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+ - FWD.us to Laid-Off Southern California Edison Workers: Boo-Hoo 1

Submitted by theodp
theodp writes: Speaking at a National Journal LIVE event that was sponsored by Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us and Laurene Powell Jobs' Emerson Collective, FWD.us "Major Contributor" Lars Dalgaard was asked about the fate of 500 laid-off Southern California Edison IT workers, whose forced training of their H-1B worker replacements from offshore outsourcing companies sparked a bipartisan Senate investigation. "If you want the job, make yourself able to get the job," quipped an unsympathetic Dalgaard (YouTube). "Nobody's going to hold you up and carry you around...If you're not going to work hard enough to be qualified to get the job...well then, you don't deserve the job." "That might be harsh," remarked interviewer Niharika Acharya. Turning to co-interviewee Pierre-Jean Cobut, FWD.us's poster child for increasing the H-1B visa cap, Acharya asked, "Do you agree with him?" "Actually, I do," replied PJ, drawing laughs from the crowd. In August, Zuck's close friend and college roommate Joe Green, then President of FWD.us, drew fire after arguing that Executive Action by President Obama on tech immigration was needed lest his billionaire bosses have to hire 'just sort of OK' U.S. workers.

+ - Is IT work getting more stressful, or is it the Millennials?->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: A survey of IT professionals that has been conducted in each of the last four years is showing an increase in IT work stress levels. It's a small survey, just over 200 IT workers, and it doesn't account for the age of the respondents. But some are asking whether Millennials, those ages 18 to 34, are pushing up stress levels either as IT workers or end users. The reason Millennials may be less able to handle stress is that they interact with others in person far less than other generations do, since most of their social interactions have been through Internet-based, arms-length contact, said Billie Blair, who holds a doctorate in organizational psychology. This generation has also been protected from many real-life situations by their parents, "so the workplace tends to be more stressful for them than for others," she said. Others are wondering if Millennials are more demanding of IT workers. Millennials are also expert users, and "are no longer in awe of technology specialists and therefore demand higher service levels," said Mitch Ellis, managing director of executive search firm Sanford Rose Associates in St. Louis.
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+ - Disney replaces longtime IT staff with H-1B workers->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 writes: Disney CEO Bob Iger is one of eight co-chairs of the Partnership for a New American Economy, a leading group advocating for an increase in the H-1B visa cap. Last Friday, the partnership was a sponsor of an H-1B briefing at the U.S. Capitol for congressional staffers. The briefing was closed to the press. One of the briefing documents obtained after the meeting stated, "H-1B workers complement — instead of displace — U.S. Workers." Last October, however, Disney laid off at least 135 IT staff (though employees say it was hundreds more), many of them longtime workers. Disney then replaced them with H-1B contractors that company said could better "focus on future innovation and new capabilities." The fired workers believe the primary motivation behind Disney's action was cost-cutting. "Some of these folks were literally flown in the day before to take over the exact same job I was doing," one former employee said. Disney officials promised new job opportunities as a result of the restructuring, but the former staff interviewed by Computerworld said they knew of few co-workers who had landed one of the new jobs. Use of visa workers in a layoff is a public policy issue, particularly for Disney. Ten U.S. senators are currently seeking a federal investigation into displacement of IT workers by H-1B-using contractors. Kim Berry, president of the Programmer's Guild, said Congress should protect American workers by mandating that positions can only be filled by H-1B workers when no qualified American — at any wage — can be found to fill the position."
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+ - Median age at Google is 29, says age discrimination lawsuit->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: The typical employee at Google is relatively young, according to a lawsuit brought by an older programmer who is alleging age discrimination. Between 2007 and 2013, Google's workforce grew from 9,500 to more than 28,000 employees, "yet as of 2013, its employees' median age was 29 years old," the lawsuit claims. That's in contrast to the median age of nearly 43 for all U.S. workers who are computer programmers, according to the lawsuit.
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+ - House bill slashes research critical to cybersecurity->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: A U.S. House bill that will set the nation's basic research agenda for the next two years increases funding for computer science, but at the expense of other research areas. The funding bill, sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the chair of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, hikes funding for computer science, but cuts — almost by half — social sciences funding, which includes the study of human behavior. Cybersecurity uses human behavior research because humans are often the weakest security link. Research funding social, behavioral and economic sciences will fall from $272 million to $150 million, a 45% decrease. The bill also takes a big cut out of geosciences research, which includes climate change study, from $1.3 billion to $1.2 billion, an 8% decrease. The insight into human behaviors that comes from the social science research, "is critical to understanding how best to design and implement hardware and software systems that are more secure and easier to use," wrote J. Strother Moore, the CRA chair and a professor of computer science at the University of Texas.
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+ - IT worker's lawsuit accuses Tata of discrimination->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: An IT worker is accusing Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) of discriminating against American workers and favoring "South Asians" in hiring and promotion. It's backing up its complaint, in part, with numbers. The lawsuit, filed this week in federal court in San Francisco, claims that 95% of the 14,000 people Tata employs in the U.S. are South Asian or mostly Indian. It says this practice has created a "grossly disproportionate workforce." India-based Tata achieves its "discriminatory goals" in at least three ways, the lawsuit alleges. First, the company hires large numbers of H-1B workers. Over from 2011 to 2013, Tata sponsored nearly 21,000 new H-1B visas, all primarily Indian workers, according to the lawsuit's count. Second, when Tata hires locally, "such persons are still disproportionately South Asian," and, third, for the "relatively few non-South Asians workers that Tata hires," it disfavors them in placement, promotion and termination decisions.
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+ - Ten U.S. senators seek investigation into the replacement of U.S. tech workers->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: Ten U.S. senators, representing the political spectrum, are seeking a federal investigation into displacement of IT workers by H-1B-using contractors. They are asking the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the Labor Department to investigate the use of the H-1B program "to replace large numbers of American workers" at Southern California Edison (SCE) and other employers. The letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and the secretaries of the two other departments, was signed by U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight over the Justice Department. The other signers are Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), a longtime ally of Grassley on H-1B issues; Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), David Vitter (R-La.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.). Neither California senator signed on. "Southern California Edison ought to be the tipping point that finally compels Washington to take needed actions to protect American workers," Sessions said. Five hundred IT workers at SCE were cut, and many had to train their replacements.
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+ - Indiana University computer science grad explains why new law hurts ->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: Indiana University (IU) Bloomington computer science grad Patrick Kozub, class of 2014, explains why the big data business he is creating with three other grads won’t be located in Indiana. "I won't go to a place and contribute economically when my interests are not protected, and my interests do not hurt anybody else," he said. "I never had issues of people not accepting me," said Kozub, who came out as gay while a high school student in Indiana. "I'm very proud of the fact that I was there and made so many wonderful friends and learned so many good things." He said he knows no one who would approve of such discrimination he believes is allowed under the state’s “religious freedom” law. Meanwhile, an Indy Big Data conference in May has lost seven sponsors, including Oracle and EMC, in response to the law. “This law is having an immediate and definite negative impact on technology in the state of Indiana,” said conference organizer Christine Van Marter.
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+ - The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists introduces the Doomsday Dashboard->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick writes: You probably know the hand on the Doomsday Clock now rests at 3 minutes to midnight. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has launched a pretty cool little interactive Dashboard that lets you see data that the Bulletin's Science and Security Board considers when making the decision on the Clock's time each year. There are interactive graphs that show global nuclear arsenals, nuclear material security breaches, and how much weapons-grade plutonium and uranium is stored (and where). The climate change section features graphs of global sea level rise over time, Arctic sea ice minimums. atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and differences in global temperature. There's also a section for research on biosecurity and emerging technologies. A fun little interactive feature.
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+ - Ted Cruz, the presidential candidate who wants to increase the H-1B cap by 500%->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: It's going to be hard for the Republicans to field a presidential candidate as enthusiastic about the H-1B visa as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Cruz, who is announcing his presidential bid this morning, once proposed an immediate increase in the base H-1B cap from 65,000 to 325,000. Cruz offered the H-1B increase as an amendment in 2013 to the Senate's comprehensive immigration bill. Cruz's amendment was defeated by the Senate's Judiciary Committee, which approved an 180,000 H-1B cap increase in the comprehensive immigration bill.
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+ - Electrical engineering employment declines nearly 10%, but developers up 12%->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: The number of people working as electrical engineers declined by 29,000 last year, continuing a long-standing trend, according to government data. But the number of software developers, the largest IT occupational category, increased by nearly 12%,or a gain of 132,000 jobs. There were 1.235 million people working as software developers last year, and 271,000 electrical engineers, according U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
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+ - Clinton regrets, but defends, use of family email server->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that, in hindsight, her decision to use a private email server to conduct official business was not the best one. But she is defending it and said the system was secure. Clinton, at news conference in New York, said the email server that she used had been set up for former President Bill Clinton. The system had "numerous safeguards" and is on home property protected by the U.S. Secret Service, she said. "There were no security breaches," said Clinton. "I think the use of that server, which started with my husband, proved to be effective and secure," she said. It still remains unclear about just how appropriate Clinton's system was. As a general rule, government IT policies don't give federal employees the option of using their own email accounts to exclusively conduct government business.
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+ - Obama administration says there are 545,000 IT job openings->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: The White House has established a $100 million program that endorses fast-track, boot camp IT training efforts and other four-year degree alternatives. But this plan is drawing criticism because of the underlying message it sends in the H-1B battle. The federal program, called TechHire, will get its money from H-1B visa fees, and the major users of this visa are IT services firms that outsource jobs. Another source of controversy will be the White House's assertion that there are 545,000 unfilled IT jobs. It has not explained how it arrived at this number, but the estimate will likely be used as a talking point by lawmakers seeking to raise the H-1B cap.
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+ - So. Cal. Edison's IT layoffs 'heartless,' says Sen. Grassley->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: Southern California Edison's decision to cut 500 of its IT workers and replace them contractors from two large H-1B using India-based IT services firms, is getting the ire of U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). He said the case illustrates how some employers "are potentially using legal avenues to import foreign workers, lay-off qualified Americans, and then export jobs overseas.” Grassley, chair of the Sen. Judiciary Committee, said “I don't intend on allowing legislation to move through this body without reforms to the H-1B visa program that protect the American worker." Meanwhile, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Iowa), and the leader of an effort to significantly raise the H-1B cap, was critical of Grassley’s view, and told The Hill: "It's absurd to think that in this global marketplace we can maintain an insular, protectionist workforce.”
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