of scales.

    It's a contemporary fix. If we did it in 1950, everyone from the lower-middle-class up would have to give up nearly *all* their money and receive the standard stipend; the richest of rich would be barely more wealthy than the poorest-of-poor, and we'd collapse like the USSR. Since 2013, it's been doable without cutting the rich down, and without substantially narrowing the income distribution. This creates a firm, stable basis for the poorest-of-poor and, importantly, for the people who lose their jobs to these things.

    No, it's not fair. The system I propose is better than today, doesn't cut into anyone, lowers business taxes, reduces the cost of paying employees (read: more jobs, cheaper products), and lessens the financial damage done to an individual who loses his job. It's still not fair, because that guy is still (temporarily) the sacrificial lamb that takes us all into a better future. It's less-bad, and more-optimal. That happens to be important.

    Yes, I found a way to at least give the child of Omelas better food without destroying society, even if we still have to keep him locked up in the basement.

    • Re:Protectionism (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:42AM (#53062141)

      I keep pushing for a Universal Social Security []. No tax increase required. Remediates the welfare system completely.

      Simply shoving money into people's hands doesn't seem to work very well. The US could adopt the European welfare model, which is generally a simple, limited cash payment combined with strict government supervision of the job search.

      Alternatively, the US could adopt a model in which local and state governments act as an employer-of-last-resort; that is, if you can't find any other employment, you can always work for the government, but you basically have to do whatever job they give you. Payment would have to be below other entry-level jobs, and some payment might be in-kind (housing, food, basic healthcare, education/training).

      • It's more-complex than that.

        On the one hand, a job search isn't the answer. Jobs have to be paid out of buying power: all income represents all spending, and all products produced and sold (you may need to extend the time frame to incorporate retained stock e.g. strategic reserve in the "sold" part). Wages are paid out of revenue, which is paid by this income. After a lot of economic handwaving and complex systems that operate in feedback mode, it just comes down to a lack of availability of jobs. T

        • I'd wager you're getting a nauseating gut-feeling from the thought of free money landing in people's hands

          No, I simply understand both economics and the history of welfare a bit better than you do. The fact is that liberal welfare benefits have been tried in Europe, and several European countries have moved away from them again because they simply don't work very well.

          You fit the pattern of a large number of individuals who are extremely uncomfortable with people not doing something--anything--to justify a

    • Re:Protectionism (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:59AM (#53062281)

      Farm jobs, 1790, 90% of the labor force. Manufacturing took all our hard-working farm jobs. <-- technological improvement
      Dock and rail worker jobs, 1920. The shipping pallet cut 4 days work down to 4 hours. <-- technological improvement
      Manufacturing jobs, 1990. Globalization took away all our jobs. <-- moving jobs
      IT jobs, 2015. H1B foreigners are taking our jobs. <-- moving jobs

      There seems to be a problem with your comparison. Frankly, I don't think moving all our manufacturing to China was a good move and the H1B program is a disaster.

      • Not exactly. Trade is a technical improvement as well.

        Let's first talk about technological improvement, which you seem to understand. I just want to create the frame so we don't encounter an unpredicted communications issue.

        Say you make 40 chairs in 40 hours. To buy a chair requires the payment of 1 hour's wage. Simple.

        You find a new way to make chairs--maybe even just a new order of doing things with the same tools. That's technical progress (the economic term for development of new technology).

    • I agree in general, everything is the same until it is not.

      History is really long. We've had thousands of years of civilization.
      So it is sometimes worthy to ponder where your grounding is.

      Essentially so much of our understanding of labor and economics is rooted in the industrial revolution. Which represents a sliver of time under very specific conditions.

      Are we leaving the conditions of our current economic system that worked well within the industrial age? Could be or it could not. But it is a great questi

  • Put all FICA on employees onto the employee if they're American citizens. Otherwise the foreign national not only pays the full rate, but the employer pays the original employer portion on top of that (so about 150% FICA total). Contracts would be subject to a FICA excise tax of 2-3x the ordinary FICA rate with no limit on the value of the contract.

  • These workers are going to be unemployed - but they aren't yet. They are being paid. If they could all quit now! and pickup unemployment while looking for a new job --- that would be a finger in the eye of their employer. However - I'm sure employers know this and it is what makes the equation work.

    If there was a way for them to band together and all quit now - the equation wouldn't work. There is no incentive to remain - go find a job now! Regardless of what carrot the HR dept is hanging in front of

  • by CHK6 ( 583097 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @11:57AM (#53062269)
    Best bet for all IT workers is to get security training and certified. Most companies are outsourcing most IT functionality, however the trend is to not outsource IT security. It's the last lifeboat in a sinking field filled with cheap labor.

    I should have been a dentist.