Outsourcing in America

You’ve spent twenty plus years loyally working in Information Technology (IT) for Southern California Edison, and eighteen months ago your boss tells you that they are going to study outsourcing but not to worry, “your position is safe.” On the one hand you are worried because you know many stories of American IT workers losing their jobs to outsourcing, but on the other you feel comforted that you’ve been loyal to SCE and provide a critical service. Then eight months ago they tell you that they are outsourcing most IT functions and that they want you, get this, to train your guest worker replacement. If you say no, SCE will terminate you with cause and you would lose not only a severance package but also eligibility for unemployment insurance. This is the common story I heard from many workers at SCE.

The work that the 400 SCE IT employees do isn’t disappearing, instead it and their jobs are being taken over by foreign guest workers here on H-1B visas. Those guest workers are employed by the two leading India-based outsourcing firms, Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys.

The SCE workers are wondering: “Why should I lose my job when the work still needs to be done? Why is the government doing this to me and my family?”

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