"Knowledge Transfer"=Train Your Indian Replacement

Here's a sickening story, from USA Today, explaining how job outsourcing works. You get a pink slip, and are offered one more paycheck and some increased severance if you will train your replacement. A new employee, who will be working for about one-fifteenth of your pay, is flown over from India or China for a few weeks, and you get to teach him or her how to do your job. This is called "knowledge transfer."

UPDATE: I removed my angry comment about this story because it didn't make me feel any better. Suffice it to say, labor issues are growing steadily worse as society becomes more mobile and faceless. You cant picket the big factory on the hill because nobody knows precisely where the owners are anymore. And by having security guards escort you out when you're laid off, employers never see your face or feel any consequences of their actions.

UPDATE: See the comment to this post for more on the mechanics of "knowledge transfer."

- tom moody 4-09-2004 7:25 pm

This article by ex-tech worker John Pardon, who is also quoted in the Bob Herbert article I linked to in an earlier thread, gives more on the mechanics of "knowledge transfer." I didn't know that some of the retrained Indians stay in the country on special visas.

The H-1B visa program has long been used as a tool to facilitate outsourcing and circumvent the labor costs of American IT workers. Norman Matloff, professor of computer science at the University of California, Davis, has written extensively on this subject and testified before Congress about how the H-1B program has injured American IT workers. He is clear that the H-1B program is premised on misrepresentations and false studies. He has a new article on the subject (PDF) in the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform.

I have direct knowledge of these issues through my experience with outsourcing and guest worker replacement programs at NCR. I watched non-American (Indian) workers enter NCR facilities in the U.S. and receive "knowledge transfers" from American IT workers. Then the Indian replacement workers usually returned to India to do the work previously performed by the Americans who had trained them. On other occasions, the replacement workers remained in the U.S. on H-1B or L-1 visas and continued to perform necessary IT work in the same buildings in which the Americans had formerly worked.

This is not an urban legend; I watched it happen. It has occurred all over the U.S. Understandably, Americans who remain in IT jobs often work in fear of job loss since employers now have ready access to low-wage guest workers and have displayed a ruthless lack of concern for the American workforce. Most of us who have gone through this experience have finally realized that we are competing with a Third World wage scale while our employers continue to charge U.S. prices. It's not fair and it's not just, but thanks to the actions of the U.S. Congress and successive presidents, it is completely legal.

- tom moody 4-14-2004 7:46 pm

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