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Carnival Cruise Line Plan Threatens Miami Jobs

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In a move that critics argue will ultimately result in scores of well-paying, white-collar jobs being shipped out of South Florida, Carnival Corporation is eliminating 200 positions from its IT Department, CBS4 News has learned.

Those employees are being offered new jobs, with only six months of guaranteed employment, with a French firm that boasts being a "global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing services."

Emails and documents obtained by CBS4 News, including employment agreements the workers are being pressured to sign, detail how the employees during that six-month employment period will participate in what is described as "knowledge transfer activities."

"Essentially, we were told we would be training our replacements in India how to do our jobs," one of the employees told CBS4 News.

In a statement to CBS4 News, Carnival noted: "The company is transitioning its shore-side IT operations, maintenance and support in North America to an outside firm, Capgemini, to help the company keep pace with the evolving technology environment. All impacted individuals will become employees of Capgemini."

The company denied the jobs were being outsourced.

The employees work for all of Carnival's various cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise, Holland America and Princess Cruises; and are located across the country. Nevertheless, 140 of the 200 jobs being transferred by Carnival come from Miami.

Sara Blackwell, a labor attorney who is advising the Carnival employees, said Carnival's actions were announced last week during a series of meetings with the workers.

"Capgemini stated to the fired Americans at a town hall meeting that Capgemini was outsourcing the work to India because that was the only way it could provide the IT services to Carnival at the rate paid to them by the company," Blackwell said. "The Carnival executives dumped oil in the ocean with the Princess Cruise line and now they are throwing away American workers for foreign slave labor.  The executives of Carnival should be ashamed and should have to face the families that they have destroyed merely days before Christmas.

Carnival denied the workers were being fired. Instead they were "transitioned" into the new company, Capgemini, said Roger Frizzell, a senior vice president and Chief Communications Officer for Carnival.

Frizzell stressed these moves were being done to improve performance and not to save money. Asked if the employees were being asked to train others how to do their jobs, Frizzell responded: "Not trained, but they will be involved in showcasing the processes related to the function in order for Capgemini to provide stronger and better service to Carnival Corporation and its brands."

He also included this statement which was also provided to employees:

"Capgemini subject matter experts will be working closely with individuals to conduct operations assessments to understand how work is currently done and identify process improvements. Once knowledge transfer activities have been completed, Capgemini will look to implement new processes and procedures in order to increase standardization and efficiencies."

Will those efficiencies result in Capgemini moving those IT jobs to lower wage workers in foreign countries? Frizzell responded, "No, I am not aware of any such plans."

Officials for Capgemini, whose headquarters is in France and operates in 40 countries, did not respond to emails seeking their comment.

Blackwell said it is nonsense to think these workers aren't losing their jobs.

"The workers are being fired. Period," Blackwell told CBS4 News. "They are not permitted to work for Carnival anymore. Carnival contracted with Capgemini and the terminated employees have been told that they can temporarily work for Capgemini to assist in the company's efforts to eliminate the jobs and send them overseas."

The workers have been given until December 19 to sign their new employment agreements with Capgemini. If they refuse, Frizzell said, the workers can "apply for other jobs within Carnival or leave the company."

Blackwell said Carnival's moves are part of an ongoing trend across the country that has seen American jobs being lost overseas. She said in the last two years she has dealt with at least 30 companies who have done the exact same thing.

Blackwell said if Carnival wants to make things right, there are certain things they can do immediately.

"Please guarantee the public that the job duties of the 200 terminated Americans will be done by Americans in America," she said. "The public would be grateful for such a concession."

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