[Marxism] Job flight

Louis Proyect 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
Staff Writer

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 
overseas.

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 
Bombay.

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 
good.

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 
and India.

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?"

full: 
<http://www.newsday.com/business/ny-bz-jobs0328,0,2111866.story?coll=ny-top-headlines>

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