The Tennessee Valley Authority is immediately rescinding a decision to lay off Information Technology (IT) workers as part of a restructuring process announced earlier this year, on the heels of President Donald J. Trump’s executive order to Hire American.
On Monday, Aug. 3, Trump said he was “taking firm, disciplinary action against the leadership of the Tennessee Valley Authority, which has sadly and cruelly betrayed American workers.” TVA was laying off more than 200 American workers and replacing them with outsourced contracting companies, with many of these positions to be held by workers with H-1B visas. The H-1B allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.
Today, interim TVA Board Chair John Ryder and TVA President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Lyash met with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. Discussions included agreement on a shared desire to preserve and grow U.S. jobs.
“We had a positive meeting with the White House and wholeheartedly agree with the Administration’s direction on jobs,” said Ryder. “We expressed that our IT restructuring process was faulty and that we have changed direction so that we can ensure American jobs are protected.”
“We were wrong in not fully understanding the impact on our employees, especially during the pandemic,” said Lyash. “We are taking immediate actions to address this situation. TVA fully understands and supports the Administration’s commitment to preserving and growing American jobs. TVA will not lose sight of any facet of TVA’s mission of service – providing low-cost, reliable power while also serving to protect American jobs and create economic development across the Tennessee Valley.”
According to a press release, in addition to rescinding all IT organization involuntary reduction-in-force notices that occurred in 2020, TVA is reviewing the full scope of contract companies supporting TVA to ensure compliance with the President’s Executive Order.
“We appreciate what the Administration has done to grow American jobs and support our military veterans,” added Lyash. “At TVA, we are proud that veterans comprise 20 percent of our workforce. We’ve created or retained more than 350,000 jobs and $44 billion in investment over the last five years alone. As we redouble our focus on supporting the American worker, we will continue to provide the low-cost, reliable energy – and environmental stewardship – that 10 million people count on every day.”
“Our mission is clear – delivering low-cost reliable power, economic development and environmental stewardship,” he said. “We are addressing this disappointing misstep and refocusing our commitment on serving our customers and this nation.”
TVA is a federal corporation. Its mission and operations are driven by the TVA Act, which mandates providing reliable energy at the lowest reasonable cost; managing natural resources responsibly; and promoting economic development. TVA derives virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. Of the 73 generating sites TVA owns, 29 are conventional hydroelectric plants and one is a pumped storage facility. In Fiscal Year 2020, hydro accounted for 10% of TVA’s overall electricity generation.