>Natasha Humphries


>Offshoring High Tech Jobs



>Natasha Humphries, a former Sr. Software Quality Assurance Engineer

>with palmOne (formerly, Palm Inc.) whose job was outsourced to India,

>is now a tech labor activist leading Silicon Valley TechsUnite, an

>organization founded dedicated to discussing, educating, organizing

>and mobilizing around workplace and public policy issues of

>increasing concern to technology and tech-related workers.



>Natasha has been interviewed by CNN, NBC, Forbes, NY Times Magazine,

>and has appeared on the front page of San Jose Mercury News and

>Silicon Valley Biz Ink. She will discuss her testimony before a

>congressional committee hearing on offshoring of high-tech, white-

>collar jobs and share her experience of the devastating economic

>effects of the movement of high-tech jobs overseas.



Natasha began by telling the story of her trip to India to train the people that replaced her. She said that before she went she had thought she knew what poverty looked like, but when she got there she realized she had been mistaken. In India they have children begging on the streets, and professional beggars with gruesome wounds that caused her to give away all the rupees in her pockets every time she went out. They have Engineers with good eductions that are willing to do the same work we do for much less money. In case we had any doubt of the seriousness of the issue, she told of hearing that all kinds of other skilled work is also going overseas.

Then Natasha told us about getting laid off with only two days notice. Before her trip to India they had explained that they were offshoring that work "to free her up for more important work on the company's business strategy." She was notified of their not needing her on Monday, and by the time Wednesday was over, she was on her own. She explained that the time to prepare for your job being offshored is before it happens, because two days notice isn't exactly enough time to refinance your home or make other structural changes.

Then she talked a bit about www.techsunite.org, explaining that it had been started as WashTech by some people there that had felt concerned about the growing trend of offshoring. Despite the fact that tech workers in general don't like to organize, the organization has been growing quickly as the number of people offshored expands. She urged us to visit their website for more information about the issue.

There was much Q&A, during which a lot of other issues came out.

One guy talked about how years ago he had made a lot of money as an Engineer because there weren't many people that could do his work. That had changed, and now people in India could do the same thing for a fifth the money.

Another guy talked about how necessary it is for the value of the dollar to fall a long way. He explained that as long as the dollar is artificially high and the Chinese Yuan is artificially low, work is going to continue to go overseas no matter what we do.

Natasha pointed out that if this offshoring continues, there will come a time when nobody can afford all those high tech gadgets we were designing. She is sure that the Indians who were making $2 to $5 per hour she trained to do her job couldn't afford them, and they made a lot of money compared to the average person there.

Tian Harter