When I was younger, I worked for Caterpillar in data entry. It was a good company then… how things have changed. I also take this personally being in the IT field. I have seen many, many software engineers replaced by H-1B visa holders. Typically, this doesn’t work out and eventually they go and hire American programmers again. But these big companies keep trying… the difference in pay is extreme and they profit hugely if they can get an immigrant for half the price, or even one third the cost, of an American trained software engineer. It’s absolutely cutthroat. So, I sympathize with other white collar workers out there who have had to deal with this subject.
Caterpillar is firing 300 employees in Mossville, Illinois. I assume most, if not all, are engineers. These are legitimate Americans with families to feed. Most of these people are highly qualified, having spent most of their lives in software development only to be betrayed by an employer who swore to stand by them. No wonder Trump is winning these people over.
Caterpillar is firing 300 American employees in Mossville, Illinois, even though it is continuing to recruit and pay foreign “H-1B” guest-workers to do the white-collar jobs sought by American professionals in the United States.
Caterpillar’s combination of white-collars layoffs and H-1B outsourcing matches the much-criticized decision by Carrier, a company in next-door Indiana, to outsource 1,400 blue-collar factory jobs to Mexico.
Outsider GOP candidate Donald Trump has vigorously denounced the outsourcing by Carrier’s air-conditioning business. His opposition has helped him get a nine-point polling advantage in the state. But Trump’s support for major reforms to the H-1B program to reduce the outsourcing of professional jobs is raising his support among upper-income professional-class voters in many other states.
In 2016, Caterpillar applied with the government for 71 H-1B visas. These were for foreign white-collar college graduates… usually from India. At least 30 of those visas are for software engineers or other skilled professionals. 44 of the visas in 2016 are for foreign graduates already working for Caterpillar in the US. These “continuation” visas are automatically approved and do not count against the much touted annual limits on H1-B visas. 22 of the H-1B’s are for new hires.
Since 2012, Caterpillar has requested 768 visas for H-1B workers. They can expect to get one-fifth of the H-1B visas they request, which suggest that the company has outsourced at least 100 US-based jobs to lower-wage foreign graduates. Companies are not required to interview Americans, or even announce job openings, before asking for H-1B visas. The holders of these visas can stay for at least three years and many stay permanently. The company has also helped get green cards — the precursor to citizenship — for roughly 70 foreign college graduates. Most of these green card employees have replaced American software graduates.
Caterpillar is not alone in doing this and it has been going on for at least 15 years that I know of. Disney, DeLoitte, many hospitals, gaming companies, Facebook, Intel, Qualcomm, Microsoft, plus many smaller companies, such as the Toys R Us retailer, Cengage publishing firm and the New York Life insurance company are all guilty of using what I call IT slave labor.
The federal government is helping companies employ a population of roughly 650,000 H-1B professionals in the United States. This takes away jobs from IT grads and from seasoned software engineers. It is decimating the technical fields.
Here is where Trump has leverage in his campaign. Clinton is for the H-1B visas. Trump claims he is against them. He wants Americans in those jobs and in this economic climate, that’s going to get him votes.