IT Reshoring News

June 02, 2015

A Mickey Mouse Decision: Replace American IT Workers with H-1Bs

The "Happiest Place on Earth"? Disney is replacing many of their IT workers with foreign labor using H-1B visas. They claim it's not to cut costs...but Disney's CEO is on record as supporting a rise in the H-1B visa cap. Here's the story.
In October 2014, Disney enacted a restructuring. Employees said hundreds of IT workers were laid off (though Disney says it was only 135).

Their replacements? Contracted foreign workers here on H-1Bs.

Fury Rises at Disney over Use of Foreign Workers — ComputerWorld, April 29 2015

Disney claimed the contractors were there to assist in shifting more IT resources to “projects involving innovation.” Laid-off workers said (under condition of anonymity) that they believed it was all to cut costs.

Given the facts known – Disney is tight-lipped over the incident – the laid-off workers appear in the right.

In last month’s Reshoring News, we mentioned the Partnership for a New American Economy. The Partnership is a group of mayors & business leaders campaigning for “streamlining, modernizing, and rationalizing our immigration system.” They advocate in D.C. for an increase in the H-1B Visa cap.

It has eight co-chairs. One of these is Bob Iger, President and CEO of Disney.

Two of the contracting agencies used to bring in the new IT Labor are HCL America and Cognizant – both of which are known for filing H-1B visa applications & bringing in foreign workers. Disney may have used more; they aren’t saying. Nor have they stated how many foreign workers were brought in on H-1Bs.

Why are H-1Bs necessary at all? One laid-off IT worker questioned their need – driving home a very important point about IT work overall.

"There is no need to have any type of foreigners, boots on the ground, augmenting any type of perceived technological gap," said one worker. "We don't have one, first off."
Workers can be trained, because "once you are in the system and you are a learner, you are a learner for life in IT. You are going to constantly learn."

Makes sense, right? Much more sense than replacing IT workers who already know Disney’s systems with foreign workers who don’t.

Unless your only concern is cutting costs.

Disney has joined Levi Strauss & Co. and Southern California Edison and many others in ditching U.S. workers in favor of cheap foreign labor.

What would Walt Disney say about this if he were alive today?