By Joe Guzzardi
May 1, 2015
Add Disney to the long and growing list of hugely profitable Fortune 500 companies, managed by multimillionaire chief executives, which fire American employees, and replace them with cheaper H-1B visas holders. Included are American Express, Marriot, Hyatt, Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, General Mills, Microsoft and dozens of other equally recognizable corporate giants. Several weeks ago, in an infamous incident that earned it well deserved national criticism, Southern California Edison fired about 500 Americans and forced them to train their H-1B replacements or risk losing their severance pay.
Last October, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts IT personnel got their walking papers. Some were well-paid, longtime staffers previously commended for excellence. Now, however, they’ll be replaced by less qualified but lower cost foreign-born H-1B visa workers. Exiting employees are unanimous that cost-cutting is Disney’s overriding concern and insist that, despite executives’ claims to the contrary, their skills are equal to if not superior than their replacements.
Disney’s bottom-line motivated decision shift to overseas workers started in 2005. That year, Robert Iger replaced Michael Eisner as Disney’s CEO, a disastrous move for the company’s American workers, but not for its stockholders or Iger. Since 2005, Disney shareholders have enjoyed total returns of 311 percent, far outperforming during the same period the average 92 percent posted by the S&P 500. Iger, whose contract was recently extended until 2018, earned $46.5 million in 2014, a 38 percent bump from the previous year. When his contract expires, Iger could qualify for a $60 million bonus.
During his tenure, Iger became one of the deceptively named Partnership for a New American Economy’s eight co-founders. The globalist group is determined to expand or eliminate the 65,000 H-1B visa cap, and lobbies Congress intensively toward that goal, often during the same week that Silicon Valley high tech companies announce major layoffs.
Employees fared poorly under Iger and, once aware of his overhead slashing agenda, scrambled to keep their jobs. Former Disney workers confided that they would try to shift jobs within the company every couple of years to look “new” to their supervisors, and hopefully avoid the axe.
Disney is representative of today’s corporate model: increase profits at any cost, fire Americans and replace them with cheaper overseas workers. Then, exploit those foreign employees. After all, temporary H-1B visa holders are eager to please when the dangled carrot is legal status and eventual citizenship. Deceive customers into thinking that because Disney product lines are famous cartoon characters, light-hearted films and grandiose theme parks, the company must be a fun place to work. Don’t forget, Disney is the “Happiest Place on Earth,” except for disposable American workers.
Just look at the facts. Harvard and University of California Davis scholars Michael Teitelbaum and Norm Matloff analyzed Census Bureau data and found that three out of four Americans with STEM degrees (science, technology, engineering and math) don’t have STEM jobs—a staggering 11 million workers. The dismal pattern will likely worsen as U.S. colleges annually graduate twice as many students with STEM degrees as will become employed.
Globalists pressure a pliant Congress outside of the spotlight and behind closed doors, a technique that’s so far been successful. But a mounting body of evidence shows that no high tech shortage—or, for that matter, any other worker shortage—exists. Professor Matloff offered incontrovertible proof—IT wages are declining, and earnings in other professions have been flat for decades.
Congress needs to hear the message: lack of wage growth means no American labor shortage, and no need for more foreign worker visas.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]