A Plea for Justice, A Call for Integrity on June 13
I have witnessed widespread abuses of both American and foreign white collar workers. (Indeed, I have personally experienced such abuse.) This continuing injustice and the lies which enable it must be confronted and brought to an end. Harris Miller is comfortable with the present system of corporate controlled trade and labor policy. Harris Miller excuses or ignores abuses of American and foreign workers. This is unacceptable under any circumstances but especially so in a candidate seeking the U.S. Senate nomination of the Democratic Party.
In 2004, I testified before Congress regarding my first-hand experiences of abusive labor practices – practices which were very much a part of the Harris Miller’s lobbying activities on behalf of his “high tech” corporate clients.
During this Congressional hearing, I confronted Harris Miller. I presented him with hard facts -- irrefutable evidence of the abuses in various guest worker programs and asked Mr. Miller to support reform. Harris Miller refused. Mr. Miller refused to accept facts. Mr. Miller refused to support reforms. I pointed out that these reforms would not harm legitimate businesses. Harris Miller wouldn't hear anything we had to say.
I was not alone in presenting these views. Members of Congress presented him with evidence of abuses. Mike Gildea, Executive Director of the AFL-CIO, DPE union presented Miller and the Congress with evidence of abuses. Other IT workers also recounted the systematic abuses they had suffered. None of this had any effect on lobbyist Harris Miller. Harris Miller's only concern was to represent his CEO clients’ insatiable desire for cheap, indentured labor. Mr. Miller would not even answer direct questions from members of the Congressional Committee before whom he was testifying. Truth and justice were obviously irrelevant and insignificant to Harris Miller.
If this conduct was typical of Mr. Miller while he was employed as a pro-offshore outsourcing and pro-“business visa” corporate lobbyist, I believe it reasonable to wonder what he he will do should he become a United States senator? Whose interests will he represent and what manner of justice will he uphold?
Mr. Miller's career is based on aiding unscrupulous business interests in their efforts to replace American workers with less costly alternatives. This could only be accomplished with lies and laws based on lies. Mr. Miller has proven adept at propagating lies and suppressing the truth. This stands as the anti-thesis of truth -- a cornerstone of our system of justice.
The foreign guest worker “business visa” (H-1b and L-1) programs so critical to Mr. Miller were ostensibly created to satisfy a short term need for skilled labor in America but they are based on a lie. That need for non-American labor never existed; it was a perception created by business lobbyists for the purpose of lowering labor costs. Qualified American workers were available to do the work and the flow of educated workers had actually increased to meet demand.
Yet, Mr. Miller and his CEO allies stated that Americans couldn't do these jobs. They claimed that Americans weren't sufficiently skilled. Mr. Miller and his CEO clients stated they needed foreign workers to do this work. Most of these guest workers came from India. As an Indian American with ties to the Indian community and culture, I witnessed what Mr. Miller and his CEO clients truly wanted - and that was cheap, indentured foreign labor. It's what happened at my company.
Essentially the guest worker "business visa" programs such as the H1B and L1 are dysfunctional. Study after study concludes that they are broken beyond use. The language of the law is riddled with loopholes and for what little legal provisions do exist - there is no enforcement. I have tried for 8 years to commence an investigation of my employer with no results. If you watch the webcast of the full hearing you will wonder how Harris Miller has found the gall to run for Senate after such a clearly established career of one-sided loyalty to his CEO clients. At best it is a conflict of interest for him to run for Senate.
Harris Miller heard my testimony but he barely acknowledged the injustices done to both Americans and foreign workers at my company. Was it due to the paycheck from his clients that Mr. Miller refused to accept the evidence that I presented? Was it Mr. Miller’s loyalty to his paying CEO clients that has also resulted in Mr. Miller's consistent refusal to support any reform?
On Friday morning, I listened to Mr. Miller speak on the Mark Plotkin radio program on the Washington Post Radio station. Miller said, as he did during my Congressional testimony, that employers who violate laws should be sanctioned. I heard Harris Miller’s ludicrous comments calling for enforcement. But Mr. Miller knows the laws are deeply flawed, inviting abuse and permitting it; there is very little to enforce and no interest in investigations.
In Mr. Miller's call for enforcement he ignores the gaping loopholes in the guest worker programs which allow employers such as mine to degrade both the guest workers and American citizens with no recourse. For example, the H1B program on which Miller based his entire career, has a wage requirement provision that the guest workers be paid a prevailing wage to Americans similarly situated. But where do you get the salary numbers? Answer - anywhere. There is no establishment of the source of that prevailing wage so it is an empty provision. Thus employers can pay anything they want to and get a way with it. There's nothing to enforce.
So, what enforcement is Mr. Miller calling for? None. Harris Miller stands for such empty provisions. He knows it protects his CEO clients who are now also his campaign contributors. It is unbelievable. With Harris Miller running for the Senate we have a situation similar to Jack Abramoff running for Senate. (Would you vote for Abramoff?)
Harris Miller steadfastly ignores overwhelming evidence of systematic abuse. He refuses to acknowledge the desperate need for reform. When I heard Miller was running for the Senate at first I believed it was a sick joke. I couldn't imagine, a career lobbyist with a clear and blatant public record of being one-sided for industry CEO's seeking elected office (as a "Democrat", no less). At best this situation could be described as a "conflict of interest".
But here he is. If Miller is elected, he will return to the “culture of corruption” of which he is so much a part and so much a contributor. It would be little different than giving Jack Abramoff a Senate seat.
Jim Webb offers a clear alternative to Harris Miller. I've met Jim Webb and believe he has the honesty, integrity and the right ideas. Jim Webb is ready to fight for justice and real economic fairness. Jim Webb has publicly stated his opposition to offshore outsourcing and the replacement of American workers. Jim Webb understands that the American Dream of a middle class life is under threat and effective political action is required.
[Note: According to an InfoWorld article entitled, U.S. lawmakers: Worker visa program needs changes, "The ITAA's Harris Miller called the stories from Shah and Fluno 'isolated cases'"!!! The article's subtitle is L-1 visa program makes it easy for U.S. companies to move jobs overseas, lawmakers say.]