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US tech worker groups boycott Infosys, IBM, Manpower

They claim the companies discourage US workers from applying for US IT jobs by tailoring employment ads toward overseas workers

Itika Sharma Punit  |  Bangalore 

Hiring image via Shutterstock

Three technology workers groups in the US have announced a boycott against Infosys, and claiming that the have indulged in hiring practices that excludes US workforce from local job openings in that country.

The boycott will continue until these three technology majors demonstrate employment practices that follow laws prohibiting discrimination in the upcoming jobs for FY2016, the three groups-- Bright Future Jobs, Programmers Guild and Washtech, said in a press release. Recruitment for these jobs will start from October this year.

"US workers should have the first shot at US jobs,” said Kim Berry, president of Programmer’s Guild said. The Programmers Guild, founded in 1998, is a US non-profit corporation that advocates against corporate outsourcing, the H1-B visa program and related topics. It has over 400 members. Washtech, or Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, was formed in 1998 by Microsoft contract employees in Redmond. It is affiliated with the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA).

hide these discriminatory practices with false accusations of a talent shortage. The only shortage in the tech industry is fair and ethical recruiting and hiring,” Berry added.

While Bright Future Jobs is a tech advocates organisation dedicated to counteracting claims that Americans can't do science and technology, WashTech is a union for high tech workers.

The three groups quoted from job advertisements posted by on Indian job portals between October-December 2013, which the groups claim target potential foreign workers and offered H1-B visas (long term work visas for the US). The jobs also stated that preference would be given to those with experience of working in the US and who had successfully received work visas in the past. “Bright Future Jobs could find no comparable ads on US job portals during this period,” the release said.

NOSTOPS, a national technology advocacy organisation in India, is supporting the boycott the release said

"Indian employers exhibit a strong preference for local talent for jobs in India--why don’t in the US do the same? This will protect the Indian foreign workers from the accusation of displacing Americans,” said Rajiv Dabhadkar, director of NOSTOPS. “Indians were not put on this earth to displace Americans, but Manpower's recruiting efforts show this is their plan."

The boycott comes not long after India’s second largest IT services company, Infosys, agreed to pay $34 million for a civil settlement of a federal inquiry into “systemic visa fraud and abuse” in bringing temporary workers from India to work in the US in 2013.

This development had fueled fears that the US authorities may probe other Indian IT services companies, most of whom have significant business in the US, for similar visa misuse.

In 2013, the US’ Department of Justice had fined for violating the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, when the company placed online job postings for applications and software developers. The department is even now monitoring for the same.

First Published: Tue, June 03 2014. 10:54 IST