Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,

Bush won't like this one little bit... :-)

This makes me really happy. I wasn't expecting any good things to happen at a legal level for the next four years, if that... but this is certainly a start.

For the longest time, there has been an underclass of overseas workers in the Silicon Valley... people living in cramped, slumlike conditions in order to survive. The consultant agencies claim that their employees are making around $50 an hour, but they live in conditions that clearly do not reflect their presumed wealth... Why?

Because these contract agencies are breaking labor laws. They bring engineers into the U.S. promising significant salaries, but fail to abide by their agreement with the employee. Despite commitments from the "body shops" that they will make $50,000 a year, often this agreement is broken and they go without pay for months while they are shopped around. This process, called benching, is illegal. What's worse, it's impossible to get out of their contracts, even if their contracts aren't paying them a thing. If the employee complains, they lose their job, their chance at citizenship, and have to go back home.

Even when overseas employees do have work, it isn't uncommon for them to be levied exorbinant charges of several thousand dollars from their paychecks for various "administrative fees". It's not unheard of for overseas engineers with masters degrees to be making only around $20 an hour... when they are making anything at all.

Who benefits from the current system? Ultimately, the technology companies themselves, who save money by hiring overseas labor and save billions more by the effect that cheap overseas contract labor has on keeping down the salaries of technical workers in the United States. Despite the huge increase of demand for people who work in technology, the salaries for most technical workers have actually risen at a slower rate than business majors, many segments of the retail industry, and many other sections of the economy.

I'm not saying that people who work in technology are suffering... that would clearly be an overstatement. They just deserve to be paid what they are worth and not treated like indentured servants.

So, how long do you think before Bush undermines this, too?!

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