By Jim Gillespie
Word on the (Wall) street is that IBM, after 10 straight quarters of declining revenue, is gearing up for another wholesale “resource action,” where a large percentage of its employees will be “R.A.’ed” out of existence. Curiously, during their most recent layoff binge, earlier this year, the company announced that they had some 3,000 jobs they were trying to fill.
IBM’s partner in crime, Cisco, has just completed its own 6,000-employee cut, hoping to appease the stockholders by offering up human sacrifices to the Almighty (dollar). For its part, that company announced, in the same breath and with no discernible hint of irony, that they were also in the midst of hiring hundreds more new employees to take the place of the dear departed.
In the same open letter to employees back in July when he announced 13,000 layoffs, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella—a native of Hyderabad, India—promised that “new hires will be made.”
So what gives? Why are high-tech outfits throwing out with one hand and scooping up with the other? Indeed, how can they afford to do it? (IBM expects to shell out $600 million to slough off its unwanted bodies in their upcoming round of layoffs.)
Think H-1B. That’s the magic word in the industry, the earnest prayer offered up by every billionaire CEO from Silicon Valley to RTP. Give us more H-1B visas. Already, guest workers with H-1Bs fill two-thirds of job vacancies in the high-tech industry. Yet CEOs like SAS Institute’s Jim Goodnight continuously beat the drum for more. “We need immigrants,” Goodnight flatly stated at a recent Chamber of Commerce confab. This is spite of the well-documented fact that there is in fact no shortage of native-born candidates for these jobs. By the industry’s own reckoning, their requests for more guest worker visas would exceed all the job openings each year by a full fifty percent. It is not more workers Goodnight and his cronies want. It is cheaper workers.
The average salary of computer professionals in this country has not risen an iota in 15 years, while CEOs’ salaries have risen 876 percent since the late 1970s. The average CEO now makes 273 times what the average employee makes.
And still the richest of the rich scheme to depress workers’ salaries even more. A massive collusion on the part of some of the biggest high-tech companies in Silicon Valley has been uncovered, where executives of Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe have agreed to pay fines of more than $300 million for illegally agreeing not to hire each other’s employees away. The resulting depression of programmers’ and engineers’ wages has tied in very nicely with the ever-present chorus of demands for more H-1Bs.
The goal of this big business-government combine is all too clear. Keep wages low, freeze out native workers, import foreign workers, fatten the bank books of CEOs, and inch ever closer to the one-world dream of the elites in both political parties.