As the TVA continues with layoffs of 220 information technology workers in the Tennessee Valley area, union protests of the move will show up in Huntsville’s Big Spring Park today, following similar demonstrations in Chattanooga last week.
After an earlier layoff of IT workers last year, the TVA in April announced plans to begin laying off 100 workers this June, moving the work to outside contractors in France and India.
“It’s outrageous that at a time of massive unemployment, with Congress spending trillions to get Americans back to work, a federal utility is sending jobs overseas to India, France and elsewhere,” said Gay Henson, a TVA worker and president of the Engineering Association, IFPTE Local 1937.
Union members plan to set up cardboard cutouts representing 220 lost jobs on the lawn of the largest public park in downtown Huntsville. The union says 120 IT jobs were cut by TVA in 2019, to which 100 more planned layoffs are now ongoing, making for the total of 220.
On April 17, TVA told more than 100 IT workers at its Chattanooga computer center their work is being turned over to three software development contractors — CapGemini, which is based in France and has half its staff in India; the Canadian-based CGI, and Accenture Federal Services, which is headquartered in Virginia and is a subsidiary of the Irish-based Accenture plc.
Those layoffs began this month when TVA gave notice to 62 IT employees.
The TVA decided to outsource IT jobs after a year of studies on how to cut costs and meet stricter demands for cyber security, TVA spokesman Jim Hopson told the Chattanooga Times Free Press in April.
“Like other federal agencies, TVA is continually exploring methods of fulfilling its mission in the most effective way possible, especially in such rapidly evolving fields as information technology,” Hopson said.
Last week, to protest TVA’s plan to export jobs, the Engineering Association held demonstrations and placed protest signs outside TVA headquarters in Knoxville and at a park in Chattanooga’s Innovation District.