Carnival Cruise IT Workers Slam Foreign Replacement Plan


Matthew Culver, who has worked for the Carnival Corporation IT Department in Miami, Florida for two years, has recently spoken out about the impending layoffs at this company – and the requirement that he train his foreign replacement.

After being told last week that his position, along with 200 other employees, would be eliminated, Culver confessed in an interview with CBS4 News that, “It was a hard blow to take. There are people that have been there over 20 years that were just in disbelief; watching the people crying and wondering what was going to happen. I mean it was really sad to see. It was very hard.”

Culver is unafraid of the dangers of immediate termination as retribution for publicly revealing the company’s plan to outsource their jobs to India, and told reporters that he would feel even worse if he never spoke up on behalf of his co-workers. “I love the people I work with,” he stated. “It’s heartbreaking. They have families, they have kids in college, they have mortgages, they are trying to figure out what the future is going to be and they are not getting a clear picture of what that’s going to be. And as bad as it may feel if I get let go or terminated or fired, I think I would feel worse if I never stood up and did anything for my friends. This stuff of training your replacement, it’s cruel and it’s sick. Who does that?” Culver asserted.

CBS4 News obtained emails and documents of employment agreements that the workers are being forced to sign, which offer employee’s a six month job with a multinational French corporation that claim to be the “global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing services.” During those six months the employees will have to take part in “knowledge transfer activities,” that Culver explained would entail “training someone else to do your job.” He went on to mention that “we’re going to have to train foreign replacements, and we’ll be out of a job in six months.”

Carnival denied the jobs would be outsourced to foreign workers, stating in a letter to CBS4, “The company is transitioning its shore-side IT operations, maintenance and support in North America to an outside firm, Capgemini, to help the company keep pace with the evolving technology environment. All impacted individuals will become employees of Capgemini.” A senior vice president and Chief Communications Officer for Carnival, Roger Frizzell, has refuted the allegations that employees would be fired claiming that they would be “transitioned” into the aforementioned company.

These actions were not made to save money but to improve overall performance, Frizzell mentioned. When questioned if the employees would have to train others to do their job, he responded, “Not trained, but they will be involved in showcasing the processes related to the function in order for Capgemini to provide stronger and better service to Carnival Corporation and its brands.”

Frizzel released a statement that employees had also received saying “Capgemini subject matter experts will be working closely with individuals to conduct operations assessments to understand how work is currently done and identify process improvements. Once knowledge transfer activities have been completed, Capgemini will look to implement new processes and procedures in order to increase standardization and efficiency.” When asked if this would result in jobs being shipped to countries where they’d be able to hire cheap labor, Frizzle replied, “No, I am not aware of any such plans.”

Even though Carnival employees work on cruise ships across the country, such as with Carnival Cruise, Holland America, and Princess Cruise, Miami is where they will be transferring between 140 and 200 of their jobs.

In a copy of the contract obtained by the news station, it’s clear that Capgemini considers their employees “at-will” which indicates that they can be fired with no cause. Capgemini officials, based in France and operating out of 40 other countries, have yet to reply to emails asking for their remarks.

Sarah Blackwell, founder of a group called “Protect US Workers,” known to fight against these actions, is working as Carnival employees labor attorney. She believes their situation is not uncommon but is currently happening across America. Some of the most common phrases used are “knowledge transfer” instead of “training foreign replacements,” and use “transition” instead of “you’re fired.”

Blackwell tells reporters, “That is part of the playbook of this business model which is being told to every employee at every one of these companies where this is happening.” She also mentions that “The purpose to sending them to Capgemini is not because they care so much about these employees, it’s because they need these employees to train their foreign replacements.”

“Without these employees training their foreign replacements this can’t be done, so if it’s about innovation, do it without using and abusing these workers,” Blackwell reprimands the company because of their underhanded tactics. “Capgemini stated to the fired Americans at a town hall meeting that Capgemini was outsourcing the work to India because that was the only way it could provide the IT services to Carnival at the rate paid to them by the company. The Carnival executives dumped oil in the ocean with the Princess Cruise line and now they are throwing away American workers for foreign slave labor.  The executives of Carnival should be ashamed and should have to face the families that they have destroyed merely days before Christmas,” she admonished.

Culver discussed the short notice being given to accept the new contract stating, “We’re being forced to agree or not to the terms of the Capgemini contract by December 19, six days before Christmas.”

Blackwell pleaded with Carnival to “guarantee the public that the job duties of the 200 terminated Americans will be done by Americans in America. The public would be grateful for such a concession.”

H/T:  CBS4 News


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