In 2014, Leo Perrero, an IT employee at Disney World in Orlando was let go by the theme-park mogul, along with 250 other employees. He was told that in order to get his severance pay, he would have to train his replacement, a foreign worker for his remaining 90 days.
He and a fellow American laid off by Disney, Dena Moore then filed a lawsuit against the company and the two global consulting firms, HCL and Cognizant for breaking the law by replacing employees with less expensive immigrant labor. Last Thursday he testified in the case in front of the senate.
The lay-off was unexpected as Perrero recounted his experience. “During the holiday season of 2014, I was sent a meeting invitation by a prominent Disney executive. With an excellent review in hand along with company announcements of record profits my mind buzzed with thoughts of a promotion or a bonus,” said Perrero. “I walked into a small conference room with about two dozen highly respected fellow IT workers. The Disney executive made a harsh announcement to us all. ‘Your jobs have been given over to a foreign workforce. In the meantime, you will be training your replacements until your jobs are 100 percent transferred over to them and if you don’t cooperate you will not receive any severance pay.”
Disney has denied the claims saying the law suit is “completely and utterly baseless.” They have also said that the Disney Parks had rehired more than 100 of the laid-off workers for other roles in the company.
Both Perrero and Moore had hope to be hired for other Disney positions. Moore said she applied to more than 150 jobs at the company.
The reason for a major lay-off is usually to scale down and cut costs. So, why would Disney fire then suspiciously rehire replacements? Not to mention, 2014 was not a tough year for the theme park. Florida’s Walt Disney World was the most visited theme park in the entire world with 18.6 million visits. That same year is when the park finished the Fantasyland expansion, which partially attributed to a 6% growth.
Apparently, the 250 IT layoffs weren’t the only ones. American workers in accounting and administration claimed to have lost their jobs to foreigners with H-1B visas. Most of the foreigners were from India and were hired through consulting firms.
Both Trump and Rubio have taken a strong stance on this issue. Rubio has been influenced by his big business donors (Disney has donated $2 million to Rubio) to introduce bills to expand the H-1B program. While, Trump aims to stop the H-1B job theft. “Americans are losing our jobs to foreigners and politicians are supporting and/or promoting this behavior,” said Moore. “If we want to achieve the American dream—or even, more importantly, keep what is ours: the American dream that we have already struggled to create, the American dream that others have sacrificed for us, now is the time to link arms with a champion. I believe Mr. Trump is for Americans first and foremost. He shares our vision, our dreams, and will fight for our futures. I know most of you are already standing, but here’s my mantra: stand up for Americans, stand up with a champion, stand up with Trump.”