Powerful TVA learns little people can fight back
By Michael R. Shannon
From day one the Trump HR operation has been the Chernobyl of Human Resources. Instead of hiring some of the 63 million people who voted for Trump, the administration made a point of hiring people for whom the Trump administration was a bit beneath their dignity.
At least a few of the appointee failures could have been solved by having all new hires attend an orientation that consisted solely of watching a 2016 Trump campaign rally in full. That would have been the first exposure to the issues that won the election for Trump for many and would have served to put them on notice regarding the administration’s priorities.
Now, as Trump’s first term draws to a close, the administration is finally taking steps to punish wayward appointees. Although in typically Trump fashion it isn’t a systematic effort. Instead Trump became aware of the betrayal when a group of little people decided they weren’t going to lie down and take it.
The story begins in Tennessee. The Tennessee Valley Authority is a federally–chartered corporation created by FDR during the depths of the Great Depression. The TVA’s goal was to control flooding by harnessing the rivers for hydroelectric power and then generate economic development.
Like most government behemoths, TVA long–ago lost sight of its mission as a US entity supposed to help US citizens. The new CEO, Jeff Lyash, evidently decided he was tired of creating jobs in Tennessee and wanted to start growing careers in Thiruvananthapuram.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press found Lyash intended to import tech workers from India, using the H1–B visa program, to replace 200 US citizens already doing the job.
This is callous, corporate arrogance at its most corrupt. An organization created by Congress to aid Americans has no more business importing foreign serfs to replace citizens than the USPS has hiring drug mules to deliver the mail.
The H1–B visa scam is a popular in corporate suites because this government–sponsored wage–reduction program that’s an ideal solution for tech executives who don't like to travel.
Instead of shipping jobs overseas, cynical U.S. corporations violate U.S. law to bring the workers here.
Problem solved. The boss doesn't have to worry about drinking the water and the US wage scale is now identical to that of Bombay. The part of the law that says visas are only to be used for jobs the company can’t fill domestically is winked at by everyone, except the 200 Americans doing the work previously at TSA who get fired.
Most of the time companies force citizens to train the foreigners who have come to take their job, which is like ISIS making captives sharpen swords. The company keeps the terminated employees quiet by forcing them to sign non–disclosure agreements if they want to receive severance.
The employees at TVA decided to fight back. They met with the president and after the meeting Trump finally laid down the law firing two members of the board, “So, let this serve as a warning to any federally appointed board. If you betray American workers, then you will hear two simple words: You're fired. If the TVA does not move swiftly to reverse their decision to rehire their workers, then more board members will be removed.”
TVA’s response indicates Trump must keep firing. Lyash has no intention of changing his policy. In his breathtakingly arrogant and duplicitous response to the president he let fly with a burst of HR jargon, “We have a rigorous decision–making process that includes dialogue with the impacted union and an appeals process that is still underway. No potentially impacted employee from TVA will be let go until that entire process is complete."
If Lyash intends to obey the president there is no need for an “appeals process” because he would simply stop giving US jobs to foreigners and rehire the citizens. What’s more, the “appeals process” is simply a method of delaying until after the election when Lyash hopes Trump will be gone and he can tell the citizens who stood up to him not to let the door hit them in the behind.
This is the bureaucrat swamp mindset that Trump has faced since he took office. It’s an indictment of his lack of seriousness that he didn’t drop and continue dropping the hammer on these popinjay potentates from the day he took the oath of office.
Lyash personifies the ‘I’m all right Jack’ mentality of our corporate titans. When he took over as president of Ontario Power Generation, he booted some Canadian out of a job, so why should he care if US little people get fired?
Trump should make him care. That’s why Trump was elected. It shouldn’t have taken Trump four years to take action.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at mandate.mmpr (at) gmail.com. He is also the author of Conservative Christian's Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!).