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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.

In November 2013, Manpower subsidiary Experis IT India advertised in India for an OpenStack engineer for a U.S. position, Bright Future Jobs noted. "We are now hiring young, dynamic, skilled and experienced IT professionals from India to work with us in the U.S.," the ad said.

Other Experis IT India ads in late 2013 talked about the company filling out H-1B worker visa applications for job applicants, with one ad saying "all expenses related to your visa filing would be take care of" by Manpower.

The three tech workers groups also plan to launch an educational effort aimed at helping U.S. tech workers recognize discriminatory job ads and questions during job interviews, Conroy said. "When people are educated, there will likely be more lawsuits" related to discriminatory employment practices, she said.

Rajiv Dabhadkar, the founder of the National Organization for Software and Technology Professionals, a national tech advocacy organization in India, said he supports the boycott.

Indian employers show a "strong preference" for Indian IT workers, Dabhadkar said. He questioned why U.S. companies don't do the same thing.

The boycott "will protect the Indian foreign workers from the accusation of displacing Americans," he said. "Indians were not put on this earth to displace Americans, but Manpower's recruiting efforts show this is their plan."

Segregated recruiting opens the door to "unscrupulous agents" who make false promises to Indian IT workers, he added.

"The brokerage of intellectual capital drives down wages, and foreign workers are under paid," Dabhadkar said by email. "Multiple layers of broker agencies, that earn a per hour commission of their visa-sponsored employee creates a grey market."

Importing foreign workers to the U.S. as a commodity violates human rights, he added. "American employers gain competitive advantage and profitability by labor arbitrage, by paying low to their sponsored workers, and bidding high to their clients," Dabhadkar said.

 

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