NY Times graphic.
Mike is a friend, the husband of a retired teacher and a tech guy.
But he can’t get a full-time job with a tech company other than as a consultant. He is part of what is now called “the gig economy.” Like a musician gets a gig. Little money. No benefits. No job security.
I had lunch with Mike just before I went to the NEA Representative Assembly in Orlando. He explained the situation with the tech industry where giant corporations flood the government for permits to hire H-1B workers to fill job positions that he is qualified for.
At the time the Disney Corporation, where we were staying for the RA in Orlando, was making headlines doing exactly the same thing.
When the now-former Disney employees were told they were being fired and replaced by temporary guest workers they were also required to train their replacements.
The scam use of H-1B is a shameful exploitation of foreign workers who cannot complain about working conditions or join a union. And it serves to expand the exploitative gig economy.
Théo Négri, a young software engineer from France, had come up with so many novel ideas at his job at an Internet start-up in San Francisco that the American entrepreneur who hired him wanted to keep him on.
So he helped Mr. Négri apply for a three-year work visa for foreign professionals with college degrees and specialized skills, mainly in technology and science. With his master’s degree from a French university and advanced computer abilities, Mr. Négri seemed to fit the bill.
But his application for the H-1B visa was denied, and he had to leave the United States. Back in France, Mr. Négri used his data skills to figure out why.
The answer was simple: Many of the visas are given out through a lottery, and a small number of giant global outsourcing companies had flooded the system with applications, significantly increasing their chances of success. While he had one application in last year’s lottery and lost, one of the outsourcing companies applied for at least 14,000. The companies were squeezing out American employers like his boss.
You might be surprised to learn that jobs that were once out-sourced to other countries because it was cheaper to exploit workers there are now being brought home, where the H-1B program makes it cheaper to exploit foreign and U.S. workers.