[Marxism] Job flight
lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Mar 28 07:33:58 MST 2004
NY Newsday, March 28, 2004
How your job may go abroad
BY JAMES T. MADORE AND PRADNYA JOSHI
The Bank of New York plans to send 250 technology jobs from Manhattan
and elsewhere in the country to India.
The accounting firm Marcum & Kliegman LLP, with offices in Woodbury and
Manhattan, is experimenting with having income tax returns prepared
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. began firing about 1,000 employees last fall at
its credit-card operations in Hicksville, sending some of the work to
Vancouver. It also has created dozens of junior stock analyst jobs in
The Reuters news service is hiring six journalists to write about U.S.
companies from Bangalore, India, while it shifts computer jobs from
Hauppauge to Bangkok.
From finance to technology, accounting to media, dozens of New
York-area businesses are sending work overseas, joining the
controversial trend called outsourcing. And local workers, who got used
to seeing manufacturing jobs depart for lower-wage countries such as
China and the Philippines, now are alarmed to see the same thing happen
to higher-paying, white-collar positions. While there are no hard local
numbers, about 300,000 jobs nationwide have been lost since 2000,
according to Forrester Research Inc.
For 20 years, Michael Wolfson earned a good living as a computer
programmer, most recently at financial powerhouse Bear, Stearns & Co.
Inc. Now, as he hunts for a job, he's refurbishing computers in the
basement of his Baldwin home and selling them on eBay.
Wolfson, 43, was told last year that his position in the brokerage's
Brooklyn office was being outsourced to India.
Forced to train workers
Bear Stearns then brought in groups of people from Tata Consultancy
Services, based in Bombay, and many programmers had to train the
supervisors from India who were flown over to learn the computer systems.
"People left there with very bad tastes in their mouth," Wolfson said.
Laid off in December, he is thinking of becoming a public school teacher.
After years of being counseled to seek jobs that provided higher pay for
higher skills, many workers fear those opportunities are evaporating for
The list of vulnerable occupations has grown as the pace of outsourcing
has accelerated and now affects a broad spectrum including radiology,
paralegal, journalism and government services. For example, the
subcontractor hired by New York State to run the food stamp program is
having questions from the poor answered by telephone operators in Mexico
Some experts see benefits being derived from outsourcing. Exporting
routinized jobs such as programming can lower costs for companies and
give them the cash to invest in higher-skilled, more innovative jobs in
the United States.
While the macroeconomics evolve, outsourcing is escalating as a
hot-button issue in the presidential campaign with President George W.
Bush and Democratic candidate John Kerry sparring over the long-term
impact on the U.S. standard of living. Kerry on Friday proposed tax
changes to keep companies from moving jobs overseas.
In the New York area, outsourcing opponents argue that if the exporting
of jobs doesn't stop, the economy's mainstay of financial services,
accounting, computer software and business services could follow the
once bustling manufacturing sector into near extinction.
Job lost to worker on a visa
Toni Chester, a computer programmer in Manhattan who blames outsourcing
for the dearth of permanent jobs with benefits, said, "I cannot afford
to live here on what they pay programmers in India and that's where all
the jobs in my profession are going."
Chester, 40, lost her $200,000-a-year position in August 2001 to a
lower-paid colleague from India working here on a temporary visa. The
single mother of a teenage son, Chester spent more than a year largely
unemployed until landing a contract job.
"For tech people like myself, when you take away our jobs it's an ego
deflator; we're really lost," she said. "I love spending 14 to 15 hours
a day writing code." She added, "I cannot find a job. What's wrong with
me? Why won't American companies hire Americans?"
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