Indian Outsourcing Firms Want Kinder, Gentler Political Message

Ann All

Coming off a period of rancorous debate over the increasingly controversial H-1B visa program, Indian outsourcing firms are trying to counteract what they see as a negative outlook on offshoring.


As we blogged previously, offshoring does appear to be shaping up as a hot-button issue for American presidential candidates. Democrats, in particular, seem increasingly willing to voice anti-offshoring sentiments. President Bush, in contrast, has been generally supportive of offshoring by U.S. companies.


While Indian firms have traditionally tried to stress the economic benefits that they say offshoring brings to America, that approach is no longer effective, reports the Deccan Herald. Phiroz Vandrevala, an executive with Tata Consultancy Services, says:

Telling someone who loses their job in North Carolina or Jacksonville that this is good for the economy doesn't work.

So the firms are applying some lobbying lessons learned from big American corporations: Enlist organizations friendly to the cause (such as the Information Technology Association of America) to help and, when possible, stress the human element of the issue (by asking Americans they have hired to meet with members of Congress).


India's National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) also recently hired Robert Blackwill, the U.S. ambassador to India from 2001 to 2003, to lobby on its behalf.

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Aug 28, 2007 10:23 AM Robert Ellison Robert Ellison  says:
After 17 years, I have just been laid off by Citigroup. I am one of several hundred in this 2nd of 3 "waves" of layoffs. Thousands of American jobs lost. Most going to India. I blame Bill Clinton, and both the Democrat and Republican parties, as all 3 passed the H1B-Visa program, NAFTA, GATT, the WTO, and the countless other programs that have decimated employment in America. Citigroup knows so too, but they can't resist the savings made by hiring someone cheaper to do my job. They aren't really an American company anymore. Sad. Reply
Aug 28, 2007 1:57 PM Bruce de la Vega Bruce de la Vega  says:
So, the cross-border body shoppers are willing to do just about anything other than being honest. They don't want to refrain from fraud. They don't want to pay market compensation. They don't want to actually behave kindly and gently. They just want to put up a phony kinder, gentler front... while continuing to bribe US government officials and functionaries for the benefit of a few executives and the harm of over a million science and tech workers. Reply
Aug 28, 2007 2:51 PM Bill Bill  says:
I have not been able to get a job in my field in over THREE years. Companies call me "overqualified". If I offer to work for the same wages as the H1b hires get companies say "you won't stay long." Just what exactly am I supposed to do? The sooner I get out of Engineering the better.Vote Kucinich (D) or Tancredo (R) in the 2008 presidential primaries! Reply
Sep 4, 2007 10:00 AM John John  says:
It is truly sad that executives are more concerned with this years 6 figure bonus than they are with the long term ramifications of an outsourced staff. The perceived reductions in expenses are quickly overshadowed by low customer satisfaction and inferior results. In the end, outsourcing isn't about improvement or value, it is about greed. The American middle class deserve better. Reply
Sep 4, 2007 10:05 AM William Halverson William Halverson  says:
Why the surprize? This was inevitable once they got away with off-shoring manufacturing jobs.The US financial system rewards executives who do this - to them it is only a race: Can they capture the growing markets of Asia faster than the US middle class is destroyed? How do they give profits growing when fewer US citizens can buy their goods?In healthcare [where I work] we now see cracks in the "Buy USA" edifice: Blue Cross of South Carolina will approve payment for selected procedures performed inThailand! Even the AMA and AHA can't stop the trend.Although I come from a second generation military family, I see no reason to help our political leaders 'keep the world safe for democracy' anymore, since all they are interested in is the contributions they get from international corporations and unions. They are not defending the nation, our borders, our jobs, our way of life; they merely defend the ability of trans-national corporations to make money. Shareholders and executives benefit; citizens don't.Mexico exports oil and unemployment to us, and we export jobs and money to them. Wonderful.China exports cheap lead painted toys to us, and we export scrap steel so they can build up their nation to replace our market. Sound economics, I'm sure.Within ten years their markets will be so big no-one will care about ours. When their currency replaces ours as the international trade mechanism, the dollar will collapse. We won't be able to pay for our imported oil and our social programs and our military. What will we give up?Why should my son risk his life so oil compnay shareholder can get steady dividends?William Reply
Sep 4, 2007 10:38 AM Alan L. Krishnan Alan L. Krishnan  says:
Interesting comments. How many of the writers drive American cars? How many of the clothes they wear are made in the United States? How many wear shoes made in the USA?Over the years we decimated US manufacturing and had no qualms about buying imported consumer goods. We have no reservations buying imported oil - why do we not lobby to use American oil? Why fund the middle east to fund terror attacks on our people?Globalization and outsourcing are inevitable - market forces constantly drive to reduce costs and move to lowest cost economies. That is the reason why so many American products are sold worldwide - our quality and prices are the best. What is good for the goose is good for the gander - just as we celebrate our exports, we have to tolerate our imports. However, we need to control imports to maintain reasonable balance of payments. So let us reduce consumption and imports! Let us car pool, use public transportation when ever possible, take a train or plane when we travel (even though it costs us more than driving alone), so we reduce consumption, even when it costs us more.Our kids do not want to do science and engineering, so we are forced to "import" talent. The H1B program was developed for getting the best brains to our country, but sadly it is so messed up that it is not working. We need to improve this program so it serves the true purpose and then outsourcing overseas will reduce. When you can not take a horse to water, you take water to the horse. So, when changes in the H1B program prevented bringing in additional workers to our shores, the jobs went overseas and the companies discovered that they get the same work done at a lower cost!This will level off, it will take a few years but things will fall in place. Until then, let us reduce consumption, increase reuse and recycling. That is our only hope - reduce, reuse and recycle. Reply
Sep 6, 2007 9:15 AM John Francis John Francis  says:
Mm.... Alan R Krishnan ... Krishnan sounds like a lobbyist for Indian outsourcing to me.In these posts you always get one like this - is this your full time job Alan (if that is your real name???)The answer:unionise!!!unite and fight back Reply
Sep 7, 2007 2:18 PM RK_France RK_France  says:
Dear all,The capitalism of America and other western nations was build on exploiting the poor ones through the power of trade pacts, colonisation & what not.Americans are some 350 million people on earth. I think it's better to give bread & butter to billions of poorer people world wide than sustaining Obesity in heart, spirits & americain bodies.Slim down to what you need to be!True, globalisation had it's risks like people loosing jobs in America. But even in China, they do! So do the Americans cry ? No, they don't.You can't have your cake and eat it too!! That's not possible.I do believe that capitalism has to be softer and differentbut but for now it stays.And you better stay in the game lest you are left irrevalant in this fast moving world.Outsourcing is good if it's well managed. For proof, you can just see that America turned richer after manufaturing outsourcing.So please stop crying and get back to work!! Reply
Sep 18, 2007 11:25 AM Alan L. Krishnan Alan L. Krishnan  says:
John, I do mean to debate, but yes, this is my name, strange as it might seem. I wish I was a lobbyist, I would at least be making tons of money :) Face reality and speak with conscience - how many imported products are in your life? Why do you use them, when you suggest Unionise, unite an fight back? I buy and drive only American cars, and use American products when ever possible. Do that, and our country will do better. Reply
Sep 18, 2007 11:26 AM Alan L. Krishnan Alan L. Krishnan  says:
John, I do not mean to debate, but yes, this is my name, strange as it might seem. I wish I was a lobbyist, I would at least be making tons of money :) Face reality and speak with conscience - how many imported products are in your life? Why do you use them, when you suggest Unionize, unite and fight back? I buy and drive only American cars, and use American products when ever possible. Do that, and our country will do better. Reply
Sep 26, 2007 1:39 PM Robert Ellison Robert Ellison  says:
Good news. As I stated earlier, after 17 years, I am being laid off by Citigroup. With all the info now, it isn't all that bad. My job is going to New York, and not India, and Citigroup is being real good, as I have been given a severance package with a large, cash, lump-sum payment, and they will pay my full salary, and benefits for another year, to give me time to retrain. Not bad. I feel much better about this. Tragedy into opportunity. !!. I plan to do what I always wanted to do. Don't laugh, but I am going to go be a High School teacher. Good luck everyone. Reply
Mar 3, 2008 11:56 AM DWorker DWorker  says:
I think it's a great idea of the lobbyist to "stress the human element of the issue".. and I would personally like to suggest that they drag in the children of the workers laid off before congress, to express how they are not able to be properly cared for due to corporate greed (like, for example, a lack of health care).Oh.. but I guess that's not the human side they are looking for right?Also regarding Alan L. Krishnan comment that America is "America turned richer after manufaturing outsourcing". Correction - American wealthy elite are richer since outsourcing, while both american citizens are being screwed over.But since the US corporate elite, with it's absolute lack of loyalty to it's own country- have decided to outsource US jobs.. I have decided to fight back by telling them they will need to outsource their products as well.I'm not buying - and I hope they crash and burn so their all important "profit" levels becomes equal to the lack of morality they share with the world. Reply
Apr 6, 2008 1:10 PM RK_France RK_France  says:
I find the protectionist stance of Americains unbelievable. Come on guys, you have made money from foreign brains. Just go to your top universities & venture capitalists! You will see that foreign brain has helped you. And now you wanna shun foreign products & services ?Well for information, the world was always an exchange. The zero discovered by India gave rise to the zeroes & one's you use in the Americain software prowess!Please! economy, like life & nature aren't a zero sum game! Reply
Jun 8, 2008 7:50 PM Vlad Vlad  says:
The fundamental difference between US and other contries is that US was built on democratic principles.The defining character of this country is not capitalism, socialism, protectionism or globalization, open border or closed border. These things come and go. It's all about democracy (people's rule). If you don't like any of these policies - change them. They are not written in stone. Make them into political issue this coming election. Power to the people. Reply
Jul 29, 2008 8:00 AM Nancy Dorr Nancy Dorr  says:
I call Verizon to pay my overdue bill today. I get an Indian sounding call center receptionist. I ask where she is located and yep, It's India. I ask her why she is working for an AMERICAN company in INDIA since I am an American. I am outraged. I contact the Oregonian. A reporter advises me to google "outsourcing call centers." I am now in touch with other outraged Americans. It is going to be hard, I am a consumer like everyone else, but I will no longer buy companies from those who outsource. The hardest ones?Amazon. com ( I was already set to buy a ton of books and videos from them that I need)Ebay- i spent $10,000 thru them in the last four years. O.k. I have made a committment. Now we need to find, post and praise the American companies who don't outscource and buy from them.Orzanize. Obama says he's going to tax companies who outsource. True? Reply

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