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Facing Layoff, An IT Employee Makes A Bold Counteroffer (computerworld.com) 531

ComputerWorld reports: In early December, Carnival Corp. told about 200 IT employees that the company was transferring their work to Capgemini, a large IT outsourcing firm. The employees had a choice: Either agree to take a job with the contractor or leave without severance. The employees had until the week before Christmas to make a decision about their future with the cruise line. By agreeing to a job with Paris-based Capgemini, employees are guaranteed employment for six months, said Roger Frizzell, a Carnival spokesman. "Our expectation is that many will continue to work on our account or placed into other open positions within Capgemini" that go well beyond the six-month period, he said in an email.
Senior IT engineer Matthew Culver told CBS that the requested "knowledge transfer activities" just meant training their own replacements, and "he isn't buying any of it," writes Slashdot reader dcblogs. "After receiving his offer letter from Capgemini, he sent a counteroffer. It asked for $500,000...and apology letters to all the affected families," signed by the company's CEO. In addition, the letter also demanded a $100,000 donation to any charity that provides services to unemployed American workers. "I appreciate your time and attention to this matter, and I sincerely hope that you can fulfill these terms."

And he's also working directly with a lawyer for an advocacy group that aims to "stop the abuse of H-1B and other foreign worker programs."
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Facing Layoff, An IT Employee Makes A Bold Counteroffer

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  • Dear Matthew (Score:5, Insightful)

    by buddyglass ( 925859 ) on Sunday December 25, 2016 @05:07PM (#53552985)
    Dear Matthew,

    No.

    Roger Frizzell
    CEO, Carnival Corp.
    • Except, it's Capgemini CEO who should send a reply.

    • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Sunday December 25, 2016 @05:24PM (#53553063)

      No.

      That's a French company's response. An American response would probably be like this Sear's commercial, "The Boot."

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rpiz_gR9P00 [youtube.com]

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 25, 2016 @06:12PM (#53553231)

      You have to try to stand up.
      The easiest thing for the ultrawealthy is to make you think you're powerless and to admit defeat without a battle.

      The best thing to do is to not train the replacements.
      The best thing to do is to fight it, even if it turns out ugly.

    • by geoskd ( 321194 )

      Dear Matthew, No.

      Where is The Donald on this one? He's going to have a lot of these to deal with, so he best roll up his sleeves and get started.

  • This is awesome. Hey Trump, you've talked a pretty big game, here is a chance to walk the walk. Accept this dudes contract on behalf of Capgemini and be the champ you promised to be.

  • Pointless (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 25, 2016 @05:21PM (#53553043)

    If you want better workplace conditions, better wages, and better treatment then the best way to get it is to unionize. It puts you in a stronger bargaining position so you have more leverage against ultimatums like "either agree to take a job with the contractor or leave without severance".

    • Re:Pointless (Score:4, Insightful)

      by WaterDamage ( 719017 ) on Sunday December 25, 2016 @05:46PM (#53553155)
      doesn't work if the entire dept is getting sacked. Nice try AC
      • Re:Pointless (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 25, 2016 @06:02PM (#53553197)

        Sure it does. From the article:

        "This business model requires employees to train foreign replacements for it to be successful," she said.

        There's your leverage. If only one or two employees argue against it, the argument is ineffectual and their bargaining power is weak. If, however, there's an organized, unified position against it from all employees then you've got some clout. Once you're organized you've got a stronger bargaining position and can get better outcomes.

        • The difference between partnerships and unions is actually very murky. I don't know why IT workers don't elect to organize in partnerships (akin to lawyers, doctors and other professionals). Certainly, management works in a single-purpose fashion. So would partnerships providing IT services. It would still allow for non-partners to be employed by the partnerships if they are just getting their feet wet and are not yet certain to provide long-term benefit to the other partners. But why work for the mana
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 25, 2016 @07:11PM (#53553465)

      You guys who keep pushing the union thing are like a broken record. It worked really well for Detroit, right?

      The big unions really only made the mob rich and empowered corrupt and self-serving union bosses.

      Just look at that vile union boss at the Carrier plant. Faced with the loss of ALL the Carrier plant jobs, Obama and Hillary said nothing could be done. Trump said he'd fight to stop those job losses. Obama actually made fun of this and exclaimed that Trump could do nothing and asked if Trump had a magic wand! Even before taking office, Trump cuts a deal to save most of those jobs, and within HOURS the scummy union boss goes on national TV and whines that Trump did not save EVERY job and calls Trump names. Just what was that union boss's heap of insults toward Hillary and Obama for never even trying to save even ONE job????? CRICKETS!

      Union bosses are in it for themselves. The UAW bosses did quite nicely for themselves as the auto industry fled Detroit. Trumpka and his buddies have been doing just FINE as he travels to foreign countries speaking in favor of open borders (which push down wages and benefits for his American workers), global socialism, and more imported immigrant labor (which would compete directly with his current members, but which he sees as HIS personal future since it's the agenda of HIS political allies).

      Unions are NOT the solution, an end to global corporations pushing open borders, global "free trade", and treaties like TPP (which gives almost unlimited power to corporations and frees them from oversight/limitation by nations) are what is needed. Global mega corps and billionaires running communications companies like Google and Facebook are the problem; they want a world where they can move themselves, their money, and their labor anywhere at any time to maximize their profits and their leverage over the lowly workers while dodging any oversight or laws imposed by any pesky sovereign nation. They want a world where only the super-rich can compete because only the super rich have the money to relocate as needed to maximize profits and any little upstart can never gain traction - GLOBAL cronyism on steroids. In that environment, unions are a JOKE and the union bosses only end up pretending to fight for their members while actually aligning with those very super-rich forces.

      Human nature does not change just because some dude is a union boss and claims to be "for the workers". If you have a skeptical view of corporate barons (as you should), then you should also have a skeptical eye towards politicians and union bosses; they're all human, fallible, corruptible, and not to be trusted with too much power.

    • Re:Pointless (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Sunday December 25, 2016 @07:31PM (#53553537) Homepage Journal

      Indeed, if they had a strong union they could collectively refuse to do any knowledge transfer. Without that the company won't last 3 months.

      Maybe a bunch of them could all quit immediately and set up a consulting firm, charging $5k/day/person. If the company wants knowledge transfer, they can pay for it at a rate that will set them up for any periods of unemployment they need to cover.

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      No it puts you at the behest of a guy that takes $100 out of your paycheck and then still manages to bargain your job away. Carrier and GM was run by unions, neither of them prevented (and according to many it actually accelerated) the run to cheaper countries.

      What 'prevents' these kinds of runs is for people to just hand in their resignation the minute they hear about a 'knowledge transfer'.

      • You can't compete with cheaper countries! They have weak regulations, poor enforcement, LOWER wages, exchange rates, desperate workers, and more factors which are all in their favor! You have to lower the US further towards 3rd world status in order to compete.... or start using TARIFFS again. You know, a trade related tax which USED to be employed patriotically before propaganda and corruption removed that protection and re-framing it from the multinational corporation's perspective.

        The holiday season is

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      Or you agree on a reasonable contract before you start working there.

      - Put in a contract that you write all code under your own name and license it to them in exchange for wages and only release it when terms are agreed upon.
      - Put in a contract that you need at least 4 weeks notice and you're not going to be required to train your replacement or get a severance package in lieu of the notice

      It's fairly simple once you work your way out of a helpdesk. If your position can be taken on by just about anyone with

    • No one seems to have asked the obvious question: Did this guy vote for Trump? Did he buy the promise "Vote for me and I'll solve ALL your problems"? Hey, the scam might work if Trump wants to try to play the same game with EVERY company that can be bribed with a bit of tax money.

      Reminds me of a funny story about so-called Republican politics. I was working for AMD in 1988 and the owner was a good buddy of Poppy Bush. Lots of rumors flying around that the company was in trouble, but they kept telling us not

  • What leverage does this guy have? He hasn't threatened to sue. You need to back up your 'offer' with something substantial.
    • The leverage is that what the company doing is a federal offense, and they're trying to thinly veil it as not one.

      In short, you could sue the company for personal damages for losing your job because they tried to replace you with illegal labor, and therefore they owe you for all of the salary they would have had to pay you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 25, 2016 @05:27PM (#53553075)

    They could spin off their own outsourcing IT company and ask Carnival to hire them as consultants.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by WaterDamage ( 719017 )
      As funny as it sounds, it's true. They could start a price war to underbid Capgemini causing Capgemini large loses should Capgemini bid lower.
      • it's true, but it would take someone with the experience and capability to start up that kind of company, and the know-how to start a price war. My guess is that in the ~200 people who are getting laid off, there isn't anyone who knows how to do that. It's not normal expertise among IT people.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by WaterDamage ( 719017 )
          It's not rocket science, all it takes is for this guy to write a letter to Carnival and tell them that he and the 200 others will do the work for less than what Capgemini is charging since Capgemini like any other contracting firm needs overhead to maintain profitability and they would do it at cost. Capgemini will not be able to outbid them. Once back at their old job, it's the ultimate Fuck You chance to create massive budget cost overruns that were never forecast or predicted. This shit happens in govern
          • all it takes is for this guy to write a letter to Carnival and tell them that he and the 200 others will do the work for less than what Capgemini is charging since

            No that's not all, it also has to be credible.

          • How are they going to do it for a lower cost? Just fire the 50% of the team that is chaff? Take a pay cut?

            You basically need a process that reduces the amount of support staff and time that are required... or you need to approach the problem differently.
        • by haruchai ( 17472 )

          it's true, but it would take someone with the experience and capability to start up that kind of company, and the know-how to start a price war. My guess is that in the ~200 people who are getting laid off, there isn't anyone who knows how to do that. It's not normal expertise among IT people.

          It's not that hard and I'm sure they find a few managerial types, unemployed or not, to help them.
          Plus CarnivalIT has a HUGE advantage - they know the systems inside and out, history of upgrades & outages, and more importantly, the USERS, who has to have their hands held, spoonfed, who the smart ones are, who're quickest to escalate, who can be handled by e-mail, etc - assuming the support desk isn't outsourced.
          I've been through 3 IT support transitions in my career, one where I was part of the incoming

        • it would take capital. And where are a bunch of guys who just lost their jobs going to get that. 3 decades of bad tech economy don't lend themselves to wealth building...
    • Based on the title I thought that they did create their own company and then undercut Capgemini but all he did was send a rant to the CEO.

  • by waspleg ( 316038 ) on Sunday December 25, 2016 @05:28PM (#53553083) Journal

    That's just an an entirely reasonable demand. Guess whose fiscal year ends 12/31? I'm willing to bet theirs does. Fuck the families right?

  • Dave Moss: I don't gotta sit here and listen to this shit.

    Blake: You certainly don't pal, 'cause the good news is - you're fired. The bad news is - you've got, all of you've got just one week to regain your jobs starting with tonight. Starting with tonight's sit. Oh? Have I got your attention now? Good. "Cause we're adding a little something to this month's sales contest. As you all know first prize is a Cadillac El Dorado. Anyone wanna see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is

  • by e**(i pi)-1 ( 462311 ) on Sunday December 25, 2016 @06:06PM (#53553215) Homepage Journal
    Maybe just avoid companies which persue such practices. FOr me, Carnival Corp would keep my feet off any Carnival cruise ship. Yes these are strong forces of globalization but the least they could have done is would be to give the employees a decent severance package and some time regardless whether they train their cheaper replacements. Such stories do good to motivate kids to pursue any STEM area.
    • Maybe just avoid companies which persue such practices

      Please define the exact practice that should upset me. Otherwise if I had to avoid any company where the recommendation from Slashdot was to boycot I'd be sitting in a cave somewhere bashing rocks together trying to make fire to keep me warm.

      I'd ad Carnival Corp to the list, but the last version of MS Excel that Slashdot has approved for use was 2000 and that only supports 65536 rows which are already full.

  • by cloud.pt ( 3412475 ) on Sunday December 25, 2016 @06:44PM (#53553349)

    How do you solve the problem of seniority in a democratic state? You use legal means of breaking seniority. And why were these passed as law in the first place? Because democracy, as it is implemented, is nothing more than a technocratic elite making decisions for everyone, i.e. for themselves. How can you allow staffers to replace permanent workers with the sole purpose of the company remaining profitable for the owners? Or in other words, how can you allow small-time individuals' long-term plans to be destroyed immediately just because the top guys need a new summer house. Capitalism has triumphed in ways everyone else predicted but nobody cared about - an american dream of sorts, but really ubiquitous, even in Europe. "I would rather be exploited my entire life than be denied the chance to exploit everyone else to be uber rich". We allowed such things and we are reaping what those before us seow. Never before has the People been so powerless against established governing bodies as today, not even in the Ancient Egypt - you have a vote all right, but there are those who play dirty with the votes of everyone else. Control of statistics, the media and even of communication platforms have become much more powerful than a royal bloodline as a claim for power. Lobbying is a tool made for companies, and the individual rights have eroded deeper than the Grand Canyon. In the US people will claim they still got the 2nd. Tell that to the Malheur guys. Or better - they're en route to being dominated by one of the greatest capitalists there is, who is seriously gonna ignore all individual rights for the needy, and I see no militia forming in any way.

    This guy's letter - nothing but a swan song to a time where the human being took precedence over inhuman greed.

  • IF they did they should of learned not to F* with the IT staff.

  • The business model (Score:5, Informative)

    by bhepple ( 949572 ) on Sunday December 25, 2016 @07:45PM (#53553599)
    tl;dr; = short term gain, long term pain and shareholders should beware - it's not cost cutting, it's cutting off your right hand

    capgemini, accenture etc etc all have a similar outdated business model. They offer to replace a $100k first world engineer with a third world engineer for $50k. In the short term this looks good for the CEO - he's a bottom-line hero, just saved the company $50k x # engineers per year.

    Long term, it's a mess.

    The outsourcing company only pays the third world engineer $10k and pockets the $40k. This was fine a few years ago as there was a huge number of talented engineers in eg India, Philippines etc who really could do the job. Today it's not so easy. The cream of them have already emigrated to the first world on the back of their talents. The local job market has risen so that really talented people can't be found for $10k any more, so the bottoms landing on the empty chairs are attached to increasingly mediocre talent. The better ones move on quickly.

    Add to that the difficulties of working with the time zone difference, the language problems, the cultural disconnect and the profound impossibility of communicating the intricacies of a mature IT infrastructure - and you get a project that is quickly going nowhere.

    My direct experience of these changes (I've seen a few) is that the organisation keeps going on momentum alone for a few years - the existing old IT systems soldier on with only minor maintenance work being done, just enough to lurch from week to week.

    No major development is possible because the talent that put the system together has been sacrificed - so the company fails to respond to new challenges and does not innovate. Unless the enterprise's business is completely unchanging, it's a slow glide path to oblivion - but the ground is just as hard for all that.

    Now the really important thing is that by the time the shareholders realise the dirty deed they've been dealt, the genius CEO who gave them that short term gain has moved on to more triumphs elsewhere, no doubt at ever higher remunerations.

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      Actually Cap Gemini charges ~$120k for a $80k (US-based) engineer to the company, then goes and gives the contract to an oversees contractor.

      The 'benefits' for a company that wants to outsource are not wages, those are typically higher, it's the regulations and taxes they avoid. If you pay an employee, you pay employer's taxes, you have to buy into social security, unemployment, provide vacation time, sick time, pensions, 401k and it gets really bad if your employee breaks his neck in a ski accident and now

    • Ok, compete against them. Figure out a way to simplify the systems and cut costs and improve "outcomes" that way.
  • by GerryGilmore ( 663905 ) on Sunday December 25, 2016 @08:22PM (#53553711)
    CapGemini would be in a world of shit. Think about it...They were/are banking on a majority of the existing IT workers to do "knowledge transfer" in order to be successful in fulfilling their contract. If the existing IT workers COLLECTIVELY said NO, there is no way that CG could assume the contract and not get sued for utter failure. No KT, no success. Together, we can win - separately, we are at their mercy (of which they demonstrably have none).
  • $500, 000 in small unmarked bills

    apology letter to these families affected.

    Gold plated iphone case (Trump image optional)

    On second thought, just the $500,000 and I'll go quietly.

    Your ex-employee

  • Shoe on other foot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by orin ( 113079 ) on Sunday December 25, 2016 @09:57PM (#53554029)
    It's interesting that on Slashdot, when it's anyone else's non-IT job getting outsourced or automated, there is a lot of chortling and discussion of buggy whip manufacturers and how non-IT workers should just suck it up. There was a story about automated truck drivers in the last month that was full of comments denigrating these workers and that it was good for society that their job would soon be done by a robot. When it's an IT job getting outsourced, "IT'S AN OUTRAGE!!!!!" Doesn't take much insight to realize why this issue will never get political traction. Who wants to stick up for the IT people when the IT people just offered snark for everyone else that was automated/outsourced before them?
  • by Osgeld ( 1900440 ) on Sunday December 25, 2016 @11:39PM (#53554283)

    I can see why they want to move IT out of house

    seriously it was like a time capsule to 2001, hardly anything modern worked as it should, and the "senior IT" lol "engineer" wants a half a mil + apology letters? WTF are you 17?

    The squeaky wheel gets replaced, the sore spot gets mended, take a hint dude

  • by RubberDogBone ( 851604 ) on Monday December 26, 2016 @12:48AM (#53554423)

    For years, the company where I work had an automation product which terrified everybody at the firm. We'd had no training on it. An Executive dropped a lot of money on it before anyone could even see if it would work for us, and directly, it didn't.

    But we had it and had some incentive to use it. And I spent a couple years learning it on my own and mastered that goddamn thing where I could make it do anything I wanted. I was a wizard and magician and chef and used that product to DO the very automation project they said could not be done, which terrified far more talented people than me. I was soo good at it, my team was eliminated except for me. We didn't need all those people because the automation project worked.

    The software was still scary and dangerous to touch but I knew it inside and out. It did not scare me. Among the dangers was that you could right click in the wrong spot and be presented with two different 'delete' options, one of which wiped the entire database rather than just the item you were looking at. The software was apparently designed by an idiot. But I mastered it all anyway. I made that damn thing sing barbershop quartet and fly rings around the moon.

    So all was well until they decided to get rid of me, which was not a surprise to me.

    What they did was hire a woman from Mexico, apparently off the street. I don't know what her skillset was but it wasn't like mine. And they had me do a few hours of instruction over the phone and webex and boom she took over running this program that had slain experienced people before me.

    And that was that. My understanding is that they had a critical issue the next week and they were forbidden from calling me for help. I am sure it went to pieces. It took expertise to run. They hired cheap to replace me, not smart.

    18 months later I am still out of work because a LOT of the comparable IT work has already been outsourced or automated. I failed to pay my rent this month and bills are stacking up For the first time in my life, I am facing no future. Can't find work, I'm broke, and there is no hope. But I automated something that was supposed to be impossible. I will go down in flames proud of what i did.

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