ToysRus, NY Life, etc - Temporary Visas to Import Copycats Take Jobs to India

Zee

Diamond Member
Nov 27, 1999
5,171
3
76
TLDR - Companies like ToysRUS brought in regular scrubs to shadow and clone their employees and then outsourced their jobs

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/30/u...t-to-import-talent-help-ship-jobs-abroad.html

WAYNE, N.J. — When Congress designed temporary work visa programs, the idea was to bring in foreigners with specialized, hard-to-find skills who would help American companies grow, creating jobs to expand the economy. Now, though, some companies are bringing in workers on those visas to help move jobs out of the country.

For four weeks this spring, a young woman from India on a temporary visa sat elbow to elbow with an American accountant in a snug cubicle at the headquarters of Toys “R” Us here. The woman, an employee of a giant outsourcing company in India hired by Toys “R” Us, studied and recorded the accountant’s every keystroke, taking screen shots of her computer and detailed notes on how she issued payments for toys sold in the company’s megastores.

“She just pulled up a chair in front of my computer,” said the accountant, 49, who had worked for the company for than 15 years. “She shadowed me everywhere, even to the ladies’ room.”

By late June, eight workers from the outsourcing company, Tata Consultancy Services, or TCS, had produced intricate manuals for the jobs of 67 people, mainly in accounting. They then returned to India to train TCS workers to take over and perform those jobs there. The Toys “R” Us employees in New Jersey, many of whom had been at the company more than a decade, were laid off.
Photo
Tata Consulting Services in India in 2011. Toys “R” Us used its workers to replace Americans. Credit Kainaz Amaria for The New York Times

A temporary visa program known as H-1B allows American employers to hire foreign professionals with college degrees and “highly specialized knowledge,” mainly in science and technology, to meet their needs for particular skills. Employers, according to the federal guidelines, must sign a declaration that the foreign workers “will not adversely affect the working conditions” of Americans or lower their wages.

In recent years, however, global outsourcing and consulting firms have obtained thousands of temporary visas to bring in foreign workers who have taken over jobs that had been held by American workers. The Labor Department has opened an investigation of possible visa violations by contractors at the Walt Disney Company and at Southern California Edison, where immigrants replaced Americans in jobs they were doing in this country. Four former workers at Disney have filed discrimination complaints against the company. The companies say they have complied with all applicable laws.

But the Toys “R” Us layoffs — and others underway now at the New York Life Insurance Company and other businesses — go further. They are examples of how global outsourcing companies are using temporary visas to bring in foreign workers who do not appear to have exceptional skills — according to interviews with a dozen current or former employees of Toys “R” Us and New York Life — to help ship out jobs, mainly to India.

These former employees described their experience training foreigners to do their work so it could be moved to India. They would speak only on the condition that their names not be published, saying they feared losing severance payments or hurting their chances of finding new jobs.

In most cases when American workers lost jobs, the positions have been in technology, with employers arguing there are shortages of Americans with the most advanced skills. But in recent years, many jobs that American workers lost have been in accounting and back-office administration — although there is no shortage of Americans qualified to do that kind of work.

The core purpose of the temporary work visas is to help American companies compete in the global economy. “If employers are able to hire the key people, they can keep jobs in the U.S. and create new jobs here,” said Lynn Shotwell, executive director of the Council for Global Immigration, which lobbies Congress for more visas for highly skilled foreign workers.

Outsourcing firms, and the companies hiring them, say they are careful not to violate any laws. But some experts argue the intent of the visas is being thwarted.

“At the very least, those are violations of the spirit of the law,” said Christine Brigagliano, a lawyer in San Francisco with extensive experience advising American companies on obtaining visas. “Those contractors are signing on the bottom line, saying we will not undercut the wages and working conditions of Americans. But, in fact, they are.”

The companies see it differently.

Kathleen Waugh, a spokeswoman for Toys “R” Us, said the staff reduction there was part of “designing a streamlined, more efficient global organization to make it fit for growth.” She said the contractors were required to comply with “any and all immigration laws.” The outsourcing, she noted, “resulted in significant cost savings.”

William Werfelman, a vice president and spokesman at New York Life, said the outsourcing was part of a transformation of its technology systems that would soon result in more jobs in the United States. “Our decisions are centered on keeping the company competitive, keeping it in the United States, keeping it growing,” he said.

The federal government does not track how often American workers are displaced by workers with temporary visas, but this year, employees at a variety of companies report losing jobs to foreign workers. For example, at Cengage Learning, an educational publisher, about 30 accountants in Ohio and Kentucky were laid off on Sept. 11, after they spent five months training Indian workers from Cognizant, another outsourcing giant. The temporary workers and the jobs went back to India.

A Cengage spokeswoman, Susan M. Aspey, said the company needed to install higher-grade accounting systems. “To do this quickly and efficiently,” she said, Cengage sought support from Cognizant. Employees who were laid off were given “fair severance packages commensurate with their years of service,” she said.

Temporary H-1B visas are limited to 85,000 each year. In the last five years, federal records show, most of the companies that received the largest share of H-1B visas have been global outsourcing firms, including TCS; Infosys, another large Indian company; Cognizant, which is based in the United States; and Accenture, a consulting operation incorporated in Ireland.

Those companies also use another temporary visa, the L-1B, which has no annual cap and allows businesses to internally transfer their employees who have “advanced knowledge” from branches in other countries to offices in the United States. A spokesman for TCS, Benjamin Trounson, said it maintained “rigorous internal controls to ensure we are fully compliant with all regulatory requirements.”

At the Toys “R” Us headquarters on a leafy campus by a reservoir here in New Jersey, someone dressed as Geoffrey the Giraffe, the retailer’s mascot, often wanders around greeting employees to bolster company spirit. But the mood was hardly playful on the morning of March 3, when a company vice president summoned nearly 70 employees to a conference room and told them their positions would be transferred by the end of June to workers from TCS.

“We were asked to cooperate and show them respect and train them to do our individual job functions,” said another former accountant, 36, who had worked for the toy seller for almost 12 years. But, she recalled, “If you didn’t cooperate, you would be asked to leave.”
Photo
A Bangalore, India, office of Accenture, a consulting operation with $30 billion in revenues that has acquired many H-1B visas. Credit John Harper/Corbis

A few days later, TCS workers arrived to begin the training called “knowledge transfer.” Most had flown in days before from India and were staying at a La Quinta Inn nearby.

The 36-year-old accountant said the young Indian assigned to shadow her appeared to have no extraordinary knowledge of accounting. His expertise was in observing and mapping what she did.

“He was watching me like a hawk,” she said, remembering long hours at close quarters at her desk under the fluorescent lights of the accounting floor. “It took him a while to learn what I did.”

She had a hard time maintaining her composure. “I felt like, ‘Why am I sitting here showing this man how to do my job when they are taking it away from me and sending it to India?’ ”

Ms. Waugh, the spokeswoman, noted that Toys “R” Us employed about 33,000 people in the United States. She said the company offered workers “a severance package, including benefits and career transition services.”

The layoffs at New York Life were set in motion in 2014 when the company announced a $1 billion plan for an ambitious upgrade of its financial and data technology systems.

Since New York Life is not a technology company, said Mr. Werfelman, the spokesman, it turned to outside contractors for the upgrade. The company plans to cut about 300 positions, including up to one-fifth of its 1,400 technology workers, as well as some financial accountants. With 9,000 staff employees and 12,000 agents nationwide, New York Life is the largest mutual life insurer in the United States.

“We know there will be pain along the way,” Mr. Werfelman said. But he said that with new innovative technology, the company could rapidly expand despite the job cuts. He said it planned to hire 1,000 employees and 3,500 agents this year alone.

Accountants at New York Life were among the first scheduled for layoffs that started in May, under a contract with Accenture. The company’s accountants found out only by accident — when Accenture managers in India mistakenly sent out a group email with a full outsourcing plan — that the Indian workers they had been training for several weeks would be taking their jobs back to India.

One accountant said a worker from India made an exact digital “recording” during the day as he performed his job. At the close of business, the recording was transmitted to India, where workers practiced mimicking his tasks.

“It’s all just repeating exactly what we have been doing,” he said.

As a condition of his severance, he was asked to stay on for nine months to complete the training. The accountant, who at 26 was confident he would find a job elsewhere, preferred to resign.

An Accenture spokesman, James E. McAvoy, said it was assisting New York Life to build new global, 24-hour systems. He said H-1B workers were a small part of the Accenture employees involved; most were United States citizens or residents.

In July, about 100 New York Life technology workers were informed their jobs would be taken over by TCS, to be moved to India. At the insurer’s verdant campus in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., and at offices in New York City, New Jersey and Georgia, tech employees began receiving individual layoff notices last week.

“After 30 years, it is very, very disappointing being told you are going to lose your job to a foreign country,” said one technology team member who is 49, and started with New York Life when he was 18.

Many tech workers facing layoffs are older, with years at the insurer. They were galled by executives’ statements that they were less qualified to learn the new systems than the foreign workers replacing them. “There are a lot of new technologies coming in all the time,” said an applications engineer in New York, who is 58 with 18 years at the company. “There is no reason at all we can’t do training for that.”

Some workers were not as dismayed, saying the company was offering generous severance packages.

But a hard irony for many of the New York Life employees losing jobs to immigrants is that they are immigrants themselves. They came to the United States a generation ago from the Philippines, Eastern European countries, and even India and raised families in this country. They followed the immigration rules — some coming as refugees, others with work visas and computer degrees from their home countries. Most became American citizens.

One technology manager, an immigrant from Europe, recalled that when he was hired at the insurer. “There was an open position that had to be filled,” he said. “Nobody lost their job because I got my job."
 
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Ns1

No Lifer
Jun 17, 2001
55,413
1,570
126
Let's be real here - if they didn't send someone from India here, they'd send someone here to India. Those jobs were going offshore one way or another.
 

Newbian

Lifer
Aug 24, 2008
24,778
843
126
The employees should had shown the people the wrong way to do things and when it hit the fan on their end in India the jobs would had been open again. :p
 

lxskllr

No Lifer
Nov 30, 2004
57,504
7,699
126
The employees should had shown the people the wrong way to do things and when it hit the fan on their end in India the jobs would had been open again. :p

That's an excellent idea. Trolling them is really the only option, because I couldn't tolerate someone watching me work for more than a day or so.Trolling them would make it interesting, and I'd be looking for a new job anyway.
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
67,581
12,218
126
www.anyf.ca
Royal Bank did the same thing a few years back, and I think most other banks do it too. Sadly, it seems a lot of companies are doing it. Instead of making it illegal, governments actually encourage and subsidize it. It's sickening.
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
67,581
12,218
126
www.anyf.ca
The employees should had shown the people the wrong way to do things and when it hit the fan on their end in India the jobs would had been open again. :p

That's what I would do, it's not like I have any incentive to keep my job anyway, I'm going to get fired either way. I'd try to make a meeting with the rest of my coworkers so we can agree on a wrong way of doing things so we can consistently show them how to do it wrong.

On the other hand you don't really want to throw them under the bus, it's not their fault, they're just like us, desperate to find work in this crappy job market and got the opportunity.
 

kranky

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
21,014
137
106
A friend's company got bought out and one Monday she came in and about an hour later her boss brought some guy from the new owners over and said the guy is going to work with you this week. That guy sat in her office every day that week and (I know this is hard to believe) never said a single word the entire time. Just sat, listened, and wrote stuff down. No "good morning", no questions, no small talk. She was completely creeped out.

Three months later, her department was canned and the work sent offshore.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
48,451
5,289
136
This is news to people? This has been happening in IT for ages.

I am really really really grateful that I not only have a job in IT, but a good job that can actually support my family.
 

1prophet

Diamond Member
Aug 17, 2005
5,313
534
126
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Last I checked Americans belong to a UNION called the United States of America that is supposed to protect its members from things like scabs whether it's illegals or outsourcing to other countries,

I expect this from Republicans, but you pretend to care for America Democrats, where have you been for the last 30 years ?

Instead of protecting that greatest Union in America you have been calling for higher minimum wage, $15 dollar an hour burger flippers, as a solution to the loss of upward mobility in the job markets, and calling those that are against illegal immigration racists or xenophobes.

It has become more of a scandal if someone speaks out against a Gay friendly policy of a Democrat/Liberal company than it's hiring practices

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-disney-technology-h1b-20150617-story.html

ORLANDO, Fla. — The employees who kept the data systems humming in the vast Walt Disney fantasy fief did not suspect trouble when they were suddenly summoned to meetings with their boss.


While families rode the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and searched for Nemo on clamobiles in the theme parks, these workers monitored computers in industrial buildings nearby, making sure millions of Walt Disney World ticket sales, store purchases and hotel reservations went through without a hitch. Some were performing so well that they thought they had been called in for bonuses.


Instead, about 250 Disney employees were told in late October that they would be laid off. Many of their jobs were transferred to immigrants on temporary visas for highly skilled technical workers, who were brought in by an outsourcing firm based in India. Over the next three months, some Disney employees were required to train their replacements to do the jobs they had lost.


“I just couldn’t believe they could fly people in to sit at our desks and take over our jobs exactly,” said one former worker, an American in his 40s who remains unemployed since his last day at Disney on Jan. 30. “It was so humiliating to train somebody else to take over your job. I still can’t grasp it.”
Rinse repeat all across America for over 30 years, in one form or another whether it's illegals taking the lower paying jobs for less or outsourcing and H1-B's being used to not pay an American, while phony politicians promise to bring back prosperity,


and you regular partisan hacks are in dis-belief and left scratching your heads when an unqualified blowhard like Trump is becoming so popular over your status quo politicians.
 

sm625

Diamond Member
May 6, 2011
8,172
137
106
That was always the plan. That was always the purpose. It is funny how Alex Jones is a frickin kook but he talked about this in great detail 10 years ago. Ranting and raving, looking kind of like that cat avatar in the post above mine.
 
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Herr Kutz

Platinum Member
Jun 14, 2009
2,545
242
106
Why all the outrage? The dems already solved this "problem"...just kill all your kids (It's the moral thing to do, you know) and eventually the older people will die off and voila, no jobs needed and no jobs available. It's science.
 

Jeff7

Lifer
Jan 4, 2001
41,599
19
81
The employees should had shown the people the wrong way to do things and when it hit the fan on their end in India the jobs would had been open again. :p
"Yes, the quality of the work sucks, but they working so cheaply that it still isn't much of a problem. Besides, I'll only be with the company for another year or two before bailing with a massive severance package, so good luck trying to make me care."



Why all the outrage? The dems already solved this "problem"...just kill all your kids (It's the moral thing to do, you know) and eventually the older people will die off and voila, no jobs needed and no jobs available. It's science.
:hmm:
 

senseamp

Lifer
Feb 5, 2006
35,787
6,195
126
These jobs will be taken back to America by computers. Silicon Valley is working hard on machine learning algorithms to make it happen. Sit tight, folks.
 

Indus

Lifer
May 11, 2002
10,141
6,747
136
Stop hating India, China, Vietnam. Start hating congressmen and congresswomen who allow corporations to do this for higher profits while the middle class Americans are told..

a. Stop bitching about a minimum wage, you need to work for lower to compete with global workforce.

b. Who needs the American Middle Class up Economics.. we need Trickle Down Economics

c. We need corporations to get tax waivers so they can create more jobs (for overseas workers) while the middle class gets taxed at 25-39.6% and has to pay social security and sales and property taxes.

The Indians/ Chinese/ Vietnamese certainly didn't stack the deck against Americans.. it was Americans. The sooner we realize that it's not hispanic/ latino/ chinese/ indian/ vietnamese but it's the American guys who wear suits and ties and serve in Congress.. the sooner we can fix this.
 

tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
18,367
268
126
Let's be real here - if they didn't send someone from India here, they'd send someone here to India. Those jobs were going offshore one way or another.
It's pretty much the same of every job, eventually. Get a robot and you can do surgery from 8K miles away. Already they are sending x-rays and imaging to foreign countries to be diagnosed by a physician there who is happy making $50 per day rather than $500.

At what point do you admit, OK those ARE skilled jobs, NOT monkey work that is obsolete in the global economy, and the jobs are going because of the low wages (and deplorable environmental protections) in other countries, NOT because Americans do not want to do them or aren't skilled enough?
 

bozack

Diamond Member
Jan 14, 2000
7,913
12
81
Welcome to decades ago in any technology field, maybe now that it is starting to happen to other professions people might actually start to care.

no sympathy here for the Toys R Us accountants, as others said these jobs were going away anyway.
 
Nov 8, 2012
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These aren't exactly accounting jobs. These are key-pecking grandma's entering simple numbers into an AR/AP program. They aren't checking balances, they aren't running reports. They are doing very simple tasks. Example: New Customer, enter new customer information into the fields. There's no reason why these simple jobs can't be outsourced.


These jobs will be taken back to America by computers. Silicon Valley is working hard on machine learning algorithms to make it happen. Sit tight, folks.

Mmm... Not quite hate to break it to you.

Anytime you have a new order, it has to be entered. Anytime you have a new customer, it has to be put into the system to begin with. Again, these are the drone positions that don't require any in-depth knowledge other than what to enter.
 

senseamp

Lifer
Feb 5, 2006
35,787
6,195
126
These aren't exactly accounting jobs. These are key-pecking grandma's entering simple numbers into an AR/AP program. They aren't checking balances, they aren't running reports. They are doing very simple tasks. Example: New Customer, enter new customer information into the fields. There's no reason why these simple jobs can't be outsourced.




Mmm... Not quite hate to break it to you.

Anytime you have a new order, it has to be entered. Anytime you have a new customer, it has to be put into the system to begin with. Again, these are the drone positions that don't require any in-depth knowledge other than what to enter.
There used to be a position like that in another business, called travel agent.
Perfect positions to be replaced by computers.
 
Nov 8, 2012
20,828
4,777
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There used to be a position like that in another business, called travel agent.
Perfect positions to be replaced by computers.

There still are travel agents. They are just outsourced as well.

I have them for my work. I tell them where i want to go, around what time, and they find it for me. Can a computer automate all that? Maybe.... It depends on the circumstances. The requirements someone might have for a flight could get technical with connections, delays, and what works best.

They also have secret connections with the airlines to get me nice upgrades for free too :biggrin:


But I see your point, but again - I work in (and implement) ERP systems for clients.There is no getting around stuff like entering initial invoice information, initial customer information, initial exemption information, etc.... That's all those people ever were as far as "accounting" is concerned.

I've heard of ways they can scan invoices and it is able to read the written information and input it into the system, but that is just one example - and obviously the invoice still needs to be hand-written first.
 

BoberFett

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
37,563
9
81
HOW CAN THESE EVIL CORPORATIONS BE ALLOWED TO DO THIS TO US!!!

*runs off to the internet to buy something from a giant corporation*

People love to say they don't want this, but everybody shopped at Toys R Us instead of Aunt Mary's Local Toy Emporium. The consumer voted. They wanted low prices.
 

senseamp

Lifer
Feb 5, 2006
35,787
6,195
126
There still are travel agents. They are just outsourced as well.

I have them for my work. I tell them where i want to go, around what time, and they find it for me. Can a computer automate all that? Maybe.... It depends on the circumstances. The requirements someone might have for a flight could get technical with connections, delays, and what works best.

They also have secret connections with the airlines to get me nice upgrades for free too :biggrin:


But I see your point, but again - I work in (and implement) ERP systems for clients.There is no getting around stuff like entering initial invoice information, initial customer information, initial exemption information, etc.... That's all those people ever were as far as "accounting" is concerned.

I've heard of ways they can scan invoices and it is able to read the written information and input it into the system, but that is just one example - and obviously the invoice still needs to be hand-written first.

These are all fair game for deep neural nets. There is nothing special about entering customer information. If anything, that's the easiest to automate. Just need decent voice recognition, and that's pretty much here.
 

Sonikku

Lifer
Jun 23, 2005
15,749
4,558
136
HOW CAN THESE EVIL CORPORATIONS BE ALLOWED TO DO THIS TO US!!!

*runs off to the internet to buy something from a giant corporation*

People love to say they don't want this, but everybody shopped at Toys R Us instead of Aunt Mary's Local Toy Emporium. The consumer voted. They wanted low prices.

If that's what the company finds profitable, fine. Let them do the offshoring without any help or facilitating from the government. Why sweeten the pot?