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|"Kill them all. God will select those who should go to heaven and those who should go to hell." --- Abbot Arnold de Citeaux 1205|
Janet Ginsburg _Business Week_
A body shop that invests in training
Labor Report on the State of Florida
"On Labor Day 2000, Florida's economy continues to do well. The unemployment rate was 3.8% (seasonally adjusted) in June of 2000, falling from 8.3% in 1992 and 5.5% in 1995. Total non-agricultural employment for June increased 4.4% from a year earlier, placing Florida #1 in growth rate among the ten most populous states in this area. Coupled with 9 years of economic expansion, incomes of Florida residents have been rising, although not quite as rapidly as for the nation as a whole.
1999 Florida per capita income was $28,023, 98.3% of the U.S. average. This represents a 4.4% increase over the previous year, and is 9.0% above the average for the 8 states in the South Atlantic Region (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware). Median income for a family of 4 in Florida was $52,581 in 1998 (the latest year for which statistics are available), or 93.8% of the U.S. average. This placed Florida 32nd out of the 50 states, unchanged from the year before...
As of the first quarter of 2000, the Florida average yearly wage was $31,203, only 87.5% of the national average. Similarly, the median hourly wage for all workers paid by the hour in the state in 1999 was $8.79/hour, or 92.2% of the U.S. average. This is also lower than the median hourly wage for the states of the Southeast Region, which was $9.17/hr. Adjusted for inflation, Florida median hourly rates in 1999 finally caught up to and slightly surpassed 1989 levels (the peak year of the last business cycle). In constant 1999 dollars they changed from $8.61/hour to $8.79/hour in that 10 year period."
Linda Gorman _NBER_
Foreign-Born Teaching Assistants Impair Under-Graduate Performance
"Ever since American universities began letting foreign-born graduate students teach under-graduate classes, those under-graduates have complained that their teachers' lack of English proficiency has compromised their education. In _Foreign-Born Teaching Assistants and the Academic Performance of Under-Graduates_, NBER Research Associate George Borjas concludes that American students enrolled in classes taught by foreign-born teaching assistants with limited English do tend to receive lower grades than those in classes taught by natives. His results suggest that at least one popular complaint, that foreign-born Teaching Assistants (TAs) lower the quality of American under-graduate education, may have some basis in fact."
Mark Clayton _Christian Science Monitor_
Foreign teaching assistants' accents indecipherable
"After a nearly decade-long lull, under-graduates at public and private research universities nationwide are again complaining publicly about their daily struggle to understand the heavily accented English of foreign-born teaching assistants, who help full-time faculty lead discussion groups, grade papers, and conduct labs... A new report suggests a serious impact from teachers' heavy accents. Under-graduate Americans in sections taught by foreign-born TAs received lower final grades than those taught by native speakers -- about 0.2 grade points lower -- according to a study by Harvard economist George Borjas... The first wave of student complaints arose in the mid-1980s. It led to laws in 18 states and statewide mandates in four others requiring that university teaching assistants be able to speak English clearly, says Patricia Monoson, a speech pathologist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock... Since 1999 January, under-graduates in at least 11 universities have complained publicly about TAs or professors whose English was hard to understand... But the number of foreign graduate students studying in the US did increase 11% last year to a record 211,426, compared with 190,244 just 2 years earlier, reports the Institute of International Education in New York."
David Williamson _U of NC Chapel Hill_
study provides direct evidence of cannibalism in the SouthWest
"...human waste dating back about 850 years shows that people of south-western Colorao engaged in cannibalism during a long drought... 'Cannibalism is one of the most controversial issues in the archaeology of the American SouthWest.', said Dr. Brian R. Billman... 'Previous archaeological and osteological (bone) studies have strongly indicated that cannibalistic episodes took place in the pre-historic South-West, but the evidence has been essentially circumstantial. Now, we've identified bio-chemical remains of human tissues in a coprolite...'..."
US job cuts are on the rise
"U.S. employers in the past 2 months revealed plans to cut more than 121K jobs. Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., said Thursday that 57,221 planned job cuts were announced in August, 11% fewer than the 63,967 announced in July. The monthly average over the last 2 months was 63% higher than the monthly average for the first 6 months (37,237). Job cuts over the 43 business days in July and August averaged 2,818 per day. 'The monthly job-cut average over the last 2 months is 10% higher than the monthly average recorded in 1998, the highest job-cut year since we began tracking such data in 1993.', said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. In 1998, 677,795 job cuts were announced. There have been 344,609 planned cuts announced in 2000."
Norm Matloff _Washington Post_/_Pop.Stop_
Hanna Rosin _Washington Post_ pg A1
A Worn-Out Welcome Mat
Lisa Vaas _eWeek_/_Colosseum Builders_
H-1B fees fail to lessen reliance on imported IT skills
"When Congress agreed, requiring all employers applying for H-1B visas to kick $500 per visa into a fund, much of which is ear-marked for re-training U.S. workers, President Clinton claimed victory... Two years later, although the fees have raised $153.7M, IT employers and legislators say the programs funded by the money have so far failed to train significant numbers of Americans to fill the most important job openings or to reduce employers' reliance on H-1B workers.
In fact, as Congress prepares to consider 3 new bills that would again increase H-1B visas-and, in some cases, the training fees-IT employers and trade groups are beginning to call for changes in how the funds raised by re-training fees are controlled. Rather than being doled out by the Labor Department and other government agencies, the funds should be controlled by regional alliances that wed business, education and labor unions, say organizations such as the Information Technology Association of America.
eWeek reporting supports the claim that retraining programs funded by H-1B fees are failing to lessen dependence on imported IT talent... 'The reality is that for most of the [Labor Department's] history, they've focused on people with no skills, trying to get them basic skills.', Miller said."
David Lazarus _SF Chronicle_
Ambiguity Remains Despite Changes in H-1 Program: 1952 law designed to let skilled foreigners work here temporarily
"The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 defined a qualified H-1 recipient as 'an alien having residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning, who is of distinguished merit and ability and who is coming temporarily to the United States to perform temporary services of an exceptional nature requiring such merit and ability'. H-1 visas attracted only a limited number of applicants in the early years. State Department records show that the number of applications exploded in the 1970s, when about 20K visas were issued each year. The total number of H-1s handed out more than doubled every decade since then...
The only guideline to date has been a 1970 administrative decision from the Immigration and Naturalization Service observing that the term 'implies a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent that a person so described is pre-eminent in his field of endeavor'...
in 1989 when a new category, H-1A, was created to focus exclusively on nurses... They were followed by entertainers and models (16% ), engineers and scientists (15% ) and computer technicians (11% ), according to the General Accounting Office... all non-medical visa applicants fell under a new heading: H-1B...
A 1988 government report found that numerous H-1 workers did not possess the skills intended by the system... By 1999, according to immigration officials, tech workers from abroad accounted for more than 60% of all H-1B visas issued, and of this number, about half came from India."
David Lazarus _SF Chronicle_ pg A1
A Question of Fraud: Silicon Valley pushes for more foreign workers despite federal probes (with graphs, illos)
"One of the most common forms of H-1B fraud involves falsification of academic and work credentials. A bachelor's degree (or its vocational equivalent) is required for H-1B status, as well as proof of specific work skills. [That's not quite true. USCIS reports that hundreds of applicants without the equivalent of a US high school diploma, and thousands without the equivalent of a US bachelor's degree were approved for H-1Bs.]
Some Indians have reported that over-seas recruiters will charge workers as much as $6K to improve their visa chances. In return, relatively unskilled workers will receive a month or 2 of computer training along with paper-work attesting to far more extensive work experience. Diplomas from existing or even non-existent universities also can be arranged... Yates told legislators that a subsequent immigration service investigation revealed that 21% of vocational resumes submitted by visa applicants were fictitious and 29% more 'were either probably or possibly fraudulent'... Christopher Lamora, a spokesman for the State Department's bureau of consular affairs... said, about 20% of resumes submitted still contain fraudulent information."
Alan Tonelson _Information Impacts Magazine_/_Center for Information Strategy and Policy_/_SAIC_
Globalization and High Tech Wage Lag
"technology workers still represent less than 3% of all American jobs... According to the Economic Policy Institute, the less than 20% of the work-force that has finished 4 years of college but lacks post-graduate schooling saw its real wages actually fall by 2.7% from 1973 to 1997... pharmaceuticals, aerospace, computers, semiconductors, other computer parts, electro-diagnostic equipment, and telecommunications equipment...
Worldwide, between 1992 and 1999, the United States ran a trade surplus in these industries collectively, but the surplus dwindled from just over $25.7G to $6.3G. For the first half of 2000, the United States ran a global deficit in these industries of $1.6G... Between 1992 and 1999, a $2G US surplus with the most important emerging market countries (e.g., [Red China], Mexico, Brazil, India, Taiwan, South Korea) turned into a $28G deficit. This year, this deficit is set to top $30G...
Because H-1Bs need to be sponsored by companies, they lack the freedom to change jobs enjoyed by other American workers. Moreover, in violation of federal regulations, employers routinely pay them less than their US-born counterparts receive, with the pay gap standing at 15%-50%, according to independent estimates.
Just as important, wage and salary trends in high tech industries like software, where H-1Bs have been concentrated, belie the high tech companies' claims of a labor shortage. They strongly indicate that industry is using the new influx of low-paid foreign workers to pump up the supply of labor available to American business and thereby reduce or preempt wage pressures. Indeed, the unemployment rate for computer programmers over the age of 50 has been reliably estimated at an astonishing 17%, and as of 1997, 6.1% of new computer science Ph.D.s could not find stable, full-time employment. Small wonder that, according to economist Robert Lerman of The American University, salaries for computer scientists, operations researchers and computer programmers have been absolutely flat for most of the 1990s. Moreover, recent volatility in technology stock prices indicates that stock options are not always adequate substitutes for more conventional forms of compensation."
Trent Lott forces show-down on guest-worker visa bill: Democrats, high-tech industry want to increase the number of foreign technical workers in the USA
"President Clinton and congressional Democrats have supported higher limits. They have demanded, however, an amendment to give amnesty to more than 500K mostly Hispanic illegal immigrants. For Republicans, the amendment represents a political land mine because their presidential candidate, George W. Bush, is challenging Democrat Al Gore for the Hispanic vote. Lott said yesterday he will force the Senate to vote Tuesday on a procedural move that would prevent that and other amendments to the so-called H-1B bill, named for the type of visa... The bill is the technology industry's top remaining legislative priority, and both parties have been competing for financial support from industry executives... The Electronic Industries Alliance, a lobbying group that backs the H1-B bill, has been encouraging congressional leaders to pass the bill in the Senate and attach it to the session's big wrap-up spending bill, in order to avoid turf fights in the House."
Hiring Foreign Tech Workers: In granting visas, Congress bowed to high-tech money
"Congress is finishing up a bill that will grant H1-B visas to some 200K high-tech workers from over-seas for the next 3 years. That's in addition to the existing half-million such workers already in the country. President Clinton apparently has given his support to the measure. Such generosity to one industry -- albeit one driving the economy -- is thanks largely to its increasing political clout. The industry gives campaign contributions to Democrats and Republicans in roughly equal amounts. The total will exceed $22M this year, more than double the $8.9M of 4 years ago... Critics were ignored in their charge that high-tech firms are not lacking for résumés, but may only be short of younger workers willing to work for less money and longer hours... The GAO says the H1-B program is open to abuse by companies for 2 reasons: (1) the Labor Department has limited legal authority to enforce the program and (2) weaknesses in enforcement by the Immigration and Naturalization Service."
2000-09-28 11:50PDT (14:50EST) (19:50GMT)
Cecily Barnes _CNET_
Garden.com trimming more than 40% of staff
"A recent report by the out-placement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas showed that job cuts at Internet companies jumped 55% from July to August, led by on-line retailers."
OverTime Pay for California's Computer Industry: How the NWU Protected Over-Time Pay for Silicon Valley Tech Writers
"In 2000 April, over-time pay was enacted for all who work in California. A new law (AB60, Assembly Bill 60) established the 40-hour week and mandated over-time pay for work over 40 hours... The recruiters accepted our [tech writer guild] exemptions because they were going after bigger fish: the engineers. The computer engineers who work as W-2 contractors are generally earning $100-$300/hr and often work 60-80 hours per week. The recruiters were afraid that if such workers were entitled to over-time pay, the companies may cut over-time work, & therefore the recruiters would lose their 30%-50% share of that money (this can be much as $6K per week to a recruiter for a single worker.)"
The Digital Work Force: State Data & Rankings
"Information technology's share of the US economy nearly doubled between 1977 and 1998. The number of people working in core IT occupations grew 6 times faster from 1983 to 1998 than the over-all US work force."
H-1B Foreign Workers: Better Controls Needed To Help Employers and Protect Workers
"Under the law, H-1B workers must be employed in specialty occupations and have suitable credentials for the job, and their employers must meet certain labor conditions, including paying comparable wages. These requirements are intended to ensure that American workers are not adversely affected. The number of foreign workers legally authorized to enter the United States annually through the H-1B program has increased substantially -- from 65K in 1992 to 115K in 1999 and 2000. [And raised to 195K in 2000 October.]... Almost half [48%] of the workers approved for new H-1B visas in fiscal year 1999 were born in India, with the second highest number of workers born in [Red China] ([9%] see fig. 5). In total, at least 119 countries were represented. Almost three-quarters of the workers approved for IT-related occupations were born in India, compared to 14% for those workers approved for non-IT-related occupations."
Chris Brantley _IEEE-USA_
Congress deliberating over huge increase in numbers of H-1B visas
Peter Kuhn _IRPP_
Policies for an Internet Labour Market
"More than 2000 on-line job sites exist, the vast majority in the USA. (For an updated list, see Internetpost.com.) These sites range from large omnibus sites like monster.com (claiming 6M registered users, 2.8M resume postings, and 330K job listings), to more specialized sites... In 1999, US firms spent a total of $411M on on-line recruiting, up from $182M the previous year... a study looking at US data from 1998 December reports that 15% of unemployed job seekers and 7% of employed workers regularly looked for work on the Internet. This figure rises dramatically if we factor in Internet access: 50% of unemployed job seekers who have Internet access in their home regularly job-search on-line. By 1998, Internet job-search was already more popular than 5 of the 9 active search methods recognized by the US bureau of labor statistics in its monthly survey...
Summary of NSF Accounts
"The FY2000 Budget Request for Education and Human Resources (EHR) is $711.0M, an increase of 3.2%, over the FY1999 Current Plan. Within the FY2000 Request, $678.0M is included within the EHR Appropriation, and $33.0M is from H-1B Nonimmigrant Petitioner Fees. EHR supports a cohesive and comprehensive set of activities which encompass every level of education and every region of the country. EHR also plays a major role in the Foundation's long-standing commitment to developing our nation's human resources for the science and engineering work-force of the future... NSF Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education initiated in FY1999, continues to support graduate and advanced under-graduate SMET majors as content resources for K-12 teachers. In FY2000, H-1B Non-immigrant Petitioner fees for NSF are projected to be $33.0M for the following activities: Computer Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Scholarships; Grants for Mathematics, Engineering, or Science Enrichment Courses; and Systemic Reform Activities."
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