Federally owned utility reverses on outsourcing after White House outcry
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a federally owned utility provider, is reversing course on outsourcing jobs after outcry from the White House.
“The Tennessee Valley Authority is immediately rescinding a decision to lay off Information Technology (IT) workers as part of the restructuring process announced earlier this year,” the corporation said in a statement Thursday.
Earlier this year, reports indicated that TVA planned to outsource 20 percent of its technology workforce to foreign companies and that some workers had already been laid off.
TVA said Thursday that in addition to canceling the planned layoffs, it would review companies it contracts with to make sure that they comply with a new executive order from President Trump.
Trump this week issued an order – partially in response to the TVA situation – that aims to prevent government agencies from outsourcing jobs to foreign workers.
He also initiated a shakeup at TVA, saying he would remove two appointees from the utility’s board of directors, including its chairman, James Thompson.
The president also criticized CEO Jeff Lyash, the country’s highest-paid federal employee, for making $8 million annually.
The Thursday statement from TVA noted that Lyash and Interim Board Chair John Ryder met with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.
“We were wrong in not fully understanding the impact on our employees, especially during the pandemic. We are taking immediate actions to address this situation. TVA fully understands and supports the Administration’s commitment to preserving and growing American jobs,” Lyash said in a statement.
A union representing the TVA workers celebrated the news.
“This is certainly a win for American workers, for TVA ratepayers, and for everyone who relies on the U.S. electrical grid,” said Gay Henson, president of the Engineering Association/IFPTE Local 1937.
“Our members will get their jobs back. TVA ratepayers will benefit from having skilled U.S. workers providing quality service. And the entire U.S. electrical grid will be more secure, with critical information remaining on U.S. soil.”
The TVA provides utility services to customers in states including parts of Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky.
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