Did Pfizer Force Its Staff To Train Their H-1B Replacements?

Did Pfizer Force Its Staff to Train Their H-1B Replacements?

By Kevin Fogarty

Did Pfizer Force Its Staff to Train Their H-1B Replacements?

Pfizer finds itself at the forefront of the debate over outsourcing and the H-1B visa program for foreign technology workers after workers in Connecticut raise the claim they have been forced to train their H-1B replacements, who will return to India to run Pfizers IT infrastructure. The criticism stems from an outsourcing deal Pfizer signed three years ago with Indian outsourcers Infosys Technologies and Satyam Computer Services.

Pfizer is taking flak for what detractors charge is a plan to use U.S. workers to train the foreign contractors who will replace them during a years-long outsourcing project.

Contractors in the company's Groton and New London, Conn., research and development facilitiesmany of whom are either former full-time staffers or replaced Connecticut-based staffare complaining that foreign workers on H-1B visas are coming in to be trained on the company's systems, according to a report in The (New London, Conn.) Day, a local newspaper.

Those temporary workers are scheduled to return to India, where they will run the same systems as part of an outsourcing deal Pfizer signed three years ago with Infosys Technologies and Satyam Computer Services.

The complaints about IT contractors are part of a larger well of discontent focused on Procedure 117, a policy Pfizer instituted in January that requires the closure of even long-term contractor arrangements as those terms expire. It also institutes what some call harsh conditions under which contractors in IT and other specialties may or may not be able to continue to work with Pfizer.

U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., who represent the region, sent a letter to Pfizer asking the company to reconsider laying off U.S.-based workers in Connecticut.

The situation, as reported by The Day, is unpleasant for U.S.-based IT workers, but not terribly unusual for companies shifting IT operations overseas during major outsourcing deals.

Calls to Pfizer requesting confirmation or comment were not returned. In a public statement, the company said it is continuing to evolve it operations “to meet global business challenges and look for efficiencies to help better manage operations, which include the use of contract workers on an as-needed basis.


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