This photo was found on the Disney career page and should probably include the disclaimer that the United States flag is purposely missing. The reason is because Disney has reportedly fired 250 American workers and then forced them to train their foreign replacements. I first learned about this Disney drama via social media and it seemed a likely candidate for my “bogus story of the week”– until I dug a little deeper and discovered it was, sadly, true.
The New York Times covered the story earlier this month and other news programs have picked up the shocking details. If you wonder how this could possibly be legal within U.S. laws you will be equally shocked to learn that a bill passed to help bring highly skilled workers from outside the country. The bill resulted in a new version of visa for immigrants seeking employment in the U.S. and is called H-1B.
According to the federal guidelines, the visas were only intended to place highly skilled workers in jobs that no American workers could be found to fill. The guidelines specifically state that the visa should not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of Americans. Yet, major companies like Disney, Google, Facebook, and others have found loopholes to escape the guidelines being enforced. They have even lobbied Congress to increase the number of visas issued each year from the 85,000 currently granted, too many more.
The H-1B visas are attractive to companies because they can pay the immigrant workers a lower wage which can reportedly be anywhere from 25 percent to as much as 49 percent of what they previously paid. Some senators have taken action and written a bipartisan letter to the federal authorities in charge of immigration. The senators said that the H-1B visas were of concern because, “Their frequency seems to have increased dramatically in the past year alone.”
Other companies that have used the visas or have plans to follow the layoff and retrain immigrants include popular watch maker Fossil, which plans to replace over 100 employees with the H-1B visas. And Northeast Utilities has also laid off 350 workers and used the H-1B visas to replace many of the previous American employees. Could YOUR job be next?