SCE Dumps American Staff, Imports H-1B Tech Workers from India

AP Photo/John Amis

Southern California Edison (SCE) announced a “transition effort” that will dump 500 employees and replace them presumably cheaper H-1B visa holders imported from India. Many laid-off employees are complaining that in a demoralizing betrayal, some laid-off workers are being assigned to train their India replacements on how to do their jobs.

Southern California’s largest utility has confirmed that its IT organization’s “transition effort” is expected to result in about 400 layoffs, with “another 100 or so employees leaving voluntarily. The company said that the “transition” began in August of 2014 and will be completed by the end of March, according to Compuworld. The utility’s IT Department is believed to have had 1,800 employees and 1,500 contract workers prior to the transition effort.

The SCE laid off workers are reportedly being replaced by hiring Infosys, based in Bangalore, and Tata Consultancy Services in Mumbai to replace the in-house staff. The companies are known to be the largest users of H-1B visas issued by the U.S. State Department.

According to the Computerworld report, employees are furious and say they cannot understand how H-1B guest workers can be used to replace them. “They are bringing in people with a couple of years’ experience to replace us and then we have to train them,” said a senior IT worker. “It’s demoralizing and in a way I kind of felt betrayed by the company.”

The dumped employees had believed that the H-1B program was supposed to be for bringing in skilled workers for projects and jobs that companies could not find American workers to fill. One of the employees training the replacements told Computerworld confidentially, “Not one of these jobs being filled by India was a job that an Edison employee wasn’t already performing.”

SCE reportedly defended the “transition” by stating that hiring Infosys and Tata “will lead to enhancements that deliver faster and more efficient tools and applications for services that customers rely on. Through outsourcing, SCE’s information technology organization will adopt a proven business strategy commonly and successfully used by top U.S. companies that SCE benchmarks against.”

According to a report in the Daily Caller, fewer Americans born in the U.S. have jobs today than were employed to November 2007, despite a working-age population growth of 11 million. Although the huge drop highlights the failure of President Barack Obama’s domestic policies, almost 50% of the jobs that have been recovered since 2009 have gone to foreign-born workers.

In November 2014, one in every five U.S. jobs was held by a foreign-born worker, up from one in six jobs in January 2010, according to federal data highlighted by the Center for Immigration Studies.

Despite the number of Americans with jobs since November 2007 falling by 1.5 million from 124 million in November 2007 to 122.6 million in November 2014, the number of employed legal and illegal migrants over the same time period rose by two million, from 23.1 million in November 2007 to 25.1 million seven years later.


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