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In a turnabout, Disney ABC TV cancels plans to outsource IT jobs

Patrick Thibodeau | June 16, 2015
Two weeks ago, the Disney ABC Television Group told a team of approximately 30 to 35 application developers that they were being laid off.

What makes outsourcing an intense issue is its close association with the H-1B visa. The largest users of this temporary visa are IT services firms that are either based in India or in the U.S. and run large IT services operations overseas.

Cognizant is a major user of the H-1B visa, but it is unknown whether any H-1B workers were being used at the Disney ABC outsourcing project. There were only a handful of contractors on-site and much of the knowledge transfer appears to have taken place in teleconference sessions.

Disney, when contacted for this story, offered a general comment about the H-1B program: "The Walt Disney Company makes minimal use of the H-1B visa program to meet very specific needs, in keeping with the spirit and letter of the law. If the program as currently implemented is subject to abuse, we support appropriate action to effectively remedy it."

The outsourcing at Disney's Parks and Resorts division had an impact on the IT workers at Disney ABC.

"Once our department learned of what happened to our Parks and Resorts colleagues, we held no illusion that our recognized knowledge and skills, company loyalty or work ethic would trump a bottom line," said one Disney ABC IT worker prior to finding out the layoffs had been called off.

"If the replacement of our personnel is due to an abuse of the H-1B visa program -- I hope exposure will lead to better corporate and national policy."


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