The LA Times has a story today (H/T Real Clear Politics) about Senator Hillary Clinton’s relationship with Tata, a firm from India which employs 7900 in the US on work visas. Senator Clinton has in the past been critical of high-tech jobs that are outsourced.
In 2002, Clinton took a group of Indian business executives on a tour of the region and to a meeting with administrators from the state university in Buffalo. The group included Tata Consultancy Services, an information technology consulting firm that is part of Tata Group, a conglomerate with interests in electricity, steel, aviation, cars and hotels.
At the time, Tata Consultancy had two offices in the state — both in New York City to service Wall Street clients.
But a year after the tour, the company flew Clinton to join its chief executive, S. Ramadorai, in Buffalo for an announcement: It would open an office there.
Tata also signed a memorandum of understanding with a university research center to pursue discoveries in genetics, drugs and other areas. In a news release, Tata said that deal “will eventually lead to opportunities for training, recruitment and job creation in Buffalo.”
“There was a sense of excitement on the part of the community,” said Anthony M. Masiello, Buffalo’s mayor at the time, “to have a company like Tata that would not traditionally look at coming to western New York.”
But soon the company faded from public view, said Andrew J. Rudnick, president and CEO of the Buffalo-Niagara Partnership, an economic development group in which Tata was initially active. “They told us their business strategy had changed,” he said. “The reality is that the number of people that Tata is employing here now doesn’t seem to be significant.”
Local officials and observers have spoken out that Tata never really came through:
At the University at Buffalo, Bruce A. Holm, director of a research center pursuing projects with Tata, conceded that the partnership had not played out as hoped. But he said that progress was still possible.
Tata officials say the company has hired 50 people from the Buffalo area in the last four years but most have left or have been transferred to other locations. They say the Buffalo operations remain important to the company and a part of the civic life of the city.
But critics say that Tata has done more to undercut workers in upstate New York than it has helped — and that Clinton is wrong to argue that exposing U.S. workers to competition from foreign workers is helping both groups.
Since Tata arrived in Buffalo, “the reality is that it probably created many more jobs for workers overseas and displaced lots of American workers,” said Ronil Hira, a public policy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a prominent critic of outsourcing.
Even a political ally of hers is critical of Tata in a report:
A report released by two senators said that Tata was one of the biggest users of foreign-worker visas in the United States, employing more than 7,900 visa recipients last year. The large number of visas suggests that companies are circumventing laws designed to protect American workers, Sens. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said in their report.
Clinton and many other lawmakers have called for cracking down on visa abuse. At the same time, she has backed an increase in the number of foreigners admitted to the U.S. each year under the main type of visa for high-tech workers. The cap is 65,000 each year; companies are seeking 115,000.
The story then reveals a familiar Clinton end game by pandering to a specific group for political purposes.
And her campaign continues to telegraph — sometimes in front of Indian American audiences — that she sees benefits to a globalized world.
Three weeks ago, her husband drew applause at a conference of 14,000 Indian Americans in Washington as he extolled the benefits of “open borders, easy travel, easy immigration.” He said the outsourcing debate bothered him because it failed to acknowledge the contributions of Indians who settled in the U.S. The same day, he headlined a fundraiser at the conference for his wife’s campaign.
The LA Times story is particularly damning as its even quotes AFL-CIO officials highly critical of both the Clintons and Tata.
Its the repeat of a lesson already learned by opponents and allies alike of the Clintons. The Indian-American group is a highly paid block that the Clinton’s can count of for both cash and votes.
What is a concern-and the Clintons have given reason to be concerned-is that the relationship is ripe for potential fraud. The 7900 Tata employees here on foreign worker visas can easily be manipulated for not only contributions, but also for votes. Can foreigners here of work visas vote? I am not sure. But Grouops as ACORN are around for just these purposes.
The Clinton playbook if they get caught is to deny any knowledge and return the money. Nevermind they’ve already used the cash flow an illegal contribution might have generated. They’ll just repay the money from a contribution they get from someone else later.
Think Johnny Chan and all that Chinese money the Clintons got prior to the 1994 election. They got away with it. They might be trying again, and while doing so are slapping the face of the American workers they eloquently say they so desperately want to protect.
Posted under Uncategorized
This post was written by bobsikes on July 30, 2007