CAPS — Patrick Talamantes, CEO of the McClatchy newspaper chain, began a letter to his information technology (IT) employees in a cheerful and up-beat fashion. He told them that the company was “pleased to unveil our new IT transformational Program, a program designed to provide improved service. . .”
Alas, this was only sugarcoating for a very bitter pill. Seven paragraphs later, Talamantes wrote, “As we embark on the implementation phase, there will be … a reduction in McClatchy technology staff.”
Specifically that meant that between 120 to 150 employees would lose their jobs, many of whom had been with the company for 10, 20 or more years. Replacing them will be foreign workers provided by Wipro, an IT services provider in India. Adding indignity to these workers’ injury, they will have to train their foreign replacements before handing over their jobs.
This kind of job loss for Americans has happened with disturbing frequency in recent years. Other examples which CAPS has written about extensively include Southern California Edison and Disney, both of which laid off hundreds of their American IT workers and replaced them with foreigners brought in under the H-1B temporary visa program. The workers who were replaced, like those at McClatchy, had to train the foreign workers who took their jobs.
This practice of “knowledge transfer” is quite ironic, given that the common message of corporate America is that we have a terrible shortage of citizens who have the qualifications needed to work in IT. But if that is the case, then why do we see companies firing Americans who already work for them? Quite obviously, it couldn’t be that the foreigners are more qualified. If that were true, they wouldn’t need training from the Americans who are leaving.