Economic Policy Institute Demands Labor Secretary Investigate SoCal Edison H-1B Scandal

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

March 19, 2015

The Economic Policy Institute has joined outraged Americans in the quest for justice on behalf of the laid-off Southern California Edison (SCE) workers displaced by foreign-born H-1B visa holders.

Southern California Sends 500 People to the Unemployment Line
SoCal Edison sends 500 American workers to the unemployment line.

Last month, SCE fired between 400 and 500 IT employees and replaced them with H-1Bs. The fired Americans had to engage in “knowledge transfers,” a deceptive term, which means they were forced to train their less talented substitutes. Although it’s been exposed as a lie multiple times, IT employers insist that because qualified Americans aren’t available, they’re forced to hire overseas H-1B visa holders. But in the SCE case, Americans were already on the job.

Considering the numerous times President Obama has promised to devote the remainder of his second term to improving the lives of middle-class Americans, a Department of Labor investigation should have been launched into the reason behind the mass firing of citizen employees who earned good salaries and had benefits packages. Before the scandal, Computer World listed SCE as one of the nation’s best IT employers.

But because even the most superficial inquiry into SCE’s motives would have revealed that the issue was substituting cheaper labor and younger workers for its long-time employees, no investigation is forthcoming.

Accordingly, the Economic Policy Institute’s Vice President Ross Eisenbrey wrote to Labor Department Secretary Thomas Perez to remind him that “he has the authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act” to pursue SCE’s egregious abuse of the H-1B visa and to remedy the harm the company has done to skilled Americans workers. EPI describes itself as a nonpartisan Washington-D.C-based think tank that has studied low- and middle-income Americans’ needs since 1986.

Eisenbrey’s letter is dated February 13. So far, Perez hasn’t replied. Please go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to urge your representative to demand an investigation into SCE’s disregard for American workers and to reject future legislation that might expand the H-1B visa cap.
 

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