Hire American Citizens - by Richard Armstrong

Be American… Hire American!
Replace H-1B Workers With Citizens!

Is there really a nursing shortage?

The first sign that a company or an industry is planning to replace American citizens with cheaper foreign labor always begins with a fabricated claim of a worker shortage.  To learn the real truth, informed citizens must always ask a deeper question.  Is it a shortage of employers willing to pay the prevailing wage for American workers, or is it really a shortage of available American workers? 

 A recent story in the Denver Post shamelessly declared that there is a nursing shortage, but at the same time discussed at length how hospitals won’t use the nurses that are currently available to them.  The nurses that are available are highly qualified, have tremendous experience, and are available with little or no advance notice.

 Hundreds of beds at Denver area hospitals are empty.   The University of Colorado Hospital administrators admitted that their beds are not empty because there are not enough patients to fill them, but because they refuse to hire temporary nurses to fill gaps in the workforce.  Administrators said that temporary nurses are paid double what staff nurses are paid, and therefore won’t hire them.    

Officials at the University of Colorado Hospital report that they have cut their nursing staff by about 30 nurses a day, and the hospital has slowed admissions by 60 to 100 patients a day, leaving some units vacant.   Many patients must wait overnight in the emergency room to get a bed.  If no staff is available after 24 hours, they will be sent to another hospital.

 Colleen Goode, director of nursing at the hospital said, “We wish we could take everybody who wanted to come in for care, but … we can’t afford the nurses.  They are extremely expensive.” 

 The waiting list to get into the University of Colorado Hospital continues to grow for non-emergency care, and work shifts often go unfilled where temporary nurses are waiting to go to a job that won’t have them anymore. 

 Temporary-agency nurses are independent nurses employed by temporary nursing agencies to cover shifts at multiple hospitals.  Goode said that these nurses cost as much as $70 an hour.  “It’s a community problem, it’s a state problem,” Goode said.  “And the way to solve it is not to bring in contract labor.”

 The University of Colorado Hospital is not the only one to refuse to hire temporary nurses.  Dr. Sheldon Stadnyk, vice president of St. Joseph Hospital said that most hospitals don’t allow temporary nurses to be hired because they worry about the quality of care.  “The folks coming here on contract have great skills and tremendous experience,” Stadnyk said.  “But the biggest concern is if they are as effective as they can be in a new setting.” 

Lets explore some critical points concerning this issue.  Clearly, many similarities can be drawn between the worker shortage fabricated by the computer industry and the claimed nursing shortage.   

The computer industry fabricated a worker shortage because they wanted to pay IT workers less.  There never was a shortage of available computer workers.  American colleges and universities graduated more than enough high tech workers than jobs were created.  It was only for monetary reasons that the computer industry fabricated this worker shortage.  The computer industry lobbied Congress with deep pockets, and was given the H-1B program as a tool to replace American citizens in the computer industry with cheaper foreign workers. 

A staggering 8.6 million Americans are currently out of work and trying to find jobs.  Employers in the computer industry have hired over one million foreign H-1B workers to replace American citizens, and continue to claim a high tech worker shortage to this very day.  At the same time that American citizens are out of work and available for computer jobs, employers are not considering them for work.  Employers continue to abuse the H-1B program because H-1B workers can be paid considerably less than American citizens. 

American citizens cannot begin to compete against foreigners trying to escape third world labor rates and conditions, and are willing do anything to get into the U.S., including working for wages that do not provide a living wage in the U.S.  American citizens are therefore replaced by these foreigners, and unable to find jobs in their chosen career. 

Why is this related to the presumed nursing shortage?  The H-1B program allows employers to hire foreign doctors and nurses.  Even though there are clearly American nurses available for work, hospitals are not hiring them, and claiming a worker shortage instead.  The truth is that they don’t want to pay the prevailing wage for these American nurses.  They want to pay less.  The abuse of the H-1B program always begins with a worker shortage claim. 

Make no mistake about it.  Hospitals do, and will continue to turn to the H-1B program for foreign nurses who are paid less, and hospitals will leave the temporary American nurses completely out of the employment picture.  This replacement of American workers will not end with the temporary-agency nurses being excluded from the workforce.  The H-1B nurses will not only be paid less than the temporary contract nurses, but will also be paid less than the American nurses with permanent positions.  This is exactly what happened in the computer industry.  The prevailing wage clause of the H-1B program is not enforced, and has huge loopholes that allow employers to pay H-1B workers much less than prevailing wage. 

The hospitals appear to miss the point that temporary workers will and should cost more than permanent workers.  Temporary nurses accept more employment risk because they serve clients only at the convenience of the client, and have more potential for idle being between jobs.  Temporary workers are often more experienced, because their skills and abilities must stand on their own merit without the comfort and assistance of a permanent employment arrangement.  Temporary nurses working through an agency also have part of their hourly wage paid to the agency that represents them.

 An employer claiming a shortage of workers when the only reason for the shortage is that they don’t want to pay the prevailing wage is not a shortage of workers.  This claim always results in employers sending jobs overseas or importing foreigners through the H-1B program who will work for less. 

American citizens need to write their representatives and demand that they abolish the H-1B program.  Americans need to demand that employers not be allowed to replace American workers with foreigners.  You can learn more about the H-1B program and how to stop it by visiting http://www.HireAmericanCitizens.org

 

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