Logikal Blog

Thoughts and words from Roland Hughes


May 30, 2011

What We Choose to Remember Isn’t Usually What We Should Remember

Another Memorial Day is upon us. If you happen to be somewhere nice enough to be outside, then you are most likely enjoying it. Others, those trapped inside, are either chatting on-line or watching a series “all day marathon” or one of the seemingly countless WWII movies which every other station saves for just such holidays. I used to enjoy watching them when I was a child and they were “new to me.” Many of those movies have “The Duke” staring in them, so you cannot be an American without liking them, but lately, I’ve begun wondering what they left out.

Recently, I finished watching “The Pacific”. I watched most of it with my father and was shocked at how much they left out. They didn’t leave it out, they left the explanation out. I had watched a lot of documentaries along with recent movies. Towards the end of the series, they simply show you the various atrocities without making any attempt to explain them. Quite frankly I was pissed off when I had to explain to my dad the reason for the bayonet charge by the Japanese at one point was the fact that they had no bullets left. They were ordered to die on that island or kill every American, but they were never re-supplied. The movie didn’t bother to drop in a single character, like a shiny new replacement soldier, whose sole purpose was to utter that information.

Another recent movie I’ve had the pleasure of seeing several times is “The Runaways”. This is a great flick. It covers a lot of the hardship these girls had to go through to become famous. They even cover a bit of Joan Jett’s solo rise at the end. What they left out, thankfully, was documented in the “Bad Reputation” video you can find on youtube: 27 different record companies turned down “I Love Rock & Roll” with various flavors of insults. Thankfully, 26+ million people thought it was worth buying. This is one of the better known Indie music success stories.

What we really need to remember about the Japanese soldiers on those islands is that their atrocities came from orders which did not allow for retreat or surrender and a re-supply situation which offered no other options.

What we need to remember about Joan Jett is the shit she had to go through in order to become the kind of success which could launch a massively successful Indie record label. Indeed, she was the first woman in rock to ever own her own record label. A label which recently passed the 25 th anniversary mark.

 

May 29, 2011

Some Real Argument Ending Links

I cannot tell you the number of times per week I’m contacted by pimps working for consulting firms which are willingly and knowingly breaking federal labor laws. The lower the grasp of the English language, the more intent they are on committing the crime. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do about it.

The first thing you can do is direct their attention to the illegal alien wage calculator:

http://www.flcdatacenter.com/OesWizardStart.aspx

After you choose a location and a code from the list, it will tell you the absolute minimum you can pay a visa worker without instantly going to prison. Of course, this is the Utopian “you don’t have anybody else with a similar job title working for you” Utopia. They can’t be working on-site either. That means, when you lease that one desk from your client to deliberately violate the H1-B worker rules, your minimum is subject to all the wages paid at that location, whether or not they are paid by you.

Remember the earlier post on this site which contained the following:

In order to comply with the first attestation, the employer must attest that it will pay its H-1B employees the higher of the following:

  • The actual wage rate that it pays to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications, and

  • The prevailing wage level for the occupation in the geographic area of employment.

This is designed to ensure that an H-1B employer won’t undercut its competitors (because it must pay the prevailing wage). At the same time, an employer already paying higher than normal wages to its work force must pay those same wages to its H-1B workers.

http://www.americanlaw.com/h-1b.html

Just for laughs, I selected the location of Warren, NJ and chose code 15-1031 for computer programmer. Keep in mind this is a generic rate for programmers of all walks, even those without marketable skills. The level 4 rate (having some experience) was 45.82. A rate which, when advertized is dramatically below prevailing wage. How do we find prevailing wage?

We go to Ask.com and search for this: “computer programmer prevailing wage Warren NJ”

One of the links which turns up takes us here: http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/lpa/employ/oeswage/oeswage_index.html

When you scroll down and click on “By Major Industry Sector” for Warren County, you get a PDF. Line 126 is the line of interest since that would be the wholesale rate paid a consultant. Boy is it interesting! 58.25 is the Mean Hourly Wage with 54.75 being paid the bottom 25 th percentile and 59.40 being paid the 50 th percentile and 64.30 being paid the 75 th percentile. Keep in mind that these are averaged billing rates! The outliers have already been smoothed. The $145/hr mainframe programmer with 20+ years of experience has already pulled up the $17/hr DBASE-III programmer.

The real problem with these spreadsheets is how the data is obtained. Most of it comes from salary survey forms sent out to companies, and I don’t find any random audits being applied to responding companies, nor could I find posted the fines and penalties of not responding. Hence, it is to the company’s advantage to fabricate lower numbers than their employees actually make even if they never bring in a single visa worker. These numbers are public information and when your employees find out the Mean wage for their skill set is twice what they are currently making, they will be taking a hike.

What I really want to see is the IRS publishing this information. For those people who work W-2, they have the stubs. They have the actual amounts paid and they know your employer category. They only need one additional piece of information which may already be on your W-2, job classification. After that, they can generate an accurate spreadsheet for every geoloc code. Every amount listed will have come from W-2, so all will know that 1099 and corp-corp rates are higher.

What happens when they aren’t? You use this link: http://www.dol.gov/whd/contactform.asp

Most of the visa abuse today happens because people don’t bother to file complaints with Wage and Hour. When they do, we get to read stories like this:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33145705/ns/business-bloomberg_businessweek/