In This Issue:
- DPE President Addresses IFPTE Legislative Conference On H-1B Visas
- Capitol Hill Briefing Highlights Need for High-Skilled Immigration Reform
- Why Women Don’t Deserve Equal Pay!
- DPE Latest Fact Sheets: 1) Guest Worker Visas and 2) Nursing
- DPE Executive Committee Puts Organizing on the Agenda
- AFGE Spotlights Damage from Sequestration
- AFT, AFSA Speak Out for Children in Face of Chicago School Closings
- DPE Signs On
- DPE In the News
DPE PRESIDENT ADDRESSES IFPTE LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE ON H-1B VISAS – On March 11, 2013, DPE President Paul E. Almeida addressed the annual legislative conference of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE). President Almeida briefed the group on pending comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) and focused on the high-skilled visas, the H-1B and L-1.
President Almeida stressed that the high-skilled portion of CIR comes under the guise of the Immigration Innovation Act of 2013 (S.169). Dubbed the “I-Squared Act,” the bill represents the H-1B guest worker wish list for high-tech corporations and offshore outsourcing firms. The I-Squared Act does not reform the broken H-1B visa system.
For over a decade, DPE has advocated to reform high-skilled visa programs, including the H-1B and L-1. DPE has produced numerous Fact Sheets on the topic and also a special report, Gaming the System 2012: Guest Worker Visa Programs and Professional and Technical Workers in the U.S., which were provided to IFPTE’s attendees for use in their Hill visits. President Almeida recognized DPE Researcher Jennifer Dorning, who is responsible for the research by DPE and attended the conference.
President Almeida stressed that the I-Squared Act is bad policy and will harm U.S. workers. He reinforced that H-1B workers:
- Are most often used to fill entry-level positions;
- Can be used despite a surplus of U.S. workers;
- Are used to lower costs for employers;
- Rarely receive sponsorship for permanent residence (less than 10 percent receive sponsorship); and
- Aid in the movement of U.S. jobs offshore (the top 10 H-1B users specialize in shipping U.S. jobs offshore).
CAPITOL HILL BRIEFING HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR HIGH-SKILLED IMMIGRATION REFORM – A March 14 briefing for Capitol Hill staffers on high-tech work visas brought together business and labor to shed light on the urgency for high-skilled immigration reform.
Gregory J. Junemann, International President of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, noted that the H-1B work visa program, which makes it possible for businesses and non-profit organizations to hire temporary foreign labor, is flawed because it fails to protect both foreign and domestic labor.
Mairi Nunag Tanedo, an H-1B beneficiary and an AFT member, told how she was forced to pay $16,000 in fees to a recruiting agency in the Philippines before she was allowed to work as a special education teacher in her Louisiana public school. She was also forced to rent an apartment from the recruiting agency at above the market rate. Mairi was able to fight back with AFT, which helped her and her fellow H-1B teachers win $4.5 million in damages.
Presenting the business perspective were two high-tech CEOs: Neeraj Gupta, CEO of Systems in Motion and Brian Keane, CEO of Ameritas Technologies. Both Neeraj and Brian agreed that many of the H-1B visa beneficiaries are performing work that Americans can be trained to do. Yet, employers have moved away from the apprenticeship model because they have access to cheap foreign labor through the H-1B visa. According to Neeraj, business would invest in training workers if they didn’t have H-1B visas.
There was universal agreement among the panelists that there must be protections for domestic labor. A guest worker should not be hired unless a U.S. worker cannot be found. The panelists agreed also that the wage standard for H-1B workers is far too low and allows companies to undercut U.S. workers.
Brian Keane’s opening statement can be read here; Neeraj Gupta’s opening statement, here. For more information about high-skilled immigration reform, contact DPE President Paul E. Almeida, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320.
Fifty years after Congress enacted the Equal Pay Act in 1963, despite more women in the workforce with more education and greater responsibilities, pay for women still lags that of men. There must be a reason, right? This op-ed debunks each possible rationale to call for an end to this “gross injustice.”
To read the op-ed, click here.
To view a complete list of DPE Fact Sheets, visit our website. For more information, contact DPE Researcher and Representative Jennifer Dorning, (202) 638-0320 extension 114, email@example.com.
DPE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE PUTS ORGANIZING ON THE AGENDA – On April 3, 2013, DPE Chair J. David Cox, AFGE National President, chaired a meeting of the DPE Executive Committee. A special two-part presentation focused on organizing.
Leading off was AFL-CIO Chief Economist Bill Spriggs. He laid out an in-depth analysis of the latest figures for union membership from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Drops in the public sector and manufacturing highlight the need for workers to organize if they are to retain a voice.
AFT Assistant to the President for Organization and Field Services Phil Kugler followed with a visionary project. He cited the extraordinary response of the AFL-CIO to a proposal for a 10-year plan and called for other affiliated unions, including those at the table, to join in.
Also on the agenda was the President’s Report by DPE President Paul E. Almeida. President Almeida detailed the negotiations over comprehensive immigration reform, in which he has led the effort to reform high-tech visas in ways that make sense for both U.S. and guest workers (see the first two items above).
President Almeida also noted the valuable research about young professionals by DPE Researcher and Representative Jennifer Dorning. Ms. Dorning reported about DPE research and publications, while DPE Executive Director David Cohen recounted the legislative battles over copyright, royalties, and intellectual property. Mr. Cohen also explained the work DPE has done with AFM and the AFL-CIO in opposing employer lockouts. Participants concluded the meeting by informing each other about developments involving their unions.
AFGE SPOTLIGHTS DAMAGE FROM SEQUESTRATION – Mindless massive cuts that were never supposed to happen: That’s the quick version of sequestration, the deep cuts to federal funding that Congressional gridlock just brought. The longer version: major harms to millions of Americans, as the cuts keep dedicated federal workers from delivering essential programs for public safety, public health, medical research, clean air and water, and much more.
Among the AFGE responses have been a National Day of Action on March 20, 2013 that saw 100 rallies across the country. For more information about sequestration and the AFGE mobilization, visit the online AFGE source Sequestration Central.
AFT, AFSA SPEAK OUT FOR CHILDREN IN FACE OF CHICAGO SCHOOL CLOSINGS – In the face of a March 2013 proposal to close more than 50 Chicago public schools, AFT and AFSA spoke out for children, parents, and neighborhoods.
AFT President Randi Weingarten decried the proposal as “reckless.” It will, she said, “destabilize neighborhoods, threaten our children’s safety, fail to improve learning or save money, and create a domino effect of destabilization in schools across the city.” She allied AFT with others “fighting to guarantee every child in Chicago the high-quality neighborhood public school he or she deserves.” To read her complete March 27 statement, click here.
AFSA President Diann Woodard called the closings “unfair and unjust to the children, parents and educators who are rightly expressing their disapproval.” She commented, “Many of the 54 schools announced to close are in low-income areas where school is often the most stable and safe place in a child’s life. By closing these schools, the Mayor and CPS are shutting the door on a support system that many of these students rely on daily, undoubtedly putting them in danger.” For her March 22 statement, go here.
DPE SIGNS ON – On March 18, 2013, DPE joined a letter to all members of the Senate supporting the “Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013” (S. 336), which would enable states to collect sales and use taxes from remote sellers. Unions affiliated with DPE also signing the letter included AFT, AFGE, IAFF, and IFPTE. To read the letter, click here and scroll down.
DPE IN THE NEWS – A March 4, 2013 article in The Arizona Republic, “Nursing students aim to fill healthcare demand,” cited DPE as a source for background about nurses. To read the article, click here.