Disney Wins and U.S. Workers Lose, Again

It’s legal, but is it right?

After a years-long legal fight, laid-off Disney Corp. employees this month dropped their case against the company’s practice of replacing U.S. workers with foreign nationals.

“We lost because what Disney did is legal. It is acceptable in this nation,” attorney Sara Blackwell said of the H-1B visa program used to lay off Americans.

Disney obtained H-1Bs to import tech workers, mainly from India, to sideline some 250 U.S. employees. As a condition of their severance, the American workers were required to train their foreign replacements. Many had been longtime employees who received awards of excellence for their work, said Blackwell, a lawyer with Protect U.S. Workers, a nonpartisan group that brands the H-1B program an “anti-American business model.”

Disney said its manpower shift was part of a larger IT restructuring, but displaced workers claim it was pure cost cutting. Either way, U.S. courts have granted companies wide latitude in personnel decisions.

H-1B is a disruptor in the skilled-labor sector. Every year, more than 100,000 workers are imported to the U.S. on the visas and allowed to stay for up to six years. The foreign legions continue to swell as universities and non-profits are exempt from nominal H-1B caps.

A related “Optional Practical Training” program has grown 400 percent since the federal government in 2008 increased the length of time foreign students can remain in the U.S. to work.

In April 2017, the Trump administration called out Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Cognizant – so-called “body shops” that provide foreign replacements at U.S. companies ranging from Carnival Corp. to MassMutual Life Insurance.

“You’ve seen high-profile examples where you have career employees at a company who have been working there for 10, 20 years, and then they get laid off and they hire a contracting firm using H-1B workers at much less pay,” a White House statement said. “This is an issue that labor unions have called attention to for a long time.”

In accordance with President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” executive order last year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced it intends to “propose new rules and issue new guidance” on H-1Bs.

But even a modest reform – such as rescinding the Obama-era entitlement for spouses of H-1B holders to enter the U.S. labor force – was delayed by USCIS this year.

It’s all too late for the terminated Disney employees. Other Americans are still waiting … hoping the foreign-worker ax won’t fall on them.


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  1. avatar

    The H-1B law was setup to provide cheap foreign labor. Except for the cap there are no effective protections for American workers. One paragraph gives protection but the next provides employers an exception. That way the politicians can claim Americans are protected when they are not.

    • avatar

      That’s exactly correct. Come election year a lot of these politicians get tough on immigration and then it’s back to business as usual the next year. No better example than John McCain, who every six years when he had a primary opponent talked tough on the border, and then when reelected, he and his GOP pals like Jeff Flake and Lindsey Graham signed on to the Chuck Schumer playbook.

      There are two things that have interrupted their little party. One is the growth of sites like Breitbart. Yeah it’s right wing opinion, but there are also a lot of indisputable facts that the rest of the media will not cover. The more CNN and others make themselves the Stormy Daniels network, the more credibility they give up.

      The other factor is Trump, who was too big and too well known for the media to brush aside. There have been other candidates espousing his views in the past who could not get any media coverage and got no money from the pro immigration big business donors of the GOP.

  2. avatar

    I have first hand knowledge of this, except with NCR Corporation. NCR moved several departments overseas because of cheaper labor costs. I was one who was left training my replacement along with hundreds of others.

    • avatar

      i would have left, citing family illness or something of the kind to protest this insane policy of training your replacement. If you were fired for being a bad employee, why train someone in the likeness of yourself….sabotage is another alternative. If you are a good employee, why fire you? Insane.

      Anyway, this is just another ploy to go along with American’s losing their jobs to China, along with our manufacturing industry!

      • avatar

        I worked for a company in Peachtree city Ga. named photocircuts they did the same thing in the 90s had the workers train the foreignworkers then fired the americans

  3. avatar

    Whenever and wherever the government gets involved in things, BAD things happen. if the government would only perform governmental functions and stay out of private matters, the country would be better off.