Technology

University of California Lays Off 79 IT Workers For Cheaper Alternatives

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PHOTOGRAPH: Pixabay | University of California, Berkeley

Tech is an expensive but a necessary investment and the University of California knows this. In order to get the best of both worlds, its San Francisco campus has opted to lay off almost 80 IT employees and replaced its workforce for an Indian outsourcing firm, HCL.

What Happened And What Could Happen

As Ars Tecnica has reported, the University of California has let go of 79 of its IT employees within a week. Some of these employees had to leave after explaining to HCL how their jobs worked. The union representing the employees, University Professional and Technical Employees CWA Local 9119, shared that this is the first time the school has offshored its American IT jobs.

A statement released by UPTE-CWA said that the layoffs have the possibility of spreading. This is apparently because the HCL contract could expand to other campuses. Currently, the only affected workforce used to below to its San Francisco site. The union is frustrated at the events because American jobs are on the line. “US taxes should be used to create jobs in the US,” Kurt Ho, a systems administrator, said. “Not in other countries.”

Ho also claimed that he spent two days training his replacement from India. However, the university asked him to on the pretense of “knowledge transfer.” His trainee had told him that he would return to India and train his own team after the project.

What The University Has To Say

The publication also noted that the University of California SF has tried to reason out its decision for replacing its IT workers. The university has explained in a statement that the outsourcing could save taxpayers something around US$ 30 million. These figures were reached after seeing an upward trend in tech spending in the last few years. IT costs have nearly tripled between 2011 and 2016.

UCSF also clarified the number of employees that are leaving its workforce. It confirmed that 49 university employees were laid off. In addition, another 48 jobs are going to be eliminated as well. However, out of these 49 employees, 34 have already secured other work or are going to retire. Meanwhile, the 48 positions are currently vacant or are filled by contractors.

“UCFS will not replace UCSF IT employees with H-1B visa holders,” the university wrote in a statement. “Nor will HCL.”

What USFC Is Doing Moving Forward

The move has received some controversy since January of this year. Even politicians have put their thoughts into writing. Senator Diane Feinstein wrote a letter to UC president Janet Napolitano. It stated that the UC system gets about US$8.5 billion in federal support. In January, UCSF said all the H-1B visa holders were moved elsewhere and would not be working for the university.

However, those who were recently laid off have another story to tell. “There’s talk about fixing things, and no [one] has done it yet,” Bizhan Tabatabaian, a former UCSF employee, told ComputerWorld. “And I’m the proof.”

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