help to Tata (TCS) & Scare Tactics May Backfire
Los Angles, July 30, 2007
- In 2003, Tata Consultancy Services of India (TCS) opened a office
in Buffalo with the help of Hillary Rodham Clinton and told a
newspaper that it might hire as many as 200 people.
- Tata has done more to undercut workers in upstate New York than
it has helped
In 2003, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton helped the high-tech firm
Tata Consultancy Services of India (TCS) to open a office in Buffalo,
N.Y. by hoping that it would bring jobs to the area. Clinton later
said the deal showed that outsourcing firms could create jobs both
in their home countries and in the United States.
As a part of its program to expand its US presence,
TCS will provide advanced IT training to new recruits. The training
center is aptly named "Chrysalis", a word signifying the
evolution of a larva into a butterfly. Company executives explained
that the name alludes to the transformation of bright new talent
into advanced IT professionals who would lead the technology industry
in the future. The firm said it had already hired 20 new recruits,
primarily from western New York, and had plans to triple that number
by the middle of next year. But over that same period, Tata sought
H-1B visa certifications to import nearly 500 foreign computer programmers
and other specialists to upstate New York.
Since 2003,"the reality is that it probably created many more
jobs for workers overseas and displaced lots of American workers
according to leading news papers.
NRI Sudesh Agnihotra from New York told our representative that
NYC residence are very up-set that about 500 foreign
computer programmers and other specialists were dumped in their
State and they had no gain.
Clinton always said, the United States benefits by admitting high-tech
workers from abroad. She backs proposals to increase the number
of temporary visas for skilled foreigners.
This is also surprise to learn that when she addresses the union
audiences and Democratic crowds, she does not mention her support
for expanding foreign-worker visas
Most of the NRI supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton are confused
and up set of the out-come
of Tata (TCS) deal.
How Hillary can claim to support American workers if she
is also helping Indian outsourcing companies and proposing more
Read Full Story
Clinton woos the outsourcers feared by U.S.
The senator's efforts to bring an Indian firm to Buffalo, which
yielded 'about 10' jobs, illustrates the bind she faces.
By Peter Wallsten, Times Staff Writer
July 30, 2007
BUFFALO, N.Y. — To many labor unions and high-tech workers,
the Indian giant Tata Consultancy Services is a serious threat —
a company that has helped move U.S. jobs to India while sending
thousands of foreign workers on temporary visas to the United States.
So when Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) came to this struggling
city to announce some good news, her choice of partners was something
of a surprise.
Joining Tata Consultancy's chief executive at a downtown hotel,
Clinton announced that the company would open a software development
office in Buffalo and form a research partnership with a local university.
Tata told a newspaper that it might hire as many as 200 people.
The 2003 announcement had clear benefits for the senator and the
company: Tata received good press, and Clinton burnished her credentials
as a champion for New York's depressed upstate region.
But less noticed was how the event signaled that Clinton, who portrays
herself as a fighter for American workers, had aligned herself with
Indian American business leaders and Indian companies feared by
the labor movement.
Now, as Clinton runs for president, that signal is echoing loudly.
Clinton is successfully wooing wealthy Indian Americans, many of
them business leaders with close ties to their native country and
an interest in protecting outsourcing laws and expanding access
to worker visas. Her campaign has held three fundraisers in the
Indian American community recently, one of which raised close to
$3 million, its sponsor told an Indian news organization.
But in Buffalo, the fruits of the Tata deal have been hard to find.
The company, which called the arrangement Clinton's "brainchild,"
says "about 10" employees work here. Tata says most of
the new employees were hired from around Buffalo. It declines to
say whether any of the new jobs are held by foreigners, who make
up 90% of Tata's 10,000-employee workforce in the United States.
As for the research deal with the state university that Clinton
announced, school administrators say that three attempts to win
government grants with Tata for health-oriented research were unsuccessful
and that no projects are imminent.
The Tata deal underscores Clinton's bind as she attempts to lead
a Democratic Party that is turning away from the free-trade policies
of her husband's administration in the 1990s and is becoming more
skeptical of trade deals and temporary-worker visas.
Like many businesses and economists, Clinton says that the United
States benefits by admitting high-tech workers from abroad. She
backs proposals to increase the number of temporary visas for skilled
The Tata deal shows the difficulty of proving concrete benefits
to U.S. workers from the visa system. Since 2003, the year its Buffalo
office opened, Tata and its affiliates have sought permission to
bring more than 1,600 foreign high-tech workers to the state, including
at least 495 to the upstate region and 45 to Buffalo, according
to government data. Tata has brought additional workers into the
country under a second visa program whose numbers have not been
Some U.S. worker organizations say Clinton cannot claim to support
American workers if she is also helping Indian outsourcing companies
and proposing more worker visas.
"It's just two-faced," said John Miano, founder of the
Programmers Guild, one of several high-tech worker organizations
that have sprung up as outsourcing has expanded. "We see her
undermining U.S. workers and helping the offshoring business, and
then she comes back to the U.S. and says, 'I'm concerned about your
Among Indian American activists, Clinton's work with Tata has been
seen as a sign of her independence from outsourcing skeptics within
her party — and a break from the Democrats' 2004 presidential
nominee, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who lambasted "Benedict
Arnold CEOs" for shipping jobs overseas.
The main lobbying organization for the Indian-American community,
USINPAC, cites the Tata deal as one of Clinton's top three achievements
as a senator — and evidence of a turnabout, in its view, from
her past criticism of outsourcing. "Even though she was against
outsourcing at the beginning of her political career," the
USINPAC website says, "she has since changed her position and
now maintains that offshoring brings as much economic value to the
United States as to the country where services are outsourced, especially
Clinton regularly reinforces that view. When CNN anchorman Lou
Dobbs, an outsourcing critic, pressed her on the Tata deal in 2004,
Clinton responded: "Well, of course I know that they outsource
jobs, that they've actually brought jobs to Buffalo. They've created
10 jobs in Buffalo and have told me and the Buffalo community that
they intend to be a source of new jobs in the area, because, you
know, outsourcing does work both ways."
This month, she made a similar case to a conference of Indian workers
in Silicon Valley, saying she supported an expansion of visas. "Foreign
skilled workers contribute greatly to our U.S. technological development,"
she told the group via satellite.
Clinton acknowledged the strains on American workers and called
for more job-training programs. But her words seemed to distance
her from those who would end outsourcing. Increased U.S. job losses,
she said, could cause Americans to "seek more protection against
what they view as unfair competition."
The Tata deal, she said in a 2005 stop in India, exemplified the
cooperation that will "help to prevent the kind of negative
feelings that could be stirred up" by critics of the global
marketplace. She called those critics "short-sighted."
Today, on the campaign trail, Clinton often strikes a different
tone. Addressing union audiences and Democratic crowds, she does
not highlight her support for expanding foreign-worker visas. Instead,
Clinton often laments a system that, as she told a government workers
union last month, rewards companies for "moving our jobs overseas."
"Outsourcing is a problem, and it's one that I've dealt with
as a senator from New York," Clinton said during a Democratic
candidates debate in June. She said she had tried "to stand
against the tide of outsourcing."
Clinton aides say the Tata deal is just one example of her broader
efforts to help upstate New York. Whatever the results, said spokesman
Philippe Reines, the effort showed Clinton helping to build a high-tech
future for a region long focused on manufacturing.
Buffalo's population has fallen by half over 50 years, as automotive
and other manufacturing jobs moved overseas. Resentment is so high
that voters last year nearly dumped a longtime Republican congressman
for an anti-trade Democrat, who had made outsourcing his biggest
For Clinton, a newcomer to New York when she ran for the Senate
in 2000, the upstate region was considered a challenge — a
traditionally conservative area that did not participate in the
economic prosperity during her husband's presidency. So, as a candidate,
she pledged to use tax credits and other incentives to create 200,000
jobs in the region.
In 2002, Clinton took a group of Indian business executives on
a tour of the region and to a meeting with administrators from the
state university in Buffalo. The group included Tata Consultancy
Services, an information technology consulting firm that is part
of Tata Group, a conglomerate with interests in electricity, steel,
aviation, cars and hotels.
At the time, Tata Consultancy had two offices in the state —
both in New York City to service Wall Street clients.
But a year after the tour, the company flew Clinton to join its
chief executive, S. Ramadorai, in Buffalo for an announcement: It
would open an office there.
Tata also signed a memorandum of understanding with a university
research center to pursue discoveries in genetics, drugs and other
areas. In a news release, Tata said that deal "will eventually
lead to opportunities for training, recruitment and job creation
"There was a sense of excitement on the part of the community,"
said Anthony M. Masiello, Buffalo's mayor at the time, "to
have a company like Tata that would not traditionally look at coming
to western New York."
But soon the company faded from public view, said Andrew J. Rudnick,
president and CEO of the Buffalo-Niagara Partnership, an economic
development group in which Tata was initially active. "They
told us their business strategy had changed," he said. "The
reality is that the number of people that Tata is employing here
now doesn't seem to be significant."
At the University at Buffalo, Bruce A. Holm, director of a research
center pursuing projects with Tata, conceded that the partnership
had not played out as hoped. But he said that progress was still
Tata officials say the company has hired 50 people from the Buffalo
area in the last four years but most have left or have been transferred
to other locations. They say the Buffalo operations remain important
to the company and a part of the civic life of the city.
But critics say that Tata has done more to undercut workers in
upstate New York than it has helped — and that Clinton is
wrong to argue that exposing U.S. workers to competition from foreign
workers is helping both groups.
Since Tata arrived in Buffalo, "the reality is that it probably
created many more jobs for workers overseas and displaced lots of
American workers," said Ronil Hira, a public policy professor
at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a prominent critic
A report released by two senators said that Tata was one of the
biggest users of foreign-worker visas in the United States, employing
more than 7,900 visa recipients last year. The large number of visas
suggests that companies are circumventing laws designed to protect
American workers, Sens. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Charles E.
Grassley (R-Iowa) said in their report.
Clinton and many other lawmakers have called for cracking down
on visa abuse. At the same time, she has backed an increase in the
number of foreigners admitted to the U.S. each year under the main
type of visa for high-tech workers. The cap is 65,000 each year;
companies are seeking 115,000.
And her campaign continues to telegraph — sometimes in front
of Indian American audiences — that she sees benefits to a
Three weeks ago, her husband drew applause at a conference of 14,000
Indian Americans in Washington as he extolled the benefits of "open
borders, easy travel, easy immigration." He said the outsourcing
debate bothered him because it failed to acknowledge the contributions
of Indians who settled in the U.S. The same day, he headlined a
fundraiser at the conference for his wife's campaign.
Labor union leaders, who haven't decided whom to endorse for president,
say they have watched the Tata deal and Clinton's statements on
"People do want to see from her some recognition that the
outsourcing of these service jobs isn't a good thing for the U.S.
economy," said Thea M. Lee, policy director of the AFL-CIO.
"It's a little bit of an open question where Sen. Clinton's
going to end up on outsourcing."
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton announced in March 2003 that the high-tech
firm Tata Consultancy Services of India was opening an office in
Buffalo, N.Y., and would bring jobs to the area. Clinton later said
the deal showed that outsourcing firms could create jobs both in
their home countries and in the United States. Tata says it has
created about 10 jobs in Buffalo and, since 2003, hired 50 local
workers. But over that same period, Tata sought H-1B visa certifications
to import nearly 500 foreign computer programmers and other specialists
to upstate New York.
City H-1B visas* sought
Pittsford ... 3
Orchard Park... 1
Total ... 495
*H-1B visas allow U.S. employers to hire high-skilled international
workers for up to six years. Obtaining certification from the Department
of Labor does not necessarily mean the company secured visas, but
that is the only public indicator of where a company intends to
deploy foreign workers. Whereas H-1B certification data is public,
similar information is not available for L-1 visas, which accounted
for more of Tata's workers in 2006, according to a U.S. Senate report.
Source: Times analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Labor,
Division of Foreign Labor Certification