Dis­ney halts plan to re­place work­ers

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS - By Tif­fany Hsu tif­fany.hsu@latimes.com Twit­ter: @tiffh­su­la­times

Dis­ney has can­celed re­cent plans to re­place em­ploy­ees in 30 tech­nol­ogy po­si­tions with work­ers from an agency known for out­sourc­ing jobs to im­mi­grants on tem­po­rary work visas.

Em­ploy­ees of Dis­ney/ ABC Tele­vi­sion in New York and Bur­bank first heard of the lay­offs in late May. In re­cent weeks, be­fore the com­pany re­versed course, some of the em­ploy­ees were asked to help train their suc­ces­sors, mostly via tele­con­fer­ence but also in per­son in some cases.

Dis­ney had planned to post nearly a dozen new jobs in the wake of the lay­offs. The com­pany of­fered few de­tails on its rea­son­ing for the de­ci­sion.

“In the course of mak­ing any tech­nol­ogy up­grade, we look at a myr­iad of op­tions to achieve our goals,” said Dis­ney/ABC spokesman Kevin Brock­man. “We’re clearly on an al­ter­na­tive path to achieve those goals that we think is bet­ter suited to our busi­ness.”

The re­place­ment work­ers ini­tially tapped for the Dis­ney po­si­tions were from Cog­nizant Tech­nol­ogy So­lu­tions, a New Jersey in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy ser­vices firm that draws heav­ily from In­dia to fill its em­ployee pool. Cog­nizant did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Although it’s un­clear how many of the Cog­nizant work­ers were U.S. cit­i­zens or In­dian na­tion­als, the reshuf­fle has sparked more de­bate about the U.S. gov­ern­ment’s H-1B visa pro­gram.

Crit­ics com­plain that U.S. em­ploy­ers ex­ploit the sys­tem to hire cheaper la­bor from abroad at the ex­pense of Amer­i­can work­ers.

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