I know, some of us get irritated when we call for a transfer and the pharmacist’s accent is so “bad” that everything has to be spelled out and I takes 3 times as long as it should. We get really cranked when that pharmacist has no clue about “transfer protocol”. We have to tell the patient who is leaving us that it is the “receiving” pharmacists job to do the calling and waiting on hold.
“Maam, I don’t care what the pharmacist at Walgreens told you. I understand that she
said that I would call her with the information. That is not the way it works. There is a code of behavior that we follow and this is not it.”
I still talk to pharmacists who are downright bigoted. They talk about America for Americans. They have derisive nick names for different ethnic groups. They make fun of “foreign” pharmacists. And….THEY HIRE THEM.
The business of pharmacy (not the profession) depends on foreign pharmacists with H1-B professional visas to fill in the cracks. If you haven’t noticed, there just aren’t enough rosy cheeked, apple pie, baseball-loving boys and girls with pharmacist licenses to go around. So, we are friendly and welcoming to darker skinned, falafel eating, cricket-playing boys and girls with H1-B visas in their pockets.
I’d throw a bet out that CVS would fall all over themselves if every job they had could be filled with pharmacists with a from-birth natural comprehension of the English language, spoken idiom and all. That’s my bet.
That is not the way it is. Period! We need H1-B visa holders who have jumped through the necessary hoops to get a pharmacist license in one of the 50 states. That can’t be easy. Navigating American culture can’t be easy. I’ll handle it to them. They show a type of courage that Americans don’t have to exhibit.
I never imagined that the immigration flap could affect the business of pharmacy. Well,
if you are one of the pharmacist recruiters who thought that H1-B visa holders were
your aces in the hole, you may be unpleasantly surprised. We are not talking about
crops not getting picked. We are talking about drug stores having to reduce the pharmacy hours. We are talking about closing on Sunday.
Of course, the chains will think they can fix the problem by throwing money at you. It is always the answer, isn’t it!
Proposed legislation (nothing in stone yet) will increase the number of 1 to 6 year H1-B professional visas from 65,000 to 115,000 a year. That sounds good, huh? Maybe not.
America’s cutting-edge technology companies depend on software engineers from off shore. Engineers from, say, Ireland, India and China, are eager to work and have a taste of life in the “promised land”. They also bring exceptional talent to the job.
Mark Krikorian (Center for Immigration Studies) recently said that (NOT PHARMACY)
the new H1-B visa program is “A version of importing cheap tomato pickers.” In the real
high tech world, apparently these H1-B visa holders will work for less, work more hours and even sleep on the floor just for a shot at America. I know, that’s crazy. This is from the Washington Post. I didn’t make it up. These H1-B folks will settle for about $12,000.00 less than their American counterparts. They don’t even have to outsource anymore. They bring highly trained professionals here. This is especially noticeable in the huge insurance industry in Connecticut. Many natives who once held skilled jobs have been laid off and replaced by low-cost foreigners. That, my friends, is a new twist on cheap labor. That is not why I am writing this, however.
My point is based on my observation, my instincts and what I know about the management of big compaies. I have a good eyes. Pharmacy is in deep shit. We don’t pay the Filipino guy less than the American next to him. He may say, “Balium por da nerps”, but he’ll get that $100,000.00 just like you. The young woman pharmacist from Pakistan who willingly works extra shifts so you can go to your daughter’s college
graduation makes premium pay just like the girl who played with Barbi dolls around 1990.
There are only going to be 115,000 H1B visas granted a year. Are the drug store
chains ready to fight it out with Microsoft, Google, Virtual Atlantic and a thousand
other tech companies for the spaces? I don’t think they have even thought about it.
Regardless, they are going to start throwing more money at you pretty soon. Book it!
Be ready. Take everything you can get and ask for more. If you are squeamish about
negotiation, drop a line to Krag. He is an expert.
Update 6/10/2007 From reading the immigration reform news, it looks like
contractors, farmers and slaughthouses will be fighting for the open spaces. They don’t
necessarily need cheap help. They need dependable help. Immigrants from Latin America
ARE dependable. If they eliminate the illegals who come over for the harvest seasons in
California & Arizona, for example, farmers, agri-business, will be duking it out with Tech
companies and PHARMACY COMPANIES for the available visas. And you can expect to
pay a lot more for a head of lettuce or a peck of pears. Yesterday, a woman who runs
landscaping crews told me that she pays $10.00 to $14.00 an hour depending on the
job. Not bad money. CASH. No questions asked. Young, white Americans would take these jobs if it
WASN’T FOR THE SOUTH TEXAS SUN. Hispanics can work all day and thrive. An
American high school graduate wilts in 2 hours. HOUSTON, WE GOTTA PROBLEM.