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AFL-CIO Proposed Reforms for the H1B Program

Hemos posted more than 11 years ago | from the changing-the-laws dept.

News 1046

Alien54 writes "[I first saw this link over on RFN]. The AFL-CIO has announced a series of proposed reforms for the H1B Program. The proposal is very thorough, and covers eight different problem areas of the H1B laws."

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FP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007230)

First Post For Canada.

Re:FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007281)

First Post that canada sux ass & is just another big us state

Re:FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007297)

Good Lord I hope not. The US makes Canada look bad. Being so close to you is like sitting next to a Immigrant on the train. Some of his stench is likely to rub off and make you smell. The US just makes Canada smell bad.

Thank goodness! (-1)

Patrick Bateman (175284) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007233)

No more curry kabobs in the server room.

Yet Another LInk (1, Insightful)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007251)

h1b info [h1b.info]

H1B's are bad for Americans (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007254)

Really, why is our money going to some foreigners? Half of our help desk is outsourced to Banglodoshiewhackieidjits or some such shit and the trans-atlantic line is shit, their grasp of the english laguage is shit and all they do is say, let me pass this to my supervisor and then transfer us back to the States' help desk. No value-add whatsoever. Americans should get to keep American jobs, period.

Bad accents in phone support (2)

phorm (591458) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007433)

their grasp of the english language is shit

This is one area where I would have to agree. There are a lot of from other countries (India, China) who seem to be working phone support, and they really suck.

Before you flame me, listen to my reasoning. These people can be hard workers, and smart, etc, however their grasp of the english language is oftimes poor and their speaking skills or accent atrocious.

Awhile back I was bored and decided to participate in a phone survey. For several questions, I had to have the question restated several times because the accent of the questioner made it very difficult to hear/understand. In addition, she sometimes had difficulty understanding my responses until I reworded them into less complex english.

I have the same problem with tech-support lines for many companies. They tend to hire these out-of-country workers because they're desperate for a job and will work for cheap pay, and completely disregard the lack of speaking skills (which are a necessity for such a position).

Americans should get to keep American jobs, period

I differ slightly in this opinion, and move towards less foreigner-bashing. Competent people should get to keep jobs, not just cheap workers (of which foreigners are often in more abundance in the upper-age groups). I remember that when talking to some techs for the local calling card company, I talked to various few Indian (from India) gentlemen who spoke english very well and with little accent. These gentlemen also were very polite and the phone, and extremely helpful. It also seems to me that accent-wise, Indian males are easier to understand than female, and Chinese females easier to understand than males (due to pitch of voice combined with accent).

So, in other words, don't hire foreigners for jobs because they're cheap and (generally somewhat) smart - unless they can actually speak the language. I'd also say the same for hiring a white guy who couldn't pass an 10th grade grammer course.

Oh, and I'm Canadian, but a lot of the companies I've been in contact with are American - and there's no real big difference anyhow.

I might be ... (5, Insightful)

craenor (623901) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007261)

Totally off base here, if so, offtopic mod the hell out of me.

But instead of being so concerned about the number of jobs being grabbed in this country by foreign nationals...

I think more concern should be paid to the number of tech jobs being farmed out to foreign countries. Did you know the helpdesk for the State of Missouri is served from India?

Re:I might be ... (-1, Flamebait)

Bob McCown (8411) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007271)

I think its all part of the "Towelheads taking my job" syndrome....

Re:I might be ... (2)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007276)

Don't worry, I'm sure other countries will start getting so full with our jobs that they'll send theres over here. Then we'll all be haaaaaaapppppyyyy

Re:I might be ... (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007280)

You should start a letter writing campaign to bring attention to this issue.

This scares the heck out of me.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007300)

Because my top priority job right now is helping my company's india people finish up a nice JAVA GUI task that is being done over there, rather than employing a few of our own 'merikan boys.

All kidding aside, this worries me a lot.

-- ac at work

Re:I might be ... (3, Interesting)

Malicious (567158) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007318)

Canadian companies make a lot of money, supporting Compaq, IBM, and AOL products.

Canadian Dollar=Cheap
Out of work Canadian Technicians=Plentiful

It's good business

Re:I might be ... (2)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007389)

Actually if I were for free trade Canada would be one of the nations that would be ok. While the loon might be weak they have a high standard of living..

And also (3, Funny)

phorm (591458) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007453)

A tendancy to have better english speaking skills than other countries where english is not the primary language.

Welcome to tech support, eh! - phorm

Re:I might be ... (4, Insightful)

override11 (516715) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007351)

Well, as long as it is economically sound to hire foreign workers than USA workers, it will continue to be like that. Think of the choice, pay 100 US employee's an average of, say, 25 - 30K / year plus heath benifits, workmans comp, etc., or pay a foreign worker less than minimum, no health benefits, and not have the US laws to contend with?

Re:I might be ... (5, Informative)

EricWright (16803) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007499)

Define economically sound. I left my last company in part because they were starting to ship a large portion of the development tasks to India. That left fewer positions in the US, and those positions were turned into "analysts" and "customer interaction specialists", in other words, requirements gatherers and writers of tedious documents.

I saw some of the work that came back from India, and frankly, it sucked. GUI design was non-existent, as were coding standards. There was a distinct lack of understanding of any non-M$ developement tool/language. Many of "sys-admins" had no idea what a port was, much less how it could get hijacked, broken into, etc. One of our US admins did a port scan on one of their main servers and found an unknown program listening on port 31337. Uh huh... good job guys.

Furthermore, we had significant communication issues with the Indian offices due to the 14 hour time differential. The requirements people in the US could interact with our customers on a given day, it would take until the next day for the overseas "developers" to get the requirements. Issues, misunderstandings, etc. took one or more days further to resolve, etc. Time wasted is money wasted.

My point is that, although Indian labor may be cheaper on an hourly basis, how many more man-hours does it take to get the job done? By the time I left, the amount of money saved through overseas development was little to none. All that had been accomplished was a 50% staff attrition through layoffs or people, like myself, who saw the impending doom and jumped ship before the axe fell.

Same with programmers (5, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007394)

Programmers too. I had to leave the tech field when I lived in New York because all of the finaincal companies(yes the ones who hold the majority of the worlds money) are outsourcing all of the programming jobs to India and Indonesia for 7/hr! I guess the CEO's do not have enough money.

I was even willing to work for 7/hr like the Indians because I became so desperate and was ready to work at a McDonalds or retail store. I guess I was still viewed as too expensive or not dispensable enough. I ened up moving back in with my parents, selling all of most of my stuff in my apartment, lossing my girlfriend because she wanted a man with money, and working at a staples for 7/hr.

Infact go read this [com.com] article here on how sun is under investigation for firing half of its staff and replacing them with Indians. Its disgusting and this really pisses me off! What the f*ck did we do to deserve to be treated like this? I advise most workers to work for a small bussiness who actually care about there workers. Big companies just want to rape us. I am back in tech working for a small consulting company outside of the big cities. I advise those who are looking for work in New York, Silcon Valley, or San Fransico to leave and move to a place like Phoenix, Las Vegas or Ohama where small bussinesses are rampant and rents are low.

Re:Same with programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007448)

Please don't come to Phoenix looking for a tech job, because you'll be disappointed.

Re:Same with programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007514)

"Please don't come to Phoenix looking for a tech job, because you'll be disappointed."

Or Dallas

We need more H1B's (4, Interesting)

EccentricAnomaly (451326) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007404)

There are very few good aerospace graduates coming out every year, especially on the space side. It really sucks when you know a guy whose really good but he can't get hired because he's a foreign national, so box-of-rocks gets hired instead and your stuck babysitting box-of-rocks to try and get some useful work out of some clown who must have cheated his way through school.

And the really good guy who's a foreign national goes back to his home country and can't get a job in the space industry because his country doesn't have a space program or he's european and ESA has stupid nationality-based hiring quotas.

As a nation we benefit greatly from being able to brain-drain other countries and get as many of their talented engineers working here as we can.

I do agree with one of these proposed reforms though... foreign nationals should get paid the same as us-citizens. We should be importing people because their really good... we shouldn't be importing some foreign box-of-rocks because he's cheaper than some american box-of-rocks.

Re:We need more H1B's (1)

ParamonKreel (182921) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007493)

Or every aerospace graduate that I know has a job as a developer because no aerospace company is hiring. I'm talking top flight people from top flight engineering schools. Aerospace, there's one industry that's sucking more than all of the rest. They're the suckyiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked at the moment.

Re:I might be ... (2, Interesting)

Maudib (223520) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007414)

The story of the American economy is based on innovation at home and route production overseas.

When all this tech stuff was new and in development, it was natural for it to remain in the states. Leading edge development and the first round of sales is a high margin education intensive thing. However, as the product difuses throughout society and more and more individuals obtain the necesary background to produce a given product, then the margins fall. At this point the U.S. has historically exported the production to other nations, as our high standard of living and the nature of our economy depends (a) On high margins and (b) on the exploitation of education versus the exploitation of masses of people.

Summary:
Complex research, manufacturing, and development remains at home. Simplistic labor intensive manufacturing gets moved overseas.

I would be more concerned if we werent relocating these help desk jobs to India. That would be a sign of our economy abdicating the forefront.

Re:I might be ... (5, Interesting)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007475)

Yeah, but how do you propose we stem the tide of projects going overseas, while at the same time maintaining superiorty in the tech industry?

If it's significantly cheaper to code overseas (and it is), then market forces pretty much dictate that the capital is going to flow that way regardless of what we want. Sure, you might be able to stop Missouri from farming out their services overseas (at the expense of the taxpayer, who's paying for the increased cost), but you can't stop privately owned firms without some sort of draconian lockdown on software production.

It's not entirely a bad thing, though. A US company may spend capital overseas to produce a package, but the revenue on the sale of the product is taxed in the good ol' US of A, and taxed again when those US employees receive their paychecks, and again when they spend it.

Trying to lockdown the export of projects in the US will have two effects. The first will be to force companies that are able to to move overseas, where the US won't be able to tax them. The other is that, for those companies that aren't able to go overseas but have to stay in the US, they will have to pay much higher rates than the rest of the world for software engineering, forcing them to be less competitive, and the long term effect is that the US would fall far, far behind in technology.

Prevailing Wage? (5, Insightful)

jasonditz (597385) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007268)

Doesn't it seem like letting the employer and employee work out how much money the job will pay is a much better system than having some bureaucracy decide what the prevailing wage is and binding everyone to that? Or is there something about being born outside the borders of the United States that makes wage negotiations inherently evil?

Re:Prevailing Wage? (3, Insightful)

I'm a racist. (631537) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007338)

The problem is, from the foreigner's point of view, just getting to be in America (and out of their own hellhole), is a huge benefit. Therefore, they are willing to accept a low standard of living (by American standards).

The end result of this is an overall lowering of the standard of living, because if Americans want to be competitive, they have to sacrifice their standards.

And what if, on the world scale, . . . . (2)

kfg (145172) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007405)

their "standards" are unrealistic and inherently *based* on taking advantage of other nations?

KFG

Re:Prevailing Wage? (3, Interesting)

Glock27 (446276) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007348)

Doesn't it seem like letting the employer and employee work out how much money the job will pay is a much better system than having some bureaucracy decide what the prevailing wage is and binding everyone to that? Or is there something about being born outside the borders of the United States that makes wage negotiations inherently evil?

What it means is that, in a very narrow range of professions, you get to compete with hundreds of thousands of people who'd be THRILLED to be making $20,000 a year in their homeland.

There was never any meaningful shortage of labor if the employer was willing to pay enough. Its called "supply and demand". And guess what, if tech jobs paid more, more graduates would go into tech jobs! What a concept. The entire point of H1-B visas is cheaper labor. Funny how CEO positions are never filled with H1-B folk though...

I have to say its disgusting that the AFL/CIO is the one doing the whistleblowing rather than, oh, say, the current executive branch! Strange bedfellows indeed...

Re:Prevailing Wage? (3, Insightful)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007352)

That sounds good on paper but an employee and an employer are rarely equals. If you think a common person with no assets or resources or regulated standards is going to be able to negotiate a fair wage vs. a huge corporation with its army of lawyers, strategists...etc then you are just living in a dream world. Consider that the US is pretty much the most unregulated economy in the Western World (comparisons to Japan and Europe here) and I think the businesses here have enough of a free hand to do what they need/want to do.

Re:Prevailing Wage? (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007376)

No, wage negotiations (in any country) are not inherently evil. The problem is that, in the current setup, they're inherently unequal. The whole concept of negotiations pretty much depends on the idea of the negotiating parties having, if not equal power, at least comparable power. Right now, the balance of power is tilted so far in favor of the employer that employees have basically nothing to bring to the table. The whole idea of unions is to bring the balance of power closer to something to which the word "balance" can reasonably be applied.

Sometimes this happens without collective bargaining, but only in unusual economic conditions; the height of the dot-com boom is an example. And the often hysterical denunciations coming from the corporate world of the techie work culture at the time shows how seriously the suits take this threat to their power -- as does the anti-union meme which has been successfully implanted in American culture among otherwise intelligent people (e.g. techies.)

Look, when you go in to try to get a job, or ask for a raise, or whatever, you're sitting across the desk from someone who has the collective power of an entire corporation behind him. You, on the other hand, have ... just you. Unions, labor laws, etc. are a way to address this imbalance. What's the problem?

Re:Prevailing Wage? (5, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007387)

Yes, there is. Due to conditions inherent in our first-world economy, which are absent from India's third-world economy (like child labor laws, health care, social programs for the indigent, anti-pollution laws, etc.), things which make this country a nice one to live in instead of a polluted poverty-stricken hellhole, it's simply not possible to survive on a $2,000 per year salary. Unless we want to turn the clock back and become like a third-world country, we should have protections.

Re:Prevailing Wage? (2)

msobkow (48369) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007439)

While negotiations are a good idea in theory, the reality is that most H1B's are "captured" by their employer. It is far from uncommon for an H1B's salary to be negotiated down after the H1B is in place and proven to be a satisfactory employee. The crux with H1Bs is that they're willing to take a lower rate than their American counterparts, because they're either used to a lower quality of life, or because they're willing to put up with it while their Green Card is in process.

I've tried twice to get my Green Card in the US, working through TN/TC visas for the first year, with a subsequent upgrade to an H1B. As a Canadian, I am not willing to work for an insulting salary, so both times the GC has been abandoned before completion.

I won't be trying again. If I opt to take any more US-based contracts, they'll be under 1-year TN/TC visas. I am no one's slave, and permanent residency is not worth allowing myself to be treated as one.

Unfortunately for the H1B and GC processes, there are hundreds of thousands of workers out there who are quite willing to put up with insulting pay rates to get their residency. If companies and consulting agencies were forced to pay equivalent salaries to H1Bs that their American counterparts receive, you'd soon find they weren't anywhere near as interested in getting H1Bs on staff.

This rule is a step backward (0)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007269)

> Employer must pay H1B workers with a recognized currency. No goats, chickens, or other livestock shall be permissible as payment.

What is H1-B ? (4, Informative)

Gorphrim (11654) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007283)

ripped from visanow.com :

The H-1B visa is for workers in specialty occupations (as defined below).

An H-1B specialty occupation must meet three requirements:

- Require theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge;

- Require attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree or its equivalent in the specific specialty; and,

- Any one or more of the following:
-- A bachelor's degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum entry requirement for the position;
-- The degree requirement is common to the industry or, the position is so complex or unique that the work can be performed only by an individual with a degree
-- The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; or,
-- The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor or higher degree.

An H-1B visa applicant must have one of the following:

- A state license to practice in the occupation, if such a license is required to practice;
- A bachelor's degree or higher degree in the specialty field; or
- At least 12 years experience in the specialty field

Examples of areas of H-1B specialty occupations are:

Accounting
Architecture
The Arts
Business Specialties
Education
Engineering
Law
Mathemat ics
Medicine and Health
Physical sciences
Social sciences
Theology

Re:What is H1-B ? (1)

anonymousman77 (584651) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007392)

If H1-Bs can be any of the above listed occupations, why are they ALL (nearly 100%) programmers?

Why is there a doctor shortage? Why are no h1-bs doctors?

Informative? It's a pro-lawyer site!!! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007402)

Okay, here's the response ...

[ucdavis.edu]
Debunking the Myth of a Desperate Software Labor Shortage

hall of shame [zazona.com]

Finally.. (-1, Offtopic)

bahwi (43111) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007287)

Finally, ALF is getting the respect he deserves!
ALF for Prez in 2004!!!!!!!! VOTE HAIRY ALIEN PARTY!

What? AFL? WTF is AFL? That's not a TV Show.

Thank God... (0, Flamebait)

VivisectRob (550902) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007289)

I was wondering when the government would sit up and take notice that the flood of immigrants isn't helping the existing unemployed Americans. Every time I hear of some department of employed people getting the axe because some H1B is willing to do the job for less money, I can't help but wonder why, if there are so many "skilled" people in other countries, that they just don't stay there and make their own company.

This is reasonable, and should work... (-1, Troll)

I'm a racist. (631537) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007295)

There's a good chance that anti-H1B ideas will get a lot of momentum nowadays (with our heightened xenophobia). This is great.

I have no problem with foreigners, per se. If someone, who's skilled, wants to come over from Italy and work here, I'm fine with that. What gets to me is the stinking Indians and Chinese that come here and undercut American workers. The people here have invested a massive amount of time and effort in building their credentials, only to have some filthy bastard with bullshit credentials from some foreign shithole massively undercut them on salary.

Instead of letting people in, that we don't want here anyway, we should be encouraging our own people to become well educated and fill the vacancies.

150 years ago, we could use an influx of people. Now, our population is large, and relatively stable. We can manage a stable, sometimes very strong, economy. We have a "national culture". We're the most powerful military force the world has ever seen. It's time to curb immigration, it has served its purpose. Besides, the majority of immigrants now are much lower quality than they were 100 years ago (Irish vs. Pakistani).

Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007336)

H1-B restriction is a matter of prudent policy,
not blind hatred. You do a diservice to a
sound, moderate solution to a very real problem.

We need to increase immigration (5, Interesting)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007386)

Lest we want to happen to us what is now happening to Japan and Europe. Due to lowered levels of immigration those regions are experiencing an aging of the population. This busts the social security systems. With less people paying in, less money can be sent out.

We need more people. Not less. Immigrants add to the economy. They add workers, and consumers. What they bring to the economy more than outweighs what they take out via usage of social services.

Re:We need to increase immigration (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007421)

You're missing something: H1B's aren't immigrants, and instead of adding to the economy, they take away from it. They stay here a short period of time, are bound to one employer (so they can't change jobs if the employer treats them badly), then go home. How does this add to the economy?

This AFL-CIO proposal has nothing whatsoever to do with immigration (which is the act of someone moving to this country permanently); it's about foreign guest workers.

Re:This is reasonable, and should work... (2)

sdjunky (586961) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007454)

I'll ignore your username and address some of your points in as much of a non-biased way as possible. This of course isn't totally possible as I'm a tech worker and have seen the effects of companies moving their workforces overseas.

"What gets to me is the stinking Indians and Chinese that come here and undercut American workers".
I don't believe that people coming here to work are the real threat in that they have to make the same basic living as you and I ( e.g. our economic cost of living etc ) however, I will note that in some extreme cases there has been people who will work for less in that they'll share living quarters or other expenses with larger groups of people and in so doing decrease their costs.

"time to curb immigration, it has served its purpose"
Is the only reason for immigration to "fill" our country with people that have certain skills as to stabilize our workforce? Is there no inherent advantage to an influx of "culture" as well? Do we not gain anything from people of different nationalities that come here? And if so does a family whose ancestors came to the US 150 years ago have the same "cultural" strength of one that came 5 years ago?

"Besides, the majority of immigrants now are much lower quality than they were 100 years ago (Irish vs. Pakistani)"
And how would somebody rate the "quality" of an immigrant? Skin color? Work ethic? I don't really see any relevance to this statement to your point besides to perhaps start a flamewar.

Rewrite of Re:This is reasonable, and should work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007479)

Hmmmm, can I possibly rewrite this post so that it makes a reasonable point without being so objectionable in both a racist and simply pejorative sense:

There's a good chance that anti-H1B ideas will get a lot of momentum nowadays (with our heightened xenophobia). This may be to our benefit.

If someone who's skilled wants to come and work here I'm fine with that. What gets to me is that people with false credentials often come here under the guise of the H1-B program and undercut American workers. People here have often invested a great deal of time and effort in building their credentials, only to have an immigrant from a foreign country with a lower wage scale severely undercut them on salary.

Instead of letting people in we should be encouraging our own people to become well educated and fill the vacancies.

150 years ago, we needed an influx of people. But now our population is large and relatively stable. It's time to re-address immigration, to discuss it and determine what we can gain from it. Then, if necessary, we can change the laws and their enforcement so that immigration serves those purposes.

Good Start. We need to throttle H1-B program back (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007298)

But let's not just restrict H1-Bs to techies.
Let's open up H1-B to lawyers, doctors, teachers,
firemen and policemen. Don't we need good cheap compliant workers in those fields too.

great idea: lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007472)

I would love to have cheap overseas lawyers. I think that it should be possible to interact with a lawyer overseas and the lawyer could represent you by teleconference.

I think it would be best to have a lawyer from some country with a good strong tradition of haggling like Egypt or Turkey.

The sooner the better (4, Interesting)

oldstrat (87076) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007308)


I currently work for a VERY large, VERY well known, almost universally hated telecommunications company, which for obvious reason I cannot name.

The sooner H1B gets put under control the better, not only is it preventing upward movement within the company, increasing domestic unemployment, and brain drain from developing countries... It hurts development efforts within the company.
In a project ended several months ago, only 2 of the 30 plus people involved spoke english as a native language, the non english speakers, spoke 7 different languages, with only english in common.

The two who spoke english were the process manager, and an end user.

My estimation is that a project that should have taken 3 months instead took 3 years (and produced a product that should have been retiring at the time it was introduced).

The bottom line should not be in dollars, it should be in results.

Hunh? (5, Insightful)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007383)

So.. they all speak different languages natively.. SO WHAT? You said.. they all speak english in common. Isn't that the point?

I'm not saying it's great to have lots of foreign work.. but bringing up the fact that they don't natively speak english is kind of, well, bigotry.

Re:Hunh? (1)

jhunsake (81920) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007491)

No, it's called sitting there trying to figure out what the fuck they just said. I deal with this a lot. It becomes a real pain when every word has to be spelled just to be able to communicate.

Re:The sooner the better (1)

override11 (516715) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007397)

Ameritech??????

I hate those guys.... 4 months for a T1... grrrr...

Re:The sooner the better (4, Insightful)

splattertrousers (35245) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007410)

My estimation is that a project that should have taken 3 months instead took 3 years

Do you think the project took so much time because the people didn't speak English as a native language?

I've been on a number of failed projects, many of which had foreign workers, and I wouldn't attribute any of the failures to those workers' countries of origin. I'd attribute the failures to the managers' and team leads' lack of experience running successful projects.

My proposed reform (5, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007309)

Lawyers routinely earn six figures straight out of school. Same for MBAs. Programming and IT aren't nearly as lucrative, and basic science barely pays above the poverty level until you get a faculty position.

The most basic understanding of economics suggests that the "need" for lawyers and managers is clearly much greater than the "need for technical workers" that drives the H1-B program that singles out engineers and scientists for increased worker supply. When are we going to see an H1-B program for lawyers and MBAs?

Of course it will never happen because those professions have enough sense not to cut their own throats. H1-B targets the people who may have high IQ scores but are too freaking stupid to organize, lobby or even realize what 100,000 people competing for their job does to their lives.

Actually, my position is this: immigration numbers should apply across the board. If I have to face competition from an infinite number of Chinese scientists, I should at least reap the cost savings from having that competition across the economy.

Re:My proposed reform (2, Interesting)

akintayo (17599) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007487)

Lawyers do not earn six figures straight out of school, neither do MBAs. Most of these people are hard pressed to find jobs that cover the cost of their education.

Also, the H1B program does apply to these fields. It applies to all professional fields, with special consideration due to some e.g. nursing.

Re:My proposed reform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007488)

How exactly an H1B-like program is going to work for lawyers? How useful is a training in German or Indonesian law to work with the U.S. legal system?

Re:My proposed reform (3, Insightful)

seichert (8292) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007503)

Actually, my position is this: immigration numbers should apply across the board. If I have to face competition from an infinite number of Chinese scientists, I should at least reap the cost savings from having that competition across the economy.

Actual competition would probably also raise wage rates within your profession. A problem with H-1B or any other restrictive immigration program is that the foreigners are on unequal footing. If the foreigner cannot find a job or does not accept a job at low pay they will have to return to their home country. This leads to foreigners driving down the wage rate. Think about it, when you go out and look for a job you can turn it down if the pay is too low, the benefits are inadequate, or reasonable safety standards are not exercised. You will not get tossed out of the country and can continue looking for work. You can also take the time to negotiate with potential employers, form unions (which I do not recommend), start new companies, etc.

If foreigners had the same freedom to pursue these activities I think you would see a much healthier job environment for native born American workers. New companies created by foreigners would also provide job opportunties to Americans. Protectionism ultimately results in poverty for everyone. True competition (without barriers to foreigners) will result in prosperity.

but they're only proposals (1)

sgtron (35704) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007315)

The AFL-CIO has done a very nice job with these proposals.. I hope they are implimented, why should I believe they ever will be?

Will reducing H-1Bs help? (5, Insightful)

splattertrousers (35245) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007324)

My understanding of the article's position: foreign workers work too cheaply; therefore the US should let fewer of them in so that American workers can get those jobs, but at a higher salary.

If you were a company and had a lot of lower-paid foreign workers, and then the government stopped letting you hire such workers, what would you do? Hire more highly paid American workers? Or just farm the entire project/department out to a foreign country?

The latter would save the company money and result in fewer American jobs and less income tax revenue for the US. It would create more jobs for foreign companies and more income tax revenue for those countries. Probably not what the AFL-CIO wants to happen.

Re:Will reducing H-1Bs help? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007399)

If you were a company and had a lot of lower-paid foreign workers, and then the government stopped letting you hire such workers, what would you do? Hire more highly paid American workers? Or just farm the entire project/department out to a foreign country?

Well, companies that farm out entire projects like that should be on the front page of Slashdot every morning so we can boycott them.

Re:Will reducing H-1Bs help? (1)

mark_lybarger (199098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007450)

The latter would save the company money and result in fewer American jobs and less income tax revenue for the US

first of all, the cost savings is very subjective. as with most cost savings measures, you don't know the actual savings until well after implementation. by then it just might be too late. there's something to be said about loyality. a company that's loyal to the employees will have employees that recipricate that loyality.

secondly, your statement slightly contradicts itself. a company saving money would thus have more profit and thus more income tax revenue. sure the employee dollars aren't being taxed, but those people are going to have to make a living somehow (once their jobs are exported) and that earning will still be taxed. our government takes a cut of money whenever it changes hands, and sometimes when it doesnt.

Re:Will reducing H-1Bs help? (1)

GNU_Suit (123400) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007509)

I work in eBusiness at a nearly universally reviled conglomerate (think lightbulbs and aircraft engines).

This company has tried time and again to offshore software development. It simply doesn't work for them (poor communciation, zero requirements, no solid testing procedures) thus they bring their "resources" onshore with H1B or L1 visas. They can't "downsize" while bringing these folks onshore, so they give many more of their employees poor performance evaluations and can fire them without screwing up their visa mill.

I'm sooo outta IT.

don't reform it, scrap it (5, Insightful)

mxs3549 (572071) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007328)

I think the whole H1-B program is flawed. The fact that the visa is tied to a specific company sponsor means that the employer has the implied threat of deportation to use in any wage negotiation. This has to be a big factor in the lower wages paid to H1-B workers. I would rather see increased numbers of immigrants on a permanent resident/citizenship track than a reformed guest worker program.

FP Hoooo Boooy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007329)

FP
FP
FP
FP
Hoooooooooo
Boooooooooy!!!!

dont care if they work cheap (5, Insightful)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007330)

My problem is not that other people work cheaper than me, eventhough this threatens my job. My problem is that the savings is absorbed by the CEOs and shareholders, it never finds its way to the laborers.

Therefore, its typically fueled by greed and not economic needs.

Re:dont care if they work cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007434)

So buy STOCK in your own company (does it have a stock purchase program?) and reap the benefits.

Re:dont care if they work cheap (2)

Drakonian (518722) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007464)

Umm... if it found it found it's way to the labourers, then they wouldn't be working for cheap anymore would they?

Re:dont care if they work cheap (2)

splattertrousers (35245) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007465)

My problem is that the savings is absorbed by the CEOs and shareholders, it never finds its way to the laborers.

If you are interested in money, become a CEO or shareholder, not a laborer. Being a laborer has never been particularly profitable.

Re:dont care if they work cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007486)

"Greedy" rich people, CEO's, shareholders, and corporations keep their money in banks. Banks in turn invest that money by handing out loans and funding other small companies that build infrastructure and produce economic value. This increases number of jobs, reduces prices, and boosts quality of life.

What money they dont put it in a bank, they spend (again boosting economy). I seriously doubt Bill Gates keeps any cash under his mattress.

Just because someone is getting rich doesnt mean he's hoarding the money (voluntarily or not).

The proposal sounds to me like... (4, Insightful)

sisukapalli1 (471175) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007347)

It seems to actively discourage immigration. Nothing more, nothing less. Three year terms (with no renewal) is not much of an incentive for anyone to come to US to work. It is a thinly veiled attempt to say "no H1's", without the courage to say so.

If such proposals go on, with no foreign workers to work in US, and US people complain about outsourcing of jobs to other countries, US is heading towards becoming a protectionist and reclusive country.

S

H1B != Immigration (5, Insightful)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007417)

Your argument is basically flawed. The H1B was designed as a work visa, not as a method of immigration. If you want to move to the US and become a naturalized citizen, there's already a process for that.

Of course, for software developers, this whole arguement is moot: It's probably too late to save the jobs of most US software developers, anyhow. Their jobs are going to get shipped to a dozen different countries where the cost is a mere fraction of developing in the US, and I don't see how you can stop that short of having Congress pass some kinds of taxes on it (which they certainly won't do in the current pro-business climate).

Were I a mid-level developer in the US, I'd think that it's time to either (a) go back to school and get a specialized advanced degree or (b) figure out what other field I'd like to be in. The party's over.

They have no idea about current laws (5, Insightful)

aralin (107264) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007349)

Hi, I am on H1b and all the points in their proposed reforms are either in the current laws already in even stricter form or (the change of limit from 195 000 to 65 000) bound to happen as some extensions expire soon. From reading the article they have absolutely no clue about both the current environment and the current laws. The limits of H1b visa are not even reached and in the current market is almost impossible for a company to obtain a DOL certification for their recruitment on the position anyway. This is just someone trying to solve problem that does not exist.

Re:They have no idea about current laws (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007425)

Go home, please. You are destroying MY country. Go crap on the streets in YOUR country and leave us alone. Thanks.

Re:They have no idea about current laws (1)

shaka999 (335100) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007492)

I think your missing the point.

The environment in the late 90s that created the increase quota's is gone. The new reality is that qualified American workers are having trouble finding jobs. I personally know a dozen or so highly qualified people who can not find work.

In this environment the number of H1Bs allowed should drop drastically. The number should really be tied to the unemployement rate of the affected industry. The definition of industry also needs to be regulated. If you want to bring someone in today all you do is make a position description so narrow that only the foreign national you want to bring in can meet the requirement.

Open source unionism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007356)

http://www.workingusa.org/2002sp/fulltext/osunioni sm.htm

-glenn

H1B not the issue now that it was 3 years ago (2)

poopie (35416) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007357)

3 years ago, companies were starved for specific talent and they filled those gaps with H1B visa workers that they brought to the US.

Today, there is no US talent shortage, and H1B is not nearly the issue it used to be... US Companies are hiring skilled foreign nationals in their country of origin as opposed to bringing them to the US.

It works out to be good for the companies, but bad for US workers (many of whom are still caught up in H1B visa issues and haven't realized that our beloved corporations are shipping the "US jobs" overseas at a rate that makes the H1B visa hires look miniscule.)

As a shareholder for some large tech companies, I fully support the reduction of costs by moving jobs outside one of the most expensive places to do business in the world (the bay area).

I do have to wonder wonder what jobs will be left in the bay area for the next generation of workers, though

Re:H1B not the issue now that it was 3 years ago (2)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007400)

Today, there is no US talent shortage, and H1B is not nearly the issue it used to be... US Companies are hiring skilled foreign nationals in their country of origin as opposed to bringing them to the US.

thank you very much. the flip side of this is that we also have at least a half million unemployed geeks who cannot get work, and who wind up working out of their field just to put food on the table.

Hmmm (-1)

PhysicsGenius (565228) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007359)

I worry about my paycheck as much as anyone, but I'm also about free choice. If employers want to hire people from other countries, that's up to them. Making a law like this would be racist, IMHO.

tech unions? (5, Insightful)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007360)

The AFL-CIO has put together that whole Techs Unite webpage [techsunite.org] , which includes a number of interesting thoughts, like a union for Techs.

Of course unions, etc have not been a traditional alliance for geeks. I can just imagine the flamewars over this.

The proposed reforms validate many if most of the concerns of IT workers, but I am not sure if these are the best solutions. I have seen suggestions that advocate the all out abolition of the H1B program. This might be the way to go [radiofreenation.net] , if the the thing H1B fixed did not in fact fix anything in the first place.

The last thing we need is the US to become the equivalent of Detroit with urban burnout across the whole country.

What if engineers unionized? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007362)

Since the H1B issue, at least for the moment, is focused largely on technical professions, I wonder what would happen if engineers unionized on a large scale, much like auto workers or many of the trades (plumbers, electricians, construction workers, etc.).

Many engineers have observed that, particularly in today's economic climate, employers are treating enginners as replaceable, identical "commodity parts". Doesn't this attitude argue for unionization, so as to assert the rights of engineers to have better pay (maybe), protection from having their jobs shipped offshore or replaced by a H1B holder, and the like?

Unions are for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007460)

Workers.

Careers are for professionals.

reciprocity (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007366)

Either you believe in a capitalist free global market or you do not.

Supply and demand. Increased supply of labour reduces costs to business. By trying to restrict supply with statute, you reduce the profitability of your own businesses. Why bite the hand that feeds you?

Labour controls will ultimately reduce the number of US citizens that are employed, contrary to the intent.

Re:reciprocity (1)

cats-paw (34890) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007495)

Nice troll.

The decisions to allow H1B's into the country are political, not based on a rational system or the free market.

You basically have congress critters deciding how many H1B's to allow in. The more they allow, the greater the downward pressure on wages. I wonder how many law-related H1B's there are ?

Remember the "keep govt out of our business" high tech wankers, like TJ Rogers, got in front of congress a couple of years ago and whined about how they couldn't find skilled workers.

Well, can they find them now ?

Reply to this if.... (3, Interesting)

Gannoc (210256) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007370)

Your company, after recent layoffs or making up for attrition after ending a hiring freeze, has hired technical employees who were mostly H1Bs. Out of the 5 engineers hired over the past 9 months, 4 are H1Bs.

Re:Reply to this if.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007455)

Nope. H1B's still cost more that overseas labor.

My company is "globalizing" itself, meaning putting R&D in India, Russia, and China. Sad part is, you can't tell which company I work for, because there are so many companies in precisely this boat!

I've seen most of this first hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007385)

Specifically:

2. "Temporary" Program.

Once they get over here they are here for good>

5. Employer attestations

Current Problem:

Employer attestations regarding their so-called "good faith" efforts to recruit U.S. workers are laughable.
We ran 1 ad, and threw away all the resumes we got, because we were going to hire the boss's sister-in-law's brother

6. Degree Requirements

Current Problem:

H-1Bs are supposed to be highly skilled professionals with the requisite academic degree. But even this standard is undercut by language that allows a vague degree equivalency, such as work experience, to suffice. In addition there is no system in place to verify that those with degrees have valid credentials or that they are equivalent to a U.S. degree.
I interviewed the guy over the phone. What he said he could do, and what he could really could do were vastly different. A big dissapointment. But he was related to the boss!

You know, I used to think Unions were addressing problems of the past, but after reading about and seeing first hand H1B abuses and jobs being shipped overseas, I think a Union might not be so bad an idea.

Flame away

-- ac at work

Armbands? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007393)

Maybe they should insist that these so called H1(B)'s weararm bands while they're at it, in order to shun them better?

We really should make it more difficult for these filthy potential terrorists to get into the land of the free!

...and even more benefits... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007395)

...and don't forget that most of these "highly skilled" foreigners not only consider getting into the US to be a benefit, and hence will consider that as part of their compensation, but that they are also NOT burdened by high levels of student loans either. Many of the countries from which these "highly skilled" H-1B candidates from are highly socialistic with little or no education cost to the student. Hell, Indians even rip off our text books. I knew a guy who would go home to India, get his entire collection of technical textbooks for the coming year for about what it cost me to buy one mid-ranged priced book in the U.S. (Of course the quality sucked, tissue paper like pages, etc. but it was still a ripoff of a copyrighted work. (Actually the weight was kind of nice with the lighter weight paper though...))

Strange things said about H1B workers (4, Informative)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007408)

I work near Silicon Valley and have many friends working in and around SIlicon Valley in high tech jobs. Many have H1B visas. They all seem smart, often much smarter than the Americans around them, and this is reflected in the fact that they often become promoted fast within their companies. In fact many high tech companies (employing Americans) seem to be built on technology developed by immigrants. They all seem to be paid damn well to me. I frequently have to recruit workers on H1B visas because many US schools seem more interesting in boosting people's self esteem than teaching students anything useful. I wouldn't entertain, even for a second, the idea of paying them less than Americans.

Re:Strange things said about H1B workers (2)

kisrael (134664) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007505)

I work near Silicon Valley and have many friends working in and around SIlicon Valley in high tech jobs. Many have H1B visas. They all seem smart, often much smarter than the Americans around them, and this is reflected in the fact that they often become promoted fast within their companies.
Your experience doesn't match mine, then. I'd say about 1/4 to 1/3 of the H1Bs I know (or at least that I recognize as likely to be such) are some of the best and brightest that I know. The others are strikingly inept, with knowledge that comes nowhere near the experience that it seems they should have according to their resume. (There's also a correlation between language skills and level of ability(there's a chance that that lack of strong English skills makes me think they're less skilled than they are, but I have at least tried to compensate for that by giving them the benefit of the doubt.))

The H1B program is fundamentally flawed (4, Interesting)

MalleusEBHC (597600) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007415)

I think the whole idea of the H1B should be rethought seriously. I guess some people would say we need them to cover a shortage of workers, but especially considering our economic times right now we don't need 200 thousand of these people taking jobs from Americans. The H1B program should be scrapped to almost nothing. Make a provision allowing for a temporary allowance of a limited number of H1B's when unemployment is at a certain low level, but other than that cut them all off. You want to come to America? That's fine, do it like all the other people who immigrate, get green cards, etc. Don't do it by coming over, taking an American's job for a few years, then taking that money back to your homeland when your 3 or 6 years are up.

Re:The H1B program is fundamentally flawed (1, Flamebait)

MImeKillEr (445828) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007483)

especially considering our economic times right now we don't need 200 thousand of these people taking jobs from Americans

Amen, brother!

Let's stop exporting our tech jobs to 3rd world countries in order for some overpaid CEO/CFO/CIO/etc to fatten their already bloated compensation package.

While we're at it, we need to close immigration immediately. Allow those already in the program to finish it up and deny all others until such time as the INS gets its head out of its arse.

Mod me down as flamebait if you so desire. We need an overhaul of the INS and more border patrol added IMMEDIATELY. Stopping the INS from making any more stupid mistakes is the only way to ensure that we don't let any more terrorists or potential terrorists into the country.

Hell, while we're at it - microchip all non-citizens in the country so we can keep track of them. They're not US citizens and should't be guaranteed certain rights at the expense of the safety and welfare of those of us who are citizens...

Pure Xenophobia (5, Insightful)

etymxris (121288) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007424)

Judge me by my merits, not by my nationality. If someone from India has more experience or skill than I do, then they should get the job.

Yes, the market is tight. But people with H1-B visas are people to. Reading the article made me envision "Attack of the Clones". Everyone is struggling for jobs, not just people here. Have a heart, have a brain, judge yourself and others by your merits, not nationality.

This is great news (2, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007429)

As a non-American, this is really great news. If the American companies aren't allowed to bring foreigners to America to do the job for less than pampered American workers, they'll export the job to cheaper nations, which means more jobs for us and less taxes for the US government.

This is just brilliant! I'd like to give a big thank you to the US government for putting the welfare of us foreigners over that of your own nation.

Sweet (3, Interesting)

Pinball Wizard (161942) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007437)

Its nice of the AFL-CIO to take a stand for us largely non-unionized geeks. It used to be the prevailing wisdom was, the manufacturing jobs would be replaced by computer jobs, so if you lost your job at GM, with some retraining you could work in IT. Perhaps thats why they are taking up this issue?

Its too bad there isn't the level of unionization in the IT industry as there is in other trades and professions. Only in a booming economy do you(individually) have any real bargaining power with big corporations. In today's market, a widespread union would be a big help. The practice of hiring cheap foreign labor and shipping jobs overseas is quite damaging to our social fabric, and I would think would dissuade those who are considering entering the field. A union could make sure corporations are hiring qualified individuals within the community before looking outside for help.

Give the H1-B Workers More Freedom (5, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007441)

The reason many employers like H1-B workers is that they can treat them like shit, and there's nothing the worker can do about it. If they quit they stand to lose their H1-B status (or so I'm told) so they take it.

If the employers had to treat the H1-B workers with respect, they would hire fewer of them, and the problem would take care of itself. The H1-B workers would shop themselves around, salaries would equalize, the language barrier would be a significant downside, yet the good ones would still succeed.

Giving people more freedom is usually the right answer.

The real facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007457)

American engineers aren't the best in the world. American computer scientists expect a $100k salary for creating web pages in Dreamweaver. American students are incredibly lazy - wake up, playing deathmatch shooters isn't homework!

Anyone could do these jobs and businesses have a right to employ the most able for whatever price current market conditions allow. If you don't like it, go work in a communist country like north Korea, where everybody is guaranteed a job with a set government wage. The bottom line is that protectionism doesn't work - like US cars, steel and beef, the rest of the world has found they can get cheaper and higher quality from alternative suppliers. The employment market is no different.

This is great (2)

br00tus (528477) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007474)

I was already aware that CESO [cesounions.org] , a confederation of engineering labor unions, has been pushing against high H1-B caps and other bad legislation that hurts IT workers.

In my view, any type of organization of IT workers to fight against this stuff is good. And the AFL-CIO technical unions have been fighting for it from the beginning, and have actually been doing the type of stuff that gets results, including lobbying in Washington DC and so forth. I know people who want IT workers to organize to work on issues like this or certification but are anti-union, and not much have come out of their efforts thus far. At least they're better than people who don't want to organize at all and be "independent". The employers are of course much smarter than those people, Microsoft, IBM, Intel etc. have been well-organized and well-financed for a long time, funding organizations like the ITAA to do away with overtime for IT workers (the FLSA revokation), bringing in tons of H1-B workers which even government reports admit depress wages - which is why IT wages fell for the first time in a decade recently, changing section 1706 tax laws so that IT workers have mroe difficulty contracting independently. The people running the show are more organized than anybody, funding the ITAA to the tune of millions a year, which then goes and lobbies in Washington, puts out bogus reports that even get reported on Slashdot as verity, and blitzing the rest of the press that there is a shortage of IT workers, and nowadays forever releasing papers saying there is going to be an upturn in IT right around the corner so no laws changing the H1-B visa need to be done. These socially retarded programming "geniuses" are seeing industry wages depressed in the midst of employer organization, but they are way too brilliant to become organized themselves, and thus industry wages have fallen as a result. Be smart - hook up with one of the technical unions. And if you don't want to organzie in a union, at least join a professional association funded by members (not by the employers like the IEEE is funded - which shows in how they do things).

AMAZED THAT /. EDITORS POSTED THIS.... (1)

cryofan2 (243723) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007485)

....considering that they appear to be major league corporate bootlickers. More than likely, this posting of anti-h1b sentiment (soon to be a Thought Crime, no doubt, as soon as Dubya gets his 2nd term), by a renegade ./ editor will get hiim fired.

Enough is Enough (2)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 11 years ago | (#5007502)

Unions already have enough power in the United States. We don't want to see our economy crippled with high unemployment and low GDP growth due to a company's inability to fire people when necessary like what happens in Europe and Japan.

Lets continue to value US Job Availability over Euro/Nippon Job Security.

enough! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5007504)

Yes, enough with this poor excuse for slave labor; who needs workers whose whole life is completely controlled and in the hands of their employers?

You idiots...
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