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AFL-CIO Now

High-Tech Firms Want Low-Wage—Not U.S.—Workers

Photo of Lanai by Justin Ornellas (Flickr).

Before a company, say Oracle, would be allowed to recruit and hire foreign workers under the H1B visa program in the draft of the immigration bill now under consideration in the Senate, it first must give U.S. workers who are equally or better qualified the first shot at the jobs. That sounds like a patriotic no-brainer.

But recent news reports outline a huge lobbying effort by high-tech firms—like Google and Microsoft—to get those pro-U.S. worker provisions out of the bill. Silicon Valley tycoons—including Oracle’s Larry Ellison and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg—are pushing amendments from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to the bill that could open the door for companies to fire U.S. workers and replace them with lower-paid foreign workers.    

Even though the current H1B provisions in the bill increase the number of visas and make other changes the high-tech firms sought and helped write, now AFL-CIO legislative representative Andrea Zuniga DiBitetto tells Politico:

The tech industry is, frankly, being greedy. They are going back and asking for changes to language they helped write and blatantly trying to roll back requirements that give high-skilled American workers a fair shot at getting a job.

In the “can you believe this” category, these brainiac, high-tech firms are arguing that posting jobs on the Internet is too onerous for them. Really? My Aunt Millie can post on the Internet.

While Ellison dreams of hiring more low-paid foreign workers for the empire that made him wealthier than several small nations and has left tech workers dealing with stagnant wages for the past several years, he has another dream, too. He’s buying his own Hawaiian island for about half a billion dollars.

The 141-square-mile Lanai is the sixth-largest Hawaiian island. There, Ellison likely will be able to set his own immigration policies. Want to bet they’ll check for union cards before you’re allowed to set foot in the billionaire’s paradise?

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