TVA Jolts Tech Workers With Foreign Outsourcing

In another blow to U.S. workers, the country’s largest government-owned power provider is outsourcing 20 percent of its technology jobs to foreign companies.

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) notified 120 employees they will lose their jobs this summer. An additional 100 positions are said to be on the chopping block. Capgemini, CGI and Accenture — companies based in France, Canada and Ireland respectively – are picking up the work. 

Though TVA claims that jobs will remain stateside, nothing will stop the work from going to foreign nationals on H-1B visas, or overseas. Notably, the new contractors employ large workforces abroad; Capgemini alone has 100,000 workers in India. When California’s Pacific Gas and Electric laid off hundreds of workers in 2017, at least 70 percent of its newly outsourced work ended up going to India.

Four years after presidential candidate Donald Trump pledged to put “American workers first” and halt the use of “cheap foreign labor,” federal, state and local government agencies have contracts employing some 18,000 foreign nationals

While Democratic and Republican lawmakers criticized the TVA’s move, Trump remained silent. His only comment was to suggest that TVA President Jeffrey Lyash’s $8.1 million annual compensation package – the biggest in the federal workforce – ought to be “reduced by a lot.”

Although corporate executives typically justify outsourcing as an economy measure, TVA told ratepayers not to expect any savings. This prompted union president Mike Biggs to grumble, “TVA is supposed to operate as a public trust, but it can’t be trusted.” At minimum, TVA’s gambit stains the tradition of an agency that Congress created in 1933 to employ to Americans emerging from the Great Depression.

John Miano, writing at the Center for Immigration Studies, added: “If Trump were to come down hard on this it would show he stands with working Americans.”

Now TVA is handing 200-plus soon-to-be ex-workers their last assignment: Train your replacements.

About Author