The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) abandoned its plan to replace U.S. technology workers with H-1B visa workers after President Donald Trump criticized the power company and fired two of its board members.
“We were wrong in not fully understanding the impact on our employees, especially during the pandemic,” said Tennessee Valley Authority CEO Jeff Lyash in a statement Thursday.
According to a news release, Lyash, along with TVA’s interim board Chairman John Ryder, met with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. Lyash further expounded on the TVA’s decision, saying it “supports” President Trump’s efforts to continue the growth of American jobs.
“TVA fully understands and supports the Administration’s commitment to preserving and growing American jobs,” Lyash continued.
“Our mission is clear — delivering low-cost reliable power, economic development, and environmental stewardship,” Lyash said. “We are addressing this disappointing misstep and refocusing our commitment on serving our customers and this nation.”
Earlier this week, on Monday, President Trump fired TVA board chairman James Thompson and board member Richard Howarth after the TVA announced that it would outsource 20 percent of its jobs to foreign workers.
“Let this serve as a warning to any federally appointed board. If you betray American workers, then you will hear two simple words: ‘You’re fired,'” Trump said at the White House.
President Trump also criticized Lyash’s salary, saying he was “ridiculously overpaid” after earning $8.16 million in 2019. “He gets $8 million a year. So that was just a succession of deep-swamp things happening, and it’s a disgrace,” Trump said.
President Trump also signed an executive order earlier this week that required federal agencies to prioritize U.S. workers, targeting the TVA, specifically, who had originally planned to lay off several of its workers, which the order claimed could cause more than 200 U.S. workers to lose their jobs.
“Outsourcing hundreds of workers is especially detrimental in the middle of a pandemic, which has already cost millions of Americans their jobs,” a statement from the White House said. “President Trump’s actions will help combat employers’ misuse of H-1B visas, which were never intended to replace qualified American workers with low-cost foreign labor.”