Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Harris Miller and the American job loss nightmare

Harris Miller has long been considered the "point man" for offshore outsourcing and worker replacement programs by many of us in the anti-outsourcing movement.

More than just a mere "player" in the insider business lobbyist-political nexus, Miller has been one of the most influencial lobbyists for moving American white collar jobs offshore. While Miller's organization, the ITAA, is indeed a "tech lobby" the processes and excuses championed by Miller and used to move information technology jobs offshore or import low wage foreign workers are "dual use".

The effect is that largely through the efforts of Harris Miller, ALL American white collar jobs well beyond the information technology companies are under threat of moving offshore or being filled by imported low wage labor. The H-1b and L-1 visas which Miller and the ITAA have long supported are being used now to fill many more than just IT jobs.

For example, teaching positions in the U.S. public schools are now being filled with foreign nationals on H-1b visa. They are hired in preference to Americans. This is also true of health care jobs. I've even encountered H-1b workers employed as journalists in the U.S. by American newspapers where, in two instances I know of, these foreign workers actually misreported the nature of the H-1b program claiming that "American workers could not be replaced by an H-1b".

We know now that the offshore outsourcing of American engineering, technical, scientific and professional jobs could not be successfully accomplished if American employers were unable to bring in foreign workers and force their American employees to perform "knowledge tranfers". This is why the H-1b and L-1 non-immigrant visa programs are critical and why the ITAA, the business lobby and Harris Miller have fought H-1b reform attempts for years. They know that they can't offshore American jobs and replace Americans unless they can force Americans to train their replacements.

This scenario is now playing out in areas beyond IT. Automotive and industrial engineering work, architecture, accounting, stock market analysis, journalism, biotechnology, pharmaceutical research, and many, many other areas of work are now offshore, going offshore or being filled in the U.S. with imported replacement workers instead of Americans. The companies doing this are using the methodology implemented by Harris Miller's friends in the ITPAA lobby member companies.

The short of it is that Harris Miller is not merely accountable for the loss of thousands of thousands or tens of thousands of American jobs. Harris Miller and the ITAA are part of an offshore outsourcing and worker replacement paradigm which will eliminate MILLIONS of American jobs.

The loss of the white collar jobs to foreign replacement workers represents the bitter end of the free trade/offshore outsourcing lies which began in the early 1990s with NAFTA and GATT. Many Americans were lulled into a sense of complacency over the impending loss of millions of middle class blue collar industrial/manufacturing jobs. Business leaders, lobbyists, politicians and alleged "experts" in academia and journalism assured us that we were in the "post0industrial" era and that the knowledge age jobs of the "information age" would be better and more than replace the disappearing middle class industrial jobs.

Well, it's now 2006 and the industrial jobs are mostly gone offshore. And, now the final assault of the offshore outsourcing lobby is being made on the white collar workforce. It's clear that knowledge, skills and training are no protection for American workers. (Yes, white collar professionals are "workers" or "labor" in the minds of corporate leaders and Wall Street investors.) We can see that more than the mere low-level white collar jobs are moving offshore. Business journals, newspapers and Congressional hearings all give evidence that the leading edge information age jobs are going offshore or being created offshore by "American corporations" in preference to being created in the U.S. The cutting edge research and development work -- the innovation work is all going offshore or being filled with foreign workers in the U.S.

In the end, most of the American industrial middle class jobs will be largely offshore as well as most of the "white collar" professional, technical and scientific jobs. Of the remaining white collar jobs still in the U.S., corporations and government entities are using imported foreign workers. We don't know the exact numbers because the government does not make these figures available to us.

Offshore outsourcing and worker replacement programs championed by people like Harris Miller represent a form of class warfare waged against middle and working class Americans. The assault on the American middle and working class is without historic precedent. The very idea of a wide American middle class society is now not only under threat but facing destruction. The evidence is around us even if the apologists for these trends deny the danger we face or their complicity in these events.


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