Minutemen prevail – Disney backing down on immigrant labor

h1b-visaIt looks like our lobbying is working! Public opinion is forcing Disney to back down on its plans to replace Americans with immigrant labor from Asia.

BACK STORY: H-1B visas are the ones that outsourcing firms use to bring immigrants, mainly from India, for technology work. The visas are meant for foreigners with specialized skills to fill clearly defined positions when Americans with those skills are not available. In the visa applications the employers, usually large tech companies,  must confirm that no American workers will be displaced.

However, in late May when around 35 technology employees at Disney/ABC Television in New York and Burbank, Calif., were told they were being laid off, and that during their final weeks they would have to suffer the ignominy of  training their immigrant replacements who were being brought in by an outsourcing company (including Cognizant) to do their jobs.

MINUTEMAN PROJECT: Like many other infuriated groups The Minuteman Project made a big noise about this manipulation of power — and the law. With a few days the Mouse had backed down. The tech workers from India vanished and the Americans were told they could keep their jobs.

The initial dramatic success of the backlash affected technology employees. It remained unclear yesterday whether it was part of a greater reversal, as Disney’s top executives refused to talk about it. Cognizant, the global outsourcing company that Disney was using has also gone dark.