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US tech worker groups boycott IBM, Infosys, Manpower

Grant Gross | June 3, 2014
Three U.S. tech worker groups have launched a labor boycott of IBM, Infosys and Manpower, saying the companies have engaged in a pattern that discourages U.S. workers from applying for U.S. IT jobs by tailoring employment ads toward overseas workers.

Three U.S. tech worker groups have launched a labor boycott of IBM, Infosys and Manpower, saying the companies have engaged in a pattern that discourages U.S. workers from applying for U.S. IT jobs by tailoring employment ads toward overseas workers.

The companies should look first for U.S. workers to fill U.S. IT jobs, said representatives of Bright Future Jobs, the Programmers Guild and WashTech.

With the boycott, the three groups want to raise awareness of discriminatory hiring practices and put pressure on the three companies to consider U.S. IT workers for U.S. jobs, said Donna Conroy, director of Bright Future Jobs.

The main goals of the boycott are "attention getting" and putting pressure on the IT staffing firms to change their practices, Conroy said. With IT staffing agencies competing to fill U.S. positions, the companies contracting for their services may want to consider if the staffing firm "has a good reputation," she said.

The boycott should also raise concerns about staffing firms violating equal employment laws, said Les French, president of WashTech. "In addition to calling attention to an illegal practice, we want to show there are valid challenges to the 'labor shortage' of STEM workers," French said in an email.

An Infosys spokeswoman disputed the charges that it avoids recruiting U.S. IT workers.

"It is incorrect to allude that we exclude or discourage U.S. workers," she said by email. "Today, we are recruiting for over 440 active openings across 20 states in the U.S."

Many of the positions target people who have a U.S. master's degree in business administration for sales and management consultant jobs, she said. "The graduate hiring program is a key investment to strengthen our future leadership pool," she added. "Attracting the best and brightest talent is paramount to Infosys success."

The company's external job posts give "everyone an equal opportunity to apply," she added. The company supports several minority advocacy groups, she said.

Representatives from IBM and Manpower didn't respond to requests for comment on the boycott.

In some cases, a Manpower subsidiary has advertised for Indian IT workers to come to the U.S. for openings anticipated more than a year in advance, said Conroy, author of a white paper, released last week, that is focused on Manpower's IT recruitment efforts in India.

The advertisements in India are being placed even though "most Americans believe the nature of the tech industry is so fast-paced that staffing projections cannot be adequately foreseen," she said.

Meanwhile, Manpower is not advertising for U.S. IT positions on U.S. job portals, Conroy said. But if Manpower advertised in the U.S. using the same lead time it is using in India, it would give companies "plenty of time to seek Americans first."

 

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