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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the good-for-nothing-lazy-programmers dept.

Programming 529

dcblogs (1096431) writes On the floor of U.S. Senate Thursday, Sen. Jeff Sessions delivered a scalding and sarcastic attack on the use of highly skilled foreign workers by U.S. corporations that was heavily aimed at Microsoft, a chief supporter of the practice. Sessions' speech began as a rebuttal to a recent New York Times op-ed column by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, investor Warren Buffett and Sheldon Adelson ... But the senator's attack on "three of our greatest masters of the universe," and "super billionaires," was clearly primed by Microsoft's announcement, also on Thursday, that it was laying off 18,000 employees. "What did we see in the newspaper today?" said Sessions, "News from Microsoft. Was it that they are having to raise wages to try to get enough good, quality engineers to do the work? Are they expanding or are they hiring? No, that is not what the news was, unfortunately. Not at all."

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Free market economy (4, Insightful)

scsirob (246572) | about 4 months ago | (#47488205)

Well, as tough as it is, and as right as this senator may sound, this is the result of global free market economy. Companies get their resources where they are cheapest, regardless if this is parts or people.

Re:Free market economy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488215)

If you believe in a global free market economy, I've got a bridge for sale on prime Florida real estate guaranteed to give a 3000% return. Act now! The prince of Nigeria is also interested now that he has transferred all his money to the US.

Re:Free market economy (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488245)

Somebody needs an abject lesson on free market globalisation, and it's not scsirob.

Re:Free market economy (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488371)

"You must be stupid if you believe that" is a logical fallacy.

Re:Free market economy (4, Funny)

paiute (550198) | about 4 months ago | (#47488467)

"You must be stupid if you believe that" is a logical fallacy.

Man, you are stupid if you believe that.

Did he just notice that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488559)

U.S. Senator blasts Microsoft's H-1B push as it lays off 18,000 workers

Senator notices Microsoft is evil.

Re:Free market economy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488233)

there is no real free market economy, it is just some regulatory keynesian shit run but central bankers scumsters

Re:Free market economy (4, Insightful)

Skarjak (3492305) | about 4 months ago | (#47488241)

Except you don't have to raise your hands and claim there's nothing you can do about it. The government can easily regulate this.

Re:Free market economy (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488259)

we had enough regulation already, look where it got us. do you think throwing the same shit over and over again is going to work? we need a fundamental change.

Re:Free market economy (2)

BonThomme (239873) | about 4 months ago | (#47488279)

"we don't need regulation, we need fundamental change!"

coming to a political campaign near you...

Re:Free market economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488349)

we had enough regulation already, look where it got us. do you think throwing the same shit over and over again is going to work? we need a fundamental change.

"we don't need regulation, we need fundamental change!"

coming to a political campaign near you..

How's that "hopey-changey" stuff workin' out for ya?

[winks]

[snaps gum]

Re:Free market economy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488291)

>we had enough regulation already, look where it got us.

To the most economically, technologically and military powerful nation the planet?

America only started falling off once Reagan and Clinton started busting unions, signing free trade treaties, giving amnesties to illegal aliens and deregulating wall street.

Re:Free market economy (4, Interesting)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 4 months ago | (#47488379)

Well, we paid for all that with $17 trillion of debt, and a behavior/thought process that it was ok, starting with Reagan and continuing to this day.

Other countries are just waiting for it all to collapse and pick our bones.

Re:Free market economy (5, Insightful)

tie_guy_matt (176397) | about 4 months ago | (#47488373)

What did regulation get us? You mean after the new deal was put in place but before Ragean and company went about getting rid of it? Hmm let's see? End of the great depression? But wait Rush Limbah says that WW2 ended the great depression? Well the great depression was starting to end before WW2 but if you are saying that the massive government spending and massive government growth during WW2 ended the great depression then I have to thank you for proving my point exactly,

What else did it get us? ~50 years of strong growth without any real recessions? Strongest middle class in the history of mankind? Turning the US economy into the biggest in the world with the largest manufactoring base? Remember back in the day all the best consumer electronics were all made in the USA. Our manufactoring base was protected because from the founding of the country until about the 1980's we actually charged tariffs to people importing goods we could make here. In fact until WW1 tarrifs completely funded the federal government.

Execpt for all of that then I guess I would have to say yeah, regulations gave us nothing. Guess we need a fundamental change? And by fundemental change I guess you mean do the same thing we have been doing for the last ~30 years? I.E continue to deregulate and destroy whatever is left of the new deal? Yes we should not got back to the way things were back in the 50's and 60's. Back then the government actually regulated business. Back then a CEO could not be paid in stock (so he -- and yes back then it was always he, couldn't pump and dump like everyone loves to do today.) If a company became a monopoly then the government would split it up. The government wouldn't allow banks to lend money to people that couldn't afford to pay it back. And since the ultra rich had a +50% top tax bracket (with a lot fewer shelters so they actually mostly paid it) more rich people invested more money in their companies (to avoid paying taxes) and so there was less money around to have tons of bubbles in the stock market, energy market, housing market, etc. Back then companies actually had R&D departments because the CEOs all weren't slaves to the stock price -- they actually cared about the long term future of the company (imagine that!)

No you are right we should certainly not go back to the way things were back then. We need a fundemental change and that means doing the same thing we have been doing since Ragean.

Re:Free market economy (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 4 months ago | (#47488429)

No you are right we should certainly not go back to the way things were back then.

Well, for one thing, the rest of the world is not going to let us go back to being one of the dominant world powers after most other modern countries were leveled post WWII. The idea that 'government regulation' made the post-war economic boom is so ridiculous, I'm surprised you dare foist it off on us.

The rest of the world hasn't been leveled in a world war, and we can't just roll out a Marshall plan to achieve world dominance and prosperity for our middle class, like we did in the period that you're claiming 'government regulation' caused. I call bullshit on your whole thesis.

Re:Free market economy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488529)

Well, for one thing, the rest of the world is not going to let us go back to being one of the dominant world powers after most other modern countries were leveled post WWII.

Look around you. The US is the dominant world power.

...and we can't just roll out a Marshall plan to achieve world dominance and prosperity for our middle class...

The US has world dominance already, and the only thing stopping the US from rolling out a "Marshall Plan" to re-build the middle class is politics.

GP's point that the US government ran things much better in the past is absolutely correct. Further, GP's point about the disastrous results of deregulation is also correct. Only those blinded by ideology (or the young/naive) would fail to recognize these things.

Re:Free market economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488541)

Without providing a single counter-point. Touché

Outsourcing should be illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488375)

Outsourcing to foreign countries should be outright illegal. Every job given away is food taken out of the mouths of US children. Companies that do that should be given a death a million times worse than Osama Bin-laden.

Re: Outsourcing should be illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488435)

Oh brother.

Re:Free market economy (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488267)

He can't. Jeff Sessions is a Republican in the Senate. Harry Reid is single handedly deciding on what gets to the Senate floor for a vote and what does not. Until Reid chooses to do somehting about it, nothing can be done in the Senate. Sessions is attempting to shame everyone who is preventing something from being done.

With Reid as Senate Majority leader there will be no free market. A free market might allow people to not be dependent on government hand outs and he can't allow that to happen.

Re:Free market economy (2, Insightful)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 4 months ago | (#47488385)

So, the Senate controls the markets?

Really?

Or is it just Reid?

Not decades and decades of bad & manipulated & paid-for laws/regulations/state monopolies?

Re:Free market economy (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488251)

That's still only part of the picture. You're only looking at how producers choose to operate. We also need to look at how consumers operate.

If a producer choose to use cheaper workers, who are often far less-capable when it comes to knowledge-intensive trades like software development, then the producer's products will start to suffer, sooner or later. If they produce operating systems, for example, then they may start producing ones with unusable, flat, "Modern" user interfaces.

Consumers are the other part of the picture. Being it a somewhat free market economy, they can choose whether or not to buy from the producer in question. If the producer's increasingly-worse products aren't of value to consumers, be they individuals or corporations, they'll look elsewhere for products to satiate their needs.

In the short run, companies who choose to use cheap, third-world labor may see some financial benefits. In the long run, however, they always lose. Their products will suffer, especially if the cheap, third-worlders are brought to more prosperous nations to perform knowledge work that is far beyond their capability. Customers will stop buying that producer's products. The producer will feel the pinch, financially.

If you have a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader installed, look at its credits. Notice the names, and their obvious origins. It'll be clear why it's such a lousy piece of software.

Re:Free market economy (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#47488305)

There's nothing wrong with modern user interfaces. The problem is that most user interfaces since 1990s have been post-modern. But large software companies are like bureacracies: they'll never do anything that would allow them to shrink their teams, such as re-introducing modern (orthogonal, composable, flexible) user interfaces. Or small, orthogonal, non-redundant systems (the likes of Oberon or DynaBook, for example). You just can't expect them to act against their self-interests, among which is the wish to grow boundlessly.

Re:Free market economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488341)

Riiiiiiiight. There's nothing wrong with the UI of Windows 8 or the UI of GNOME 3 or Firefox's new Australis UI? Is that why they've become smashing, instant successes, seeing massive uptake and universal praise?

Wait a fucking minute, that's not at all what's happened at all. Those modern UIs have all been despised by pretty much everyone who has had to use them!

GNOME 3 is pretty much unused at this point, with former GNOME users fleeing to Unity, Cinnamon, MATE, KDE, Xfce, LXDE, and other environments. It's a dead project.

Firefox is dying. The hatred for Australis totally drowned out anyone supporting it, if there even was anybody who liked it. The stats for all of my web sites, which reach large technical and non-technical audiences, show users fleeing Firefox. This has actually accelerated the past few months.

And Microsoft had to partially backtrack with Windows 8.1. And what we know about Windows 9 so far suggests there will be even more backtracking. The Metro/Modern UI has been an absolute disaster.

There's universal dislike for iOS 7's UI changes, and Android will apparently be going down the same path of failure with its next major release.

The GP comment is correct. Users will get away from bad software as quickly as they can, and modern UIs truly are bad, thanks to the truly good designers of the past being shunned as of late.

Re:Free market economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488399)

Well, at leaste you didn't have to resort to hyperbole.

Re:Free market economy (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 4 months ago | (#47488489)

Software companies don't 'grow' by getting it right, then maintaining the goodness that they've achieved. They 'grow' their market by shitcanning last year's version and coming out with something new to sell us. The whole concept of 'growth' is just wrong for software. Software should develop through convergence. It just just keep getting better.

In fact, if software grew along lines of convergence, new features might cause increased resource usage, but other than that, the new word processor or spreadsheet should become gradually faster and more efficient on older hardware.

The self-interest of commercial software developers like Microsoft involves ripping everything down and building it over again ever few years. If we allowed the building construction industry to operate like that they'd tear everything down every decade or so.

Re:Free market economy (4, Insightful)

itsenrique (846636) | about 4 months ago | (#47488275)

"Global free market economy" is just a bunch of BS. How has this being a global economy made it easier for Americans to go to Western Europe for example to work? Not a damn bit. It isn't a "global free market" thats just some politispeak BS. These trade agreements are really just designed to inflate company profits. They don't open up borders in any meaningful ways that help us.

Re:Free market economy (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488311)

There's very little reason for an American to go work in Western Europe, since both are highly-civilized places with talented native workers.

An American who wants to work a Western European job could most likely find the same or an equivalent job in the United States. The same goes for a Western European who wants to work an American job. There's no need to move to a different the people or the jobs to a different continent.

The global economy is all about unskilled, or insufficiently-skilled, labor from third world hellholes like India trying to perform jobs they are not capable of performing. Sometimes the work is sent to them, like in the case of call centers or some software development. Sometimes they're brought to civilized nations, like in the case of H-1B visas. But the end result is always inferior results. I'm sure we've all had a horrible experience with an Indian-based call center, where "Steve" has a thick and nearly incomprehensible Hindi accent. Or we've had to work with an offshore software development team that lies about their work and sends us totally unrelated and unusable code they found on Stack Overflow (or worse, they send you "C# code" that's actually JavaScript).

Regardless, we don't naturally find these jobs arising in these third world hellholes because the foundational talent just isn't there. If the work is being done overseas, it's because some Western corporation has basically forced it over there, or forcefully brought the labor back to the civilized Western nation.

Re: Free market economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488337)

Yeah, that accent. Last one I heard was sounded like they were from south Carolina or maybe Texas or something. Friendly but I could barely understand them.

Re: Free market economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488525)

Sure they did, Praveesh....sure they did.

Re:Free market economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488327)

lol - it's not a free economy for citizens - it's a free economy for corporations. They are free to hire workers in western europe.

Re:Free market economy (2)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#47488343)

How has this being a global economy made it easier for Americans to go to Western Europe for example to work?

EU legislation for hiring foreign workers is easily comparable to the US H1-B system. So, Indian workers can come to the US when an American company asserts a skill shortage, and Americans can go to Europe when a EU company asserts a skills shortage.

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488313)

u are dumb..

externalities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488323)

So, then, you have no problem with having your products made by slave labor? Sure is inexpensive, and the wages are low. Or chemical plants that don't have to deal with those pesky environmental regulations for emissions into water, air and soil?

That's where the whole "the job is worth $X universally". It's not really the same job.

Here in the U.S. (and Europe), we don't allow people to work as slaves, and we generally require a reasonably safe workplace. Buying services overseas from a country with less regulation is essentially getting around rules that we as a group in society feel are important. Now, you and I may not agree on *all* the rules and regulations, but that's sort of the sacrifice one makes for living in "civilization", as a opposed to a Lord of the Flies free-for-all.

Re:Free market economy (1)

ExXter (1361251) | about 4 months ago | (#47488335)

Actually. As hard as this sounds. "As you sow, so you shall reap." The USA as a forerunner of free market and corrupt and greedy company management gets what it deserves. Detroit and many other big cities were the beginning... but not of the End! of the Beginning of the End.

You as americans have a choice and a vote, each 2-4 years. You can either do something or you don't want to. The spiral and time is working against you.

I do not deny it, we in europe got the same problems but the tides are turning and unrest takes root. We all can feel whats coming. I hope its not the worst case scenario.

Let's sum it up ironically "The winter is coming." What side of the wall are you?

Re:Free market economy (5, Insightful)

geoskd (321194) | about 4 months ago | (#47488411)

You as Americans have a choice and a vote, each 2-4 years. You can either do something or you don't want to. The spiral and time is working against you.

Every so often we get to vote, but we are limited to two choices, both of which have been given large sums of money by various PACs, which are essentially just fronts for various corporate officers. Often, the same PAC will back both candidates in any given race, just so that they get the benefit of backing the winner every time. There is no democratically elected leadership in this country anymore, there is only a selection between two candidates presented to the masses by the 1%. In all the ways that really matter (fiscal policy, economic policy, regulation, law enforcement, etc...), the candidates are identical. They will debate and argue over the issues that the public has been trained to believe really matter, but in reality the issues that are hotly contested don't really matter, and the ones that do, are quietly agreed upon behind closed doors. How many politicians that truly have power have done anything to end Guantanamo, or the rights abuses happening there? How many have done anything to end the systematic dissolution of our constitutional rights? How many have actually taken steps to fix the systemic problems that led to the recession? How many have taken any action to help eliminate the vastly disproportional power the 1% wield in our political system? How many have taken steps to address the extraordinary and growing wealth and earnings inequalities in our society?

The answer to these questions is now, and has been: none that matter. The only way we will be able to undo the damage the 1% have done to our country will be through an extraordinary action outside the accepted political system, because everything inside the political system has been thoroughly corrupted by those with the real power: the 1%.

Re:Free market economy (1)

exploder (196936) | about 4 months ago | (#47488515)

In all the ways that really matter (fiscal policy, economic policy, regulation, law enforcement, etc...), the candidates are identical.

I think you've taken a valid point and stretched it a little far here. If we'd had eight years of Gore starting in 2000, do you think Iraq would have played out exactly the same? If we were on our way to eight years of McCain starting in 2008, do you think the trends in health insurance would be what they are?

Whether you approve or disapprove, you have to agree they'd have been different.

Re:Free market economy (1)

jythie (914043) | about 4 months ago | (#47488567)

Which is part of why no developed country has a pure free-market economy. Economies where companies depend on OTHER companies paying their people well while finding ways to pay poorly themselves tend to spiral down and crash. If h1bs were completely unrestricted companies would quickly find their profits crash as the market for their products dries up.

That is the economic problem with globalization, wages and prices are locally coupled, and it is every company`s individual best interest to max/min in a particular way, but unless regulation changes the weights, it all comes crashing down.

Jeff Sessions (R) (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488209)

As usual, leave off the R when they do something good. Leave off the Dwhen they do something bad.

Well yeah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488229)

If somebody does something good you should overlook their political affiliations :)

In the same way if they do something bad you should hold them personally responsible rather than claiming it's because of their political affiliations.

Anybody who thinks they're not all sucking the same corporate dick should invest heavily in the bridge and nigerian prince mentioned above.

Quite frankly though the fact that it took anybody in the Senate this long to speak up on the issue indicates how complacent they've become.

Jeff Sessions (R) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488331)

You are a fucking racist. Quit hating the president, WE WON.

Re:Jeff Sessions (R) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488407)

Yet another example of the bigotry and profiling of the liberal left.

Re: Jeff Sessions (R) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488505)

Don't bother arguing with Obama's fan club. His reality distortion field just might be the equal of Steve Jobs'.

Sen. Jeff Sessions(R) (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488217)

FTFY

Jobs Not Neccesarily Identical (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488219)

The few articles that I've read state that the layoffs are primarily middle management and a ton of Nokia personelle (presumably Nokia peronell aren't overwhelmingly in America?). H-1B are technical professionals not business majors, though I doubt that there isn't some overlap. Said overlap might be shitty workers that they slapped on to the overall firing (easier to fire people for this than bulding up a bunch of evidence for just cause).

Silly argument (5, Insightful)

neilo_1701D (2765337) | about 4 months ago | (#47488221)

There's a false comparison being made here... who says the Nokia engineer or the Xbox content maker being laid off has the same skills as the programmer they are wanting to hire?

Re:Silly argument (4, Funny)

andy1307 (656570) | about 4 months ago | (#47488225)

There's a false comparison being made here... who says the Nokia engineer or the Xbox content maker being laid off has the same skills as the programmer they are wanting to hire?

Facts don't matter when THEY'RE TAKING OUR JOBS!!!

Re:Silly argument (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488269)

And if the jobs that are lost are in Finland, why bring facts into a perfectly good soundbite?

Re:Silly argument (3, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 months ago | (#47488319)

It's not clear yet how the the layoffs will be distributed, but they certainly won't be all in Finland. Microsoft's already given notice [wa.gov] of 1351 layoffs in Redmond, and that's likely only the first round of Redmond layoffs.

Re:Silly argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488235)

Please don't confuse the discussion by bringing facts into it.

Silly argument (part 2) (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488257)

Why should we pass laws to enable a company to do what it wants?

Laws should be passed because they are morally right and protect the American people, not to make business more profitable. Train the workers you have.

Re:Silly argument (part 2) (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488325)

Because workers are dirt, they are an inconvenience for the oligarchs. The US will never pass laws to protect the bottom classes and the sooner the middle-class is crushed, the better. Get used to it. No American will fight for their future, they're more than happy to watch generic celebrity TV shows and buy more shiney things that need replacing every couple of years. Ten years from now, you won't even be able to buy media, it'll all be pay-per view/listen or subscriptions.

Re:Silly argument (5, Informative)

Tandava Nadesan (3623123) | about 4 months ago | (#47488261)

true but a few decades ago they would have retrained the competent engineers in areas where they needed skills instead of firing them and getting an h1b visa worker.

Re:Silly argument (1)

BonThomme (239873) | about 4 months ago | (#47488285)

yes, they might only have 3 years of Javascript experience when you really need 4...

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488307)

There's a false comparison being made here... who says the Nokia engineer or the Xbox content maker being laid off has the same skills as the programmer they are wanting to hire?

Really? And exactly what skills would those be?

So, they are going to lay-off programmers and engineers who have worked on the product and hire folks who know nothing about the product? Do you know what happens to a product when people who know nothing about it work on it? It turns to complete shit. I have seen it.

This "don't have the skills" excuse is getting old. I have a tennis buddy who is an HR big shot at a very large IT/development company. We were talking about the guys who have been out of work for a year or so. The hiring managers don't want them because they "forgot what they know".

The HR guy replies, "Not ten years worth."

Out of work guys don't get a job. They are told that "they do not have the skills".

"Do not have the skills", "You do not fit in" and other vaugue non-sense reasons are just quick excuses and nothing more to get rid of people for capricious reasons.

My father in law had an interview and an exited employer until they interviewed his 74 year old ass.

"Sorry, you are not a good fit." was their rejection email.

Really, until I start seeing actual lists of skills and reasons, I think all these excuses are bullshit. Just bullshit to hire in some cheap labor in or from a Third World country.

Re:What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488451)

My friend interviewed for a position and he is a top sort of developer. Unbelievably qualified. On top of that, he is about the most friendly sort you can imagine. He did get hired, but required an override because HR said he'd be bad for morale. Of all the people I could imagine he would be about the last on list of 'bad for morale'. I guess you could go deeper into indiscriminate sycophant, but those people are worse for morale.

Re:Silly argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488365)

There's a false comparison being made here... who says the Nokia engineer or the Xbox content maker being laid off has the same skills as the programmer they are wanting to hire?

Well, I think that will become evident when they don't close out entire departments after laying off thousands, and instead keep those positions open with the exact same job description...

...and then hire young workers desperate for a job. But hey, that's not age discrimination or anything, because programming is a "young" field where the single youth are willing to toll night and day at half the pay.

Re:Silly argument (5, Informative)

MeNeXT (200840) | about 4 months ago | (#47488415)

I say that in the 18,000 is more than one.

It's amazing how people are born with skill sets and training has absolutely nothing to do with it. /sarcasm If you are a programer by trade you should easily adapt.

The programer that they want to hire costs less. That's it. That's all.

Re:Silly argument (4, Interesting)

jsepeta (412566) | about 4 months ago | (#47488479)

The only skill Microsoft is seeking is a low daily wage.

Re:Silly argument (4, Insightful)

geoskd (321194) | about 4 months ago | (#47488511)

There's a false comparison being made here... who says the Nokia engineer or the Xbox content maker being laid off has the same skills as the programmer they are wanting to hire?

That right there is the problem. The two groups of people have the same basic skills that are necessary to do the jobs, and the only thing either party was lacking is some limited training related to the specifics of the job. Until the late '70s, it was well understood that a company had to plan for and pay for training to bring every new employee up to speed. colleges and trade schools gave them the basic skill set, but the company had to pay for the rest. Since then, companies are trying to cut costs, and one of the easiest cost buckets is the training budget. Simply wipe it and only hire people who already have the exact skill set you need. The problem is that when every company does this, no one gets trained, and there slowly develops a perception of a labor shortage... The reality is that companies expectations from new employees and employment candidates has become unreasonable and untenable The labor pool hasn't really changed, but the corporate attitude towards hiring has changed. This is truly compounded by the trend towards globalization, where you get tens of thousands of applicants for every position, so instead of having an engineering manager go through the few tens of applications and picking the closest fit, you now have an unqualified HR hack going through 150k applications and reporting back that there is nobody who exactly fits the requirements given by the engineering manager. Never mind that at least 10% of those applicants could learn the skills they need in a very short time, and be productive to meet the needs of the position. Congress needs to shut off the supply of H1B, and tell these companies to fix their hiring practices if they want to fix the "labor shortage".

When it comes to engineering, the difference between an XBox application programmer and Nokia OS programmer is many orders of magnitude smaller than the difference between an HR manager and an engineering manager... The guy being laid off could pick up and do any number of jobs currently being occupied by H1B holders without much fuss at all. Its about time, that these companies had their feet held to the fire.

Stop The Foreign Invasion (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488231)

I say we just close our border altogether and stop these migrants from coming here. They are ruining our country and living good on our backs with government housing, food, healthcare and benefits that they would never get in their shithole home countries.
Look at the waves of poor, uneducated Central Americans crashing our borders now. They know we won't have the stones to kick them back home because we have become a nation of pussies. America for Americans please.

Re:Stop The Foreign Invasion (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488271)

I say we just close our border altogether and stop these migrants from coming here.

Quite right. Say, which native American tribe are you, anyhow?

Re:Stop The Foreign Invasion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488417)

Even the "natives" migrated here.

Re:Stop The Foreign Invasion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488553)

Would have been easier on them if they just sat on their hands and repeated "we're just groups of immigrants" over and over, then taxed themselves to feed and educate Europeans as well.

Re:Stop The Foreign Invasion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488433)

Agreed. Anyone who crosses the border illegally needs to immediately be shot back across with a giant catapult! Life is hard these days, we need to think of ourselves.

Microsoft political graft scorecard: 0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488237)

I guess he didn't get his campaign contribution from $MSFT this year.

Mah jobs! (1)

mike555 (2843511) | about 4 months ago | (#47488243)

Mah jobs! Because it is your "right".

Not fungible (2)

jamesl (106902) | about 4 months ago | (#47488247)

Tech workers (and workers in general) are not fungible.

Re:Not fungible (1)

Erikderzweite (1146485) | about 4 months ago | (#47488303)

Much has been done so that conveyor belt workers are fungible. More qualified workers are, of course, not.

Re:Not fungible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488425)

I think the real problem is that 'qualified' has become fungible.

Otherwise, why would you hire an Indian for support/programming?

Re:Not fungible (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 months ago | (#47488329)

If tech companies weren't shit at training they would be somewhat more fungible, though not perfectly so. Engineering companies are somewhat better at this: if a company is looking for chemical engineers and can't find someone with experience in exactly the process they're hiring for, they'll hire a chemical engineer with experience in a different process and get them up to speed. Tech companies seem incapable of doing that, and instead they have a big list of really specific background they want, "must have 7 years of experience in J2EE and 3 years experience using Joe Bob's Serialization Framework", then complain they can't find anyone so it must be a "programmer shortage".

Re:Not fungible (1)

hibiki_r (649814) | about 4 months ago | (#47488391)

Tech skills often just translate very well across companies, so major efforts in training will make it easier for the employee to leave. Compare that with, say, domain knowledge: Knowing what your company does better will not help you get a job that pays better elsewhere. The end result is that training is the most attractive fora company that pays extremely well and rarely loses employees: The kind of company that does NOT need to train anyone, because it becomes a top destination of their market.

Who has trouble hiring? The companies that, for other reasons, have trouble with retention (and no, it's not a money problem except in the most egregious of cases). And if those companies start training people that lack the skills, they will stay for 6-12 months and leave to the next gig at one of those more desirable companies.

In engineering, employees' knowledge translates worse across companies, so they all need to provide training, so this problem of a lack of equilibrium I described is not the first thing hiring managers will talk about.

Re:Not fungible (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 4 months ago | (#47488503)

If tech companies weren't shit at training they would be somewhat more fungible, though not perfectly so. Engineering companies are somewhat better at this: if a company is looking for chemical engineers and can't find someone with experience in exactly the process they're hiring for, they'll hire a chemical engineer with experience in a different process and get them up to speed. Tech companies seem incapable of doing that, and instead they have a big list of really specific background they want, "must have 7 years of experience in J2EE and 3 years experience using Joe Bob's Serialization Framework", then complain they can't find anyone so it must be a "programmer shortage".

That's true, I wish I could count the advertisements I have seen specifying not just three or four certifications but also down to a dozen or more APIs that you must have top notch experience with in order to qualify. It's as if they are looking for a mental clone of some guy who left for a better paid job somewhere else and actually expect to find him/her. In some cases it's near impossible even to convince people that if you can handle web development in PHP you can handle web development in Perl. I'm not sure if this is really down to the tech companies or just the utter, utter, utter stupidity of HR personnel and headhunting agencies and their complete unfamiliarity with the industry they are recruiting personnel for. The last time I applied for a job at a headhunting agency they actually wanted me to write down a list of every API I had ever worked with and rate my skill level in it from on a scale of 1-10. I quickly realized that this list would be several pages long and a complete waste of time so I just told them I wasn't interested and found a job on my own. I can just imagine some HR person telling an aircraft mechanic to create an itemized list of every one of the thousands of component on an modern jet liner and rating his skill at reparing each one on a scale of 1-10.

Re:Not fungible (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 4 months ago | (#47488351)

Pretty much every manager I've ever had thought they are. All the big companies just see you as a "resource". They don't know a thing about your actual skills. They're just buzzwords to those people.

Re:Not fungible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488491)

Management is fungible. One of these days, the mangers' bosses will discover that making bad decisions and generating buzzword soup can also be outsourced to curry-munching cow hugging dotheads. In the case of Microsoft, this is obviously already the case since one is already running the show.

Work Shortage where is the Wage Increases?, (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488249)

Basic economics says if you are having a skills shortage in a certain sector then you should see wages increasing as employers attempt to attract the required labor. If wages are not going up then you do not have a skills shortage. This is something economist Dean Baker points out all the time.

Re:Work Shortage where is the Wage Increases?, (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488531)

The big players don't want to play by the same rules they tell you that you have to play by. They'll spew shit like "supply and demand", "econ 101", "life isn't fair", etc at you till they're blue in the face.

When the tables are turned and THEY are expected to pay more for something, they whine and cry to their favourite lawmakers, pull out the checkbook, and pay much less to simply have the rules changed in their favour.

Ever wonder why it is that you can't import cheap prescription drugs, even when its the exact same drugs made by a local pharma corp, but they can import all the cheap labour they want? Because they buy laws that benefit them, and you can't.

It doesn't get much simpler: most governments these days are simply for sale to the highest bidder. They don't give a shit about anything else. They don't care about the people, and they certainly don't give a flying fuck about you or I.

He should have... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488263)

He should have saved a shot for IBM.

Majority outside the US (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488273)

With 12000 being from the Nokia side of the business, and the majority of that outside the US, the Senator is just knee jerk reacting. The biggest hit is a factory in Finland (a few thousand at 1 location). The reason they are probably needing H1-B is to bring some of the staff from closed locations into the US. They aren't "taking jobs", their jobs are just moving local, to people who will pay taxes locally in America, rather than in another country.

Re:Majority outside the US (2)

Entrope (68843) | about 4 months ago | (#47488321)

I'll cut you a deal, AC: Microsoft gets a new allotment of H-1B visa sponsorships if they promise to only use them to bring workers who have jobs with Microsoft subsidiaries (as of some fixed day in the past) to the US, and consent to meaningful oversight to ensure they keep that promise. If they don't want to make that promise, I will infer they mostly want to fire people with decent-paying jobs (which I hear is the usual case in Finland, especially for tech workers) in favor of low-paid, almost captive labor.

Re:Majority outside the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488383)

Most people Microsoft brings to US are on L1B or L1A which they then convert to H1B

Re:Majority outside the US (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488393)

That visa already exists. It's called an L-1.

From Wikipedia: "The visa allows such foreign workers to relocate to the corporation's US office after having worked abroad for the company for at least one continuous year within the previous three prior to admission in the US. The US and non-US employers must be related in one of four ways: parent and subsidiary; branch and headquarters; sister companies owned by a mutual parent; or 'affiliates' owned by the same or people in approximately the same percentages."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L-1_visa

Re:Majority outside the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488481)

L1 isnt convertible to a green card for Indians and Chinese

Maybe Apples and Oranges? (0)

lsllll (830002) | about 4 months ago | (#47488277)

I haven't read the detail of the 18,000 M$ is laying off, and I doubt they have the detail anyways. But it could completely be that they're laying off all janitors and hiring an outside firm, or they're laying off a whole bunch of non-skilled or low-skilled workers. They may still need high-skilled workers with H-1B visas.

Re:Maybe Apples and Oranges? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488445)

Go read, because you sound like an ignorant ass.

Keep going ahead with this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488295)

A good side effect of this is that Microsoft is expanding more in Europe and Canada than in US now due to immigration problems. This means that as an Indian, if I get a chance to go abroad, I wont have to deal with the American immigration process, I can go to Norway\Denmark (where they give you citizenship in 10 years), or Canada instead of US where they make Indians and Chinese wait indefinitely for even a green card

We don't welcome Anti-American companies like M$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488299)

M$ do you hear us?
We don't want you in US anymore. Move out and take your your shitty OS with you.

Outsourcing is high treason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488315)

Any US company that outsources to a foreign county is treasonous and anti-patriotic.

If they love India so much, they should just pack up and move there. And stay out!

consider the source (4, Interesting)

buddyglass (925859) | about 4 months ago | (#47488377)

Jeff Sessions, Tea Party Guy. Of course he's going to take the nativist view. He probably thinks Microsoft could just take the 18,000 people it's laying off and repurpose them to fill whatever positions it's trying to use H1B visas for. Because tech skills are interchangeable, right? And all those 18,000 are totally okay relocating across the country (or globe) right?

Uhhh... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488471)

Nativist view? He works for the people of the U.S. Why do some of you expect him to speak and work for the people of the world? He's not in the U.N. and the U.S. doesn't need to speak for other countries.

Re:Uhhh... (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about 4 months ago | (#47488557)

I agree. Instead of H1B visas, we should get most of those folks on the fast track to citizenship. Then Sessions would work for them.

Re:consider the source (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 4 months ago | (#47488527)

Are your comments always just a bunch of memes glued together with a slam at the Tea Party on top for frosting?

Tell whichever PAC you work for that you need a reduction in pay.

Re:consider the source (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about 4 months ago | (#47488539)

Most of my comments have nothing to do with the Tea Party. I don't work for a PAC. In fact, I work in the industry most likely to be affected by an influx of H1B visa workers.

it's about immigration, stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488395)

Y'all are missing the point -- Jeff Sessions is a dumb-ass teabagger from AL. His big issue is immigration; he wants to keep any and all immigrants out of the US (excepting his own white self and his family, in the finest "I got mine, screw the rest of ya" republican tradition). He doesn't give a damn about jobs. He doesn't give a damn about engineers. All he wants is to send immigrant children back to the Mexican and Central American drugs-and-guns war zone he and his fellow congress critters created so he can get them dark skinned Spanish speaking people as far from himself as he can get them.

Jeff Sessions isn't very deep. Don't read more into this than there is.

Re:it's about immigration, stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488463)

Where do you live in America? Is it in a community full of Latinos and their gangs, none of whom speak English or hold down legitimate employment? Is it in an area with a high concentration of African Americans and their gangs, most of whom speak very broken, incomprehensible dialects of English, and none of whom hold down legitimate employment?

I'm pretty sure it's neither of those. People who have had to live in or even just near those sorts of communities don't glorify them, like you do. They realize that they're horrible places that mainly consist of horrible people. They are a pox on America.

Yes, people in the southern states are most vocal, as they've been most exposed to these sorts of cultures. It isn't like New York or Chicago, where these sorts of communities are relatively contained and isolated. It's very different in the southern states. Almost entire states have been overrun. It is civilized Americans (regardless of race; there's ever-increasing support for the "Tea Party" coming from Latinos and blacks who are fed up with how so many other Latinos or blacks choose to behave) who are forced to live in isolated ghettos, just because they don't want to be subjected to gang warfare, drug-addicted crazies, violence, robbery and prostitution.

If you were in the position of these so-called "teabaggers", you'd be expressing the exact same views that they are. Most of them are trying to save your civilized, middle-class America from being overrun like theirs has been by the sort of people who have turned Central America, Mexico and Africa into some of the worst imaginable places on Earth.

And I'm admitting all of this as a die-hard Democrat!

Re:it's about immigration, stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488545)

Maybe you should read the article. This is about STEM H1B's, not illegal aliens. Moron

Guess they don't need as many H-1B visas! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488405)

Since they are laying off local workers, I really think that Microsoft should have 18,000 fewer H-1B visas. After all, the H-1B visa is intended to fulfill a lack of local talent.

Require H1-B visa recipients be paid more (4, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47488487)

This is so easy to fix.

Establish what the standard rate is for whatever position and say "you can have all the H1-B visa applicants you want so long as you pay 20 percent more then what you're paying for domestic labor.

If its not a matter of pay and is a matter of limited labor supply, they'll import the labor and pay them more.

If it is about wanting cheap labor then they'll go with the domestic labor which will by law be cheaper.

End of discussion.

"As it lays 18,000 off workers" (2)

xigxag (167441) | about 4 months ago | (#47488495)

Seriously this is what it's come to, editors? "As it lays 18,000 off workers"? You can't even proofread the title?

Anyway, it's mostly non-American Nokia employees who are being laid off, and it has nothing to do with the H1-B situation. So bottom line Sessions is an idiot.

Re:"As it lays 18,000 off workers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47488535)

Slashdot story editing has already been outsourced to India.

Perhaps it will being helping if you are to be rebooting your computer a few times.

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