Three Democrat 2020 contenders are urging Google to fully hire its army of 120,000 outsourcing workers and temporary hires — plus thousands of Indian graduates who have used work visas to take jobs that would help young Americans jump-start their careers.
“Google has more temporary and contract workers than full-time employees, and that workers in those categories remain in them long-term, even if the work they are doing is permanent and equal to that of directly employed workers … we urge Google to end any abuse of these worker classifications and treat all Google workers equally,” says the anti-outsourcing letter, which was provided to the New York Times.
California Sen. Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Sen. Liz Warren, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders signed the letter. All three have pushed pro-migration views in the Democrats’ primary debates.
The Democrats’ call to end part-time jobs and the use of subcontracting and outsourcing is likely popular among voters.
But the letter stealthily endorses the industry’s discriminatory policies of subcontracting jobs to foreign graduates who are selected by foreign-run recruiting firms, and of hiring foreign graduates who will accept lower wages than American graduates because they hope to get green cards and citizenship.
Google employs roughly 121,000 outsourced workers, according to a March 2019 New York Times article. The NYT article did not say how many of those outsourced workers are imported from countries such as India and China or are selected by foreign-run outsourcing companies.
Government data shows the company sought to hire 11,000 new H-1B visa workers from 2016 to 2018, and also tried to get green cards for 3,300 imported workers, including 1,660 Chinese and 952 Indian workers, according to MyVisaJobs.com. The site’s government data also shows that Google asked for visas to import 7,475 H-1B workers in 2019, despite the huge number of Americans at other companies who would eagerly work for Google.
There is no shortage of Americans who want to work for Google. Indeed.com reported August 5 that 39,271 “software developers” nationwide are seeking new jobs.
The Democrats’ letter comes as technology companies lobby the Senate to pass legislation which would allow U.S. businesses — including Google — to offer four times as many green cards to Indians.
The pending S.386 legislation expands the existing rules which allow companies to provide the government-delivered bonus of green cards to roughly 23,000 Indians and family members each year who accept low wages to take jobs sought by U.S. graduates. The current rules have encouraged roughly 600,000 Indian college-graduate visa workers to become lower-wage contract workers in the United States.
The S.386 green-card expansion would dramatically raise the incentive for more Indian graduates to take jobs in the United States.
Current laws do not set a cap on the number of Indian who can take college jobs in the United States. For example, up to 100,000 recent Indian graduates are using the “Optional Practical Training” program to keep working in the United States. Another 300,000 Indian H-1B tech-workers are allowed to stay long past the customary six-year time limit on H-1B visas because their employer has nominated them for green cards.
The huge army of Indian temp workers suppresses salaries for a large number of American graduates in a wide variety of careers.
So far, the S.386 giveaway legislation has been stopped by disagreement from Senators who wish to aid companies with non-Indian workforces, and by other Senators’ reluctance to anger the swing-voting bloc of college-graduate suburban voters. The opposition has also been stiffened by a new wave of American white-collar activists who are trying to protect their careers from outsourcing policies.
A matching House bill, HR.1044, passed easily in June after a stealth lobbying company by technology investors.
The demand by investors for endless migrant labor has created a new thing: The US-India Outsourcing Economy. This no-regulation zone redirects new wealth into a few cities & a small elite. Elites want to expand it, so US college-grads get #HR1044. https://t.co/4lWHtI3sUk
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) July 19, 2019
The Senate’s S.386 outsourcing bill has 34 sponsors, including 2020 contender California Sen. Kamala Harris.
The new anti-outsourcing letter was drafted by Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and was signed by Harris, Warren, and Sanders, plus Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, and Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin.
President Donald Trump has done little to close of programs which bring foreign college graduates into U.S. jobs — the H-1B, Optional Practical Training, and L-1 programs, despite his “Buy American, Hre American” Inauguration day promise. But Trump’s deputies have made many small changes to the implementation of the program which have pressured companies — especially Indian-run outsourcing companies – to import fewer visa-workers and to pay them slightly higher wages.
The Democrats’ letter ignored the existence of Google’s Indian-born labor force. But the foreign issue is critical because many U.S. companies now have Indian-born hiring managers who are strong advocates for the U.S.-Indian Outsourcing Economy.
This outsourcing economy sends up to $78 billion of work from the United States to India each year. It has absorbed large slices of the U.S. software business as well as large segments of the technology infrastructure in the banking, health insurance, telecommunications, and retail sectors. For example, lower-wage Indian software workers helped write software for Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft and President Barack Obama’s Obamacare website. They have moved software jobs for Disney’s office in Florida to India, and they run large offices in many companies, such as Anthem, Deloitte, and AT&T. Many the outsourced jobs in 2017 are displayed here at SAITJ.org.
For example, Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, is a former H-1B worker from India. Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, was also born in India.
For many companies, criticism and lawsuits over their use of temporary domestic and foreign labor are just a routine cost of business. In 2000, for example, Microsoft settled a 1992 lawsuit by 8,000 “perma-temp” employees for only $97 million. In 2015, it faced a spate of negative publicity which prompted it to offer two weeks of paid annual leave to its force of outsourced labor. But in 2019, Microsofts’ executives also cheered the lobbying campaign to pass the S.386 bill which would help companies outsource more white-collar jobs to Indian graduates.
Brown’s letter to Google was inspired by a March article in the New York Times, which showed that Google kept an army of 121,000 temporary workers to aid its payroll of 102,000 employees. According to the New York Times:
While many of the temps and contractors sit in the same offices as Google employees and often do similar work, they usually make less money, have significantly worse benefit plans and do not enjoy the same rights.
Most of Google’s contingent workers are technically employees of staffing agencies, although the company acts like the employer in most cases — deciding when they work and what they do and assessing the quality of their work, according to current and former temps and contractors.
Temps and contractors account for 40 percent to 50 percent of workers at most technology firms, according to estimates by OnContracting, a site that helps people find tech contracting positions.
A top Google official shrugged off the letter with a cursory denial, according to the New York Times:
Eileen Naughton, Google’s vice president of people operations, said in a letter replying to the senators that the company strongly disagreed “with any suggestion that Google misuses independent contractors or temporary workers.” She said the company’s practices “accord with the highest industry standards.”
Indian govt & companies declare support for bipartisan HR.1044 & S.386 bills which expand the outsourcing of US college-grad jobs to Indian grads. Well, of course – outsourcing is India's economic strategy. So why should it be bipartisan US strategy too? https://t.co/xjSDjwYaEL
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) July 25, 2019