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Senator Chuck Grassley- wants Microsoft Job Cuts to Target Foreigners


Senator Chuck Grassley urged US companies to fire foreign workers first
Morw than 71,000 jobs lost in one day- Bloody Monday

Los Angeles, Monday, Jan 26, 2009
Gary Singh

NRIs worldwide and India celebrates its 60th Republic Day on Monday in the midst of a severe security but Americans to observe Black Day today (Monday) because seven companies announce job cuts about 71,400. More than 200,000 job cuts have been announced so far this year. Nearly 2.6 million jobs were lost in 2008.

  • Microsoft announced:
    • On Thursday morning, Microsoft Corp. said it would lay off up to 5,000 employees,about 5% of its work force, over the next 18 months, including 1,400 jobs today, marking the first time in its history that it has laid off workers across the company.
    • The company said that jobs would be eliminated in research and development, marketing, sales, finance, legal, human resources, and IT.The company had almost 96,000 employees, as of late November.
    • Microsoft said sales for the second quarter were $16.63 billion, up 2 percent from the same period one year ago. Net income was $4.17 billion, down 11 percent. Sales of client software dropped 8 percent "as a result of PC weakness and a continued shift to lower-priced netbooks
    • The changes should cut the company's annual operating expenses by $1.5 billion this year.

    Microsoft has many foreign employees in the U.S. under the H1-B visa program, which is designed so that employers can recruit foreign nationals in "specialty" jobs. It allows foreign experts, who must have at least a bachelors degree, to work in areas of highly specialized knowledge -- of which the sciences, IT and software are obvious examples -- for up to six years. Furthermore, the regulations supporting the program state that "the statute does not require demonstrate that there are no available U.S. workers or to test the labor market for U.S. workers as required under the permanent labor certification program," which effectively makes it easier for employers to use this program than other visa systems. Microsoft said Monday it had no plans to change its position on H-1Bs.

  • Texas Instruments said it will slash its workforce by 3,400 employees to cope with weak demand and the slowing economy. More than half of those cuts will be layoffs while "voluntary retirements and departures" will make up the rest
  • Caterpillar, Construction machinery manufacturer said Monday it will cut 20,000 jobs amid a "very challenging global business environment
  • Pfizer said in an earnings report it would cut 10% of its staff of 81,900 and close five of its manufacturing plants
  • Sprint Nextel Corp. will cut a total of about 8,000 jobs by March 31
  • Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement retailer, announced Monday it will eliminate its EXPO design center business and cut 7,000 associates
  • Dutch financial group ING said it will cut 7,000 jobs (loss of $1.3 billion in 2008)
  • Deere& Co., the world's top farm-equipment maker, said it would cut nearly 700 jobs
  • Schlumberger said Friday that it will cut 5,000 jobs worldwide, with 1,000 of the cuts taking place in North America.
  • Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. Entertainment said it would cut about 800 jobs

California's unemployment rate jumped to 9.3% in December from 8.4% in November and 5.9% a year earlier. The officials reported a loss of 78,200 nonfarm payroll jobs in December from November and a fall of 257,400 from December 2007, marking a 1.7% drop in California's nonfarm payrolls.

Because of dried-up consumer spending, it has liquidated its 567 U.S. stores, and 30,000 jobs lost. For the past few weeks, the retailers and manufacturers had been hard-hit. It indicate that there will be further job cuts in 2009. The national unemployment rate was 7.2 percent last month, and January’s numbers are expected to be worse when they’re released on Feb. 6. Some economists predict a net job loss of 600,000 for the month. Nationally, new claims filed for unemployment benefits jumped to a seasonally adjusted record high of 589,000 in the week that ended Jan. 17, matched only by the week that ended Dec. 20, 2008.

In Canada, Statistics Canada announced on Friday that 34,400 jobs were lost in December, following November’s loss of 70,600 jobs.

Looks like India might be facing some very serious days ahead: Companies in the real estate and infrastructure sectors will be hit. Capital-intensive sectors like infrastructure will face problems. Investors and speculators are best advised to stay away from real estate. “In smaller towns, the real estate market is dead. Even in Mumbai, as interest costs go up and debt becomes scarce, you will find that a buyer is willing to wait,” says Kenneth Andrade, vice-president (equities), IDFC Mutual Fund.

The US financial meltdown is beginning to bite the $50-billion Indian IT industry. The business process outsourcing (BPO) sector is also being hurt by a slowing business environment . The global financial meltdown poses a challenge in the long term. Nearly two-thirds of the global IT business originates from the US. And over 40 percent of global IT revenues flow from the financial sector. The slower business growth, erosion of profits, dip in exports and job cuts. Indian companies may not be able to meet the 2010 exports target of $60 billion.

The number of tourists coming to India has come down in the wake of the Mumbai terror attack. Many countries that advised their citizens against visiting India in the wake of several bomb blasts and terror attacks earlier this year have not pressed the panic button after Nov 26. Travellers from the US, Britain, France, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands comprise a majority of overseas visitors to India

Few weeks back, United Nations economists called for massive coordinated global economic stimulus packages, linked with sustainable development measures, beyond liquidity and recapitalization steps already taken, to counter the worldwide economic meltdown.

World per capita income is expected to decline next year, export growth and capital inflows will fall, borrowing costs for developing countries will rise as contagion spreads from the major economies, and the United States dollar is set to resume its decline, with a possible hard landing in 2009, according to the UN annual economic report, issued at the international Financing for Development review currently under way in Doha, Qatar.

In US, The Congress is going to come under renewed pressure to revisit its practice of granting temporary visas to foreign workers.

Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) is pressing Microsoft to give Americans priority over foreigners working in this country with H-1Bs. Grassley wrote on Friday after Microsoft announced its first across-the-board layoffs:

  • My point is that during a layoff, companies should not be retaining H-1B or other work visa program employees over qualified American workers
  • Our immigration policy is not intended to harm the American work force.
  • I encourage Microsoft to ensure that Americans are given priority in job retention.
  • Ballmer should supply data on what jobs will be cut, and how many of those will be people in the U.S. under the H1-B program.
  • Microsoft has a moral obligation to protect these American workers by putting them first during these difficult economic times.
  • Fraud and abuse is rampant in these programs, and we need more transparency to protect the integrity of our immigration system
  • I supported the legislation which would strengthen educational opportunities for US students and workers so that Americans can compete successfully globally.

If Obama's rescue program works, within two-year, it might create 3.7 million jobs. Now we have to predict for how long the recession will last but the $800 billion bail out package which if effectively channeled into the system and if some strong structural and monetary policy changes are made by the new US government under the leadership of Barrack Obama helps to prop up demand in US economy and get the US and world economy back on track.






Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) wants Microsoft Job Cuts to Target Foreigners