University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) began 2017 with layoffs. It will lay off 17% of its 565-member IT staff (96 people) in February. Why? Cost savings...through outsourcing.
University of California hires India-based IT outsourcer, lays off tech workers – ComputerWorld.com
UCSF will spend $50 million over 5 years with HCL, an India-based IT firm. This is bad enough, but the contract gets worse: Any of the UC system’s 10 campuses can now use HCL to replace their own IT workers.
Dangerous Precedent—Other UCs Concerned
Naturally, other university IT departments are concerned about the precedent set. Larry Conrad, CIO at UC Berkeley, told Computer World that although Berkeley will watch the results of UCSF’s outsourcing, his campus does not “...presently have plans to outsource big chunks of our IT operations.”
Still, Conrad said he understood why UCSF made the choice to offshore. “The IT budget here at Berkeley has been cut to the bone to a point where all we can do is keep the metaphorical lights on and nothing else. No resources for innovation or even extending existing services."
UC Union Not Staying Quiet
Union officials at UPTE (University Professional & Technical Employees), a labor union representing UC employees, fired back. They’re protesting the outsourcing decision, and publicizing a link between HCL and prominent UC members, including Shankar Sastry (Dean of Engineering at UC Berkeley) and Pradeep Khosla (Chancellor at UC San Diego).
Sastry serves on the board of HCL Technologies, while Khosla is a non-executive director on the HCL Infosystems board of directors. Both report annual compensation from HCL to the UC system: $75,000 for Sastry, $24,000 for Khosla.
While the HCL contract grants all 10 UC campuses the ability to replace their IT workers too, Sastry and Khosla claim no conflicts of interest exist. Ron Hira, a public policy professor, disagrees. "Whether or not Dean Sastry was directly involved in identifying the client or the contracting negotiations is immaterial. There is a glaring appearance of a conflict of interest."
HCL Continues Taking U.S. IT Jobs
If HCL sounds familiar, it’s because they were the firm supplying H-1B workers to Disney, replacing their IT workers in last year’s offshoring debacle. Each new outsourcing contract makes them money. Hira describes HCL as a firm whose “…profit model is based upon destroying U.S. IT and engineering jobs.”
The irony is that many of the UC campuses (including Berkeley and San Diego) are among the top schools for engineering-technology and computer sciences. The UC system is essentially graduating future workers they’re trying to replace right now!
If you want to speak up in favor of UCSF’s IT staff, please sign the petition asking UC President Janet Napolitano to put an end to offshoring in the UCs.