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 Pfizer's 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
Contractors in the company's Groton
and New London, Conn.,
research and development facilities-many of whom are either former full-time
staffers or replaced Connecticut-based staff-are 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."