Month: October 2018

They took my job; they took my livelihood

Emmons lost his programming job last winter when his entire IT department at Siemens Information Communication Networks (ICN) was outsourced to an Indian company. Until last year, the University of Florida graduate rarely voted; now he plans to run for Congress (“I’ll probably lose,” he concedes). During the past year, Emmons has made himself an expert on labor policy. He has harassed corporate executives, gotten himself on television and is one of the main reasons that legislation reforming the L-1 visa was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in May.

“They took my job; they took my livelihood,” he says, with a crisp cadence that barely hides his anger. “You don’t do something like this to someone and expect them to turn a blind eye.”

The radicalization of Mike Emmons provides a personal window on the growing backlash against the offshoring of IT jobs and importing of nonimmigrant temporary workers on H-1B or L-1 visas. (Read more about this trend in “Backlash” on Page 44.) This story could even be considered a wake-up call: CIOs beware; you might have a Mike Emmons on your staff.


IT analysts know that Infosys has a history of eliminating benefits which transferred employees enjoyed and that the company will eventually displace them with lower cost Indian nationals.

Although the federal government painstakingly goes out of its way to not publish foreign workers’ totals in the U.S., the investment bank Goldman Sachs estimates that the aggregate number is between 900,000 and one million.

That’s a million jobs that Americans have been denied, the incomes from which would have paid their mortgages, their children’s college tuitions, and bulked up their savings accounts.

Immigration’s original, noble but long-ago forgotten and still elusive purpose is to help Americans. At a minimum, immigration shouldn’t, as it does today, work against American citizens and its workers.


And that all the money for that and other prosperous firms came from raiding our trust funds for the sick, frail, and elderly (Social Security and Medicare)?

Would you believe that recently released Department of Homeland Security data shows that the U.S. government has rewarded Amazon almost $25 million in tax breaks for not hiring U.S. citizens?

And that all the money for that and other prosperous firms came from raiding our trust funds for the sick, frail, and elderly (Social Security and Medicare)?

And that the DHS web page on the subject never mentions the tax breaks involved?

Welcome to the strange (and wonderful for corporations) world of Optional Practical Training (OPT), the DHS-operated, never-authorized-by-Congress subsidy program for employers who hire recently graduated foreign students rather than U.S. grads.

What OPT does is to wave a magic bureaucratic wand over foreign alumni of U.S. colleges, converting them back to student status, and thus subsidizing their employers at the rate of 8.25 percent for not hiring recent grads who are either citizens or green card holders. The employers do not pay the usual payroll taxes (though they do make the usual income tax withholdings).

The subsidies for the employers linger for one year for most of the alien alumni, but go on for three full years if the aliens they hired studied in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. The alums, unlike American workers, are also freed from the trust-fund-related payroll tax deductions. The whole system hurts our stretched trust funds by at least $2 billion a year.

The mechanics of the program, and the fact that it is a creation of the executive branch without a shred of congressional authorization was covered in a previous blog post.

As to the $25 million tax break for Amazon, one of many very substantial OPT gifts to big corporation, we calculated it this way: There were 6,048 Amazon OPT workers in two of the major categories of such workers in 2017; we, conservatively, used $50,000 as the average wage; we multiplied the average wage for a year by 6,048, applying the 8.25 percent discount, and came up with $24,945,000.

CIS will soon publish a more detailed account of the big corporate beneficiaries of this strange system, which is used by many of the giants of the economy, such as Intel, Google, Deloitte, and Microsoft, and some big universities as well (University of Michigan, Arizona State, and Johns Hopkins, all among the top-30, but not the top-10.)

Also among the top-10 users of at least part of the OPT system are firms unknown to me, such as Tellon Trading (whose website proclaims: “we sale mattress components”), XCG Design Corp, and Findream LLC.

They think that anybody over a certain age is going to be used up.

He moved to New York City and worked at the software company Hyperion, designing performance management tools. He led a team at Hyperion that worked with universities, signing and managing Yale, Harvard, Brown and dozens of other schools as clients. He traveled the world.

He married and had a son, settling down in a large, 19th century house in Fairfield, Conn. His friend, Mr. Biagini, himself having found success as a longtime body double for Robin Williams, visited and marveled at how far his fast-talking fellow space geek had come.

“It was Geoff having come to fruition as a responsible, high-earning family man,” he said. “He adored his son. He adored his wife. He had it all.”

Then he lost it all.

Mr. Weglarz was cremated in September. His sister plans to scatter his ashes in Manhattan, home to many successes in his acting years and where he began his computer career, long before the day he parked his car on the street and never left.

They are abandoned by governments everywhere.

The vast majority of the peoples in the world have no idea what is happening. They are trying to find or to keep jobs, to provide housing and food, to find the money for a mortgage or car or credit card payment in the US, and in much of the world water to drink and a bit of food to eat. They are stressed out. They have no energy to confront bad news or to figure out what is happening. They are abandoned by governments everywhere. Outside of Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, where is there a government that represents the people?


Today, Connecticut is failing, not only because so many corporations have left the state, but also because so many educated CT residents have been displaced by foreign labor.

If you choose to review the United States Department of Labor TAA (Trade Adjustment Assistance) website, you can get a good understanding of the magnitude of white collar professional layoffs affecting Connecticut’s economy. The insurance sector, Hartford’s flagship industry for a century, has replaced thousands upon thousands of Connecticut workers with foreign labor. At The Hartford Insurance Company, both technology employees and IBM contractors were required to train their Tata Consultancy India replacements. Mass Mutual Insurance in Enfield replaced its tech workforce with Cognizant H1B workers and India off shore labor. Connecticut General Life Insurance, The Prudential in Hartford, Prudential Annuities in Shelton, Aspen Insurance, Hartford Fire Insurance Company, The Travelers Insurance, and Chubb Insurance all laid off Connecticut white collar professionals and replaced them with workers in the Philippines and India.

The healthcare sector has fared no better. Hartford’s Cigna replaced CT workers with H1Bs employed by Accenture and Cognizant. Anthem, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Connecticut, according to TAA, laid off remote and in-office Connecticut employees responsible for enrollment, billing, provider data and pre-certifications with workers in Malaysia, the Philippines, and India. Over the last ten years, Quest Diagnostics, Naugatuck Valley Surgical Centers, and even the Central Connecticut Hospital has sent white collar professionals packing and replaced them with vendors all employing labor in foreign countries rather than Americans. United Health Care, America’s largest health insurance agency, and once one of Connecticut’s largest employers, has sent thousands of jobs to India. Connecticut workers have been laid off and required to train their foreign replacements time and time again at both UHC and at UHC’s Optum unit, both of which operate foreign technology workforces in India. With Aetna’s impeding merger with CVS, the potential for layoffs, in addition to jobs that have gone offshore, translates into another Hartford insurer expected to reduce its Connecticut presence.