Sep 08, 2011

Mitt Romney thinks we need more H-1Bs -- do you agree?

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney Wednesday released an economic plan that would make it easier for foreign college graduates with advanced degrees in math, science and engineering to work in the U.S. claiming that 1.25 million high skill jobs are unfilled in U.S. What do you think about this?

See article here:
If this is all Mitt Romney can come up with as a solution, I think one of those H-1B holders should be hired to outsource him.
No, it is just another way for corporations to bring in cheap labor and enlarge their profit margins even more.
I've worked IT for the government for almost 30 years, and although I have some college, I have no degree. I was trained on-the-job. Now, of course, you can't get a government job in IT unless you have a degree. It's the folks in my age range who've been been doing the job for decades without degrees who are retiring out. I see a degree as a way to filter candidates in their capacity for follow-through, but should not be the exclusive critieria. There are folks in the world with IQs of 140+ who don't have degrees. These people are perpetual learners, many self-taught. I excelled over many college-aged colleagues because I would read the manual on my own and then do it. Hey, remember that Bill Gates doesn't have a degree. I don't think Americans should be solely considered for positions based on whether or not they have a degree. There are smart Americans who are trainable and would thrive in a culture of excellence. I'm a prime example. I say we spend some money getting American citizens trained.

The other thing is that saying someone is a specialist in Information Technology is like saying you have a medical degree. Sorry, but there are specialties from cardiology to neurology that require residencies. I've worked in every IT specialty: network, mainframe, web design, IT program management, database, email server administrator, Corporate BlackBerry administrator, COBOL programmer.

When it comes to network, better than a degree sometimes is being Cisco certified, something many H1B candidates know they have to get even with a degree. My niece has a Master's degree as an Electrical Engineer and works with Lock-Heed Martin, but had to train herself in programming. Another female Electrical Engineer I know had to work to become Cisco certified, a certification that is good for only 3 years because of the dynamic nature of the technology.

Then there's the constant turnover with the newer technologies, something different than a current technology that's dynamic. IT specialists are very much like doctors, constantly ready to learn the next big thing. Then there's the reality that no system stands alone, so you're constantly learning how to integrate technologies with other unrelated technologies, because rare is the system today that stands alone. For this reason training is constant and never-ending. Every year we have to be concerned about Cisco hardware and its associated hardware reaching end-of-life.

Having been trained in the past as a COBOL programmer both by taking courses at a local Philadelphia College/University paid for by the Federal Government, and designed computer systems without the benefit of a Software Enginneering degree, coding for complex systems involving complex actuarials, and getting rewarded for excellence, I say what we need to do is what we've done in the past, train Americans to do these jobs while on-the-job since most tech jobs are augmented by being specialty certified.

Apprenticeships, journeyman positions. All of these are better solutions than outsourcing our jobs. Something I consider to be traitorous to the American people.

What I like about companies like Lock-Heed Martin is that they recruited my niece while she was in High-School, then employed her while she was getting her degree in Electrical Engineering, then actually hired her when she graduated, then facilitated her getting her Masters, and guess what, my niece is American, an African American female who's now a star in their company. So Mitt Romney needs to give me a break if this is the only thing he can think of. Just another kind of Benedict Arnold. Oh, and just so you now, I'm neither Republican or Democrat, and have very conservative ideals. The most conservative ideal I have is loyalty to the future Americans of this nation.
Anyone who says the USA needs more H1B workers is completely mistaken. I was laid off by Siemens after they bought the medical IT services company where I had been working. Siemens then started bringing in H1B workers claiming that they could not find an adequate supply of 'qualified' IT talent. Many large companies game the system for their own benefit and the lawmakers have enacted legislation in such a way to enable the displacement of US workers.
This is an ongoing strategy by corporations to devalue workers, salaried and wage. The modern corporation is vicious with nothing to balance or constrain its inhumane pursuit of profits and power.
Shame on us for ever needing or allowing it in the first place. As for where anyone stands, follow the money.
I lived in MA when Romney was governor. While I prefer not to get into a partisan screaming match, let's just say that he was quite the flip flopper when he was governor.

Wait five minutes and he'll change his plan based on whatever the new polling data says people want. Seriously, don't look to Romney if you want somebody who has any sort of firm convictions or backbone.

He may yet become president, and when he does those who enthusiastically supported him are in for a huge flip-flopping surprise.

I've worked alongside H1-B's, they considered themselves the equivalent of indentured servants (slaves). They couldn't complain about the hours or pay, they really couldn't hunt for a better job, they were practically shackled to their positions for fear of being sent back. In one shop the H1-B's came via sponsor contract shops that specialized in H1-B's, and the guest workers were expected to troll for yet more H1-B openings or they would be DISMISSED and sent back home. It started to create real FRICTION at the site since there were groups of H1-B's angling to force the non-H1-B contractors OUT. We're in a very very effed-up era in American labor relations, and the only good refuge for IT folk now is in gov't where these situations aren't allowed to happen.  



Of course he does. Mitt Romney dislikes unions, whom he blames for killing jobs - even though that's mostly the result of off-shoring, nearshoring, and outright job cuts.


And while most IT workers aren't unionized, pretty much zero H1B visa holders are unionized, because joining a union would threaten their ability to work in the US. No temporary immigrant would want to be seen as someone who raises a fuss. Since we've had such tremendous growth in worker productivity due to technology -- recall that employers give us laptops and cellphone so we can work, unpaid, on evenings and weekends -- any threat that IT workers might unionize is one that big corporations take seriously.



The entire point of offering a salaried position to a worker is so that you can work them for more than 40 hours a week without owing them overtime. Ever since I started carrying a pager (early 1990's), I realized that my employer can  tug my leash at any time of day or night, pulling me away from family dinners, Super Bowl parties, whatever might be going on in my private life because the health of their servers / network is more important to them than my personal goings-on. In return, I think it's fair to ask for a health care plan and 401k, right? H1B visa workers are temps, who don't ask for fringe benefits.


We have some 40 million unemployed people in the US right now, and Mitt Romney wants to bring in more than a million new workers? What is he thinking? That would be like a governor ending unemployment for their citizens, then wondering why the economy is still failing (Because nobody can afford to buy stuff!). Wait, that's what Michigan's Republican governor did. 


I say throw all the bums out!

Mitch Romney is a typical GOP operative, helping corporations push down IT salaries by hiring more non-citizens to perform IT work that would be better handled by our own citizens. We're in the midst of the nation's next Depression - not Recession - and the way that Americans will pull out of that is through innovation and bootstrap-pulling, not through 'handouts' like unemployment. That means our states should be retraining workers, not cutting programs like Indiana's Work One job retraining program, which ran out of money last year and has since been mothballed because our Republican Governor Mitch Daniels refuses to fund it. As a result, Indiana is inhospitable to IT companies because we do not have the labor force to meet their requirements. This is a serious trend we need to stop.

H1B employees usually earn less than their US citizen coworkers. As a guy who has seen IT earnings dry up over the last decade, part of this can be blamed on offshoring jobs overseas for cheaper labor, while other blame lies with the H1B program. There's much more media discussion over offshoring, which includes factory work and low-wage phone centers, but consider this: computer phone support jobs used to be the first step on the rung to becoming a skilled IT worker. We no longer have an entry-path for younger employees to IT, so they're pushing down wages on more experienced workers since high schools now graduate kids with Microsoft and Cisco certification.

A former employer used to bring in green-card Phillipino women to work as nurses at his nursing home chain. They wouldn't complain about the long hours and harsh conditions of their jobs, and all lived together in shared housing like indentured servants for a couple of years before being shipped back. I was appalled at my employer's behavior but said nothing because I was scared of losing my job - which eventually happened anyway, since it was much cheaper to contract out network support to $10/hour 20-somethings than provide living wages to a guy with a family. But in any case, we shouldn't look to the H1B visa program to fix our employer's needs - we should make Americans more qualified to handle those jobs and recognize that we have a patriotic duty to not send so much US capital overseas.

Typical whiny Liberal response. If you read what Mitt said, you'd know it's true: the US is not graduating enough skilled workers for these positions. So why be so racist against people from other country immigrating to the US to give us the gift of their skills?


It has nothing to do with racism or xenophobia. H1B visas aren't granted to workers on a track to become US citizens - they're used as temp workers with a 2 year maximum stay in the US. I predicted back in 2000 that after Y2K, we would need to scale back our use of H1B visas, but instead, Congress keeps cranking out more, thus deflating wages for highly-skilled Americans. If highly-skilled Americans can't earn living wages, our country is in for a world of hurt. You can't outsource everything, because then nothing will be left of value HERE.


I have a buddy in Chicago who runs a software development company. The reason he outsources is because he can get Indian and Russian PhD's to work for him for $25/day. You can't get highly-skilled workers in the US for that low pay. And in my belief, you shouldn't. Corporations are entitled to profits, but what's good for the stockholders isn't necessarily good for the employees. Have you seen the rent in Chicago? Are you willing to pay $350/month for parking downtown -oh, I'm sorry, that was what it cost me 10 years ago. At $27-$32 for the first hour of parking, it's inconceivable that Americans should be asked to work for as little as we pay temp workers from foreign countries.

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