President Donald Trump distanced himself late Thursday night from Jeff Lyash, his appointee running the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), who is now using H-1B outsourcing to discard American professionals even as Trump tries to revive his poll numbers.
Another one of many Fake T.V. Ads, this one about the Tennessee Valley Authority, which for years has paid its top executive a ridiculous FORTUNE. Not run by the U.S., but I have long been fighting that crazy “salary” & its polices. Strange ad paid for (?) by “U.S. Tech Workers”.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 17, 2020
The TVA is a government-created corporation, which operates a network of power stations and dams created during the 1930s depression. The top executive is picked by the president and is reportedly paid $8 million. The executive’s contract and salary are approved by a board. For many years, the low-profile, high-salary job has been a lucrative opportunity for politically connected people.
Trump was likely reacting to this hard-hitting ad from the U.S. Tech Worker’s group, an advocacy group that champions American tech workers:
Tennessee Valley Authority was created to spur the Tennessee Valley economy. But TVA is outsourcing jobs to French, Irish, & Canadian companies. Keep jobs in the Valley. pic.twitter.com/Dh0HbLvh1V
— U.S. Tech Workers (@USTechWorkers) July 15, 2020
The grassroots group responded to Trump by reminding him of his 2017 promise to “Buy American, Hire American”:
Sticks and stones … but you ran on America First: Buy American HIRE American. We hired you to protect American jobs. There’s 200 American tech workers about to lose their jobs at the TVA & only you can stop that from happening. No other president would save these jobs.
The group is running a political campaign to highlight the TVA’s decision to transfer roughly 200 jobs from Americans to foreign contractors hired via the H-1B program:
— U.S. Tech Workers (@USTechWorkers) July 16, 2020
The H-1B keeps approximately 600,000 foreign graduates in U.S. jobs, according to a government estimate.
On June 22, Trump took a big step towards reform by blocking the inflow of H-1B workers in 2020. He also directed his deputies to draft regulations that would pressure companies to only hire high-wage H-1Bs.
Many of the 600,000 foreign graduates fill ordinary software maintenance and upgrade jobs that unemployed American experts or new American graduates can perform.
Some of the H-1B workers are learning the jobs so they can export them back to their home countries.
In Silicon Valley, the “employers love Indians on H-1Bs because employers can then keep those employees as an indentured slave,” said a former Indian H-1B, who is now a citizen. “It’s a high-tech slavery.”
“Eighty percent … of the work done by [H-1Bs at] big companies, like Facebook, Google, or Qualcomm, Amazon, is so-called grunge technical work,” he continued. “You don’t really need a lot of creativity. What you need is a flood of some technical expertise along with long hours.”
Fortune 500 companies and investors have fiercely defended the program, which allows them to import a cheap and compliant workforce. But that policy undermines American innovation by denying careers to ambitious American professionals:
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) June 23, 2020