WASHINGTON, June 29, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A Trump administration representative has made an astonishing proposal to Congress that would break the President's repeated promises to end H-1B outsourcing, in a Tuesday hearing before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies. Responding to a question from Senator Dick Durbin (D-Il), Labor Secretary Acosta proposed to extend H-1B outsourcing indefinitely by continuing to allow H-1B dependent companies to replace American workers so long as the H-1B workers are paid tens of thousands less than the Americans they replace.
"There's a $60,000 threshold," Secretary Acosta told Durbin, referring to the especially favorable treatment Congress provided to H-1B employers who replace American workers back in 1998. "When you have a dollar threshold, it should be updated over time."
According to IEEE-USA director of government relations, Russ Harrison. "a $60,000 threshold to employ an H-1B worker isn't a minimum wage designed to protect H-1B workers, it's an authorization to replace American workers through a services contract, as we've seen at Disney, Southern California Edison and so many others. It also exempts the H-1B employer from even pretending to try to find an American worker – which would be a farce anyway, since the H-1B outsourcing business model is to replace American workers."
But Secretary Acosta went on: "If Congress were to update that simply for inflation, it would bring it to well over $80,000….", which the Trump Administration's chief advocate for US workers indicated would be a good idea.
"This is alarming," Russ Harrison explained. "The Trump administration is now positioning itself to support the export of American tech jobs to the lowest bidder. There is legislation in both the House and Senate which would unfortunately extend this indefensible subsidy, but at least they are making higher bids, requiring employers at least claim to pay their H-1Bs $100,000 or more. Why Trump's labor secretary is lowballing it is something the White House should address."
"For example, the Southern California Edison workers who were fired and had to train their H-1B replacements were making a median salary of $120,00 a year – two years ago," Harrison said.
"IEEE-USA calls on the President to repudiate this trial balloon by his Labor Secretary. There is no price at which it would be okay to authorize contractors relying on cheaper temporary foreign workers to replace Americans making a competitive salary, as happened to workers laid off from Disney, SCE, Northeast Utilities, Cargill, Nielsen, Harley Davidson and so many others. This outrageous subsidy for replacing American workers with H-1Bs should be completely eliminated. We're not going to be fooled by making it slightly more expensive to replace US workers while continuing to authorize what should be banned."
"All H-1B-dependent employers should be required to do a labor market test before hiring a temporary foreign worker, and NONE should be allowed to do third-party displacement," Harrison said.
The hearing is available for streaming video here; Secretary Acosta's quotes come shortly after the 1 hour, 15-minute mark: https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/hearings/review-of-the-fy2018-budget-request-for-the-us-department-of-labor
IEEE-USA serves the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of nearly 190,000 engineering, computing and technology professionals who are U.S. members of IEEE.
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