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Rediff.com  » Business » US workers' groups boycott Infosys, IBM, Manpower

US workers' groups boycott Infosys, IBM, Manpower

June 04, 2014 09:41 IST

US workers' groups boycott Infosys, IBM, Manpower

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Itika Sharma Punit in Bengaluru

Three workers’ groups in the US, with a total member base of little over three million, have boycotted Infosys, IBM and workforce solutions provider Manpower, claiming these companies were excluding locals from job openings in that country.

Bright Future Jobs, Programmers’ Guild and Washington Alliance of Technology Workers are spearheading the boycott, which is supported by the India-based National Organisation for Software and Technology Professionals, which researches Indo-US workers’ issues.

The three groups will encourage their members not to apply for jobs at these companies until these demonstrated employment practices that followed laws prohibiting discrimination, they said in a joint statement.

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Image: A sign advertising jobs is posted along a street in the Brooklyn borough of New York October 23, 2013.
Photographs: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

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Recruitment for these jobs will start from October this year.

The Programmers’ Guild, founded in 1998, is a non-profit organisation that advocates against corporate outsourcing, the H1-B visa programme and related topics.

WashTech was formed in 1998 by Microsoft contract employees in Redmond.

It is affiliated with the 700,000-strong Communications Workers of America.

Bright Future Jobs is a technology advocacy organisation dedicated to counteracting claims that Americans are not good at science and technology,

“US workers should have the first shot at US jobs,” said Kim Berry, president of the Programmers Guild.

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Image: Infosys campus.
Photographs: Reuters

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US workers' groups boycott Infosys, IBM, Manpower

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“Companies hide these discriminatory practices with false accusations of a talent shortage.

“The only shortage in the technology industry is fair and ethical recruiting and hiring,” Berry added.

An email to the IBM spokesperson remained unanswered and an Infosys spokesperson said it was incorrect to claim the company excluded US workers.

“Today, we are recruiting for over 440 active openings across 20 states in the US. These include 300 openings for professional hires and about 140 openings targeting local, recent MBA graduates to bolster our sales and management consulting teams,” the Infosys spokesperson said.

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Image: IBM office.
Photographs: Reuters
Tags: IBM , US , Berry , MBA

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US workers' groups boycott Infosys, IBM, Manpower

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“We not only post every external job opening to afford everyone an equal opportunity to apply, we also propagate our job openings on a variety of local job boards.

The three groups quoted from job advertisements posted by Manpower on Indian job portals between October and December 2013, which they claim target potential foreign workers.

The advertisements also stated that preference would be given to those with experience of working in the US.

“Bright Future Jobs could find no comparable advertisements on US job portals during this period,” the release said.

“There are some jobs for which you may be forced to look at Indians because of the required qualifications.

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Image: A woman stands in the rain at Times Square in New York, November 26, 2013.
Photographs: Carlo Allegri/Reuters
Tags: IBM , US

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“However, this is limited to a few profiles,” said Mumbai-based immigration lawyer Poorvi Chothani.

“If the companies have advertised on their websites, then I think it is fair in all ways. But if they have exclusively advertised on only Indian job portals, then it would appear to be unfair.”

According to Rajiv Dabhadkar, Director at NOSTOPS, Bright Future Jobs, Programmers’ Guild and WashTech have done extensive surveys that prove inconsistency in jobs advertised.

The boycott comes not long after India’s second largest information technology services company, Infosys, agreed to pay $34 million as settlement in a federal inquiry into ‘systemic visa fraud and abuse’ in bringing temporary workers from India to work in the US in 2013.

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Image: The boycott comes not long after India's second largest information technology services company, Infosys, agreed to pay $34 million as settlement in a federal inquiry into 'systemic visa fraud and abuse' in bringing temporary workers from India to work in the US in 2013.
Photographs: Reuters

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This had fuelled fears the US authorities might probe other Indian infotech services companies, most of whom have significant business in the US, for similar visa misuse.

In 2013, the US’ Department of Justice had fined IBM for violating the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, when the company placed online job postings for applications and software developers.

The department is even now monitoring IBM for this issue.

In America, Americans first

  • Bright Future Jobs, Programmers’ Guild and Washington Alliance of Technology Workers leading the boycott, with the support of India-based National Organisation for Software and Technology Professionals
  • These groups will encourage members not to apply for jobs at IBM, Infosys and Manpower until these demonstrate employment practices that follow laws prohibiting discrimination

Image: US dollars.
Photographs: Reuters

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