Most would probably agree that for the majority of their workers, Walmart wages are quite low. But one might expect that tech jobs for the corporate behemoth would pay much more and be considered plum positions.
But the AFL-CIO labor union just released a report detailing Walmart’s intention to bypass American workers for these tech positions and instead hire foreign workers from other countries who will work for far less.
Researchers discovered that Walmart increased the number of applications for the coveted H-1B visas it submitted to the government. These visas allow American businesses to hire temporary foreign workers at lower pay rates than would be acceptable to the labor force in the United States.
Historically, these visas have been issued to guest workers for menial, low-paying jobs in the agriculture field or for seafood processing or landscaping duties. Proponents argue that they cannot otherwise fill these positions with American workers. However, the counterpoint is that many unemployed Americans possess the necessary qualifications and skill sets that are in high demand by the tech industry.
Other corporations, including Facebook, have also sought to increase the number of H-1B visas that are available, claiming to be unable to fill enough engineering and similar tech positions just using American workers.
Labor unions and other advocacy groups cry foul, saying that is just an excuse to pay the lowest possible wages to a cheaper labor pool. This then drives down wages across the board.
According to the AFL-CIO’s report, “Walmart is driving down standards in the tech industry in the U.S. by using H-1B visas and contractors excessively . . . keep[ing] costs low and allow[ing] for IT guest workers to be paid less.”
There are many ways in which companies attempt to erode employee rights, from paying wages too low to meet their workers’ living expenses to failing to pay benefits. While most are within the parameters of the law, those who illegally deny their employees’ wages or benefits could face civil litigation.
Source: Huffington Post, “Walmart Seeking Foreign Guest Workers To Fill U.S. Tech Jobs, AFL-CIO Finds,” Dave Jamieson, April. 01, 2015