[biztech-discussion] Re: biztech-discussion Digest V1 #25

  • From: Ann Thryft <athryft@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: biztech-discussion@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 24 May 2004 13:01:37 -0700

Hello folks,

Margherite, thanks for your pithy, to-the-point post. I agree with most of
your points, most especially the need to understand and grapple with the
long-term implications of offshoring.

I am the co-author (with Andreas Ramos, BizTech division co-chair) of the
lead article on offshoring in the spring '04 special issue of American
Writer, an at-large member of the NWU, and an active member of the BizTech
Division. For those of you not in BizTech, we have been pretty tightly
focused on offshoring for more than a year now. Last year, we were about
to launch a campaign to get the national media to notice, acknowledge and
deal with this issue when all of that somehow happened anyway (whew!).

With all due respect, writing white papers, or much of anything else, is
sort of irrelevant at this point, unless it has the sort of direct,
"in-your-face, up-
close-and-personal" effect on the general public Margherite described. The
subject of offshoring has already had intense coverage in the
English-speaking media of the most-negatively-affected "Western" nations,
including the U.S., Canada, the UK, and Australia, as well as in the press
of India and other "receiving-end" countries, for many, many months now.
Thousands of words have been written on all sides of the issue, with just
about zero progress in terms of any action.

In fairness to the media (of which I am a long-time member), I think it's
important to remember that the old concept of a free press is largely
dead, and that reporters who work for big-circulation media outlets can
only write what they are allowed to write in today's political and
economic climate, in which a handful of companies control the vast
majority of those outlets.  Investigative journalists basically don't
exist anymore, with a few rare exceptions.  The media certainly are
yanking the racist string, as Margherite points out, but that's because
they are controlled by conservative interests/dollars. And, by now, the
subject of offshoring is becoming old news, or probably will become so
soon after the November election.

So I'm wondering what, if anything, we can do that's concrete to, for
example, 1) help create and/or support anti-offshoring legislation, and 2)
connect with other unions and groups, as Al suggested. For example, the
CWA is currently involved in a 4-day strike against SBC, in part because
of SBC's offshoring activities.  Is the NWU doing anything in solidarity
with the CWA on this strike?

I also suggest that we don't spend too much time studying any of this, but
start taking some actions to produce some concrete results. If the issue
really is about to "expire" media-wise after November, we don't have a lot
of time left to act.

Ann Thryft

margh@xxxxxxx wrote:

> Hello All.
> So far I have not seen any indication that people (not just you)
> understand the magnitude of the problems nor the long term implications
> of the "cheap labor conservative" agenda. I've just started a blog which
> includes an attempt to educate on the local level.
> http://www.nj.com/weblogs/burlco/
> However, the long term implications are horrendous, including the
> erosion of the U.S. tax base (which the political clowns might
> understand), erosion of U.S. competitiveness in the world market (which
> the corporate weenies might understand), and a complete undermining of
> the U.S. educational system (which human rights activists ought to
> understand).
> I am appending the latest newsletter from ZaZona.com. Rob Sanchez has
> been activist in the H-1B/L-1/offshoring political "game" for many
> years; and even though I don't like doomsday predictions in general, I
> have to concede that he's got his facts straight.
> White papers are a terrific exercise, but better sooner than later we
> are going to have to make the issues public in an in-your-face, up-
> close-and-personal style to activate some sense of outrage in the
> general public. That is not going to happen without the cooperation of
> the media.
> The more prominent members of the media are yanking the "racist"
> string, accusing any of us who are concerned about not only our jobs,
> but our children's future, of discriminating against brown people. They
> are not bothering to investigate the offshoring phenomenon as a
> manipulative attempt to bolster the U.S. dollar against the euro, the
> same game plan used to justify the war in Iraq and the seizure of the
> oil fields by Halliburton et al. The low-cost techie in Mumbai is on
> the same slippery slope that we are, thanks to the Administration's
> fiscal strategy (maybe a bigger economic "bubble" than the dot-com).
> So write white papers to get the facts all up front, but any of us with
> personal experiences of the cost and media contacts need to get in
> front of the public. Unfortunately, some of you may have had the same
> experience I've had in the past couple of years -- I get paid well to
> clean up the messes caused by cheap labor, and I am bored into
> unspeakable insensitivity by the "dumbing down" effect cheap labor has
> had on the U.S. job market.
> And don't count on Kerry to do anything different if he gets into
> office. He hasn't a clue!
> Margherite Williams


> Date: Sun, 23 May 2004 15:00:00 -0700
> From: Al Weinrub <Allen.Weinrub@xxxxxxx>
> Subject: [biztech-discussion] Thoughts on Moving Forward
> Dear Folks,
> For the last couple weeks there has been a pretty lively discussion
> about which offshoring issues the NWU might tackle and how to go
> doing that.

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