This week Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) wrote a letter to the CEO of Abbott Laboratories, Miles White, in Chicago asking him to explain why his company plans to lay off 180 IT American workers and replace them with H-1B foreign workers.
"It should go without saying that such harsh and insensitive conduct is not justified by whatever marginal financial benefit might accrue to your company, which is already making billions of dollars in profits every year," Durbin wrote.
Sen. Durbin found out about the layoffs during a Senate Judiciary Committee last week on the impact that temporary visas, such as the H-1B visa, has on U.S. workers. Sen. Durbin’s staff confirmed that Abbott Labs told its employees they would be laid off on February 22 but their last day wouldn’t be until April 22.
The company has required that the American employees train their foreign replacements in order to receive their severance pay, following a trend that many companies have used including Disney and Toys ‘R’ Us.
Sen. Durbin has been a long time opponent to the H-1B visa and has sought to limit the ability of companies to abuse the program. Last year Sen. Durbin cosponsored Sen. Grassley’s (R-Iowa) S. 2266 bill that would have prohibited using the H1-B or L-1 visa to replace American workers.
In his letter Sen. Durbin said he would continue to push for legislation to reform the H-1B and L-1 visa but, “the gaps in current law are no excuse for your company to treat your employees so unfairly.”
Read more on this story in the Chicago Tribune.
Updated: Wed, Mar 16th 2016 @ 1:10pm EDT