Dear Members of the UCSF Community:
This past spring, the television show 60 Minutes ran a story critical of the federal H-1B visa program, which allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. The story referenced UCSF’s decision to contract out a portion of its IT services. 60 Minutes has notified us that it intends to air again the original story this Sunday, August 13, as part of its normal rerun schedule during the summer months.
As background, the decision to outsource a portion of our IT services was the result of a comprehensive, two-year review of all of our IT services and requirements. This change will help reduce rapidly rising IT costs and give us the ability to continue investing in increasingly sophisticated IT services and capabilities critical to our education, research, and patient care missions. UCSF is projected to save $30 million over five years as a result of the outsourcing.
UCSF retains 80 percent of its IT work in-house and continues to grow IT jobs, especially in specialty areas supporting research and clinical care.
The change also involved the layoff or termination of the employment of 49 career UCSF employees. All impacted career employees were given six months’ advance notice and were eligible for severance packages. We provided job placement assistance and helped employees find other employment opportunities at UCSF, other UC campuses, and outside organizations. Of the 49 affected career employees, more than 30 have secured other employment or chose to retire.
Among the workers impacted by this decision, some questioned our decision to ask them to train employees from HCL America, the firm handling a portion of our IT services. We regret that they were directed to train HCL America employees and UCSF intends for this to never happen again. Further, I want to be clear that the decision to contract with HCL America has not resulted in the permanent replacement of any UCSF career employees with H-1B visa holders. Additionally, we have publicly pledged that we will not replace IT employees with H-1B visa workers.
Academic medical centers like UCSF face challenging times and daunting financial hurdles. It is imperative that all of our decisions, including difficult financial decisions, advance our mission of education, research, and patient care. We also recognize that our decisions must fully respect our employees.
Sam Hawgood, MBBS
Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor