There has been much discussion as of late about the increase in technology jobs and how much the industry is growing. While there may be more positions available in the technology industry, many high-tech workers may begin to see their salaries decrease slowly.
Outsourcing has been an issue that we as workers in this country have had to deal with for quite some time. It is difficult for workers in the United States to compete with the workers of other countries such as India and China when they will work the same amount of time, or more, for less money. However, this issue has gained even more steam lately as companies such as IBM and Intel push for a revision in labor law that will limit overtime benefits of technology employees. According to these companies, in order to keep the jobs here in the United States, this revision will have to be made.
Since workers overseas will work much longer for less money, why would these companies want to keep their jobs in the U.S. where they have to pay their workers more right off the bat and then pay them even more when they work longer hours? From a business perspective, it doesn’t make much sense. However, U.S. workers simply see this revision as a way of squeezing more work out of them without having to pay them for their efforts and time. The bill that is being debated on, S. 1747: Computer Professionals Update Act, would expand the pool of workers who currently are not automatically entitled to overtime to include those that have the job duties of securing, configuring, integrating and debugging computer systems.
Many see this as an excuse for companies to overwork hires without the compensation for long hours, especially young hires. When not looking at this law from a business perspective, it’s difficult not to see it as exploitation. Jim Kerick, a client support engineer at NetApp in Research Triangle Park, currently has a salaried position and doesn’t really put in a lot of extra hours. However, when he was just getting into the industry in the 90’s when he was younger, he was working close to 90 hours a week. The overtime he amassed as a result was used to pay for the down payment on his house. If things changed, he would not be willing to work as much as he did before without being compensated fairly for it.
“I’m not an indentured servant,” he said. “I’m allowed to have a life.” That’s true, but if the expansion of the law is passed, many other IT workers may take on Kerick’s way of thinking and may find themselves in a position they parallel to indentured servitude. What do you make of this proposal?