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Justice Department Slaps IBM Over H-1B Hiring Practices

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the rules-from-above dept.

IBM 195

Dawn Kawamoto writes "IBM reached a settlement with the Justice Department over allegations it posted discriminatory online job openings, allegedly stating a preference for H-1B and foreign student visa holders for its software and apps developer positions. The job openings were for IT positions that would eventually require the applicant to relocate overseas. IBM agreed to pay $44,400 in civil penalties to the U.S., as well as take certain actions in the way it hires within the U.S. The settlement, announced Friday, comes at a time with tech companies are calling for the U.S. to allow more H-1B workers into the country."

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Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (5, Interesting)

msmonroe (2511262) | about 10 months ago | (#44977481)

Could the justice department do any less? The fines are a joke.

Re:Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (5, Funny)

kpainter (901021) | about 10 months ago | (#44977497)

No shit! They could hire at least 4 dudes for that $44K!!

Re:Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (2)

Positronic_Man (3220895) | about 10 months ago | (#44977519)

Could the justice department do any less? The fines are a joke.

I guess something is better than nothing. Still, we need to clamp down on tech businesses and get them to stop exploiting H-1B's. I guess someone up in upper management is not concerned that one day we'll are be serfs even more than we are now.

Re:Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (2)

rnturn (11092) | about 10 months ago | (#44978403)

``I guess something is better than nothing.''

The other something that will likely happen is that IBM will now ask their contractors to take an extra week of furlough. (Furloughing contractors is one of the ways IBM weathers bad news from Wall Street or, in this case, the Feds. In recent years you could expect to be furloughed for a time pretty much every quarter.) I know other places that let whole rooms full of contractors go when the government slapped them with a fine; they're there in the morning but gone when you return from lunch. Unfortunately, it's the contractors/permatemps -- and not the people in management who rolled the dice and made the decision to violate regulations hoping to not get caught -- who end up bearing the brunt of any punishment that the government metes out.

Re:Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (3, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#44978777)

we need to clamp down on tech businesses and get them to stop exploiting H-1B's

Here's a simple approach: eliminate the H-1B program. Forget the "well, let's compromise, some need" blah, blah, blah garbage. Just get rid of it. The country did fine, and was a leader in science and technology for decades, without the H-1B visa program. Also note that this does not mean any reduction in immigration (including skills based immigration), just a guest worker program that we don't, and never did, need (except for lowering salaries).

Re:Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (4, Informative)

currently_awake (1248758) | about 10 months ago | (#44977553)

The purpose of the H1B visa is to drive down American wages by forcing them to compete for jobs with the third world. The justice department is doing what they are paid/ordered to do.

Re: Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (3, Insightful)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | about 10 months ago | (#44977683)

Nonsense. Those visas mandate proper salaries (note that the article says nothing about this point)

Re: Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977711)

A law that is not enforced is hardly a law at all.

Re: Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (3, Insightful)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 10 months ago | (#44978745)

A law that is not enforced is hardly a law at all.

Worse is when laws are only selectively enforced.

Re: Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (1)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#44978563)

Sure, they mandate it but it often doesn't happen. Even if it does, the employer takes full advantage of having the effective power to deport the employee at any time for any reason to wring it back out of the indentured servant they hired.

Re: Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44978689)

The employer can pay market wages for fly-over country yet the person filling the position must relocate to New York City or Silicon Valley where that salary would barely cover subsistence.

Re: Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44978723)

That requirement is poorly enforce and easy to get around. You can pay your employees less than you say you do and you are unlikely to get in trouble. You can also play games with the location of employment and the stated skill level of the employees to justify pretty much any wage you want under the prevailing wage rules. The prevailing wage rules are not effective in enforcing a proper salary, though you are correct that that was officially supposed to be the case.

Re: Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (4, Insightful)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 10 months ago | (#44978737)

Nonsense. Those visas mandate proper salaries (note that the article says nothing about this point)

It still drives down wages. If there truly is a limited supply of skilled workers, then supply and demand dictates that wages will increase. As wages increase, more workers will enter the field and wages will stabilize. However, bringing in H1B workers keeps supply and demand from working, thus keeping wages down and discourages new workers from entering the field. Bring in enough H1B workers and now there are a surplus of workers and wages fall, maybe not ot third world levels, but below what the market would normally dictate.

So ultimately, the OP was correct, H1B visas, because they disrupt the normal supply and demand flow for wages do indeed supress wages. While that is not the intended purpose of H1B visas, that is the practical effect.

Re: Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 10 months ago | (#44978839)

The law mandates comparable, fair market value wages for the starting salary. H1B is for three years, extendable to six years and if a green card application is filed, it is extended infinitely. No requirement to even give COLA for those years. And in practice, they hire H1Bs in Tulsa OK, and transfer them to Boston or Chicago or New York. It is a joke. H1Bs lower American salaries, there is no question about it.

But that is the lesser of the two evils. The businesses have a knife at the throat of America and are saying, "Gimme H1B here or I export the job to Bangalore, Bangkok or Beijing". At least these H1Bs get nominally American wages, live and spend some of it in USA and pay taxes to the USA.

Re:Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44978327)

Wrong, and you're also a hypocrite. You don't mind near slaves and children making everything you buy, the same countries can do you software work just as well too, and for less. Would you rather these people live in the US for a while, pay taxes for your benefits, or have all that money go overseas and have them work in their original country?

Re:Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44978787)

Wrong, and you're also a hypocrite. You don't mind near slaves and children making everything you buy, the same countries can do you software work just as well too, and for less. Would you rather these people live in the US for a while, pay taxes for your benefits, or have all that money go overseas and have them work in their original country?

I'd rather have all that money go overseas and have them work in their original country.

Because then they won't be over here adding to the traffic on the highways. Their children won't be taking up valuable space in our schools. They won't be infesting our emergency rooms. They won't be driving up rental costs. You see, if I wanted to live among them, I could go there (if they're stupid enough to let me in). But thanks to idiots like you, if I *don't* want to live among them... there's nowhere I can go, because they keep being let in here.

You're thinking I'm a racist now, aren't you? Well, yes, I am. A couple of years ago I wasn't,but now I am. People like you made me one.

Re:Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 10 months ago | (#44978813)

Wrong, and you're also a hypocrite. You don't mind near slaves and children making everything you buy, the same countries can do you software work just as well too, and for less. Would you rather these people live in the US for a while, pay taxes for your benefits, or have all that money go overseas and have them work in their original country?

Ummm, these people coming in on H1B visas aren't working in sweatshops in SE Asia. Nor would changing H1B visa laws impact those sweatshops one bit. Besides, aren't those same H1B visa holders purchasing the same goods in the US that the rest of the people are, thus exploiting the "slave labor and children"? As for the taxes? I'm pretty sure that whomever IBM (in this case) hired in the US, they would be paying taxes, too. As such, all the things you mention make no difference whether a domestic worker or an H1B worker.

I'm not sure who you are angry with, but really, it seems misplaced.

Re:Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#44978837)

Wrong, and you're also a hypocrite. You don't mind near slaves and children making everything you buy ...

And you know this how? The GP mentioned nothing about that. Do you often make gross and often inaccurate generalizations? That's the root of prejudice.

Would you rather these people live in the US for a while, pay taxes for your benefits, or have all that money go overseas and have them work in their original country?

That's an old and very weak rationalization for the H-1B program. Given how much lower salaries are in some countries, even compared to H-1B salaries, and that, unlike the H-1B program, there are no limits on foreign hiring, companies will move any jobs they can offshore. It's not as though they had even a shred of loyalty to the people and the country that brought them their wealth. H-1B's are hired for things that cannot be offshored, or even worse, to facilitate offshoring of other jobs. Even the Indian finance minister call the the H-1B the outsourcing visa.

Re:Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (-1, Troll)

slick7 (1703596) | about 10 months ago | (#44977931)

Could the justice department do any less? The fines are a joke.

IBM needs H-1B workers for what they're about to do. Remember, IBM worked for Hitler and that little thing of his. It's about to happeh again.

Re:Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (1, Funny)

St.Creed (853824) | about 10 months ago | (#44977995)

I count 7 posts before you Godwinned the thread. That's pretty fast work, Slick7!

Re:Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 10 months ago | (#44978037)

Actually, Godwinning the thread would involve making a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis, which didn't happen. Mentioning the fact that IBM has a lot of accumulated dirty laundry they're unwilling to talk about does not equate to Godwinning anything.

Re:Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (1)

Sun (104778) | about 10 months ago | (#44978223)

While I agree with you, it is still a severe hyperbole. "IBM, the company that helped Hitler and preferred H1B workers"...

Somehow, I think you can find things IBM did in the past 70 years since Hitler killed himself that were worse than preferring H1B workers to Americans.

Shachar

Re:Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (1)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#44978577)

But it's not hyperbole. They actually did those things in the literal sense. At most it's an overstatement.

Re:Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (2)

St.Creed (853824) | about 10 months ago | (#44978607)

Godwin's Law: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."

Okay - comparison versus mention. Fair's fair.

Still, if you have to go back 70 years in time where the worst they did was supplying a dictator with tabulating machines, and you can't find anything else, then involving Hitler doesn't really strengthen the case versus IBM.

Re:Are you F*cking kidding me!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44978803)

$44,400 per H1-B software developer would be appropriate. Abuse of this system should stop, companies need to hire entry-level developers and train them to the level they want them to be. If fines were that steep, they could offer 100% tuition reimbursement in a contract with a vesting schedule. 20% of the benefit per year of employment would be ok.

$44,400 fine -- That'll teach 'em! (5, Funny)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | about 10 months ago | (#44977499)

Yep, a whole $44,400 fine. That's got to sting a multi-billion dollar company. Bet they won't dare try that again.

Re:$44,400 fine -- That'll teach 'em! (5, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about 10 months ago | (#44977511)

Yep, a whole $44,400 fine.

Good thing they did not download an mp3 file illegally. Because that could have cost much more!

Re:$44,400 fine -- That'll teach 'em! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977525)

Boy am I glad I sold my shares of IBM, boy is the price going to take a hit on monday.

Re:$44,400 fine -- That'll teach 'em! (4, Insightful)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 10 months ago | (#44977813)

If investors actually pay any attention at all to this news, the price will go up. IBM has essentially proven to its shareholders that they can once again go up against the federal government in cases like this and come out paying virtually nothing in fines, while not being required to take any meaningful action as far as policy revision goes. That's called "enhancing shareholder confidence."

You probably shouldn't have sold those shares.

Re:$44,400 fine -- That'll teach 'em! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44978045)

I'm with you. Price goes up as IBM has shown its ability to "add shareholder value" even if its against the best interest of the people.

Re:$44,400 fine -- That'll teach 'em! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44978163)

This is a ploy that's been used by government contractors for years, not at all proprietary to IBM. There was a lot of noise about it during the recession of the 90s. Companies complaining at every opportunity that they couldn't find qualified engineers, and that they needed to be able to hire foreign engineers. Meanwhile there were large numbers of US engineers unemployed because of the downturn in defense spending. What was really happening was that the companies wanted new grads with advanced degrees so they wouldn't have to invest in training existing employees. Foreign engineers were often willing to work for lower salaries, too, and because of the visas they wouldn't be staying around long enough to cost the companies much in fringe benefits. There were probably a few additional reasons, unrelated to what the companies were saying publicly. Maybe someone else would like to estimate how much this had to do with the fact that technical salaries have remained so flat over the last couple of decades.

NR

Re:$44,400 fine -- That'll teach 'em! (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about 10 months ago | (#44978275)

(Dr McCoy voice = on) I think he was being sarcastic Jim. (Dr McCoy voice = off)

Re:$44,400 fine -- That'll teach 'em! (1)

rst123 (2440064) | about 10 months ago | (#44977569)

it's probably a 1% surcharge on the overtime IBM paid their law department to reach the settlement.

That's it??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977501)

All they have to pay is a $44,400?! That's probably less than what they save in one year by hiring just one H-1B visa holder over an American citizen. The whole H-1B system is scam and should be scrapped entirely.

Scary Fines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977509)

Wow they had to pay the savings realized on 1 whole engineer as a fine. I bet that will really discourage them and other companies from engaging in this type of behavior

This is an outrage! (4, Funny)

M. Baranczak (726671) | about 10 months ago | (#44977535)

The heavy hand of big government continues to stifle the economy. Just think how many jobs they could create if they still had that $44,400.

Re:This is an outrage! (2, Insightful)

msmonroe (2511262) | about 10 months ago | (#44977647)

Do you smoke crack often?
The government is creating the problem but not in the way your implying. It's supporting the mythology of a labor shortage by turning a blind eye to practices that seem to show that there is an IT shortage when it's actually the opposite problem and the issue is that there is a shortage of labor at a low wage.
We can argue free market, but there is only a free market with government regulation. You can argue that's it's not true, but you can see historically that I'm right.

Re:This is an outrage! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977867)

All that crack he's been smoking has probably also affected his ability to recognize sarcasm.

Re:This is an outrage! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977981)

Dude, your sarcasm detector is broken.

Re:This is an outrage! (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 10 months ago | (#44977735)

Is this some sort of performance art pretending to decry the government while simultaneously ignoring the fact that actual enforcement of existing laws would have solved the problem ages ago?

Re:This is an outrage! (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 10 months ago | (#44978747)

You know what happens next? More laws, that may or may not get enforced, will get passed to address the problem created because they arent enforcing the first set of laws.

Regulation can only be beneficial when the regulators arent corrupt.. 'cept they ARE corrupt, so regulation is harmful instead of beneficial.

IBM alone has billions of dollars per year in government contracts, gives millions of dollars per year to politicians, gets government protection from competition through the completely molested patent system and a completely rigged selective-enforcement legal system that occasionally slaps them on the wrist with some token fine or some such.

The big problem with regards to this story is that nobody is competing for your labor. its not because of H-1B's that they arent competing for your labor, but instead because the only real competition left is over who can find the most ways to throw the most money at the politicians that have the power to make or break them. The whole H-1B thing is just a footnote to the problem of an out of control government with enough power to pick who wins and who loses. Of course big piles of money start bribing those with the power to pick winners and losers..

The politicians arent competing over campaign donations.. its the other way around. Proof pudding that the seat of the problem is the politicians, and that is only so because their power is real, substantial, and convincingly absolute. Fuck, the "justice" department recently got caught spying on the supposedly free press and nothing fucking happened to any of them... and the press barely reported the story before just dropping it, because the government can make or break even the "free press."

You can thank your USA gov't for this (0, Flamebait)

roman_mir (125474) | about 10 months ago | (#44977547)

USA gov't made hiring people so expensive (not the salaries, those are almost irrelevant at this point, it's about regulations, liability insurance, all the hidden and not so hidden costs and taxes) that hiring an American to do any kind of work is the worst thing a company in USA can do to itself.

I don't expect many people to be able to grasp this point, never mind agree to that fact, but this is what is happening.

You're 99.9% wrong on blaming government. (3, Interesting)

sethstorm (512897) | about 10 months ago | (#44977571)

The only wrong thing is that the 1965 Immigration Act was passed. Repeal that, remove the regulations from it, and tell the lobbying organizations that complain to EABOD.

By showing a preference for more despotic countries and locales over US citizens, businesses show a hate for freedom for anyone else that isnt one of them. They made the choice to use these countries instead of hiring in a more free US.

Re: You're 99.9% wrong on blaming government. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977651)

If IBM is Willing to break the law to get these engineers to produce things in the USA, im cool with it. our society benefits from their work and productivity, and their 'despotic' homeland gets worthless paper from the idiot savant who thought giving it up for corporate America was a good idea.

Re: You're 99.9% wrong on blaming government. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977733)

Hopefully you're cool with being paid $4/hour for a minimum of 60 hours a week, then.

Re: You're 99.9% wrong on blaming government. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977797)

your comment does not add to the discussion. please avoid being snarky, and include sources if youre gonna make that sort of claim.

Re: You're 99.9% wrong on blaming government. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44978009)

Then expect racism to go up!

Re: You can thank your USA gov't for this (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about 10 months ago | (#44977601)

In addition, your own advocacy that the US citizen must pay for a choice of a business is absurd and un-American. The worst thing the US could do for its citizens is for the courts to not smite companies for doing these practices, to not take away all the ways to screw with workers(such as permatemping, 29ers/49ers), and not otherwise directly hire a US citizen in good faith.

The US does not bow to the world.

Re:You can thank your USA gov't for this (-1, Troll)

AK Marc (707885) | about 10 months ago | (#44977741)

The taxes are tiny. OSHA and environmental regulations are the job killer in the US. Taxes are all deductible, and don't affect EBITDA, so they don't hurt the stock price. Outsourcing is good for taxes because the places will have two-sets of books, one for each country, and will move profits and jobs around so that the tax burden will be the minimum.

Re:You can thank your USA gov't for this (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 10 months ago | (#44977933)

The Lehman Bro's couldn't agree with you more. And Bernie Madoff thinks so to.

Re:You can thank your USA gov't for this (2)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#44978591)

ALL of those things would apply to an H1-B as well. 100%. So it's not that.

It's just cheap labor conservatives up to their dirty tricks again.

Slaps? I think you mean playfully tickles... (2)

unicorn (8060) | about 10 months ago | (#44977551)

That fine is so small, it could be paid of of petty cash at a startup.

Another example of overbearing government (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977579)

IBM agreed to pay $44,400 in civil penalties to the U.S.

Well gee, why don't you make them switch the way the toilet paper falls over the roll as well, you fascists!

Re:Another example of overbearing government (1)

v1 (525388) | about 10 months ago | (#44978367)

IBM agreed to pay $44,400 in civil penalties

And IBM execs high-fived each other and shouted "TOTALLY worth it!!" as they took their millions to the bank.

We need IT unions now and better training (4, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 10 months ago | (#44977615)

We need IT unions now and better training Not more high cost schools that give you skill gaps.

That would be the final nail in the coffin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977749)

for the American high-tech worker.

Unions in the USA all crawled into bed with the Democrats decades ago and, being part of the Democrat coalition must now sell their members down the river by supporting outsourcing and the importation of cheap H1B and illegal alien workers. Twas not always this was, but the modern Democratic party (as opposed to the pre-1969 Democrats) is built as a collection of groups all supporting each others' agendas. All political parties have some degree of segmentation into groups, but this is different (far more organized and regimented than in the past) ... and it has server their party fairly well; the Republicans, for example, are more focused on the individual and have therefore been far more disorganized even though to an outsider one can see groups in their party (the GOP cannot make its religious groups support its gay groups, or its small business groups support its foreign policy groups). For the modern Democrat coalition to work, all the groups must support the highest priorities of the other groups, which is why teachers unions all across the country have pushed for gay marriage (not a natural school teacher union priority) for example. This stuff does not always line-up with the rank-and-file members of the groups, but their leaders get a lot of political clout by being in the "smoke-filled room" trading political favors, and it's a pretty good life if you can keep your base from finding out what you've been doing with the power you've been given by them. This group politics explains why all the big labor leaders in the US have worked so hard to support the labor issues that are destroying the incomes of their very own members (those visas, immigrants, the Obamacare rules that make it cheaper to hire an immigrant than a US worker, etc).

When the unions were not wedded to either party they had more clout... now they are dying-off everywhere in the US except in government; Democrats can take them for granted and use them in their campaigns and Republicans automatically ignore them and even reflexively support big business precisely because it is the opponent of the unions...

Re:That would be the final nail in the coffin (4, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 10 months ago | (#44978435)

Unions in the USA all crawled into bed with the Democrats decades ago

Specifically, unions started really supporting Democrats in the 1930's, for a very good reason: The Democrats had just passed the National Labor Relations Act, which among other things gave unions the legal right to exist. For the 50 years or so before that, union leaders were operating under the constant threat of being beaten to a pulp or shot by company goons, and the unions tended to put their political support not behind either Democrats or Republicans but instead behind Socialists.

The Democratic Party continued to support organized labor up until the late 1980's or so, when they decided that the unions were basically a lost cause, and Bill Clinton abandoned unions in favor of corporate funding of the Democratic Party. Unions have never recovered either the political clout or the membership and funding they once had. And totally coincidentally, a worker today makes less (adjusted for inflation) than they did in 1987, despite the fact that the current American worker is more productive than any other worker that has ever existed on the planet.

Re:We need IT unions now and better training (3, Funny)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 10 months ago | (#44977763)

LOL. What is this, 1955? Labor unions don't exist to help workers. Labor unions exist to help labor union bosses and funnel money to one particular political party. That's it.

Maybe once upon a time, a long time ago, labor unions had a point. Not any more. They are corrupt cannot even keep their own members from deserting. Why are their members deserting? Because labor bosses don't give a shit about their members. Moreover unions are racist [google.com.hk] .

The cure you propose is worse than the disease.

Re:We need IT unions now and better training (1)

St.Creed (853824) | about 10 months ago | (#44978005)

That the USA has a history of rotten unions is obvious. It also has a history of much better ones (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Workers_of_the_World). In the 90's we had some trouble over here with a union that didn't do anything for its members either. A new one was founded and quickly outmatched the old one whose members left in droves for the new union.

Having no union is still worse than even a corrupt union, though, as the corrupt union has to do at least *something* for their members in order to get them to join. And if you're in a closed shop, you can apply and organize inside the union. Not easy but sitting back and complaining never helped anyone.

Re:We need IT unions now and better training (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 10 months ago | (#44978707)

That the USA has a history of rotten unions is obvious. It also has a history of much better ones (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Workers_of_the_World). In the 90's we had some trouble over here with a union that didn't do anything for its members either. A new one was founded and quickly outmatched the old one whose members left in droves for the new union.

Having no union is still worse than even a corrupt union, though, as the corrupt union has to do at least *something* for their members in order to get them to join. And if you're in a closed shop, you can apply and organize inside the union. Not easy but sitting back and complaining never helped anyone.

Soooo, You're saying that there's a Market for Unions? And that people will choose the one that works for them? How Capital!

Re:We need IT unions now and better training (2)

jklappenbach (824031) | about 10 months ago | (#44977871)

No, what we need is to apply the same H-1B hiring strategy to lawfirms. Once lawyers start to get displaced, an unholy hell shall be unleashed.

Re:We need IT unions now and better training (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977893)

Uh, lawyers are already in much worse shape than IT workers.
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/114065/death-big-law-firms-cant-be-ignored

Re:We need IT unions now and better training (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44978297)

And young unemployed lawyers, true to form, have started suing the law schools they graduated from [cbsnews.com] for deceptive recruiting practices. In any other field the unemployed graduates would complain about their sad fate. Unemployed law grads are putting their training to work.

Re:We need IT unions now and better training (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44978717)

And young unemployed lawyers, true to form, have started suing the law schools they graduated from [cbsnews.com] for deceptive recruiting practices. In any other field the unemployed graduates would complain about their sad fate. Unemployed law grads are putting their training to work.

I'd say the law school graduates are smarter than most university and college graduates because the defendants trained the plaintiffs in the skills necessary to successfully sue them.

Re:We need IT unions now and better training (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 10 months ago | (#44977939)

How much more suffering does IBM want from american people?

A fine fine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977635)

I don't know if i should interpret that as a fine or a small bribe to speed up those H1B reforms as their stock overlords wish.

Free market anyone? (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about 10 months ago | (#44977639)

Why is it that free market principles don't apply to IT wages? If there is a shortage of IT workers, then salaries should rise.

Re:Free market anyone? (2)

msmonroe (2511262) | about 10 months ago | (#44977659)

I agree, the system is being gamed by saying that there is a labor shortage and the only way we can fill the need is by bringing labor from another country and by the way oddly enough we can pay them less. It's clear that the system is gamed, like you said, normally someone who is in short supply is paid more.

Re:Free market anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977761)

Salaries should rise if it weren't for the H1B program. It's not a free market if it's being controlled.

Re:Free market anyone? (3, Insightful)

hpoul (219387) | about 10 months ago | (#44977977)

wouldn't it be a more of a free market, if companies could hire world wide, without control of the government (ie. without the restriction to hire US employees)?
I think arguing with "free market" for preventing immigration is really a bit strange.. so in a free market IT wages would significantly drop, because there is no shortage of good educated IT personal willing to immigrate .. (until the wages aren't high enough any more to be motivation enough obviously..)

Re:Free market anyone? (1)

rnturn (11092) | about 10 months ago | (#44978455)

Oh yeah. Turn the entire work force into the equivalent of migrant farm workers. That's the American Dream. Non wait.. that's the American Corporations' Dream.

Because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977773)

the establishment parts of the Democrat and Republican parties have been bought-and-paid-for by big business (Republicans are always portrayed that way but Obama got far more money from Wall Street than McCain did) and big business only believes in the "free market" when it works in their favor. When there's a shortage of something they raise prices and say "we're not to blame...it's just the free market" but when a shortage of workers exists and prices should rise they get congress to let them break free of the free market by importing workers and/or exporting the work (i.e. the labor is provided in a different market with different rules and economics). When the time comes to import finished products back into the country, of course, they go back to supporting "free trade and free markets" as they demand "no tariffs".

Wanna fix this? Get politically active. Demand that your member of congress attach severe penalties (years in prison and seizure of assets) for the executives of any company that uses H1B labor when there are US workers available. When the jerks complain that this would be unfairly severe, point out that nobody would actually be subject to such penalties if they are not, in fact, abusing the H1B system (which these business execs always swear they are not). The public needs to demand that these business men get their bluffs called... When a CEO says "we don't use H1B visas to push down wages" the response should be to shove a pen into his hand and get him to sign-on in support of draconian penalties for any executive who does ... after all, it would help the "good" CEO by punishing his "bad" competitors ;-)

H1B working as intended. (4, Insightful)

Delusion_ (56114) | about 10 months ago | (#44977667)

Just wrote something about H1Bs in a different post. Modified to be more relevant to this post:

Every time a company tells Congress they need more H1Bs, they're not telling you they can't find programmers, they're telling you they don't want to pay a competitive wage. Combine this with the fact that a lot of programmer types consider themselves too "individualist" to be involved with anything so "workmanly" as a labour union, and you set up a system where talented workers' wages are artificially reduced.

The result is a competent creative who is suddenly being pitted against people whose standard of living requires a third or less of the salary by a company whose primary interest isn't in being a good corporate citizen, investing in the community, or even playing by the rules that conservative and libertarian proponents pay lip service to, but increasing "shareholder value" by any means necessary no matter who suffers, and no matter how bad it is for the community, the region, and the country.

Re: H1B working as intended. (0, Troll)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | about 10 months ago | (#44977709)

It's funny how USian slashdotters say "competitive salaries" with such abandon.

Let's ignore for a moment that this visas mandate US level salaries, by definition if a company is forced to pay a higher than average salary it isn't "competitive".

The market for talent is a global one, you should be grateful companies decide to stay in the US, where they pay taxes, instead of moving operations elsewhere, as many have done.

Western salaries have been historically too high, a global economy will correct this, wether one likes it or not

Re: H1B working as intended. (4, Insightful)

Delusion_ (56114) | about 10 months ago | (#44977757)

> Let's ignore for a moment that this visas mandate US level salaries

Most of the problem isn't that we can ignore it, but that the companies in question as well as Congress does ignore it. The entire program only exists because it acts as a loophole by which employers can pay sub-standard wages, not competitive wages, despite what you might wish or the actual law might require before you get into the contingencies and loopholes. The biggest of these is that "competitive wage" is defined by occupation and region, not actual job function. You want a lead programmer at journeyman prices? Not a problem in the law.

H1B visas are by law only allowed when there is not a US citizen with comparable skills at the local prevailing wage. The prevalence of H1B visas requires one to believe that the US job market is just so great that it's difficult for employers to find qualified applicants.

As well as the advantages which directly affect the US wage:

Off-the books overtime. Denial of legally required benefits. Hiring under one firm and working under another. These workers can be sent back the minute they cease to be a bargain.

There are plenty of US workers for what are mostly entry-level programming positions. The companies don't want H1B visas because, in accordance with the intent of the law, they can't find suitable candidates at market value. They want them precisely because they want them below market value.

mlh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977925)

http://kimbumelih.blogspot.com/

Re: H1B working as intended. (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 10 months ago | (#44978393)

I think at this point, the argument is whether or not the U.S. citizens without jobs are "qualified enough".

If you got a job as a cubicle warmer during the .bomb era by being pulled out of college before you learned very much, then it really doesn't matter if you can claim some experience in a titled position at a failed startup where you served as a cubicle warmer; unless you went back and finished off your degree after the cubicle warming position went away, you're probably not as highly qualified as someone with a Masters from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology or IIT. You just aren't.

Re: H1B working as intended. (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 10 months ago | (#44978395)

The prevalence of H1B visas requires one to believe that the US job market is just so great that it's difficult for employers to find qualified applicants.

It's difficult for the US government to find qualified candidates for elected offices. Just take a quick look at the clowns sitting in Congress, honking horns, blowing slides and driving around in tiny little cars, while the country rips itself apart in two different directions, instead of gently leaning one way or another.

Let's bring in qualified H1B politicians to ensure the US government gets qualified candidates with the right skills to run a government.

This could work for the executive branch of the government, as well. Run it like a top European soccer team, where they cherry-pick the best international players.

Department of Defense/NSA? Get Russians. They spotted the Boston Bombers, told the FBI about it . . . and the FBI did nothing about it.

Department of State? Get the British. Great polite, formal and discrete diplomats. They'll defuse a potential conflict by finding a fudge where no one loses face.

Department of Trade/Commerce/Industry? Germans. Jared Diamond highlighted this in his book about what you need for a thriving industrial society: "Guns, Germans and Steel". I bought a Heckler and Koch MP7, so I got all three at once.

As soon as the US politician see their jobs under threat from foreign competition, they will change their tune on H1B . . .

Re: H1B working as intended. (4, Interesting)

St.Creed (853824) | about 10 months ago | (#44978019)

The market for talent is a global one, you should be grateful companies decide to stay in the US, where they pay taxes, instead of moving operations elsewhere, as many have done.

Western salaries have been historically too high, a global economy will correct this, wether one likes it or not

Funny. Whenever CEO's tell us the market for talent is a global one, they mean that they should get paid more, or else they leave. Whenever it's about us, it somehow means we have to make do with less, or else they kick us out.

As a freelancer, I've found that it's exactly the opposite: I get hired for jobs in other countries because the market for workers is global. But CEO's are CEO because they are tied into the political superstructure of a country. Once they leave, they usually find that their whole network is gone and that is most of their value.

Re:H1B working as intended. (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 10 months ago | (#44977849)

The result is a competent creative who is suddenly being pitted against people whose standard of living requires a third or less of the salary by a company whose primary interest isn't in being a good corporate citizen, investing in the community, or even playing by the rules that conservative and libertarian proponents pay lip service to, but increasing "shareholder value" by any means necessary no matter who suffers, and no matter how bad it is for the community, the region, and the country.

A company's sole purpose is to increase shareholder value; as defined by the shareholders. Some companies include things beyond a financial return, or believe being socially responsible results in greater returns; but in any case they driver is still shareholder value and shareholders ultimately vote with their wallets.

Re:H1B working as intended. (1)

Mad Bad Rabbit (539142) | about 10 months ago | (#44978783)

A company's sole purpose is to increase shareholder value; as defined by the shareholders. Some companies include things beyond a financial return, or believe being socially responsible results in greater returns; but in any case they driver is still shareholder value and shareholders ultimately vote with their wallets.

WRONG.

A sane company's purpose should be to:

Provide a good or service that delights customers.
Make enough money doing it that they can fairly compensate their suppliers and employees.
Put most of the remaining profits back into long-term investments.
Borrow from (and repay) shareholders as little as possible.

We lost sight of that a few decades ago, which is why our economy remains in the crapper.
We won't be able to fix it until we realize that customers and employees are more important than short-term shareholders.

Re:H1B working as intended. (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 10 months ago | (#44978847)

The result is a competent creative who is suddenly being pitted against people whose standard of living requires a third or less of the salary by a company whose primary interest isn't in being a good corporate citizen, investing in the community, or even playing by the rules that conservative and libertarian proponents pay lip service to, but increasing "shareholder value" by any means necessary no matter who suffers, and no matter how bad it is for the community, the region, and the country.

A company's sole purpose is to increase shareholder value; as defined by the shareholders. Some companies include things beyond a financial return, or believe being socially responsible results in greater returns; but in any case they driver is still shareholder value and shareholders ultimately vote with their wallets.

You make it sound like Democracy. It isn't. Most corporations have the majority of their voting shares in the hands of a very small number of people and/or investment organizations that have little interest in their investments other than strictly financial.

Corporations operate under Charter. Charters are granted by States, which ostensibly operate to the good of their citizens. Meaning that the State determined that the Corporation in question would benefit the State and thus (theoretically) the citizens thereof.

We seem to have forgotten that and forgotten that not all of the benefits - or liabilities - of a Corporation are the ones on the balance sheet. And the bar for determining benefits is presently extremely low.

This isn't just pedantry. We have seen indications that we may be moving into a post-employment economy, where the number of workers needed to provide not just essentials, but luxuries as well is vastly outstripped by the population. It's going to take more than the Church of the Marketplace to deal with that.

In short, while it's all well and good to argue about whether INTERNATIONAL Business Machines should tap INTERNATIONAL sources of labor over domestic ones, it's really just one note in a symphony. Times are changing and it's going to take more than simple re-arrangements to deal with them. The roles of people in relationship to employment, employees in relation to employers, employers in relation to the governments who give them their mandates and regulations, all these and more need thorough study in reference to where we seem to be heading.

This is more than just the 18th Century Robber Baron version of Capitalism giving way to the early 20th Century Management-vs-Labor to the late 20th Century Plunder-and-Parachute model of business. It's a potential revolution, and if not handled well will be so in the most bloody and literal sense of the word.

Business is more than just supply-and-demand. At its heart, it's people. People make the decisions that govern business, both purchasing and regulating. And the roles of the people are changing, whether they want them to or not.

$44.4K fine for Big Blue? (4, Funny)

bobthesungeek76036 (2697689) | about 10 months ago | (#44977673)

I've seen strip club tabs higher than that...

Re:$44.4K fine for Big Blue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44978225)

IBM has probably reimbursed expense reports for one-night strip-club outings with tabs bigger than this!

H1B's are a bandaid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977759)

The jobs have left. There is a whole world of smart people who are now competing. The IT revolution has made knowledge and work transfer easier and easier. If it weren't for H1b's to complain about it would be the sound of jobs being sucked out of the developed world. Unions won't stop it. They might shift the playing field a smidgen.

Forty Four Thousand Dollars! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977771)

Pittance!

Why even bother with such a 'penalty'?

Re:Forty Four Thousand Dollars! (2)

russbutton (675993) | about 10 months ago | (#44977791)

$44k?! You know this is a joke because so many people at both IBM and the "Justice" Department are laughing about it. IBM probably spends more on toilet paper in a month than $44k. Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, "No sh*t".

self serving executives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977799)

Revelation: The problem is the cycle of immediate profits (H1B program) followed by eventual decline due to lack of quality. So short-term profits (yay, high fives and bonuses for execs) followed by inevitable plunge (golden parachutes for star execs!)... Then repeat the cycle. It's the executive class, they are in charge of continuing this cycle of gain/decline that benefits themselves. With a gain, there's more expectation, that's bad, so a purposeful decline.. execs churn between companies as a result, making boatloads of cash. Rehire quality developers short term, until gain is achieved... Replace with H1B's, repeat cycle.

Computer programming is not IT! (5, Funny)

CommanderK (1078087) | about 10 months ago | (#44978089)

Both the summary and some commenters make the same huge mistake by putting IT people and programmers in the same bucket. A C++ programmer has completely different skills and responsibilities from a PHP/HTML programmer, who has a completely different job from a network/system administrator. The latter could be considered IT (and their pay is usually lower), whereas the former are developers (requiring extra creativity and more skill, and are better paid). In my experience working in the Bay Area, there really is a shortage of competent high-skill systems developers/programmers (the kind of guys who design Google and Facebook infrastructure, like Big Table), but not a shortage of PHP or Java programmers or sysadmins.

Re:Computer programming is not IT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44978585)

Uh huh. Information Technology...developers don't fit in.

Ok.

The purpose of the H-1B (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44978169)

is to give companies the opportunity to hire hard-working, creative, brilliant, polite, mature people, instead of lazy, whining, average intelligence, rude, socially inept children.

Slave labor taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44978179)

Well, at least SOMEONE is actually getting hired. I suppose that's better than just sitting on money and waiting for the whole world to implode. I would prefer a more progressive world, but beggars can't be choosers, now can we?

Wow that's a lot of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44978189)

44k wow that's a lot of money to a little company like IBM. They're sure to change their ways now. Thanks, Justice Dept!

Re:Wow that's a lot of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44978753)

44k wow that's a lot of money to a little company like IBM. They're sure to change their ways now. Thanks, Justice Dept!

Yep those ice cream Fridays during the summer are a thing of the past as a consequence of this fine. In related news, Research In Motion (BlackBerry) eliminated ice cream Fridays which were only held during the summer months anyway as a cost cutting measure after the new CEO took the reigns. I think he called "Ice Cream Friday" frivolous and would not affect employee morale.

H-1B visas skirt export restrictions (1)

Tekoneiric (590239) | about 10 months ago | (#44978535)

H-1B visas need to be restricted even more. Companies are seriously abusing them. They are hiring people out of the US, importing them on those visas, training them here then sending them back overseas to do the work. Companies are using this to skirt the ITAR restrictions. If engineers did the work in the US some of that work would be ITAR restricted but if it's done overseas then it's not as restricted. Companies are employing farms of engineers overseas now.

Their claim of not enough qualified people in the US is bogus. Companies are just using this as an excuse to suck more money and jobs out of the US.If they can't find qualified people in the US then they should search for people who have potential then sponsor their education thru student loans that are repaid by the company if the person works for them. This would give the employee an incentive to stay with the company at least until the student loan is paid off. The reason why companies don't do this is they don't like to think that far down the road as to what their needs will be. They like instant gratification.

IBM will take them overseas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44978663)

All that will happen is that IBM will take those jobs overseas. It amazes me how many nitwits in tech think they are irreplaceable. The comment section of Slashdot is full of them.

Walgreens, anybody? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44978721)

Anyone working at Walgreens HQ in Lincolnshire or Deerfield? Absolutely sickening. If you are there, you know what I mean.

This is stupid (1)

DinZy (513280) | about 10 months ago | (#44978741)

I would preferentially hire someone from India for a US job that would eventually relocate to India too, or wherever the job was meant to be. This is actually the best use of an H1B I can think of rather than flooding the market with more Chinese engineers. Most of the studies I have read seem to imply that there is no real shortage of talent for just about every technical profession.

They do the same thing for US employees (2)

gelfling (6534) | about 10 months ago | (#44978761)

That is, in IBM's mad rush to eliminate 100% of all US employment (except for executives) by 2015 they, admittedly occasionally, offer a devil's bargain to US based employees being cut: relocate overseas on your dime to take a job at CURRENT LOCAL wages and you get to keep your job.

Makes you wonder how much longer IBM will be an American company, legally. They may as well re incorporate in India or Ireland at this point. 50,000 regular full time employees in the US and dropping. Most new jobs going to low skill contractors. And the funny thing is that IBM routinely comes up in surveys as not one of the companies one would want to work for - not because it's a bureaucratic meatgrinder run by spreadsheet wielding accounts but because there's simply very very few actual jobs at IBM in the US anymore. If you're not an executive then you're either a recent college grad who might stay for 3 years or less or you're an old timer hanging on for dear life. There's nothing in the middle of that any more. There's basically zero IBM employees between the ages of 30 and 50. And the 50 year olds aren't going to 'share' their experience with anyone else, it's too risky. They've all become 'program managers' which is a fancy way of saying a staff job that consists of reporting the status reporting of status reporting of metrics of status reporting and creating new processes to report on the status of that.

Slapped (1)

jfwfmt (1404173) | about 10 months ago | (#44978831)

DOJ didn't slap them, it was a mild tickle!
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