U.S. investigating claims Sun layoffs favored foreign workers
Federal authorities are investigating claims that Sun Microsystems Inc. favored U.S.-based foreign workers over American citizens during a recent round of layoffs.
The Justice and Labor departments launched their probes after a complaint filed in April by Guy Santiglia, who lost his Sun engineering job in October along with 3,900 other employees.
Santiglia, 36, said the Unix server giant favored holders of H-1B visas because those engineers may be paid less. The visa program was expanded in 2000 to help fill the ranks of workers during the high-tech boom.
Now, Santiglia and others claim, the program allows companies to hire lower-paid and more pliable workers at the expense of U.S. citizens.
The federal agencies declined to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation. Sun confirmed it has been asked for documents related to Santiglia's claims and is cooperating.
In an e-mail, Sun spokeswoman Diane Carlini said the layoffs "were driven by business needs going forward, employee skill and performance. Foreign national status was not a factor in the selection."
Santiglia, who has a degree in electrical engineering from Montana State University, said he knows of at least three other laid-off Sun employees who have similar claims.
"There's people complaining from all over Sun, from New Hampshire to Colorado, that the H-1Bs did not get laid off from their groups," he said.
The Justice Department usually investigates complaints about the H-1B visa program as it relates to a law that bars discrimination on the basis of citizenship status.
The Labor Department, however, says it has no rules about favoring U.S. citizens during layoffs.
"There's nothing that says that when they get to a point where they need to downsize that H-1Bs go first," a labor official, who asked not to be identified, told the San Jose Mercury News.
Sun is no original. Qwest and GE are guilty of the same kind of treason in the past.
The link you posted is for some popup ad.
We have tarrifs on timber and steel imports,why not tax or create a fee for the corporations that rely on these workers?
It's a potent issue if the Dims beat the 'Pubs to it.
Great idea. I'm 100% behind you on that. While we're at it, why not tax the living daylights out of companies like Dell and Intel that are moving their manufacturing plants to Communist China. Give some American based manufacturing a chance to compete with $100 USD a month slave labor. Being a medium-sized business owner, the export/import issue burns me up more than our current security problems.
this is happening a lot ...
I came across an interesting article on USENET awhile ago. It definitely relates to this topic, so I think I'll post it here...
Where Did All The Jobs Go? - The H-1B Situation
I am a software engineer currently looking for work. My
job skills are current. In fact, I filed a patent at my last
employer. I have submitted hundreds of resumes for
various positions. I have only had a few job interviews.
However, those interviews were quite informative. For
example, on a recent interview, I immediately noticed
that the software managers and engineers were from other
countries. This appears to be the situation at all the
companies I have recently interviewed with.
I was aware that Congress had recently doubled the
number of H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers. In fact,
1,000,000 H-1B workers will be employed in the U.S. by
the end of 2002. That's right - one million people. That's a
lot of jobs especially since unemployment is at record
What is the H-1B program? If you don't know about it,
you better learn about it quickly because it may be the
reason you don't have a job. "The H-1B non-immigrant
program is a voluntary program that allows employers to
temporarily import and employ non-immigrants admitted
under H-1B visas to fill specialized jobs not filled by U.S.
Each company hiring an H-1B employee is required to
file a Labor Condition Application (LCA). An LCA is an
application filed by a company that wants to hire a
foreign national to fill a position within the United States.
With this in mind, I wanted to determine how many
engineering positions were filled by H-1B engineers at a
given company. Since this should be public information, I
went to my trusty search engine looking for a LCA
database. For some reason, it does not appear that the INS
or other government web sites
provide a LCA database. However, I finally found a web
site which has a LCA database at
The database link is at
Their advanced database search is very helpful. For
example in the advanced search, select the state as
California, enter a city as Santa Clara, enter the employer
name as Hewlett Packard and enter number of records as
50 then press the submit query button. You can see the
positions and salaries of the H-1B employees. Looking at
the data, we are not talking about a few dozen positions.
We are talking about literally hundreds of positions. This
is only for the HP offices in Santa Clara. Go back and do
the above search but leave the enter a city blank. You will
see that Hewlett Packard employs hundreds and hundreds
of H-1B workers. Moreover, we are not only losing
engineering jobs but H-1B visas are being granted for
almost any conceivable position. Just look at the LCA
database to see what types of jobs are being denied to
This appears to be the only site with a LCA database so I
wondered who created the site. There is an interesting
article about its creator at
With the current economic conditions, many large firms
have instigated massive layoffs. Many engineers have
been unable to find work for months. As mentioned
above, the H-1B program allows employers to
temporarily import and employ non U.S. citizens to fill
specialized jobs not filled by U.S. workers. Go back and
look at the list of jobs filled at Hewlett Packard by H-1B
employees. I personally know of many individuals who
are qualified for those positions but are unable to find
work. Something is seriously wrong.
I've been told by many permanent and contract hiring
agencies that companies now prefer to hire H-1B workers
and work them long hours at lower wages - knowing they
won't say anything fearing they would lose their H-1B
status. At my last firm, the engineering manager had his
engineers working many weekends. When one of the H-
1B engineers complained, he said that there were plenty
of engineers in Taiwan that wanted his place. I have
heard other engineers say that managers like to threaten
H-1B engineers with losing their H-1B status unless they
do exactly what they are told. I've also heard and
personally noticed that many companies are hiring H-1B
managers with the expressed purpose of having them fill
engineering positions with H-1B engineers from their
respective country. Many companies are finding this an
inexpensive way to lower costs as discussed in a recent
USA Today article titled "Tech Firms' Hiring Practices
Ignore Idle Americans"
Dr. Norman Matloff, professor of computer science at the
University of California at Davis, also supports these
Someone wrote me to ask "Why do US citizens deserve
the jobs more than H-1B workers?" Well, think about it.
If tomorrow, 1,000,000 technical jobs in say New Delhi
were suddenly replaced by American workers, the Indian
government would be very upset. The problem is the
sheer number of people since one million H-1B workers
will be employed in the U.S. by the end of 2002. There
needs to be a more balanced system in which everyone
comes out ahead. Countries need to provide the
infrastructure for their own engineers to develop
businesses and find employment at home. Globalization
should mean that software projects are jointly developed
between countries rather than having everyone move
here. The myth is that the U.S. has unlimited space but
just look at the traffic congestion in most U.S. cities.
What was initially a reasonable idea has grown into a
monster of unreasonable size.
Another person wrote me to say "If economics is the
corporate motivation, isn't it more effective to take the
entire division offshore? You don't need any H1-B visas
for that." You have to remember there is a good reason
that everyone is coming here rather than starting
companies in other countries. The infrastructure of roads,
legal systems, communications and schools does not exist
in most countries. This infrastructure exists because U.S.
taxpayers have been paying for it over many years. If
companies had to build a similar infrastructure offshore,
the cost would be prohibitive for them. The H1-Bs use
our schools, roads, etc. but have not had to pay taxes over
many years for their construction. Hence, citizens paid
for the schools and roads which companies use for H1-Bs
to replace citizens. So companies and H1-Bs get a free
lunch. I am not saying we should not have any H-1Bs, the
problem is that we are talking about hundreds of
thousands of H-1Bs. This is having a major impact on the
technical labor market.
The U.S. is one of the few countries which now offers
unlimited access to its job market at the expense of its
own citizens. While going to college, if I had any idea
that most of the engineering positions would be taken by
H-1B labor, I would never have become an engineer. I
advise young people not to become involved in
engineering since companies find it easier to hire less
expensive H-1B labor. The H-1B managers prefer to hire
more H-1B labor - it's only human nature - so you have a
vicious cycle. The end result is that U.S. citizens need not
apply. This is the situation for the majority of companies
in my area.
The other issue is that U.S. engineering firms are no
longer hiring African and Hispanic Americans. I've
noticed that many firms with H-1B managers have no
African and Hispanic Americans on their staff. We need
to hire minority Americans at home before we run off and
hire everyone from elsewhere.
I believe with the current economic conditions the H-1B
issue will become a very important topic in the coming
months. Frankly, the media and press have not discussed
the seriousness of this subject. Why? I believe they did
not have the tools and databases required to see the size
of the problem. Fortunately, the LCA data is now
available at (http://www.zazona.com).
You can now
determine how many and what type of jobs are being
denied to unemployed U.S. citizens at a given company
The H-1B law says it is to "temporarily import and
employ ... specialized jobs not filled by U.S. workers".
Thus, the law was intended for "temporary" rather than
permanent labor. The law was clearly not intended to
deny U.S. citizens jobs but this is precisely what it is
doing during this difficult economic time. What needs to
be done to correct this grievous situation?
Congress needs to enforce the law by requiring
companies to provide immediate employment to qualified
unemployed U.S. citizens if an H-1B employee is filling a
position a citizen is qualified for. When a company has
layoffs, Congress should force companies to obey the law
by discharging H-1B employees before U.S. citizens. It's
the law. Whether Congress enforces the law is another
It is ironic that the same corporations displaying football
field size American flags are the worse offenders. They
are making the technology sector as dependent upon
foreign labor as we are dependent upon foreign oil.
Because of their lust for profits, our government,
banking, financial and technology systems are now
heavily in the hands of non citizens. Companies are using
the system to their own advantage while pitting U.S.
employees against H-1B employees and cruelly hurting
If the current H-1B situation is not immediately changed,
U.S. citizens will abandon the engineering field. Think
about it. You just lost your job and go to the LCA
database to learn that 25 H-1B employees are still
working in your position. You will not be a happy
camper. What can you do to help?
Email this article to all your friends.
Encourage them to look at the LCA database.
The job they are losing may be on the list.
Sign the petition. You will find a petition to send to your
congressional representatives at
Your most powerful action is to write your U.S.
Congressperson and Senators. Remember, H-1B
employees cannot vote but as a U.S. citizen, your vote
counts. Even though powerful companies have heavily
contributed to your congressional leaders to keep the H-
1B laws in place, companies cannot vote - only you can.
Don't let your job be eliminated next.
You can find your congressional representative at these
Don't forget to both email and make a phone call to your
Write the business and political editors of your local
The following academic articles should be of interest:
Dr. Norman Matloff is a professor of computer science at
University of California at Davis
August 5, 1999 Testimony of Gene A. Nelson, Ph.D.
Thank you for your support.
Ultimately this is good because the people let go will surely go on to innovate the next technology. The unimaginative worker drones retained will simply continue the status quo. It's a cycle that constantly renews and reinvigorates the economy. 15 years ago the Sun CEO's were laid off by/gave up on slow moving behemoths like IBM, and went about their business of building a better mousetrap.