At the University of California's San Francisco campus, 79 IT employees lost their jobs this week, some of them after explaining to their replacements at Indian outsourcing firm HCL how to do their jobs.
The union representing the employees, University Professional and Technical Employees CWA Local 9119, says it's the first time a public university has offshored American IT jobs.
In a statement sent yesterday, UPTE-CWA says the layoffs could spread, since the HCL contract can be utilized by any of the 10 campuses in the University of California system, the nation's largest public university. "US taxes should be used to create jobs in the US, not in other countries," said Kurt Ho, a systems administrator who was quoted in the union's press release. Ho was required to train his replacement as a condition of getting his severance pay.
In its statement on the matter, UCSF says that it was pushed to hire outside contractors due to "increased demand for information technology and escalating costs for these services." The university says it will save more than $30 million by hiring HCL, after seeing IT costs nearly triple between 2011 and 2016, "driven by the introduction of the electronic medical record and increased digital connectivity."
The university says 49 UCSF employees were laid off, and it will eliminate another 48 jobs that are currently vacant or filled by contractors. "UCSF will not replace UCSF IT employees with H-1B visa holders, nor will HCL," the university wrote in a statement e-mailed to Ars.
Of the 49 laid-off UCSF employees, 34 have either secured other employment or are retiring, the university said.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports
A San Francisco technology company laid off a group of software engineers as they were trying to join a labor union, according to a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board.
The Communications Workers of America [CWA] claims Lanetix, which makes cloud-based software for transportation and logistics companies, violated federal labor laws by cutting 14 software engineers in January in San Francisco and Arlington, Va.
Most of the engineers were fired [January 26], about 10 days after they filed a petition seeking union representation, according to the complaint filed by the CWA's Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild. A hearing to determine a date to hold the union vote was scheduled for [February 1].
[...] While unions have made inroads in representing Silicon Valley bus drivers, security officers, food service workers, and custodians, the Lanetix case could break new ground because union activity is still unusual for software engineers, who are generally highly paid and in short supply, labor lawyers said.
[...] there are [reasons other than gripes about pay, whereby] unions can attract higher-paid tech workers, including "if you feel mistreated by the company or if you feel there's favoritism going on or lack of job security", said labor law attorney Steve Hirschfeld, founding partner of Hirschfeld Kraemer of San Francisco.
"There's a myth that if you're a highly paid employee, you either can't join a union or wouldn't be interested", Hirschfeld said.