Senators question Southern California Edison's layoffs, replacement with Indian [H-1B] workers

Article CAIRCO note: 
Many of the nearly 1000 Southern California Edison IBEW 47 workers carry signs as they march ... to denounce the decision to lay off hundreds of information technology workers so SCE can outsource positions to India or replace them with foreign workers
Article author: 
Roxana Kopetman
Article publisher: 
Orange County Register
Article date: 
18 March 2015
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

Southern California Edison recently laid off hundreds of employees, mostly from Irvine, and replaced them with tech workers from India – a move scrutinized Tuesday from Pomona to Washington, D.C.

The IT workers were forced to train their replacements, who were brought in from India on special tech visas.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday repeatedly cited Edison's layoffs as an example of how the the H-1B visa program can be susceptible to fraud and abuse ...

SCE was invited to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday but declined.

“I thought they would want to defend their actions and explain why U.S. workers have been left high and dry,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, the committee’s chairman ...

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 18 other organizations sent a letter to the committee to rebut what they said are flawed studies and to argue that there aren’t enough native-born workers in the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math – to fill available jobs ...

Jay Palmer was a whistleblower on a case against his former employer, Infosys, an India-based firm ... and one of the companies contracted by Edison for its hiring.

“I sat there and watched American workers replaced for a dollar,” Palmer testified.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said: “I want to put the H-1B factories out of business.”

The H-1B visa program allows companies to hire foreigners to fill certain positions. Although the cap is set at 65,000, the number of workers allowed is in the hundreds of thousands because of exceptions.

One proposal in Congress would increase those numbers. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a leader in that effort, said: “I want to keep these highly intelligent people in our country” [CAIRCO's emphasize] ...