Job destruction update

Why aren't American workers as good as Indian ones at organizing?


Andrew Leonard
April 27, 2006 4:18AM (UTC)

When the April 26 installment of Rob Sanchez's Job Destruction Newsletter arrived in my in box this afternoon, I braced myself for a fresh jolt of information technology worker outrage. Via columns and his Web site ZaZona.com Sanchez is a militant opponent of outsourcing and H-1B visa immigration. And he's not likely to mince words when he feels it's time to castigate the "skunks" and "sell-outs" he believes are screwing the American worker.

Today's newsletter covered the formation of Immigration Voice, a lobbying group that represents mostly Indian H-1B visa holders who are agitating for the U.S. government to simplify citizenship procedures and issue more green cards. But although Sanchez concedes that he wondered whether it is even legal for foreign nationals to lobby the U.S. government (it is), his real ire isn't aimed at them. Instead, he wonders why American I.T. workers haven't organized themselves as effectively.

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"Why after 16 years of H-1B have American workers failed to organize themselves to fight for their jobs?" he asks.

"There have been many attempts at forming organizations but all of them are struggling. In all their years of existence they haven't been able to raise even a fraction of the money IV has raised in just four months. ZaZona.com as well as many others are operating on such small shoestring budgets we are continually struggling just to survive.

"Why do citizens of the United States lack the compassion we are seeing from foreign nationals that are here both legally and illegally?"

(UPDATE: In a follow up to his newsletter, Sanchez wrote that the word "compassion" was a "typo." The correct word should have been "passion.")

What Sanchez appears to be asking is why there isn't more worker solidarity in the information technology workforce. It's a good question. Of course, back in the dot-com heyday, if you so much as whispered the word "union" around a bunch of programmers you were generally laughed out of the room. And given the general decline of union power throughout the United States, it's also a fair question whether any amount of white-collar I.T. worker organizing would have made a dent in outsourcing or any other I.T.-related labor issue.

Still, you'd think there'd be a few successful software billionaires out there who would have the welfare of their brethren close enough to their hearts to feel like writing a check and funding a lobbying organization or two, wouldn't you?

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Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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Globalization How The World Works Immigration Unemployment

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