Ruthless outsourcing will be the death of the American Dream, writes Pedro Gonzalez for The American Mind.
The shotgun blast reverberated across the parking garage of Bank of America’s Concord Technology Center in the Bay Area suburb of Walnut Creek, California.
In the front seat of a pickup truck sat the lifeless body of Kevin Flanagan beside a 12-gauge Remington. Behind him were boxes of his personal effects from his office at Bank of America, where the programmer had worked for nearly a decade.
In the months leading up to his 2003 suicide, Bank of America had forced Flanagan and his colleagues to train their foreign replacements before laying them off. These transplants entered the United States on the H-1B worker visa. After months of the humiliation of having to train his replacement, a broken Flanagan climbed into his truck and shot himself in the head the day Bank of America let him go. “Kevin losing his job with Bank of America was the defining event in his decision to end his life,” said Tom Flanagan, his father.
Come late summer, ears still ringing from the shot heard ’round the industry, protestors gathered at the office where Flanagan once worked. “The pressure to reduce workers’ wages and rights due to government subsidized labor creates terrible desperation in the work force,” said organizer and spokesman Lee Perry, “expressed to its ultimate degree by Kevin Flanagan.”
The Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman characterized the H-1B visa as a government subsidy program the year before. Socialism for the rich.
But bad press and picket lines in parking lots fell on deaf ears…