SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Dozens of UCSF IT workers left their job for the last time Tuesday night, walking out of their office with boxes packed after being replaced by cheaper labor overseas.
Carrying an American flag, his son’s artwork and pictures from his desk, former UCSF technology staffer Kurt Ho told KPIX 5 he doesn’t know how to go home tell his kids to pursue science like he did.
“They may come back and say, ‘Dad, you don’t have a job,'” said Ho. “They’re going to ship all of those jobs overseas, don’t tell me to join the science program.”
Kurt is one of 49 employees saying goodbye to each other and their six-figure salaries at UCSF.
They’ve spent the past four months training their replacements from HCL Technologies in India.
They learned they’d be losing their jobs back in July. Ho said that changed how he voted in November.
“I voted democratic all my life in California, explained Ho. For the first time this year, I voted for President Trump.”
President Trump has promised to overhaul the H1-B visa program, which allows American companies to employ highly skilled workers from other countries rather than hiring locally.
UCSF declined our request for an on camera interview but released a statement that read in part, “IT costs have nearly tripled between 2011 and 2016. This move will save UCSF $30 million over the next 5 years. UCSF will not replace IT employees with H-1B visa holders”
But that statement is misleading. UCSF already hired H1-B employees from India to come to this country for training. They’ve since returned to India.
So they aren’t working under H1-B visas, only training under them.
Abuse of the H1-B program is currently under investigation by the California legislature. The 49 fired workers hope speaking out prevents this from happening at other universities.
“If it works and they get away with it, it’s a free for all, said former UCSF tech worker Audrey Hatten-Milhollen. It could happen at any other campus it could happen at any of the 10 UC’s.”
“As an American, I think enough is enough,” said Ho. “We need to say we’re going to stop this now.”