California Utility’s Plan To Replace IT Workers With Foreign Workers Questioned
On Friday Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) commented on a complaint related to allegations that “Southern California Edison Company laid off technology workers and replaced them with foreign workers,” Southern California Public Radio reported. In a statement, Chut said although the H-1B program is a “valuable tool,” it is also “vulnerable to abuse” and she “looks forward to hearing from the Department of Labor on their findings.” Her comments came after Department of Homeland Security officials issued a letter to her vowing to “work with labor officials to ‘review visa petitions’” related to SCE’s IT hirings. In response, an Edison spokeswoman “said the utility company contracts with two IT vendors, Infosys and TCS, to find workers – and Edison requires those vendors to comply with all applicable laws, namely laws that require work authorizations.”
The allegations involve SCE’s announcement in April 2014 that it planned to cut up to 500 jobs, particularly in the IT department. At that time, Southern California Public Radio in its “Economy” blog noted that Edison said in a statement, “IT’s effort will enable an increase in quality, speed and capabilities while lowering costs. By better leveraging the knowledge, skills and expertise of industry vendors, SCE will adopt a proven business strategy commonly and successfully used by other top U.S. companies.”
What This Means For Small Businesses
Small businesses have differing opinions on the use of immigrants in their labor force, and Federal immigration programs. However, this latest story is a reminder that the issue is important to business and government leaders in Southern California and across the US.
The Los Angeles Times covered SCE’s April 2014 announcement of layoff plans. Computerworld previously reported on allegations that SCE replaced US IT workers with Indian workers under the H-1B program. NFIB has previously discussed navigating the use of temporary work visas for small businesses. Issues related to the H-1B visa program in general are also covered by Breitbart, The Indian Panorama, Reflejos Bilingual Journal (IL), Economic Times (IND), and International Business Times (AUS).