I began pulling together this week’s sermon while watching Donald Trump deliver his acceptance speech for the nomination as the 2020 presidential candidate at the Republican National Committee convention. For me, the speech climaxed when he spoke of his intervention to save 200 union jobs at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). He stated:
“When I learned that the Tennessee Valley Authority laid off hundreds of American Workers and forced them to train their lower-paid foreign replacements, I promptly removed the Chairman of the Board. And now, those talented American Workers have been RE-HIRED and are back providing power to Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia. They have their old jobs back, and some are here with us this evening. Please stand.”
On August 3, those jobs were indeed saved – and quite possibly many more, because similar outsourcing schemes were being prepared for other departments within the TVA. To my knowledge, for the first time, this kind of job destruction was stopped dead in its tracks.
That is the good news. The bad news is that, despite the rhetoric, despite the executive orders, the Deep State, the Corporatocracy or whatever you want to call it still is firmly entrenched in Washington, D.C., and ultimately calling the shots.
While the TVA workers were saved, there are others who continue to see themselves displaced from their jobs and their jobs outsourced. Who is saving the workers at Vanguard, AT&T, Verizon, Disney and other companies? It shouldn’t take a TV ad to bring attention to this issue. There should be rules and regulations to prevent this from happening in the first place.
I wrote last week about how swamp creatures in the State Department and in Trump’s own cabinet wrote the policy to implement his employment visa ban broadly, interpreting the “national interest” exception and making it the rule. This effectively gutted the ban.
This week Chad Wolf was elevated from “Acting” Secretary to the Secretary of Homeland Security. I warned back in November 2019 that Wolf’s appointment could become permanent, and now it has. Or should I say, probably will, barring the Senate refusing to confirm the nomination.
The implications to this could prove dire for tech workers. It should not be lost on anyone that Wolf once worked for the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), a group that promotes outsourcing and offshoring of U.S. tech jobs to India.
Apart from Trump’s cabinet picks, associations like NASSCOM work hard to ensure the pipeline of cheap labor will not be turned off. For example, after his proclamation in which he expanded his immigration ban to include nonimmigrant employment visas, President Trump was sued by a group that included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation and TechNet. The suit is of course ridiculous given the unprecedentedly high levels of unemployment in all sectors. But it clearly indicates that American managers have no interest in investing in our native workforce or paying competitive wages.
To assist POTUS, U.S. Tech Workers has filed an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court of Northern California that details just why we find their lawsuit so ridiculous. In the brief, we go so far as to detail why the “plaintiff’s arguments defy common sense.”
Last night the President lambasted former Vice President Joe Biden for spending “his entire career outsourcing the dreams of American workers, offshoring their jobs, opening their borders…” In my opinion, it was right and proper that he do so. Joe Biden is one of many who share in the belief that capital and people should be able to flow unconstrained from one country to another. They view the nation state to be encumbering.
As we have seen, President Trump can certainly talk the talk. But can he walk the walk? Time and time again he has elevated to key roles people who genuinely do not believe in America First! They believe the nation state and its citizens exist to be looted and do so by using one racket or another to strip us of our personal wealth while ballooning theirs.
What is the remedy? We start with becoming active and involved citizens who understand that, in addition to rights, we have responsibilities. Those responsibilities go far beyond simply voting. If we learned nothing else from the workers at the TVA, it should be the need to work collectively with fellow workers to a common goal. The workers at TVA succeeded because the management could not pick them off one at a time. They not only had a union and representation, they had heroic representation that they got behind.
Tech workers, if you do not take care of your profession in much the manner attorneys and accountants do, it will most assuredly be taken from you. Associations amplify our voices. By organizing and working collectively, you can help to create the movement that will force President Trump to walk his talk.
In closing, if you enjoyed reading this newsletter, please share it with another and encourage them to sign up. Also, if you have been discriminated against for being an American (country of origin discrimination), don’t be silent. We have seen recent cases in several states, including Texas, where employers got hit with significant fines, and workers were awarded compensation. Take action in your own defense. Better yet, reach out to other workers in the same situation and work collectively to defend your rights.