One Reporter's Opinion -- Outsourcing of U.S. Jobs to Foreign Workers

It is this reporter's opinion whether you label it outsourcing, offshoring or the global economy it all adds up to the exporting of American jobs, technology and our manufacturing base.

Lately we witness our Dept. of Homeland Security awarding a $10 billion border security contract to a Bermuda company, Accenture LLP. The system known as U.S.-Visit requires foreigners to be fingerprinted and photographed upon entering the U.S. at a major airport or seaport. The technology also includes iris scans to identify people.

The Dept. of Homeland Security awarded Accenture the contract over two American bidders - Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, Maryland, and Computer Sciences Corp. of El Secundo, California. Accenture's parent company is Accenture, Ltd. incorporated in Bermuda. The parent company has more than 110 offices in 48 countries and is now taking over our border security.

Representative Richard E. Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat and a senior member of the House Ways and . . .

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One Reporter's Opinion -- Outsourcing of U.S. Jobs to Foreign Workers
George Putnam


Saturday, June 5, 2004 It is this reporter's opinion whether you label it outsourcing, offshoring or the global economy it all adds up to the exporting of American jobs, technology and our manufacturing base.

Lately we witness our Dept. of Homeland Security awarding a $10 billion border security contract to a Bermuda company, Accenture LLP. The system known as U.S.-Visit requires foreigners to be fingerprinted and photographed upon entering the U.S. at a major airport or seaport. The technology also includes iris scans to identify people.

The Dept. of Homeland Security awarded Accenture the contract over two American bidders - Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, Maryland, and Computer Sciences Corp. of El Secundo, California. Accenture's parent company is Accenture, Ltd. incorporated in Bermuda. The parent company has more than 110 offices in 48 countries and is now taking over our border security.

Representative Richard E. Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat and a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said, "This decision is outrageous! The Bush administration has awarded the largest homeland security contract in history to a company that has given up its U.S. citizenship and moved to Bermuda. The inconsistency is breathtaking."

A political battle over the export of U.S. tech jobs to low wage countries, or offshoring, is coming to a boil. California, with its large number of high-tech companies, is an important state in the fight, but state houses coast-to-coast are witnessing similar battles over restrictions on "offshoring."

Organized labor sees it as a mounting threat to hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs and the debate is bound to boil up to the national level. In fact, more than 30 states have joined California, introducing legislation that state agencies contract only with companies that perform work in the U.S. - not overseas. Countries such as India are getting what has always been U.S.-based software jobs.

Schools in China and India are now turning out technology-trained graduates. Our students are watching companies such as Oracle Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., and Intel Corp. export their jobs to India and China. How can we get American kids to major in technology in college if they see all the jobs going abroad? And now our own Dept. of Homeland Security awards a border security contract to an offshore corporation.

Hardly a day passes that we don't hear another pitiful story in which the outsourcing ax falls on our tech workers. Take the case of Cliff Cotterill. The software engineer drove his pickup truck to Agilent Technologies, Inc. in Santa Clara, California, turned in his laptop computer and employee badge, and said goodbye to 25 years of his life. No parting ceremonies, no official farewell, just thank you and goodbye. Cotterill was only 11 weeks from being eligible for early retirement when the ax fell. In the month leading up to his layoff, Cotterill was assigned to work alongside programmers from India who are taking over jobs formerly done by Americans.

Large numbers of technical professionals are losing their jobs to lower paid counterparts in foreign countries. They call it "offshoring," but for Cliff Cotterill, it spells disaster. Says Cotterill: "I guess I wasn't paying attention when it was affecting other trades or professions. It's not until it hits home that you really pay attention." Cotterill saw it coming last year. He was called into the manager's office, handed a folder full of termination documents indicating that his employment would end. They tell you you're participating in the "workforce management program" - fancy words for "YOU'RE LAID OFF." Cotterill watched for months as foreign personnel began to occupy cubicles in his work area. They were from an Indian firm hired to take over. Cotterill calls this a betrayal of American workers.

Meanwhile, Cotterill has been applying for jobs online and received callbacks from four recruiters. Three of them had Indian accents.

Cotterill cleared his desk and turned in his computer gear, then the manager approached him and apologized for not arranging a department luncheon. They talked for a few minutes, then the manager handed him a functional exit interview memo he wanted Cotterill to sign. When he started filling it out, he asked Cotterill how to spell his name. "I've been working for him three years and he still doesn't know how to spell my name."

This is just one pitiful story of an American - a victim of outsourcing, offshoring, the global economy - too old to compete in the workplace fraught with fresh young talent and a flood of foreigners, all in the name of cheap labor. Americans who have spent their lives building these corporations are suddenly discarded as the expendable with no retirement, no health insurance, no benefits. We can't allow this trend to continue.

The legendary George Putnam is 89 years young and a veteran of 69 years as a reporter, broadcaster and commentator ... and is still going strong on KSPA-AM, 12 noon to 2 p.m. Pacific Time - simulcast all over the world on the CRN Radio Network.

Click here for George's complete bio.

Related Links:

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20040602/ts_afp/us_security_company_040602092636

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/02/technology/02secure.html?ex=1086926400&en=0a869385f57cbcf5&ei=5006&partner=ALTAVISTA1

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20040602/ts_alt_afp/us_attacks_security_040602133225