[biztech-discussion] More on offshoring, this time tech editing work

  • From: Al Weinrub <Allen.Weinrub@xxxxxxx>
  • To: biztech-discussion@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2004 22:33:52 -0700


I hope to have a report on significant progress toward launching the 
NWU's Oppose Offshoring
campaign. But for now, here is more grist for the mill, thanks to Ann 


Press Associates, Inc. (PAI) -- 9/20/2004

By Mark Gruenberg
PAI Staff Writer

    SEATTLE (PAI)--Seattle resident Barbara Kempf used to work for 
Encarta.  Her editing job there was intermittent, but it paid well and let
her put away money for her retirement.

    Not any more.

    Like hundreds of thousands of other information technology 
after the "recession" officially ended in November 2001, Kempf has lost her
job.  Microsoft let her go on March 8.

Unemployed for more than six months, Kempf's reached the end of her jobless
benefits.  Now she'll have to start drawing on that retirement nest egg. 
Last week she interviewed for another job, with the retailer Costco.

"I'm to the point where I'm looking anywhere and everywhere, because I 
afford to be that picky any more" and just interview for jobs in 
technology, she says.

Kempf is not alone.  A new report by the University of Illinois at Chicago,
commissioned by WashTech--a Communications Workers local that concentrates
on organizing information technology workers--paints a bleak picture of the
industry in the wake of the high-tech boom and bust.

America's High-Tech Bust found that IT firms alone lost 197,000 jobs after
the industry, once viewed as the driving engine of the "new economy,"
collapsed in late 2000.  That was the total through the "end" of the Bush

But even after "recovery" supposedly began, high-tech kept shedding jobs:
Another 206,000 from then to now.  Combined, since late 2000, 18.8 percent
of all IT jobs have disappeared.

And that's a conservative estimate, report co-author Nik Theodore adds.  It
counts just jobs lost in IT firms, and not those in IT areas of non-IT
firms.  Another report, for an industry trade group, puts overall IT job
losses in the millions.

    Theodore reported thousands of the former IT workers had to do what 
does now: Look for jobs anywhere and everywhere, and not necessarily in
their chosen field.  That sacrifices the workers' skills, says WashTech
President Marcus Courtney.

    "How can an economic recovery be declared when there are no new jobs
created?" in the field, at least in the U.S., he asks.

Press Associates, Inc. (PAI) -- 9/20/2004
(High-tech, cont. -2)

    "For IT workers, this isn't a jobless recovery, it's a job-loss 
Theodore notes.

    Kempf says 100 of her former co-workers, at an IT firm that has served
libraries for years, were laid off last week.  They must start a similar 

Courtney and Theodore said so many former IT workers had to leave the field
due to lack of opportunities for the last 36 months that IT
joblessness--once below 2 percent--recently declined, from 5.7 percent
earlier this year to 5 percent now.

    The report says loss of IT jobs, like industrial job loss, has a ripple
effect.  "When these middle-class workers lose their jobs, we lose their
spending in local economies that would have supported retail and other 
  The multiplier effect is very high: two-and-a-half or three-and-a-half to
one," Theodore said.

Some metro areas are hard hit.  The report covered the top seven IT-job
metro areas.  Since 2000, IT job losses were: Boston (34 percent), San Jose
(33 percent), San Francisco (49 percent), Dallas (30 percent), Chicago (26
percent), Seattle (10.8 percent) and metro Washington, D.C. (2.5 percent).

    Government policies contribute to the continuing high-tech/IT job 
loss, the
report, Theodore and Courtney add.  They include continuation of liberal
visa requirements, under the H1-B and L-1 visa programs, for foreign
workers, and government tax breaks that encourage creation of high-tech and
information technology jobs, overseas.

    The jobless U.S. IT workers are noticing that politicians have done 
to stem the job loss, Courtney says.  IT workers are mostly independent or
leaning Republican, polls show.  But they also noticed GOP nominee 
George W.
Bush and his ruling party refused to act on the visa issue or stem the
export of IT jobs to China, India, Russia and elsewhere.

    By contrast, says Courtney, whose parent CWA has endorsed Democratic
nominee John F. Kerry, they notice the senator--who is from a high-tech
state--proposed yanking tax credits that let firms create jobs abroad, 
enhancing credits for those that create jobs at home.

    Courtney also proposed requiring employers to give advance notice of 
IT job
losses.  And he said the government should extend federal trade adjustment
assistance to IT workers who lose their jobs overseas.  It's now open only
to industrial workers who lose their jobs to imports.  He also proposed
requiring firms seeking to hire foreign IT workers to first prove there are
no U.S. IT workers available--a point the report disproves.  ###
Press Associates, Inc. (PAI) -- 9/20/2004

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