A Disney IT worker who was laid off and replaced by foreign workers along with hundreds of his colleagues broke down in tears before a Senate panel Thursday while telling his story.
“During the holiday season of 2014, I was sent a meeting invitation by a prominent Disney executive. With an excellent review in hand along with company announcements of record profits my mind buzzed with thoughts of a promotion or a bonus,” Leo Perrero, the former Disney worker testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest. “I walked into a small conference room with about two dozen highly respected fellow IT workers. The Disney executive made a harsh announcement to us all.”
That harsh announcement, Perrero said, was that Disney was laying him and hundreds of others off. He would be without a job in 90 days.
“Your jobs have been given over to a foreign workforce,” Perrero recalled the executive saying. “In the meantime you will be training your replacements until your jobs are 100 percent transferred over to them and if you don’t cooperate you will not receive any severance pay.”
Perrero noted that the one “glimmer of hope” left following the meeting was that there would be new employment opportunities at Disney. That hope was quickly dashed however, he said, as he later learned that just four people were “directly rehired.”
During the meeting Perrero said, he began to worry about not only his future but also the future of America.
“Later that same day I remember very clearly going to the local church pumpkin sale and having to tell the kids that we could not buy any because my job was going over to a foreign worker,” he said, his voice beginning to crack.
“I started to think what kind of American was I becoming? Was I going to become part of ruining our country by taking severance pay in exchange for training my foreign replacement? How many other American families would be affected by the same foreign worker that I trained?” he said through tears.
Perrero recalled having to train his foreign replacement and the humiliation he felt at the task.
“The final period of the 90 days was the most disgraceful and demoralizing, as we had to watch the foreign workers completely take over our jobs. And we came to grips that the upcoming Disney jobs promise didn’t exist. Then finally on January 31st of 2015 we were forced to turn in our company badges, laptops and then ushered out the door,” he said.
Perrero noted that one of the only reasons he is able to speak out is that he has left the profession entirely.
“The situation at Disney is not an anomaly,” he continued. “This same abuse is happening nationwide.”