Activists plan to boycott Disney parks over H-1B hiring

Posted Wednesday, October 7, 2015 10:40 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Two activists have targeted Disney because tech workers laid off there last year were replaced by foreigners here on H-1B visas. Arnold and Oliver plan protests Oct. 17, including one near Disney World's Blizzard Beach.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 11:01 AM

The problem with this issue is that it's way more nuanced than either side is willing to admit. The activists get all angry because they say "we're losing American jobs!" Disney says they're adding more jobs and the net impact is positive American headcount. So naturally, both are right.

If you dig into the problem, it's that certain types of jobs are the king of grunt work that's cheaper to send off to foreign labor. Is that right or moral? I happen to think that the other categories of jobs that they can't even fill with quality people (and, annoying the critics further require hiring foreign workers because there aren't enough Americans) make a case... to an extent. The jobs being cut in the IT world are the kinds that require less skill: Help desk agents, basic server feeding and caring, basic networking. So much of that work is being automated now, and the labor market is flooded with people all over the world who can do the work. On the other hand, the part of IT that involves writing and maintaining software, crunching data and creating all of the aforementioned automation, is in a bad place because there aren't enough people to do the work. I had a friend reach out to me about recruiting people to his company, offering $2k for anyone placed by referral. That's me referring someone to another company instead of own! (And my own offers incentives as well.) We hire people remotely, all over the country, because there aren't enough people locally to do the work.

The problem with this tale of two IT sub-fields is that you can't easily retrain people from one area to work in the other. A server jockey can't just start slinging code, because they're insanely different skills. So like I said, the arguments have a lot more nuance than just, "H-1B bad, Americans good!"

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015 11:44 AM

That's the reason I hate politics. "Their side is wrong and my side is right!" You never hear the real truth. Just the truth they want you to hear.

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