The Anatomy of Public Corruption

Showing posts with label Outsourcing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Outsourcing. Show all posts


The Outsourcing Suicide


Pete Bennett and friend Lee P. started a protest at the Concord Tech Campus regarding the duboious, doubtful and unlikely suicide of Bank of America programmer Kevin Flanagan.

2004 Kinder Morgan Explosion

Bennett traveled through the Broadway Bypass heading to court with Judge Golub where Bennett was laden with triple fines. This explosion and related investigation was rigged but the real owners lead the the 1990 Witness Murder in Bennett vs. Southern Pacific


May 13, 2003 | Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, CA)
 | Page: a01 | Section: News
1362 Words | Readability: Lexile: 1140, grade level(s): 9 10 11-12

In his oldest son's Pleasant Hill home, Tom Flanagan occasionally curses as he walks through the halls and gathers his son Kevin's belongings: the black-and-white photos his son developed in his makeshift darkroom, the household products he had a tendency to buy in bulk, the box-loads of books on computer programming.

More than once, Flanagan shakes his head. "It's a shame," he says. "We lost a good friend and a good mind."

One month ago, Kevin Flanagan took his life in the parking lot of Bank of America's Concord Technology Center, on the afternoon after he was told he had lost his job.

It was "the straw that broke the camel's back," his father said, even though the 41-year-old software programmer suspected it was coming. He knew that his employer, Bank of America Corp., like other giant corporations weathering the economic storm, was cutting high-tech jobs. He knew that Bank of America was sending jobs overseas. He had seen his friends and coworkers leave until only he and one other person remained on the last project Flanagan worked on.

Flanagan took steps to soften the blow. He considered studying law, and even made a list of California schools he was interested in researching. He applied for other jobs at the bank, but didn't receive responses.

In e-mails to his father, Flanagan sounded lighthearted. "I'm safe!" he would write in his Friday missives. "I'm safe for another week."

But Flanagan apparently masked the depth of the distress he felt as he fought to save his position. "He felt like he was fighting a large corporation that pretty much didn't care," his father said. "This final blow was so devastating. He couldn't deal with it." The father said he saw no other signs of depression before his son's suicide.

It is unclear if Flanagan lost his job because it had been sent overseas, or because the bank was slimming down because of the tight economy. Lisa Gagnon, a Bank of America spokeswoman, declined to comment, saying, "We're deeply saddened by this tragedy. We send our prayers to his friends, colleagues and family."

But his death underscores the anxiety that has swelled among technology workers at Bank of America and elsewhere as more businesses shift high-tech jobs and responsibilities to contractors offshore even as they cut jobs in the United States.

A report by Forrester Research projects that, led by the information-technology industry, 3.3 million service jobs and $136 billion in wages will move from the United States to such countries as India and Russia over the next decade or so.

Another survey by A.T. Kearney said that U.S. financial-services companies are planning to send overseas 8 percent of their workforces, thus saving them more than $30 billion.

Coupled with a rough economy and high unemployment, the phenomenon has left U.S. workers looking over their shoulders, wondering if their overseas counterparts could soon replace them. Blue-collar manufacturing jobs have for years crossed U.S. borders and waters. Some workers are bitter that white-collar, high-paying technology jobs are next.

"It could be me," said a Bank of America information-technology employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "It could be anybody."

Flanagan's parents say that he complained about the company's move to shift jobs out of the United States and talked about taking care of problems that contractors in India couldn't solve.

"Outsourcing has led to tragedy for us," said Tom Flanagan. "We are devastated."

Flanagan landed at Bank of America seven years ago after spending time at a San Francisco technology company and at ChevronTexaco Corp.

The Concord Technology Center, a cluster of four buildings that opened in 1985, employs programmers such as Flanagan to develop software programs that handle jobs like wire transfers. Throughout the Bay Area, the bank employs some 13,400 workers; the bank would not release the number of workers at the Concord center.

About two years ago, Bank of America created the Global Delivery Center to identify projects that could be sent offshore[JNI2]. In the fall of 2002, it signed agreements with Infosys, whose U.S. headquarters are in Fremont, and Tata Consulting Services, two of the largest players in information-technology consulting and services in India.

Overall, this deal should affect no more than 5 percent of the bank's 21,000 employees, or about 1,100 jobs, in its technology and operations division, Gagnon said. So far, it has been less than that, she added.

But Gagnon declined to say how many U.S. and Concord workers have been affected so far.

"It's important to note that just because we decide there is a good business reason to send a project (overseas) does not mean it will necessarily result in job displacement," she said.

Employees at Concord, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described shrinking project teams as work is shuffled around. One veteran worker said that in the middle of a project, he and his team members were asked to hand over documentation and explain their work to a group of engineers from India. He and his co-workers were then transferred to another project. A short time later, he lost his job.

Gagnon confirmed this, saying that in some cases it made sense to have workers train their overseas successors before they are let go.

"The knowledge transfer is essential to continue to provide our customers with the best possible services and solutions," Gagnon said.

One software engineer, who was laid off about two months ago, said that he lost his job because the bank was tightening its budget. But he argued that had other technology jobs not been moved offshore, he would have had more opportunity to shift jobs.

The harshest critics have called Flanagan's death an example of the collateral damage brought on by businesses expanding their offshore operations. A former software programmer said that morale in the office is so low that some employees feel like they're on "death row."

"Every day you think, 'Is this the day I'm gone?'" he said. "The next day you think, 'Is this the day I'm gone?' The stress builds up."

But other Concord employees have taken it in stride. "It's a fact of life in business," said one worker. "It's not perfect here, but it's a pretty darn good place to work," he said.

Proponents say that hiring technology workers overseas will make the company stronger: For one, it cuts costs. A contractor in India, the most popular locale, is typically paid $10,000, compared with $100,000 for a U.S. worker with the same skills. Proponents argue that this allows companies to stay competitive, saving and creating U.S. jobs.[JNI3]

Growing overseas does not necessarily translate into a loss in the United States, said Debashish Sinha, principal analyst for information technology services at Gartner, a research group.

"Very rarely is there a direct staff substitution," he said. "Very rarely will a U.S. enterprise lay off their internal IT folk to hire an external offshore service provider."

But as offshore workers graduate from basic jobs to more sophisticated technology work, critics here wonder if there will be high-paying, high-tech jobs left in the United States.

"There's a huge hole opening up here and no one is seeing it," said Pete Bennett, a former technology consultant in Danville who is now in the mortgage industry. He founded to protest businesses bringing in non-U.S. workers through the government's visa programs for highly skilled workers, a program that he believes helped fuel businesses' move to transfer jobs offshore.

A few weeks before his death, Tom Flanagan helped his son on yet another home improvement project in his Pleasant Hill fixer-upper. That night, they stayed up until 4 in the morning, "just shooting the breeze."

They often had these long discussions, about California politics, about the Enron debacle, about other world issues. They would argue until they couldn't keep their eyes open.

"He would never give up," Flanagan said. "He would never give up. But he gave up."

In a note that he left behind, Kevin Flanagan said that he felt like he had finally found his home when he moved to Pleasant Hill and landed his job at Bank of America.

"He loved working there," his father said. "He loved his house. He loved it here. He was happy. This was his life."

Ellen Lee covers technology and telecommunications. She can be reached at 925-952-2614 or

Caption: Photo, Kevin Flanagan mug.

Pete Bennett: PBS NEWS HOUR June 2007


The Battle for Jobs, Data, Information and Jobs

Pete Bennett with Oracle Spokesman Robert Hoffman

Pete Bennett

June 2007
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June 2007
Evicted 2007

Mysterious Loss of Contracts

Mysterious Medical


Attempts on his life

The Mormon Connection

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When friends of God came knocking at my door it didn't take long for my truck to explode.


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Quick Facts

June 2007

Evicted 2007

Mysterious Loss of Contracts

Mysterious Medical


Attempts on his life

Nancy Pelosi

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Mysterious Loss of Contracts

Mysterious Medical


Attempts on his life


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Research Portal


NewsHour Correspondent: Business leaders in Silicon Valley and other high-tech centers say they need more foreign workers to keep America competitive. Microsoft’s chairman Bill Gates made the case before Congress this spring.

BILL GATES, Chairman, Microsoft: Now we face a critical shortage of scientific talent. And there’s only one way to solve that crisis today: open our doors to highly talented scientists and engineers who want to live, work and pay taxes here.

SPENCER MICHELS: The law allows 65,000 specialized workers, ranging from engineers to architects, and even including fashion models, into the U.S. each year, plus another 20,000 graduate degree holders. They, plus some categories like teachers not included in the cap, get what is called an H-1B visa.

With that temporary pass, they can stay and work here for up to six years. Today, there are more than 260,000 H-1B employees in the U.S.

Companies insist they need foreign workers because there are not enough qualified Americans to fill the jobs.

ROBERT HOFFMAN, Oracle Corporation: The Senate and the House have made this issue a high priority.

SPENCER MICHELS: Robert Hoffman is a lobbyist for software maker Oracle, which currently has about 1,850 H-1B employees. He says the company needs software and computer engineers right away.

ROBERT HOFFMAN: Companies like Oracle and Microsoft have hundreds of job openings currently right now. We want to hire the American worker, but if they’re not there, what alternatives do we have? Either we hire the H-1Bs, or if the H-1Bs aren’t available, we’ll have to move work offshore. We’ll move the work where the workers are.

SPENCER MICHELS: According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s Sharon Rummery, the demand this year for H-1B visas was enormous.

SHARON RUMMERY, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: On the very first day that the H-1B visa became available, we received more applications than we had available slots. As it turned out, we got more than 119,000 H-1B visa applications.

SPENCER MICHELS: So what do you do?

SHARON RUMMERY: When that happens, we go to a computer-generated, random selection process.

Securing the best and brightest

Christian Plante

Canadian H-1B Visa Holder

You want to make sure you make it easy for people to come here to the United States, and then you want to make sure that companies have the right means to keep them here.

SPENCER MICHELS: A large coalition of high-tech firms, called Compete America, and co-chaired by Oracle's Hoffman, says the global economy demands a free flow of workers.

ROBERT HOFFMAN: Half, or more than half in some instances, of our graduate students that are pursuing masters and PhDs are foreign-born. Companies like Google, Yahoo, eBay were all founded by immigrants. So what we're trying to do is making sure that we have the very best and the very brightest here in the country innovating and creating jobs.

SPENCER MICHELS: People like Umar Mughal, who lives today with his wife in an apartment in San Jose, he came to America from Pakistan to attend Purdue University in electrical engineering. After graduation, he got a job in Silicon Valley and got married on a visit home.

For the past six years, he's been working in marketing for Altera, a company that makes specialized computer chips and employs about 160 H-1B workers. He has applied for a green card, a work permit for permanent residents, so he can stay here after his visa expires.

UMAR MUGHAL, Pakistani H-1B Visa Holder: I wanted to be in tech. That's what I was passionate about, and I wanted to start working here. The other thing is, once I moved, I really like the lifestyle over here.

SPENCER MICHELS: We talked to Mughal and two other H-1B holders from Canada and India in Altera's cafeteria. All three agreed that, for its own benefit, America needs to encourage, not block, foreign workers. Christian Plante came here from Quebec.

CHRISTIAN PLANTE, Canadian H-1B Visa Holder: The goal is really to snatch talent and keep the talent here because it's going to go somewhere else. It's going to go to China; it's going to go to the European Union. You want to make sure you make it easy for people to come here to the United States, and then you want to make sure that companies have the right means to keep them here.

DEEPAK BOPPANA, Indian H-1B Visa Holder: I think reverse brain drain is, to a certain extent, very real. I've known friends who have gone back to India because of the booming economy there.

A 'money game'

Pete Bennett

Software Developer

It's really a game of two for one. I can get two H-1B visa workers for one American.

SPENCER MICHELS: But software developer and amateur guitar player Pete Bennett doesn't buy any of the arguments to bring in H-1B workers. Bennett, who runs a Web site called "No More H-1B," says he has a hard time finding work, and he blames the H-1B visa program.

PETE BENNETT, Software Developer: It's really a game of two for one. I can get two H-1B visa workers for one American. Many of the U.S. workers that were displaced are in the higher wage category. This is a money game; this is about big money.

SPENCER MICHELS: The workers we met at Altera said they were paid equally with Americans, but a recent survey from the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think-tank, found that more than half of new H-1B high-tech employees were paid below the starting salary of an entry-level computer scientist.

The Department of Labor says that, under the law, companies where foreigners make up at least 15 percent of the workforce must attest that they've tried to hire Americans first. But most companies hire fewer foreigners than that, and they have no such requirement. They simply have to post internally their intention to hire a foreigner.

For those companies, a Labor Department document states, "H-1B workers may be hired even when a qualified U.S. worker wants the job, and a U.S. worker can be displaced from the job in favor of the foreign worker." That's a fact that frustrates these American high-tech professionals who are out of work.

Laid off Americans

SPENCER MICHELS: After being laid off, Andre Levy spent two-and-a-half years getting a master's degree to be more competitive. He's been looking for a job for more than a year.

ANDRE LEVY, American Citizen: I have a degree from a world-class university here in the bay. I have a master's degree from a pretty darn good university. I am not sure exactly what else I can do.

SPENCER MICHELS: He says he knows H-1Bs generally get paid less, because when he was a manager, he hired them.

ANDRE LEVY: It was a cost issue. I mean, they were cheaper because they were short-term. We didn't pay benefits or any of that sort of stuff. We had a number of folks from Russia, as well. They were willing to live four in a two-bedroom apartment.

SPENCER MICHELS: Kim Doty was laid off in January.

KIM DOTY, American Citizen: Not only are some of my jobs being outsourced, but when I look at other positions, I'm being told that I'm too qualified to take some of those roles. And a lot of it, I think, has to do with my salary, at this point demanding a lot higher salary than what they're looking at.

SPENCER MICHELS: Foreign workers also come with the skills industry wants now. And American workers say they need retraining to stay competitive.

But training funds have been cut, says the director of this job center in Silicon Valley. Companies pay the government $1,000 for each H-1B worker they hire, money to be used for job training. But much of it has been perted out of Silicon Valley to poorer communities, says Mike Curran.

MIKE CURRAN, North Valley Job Training Consortium: So what we used to have was millions of dollars of training six or seven years ago, because the H-1B created a pool for that, and we could take existing workers here and give them new networks, and new technologies, and new access to new training, has evaporated. All of that money has been taken off of the table.

Congress debates H-1B visas

Sen. Dick Durbin

(D) Illinois

We need to really put this back on track. And the first rule ought to be very simple: American workers take the jobs first.

SPENCER MICHELS: The H-1B debate is playing out in Congress right now as an important element in the broader immigration discussions. President Bush recently called on Congress to raise the cap. Republican Senator John Cornyn has been leading efforts in the Senate to get more H-1B visas.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), Texas: There's been a lot of misunderstanding and some suggestion that you're actually bringing in foreign workers, paying them less, and putting Americans out of jobs. That's not the case. This is to supplement really our lack of qualified people in some of these high-skilled areas.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), Illinois: There are some who say, "Well, clearly, we need more H-1B visas." I disagree with that completely.

SPENCER MICHELS: On the other side, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin fears that foreigners will return to their own countries armed with technology learned here and compete with American companies.

SEN. DICK DURBIN: The system is clearly being abused. We need to really put this back on track. And the first rule ought to be very simple: American workers take the jobs first.

SPENCER MICHELS: As Congress continues to wrangle over immigration, the H-1B visa controversy is expected to remain a major issue in the debate.

JIM LEHRER: The Senate deal on immigration reached today would raise the cap on H-1B visas to 115,000, which is nearly double the current number allowed, and it would open the door to future increases.


Fremont Partners raises $920 million

Bill Gates funding and the 1990 Witness Murder connected to Fremont Group, Bechtel and Bennett vs. Southern Pacific

Fremont Partners raises $920 million 

San Francisco's Fremont Partners said Monday that it has raised $920 million for its Fremont Partners III venture fund to focus on middle market investments.

Fremont exceeded its $850 million target. The firm's previous fund was Fremont Partners II, a $605 million fund established in 1996.

Investors participating in both funds have increased their commitments by 75 percent, while new investors comprise approximately 30 percent of Fremont Partners III.

Investors in the latest fund include AMR Investments, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Boeing, Delta Air Lines, Fremont Group, General Motors Asset Management, MetLife, Vanderbilt University and Verizon Investment Management.

"Our fundraising success in today's difficult marketplace is a result of investor confidence in Fremont Partners' team, the consistency of our middle market strategy and the return opportunities available in the middle market," said James Farrell, managing director.

Fremont Partners makes substantial equity investments in companies worth up to $1 billion, typically seeking to deploy $50 million to $250 million in each opportunity.

"The strong growth in revenues, cash flow and earnings achieved by our existing portfolio companies in 2001 demonstrated the merits of our investment strategy and contributed to the success of fundraising," added Mark Williamson, managing director.

Fremont Partners, founded in 1991, is the principal entity through which Fremont Group conducts its private equity investing. Fremont Group, a private investment firm, is majority owned by members of the Bechtel family and is responsible for managing approximately $11 billion in assets.


More Dead CEOs

On their own not much really to worry about together in a straight line think again

Former CEO of HP and Oracle somebody that's a name that in the Tech Industries well-known and his peer is the next posting

Oct 18, 2019 - Hurd's time at Oracle came to a halt in September when he announced he was taking a leave of absence to recover from an ongoing illness. At ...
Without knowing the cause of death, I think it's premature to say that he worked himself to death. It was probably some kind of cancer that probably would have ...
Oct 18, 2019 - Oracle CEO Mark Hurd, 62, has died, according to the company, just a little more than a month after taking a leave of absence for health-related reasons, Hurd had a distinguished career in the technology industry where he began his career more than 30 years ago.

Outsourced UCSF workers sue state Regents (

Clipped from:

Outsourced UCSF workers sue state regents
Robert Harrison, a senior telecom analyst, makes his way to the parking lot with his box of belongings on his last day of work at UC San Francisco offices in San Francisco, Calif. on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. Information tech employees from UCSF have lost their jobs to lower-paid tech workers from an outsourcing firm out of India. Harrison was among 13 former employees suing the state. (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)

By LOUIS HANSEN | | Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: May 30, 2017 at 1:35 p.m. | UPDATED: May 31, 2017 at 4:52 a.m.
A group of former UC San Francisco information technology workers on Tuesday sued the state, claiming discrimination and harassment when they were forced to train lower-cost foreign workers to replace them.

Thirteen former employees charge in a suit filed against the University of California Board of Regents that they were laid off because of their age, sex, race, or national origin. UCSF administrators eliminated about 100 IT positions in February, sending most of the responsibilities to Indian workers through a contract with HCL Technologies, an outsourcing firm. UCSF supervisors told the U.S. workers the layoffs would save the university $30 million over five years.

UCSF is believed to be the first public university in the country to outsource a large number of IT jobs, a common practice in the private sector. Lawmakers criticized the UC system for replacing U.S. workers with foreign replacements.

The criticism grew louder last month as state auditors discovered the UC Office of the President had tallied $175 million in undisclosed discretionary and restricted funds.

Gary Gwilliam, attorney for the former employees, said the university mistreated the workers and misused the visa system in the process. The suit claims foreign workers on H-1B visas were brought in for the project, although the university has denied the charge.

“This is not just outsourcing as usual,” he said. “These are public funds. I don’t think a university should outsource this.”

In a statement, UCSF said IT costs have tripled between 2011 and 2016, largely due to the expansion of electronic medical records.

“This growth rate is not sustainable,” it said.

The university said its various missions — including medical research, quality care and serving poor communities — must be cost-conscious.

The office of UC President Janet Napolitano did not return a request for comment.

The suit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, said workers were unfairly singled out for cost-cutting. All of the workers in the suit are over 40 years old and have decades of experience in information technology. One man worked at UCSF for 31 years, and several others worked at the university for more than a decade.

UCSF administrators summoned IT workers to a meeting in July and announced it would be outsourcing about one-fifth of its work to HCL Industries.

Administrators cut 97 positions, including 49 career employees, 30 contractors and 18 vacant jobs, according to the suit. The last of the laid off workers left UCSF at the end of February.

“Many of the terminated employees were forced to go through the indignity of training their significantly younger, male HCL replacements, to enable them to perform the work in India,” the suit said.

UCSF is one of 10 campuses in the California system, and offers graduate degrees in medicine and related fields. The medical center offers care to poor and under-served communities. UCSF has an annual budget of about $5.9 billion, and spends about two-thirds of its funds on salaries and benefits.

Gwilliam said workers were outraged after hearing the office of the president — a department not directly related to UCSF — had collected a large surplus.

“What’s going on here?” Gwilliam said. “It’s very disturbing.”

By Louis Hansen | | Bay Area News Group

PUBLISHED: May 30, 2017 at 1:35 p.m. | UPDATED: May 31, 2017 at 4:52 a.m.

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