SAN FRANCISCO — Tomorrow UC San Francisco information technology employees will challenge UC Board of Regents’ plan to replace them with lower-paid workers from India. It is the first time a public university has ever offshored American IT work, undermining its own mission to prepare students for high-tech jobs.
WHAT: Workers speak out against offshoring at UC Board of Regents meeting
WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 26 at 9:30 a.m. PST
WHERE: UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center, Robertson Auditorium, 1675 Owens Street, San Francisco. Watch the Livestream here.
WHO: UCSF information technology employees, University Professional Technical Employees-CWA Local 9119, and community leaders
Seventy-nine workers in UCSF’s IT department will lose their middle-class, family-supporting jobs in February.
Last summer, the UC system partnered with HCL, a multinational contractor based in India, to manage IT infrastructure and networking-related services. The contract covers all 10 UC campuses, potentially endangering thousands more IT jobs, but UCSF is the first to test this scheme to slash salary costs.
Since then, HCL and UC have imported Indian workers to UCSF on H-1B visas, which are temporary work permits for “specialty occupations” requiring “highly specialized knowledge.” Congress originally created the visa program to help employers to fill talent gaps — not displace US workers. Yet UC is unscrupulously exploiting a loophole in the law, and adding insult to injury, requiring soon-to-be-laid-off UC employees to train their foreign replacements as a condition of their severance. Eventually, the H-1B visa replacements will depart too, returning to India to train large teams of workers who will do the work for even cheaper.
Members of University Professional Technical Employees-CWA Local 9119 have been mobilizing against the offshoring plan for several months, building public support for the IT workers and spotlighting the responsibilities of public institutions that receive taxpayer funding. Offshoring jeopardizes the privacy of medical center patients, students, faculty, and staff. Troublingly, both UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla and UC Berkeley Dean of Engineering S. Shankar Sastry sit on the board of HCL.
The Communications Workers of America represents 700,000 workers in private and public sector employment in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. CWA members work in telecommunications and information technology, the airline industry, news media, broadcast and cable television, education, health care and public service, law enforcement, manufacturing and other fields.