consultants are sandburs

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Prevailing wage from another perspective. Comparable pay for H-1B visa employees. And teachers and Branden Petersen.

Abuses of the H-1B program are mentioned in a Mother Jones report, with the focus here on a single paragraph:

Even detractors of the H-1B visa program concede that it can fill important roles, such as encouraging brilliant foreigners to permanently relocate to the United States. EPI immigration expert Daniel Costa suggests a couple of tweaks to the I-Squared Act: Require employers to prove that they've tried to recruit Americans before applying for foreign workers, and make sure that H-1B workers get paid as much as Americans do for comparable jobs. "If that was fixed," he says, "I think it would be a different story."

While the H-1B program, its possible avenues for reform, and pitfalls in educating foreign PhD scientists and other technical specialists having substantial talent, and then not keeping the talent and the education investment here has been debated both ways, that above paragraph says clearly, the obvious, that if it's just some bastard being cheap, hold them to a prevailing wage - prevailing salary standard and the egrgious and exploitative employers will lose their main motive to use H-1B against citizen workers having equal training and skill.

Branden Petersen has gotten much ink over deviance from chapter and verse of GOP dogma about the gay marriage issue, but my recollection of Petersen in the Minnesota House has been as the point man on teacher union busting. This Bill. And this.

That Petersen stuff stands very much in line with plain vanilla ALEC, untempered, unabashed. While not pushing the entire ALEC agenda of dismantling public education as we've had it working for our nation's benefit for most of a century, Petersen is pushing enough ALEC to be one of the usual suspects. Regardless of his breaking rank on gay marriage.

So, Petersen postures and has put a bill behind undoing teacher tenure and freeing school systems to weed out unfit older teachers, much as some veteran NBA or major league baseball players retire before they'd choose to. In theory, that argument can be made - doing it for the kids. In practice, if Petersen's brain child were enacted, school boards would have every incentive to jettison long established capable experienced professionals, as a matter of cost.

To overcome that, Petersen, if he's not simply trying to gut the teachers' union, should include a part of his program requiring that any such choice to eliminate an older teacher must be revenue neutral - whereby each less junior paycheck would step up a notch to get the equivalent of the board having let go the lowest paid teacher. Pull the rug out from under the cheapskate factor that way, and the concept of getting rid of bad apples has a truer ring to it, and deserves more than a "cheap bastard measure" dismissal.

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