Workers Tell University of California Regents: Don’t Send Our Jobs to India


UCSF employees and allies from other campuses, including Mike Holford, an electronics tech at UC Santa Barbara, challenged the UC Regents' decision to offshore dozens of family-supporting IT jobs.

At a public hearing today, University of California (UC) San Francisco employees strongly urged the UC Board of Regents not to replace information technology staffers with lower-paid workers from India.

In February, 79 workers in UCSF's IT department are expected to lose their middle-class, family-supporting jobs. UC has not heeded calls of two US Senators and seven other Members of Congress who have pressed UC President Janet Napolitano to stop the impending layoffs caused by offshoring of work. Opposition from the UCSF Faculty Association and University of California Student Association has also fallen on deaf ears.

"It is clear from the broad opposition within the UC community, Congress, and the public that offshoring good California jobs is counter-intuitive to the mission of the university and betrays taxpayer trust," said Keith Pavlik, a UCSF employee and member of University Professional Technical Employees-CWA Local 9119, who spoke at the board's January meeting.

Last summer, the UC system partnered with HCL, a multinational contractor headquartered in India, to manage IT infrastructure and networking-related services. The contract covers all 10 UC campuses, potentially endangering thousands of IT jobs, but the San Francisco campus is the guinea pig to test this cost-cutting scheme. It is the first time a public university has ever offshored American IT jobs.

Since then, HCL and UC have imported Indian workers to the university on H-1B visas, and are requiring soon-to-be-laid-off UC employees to train their replacements as a condition of their severance.

At Thursday's board meeting, workers called for more accountability from the university as a public institution that receives taxpayer funding. They also highlighted the fact that both UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla and UC Berkeley Dean of Engineering S. Shankar Sastry sit on the board of HCL.