Union officials fear the move by the University of California, San Francisco could be just the start of a wave of outsourcing of well-paying technology jobs to lower-paid workers overseas.
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Nearly 80 IT workers at a California university are expected to protest Tuesday, on their final day on the job before turning their duties over to a third-party IT services firm from India.
The workers, members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), were informed last summer that their positions at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) were being outsourced to the IT services firm, HCL.
Since then, the workers have been training their replacements via videoconference, and in person for a few foreign employees who were brought to the U.S. under H1-B visas.
“It is the first time a public university has ever offshored American information technology jobs, undermining its own mission to prepare students for high-tech careers,” the CWA said in a statement.
Training the replacements was among the conditions for receiving severance packages, union officials said.
The layoffs affect 48 full-time IT workers, 12 contract employees and 18 vendor contractors. Additionally, 18 vacant positions will not be filled.
In all, UCSF is slashing about 17 percent of its 565-person IT operation.
The five-year, $50 million contract with HCL is expected to save the university about $30 million during the period.
Union officials worry that the contract could be just the start of a wave of outsourcing of IT jobs from the University of California.
“The offshoring could soon spread beyond UCSF, as the HCL contract can be utilized by any of the 10 campuses in the UC system,” the CWA statement said.