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Just as the AFL-CIO is calling for us to call 1-888-355-3588 and speak to our congresspersons against CAFTA, comes this note:

"My Recent Layoff"

By a North Texas victim of gobblelization

Let me first apologize to laborers who have lost their jobs over the last 30 years. I am a self-centered hypocrite when it comes to the concerns of the "blue collar" worker. Back in 1976, when I started my career as an Information Technology (IT) software engineer, I remember the crises of the textile workers, steel workers and autoworkers. The corporations told us not to worry. The future U.S. economy will lead in technology using highly specialized skills, they told us. They insisted that in order to stay competitive, "labor-intensive" jobs must be off-shored. With a well paying job and degree in hand, I believed it wasn't my problem. How wrong I was!

My recent layoff has opened my eyes to the dangers of off shoring.. I began to understand the plight of the American worker. I'm 54 years old with little or no hope of continuing my career. A new profession takes time and money. It doesn't make sense to spend my retirement money or my children's college fund to start up a new career. It stinks, any way you look at it.

Let me describe how corporations, in my opinion, are selling out this country. I have been working for TXU (formerly Dallas Power & Light) since I was 37. My employment record was stellar. I worked well with others and was promoted to a Senior Analyst Position. In 2004 TXU announced that they needed to stick to their "core business". As a result they off-loaded 2,700 back office employees to Capgemini effective July 1. The employees were told that they had a choice - either they can join Capgemini or they can be fired with no compensation (usually 2 weeks for every year). We were required to sign a waiver not to sue TXU or their executives. Capgemini promised to honor the two weeks severance if we were laid-off within 18 months after the transition. Some of the long time folks could get over a years' worth of severance pay if they were laid off prior to 2006. After 2006 they would get 4 weeks.

The TXU announcement declared that the move would save 170 million dollars per year. Running the numbers, one could lead to only one conclusion - lay offs were coming. In August 2004 Capgemini announced their "distributive delivery business model." "Distributive delivery" is a euphemism for off-shoring labor. Capgemini was going to move jobs to India, Poland, Malaysia, and Communist China. During our orientation, management emphasized that some of us will loose our jobs. Management told us that a Chase bank economist wrote an article in the ///Wall Street Journal// saying that for every dollar that is off-shored, a dollar and fourteen cents returns back to the U.S. - implying that we were helping America by losing our jobs.

It was my job as a subject matter expert to train my replacements within 6 to 9 months. Training was performed through a telecommunication audio/video portal to India and communist China. Each session was recorded for management and trainees. If for any reason the training was deemed intentionally inaccurate, I could be terminated for "cause" with no severance pay. Layoffs were scheduled in several waves - in October 2004, March 2005, July 2005 and October 2005. Out of 2,700 employees, 75% - 85% will be terminated.

I was terminated March 2005. On that day I was given a document to be signed within 45 days. If signed, I would be waiving my rights to sue TXU, Capgemini, or their executives. Secondly, I could not defame TXU, Capgemini or its executives. I was also required not to mention the waiver agreement to anybody except my spouse and my lawyer. If I do not agree to the terms, I will not receive my severance. If I do agree to the terms but violate any clause within the waiver, I will be sued for the reimbursement of severance pay and associated damages.

After doing a little research, I realized that hundreds if not thousands of corporations are using the same strategy as TXU. America was being exported and no one knows it is happening. Like TXU, corporations that do business with the end-customer do not want to blemish their good name. Instead they find a "gateway" company to do the dirty work "Gateway" - what a clever word. I'd prefer to use the term "surrogate executioner". When accused of off shoring, the corporation would deny the accusation by saying they hadn't laid anybody off. They would defer the charges by blaming the surrogate company. Then they would claim ignorance with respect to motives and would point out that they are not responsible for the actions of surrogate. Most consulting firms and computer service companies actively pursue the role of surrogate.

Corporations hire so-called expert economists to pontificate the virtues of off-shoring jobs. The economist's findings are supplied to the media who regurgitate the information almost verbatim without scrutiny or critical factual analysis.

Ross Perot once said that NAFTA would cause a "giant sucking sound". Today the "sucking" is even larger but with no sound. The surrogate has learned to be discrete. Rather than laying off large blocks of employees in one shot, they off shore small groups in several intervals - small enough as to not attract attention. Employees remain silent for fear of losing his or her job or severance pay. The waiver coupled with the slow release of employees protects the surrogate company from exposure.

Computer specialists, engineers, architects, paralegals, accountants and lab technicians are all subject to loose their jobs. If we continue to move jobs and capital overseas, we are bound to jeopardize or national security both militarily and economically. Who will pay the taxes to support our boys in Iraq? Who pays the taxes for our schools, for our police, for our firemen, and for our roads? If we don't have jobs, who will buy the automobiles, the gas, the washers/dryers? A recent survey of universities showed a 30% drop in Information Technology majors primarily because of off shore competition. American workers cannot compete because the wages cannot sustain an American family. Our future generation is turning away from careers that are off-shored.. Unfortunately, though, these jobs create a "brain drain" as well as a financial drain on our economy. Who will produce the next generation of innovations? Who will design a new rocket guidance system or pollution free energy - communist China? Who has your financial and medical information? Is it protected?

How do we stop this madness?