Wednesday, March 29, 2006

States Offshore Human Services Information Technology

In a story on the Washington Technology website that hits close to home, it's reported that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that 43 out of 50 states (51 including the District of Columbia) outsource to foreign countries -- mostly India (naturally) -- the IT work that could be done by state employees. In fact, only two states, New Jersey and Arizona(!) have laws that prohibit offshoring state contracts.

The four programs affected are the federally-mandated but state-run programs dealing with human services: child support enforcement, food stamps, temporary assistance for needy families and unemployment insurance. In what has to be hands down the understatement of the year, the story says that this outsourcing has been "politically controversial in Congress, due to the perception of contributing to American economic and job losses and to privacy concerns".

Since I'm a state employee myself who has worked in unemployment insurance IT in one form or another since the late 1980s ( for you fellow techies, back then it was all about Unix, using a Sun RISC microprocessor), this story has particular resonance with me.

And even though I am "in the business", I'll admit that I wasn't aware of this particularly parsimonious practice. I'll also admit that it doesn't surprise me, though, since we as a society seem to be engaged in a systematic race to the bottom that will ultimately leave two classes of people in this country, the very wealthy and the rest of us, who I imagine are supposed to consider ourselves fortunate that we even have a job, let alone start whining about wages, hours and working conditions.

After all, those three items are classic union issues, and with the rampant union-busting going on behind the scenes in this country, they are considered at best quaint relics of the early twentieth century that act as a brake on the economy of the New World Order.

In Washington State we recently enacted legislation that made union membership mandatory for state employees. AFSCME (of which I am pround to say I am a 30-year member) along with several other smaller unions became the bargaining agents between state employees and our employer, the state government, with the result that several whiny-assed crybabies who refused to join the union got fired from their jobs.

Enter the Orwellian-named National Right to Work Foundation, whose sole function in society seems to be to act in support of business against the best interests of workers. They are taking on the case of this handful of malcontent slackers and suing the union and the state and god knows who else on behalf of these poor downtrodden fuckers who want all of the benefits of union membership without having to pay for any of it.

This is worth watching, since it has the earmarks of a test case that will be used -- if they are successful -- in other states to disestablish closed-shop labor agreements.

What I say is this: Fine, let the malcontents leave the union but keep their jobs, with the provision that they must work at minimum wage with no health care coverage and no benefits. Then, when even their jobs are outsourced to India, they can brush up on their Hindi and move to Bhopal.

I hear the air is great there -- just the thing for these self-absorbed assholes.


merlallen said...

When my FIL lost his Boeing job after 9/11 do you know who's fault it was?
The Unions, the Democrats and of course, Bill Clinton's.
Did I mention he is a dittomonkey?
And the 'Liberals' are persecuting poor old Pillbaugh because he tells the truth?
I swear, I don't know how the man dresses himself everyday.

moderate said...

outsource the Presidency! Let's get a good Indian leader...

FamCare said...

Is this a good thing or bad thing for the human services industry??