Outsourcing and privatization, friend or foe?

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

It seems every time you look up, you find private and public business ever ready to look at outsourcing and privatization as methods to cut costs and maximize profits. All too often the public is so willing to buy into the company’s rationalization without looking at the detrimental cost to the workers in these businesses.

Let’s just be frank and acknowledge that the workers usually lose when it comes to outsourcing. Many times original employees have to reapply for their job and adding insult to injury, their salaries and benefits are significantly cut. The question that is not really answered is who really wins and benefits. The hardworking employees under management and supervision, representing the common working man and woman are visually and crucially affected. We are referring to the core group responsible for keeping most businesses afloat.

Statistics and studies show that generally, those disproportionally affected are minorities especially people of color (African Americans). How is lowing already struggling employees’ salaries and health benefits beneficial to a community, city, or state?

The threat from the company is usually the elimination of many jobs if they cannot lower cost. However, sometimes one must look at the reality of possibly eliminating jobs but ensuring those remaining jobs offer a decent living wage and health care benefits comparable for effectively taking care of the employees’ families. In many cases, those at the top of management and administration are ask to sacrifice very little if anything at all. All too often the problem with cost is usually centered around top-heavy administrations with duplicating responsibilities.

One must look very carefully at administrations and companies so eager to downsize, and to explore their true motives. Let’s not be naïve that lobbying and special concessions are sometimes made toward securing some bidding competitors. The public is not always made aware of the clandestine esoteric arrangements made with the replacing entities. One common practice is that bonuses are given to the new company’s higher administration or hierarchy for keeping prices down at the end of the year, usually with no compensation to those at the lower end making it happen. Sometimes deals are made with compensations going to the someone in the original company from someone from the selected company.

Common sense warrants that outsourcing jobs to countries outside the United States of America does not benefit the working class here in this country. Greed and the acquisition of exorbitant profits should not supersede doing the right thing to benefit American workers, just as privatization often benefits the pockets of a selected group. American workers should not be slighted.

The public should be cognizant of local businesses and public administrations eager to promote outsourcing and privatization as a panacea to rising cost. I would think that some people on the outside looking in would not be so willing or eager to have their company or job outsourced if it was their company being considered. Many people feel that elected officials so quick in advocating outsourcing and privatization to save money or to balance budgets are violating public trust, because in the end, it is the common taxpayer who loses. One must also look at groups or businesses quick to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars studying the feasibility of outsourcing when that money can better be used to defray escalating costs to that entity.

Established companies or administrations could be better served by establishing community based groups who can advise companies or businesses on doing what is best for the communities, cities or states where these companies are located. Ignoring the working concerns of the common taxpayers is a loser for all, especially when decimating their income and benefits.

Contrary to many boards or business executives’ ways of thinking, all closed eyes don’t mean the public is asleep. The welfare of all employees should be considered when deciding their future, and saving money should not always be a propriety. Effective and efficient use of resources and services should supersede outsourcing or privatization. Be aware of those eager to privatize or outsource jobs, because hardworking employees are usually the biggest losers.