By Joe Guzzardi
August 19, 2017
President Trump wisely disbanded his Manufacturing Jobs Initiative (MJI), a sham that pretended to be concerned about American workers’ plights but in reality served as a corporate networking tool. Initiatives, blue ribbon panels and task forces make for good press, but are rarely productive.
Certainly President Trump didn’t cancel MJI because he realized that it was predestined to fail, but rather to avoid more negative publicity as its members withdrew. The participants claimed President Trump’s post-Charlottesville comments offended them, and perhaps they did. But it should also be noted that as soon as globalist corporate leaders see controversy, they race in the opposite direction. Heaven forbid, sales may take a hit or, the worst, shareholders might be offended. The CEOs probably had their eye on the door for a quick but diplomatic exit for months. After all, President Trump is controversy incarnate.
Beleaguered American workers who thought that CEOs at Carrier, Caterpillar, Dell Technologies, Intel or many others have their best interests at heart haven’t been paying attention. Corporate America has been wholeheartedly supportive of off-shoring and non-immigrant visas like the H-1B and the L that have, for decades, displaced U.S. workers.
For example, last year Dell fired 3,000 Americans, and at the same time petitioned 5,000 H-1B visas on behalf of foreign nationals. Between 2014 and 2016, Dell applied for 2,039 H-1B visas and 256 green cards. EMC, Dell’s $67 billion acquisition, applied for 2,347 H-1B visas and 453 permanent residency green cards. Dell and EMC filed more than 10,000 applications in less than three years. The clear message from Dell: Americans are out, and cheaper overseas workers are in.
In 2016, Carrier Air Conditioning in Indianapolis announced it was sending 1,400 jobs to Mexico, while Caterpillar, manufacturer of, among other heavy equipment products, the iconic CAT tractors that symbolize the great American farm, shed 300 workers and hired foreign workers. Intel is no friend to American workers either. Last year, Intel fired 12,000 American IT workers, while it petitioned for another influx of more visa workers. Since 2010, Intel has submitted more than 14,500 labor certification requests that enable it to hire overseas workers.
Bipartisan studies have proven that, despite corporate wailing that it faces a labor shortage, plenty of Americans are ready, willing, able and available to work. Neither big business nor Congress challenges the findings in these numerous studies, but they universally ignore them. Big business loves H-1Bs – eager visa holders toil long hours with the hope of getting their employer to sponsor them for permanent residency green cards, and they’re cheaper than hiring American.
Now that the largely symbolic MJI is history, President Trump should take meaningful, achievable action to restore American jobs, manufacturing or otherwise. The White House has made some strides. The Department of Labor announced a long overdue crackdown on H-1B fraud and abuse, rampant since day one. But cutting employment-based visas, 85,000 annually in the H-1B category, is a better idea. Each visa issued means an American will be displaced or a job opening he won’t be interviewed for.
Then there’s E-Verify. President Trump seems to have forgotten about mandatory E-Verify which as a candidate he stumped on. Millions of illegal immigrants work in non-farm service, construction and health care jobs. With mandatory E-Verify in place, Americans could move into many of those jobs, and help President Trump fulfill his “hire American” pledge.