The petition, supported by an Indian advocacy group, alleges discriminatory hiring

Three U.S.-based tech worker groups announced, on Tuesday, a labour boycott of three global tech biggies, IBM, Infosys and Manpower. Their joint petition, calling for a boycott, alleges that these companies have been indulging in discriminatory employment practices that “exclude U.S. workers from job openings in U.S. soil”.

The three workers’ rights and advocacy groups— Bright Future Jobs, Programmers Guild and Washtech—have put out the petitions on their websites. Bright Future Jobs has even put out a small paper collating all the alleged instances of discriminatory hiring, the majority part of which is focussed on Manpower. The boycott is also supported by Nostops, an Indian organisation that calls itself a national tech advocacy organisation.

The paper, authored by Donna Conroy, director of Bright Future Jobs, collates all references of advertisements that single out Indian software workers and H1-B holders for tech jobs. According to the petition, ads posted on Indian job portals between October and December 2013, were at least one year ahead of possible employment dates with some job requirements dated as late as March 2015. “They didn't give U.S. workers a chance. They are still doing this,” the petition said, referring to Manpower. The petition demands that the three companies start accepting applications from “qualified Americans in a fair and ethical way”.

Among the MNCs, the petition names India's second largest IT services exporter, Infosys. However, both for IBM and Infosys, the petition merely links to reports on cases booked by the Department of Justice on allegations of violating the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act . Infosys, the petition says, admits in its lawsuit that 90 per cent of its employees are South Asian. In Infosys' case, it is not clear which DOJ investigation is being referred to; however, it must be mentioned here that Infosys in November 2013 had agreed to pay $34 million for a civil settlement of an inquiry into “systemic visa fraud and abuse”.

The petition posts no specific cases or advertisement in the case of both IBM and Infosys as it does in the case of Manpower.

Infosys refutes

While IBM did not respond to The Hindu's queries, Infosys said in a detailed response that “it is incorrect to allude that we exclude or discourage U.S. workers”. Infosys explained that it is recruiting for over 440 active openings across 20 states in the U.S. “These include 300 openings for professional hires and about 140 openings targeting local, recent MBA graduates to bolster our Sales and Management Consulting teams.”

Nostops, the Indian group whose name is found on the petition, says that it is supporting the initiative as it is in the interest of the Indian immigrant worker. Nostop member Rajiv Dabhadkar told this correspondent that “allowing American citizens, the right to a job first, therefore, will protect the Indian foreign workers from the accusation of displacing Americans.” This is important, he says, as there is clearly an “injustice element” in the Manpower ads.

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