SYNDICATED COLUMN: Digging Your Own Grave: Evil Employers Can Lay You Off, But You Don’t Have To Go Quietly

You’ve seen it in movies: gangsters are going to kill a guy. But before they do, they force him to dig his own grave. Who would go along with that? What are these doomed souls thinking? Why, during their final moments alive, doesn’t the victim avail himself of the chance to die defiantly, with dignity, going to his death with the small pleasure of knowing that his assassin will at least be inconvenienced by the disposal of his body?

That was the question running through my head as I read a story that made my blood boil: Disney World in Orlando, Florida recently laid off 250 tech workers and had an Indian outsourcing company supply their lower salary replacements with foreign recipients of H-1B visas. This disgusting practice, which is becoming increasingly common and is the subject of a congressional investigation and at least one lawsuit, is illegal. H-1B visas are only supposed to go to highly educated foreign workers brought to the U.S. to work for employers who can’t find American citizens to do the job — but with 3 out of 4 American techies un- or underemployed, that’s never the case.

Disney, which had a profit of $7.5 billion last year, could easily have afforded to obey federal immigration law.

If found guilty of visa fraud, Disney should be treated the same way that individual criminals get slammed by “three strikes” laws: 250 felony counts? This rogue company is too big not to be failed. It should be nationalized and its executives sent to prison for life.

The part that really got my goat was that Disney pressured its laid-off workers, many of whom had received such glowing performance evaluations that they thought they were being promoted when they were called in to meet with their bosses, to train their replacements. “I just couldn’t believe they could fly people in to sit at our desks and take over our jobs exactly,” one of the H-1B outsourcing victims, an American in his 40s who has been unemployed since his last day at Disney on Jan. 30 told The New York Times. “It was so humiliating to train somebody else to take over your job. I still can’t grasp it.”

It is astonishing how few workplace shootings there are.

Why didn’t the 250 fired workers tell Disney to go to hell, and refuse to train their replacements?

Why did they dig their own graves?

The answer is, they got paid. But not much.

Disney “offered a ‘stay bonus’ of 10% of severance pay if they remained for 90 days. But the bonus was contingent on ‘the continued satisfactory performance of your job duties.’ For many, that involved training a replacement. Young immigrants from India took the seats at their computer stations,” reported the Times.

How much cash are we talking about?

Obviously, there’s the 90 days of pay. Nonmanagerial workers laid off by Disney receive one week of pay for every full year of service. So if you worked 10 years, you’d get 10 weeks severance, plus one additional week – 10% – for the so-called “stay bonus,” for a total of 11 weeks. But to assess the net benefit, you subtract the $275 a week in unemployment benefits most workers receive in the state of Florida, as well as the 10 weeks severance the laid-off employees would have received even if they’d refused to train their replacements.

According to the corporate salary site glassdoor.com, Disney tech jobs at Orlando start at about $61,000 a year. So let’s assume that the average salary of the poor suckers pushed out the door in favor of the new guys from India was $80,000.

Disney paid the laid-off Americans $20,000 – minus income taxes, so more like $15,000 – to dig their own graves.

Look, I get it. Most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. That $15,000 looks like it’s going to matter a lot when you’re about to lose your job, especially when you are an older worker in technology, a field where age discrimination isn’t merely tolerated, but gleefully celebrated.

At the same time, how much is your dignity worth? That’s the big picture.

Victims of oppression have a responsibility not only to themselves, but to those who are suffering at the same hands, and to the next generation of victims, to resist and throw their bodies on the gears of bloodthirsty corporate capitalism. What if every worker refused, as a matter of course, to train their replacements? The resulting disruption would create a cost for the company.

What if the standard response of a laid-off employee in the United States was not to leave quietly, but to sabotage computers with viruses, trash their office, break as much equipment as possible, and go out kicking and screaming? What if every employer who tried to replace their American workers with outsourced foreigners on fraudulent H-1B visas could count on a big fat class-action lawsuit? Resistance might make some employers think twice before behaving with such disgusting impunity.

Auschwitz survivor Primo Levi wrote that the Nazis’ great triumph in their oversight of death camps was to reduce their Jewish inmates to animals, so that they would turn against one another in their desperate struggle to subsist. Levi was haunted by the horror of what he witnessed, and how easy it was to decivilize human beings. On the opposite side of the spectrum, we celebrate the heroes of the uprisings in the Warsaw ghetto and at Sobibór death camp because, though they knew they were going to die no matter what, they fought to the end.

Comrades! Don’t dig your own graves.

Not for $15,000.

(Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for The Los Angeles Times, is the author of the upcoming book “Snowden,” the first biography of NSA whistleblower Edward J. Snowden. It is in graphic novel form. You can subscribe to Ted Rall at Beacon.)

COPYRIGHT 2015 TED RALL, DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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34 thoughts on “SYNDICATED COLUMN: Digging Your Own Grave: Evil Employers Can Lay You Off, But You Don’t Have To Go Quietly

  1. This shit will continue to happen until the wimpy American public gets their head out of their ass and buys enough rope to have a body of ruling class bastards hanging from every lamppost. But that will never happen because there is no left anymore, just a bunch of douchbag liberals worried about gay rights and other forms of identity politics. Now every day there is a new article on the front page of Yahoo about transgenders. What the hell? No wonder conservatives hate us libs so much at the end of the day we are a bunch of pansies.

  2. I never can predict what’ll have you progressives at each others’ throats. Hmm, I guess it’s usually about job loss. Makes it personal quickly? One side claims principles and the other claims no choice in the matter.

    Since I’m not a leftist, I can see the irony. Your side has succeeded wildly in getting many groups of people accepted, and yet, Americans have less solidarity than before. Where has all the trust gone? I thought diversity made us strong? Oh, right. “Levels of trust [are] not only lower between groups in more diverse settings, but even among members of the same group.”

    http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2007/08/05/the_downside_of_diversity/

    • Hello Jack,

      Unprincipled piggies write rules destroying lower income lives and then they demand, on the principles of the unprincipled, that these least individually powerful workers abandon the needs of their families in order to become a martyr to the unprincipled principles of the piggies.

      Clinton passed laws the Reagan and Bush administration couldn’t when they tried. The insidious Clinton controlled the feeble liberal minds to pass NAFTA, and the repeal of Glass–Steagall Act, both right wing wet dreams.

      And now Obama is trying to ram through a most regressive TPP.

      So you see, “progressive” is the wrong name for these conservatives in liberal clothing.

      With progressives like these it’s no wonder that conservatives like you are winning in the struggle of the 1% to restore feudalism.

      • Unfortunately, conservatives such as myself are even less represented than progressives such as yourself. I’m against all the things you listed.

        However, as with being against writing rules that crush lower income lives, I’m also against writing rules that crush the most able. That’s what separates us. I’m for freedom. Not for the political, economic, or social engineering of either side.

        Cultural Marxists have been wildly successful. The Left has won the culture war. It’s over. It took me a long time to realize that you guys were wrong to think that right-wingers ruled America. Our elites are socially and fiscally liberal and authroitarian. Authoritarians can be left or right. Conservatives care about family, country, tradition, and decency. You think Obama does?! Being a power hungry thief does not make one ‘right-wing.’ See: USSR.

        Really think about this. Leftists have won on almost everything. Easy divorce, abortion, birth control. A massive welfare state. Political correctness. Mass immigration. Feminists pollute the MSM with new pet causes every month. Corporations brag about how much they value ‘diversity.’ Gays are hailed as ‘brave.’ It’s the coolest thing ever! Religion is openly ridiculed. I could go on, but hopefully you get the idea.

      • @ Jack Heart –

        It appears to me that your argumentation is circular.

        From your one post (June 13, 2015 at 2:43 PM):

        “The article also points out the biases of Putnam himself. There’s no evidence for his claim (other than his earnest desire) that we can socially engineer ourselves past the negatives diversity brings.”

        Note: He readily admits that his study conflicted with those biases and required re-evaluation.

        From your other post (June 13, 2015 at 2:55 PM) in reference to the quote you previously gave from the article (“Levels of trust [are] not only lower between groups in more diverse settings, but even among members of the same group.”):

        “Derlehrer, I included that quote because it pertained to the discussion here as I saw it. And as the article says, it is the most shocking downside to diversity.”

        Still, you are ignoring the core conclusion reached by the study: “It would be unfortunate if a politically correct progressivism were to deny the reality of the challenge to social solidarity posed by diversity,” he writes in the new report. “It would be equally unfortunate if an ahistorical and ethnocentric conservatism were to deny that addressing that challenge is both feasible and desirable.”

        This conclusion is based upon the two points I mentioned in my previous post, with importance placed upon the second: “But on a topic as charged as ethnicity and race, Putnam worries that many people hear only what they want to.”

    • @ Jack Heart –

      I appreciated the link to that article, but I am somewhat perplexed at the quotation you chose to represent its gist.

      Having read through it completely, I find that the core of the findings is best summarized with this:
      “It would be unfortunate if a politically correct progressivism were to deny the reality of the challenge to social solidarity posed by diversity,” he writes in the new report. “It would be equally unfortunate if an ahistorical and ethnocentric conservatism were to deny that addressing that challenge is both feasible and desirable.”

      In leading to that conclusion, he also states:
      1) “His paper argues strongly that the negative effects of diversity can be remedied, and says history suggests that ethnic diversity may eventually fade as a sharp line of social demarcation.”

      2) “But on a topic as charged as ethnicity and race, Putnam worries that many people hear only what they want to.”

      • BTW, the dateline says: “August 5, 2007” — Is there anything more recent?
        🙂

      • The article also points out the biases of Putnam himself. There’s no evidence for his claim (other than his earnest desire) that we can socially engineer ourselves past the negatives diversity brings. Maybe I’m naïve, but I still believe most progressives have good intentions. Almost none of them realize that by pushing for a more diverse nation, they have played us all right into the elite’s classic divide and conquer strategy. More diverse nations don’t have the solidarity of more homogenous nations and therefore cannot unite and mobilize as readily against the elite. We take less chances for our brothers and sisters and view them suspiciously. It is the same point I often make about feminism. The elite is delighted that it caught on because not only does it pit women against men but men against men and even women against women AND it drives down wages but nearly doubling the workforce. You’re upset at stagnant wages? There’s your culprit. It was the Left’s own making!

      • Derlehrer, I included that quote because it pertained to the discussion here as I saw it. And as the article says, it is the most shocking downside to diversity. An update would be interesting. Though I’m certain of the results then.

        One of the only things mainstream conservatives say that I agree with is that the social sciences are hopelessly polluted with liberal bias and PC thought. Facts collide with liberalism. Even when an unbiased study makes it out of the ivory towers, it usually doesn’t get the press that a liberal one does. And if it somehow makes it into the mainstream it is systematically attacked.

        See, there is no rape culture. There is no sex pay gap. Divorce doesn’t make unhappily married people happier. Marriage counseling rarely helps. Trial separations usually lead to divorce not reconciliation. More welfare leads to more single mothers. Easy divorce leads to more divorces. Child support leads to more broken homes. Sex differences are biological (evolutionary psychology). And diversity does not make us stronger…

        And I wish like hell I had links at hand for these and many more inconvenient facts.

      • And how could I forget the most important one: about half of domestic violence victims are MALE. But we get the VAWA.

      • NOTE: THIS IS A DUPLICATE POST, BECAUSE I FAILED TO OBSERVE CORRECTLY THE THREAD THAT WAS INTENDED.
        @ Jack Heart –

        It appears to me that your argumentation is circular.

        From your one post (June 13, 2015 at 2:43 PM):

        “The article also points out the biases of Putnam himself. There’s no evidence for his claim (other than his earnest desire) that we can socially engineer ourselves past the negatives diversity brings.”

        Note: He readily admits that his study conflicted with those biases and required re-evaluation.

        From your other post (June 13, 2015 at 2:55 PM) in reference to the quote you previously gave from the article (“Levels of trust [are] not only lower between groups in more diverse settings, but even among members of the same group.”):

        “Derlehrer, I included that quote because it pertained to the discussion here as I saw it. And as the article says, it is the most shocking downside to diversity.”

        Still, you are ignoring the core conclusion reached by the study: “It would be unfortunate if a politically correct progressivism were to deny the reality of the challenge to social solidarity posed by diversity,” he writes in the new report. “It would be equally unfortunate if an ahistorical and ethnocentric conservatism were to deny that addressing that challenge is both feasible and desirable.”

        This conclusion is based upon the two points I mentioned in my previous post, with importance placed upon the second: “But on a topic as charged as ethnicity and race, Putnam worries that many people hear only what they want to.”

      • Ah, I see the problem now. While Putnam is intellectually honest enough to publish the study that conflicts with his ideology and admit that it does so, the “study conclusion” that you refer to is simply his own bias as others complained. Now since the study itself does not agree with his preconceptions, he has to admit so, but also anticipating that his political opponents will see the study results for what they are, he tries to head us off and appear impartial by warning both sides. But the study results speak for themselves.

        And then of course he gives recommendations as to how to socially engineer ourselves out of this, which is certainly beyond the realm of a neutral scientist. However, he cannot help himself as he sees his study as creating a problem. Of course the problem was there all along he merely uncovered what many already knew. And the truth, now out there in all its politically incorrect glory, causes Putnam to make that false appeal to neutrality and to exhort us all to fix by social engineering the conflict the truth poses with liberal thought.

        Proponents for reduced immigration are often called hypocrites since after all we are a nation of immigrants. The difference between then and now is that in the past, immigrants were encouraged to assimilate into the ‘melting pot’ while today under the liberal banner of multiculturalism, immigrants are told to hang onto their distinct foreign identities. The resulting ‘diversity’ then helps corrode social cohesion.


      • @ Jack Heart –
        Now you’ve got it. Good job!
        (Still, I would like to see something more recent than August 5, 2007, perhaps a follow-up study.)

  3. Ted,

    You sneak up on one crucial point and miss it completely (unless I missed it).

    “Look, I get it. Most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. That $15,000 looks like it’s going to matter a lot when you’re about to lose your job, especially when you are an older worker in technology, a field where age discrimination isn’t merely tolerated, but gleefully celebrated.”

    Yes, the 15K “LOOKS” like it will matter. But not really. Try it out for size. Say you lose your job at 55. You are either going to get another job within six months or you are going to not find one for a very, very long time. There is very little middle ground on this. In either case, the money, although useful, doesn’t change the end result for the vast majority of people.

    $15,000 is about six months’ survival. How long does the severance, unemployment, unused vacation, etc., buy, timewise? 10 weeks severance, that’s three months right there, minimum, because you aren’t spending money going to work. With careful budgeting, it’s four months. Unemployment? That’s six months which will probably contract to about three months due to how meager it is. But altogether, that’s seven months. And that’s before you start selling things or tapping the 401(k).

    That $15,000 is mighty tempting, but you’ll go through it and find yourself, a year-plus in your unemployment with no money, and you’ll realize exactly how exquisitely you got screwed over. You still have to make all the hard moves that you thought the $15K would let you avoid.

    That’s the takeaway from unemployment. And I type with first-hand knowledge: there’s ALWAYS one more level of humiliation you can fall into. There is, literally, no bottom. Just more degradation and humiliation. And a bunch of cheerleaders simpering about how you need to have a positive attitude.

    • @ alex_the_tired –

      That’s it in a nutshell. And yet, there are the sanctimonious few who will sell their souls to the devil, without remorse, reaping undeserved benefits from unforeseen circumstances, and maintain that theirs is the only course of action for employees faced with difficult choices.

      And they blame others for not behaving in like manner.

      It’s really sad.

      🙁

    • I would like to give Ted a sincere heartfelt thanks for providing a strike fund for all those people who will lose their sick loved one’s health insurance when they take his advice and walk away from their jobs.

      Unfortunately, I didn’t know Ted was offering such a benefit when I was had by the balls.

      But I am sure derlehrer will cover what is needed to make up the difference, undeterred by the costs he will assume in exhorting others to act on principle.

      Better still, lets crash this corrupt system, and the political parties that engineer such ruthless control of honest labor.

      • I admire your ability to deflect personal responsibility onto others whom you expect to cover your own lack of courage and fortitude.

        Prior to this, I had believed you to be a person of courage and conviction.

        My mistake.

        🙁

      • He says as he poses with an unprincipled destroyer of working peoples lives through repeat of Glass–Steagall Act and Nafta.

        At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

        Obviously not. Showing pride where shame would be most appropriate.

      • “Prior to this, I had believed you to be a person of courage and conviction,” he says as he poses with his low-life chicken-hawk friend.

  4. Ted,

    One point. The headline calls the employers “Evil.” I understand the premise of hyperbole, but these employers aren’t evil anymore than a shark that eats a paddling 8-year-old is evil.

    We are the prey, they are the predators. Unlike most prey, we have the capacity to eliminate most of our predators. When was the last time you were mauled by a tiger? So don’t call them evil. Call them vermin.

    • That’s right.

      Dennis Hastert is not evil when he preys upon children and ruins their lives.

      He is only an animal doing what comes naturally to him.

      I’ve been known to do things that come naturally to me, too.

      Especially when somebody does something that comes naturally to them that I don’t like, naturally.

      • Glenn,

        In all seriousness. If Hastert did what he’s suspected of doing, yes, he is sick. By every definition of the word. He should be locked up and kept away from children for the rest of his life. He is just as sick, in his way, as a diabetic going into shock is sick, or someone having a seizure.

        It doesn’t mean I like him. It doesn’t mean I understand why he does it. But all my rage and blood-blood-blood screaming won’t stop the pedophiles. It’s like screaming at a tsunami as it comes roaring in to wipe out your town. It might be cathartic, but it is pointless otherwise.

      • @ alex_the_tired –

        Am I to understand that you are making a distinction between “evil” and “sick”?

        That’s comparable to calling alcoholism a perverse choice as opposed to an illness, isn’t it?

        N.B. – I tend to agree.

      • derlehrer,

        I suppose. These are all very difficult terms to grasp. Perhaps it’s a Venn diagram with EVIL on one circle, SICKNESS on the other, and an overlap of things that are SICK AND EVIL.

        I’ll have to think some more on this. …

  5. Look, the thing to remember is that we don’t live in a country of laws, we live in a country of business. What Disney did is clearly illegal, the H1-B visa law is explicit about the fact that the person coming in on one must be uniquely qualified for a job in a way NO US worker is. As I pointed out in another comment somewhere, this does happen occasionally, academic settings are the most likely place I know of. If you want to hire the world expert on Florentine business practices in the 14th century for your college, it’s quite possible they aren’t US citizen. What Disney did is clearly blatantly illegal, but of course it doesn’t matter, never will.

  6. “It is astonishing how few workplace shootings there are.”

    But when they do happen, I reserve judgment, not knowing who is evil and who has been pushed into too tight a corner in their personal bureaucratic Auschwitz.

    Hope makes the resolve necessary to kill your killer before he kills you harder to come by.

    If it wasn’t for hope of somehow getting by without extreme measures the 99% could string up the 1% for a net improvement in the quality of life on earth. Non-psychopaths have a hard time gathering the resolve that comes easy to psychopaths.

    So instead of having revolutions, we dream of elections where utopias are realized just because the greedy murderous bastards decided to do the right thing, and turn human, and be nice to us.

    Hope springs eternal in the naive human’s breast.

      • Despair in the concept that justice will eventually come to the just from an unjust institution is the first step toward taking control of your own thought process from the propaganda of advertising, election campaigns, etc.

        Belief that you will be treated with justice by an unjust system is another symptom of American Exceptionalism.

        The sleeping will always object to being awakened from their American dream.

  7. As a long time observer of Micro$oft I’ve notice that there are one HELL of a lot of H1-B’s in Redmond.

    But they’re too smart to lay off the guys who have gotten more experienced, (“older”) – instead they transfer them to shithole jobs. Guys that have been writing Operating systems for twenty years suddenly find themselves in tech support. (While M$ publicly whines about how they can’t find qualified workers.)

    • … and just try to find a new job when your resume looks like:

      Junior Programmer
      Programmer
      Senior Programmer
      Tech Support

      Even without the stint in tech support, they’ve got twenty years experience writing Windows. That’s sure an impressive resume – but there’s nobody outside M$ writing Windows.

      I’ve got friends in Boeing going through a similar thing. Once you’ve been designing airplanes for ten years or so, you’re ruined. Nobody wants want an aircraft engineer designing automobiles – the skills don’t transfer. Boeing knows this. The upshot is that people with thirty years’ experience get 5% higher salaries than the kids coming out of college. Now most people figure it out before their fifth anniversary and move on.

      No Boeing’s planes are now being designed by people with no experience designing planes, and built by people who have no experience building planes.

      But hey, they work cheap – more money for the VPs. See? The system works!

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