Shameless Caterpillar Fires 300 American Workers, Hires Foreign Nationals

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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.

September 8, 2016
U.S. workers took another hit this week when Fortune 500 giant Caterpillar announced that it will fire 300 U.S. employees, and replace them with foreign-born H-1B visa holders. Caterpillar, an American corporate icon, is the latest but certainly will not be the last to displace Americans in the pursuit of cheaper, but less skilled, labor.
 
Caterpillar workers
Caterpillar plows under its American employees.
 
The 91-year-old Caterpillar is the world leader in the manufacture of mining equipment, and in 2015 generated $47 billion in revenue, and had $3.2 billion in operating income. With $89 billion in assets, Caterpillar ranks No. 59 on the prestigious Fortune 500. Caterpillar’s financial profile is hardly one of a beleaguered company that needs to save a few pennies on cheap labor. Just weeks before the firings, Caterpillar announced that its second-quarter earnings exceeded expectations. And, in 2015, Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Douglas R. Olberhelman earned $15.8 million.
 
Many of the H-1B visa holders are U.S. college graduates already employed at Caterpillar which adds another problematic dimension to the hurtful displacement process. Eventually, H-1Bs can petition for change of immigration status that will lead to permanent residency, and citizenship. In other words, H-1Bs arrive on a temporary visa, but many never go home. Breitbart reported that Caterpillar has been instrumental in obtaining green cards for about 70 of its H-1B employees.
 
Caterpillar joins a growing list of corporations that don’t care about their employees or their families. Read the CAPS coverage of the same disgraceful practice – fire Americans, hire foreign nationals – at Disney, Southern California Edison, Toys “R” Us and Abbott Labs.
 
Losing a job is traumatic and in this prolonged period of slow economic growth and lousy Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly reports, even more stressful. If an employee gets fired in a major job center like New York or San Francisco, he’s got a remote chance of landing on his feet. But many of the Caterpillar victims worked in Mossville, Illinois, a Peoria suburb that’s so tiny that it doesn’t have a mail route. They have few places to turn.
 
To learn more about the treachery against American workers, read Michelle Malkin and John Miano’s book, “Sold Out,” and see this website that provides more craven details. Finally, get involved. Go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to tell your senators to limit H-1B visas and protect American jobs.
 
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