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Renewed effort begins to save Calif. university’s IT jobs

Patrick Thibodeau | Feb. 22, 2017
Legislation would bar offshore outsourcing at state universities

Offshore outsourcing firms are the major users of H-1B visa workers, and increasing numbers of lawmakers say it was never the intent of the program to facilitate offshore outsourcing. "Generally speaking, the H-1B program should never be used to cost U.S. citizens their jobs," wrote U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.).

Another issue involves the use of public monies to offshore jobs. "I believe that California tax dollars should be used to support high-quality jobs in our state," wrote U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.).

In a joint letter, U.S. Reps. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) wrote: "This move has potential negative consequences not only on jobs and the local economy, but calls into question the responsibilities of public institutions that receive taxpayer funding."

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), after originally sending the IT workers a form letter that her spokeswoman acknowledged was a mistake, followed up with something stronger.

"I understand that UCSF may need to cut costs for a number of reasons, but I firmly believe that this is not the way to do it," Feinstein wrote to Napolitano. "I urge you to address any budget issues without outsourcing domestic jobs to foreign workers and reconsider the decision to contract with a foreign firm for labor currently being performed by Californians," she wrote.

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) said: "This decision would set a dangerous precedent that could be used at other campuses, and other institutions, to erode the American workforce."

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa,) the chair of the Judiciary Committee, fired off a long list of questions to university officials, while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the outsourcing decision "ill-advised."

U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.)., told the university its plan "should be reversed," as did U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.).

And the UCSF faculty association argued that it was wrong for publicly funded institution to ship jobs overseas.

"We ask that you immediately rescind this outsourcing of IT services, both because it is not appropriate for a university operating with a majority of its funds coming from public sources to abrogate its responsibility to the public and because the quality of the IT work done will be compromised when workers are not be on-site, indeed may be outside the country," wrote Edward Yelin, a professor of medicine and health policy at UCSF and chair of the UCSF faculty association.


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