How Disney replaced American citizen workers with foreign H1-B scabs


From:, by Displaced Disney Cast Member,  on Sep 7, 2015,  see the article HERE.

Disney kingdom

As a patriotic and proud citizen of the United States, I have a story to share that has not only impacted my family, hundreds of colleagues, but also current and future United States workers.

I used to have a dream career at one of Americas most iconic and admired companies. Twenty years of hard work, technical skill building, the fostering of relationships and a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology guided me to a coveted position as an Information Technology Engineer for Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

On a sunny Monday morning in late October of 2014 I drove down the interstate toward the huge 40 square mile Disney Orlando, Florida property to my office. Ten days earlier Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, had just announced that the company’s earnings were up well over 20 percent for the quarter and this was just one among a long series of record breaking financial results for the company. About six months earlier, a new CIO, Tilak Mandadi, was appointed for the Parks and Resorts Division of Disney, which would result in huge changes to our lives. Little did I know what was about to happen that very same day to me and hundreds of other fellow Disney Information Technology Cast Members.

Days later, as I drove to work, I ran into a bit of slow traffic and so I was able to glance at my company issued iPhone I noticed an early morning meeting invite from a prominent Disney Executive. This really sparked my interest since it is not very often that I have heard from him and even rarer when I would actually see him in person. Despite the heavy traffic I estimated that I would be on time for the important meeting. As I continued down the road I wondered what the executive meeting could be all about.

About ten minutes later in my commute the phone rang and it was a fellow Disney “Cast Member” as employees were called. We worked together the prior week when we solved a major outage situation for the application that we both helped to support. He reminded me about another meeting that we had later that same day. Since I knew that he was just about the highest level on his team, was well respected and also that he was very well connected within the Disney Parks & Resorts Organization, I asked him if he knew anything about this last minute early morning meeting being hosted by the Disney Executive. He told me that he was not sure about the subject of the meeting. However, he told me that since I had such a great reputation as a problem solver, had just cleared up a major outage situation the week prior and since I recently received the very highest possible performance review by management, that the meeting must be one to recognize my recent contributions to the company with perhaps a promotion or at the very least a bonus.

After arriving at the Orlando office, I walked into the conference room where the early morning meeting was to be held. As I entered about two dozen people were crowded into the room. Some were from same team; others were from different teams. As I glanced around the room I noticed that the people were all very highly regarded as extremely knowledgeable, experienced and top performers in the roles that they held. Some of the attendees also had a Blue Disney name badge instead of the typical white one proudly displayed on the shirts they wore. The Blue badge indicated that they were recognized by a new program known as “Partners in Excellence.” This meant that they had been nominated by numerous people as consistently going above and beyond to assist other Cast Members. I could sense that something was not quite right. There was a chill in the air and yet, oddly enough, I was in a room surrounded by employees of excellence.

As I watched the grim faced Disney Executive, it was obvious that bad news was going to be delivered. The dead silence was broken when the Disney Executive made a harsh announcement. All of you in this room will be losing your jobs in the next 90 days. Your last day of employment for this company will be January 30, 2015. 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. Also, if we don’t feel confident that we have captured everything that you do we can, at our discretion, keep you longer than the 90 days until we have captured everything that you do with this job. Don’t discuss this meeting with anybody else in the company. Everybody in the room was appalled at the message. I was completely silent thinking how this was going to affect my coworkers and how I was going to break the news to my wife and children back at home as I was the only person in my home with a steady job. How would I pay for all the expenses that go along with a home, a wife, and children?

As of January 31, 2015, I would be living on unemployment payments. Health care, along with other employee benefits, would be gone. The good life was soon to vanish as soon as the foreign workers took over my job. The sleepless nights were just starting for me as I felt the pressure of providing for my family with food, shelter, utilities, autos, health insurance, and child day care. My coworkers and I felt extremely betrayed by Walt Disney World, a company for which we had worked so hard.

After having worked grueling on call shifts, hundreds of middle of the night and weekends work sessions in addition to a barrage of problem phone calls around the clock for many years, they were going to simply throw us out for their financial benefit. One glimmer of hope from the Disney executive was that many new Disney jobs were going to be created and these jobs would not be as dull and repetitive as our current jobs were and that no net loss of jobs was going to happen. Disney Cast Members who had survived and were not invited to this doomful meeting wondered what happened inside the closed door meeting. Some of those in the meeting had tears streaming down their faces, others had completely broken down and were crying out loud and one was murmuring “no, this can’t be” as they were marched out of the room.

The very next week our office environment started to change dramatically. A huge influx of foreign workers from South Asia started to arrive at numerous buildings on the Disney Orlando campus in very large numbers. A foreign language was suddenly being spoken throughout the building hallways. Everywhere I went, including the company cafeteria, the composition of the company changed so much in the period of only a week.

The first 30 days was focused on capturing all that I did with my job. We started getting mandatory meeting invitations for “KT” or “Knowledge Transfer” sessions showing on our calendars. The daily sessions involved us training our foreign replacements for several hours. We all felt humiliated when the foreign workers sat next to us and watched everything that we did.

Presumably at the direction of the Disney Executives, the foreign workers insisted that they record all the audio as well as everything that we did on our computer screens with recorded video during the training meetings. We were then astonished as everything that we did on our job was documented and read right back to us for further critiquing. By then, it was a slow and methodical process that went on day in and day out. In hopes of landing a new Disney job we watched the Disney internal job postings and noticed a number of the vague job descriptions. Our frustration started to grow as we applied for the jobs yet none of us were contacted in any fashion. Those of us losing our jobs started to wonder if these new job postings really even existed.

The next 30 days had us working side by side with our replacement workers doing part of our job while the “KT” sessions continued. The daily disgrace continued when the foreign workers started assuming our responsibilities.  They referred constantly back to all the audio, video and documentation that they had previously captured from us and asked that we explain the same questions repeatedly. They were obviously much younger, less skilled and less experienced.

The last 30 days were the most disgraceful and demoralizing of this entire period as I had to watch a foreign worker completely take over my job. I had no work to do during the last 30 days other than watch a foreign worker completely take over everything that I did in my job. One ironic twist was that I actually received a significant pay raise during my last 30 days with the company because I had received the highest possible job rating in performance reviews. The new Disney job postings only resulted in three coworkers getting new positions from the over three hundred IT workers.  I was not one of them. The last day we turned in our mobile phones, laptops, ID badges along with our dignity and we were ushered out the door as temporary foreign workers took over our jobs.

Since leaving Disney we have also been informed by several large IT recruiting firms that Disney has a policy in place that states all displaced Disney IT Cast Members will not even be considered as contractor workers for 12 months.  Thus we have been essentially shut out and black listed by the largest employer in this very small Orlando job market.

I largely perceive a job loss as a loss of my own identity. The humiliation of accepting unemployment payments after working for the same company for over ten years in different capacities has been extremely demoralizing. I felt guilty and frequently wondered if I was being a faithful and good American by training these foreign workers to take over our American jobs just so that I could receive a small severance package and unemployment benefits for four months.

How do I explain to my young children to follow their dreams and find a job that they love? I followed my dream of having a career in technology which I loved at the time, studied technology in college earning a bachelors degree, received numerous continuing education technical certifications, built a large base of real world experience, had a tremendous work ethic and was recognized with the very highest possible performance review by my company to have my very same desk, chair and computer all taken over by a foreign worker who was just flown in to America weeks before.

I frequently question if the IT field holds much future for United States’ citizens or U.S. permanent residents.  Should I continue to dodge bullets or move into an entirely new field after having been outsourced on multiple occasions by the same company and then finally physical replaced by a foreign worker? I would never recommend the IT field to my own children or anybody else that I know for that matter, due to the lack of job opportunities even for someone passionate about the IT field. We now have American IT workers being displaced by both H1-B visa holders, who are physically being flown in from foreign countries, as well as the continued use of foreign remote offshore workers. We are seeing a massive drain on job opportunities here on our own soil. What does the future hold for United States’ workers?  This outsourcing must be stopped or America will certainly decline.

How can our lawmakers allow this to happen to our country? This abuse of the H1-B Visa is not about a lack of talent here in the U.S. If our own pool of IT professionals were so incompetent- then why would companies like Disney have us train our replacements and spend months teaching them? Albeit, the loss of my position and hundreds of other positions here in Orlando, Florida is personal and debilitating, the nationwide loss of opportunity for high wage technology professionals will have a far reaching impact on our country.

Is the answer really to displace American workers, thus lessening the taxable income and opportunity for these citizens to be productive assets to our society? It is very clear that the H1-B visa is about cutting wages and exploiting immigration guest workers programs at less pay.

I challenge policy makers to ask themselves- what is the ripple effect of this program to our country? The proposed new bill, “I-Squared”, introduced by Senators Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), will triple the number of foreign H1-B guest workers increasing this problem threefold.  I challenge them to read this story and think about the thousands or more workers just like us at Disney who will lose their jobs.

Finally, all employees who have been displaced by a foreign worker, whether the foreign worker is located in, or outside of, the United States territory, need to stand up for their rights and for the rights of all American citizen workers. Similarly, any American citizen or permanent resident who applied for a job but was denied the position because it was filled by an immigration visa employee should determine if that denial of the position was a violation of his/her rights. I implore displaced employees and employees denied positions to visit the following website for options in taking a stand and possibly recovering for the potential violation of his/her constitutional rights. If you feel that you are powerless in the face of this tsunami think again.


I can only imagine what this guy is feeling, cut loose after over ten years of loyalty and hard work. It’s awful. His sad tale opened my eyes to what’s going on in the H1-B world – it’s the technological equivalent of illegal aliens taking construction and landscaping laborer jobs that used to be available to low-skilled or young Americans as a starting job, but now are solely populated by illegals.

I remember commenting recently on Donald Trump’s plan for requiring that H1-B workers be required to adhere to the same pay scales as citizens. The advantage of H1-B workers currently is that they are generally hired into lower pay levels and are therefore are paid less than American citizens doing the same job. This is apparently what happened to the “Cast Member” who wrote the expose above. He was replaced by a cheaper alternative and Disney’s savings goes straight to their bottom line.

So, my opinion has changed. If a plan like Trump proposed (equivalent pay) isn’t put in place, I would be against increasing the number of H1-B visas. I’ll be interested to see Ted Cruz’s reaction to this guy’s complaints since Cruz has said that he was FOR increasing the number of H1-B visas by 500%. 





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10 Responses to How Disney replaced American citizen workers with foreign H1-B scabs

  1. Crawfish says:

    I disagree with both Trump and Cruz. I say end all H1-B visas in job fields that employers cannot prove there are not qualified Americans who can fill those positions.

    • Garnet92 says:

      Can’t argue with that logic, Craw. We really shouldn’t be supporting ANY foreigners coming to take American jobs unless citizens can’t fill them.

  2. Hardnox says:

    With 90 million unemployed we shouldn’t be hiring anyone from abroad. I read a piece recently that explained that H1-B employees are not subject to ObamaCare.

    • Garnet92 says:

      I didn’t know that Nox. But, all that does is add another reason for employers to prefer H1-B employees to higher paid citizens. You’re right, we should be concentrating on reducing our unemployment NOT creating new unemployed citizens.

  3. Peppermint says:

    Garnet, i could feel this guy’s pain so well. Also having been an IT person I got laid off after years of working around the clock, being on call. I received the highest evaluations and money attached to them. I was so happy with my job. I made good money and had no worries about supporting myself and had money to blow if I had wanted.

    Then I got laid off. Not due to visa people but due to the company getting rid of their older workers. But they could have replaced those of us laid off with these H1-B people. I never had the chance to find out.

    My experience is different of course than the one written here but I know the loss of identity, the humiliation, and the pain, the crying, and feeling embarrassed about not being employed. That’s the reason I tell my story and can feel the pain of it.

    I think these Hi-B employees need to stop. We’ve got too many people unemployed in this country. And I hate talking to a support person I can’t understand because they don’t speak English very well. And they resent it when you can’t understand them.

    I will never go to Disney World after this story. It’s horrible.

    • Garnet92 says:

      Disney also dropped a long way in my respect for the company after reading this. And, at least when Walt was alive, Disney was considered an All-American company. And I agree with you and Nox that we already have far too many unemployed in this country. Bringing in more people to take American jobs via ANY program is un-American.

  4. Kathy says:

    Trump’s idea is good. If you have to pay them the same wages then there’s no point in importing workers, but I agree with Crawfish – put a stop to those visas, at least until our unemployment numbers are back down to a reasonably small percentage.

    It seems counter-productive for the government to push this type of program when smaller wages pays smaller taxes, but maybe that’s why O is pushing up the minimum wage.

    I’m surprised at Cruz’s stance on this and I can’t find anything that explains why. There’s got to be more to this that we don’t know.

    • Garnet92 says:

      Like you, I’m puzzled at Cruz’s position on the H1-B increases. I haven’t been able to find any recent reference to it either. I hope he reconsiders it.

  5. JenZ says:

    The H1-B visa program was meant to fill jobs where there weren’t American workers who were qualified. Obviously it is being abused. That had already started when I was still working in IT in the ’90s and early ’00s. This is a disgrace!

    • Garnet92 says:

      Right Jen – this is just one more program that had its genesis in something that sounded good at the time, but has been perverted into something entirely different. It’s the same old story, a good idea morphed into an evil scheme by our “public servants” – all in the pursuit of money and power.