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August 10, 2020

Trump fires TVA Board members for outsourcing labor & allowing CEO to loot its bank account [Buck Throckmorton]

Donald Trump puts America first, and more importantly he puts American workers first.

A quick primer, the Tennessee Valley Authority (or “TVA” for short) was created in 1933 to provide flood control on the Tennessee River, generate electricity, and propel economic development in Appalachia.

President Donald Trump said Monday that he had fired the chair of the Tennessee Valley Authority, criticizing the federally owned corporation for hiring foreign workers. Trump told reporters at the White House that he was formally removing chair Skip Thompson and another member of the board, and he threatened to remove other board members if they continued to hire foreign labor.

The order followed the TVA’s announcement that it would outsource 20% of its technology jobs to companies based in foreign countries. TVA’s action could cause more than 200 highly skilled American tech workers in Tennessee to lose their jobs to foreign workers hired on temporary work visas, according to the White House.

The president of a TVA engineering union has been telling local media that TVA workers are now having to train their replacements, and that many of the new contract workers are foreign citizens working in America under H-1B visas

It’s not just the outsourcing that has President Trump upset. He is also highly critical of TVA’s CEO receiving an $8 million compensation package.

Trump also urged the TVA board to immediately hire a new Chief Executive Officer who “puts the interests of Americans first.” According to the president, the current CEO, Jeff Lyash, earned $8 million a year. “The new CEO must be paid no more than $500,000 a year,” said Trump, who lacks the authority to remove the CEO. “We want the TVA to take action on this immediately. Let this serve as a warning to any federally appointed board: If you betray American workers, you will hear two words: ‘You’re fired.’”

CEO Lyash followed the True Conservative™ playbook of terminating employees, making them train their inexpensive foreign replacements, then rewarding himself with a 7 or 8-figure salary for all the labor expense he eliminated. But what if his actions could have saved consumers 1 cent per kilowatt hour after the executive bonuses? David Harsanyi would tell us that as consumers we should celebrate all those employees being fired. To the open-borders / outsource-all-the-jobs / Principled Free Traders™ at National Review, Lyash earned that money by firing his workers and finding cheap foreign replacements. And those displaced tech workers? They can just, uh, learn to code. Oh wait. Our thought leaders now want to outsource coding too.

So what does Senator Lamar Alexander (R – Chamber of Commerce) have to say about this?

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said the TVA doesn’t get any taxpayer money and defended the CEO’s salary, saying it is in the bottom fourth of what his counterparts earn at other big utilities. “TVA may have shown poor judgment hiring foreign companies during a pandemic, but, on most counts, it does a very good job of producing large amounts of low-cost, reliable electricity. Residential electric rates are among the 25 percent lowest in the country, and industrial rates are among the lowest 10 percent,” Alexander said in a statement. “TVA’s debt is the lowest in 30 years, its pension fund is stronger and TVA leads the country in new nuclear power plants.”

Wait…what? TVA’s outsourcing of labor is only a problem “during a pandemic”? Otherwise it’s an idea we should rally around because TVA has a well-funded pension plan? This lifetime politician’s tenure as a Tennessee senator has only a few months left. He won’t be missed.

Oh, and look here. After Trump made his announcement, CEO Lyash suddenly found out that his pet Senator doesn’t have any influence on President Trump.

TVA President Jeff Lyash said Tuesday the IT employees at TVA who have received termination notices -- both in a round of 62 individuals whose jobs were to end this summer and another 38 workers whose jobs are ending in October -- will remain on the payroll while TVA goes through a review of the new executive order and completes all of the appeal processes for laying off workers at TVA.

President Donald Trump takes bold action like this one against the TVA Board. He also makes some flippant tweets. Which one do you think matters more to Americans who take pride in bringing home a paycheck?

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posted by Open Blogger at 03:17 PM

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