Workforce

Tennessee Valley Authority lays off IT staff in favor of outsourcing

Norris Dam spillway. A hydroelectric dam operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Shutterstock ID 4523881 By Bryan Busovicki 

Norris Dam -- part of a hydroelectric facility operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority. (Image credit: Bryan Busovicki/Shutterstock)

The Tennessee Valley Authority gave notice to the remaining 62 employees who comprise its information technology workforce that they would be out of a job in 90 days as part of plan to outsource tech to contractors and managed services.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported the layoffs on June 2. The IT workers effected are based in Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tenn.

TVA is a government-owned electrical utility founded under the New Deal in 1933 which services 10 million people across seven southeastern states.

TVA Vice President and Chief Information Officer Jeremy Fisher told the Times-Press in January that the agency was looking to cut down on costs and improve performance by outsourcing its software development jobs to outside companies.

"Based on internal reviews and benchmarking other power utilities and federal agencies, it was determined that TVA's IT structure was lagging in the movement from an internally-focused software management team dealing with mainframe computing and proprietary software to modern software tools that support cloud-based computing," a TVA spokesman told FCW in an email.

The spokesman said that 37 of the effected employees had been able to find other jobs within the TVA. He added that the TVA would be outsourcing its IT services to CGI, Capgemini and Accenture.

On Feb. 24, President Paul Shearon and two other officials of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, which represents IT workers at the TVA, blasted the decision to outsource in a letter to TVA Board Chairman James "Skip" Thomson.

"We believe that TVA's agenda to outsource these jobs is fiscally irresponsible, being undertaken without transparency and in violation of TVA's own internal contracting policies, compromises the safety and security of TVA's IT infrastructure, could lead to these jobs being sent overseas, and is contrary to TVA's mission to bring and keep work in the Valley," Shearon wrote.

About the Author

Lia Russell is a staff writer and associate editor at FCW covering the federal workforce. Before joining FCW, she worked as a freelance labor reporter in San Francisco for outlets such SF Weekly, The American Prospect and The Baffler. Russell graduated with a bachelor's degree from Bard College.

Contact Lia at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @LiaOffLeash.


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