Senator Durbin Calls on Chicago-Based Abbott Labs to Explain 180 Layoffs, Plan to Outsource Jobs

Laid-off workers forced to train their replacements before losing their jobs

CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—February 29, 2016.  U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today called on the Chief Executive Officer Miles White of Abbott Laboratories in Chicago to explain reports that his company plans to lay off 180 workers and replace them with foreign workers.

Since 2007, Durbin has repeatedly introduced bipartisan legislation to end the exploitation of the H-1B and L-1 visa programs to displace qualified American workers and offshore American jobs.

“I implore you to reconsider this plan and retain these U.S. workers, who have dedicated years of loyal service to your company,” Durbin wrote. “To add insult to injury, the Abbott Labs IT staff who will be laid off will first be forced to train their replacements. I will continue to push for legislation to reform the H-1B and L-1 visa programs, but the gaps in current law are no excuse for your company to treat your employees so unfairly.  It should go without saying that such reprehensible conduct is not justified by whatever marginal financial benefit might accrue to your company, which is already making billions of dollars in profits every year.”

Full text of Senator Durbin’s letter:

February 29, 2016

Miles D. White, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Abbott Laboratories

100 Abbott Park Road

Abbott Park, Illinois 60064-3500

Dear Mr. White:

I am deeply concerned about reports that Abbott Labs is laying off 180 Information Technology (IT) employees and replacing them with temporary foreign workers who, after they are trained, will then do these jobs outside the United States.  I implore you to reconsider this plan and retain these U.S. workers, who have dedicated years of loyal service to your company.

Last Thursday, a witness provided sworn testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee about Abbott’s planned layoffs.  Subsequently, my staff spoke with Abbott workers who confirmed this information.  I understand Abbott’s plan for the layoffs is as follows:

  • You have given 180 U.S. employees 60-days notice, and their last day of employment at Abbott Labs will be April 22, 2016.
  • To add insult to injury, the Abbott Labs IT staff who will be laid off will first be forced to train their replacements.
  • You have awarded Wipro Ltd, a large Indian outsourcing firm, with a contract to take over the jobs of these American workers.
  • You are offering the U.S. workers severance of a week’s pay for each year they spent at the company, but in order to receive this severance you are requiring these employees to sign away their right to sue or disparage the company. The severance packet you gave your workers contains a full-page ad listing jobs at Wipro.
  • The people you are laying off have stellar experience, credentials, and performance reviews, and some have been with your company for 15-20 years.

Since 2007, I have repeatedly introduced bipartisan legislation to end the exploitation of the H-1B and L-1 visa programs to displace qualified American workers and offshore American jobs.  Last year I led a bipartisan group of ten Senators calling for the U.S. Departments of Labor, Justice, and Homeland Security to investigate mass layoffs of U.S. workers and their replacement with H-1B workers.  While this practice is unlawful, loopholes in existing law make it difficult for the federal government to hold violators accountable.

I will continue to push for legislation to reform the H-1B and L-1 visa programs, but the gaps in current law are no excuse for your company to treat your employees so unfairly.  It should go without saying that such harsh and insensitive conduct is not justified by whatever marginal financial benefit might accrue to your company, which is already making billions of dollars in profits every year.

Once again, I urge you to restore the jobs of these 180 American IT employees who have served your company with skill and loyalty for many years.  I look forward to your prompt response.

Sincerely,

Source: http://www.durbin.senate.gov