Business is business. And business is pretty sweet these days when blowhard Know-nothings like Trump get what’s coming.
In late May, about 35 technology employees at Disney/ABC Television in New York and Burbank, Calif., received jarring news. Managers told them that they would all be laid off, and that during their final weeks they would have to train immigrants brought in by an outsourcing company to do their jobs.
The training began, but after a few days it was suspended with no explanation. In New York, the immigrants suddenly stopped coming to the offices. Then on June 11, managers summoned the Disney employees with different news: Their layoffs had been canceled.
“We were read a precisely worded statement,” said one of the employees, who was relieved but reluctant to be named because he remains at the company. “We were told our jobs were continuing and we should consider it as if nothing had happened until further notice.”
Although the number of layoffs planned was small, the cancellation, which was first reported by Computerworld, a website covering the technology business, set off a hopeful buzz among tech employees in Disney’s empire. It came in the midst of a furor over layoffs in January of 250 tech workers at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. People who lost jobs there said they had to sit with immigrants from India, some on temporary work visas known as H-1B, and teach them to perform their jobs as a condition for receiving severance.
But it remained unclear on Tuesday who had initiated the change of strategy at Disney/ABC or whether it was part of a larger change in direction, because Disney executives declined to discuss it.
Emails and calls over several days to Kevin Brockman, a senior spokesman for Disney/ABC Television Group, were not returned. Cognizant, the global outsourcing company based in New Jersey that was bringing immigrants to the television group, also did not respond to calls or emails.
About 15 of the television group’s tech employees were in New York and the rest were based in Burbank.
The layoffs at Walt Disney World and at other companies have added fuel to a debate about temporary visas, including H-1B’s, that outsourcing firms use to bring immigrants, mainly from India, for technology work. The visas are meant for foreigners with specialized skills to fill discrete positions when Americans with those skills are not available. In the applications large companies must file for the visas, they have to confirm that no American workers will be displaced.
The Labor Department said last week that it had opened an investigation into two outsourcing companies, Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys, for work they did for Southern California Edison, a power utility. It also referred complaints to the Justice Department for a separate inquiry. Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, has called for an investigation of the H-1B visa program.
It’s good to see a corporation actually responding to consumer outrage.
I was in Brazil & Bolivia in the late 80s, when the inflation rate in those countries was somewhere between 5,000 and 20,000%. I lived through the 1,500% inflation in Venezuela.
It was not fun.
My grandfather had old, flimsy Deutschmarks from the Weimar Republic, showing the massive inflation. But even those paled in comparison to the crazy denominations on these bills from Zimbabwe. Seriously, WTF?? They look like they’re fairly decently printed … but Christ, these are basically totally play money. Look for ‘em on eBay - there are a bunch now listed, because Zimbabwe is basically following Ecuador, El Salvador and other countries and just using the U.S. dollar, because that’s the only currency that’s actually worth anything there anyway.
Buy these and give them to the paranoid, gun-fetish Goldbug Fox News-watching uncle you want to afflict with night sweats and hoarding behavior.
It’s every American worker’s nightmare.
The boss says you are being laid off.
That’s bad enough.
Even worse, before you lose your livelihood you’ll be asked to leave behind some of your dignity, too.
That’s the way some Disney employees felt when they were asked to train foreign workers, apparently flown in from India, to become their younger and cheaper replacements.
“I just couldn’t believe they could fly people in to sit at our desks and take over our jobs exactly,” one former worker, who wasn’t named and is now unemployed, told The New York Times. “It was so humiliating to train somebody else to take over your job. I still can’t grasp it.”
A Times report last week detailed the situation at Disney and other companies where positions are outsourced to companies that hire foreign workers who come to the United States on H-1B visas.
That particular visa is often described as a way to employ foreign workers when companies can’t find enough skilled Americans to do the work.
In reality, though, companies have come to view workers on these visas like generic drugs —just as effective, but a lot cheaper.
It’s all about profit, says Ron Hira of the Economic Policy Institute and who testified before Congress in March about the ramifications of the visa program.
Hira said he made a Freedom of Information Act request for the wages of the employees of the outsourcing firm used by Disney. The median was about $62,000.
But he says he spoke to a laid-off Disney employee who was making about $100,000.
“H-1B guest workers are cheaper than American workers and don’t have much bargaining power, and any company would be foolish not to take advantage of this highly lucrative business model that has been inadvertently created by Congress and multiple presidential administrations,” writes Hira, who recently published a book on outsourcing and also teaches at Howard University.
Most of us were already well familiar with companies shipping jobs overseas.
Now, more often than ever, foreign workers are coming here to take our places.
Disney, whether it wanted to or not, has helped shine a bright light on this problem.
There had been plenty of other cases of companies laying off workers — and in even higher numbers than the 250 Disney let go.
A libertarian icon in the making. Too bad NYC is run by socialist entitlement hounds and busybodies who have now deprived him of his liberty to make a living. He should move to Texas and start a Bible based ministry or perhaps a Christian school. He could be a major wheel in the Republican Party in no time. Probably have to change his name though.
I’m shocked by one aspect of the story of the guy selling $30 hot dogs to tourists near the World Trade Center — shocked that he was fired. Who knew hot-dog men could be fired? (Looks like his boss knew——SK)
As for that other detail — selling a hot dog for considerably “more than it’s worth,” so what? Apple makes a huge profit on every device it sells. Does anyone think Apple is guilty of “price gouging”? Moreover, a hot dog is guaranteed not to shatter when it falls on the sidewalk, and I’ve never had to reboot my sauerkraut. No hot dog has ever been rendered obsolete by a new model that has a slightly thinner bun.
Hot-dog guy Ahmed Mohammed — let’s be accurate and call him Hot Dog Hero — was simply exercising his right to sell stuff in the marketplace for whatever he can get for it. Why begrudge him a large markup if he took advantage of the fact that some people are stupid? Taking advantage of stupidity is an important driver of the economic engine. Without taking advantage of stupid people, how would haute-couture designers sell a couple yards of shiny fabric for $2,000? Without taking advantage of stupid people, how would the New York State Lottery rake in $3 billion in profit? Without taking advantage of stupid people, how would the Franklin Mint have sold off millions of dollars worth of plastic copies of Jackie Onassis’ plastic pearls? If the stupidity were ever wrung out of the system, our economy would be the size of Bangladesh’s.
Remember how Verizon argued in 2012 that net neutrality rules violate its First and Fifth Amendment rights?
While Verizon itself isn’t challenging the Federal Communications Commission’s latest net neutrality order, AT&T and the other Internet service providers that are suing the FCC have resurrected this argument.
In a statement of issues that AT&T intends to raise when the case moves further into the court process, the company said last week that it plans on challenging whether the FCC’s net neutrality order “violates the terms of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and the First and Fifth Amendments to the US Constitution.” The First and Fifth Amendment will be used to attack the FCC’s decision to reclassify both fixed and mobile broadband as common carrier services, as well as the FCC’s assertion of authority over how ISPs interconnect with other networks.
Retail analysts say the world’s biggest retailer has reason to fear a small grocery chain that’s based in Idaho and boasts a business model that allows it to undercut Walmart on prices.
So about that eye-catching Walmart quote. Those are the words of Burt Flickinger III, a widely respected supermarket-retailing-industry expert who works for the Strategic Resource Group. Flickinger was quoted in a recent Idaho Statesman story about WinCo, a chain of roughly 100 supermarkets in the western U.S., based in Boise, Idaho.
“WinCo arguably may be the best retailer in the western U.S.,” Flickinger says while touring a WinCo store. “WinCo is really unstoppable at this point,” he goes on. “They’re Walmart’s worst nightmare.”
While this is a puff piece for a line of Steelcase furniture some true facts lie herein. In tech businesses where the workforce is paid a living wage they cut costs elsewhere, but remain tied to past paradigms. Juxtaposing a communal team environment with the need for individual focus and isolation to get things done will probably drive some changes. The most likely outcome I see will be team on site communal days coupled with work at home days - teams will be at the office some days, but working from home (or anywhere) most others.
Innovations in the world of office furniture design have tended to serve one of two purposes. Some are designed to help the corporations who pay for them — open-plan offices are supposed to make workers more collaborative, for example, and cubicles or “hotel” desks help save on real estate costs. Then others are designed to help improve workers’ health — like ergonomically designed office seating, balance ball chairs and the current obsession with standing desks.
Yet increasingly, companies and furniture designers are considering a third purpose: helping workers concentrate and focus in the cavernous, noise-filled open offices that have become practically de rigeur in today’s workplace.
With roughly 70 percent of U.S. workplaces adopting an open-office environment, while in the meantime research piles up on how ineffective and stressful open plans can be, there’s a growing recognition that workers need some sort of refuge to concentrate at work (beyond putting on headphones and hoping for the best).
Do you feel like getting mad at mega-corporations right now? With no specific point to make other than temping yourself to shout “f***ing liars!” at your monitor/device at the top of your lungs before sheepishly noticing everyone’s bewildered stares around you?
Well then, this link is for you: cracked.com
I wasn’t sure whether to categorize this as business or crime. Either works.
Comcast is going to abandon its attempt to buy Time Warner Cable, with an announcement to be made as soon as tomorrow, Bloomberg reported today, citing anonymous sources.
“Comcast Corp. is planning to walk away from its proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable Inc., people with knowledge of the matter said, after regulators decided that the deal wouldn’t help consumers, making approval unlikely,” Bloomberg wrote.