US firm accused of trying to replace Americans with immigrants

Washington, Feb 29: An American health care company has been accused of laying off 180 of its IT employees in an attempt to replace them with low-wage H-1B workers, including Indians.

"I am deeply concerned about reports that 'Abbott Labs' is laying off 180 Information Technology (IT) employees and replacing them with temporary foreign workers who, after they are trained, will then do these jobs outside the United States," Senator Dick Durbin said.


He said Abbott Lab has given 60-days' notice to 180 US employees, and their last day of employment will be April 22. He alleged that these would be replaced by foreign workers on H-1B visas, the contract for which has been handed over to Wipro Ltd of India.

"You have awarded Wipro Ltd, a large Indian outsourcing firm, with a contract to take over the jobs of these American workers," the Senator said.

"I implore you to reconsider this plan and retain these US workers, who have dedicated years of loyal service to your company," Durbin said in a letter to Miles D White, chairman and CEO of Abbott Laboratories.

A copy of the letter, dated February 29 was released to the media. "To add insult to injury, the Abbott Labs IT staff who will be laid off will first be forced to train their replacements," he said.

"I will continue to push for legislation to reform the H-1B and L-1 visa programs, but the gaps in current law are no excuse for your company to treat your employees so unfairly," Durbin said.

Durbin said since 2007, he has repeatedly introduced bipartisan legislation to end the exploitation of the H-1B and L-1 visa programs to displace qualified American workers and offshore American jobs. In recent days, a number of US firms, including Disney World, have been accused of abusing H-1B visa.


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