Welcome to IBM Employee News and Links
"News and links for IBM employees, retirees, ex-employees, and persons interested in pension, retirement, off-shoring and corporate governance issues."
Web This Site

Quick Links:
  Get involved!
  Press articles
  Important Links
  Insider trading
  Lou's Contract
  Total Compensation
  Add or delete ID
  Change ID
  Contact site owner
Previous Highlights:
  April 21, 2007
  April 14, 2007
  April 7, 2007
  March 31, 2007
  March 24, 2007
  March 17, 2007
  March 10, 2007
  March 3, 2007
  February 24, 2007
  February 17, 2007
  February 10, 2007
  February 3, 2007
  January 27, 2007
  January 20, 2007
  January 13, 2007
  January 6, 2007
  December 30, 2006
  December 23, 2006
  December 16, 2006
  December 9, 2006
  December 2, 2006
  November 25, 2006
  November 18, 2006
  November 11, 2006
  November 4, 2006
  October 28, 2006
  October 21, 2006
  October 14, 2006
  October 7, 2006
  September 30, 2006
  September 23, 2006
  September 16, 2006
  September 9, 2006
  September 2, 2006
  August 26, 2006
  August 19, 2006
  August 12, 2006
  August 5, 2006
  July 29, 2006
  July 22, 2006
  July 15, 2006
  July 8, 2006
  July 1, 2006
  June 24, 2006
  June 17, 2006
  June 10, 2006
  June 3, 2006
  May 27, 2006
  May 20, 2006
  May 13, 2006
  May 6, 2006
  2006 Stock Meeting
  April 22, 2006
  April 15, 2006
  April 8, 2006
  April 1, 2006
  March 25, 2006
  March 18, 2006
  March 11, 2006
  March 4, 2006
  February 25, 2006
  February 18, 2006
  February 11, 2006
  February 4, 2006
  January 28, 2006
  January 21, 2006
  January 14, 2006
  January 7, 2006
  December 31, 2005
  December 24, 2005
  December 17, 2005
  December 10, 2005
  December 03, 2005
  November 26, 2005
  November 19, 2005
  November 12, 2005
  November 5, 2005
  October 29, 2005
  October 22, 2005
  October 15, 2005
  October 8, 2005
  October 1, 2005
  September 24, 2005
  September 17, 2005
  September 10, 2005
  September 3, 2005
  August 27, 2005
  August 20, 2005
  August 13, 2005
  August 6, 2005
  July 30, 2005
  July 23, 2005
  July 16, 2005
  July 9, 2005
  July 2, 2005
  June 25, 2005
  June 18, 2005
  June 11, 2005
  June 4, 2005
  May 28, 2005
  May 21, 2005
  May 14, 2005
  May 7, 2005
  April 30, 2005
  April 23, 2005
  April 16, 2005
  April 9, 2005
  April 2, 2005
  March 26, 2005
  March 19, 2005
  March 12, 2005
  March 5, 2005
  February 26, 2005
  February 19, 2005
  February 12, 2005
  February 5, 2005
  January 29, 2005
  January 22, 2005
  January 15, 2005
  January 8, 2005
  January 1, 2005
  December 25, 2004
  December 18, 2004
  December 11, 2004
  December 4, 2004
  November 27, 2004
  November 20, 2004
  November 13, 2004
  November 6, 2004
  October 30, 2004
  October 23, 2004
  October 16, 2004
  October 9, 2004
  October 2, 2004
  September 25, 2004
  September 18, 2004
  September 11, 2004
  September 4, 2004
  August 28, 2004
  August 21, 2004
  August 14, 2004
  August 7, 2004
  July 31, 2004
  July 24, 2004
  July 17, 2004
  July 10, 2004
  July 3, 2004
  June 26, 2004
  June 19, 2004
  June 5, 2004
  May 29, 2004
  May 22, 2004
  May 15, 2004
  May 8, 2004
  2004 Stock Meeting
  April 24, 2004
  April 10, 2004
  April 3, 2004
  March 27, 2004
  March 20, 2004
  March 13, 2004
  March 6, 2004
  February 28, 2004
  February 21, 2004
  February 14, 2004
  February 7, 2004
  February 1, 2004
  January 18, 2004
  December 27, 2003
  December 20, 2003
  December 13, 2003
  December 6, 2003
  November 29, 2003
  November 22, 2003
  November 15, 2003
  November 8, 2003
  November 1, 2003
  October 25, 2003
  October 18, 2003
  October 11, 2003
  October 4, 2003
  September 27, 2003
  September 20, 2003
  September 13, 2003
  September 6, 2003
  August 30, 2003
  August 23, 2003
  August 16, 2003
  August 9, 2003
  Pension Lawsuit Win
  July 26, 2003
  July 19, 2003
  July 12, 2003
  July 5, 2003
  June 28, 2003
  June 21, 2003
  June 14, 2003
  June 7, 2003
  May 31, 2003
  May 24, 2003
  May 17, 2003
  May 10, 2003
  2003 Stock Meeting
  April 26, 2003
  April 19, 2003
  April 12, 2003
  April 5, 2003
  March 29, 2003
  March 22, 2003
  March 15, 2003
  March 8, 2003
  March 1, 2003
  February 22, 2003
  February 15, 2003
  February 8, 2003
  February 1, 2003
  January 25, 2003
  January 18, 2003
  January 11, 2003
  January 4, 2003
  December 28, 2002
  December 21, 2002
  December 14, 2002
  December 7, 2002
  November 30, 2002
  November 23, 2002
  November 16, 2002
  November 9, 2002
  November 2, 2002
  October 26, 2002
  October 19, 2002
  October 12, 2002
  October 5, 2002
  September 28, 2002
  September 21, 2002
  September 14, 2002
  September 7, 2002
  August 31, 2002
  August 24, 2002
  August 17, 2002
  August 10, 2002
  August 3, 2002
  July 27, 2002
  July 20, 2002
  July 13, 2002
  July 6, 2002
  June 29, 2002
  June 22, 2002
  June 15, 2002
  June 8, 2002
  June 1, 2002
  May 25, 2002
  May 18, 2002
  May 11, 2002
  2002 Stock Meeting
  April 27, 2002
  April 20, 2002
  April 13, 2002
  April 6, 2002
  March 30, 2002
  March 23, 2002
  March 16, 2002
  March 9, 2002
  March 2, 2002
  February 23, 2002
  February 16, 2002
  February 9, 2002
  February 2, 2002
  January 26, 2002
  January 19, 2002
  January 12, 2002
  January 5, 2002
  December 29, 2001
  December 22, 2001
  December 15, 2001
  December 8, 2001
  December 1, 2001
  November 24, 2001
  November 17, 2001
  November 10, 2001
  November 3, 2001
  October 27, 2001
  October 20, 2001
  October 13, 2001
  October 6, 2001
  September 29, 2001
  September 22, 2001
  September 15, 2001
  September 8, 2001
  September 1, 2001
  August 25, 2001
  August 18, 2001
  August 11, 2001
  August 4, 2001
  July 28, 2001
  July 21, 2001
  July 14, 2001
  July 7, 2001
  June 30, 2001
  June 23, 2001
  June 16, 2001
  June 9, 2001
  June 2, 2001
  May 26, 2001
  May 19, 2001
  May 12, 2001
  May 5, 2001
  2001 Stock Meeting
  April 21, 2001
  April 14, 2001
  April 7, 2001
  March 31, 2001
  March 24, 2001
  March 17, 2001
  March 10, 2001
  March 3, 2001
  February 24, 2001
  February 17, 2001
  February 10, 2001
  February 3, 2001
  January 27, 2001
  January 20, 2001
  January 13, 2001
  January 6, 2001
  December 30, 2000
  December 23, 2000
  December 16, 2000
  December 9, 2000
  December 2, 2000
  November 24, 2000
  November 17, 2000
  November 10, 2000
  November 4, 2000
  October 28, 2000
  October 21, 2000
  October 14, 2000
  October 7, 2000
  September 30, 2000
  September 23, 2000
  September 16, 2000
  September 9, 2000
  September 2, 2000
  August 26, 2000
  August 19, 2000
  August 12, 2000
  July 29, 2000
  July 22, 2000
  July 15, 2000
  July 1, 2000
  June 24, 2000
  June 17, 2000
  June 10, 2000
  June 3, 2000
  May 27, 2000
  May 20, 2000
  May 13, 2000
  May 6, 2000
  April, 2000

Join your fellow employees who are fighting for your benefits - Join the Alliance!

Retirees, Vendors, Contractors, Temps, and Active Employees are all eligible to become members of the Alliance.

    Highlights—February 28, 2004
  • Washington Post: Judge Orders More IBM Pension Case Info. Excerpt: A federal judge has ordered International Business Machines Corp. and workers suing the company in a landmark pension case to give him more information about how much they think IBM should have to pay in damages, the judge said Wednesday. ... I'm going to do my very best to get this case wrapped up by summer," Murphy said. "I've asked them to give me some more materials and they're in the process of doing that." The move followed a ruling by Murphy earlier this month that IBM must make back payments to workers disadvantaged by a new retirement plan. No damages have yet been set in the class-action suit, but IBM has said that it could owe $6 billion in back benefits if the judge were to adopt an earlier proposal by plaintiffs.

  • The Journal News (Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam Counties, New York): Cash balance pensions plans continue to lose in court. Excerpt: Thousands of former salaried employees of Georgia Pacific will receive letters by late March saying they will get part of a $67 million court settlement. The Feb. 3 tentative settlement is another in a recent string of legal setbacks for corporations that include Armonk-based IBM and Xerox on changes they made to their pension plans. ... For employees and their advocates, the friendly court decisions are interpreted as a clear signal that employers have been caught failing to comply with existing federal regulations. "Clearly, Congress needs to pay attention to what is happening in the judicial arena," said Kathi Cooper, an IBM employee who was lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against two changes the company made to its pension plan in 1995 and 1999. "Clearly, the employees have been duped with unlawful plans. And clearly, this must not continue a minute longer." IBM has estimated that the federal court ruling saying it illegally discriminated against employees on the basis of age might add $5.7 billion in costs to its pension plan. But a federal judge handling the case has not yet determined the company's liability for shortchanging up to 225,000 current and former employees.

  • Washington Post: IBM Shifts Options Rules for Top Execs. Excerpt: In an unusual move, IBM Corp. is adding a wrinkle to stock option awards - executives can cash out only if the company's shares gain more than 10 percent. IBM says the decision would make the technology giant's top 300 executives more accountable to investors. The change was approved at a board meeting Tuesday and was to take effect immediately. "We believe this is clearly a statement about good governance," said Randy MacDonald, IBM's senior vice president for human resources. "We think it's an obvious connection to let shareholders get some upside before we take the upside.

  • Reuters (courtesy of Forbes): IBM investors ask for review of pay and offshoring. Excerpt: IBM shareholders will vote on a proposal to require a review of how executive compensation policies could affect decisions to move jobs overseas to cheaper locations, according to an employee activist. ... According to Lee Conrad, a representative of Alliance@IBM, an affiliate of the Communications Workers of America that has tried to organize IBM employees, a proposal from fellow Alliance member and IBM employee James Mangi will appear on the ballot. Mangi was not immediately available for comment. The proposal requests a review of compensation policies to see if they create incentives for executives to make short-sighted decisions by linking bonuses to performance measures such as earnings. The proposal says it appears that some compensation policies create an enormous temptation for executives to cut costs in the short-term by exporting American jobs to cheaper locations overseas without regard for the long-term effect on the company or employees.

  • New York Times: From Coffee to Jets, Perks for Executives Come Out in Court. Excerpt: Haircuts. Shower curtains. Parking reimbursements. Country club memberships. Use of corporate jets. Recent criminal and civil court cases involving top executives have brought to the fore an open secret in corporate America: for executives with multimillion-dollar salaries, no company-paid perk is too small — or too big — to accept. ... The trial of L. Dennis Kozlowski and Mark H. Swartz, two former top executives at Tyco International , a manufacturing conglomerate, has revealed that Tyco paid an array of their expenses. The bills included tuition to private schools for Mr. Swartz's three children and $1 million for a birthday party in Sardinia for Mr. Kozlowski's wife. And then there was the infamous $6,000 shower curtain and a $15,000 umbrella stand. Such extravagances draw criticism from an unlikely combination of corporate watchdog groups and management consultants who create executive pay packages. By avoiding expenses lower-level employees must pay, executives will only worsen the cynicism that ordinary Americans and professional investors have about them, the critics say. "It just reflects a disconnect from the way that average people live," said Diane Doubleday, a principal at Mercer Human Resource Consulting. ... The average chief executive at a big public company now makes well over $10 million a year, including stock options, almost 20 times the level in 1981 and 500 times the average worker's salary. In that context, perks are a relatively small part of executive compensation, said Joe Bachelder, a lawyer for many chief executives. And companies typically give midlevel executives some extras as well, including reimbursement of their cellphone bills, expense accounts for meals and occasionally company cars. "The real question is perception," Mr. Bachelder said. "It's a question of where you draw the line." Benefits are rarely made public in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, where companies must report the pay and options that their five highest-paid executives receive.

  • Washington Post: Greenspan Pushes Social Security Cuts. Excerpt: Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, stepping into the politically charged debate over Social Security, said Wednesday the country can't afford the retirement benefits promised to baby boomers and urged Congress to trim them. He said that unless Congress acts, soaring budget deficits from out-of-control entitlement programs could lead to a "very debilitating" rise in interest rates in coming years. Democratic presidential candidates denounced his proposals, and President Bush and other Republicans sought to distance themselves from the Republican Greenspan. The central bank chairman also repeated his view that Bush's tax cuts should be made permanent to bolster economic growth. He said the estimated $1 trillion cost should be paid for, preferably, with spending cuts so the deficit would not be worsened. ... Democratic front-runner Sen. John Kerry said the way to address the deficit was to roll back tax cuts for the wealthy and "the wrong way to cut the deficit is to cut Social Security benefits. If I'm president, we're simply not going to do it." Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., called it "an outrage' for Greenspan to call for cuts in Social Security while at the same time endorsing making Bush's tax cuts permanent. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, went even further and called for Greenspan to resign as Fed chairman, saying his comments were "a disgrace."

  • New York Times: The Social Security Promise Not Yet Kept. Excerpt: Since 1983, American workers have been paying more into Social Security than it has paid out in benefits, about $1.8 trillion more so far. This year Americans will pay about 50 percent more in Social Security taxes than the government will pay out in benefits. Those taxes were imposed at the urging of Mr. Greenspan, who was chairman of a bipartisan commission that in 1983 said that one way to make sure Social Security remains solvent once the baby boomers reached retirement age was to tax them in advance. On Mr. Greenspan's recommendation Social Security was converted from a pay-as-you-go system to one in which taxes are collected in advance. After Congress adopted the plan, Mr. Greenspan rose to become chairman of the Federal Reserve.

  • San Francisco Chronicle: Antidepressants hazardous to health care coverage. Insurance plans stymie individual policyholders. Excerpt: When Amy M. left her steady job to become a freelance advertising copywriter, she had no idea the antidepressant she took to combat depression would have an unexpected side effect. She couldn't get health insurance. "I was turned down by Blue Cross, Blue Shield and Kaiser," said the 35- year-old Oakland resident, who has been taking the antidepressant Celexa for several years. "My rejection letters from the insurance companies stated the reason for the denial: antidepressants." With nearly 19 million Americans under a diagnosis of depression, antidepressant use is skyrocketing in the United States. The newer antidepressants are the second most commonly prescribed class of drugs in the country, according IMS Health, a firm that tracks the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Bloomington-Normal (Illinois) Pantagraph: Treasurers' activism annoys Wall Street, firms. Excerpt: Burned from losing billions of dollars in scandals and bankruptcies, a growing band of state treasurers have scrapped their low profiles to wage a campaign to clean up Wall Street and America's corporate suites. The treasurers and comptrollers are sounding out from often-obscure capital backwaters, places like Albany, N.Y., and Sacramento, to more actively wield the clout of more than $1.5 trillion in public investment funds. In California, New York, Connecticut, North Carolina and elsewhere, they are pushing reforms, demanding less extravagant executive salaries, for instance. They are yanking their investments from companies that move their headquarters abroad for tax purposes or from mutual funds accused of mishandling money.

  • Detroit Free Press: Drug rebate program may end. U.S. agency says states' effort still under review. Excerpt: The Bush administration has threatened a Michigan and Vermont program that jointly negotiates lower prescription drug prices from pharmaceutical companies, Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Monday. The two states were the first to pool their resources for buying drugs under the Medicaid program, which provides health care to poor people. Granholm said she was told late Friday that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was rejecting the program as a violation of federal procurement procedures.

  • Milwaukee Journal-Sentenel: Doyle makes case for buying cheaper drugs from Canada. Administration stance on issue rebuked at D.C. hearing. Excerpt: Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle took his case for letting state residents buy cheaper medicines from Canada to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, speaking at a hearing that included strong rebukes of the Bush administration. The event drew three other governors as well as federal lawmakers, some of whom angrily lashed out at the White House and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for standing in the way of letting people import less expensive drugs. "Let's be clear: There are Americans who are dying because they can't afford to pay for the prescription drugs they need," said Rep. Bernard Sanders, an independent from Vermont. Sanders, who said he was the first in Congress to take constituents by bus across the border to buy cheaper prescriptions, charged that drug companies had "bought off the White House" through "huge" campaign contributions and lobbying efforts. "We are sick and tired of the American people being taken for fools and being forced to pay the highest drug prices in the world," he said.

  • FastCompany: Are All Consultants Corrupt? That's one possible conclusion in the wake of the Enron scandal. According to David Maister, who's been studying professional-services firms for more than 20 years, it's time to clear the air. Excerpt: Is the problem with professional services due to a lapse in ethics? The real problem is that people do what they're told. They're simply in compliance mode. What's even more interesting is that there's so much going on that's stupid. People are making the wrong calls on stuff that doesn't even come close to ethics. But that's just common practice. It's what happens inside firms, because that's how people have been raised in business. Before they even get to an ethical issue, they've been taught that if there's cash to be made, then make it. So it's not as if they were wonderful to begin with and then suddenly there was an ethical challenge and they lost their way. The message has always been that nothing trades off against cash. Too many professional-services firms have never met a dollar they didn't like. The question that they need to ask themselves is, Do we believe in our own strategy and our own standards, even when we're tempted by cash? Good business is about having the guts to stick to a strategy. You can count on the fingers of a single maimed hand the number of professional-services firms that have the courage to stick to their strategy.

  • The IBM South Africa Pension Fund Action Group (PFAG) Newsletter No 19, February 2004, is now available [PDF--34 KB]. Excerpt: Pensioners in Johannesburg, Cape Town and PE conducted protests against IBM’s interference with the governance of the Fund and its use of fund assets for its own benefit. The object was to publicise several major issues of mal-governance by IBM. These were IBM’s denial of adequate pension increases to pensioners, failure to make contributions to the fund, use of fund assets to fund their retrenchment programmes, improper accounting of pension fund assets earmarked for employees who opted to transfer to the provident fund and IBM’s appointed trustees changing of the fund’s Rules to keep control of the fund. The protest event attracted substantial media attention including a front-page story in the Business Day, the STAR, Die Burger, Cape Times, ITWEB, SA Computing and several TV and radio coverages. A key part of the protest was the delivery of a letter to S Palmisano, Chairman of the IBM Corporation. A copy is included in this newsletter.

  • Washington Times: Mass layoffs set record in January. Excerpt: There were more mass layoffs in January in the United States than in any previous January for the nine-years that such records have been kept.

  • "dlgabry" comments on IBM's severance program for U.S. employees and contrasts it with the program offered to IBM Germany employees who, unlike their U.S. colleagues, are protected by union contracts. Full excerpt: It (severance pay) is not a gift. It's payment for having your signature on a one-sided *contract* that places limitations on you after you leave, such as your right to sue. In a sad sort of a way, it's the only contract many will see. With a union contract, the separation process would be clearly specified, and likely would provide more for the worker. Per an article in "ThinkTwice", when the Mainz plant was closed, workers over 50 will receive 70% of their salary until age 60, and a cash
    bonus of .4 times the number of years of their monthly salary. Workers under 50 would receive .7 * number of years * 112%-125% of their monthly salary. With 20 years of service, that's close to 3 years pay. Without that union contract, we currently have an up to 13 week standard package, and an up to 26 week "enhanced" package. And no guarantee of that.

  • Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC. Some sample posts follow:
    • IBM Privilege and Self-Worth, by "ancientblueconsultant". Full excerpt: You touched on a sensitive subject for me. I want you to know that IBM is not about privilege, but about business and demographics in a with collapsing market and entrenched management. Although I have never met you, I will wager you are better than many of those above you. Many of those above you have never billed a real working day in their lives. Many haven't spent hours at airport terminals, taking crap from insolent and mad clients and had to work crazy hours to get a project done. IBM is as much a psychological puzzle palace as much as it is a business. There is a widespread perception among GM's and VP's that because they can fire you and control your salary they have to be better than you. The reality is that many have sacrificed their ethics and personal relationships to get there. Many, like some senior VP's, get addicted to all the attention the serfs give them at ABI or other events. They become blinded by the semblance of corporate power into thinking that they are somehow better than you. Nothing can be further from the truth. The reality is that IBM is a collapsing pyramid today so there are many of the alleged privileged class desperately looking for work without any true skills. There are very few new director, VP and GM slots, so many real good players can't move up. That's one of the reasons for the 2+ rating. Don't ever forget that you have a boss, but that doesn't mean you boss is better in anyway than you. I remember an IBM first line marketing manager in PA one time very frustrated by the "IBM privileged class". I was working for him at the time as a marketing rep. He was a very down to earth, nice guy. He was beginning to question his self-worth, something IBM tries very hard to destroy in individuals. So I suggested to him he leave the blue pig and find another company. He shook my hands, thanked me for my candor and advice and eventually left IBM. His name was John Chambers, and he used IBM's arrogance to build a company called Cisco. Now you know why I'm not worried about unemployment.
    • and don't exceed expenses!, by "ancientblueconsultant". Full excerpt: A funny but true story that will help you understand the Armonk mind set. When IBM started its consulting business, they hired a very successful outsider for one of its practices. He was given a revenue and expense target, with some investment money. Very simple task, go forth, start a business and make money. The problem was that he was too successful. By May of that fiscal year he had already made 514% of his revenue plan. However, he was reaching near 100% of his expense plan. He decided on his own he could make 800-900% of his realized revenue target by just going 200% of his expense budget. More profits, more money and more market share. It was there for the pickings. In any B-School graduate would have done the same thing. Anyone with any common sense, but not IBM. He was given a 3 appraisal and he left the company in disgrace, even though he made 918% of the realized revenue plan and his pipeline was about 1005% of the original plan. Why was he canned? Because he asked to go over his expense budget and it was denied. He was told he had to wait until next January (fiscal cycle) to get more money. He left with 65 other practitioners to form a competitor which is still viable and growing today. IBM is run by bean counters and lawyers, not by line executives. This is changing, but very slowly and painfully. That's why so many young high potential folks leave all the time. In extreme blue recruiting they give them free reign and the love it, but when they become full time the "SG&A handcuffs" suddenly appear.

  • NewsMax.com: Where Did All the Jobs Go? Excerpt: For years as U.S. multinationals moved manufacturing offshore, Americans were told that their future was in “knowledge jobs.” Today knowledge jobs are being moved offshore more rapidly than manufacturing jobs were. What are the unemployed computer engineers and information technology workers supposed to retrain for? What high value-added job can’t be outsourced? Only those in the nontradable sector, such as dentists and surgeons. If everyone becomes a dentist or a surgeon, those incomes will be driven down. Many young engineering graduates have discovered that they invested in acquiring skills for which there are no jobs and are headed to law schools in an effort to retrieve their future. I know young software engineers who are substitute teachers in middle schools, and others who are trying to organize rock bands to play the club and bar circuits. They have no idea what to retrain for, and neither do the economists who tell them retraining is the answer.

  • International Herald Tribune: Should burger-flipping be a heavy industry? Excerpt: Is cooking a hamburger patty and inserting the meat, lettuce and ketchup inside a bun a manufacturing job, like assembling automobiles?. That question is posed in the new Economic Report of the President, a thick annual compendium of observations and statistics on the health of the U.S. economy. The latest edition, which was sent to Congress last week, questions whether fast-food restaurants should continue to be counted as part of the service sector or should instead be reclassified as manufacturers. No answers were offered.
Coverage on H1-B and L1 Visa and Outsourcing Issues
  • Economic Times (India): Job scores: India +152,500, US -234,000. Excerpt: While the US lost 234,000 IT jobs in 2003, for Indian techies 152,000 new jobs were created. Jobs in India's booming software services sector are estimated to grow 23 per cent in the year to March 2004, as the sector benefits from outsourcing by global clients, an industry association said on Wednesday. The showpiece sector, which includes high-end technology consulting, back-office and call centre work, is expected to employ some 813,500 people at the end of March, up from 661,000 a year ago, the National Association of Software and Services Companies said in its annual strategy report. ... Giants like IBM Corp, with an Indian headcount of around 10,000, and Accenture Ltd, which is expected to double staff to that number by 2005, are expanding furiously.

  • New York Times: Theory vs. Reality. Excerpt: Referring to David Ricardo, the 19th-century British economist whose theory of comparative advantage became the basis of free trade, Mr. Schumer said: "Ricardo set up a model that served very, very well for a very long time. But now there are new facts on the ground." The biggest and most ominous new fact for American workers is the dreadful employment environment of the current economic expansion. In terms of job creation, it's the worst expansion on record. The job growth since the recession officially ended in November 2001 has been primarily in low-paying sectors. These are not the upwardly mobile jobs long associated with entry into the American middle class. And they are not the kinds of jobs that free-trade advocates were promising in the 1990's, when they were hustling American factory workers, assuring them that the transfer of their jobs to low-wage countries overseas was a good thing. Globalization will be wonderful, the advocates said. There will be more jobs. Better jobs. Higher-paying jobs. The multinational corporations, which have had by far the biggest say in the development of America's trade policies, are thriving in the new environment. Workers are the big losers, and the losses are only beginning. We now know that offshoring or outsourcing — whatever the term of the moment is for dumping American workers in favor of cheaper workers elsewhere — was never going to be limited to factory jobs.

  • Reuters: Tech Companies Focus on Asia to Expand Jobs. Excerpt: Technology companies are seeing a rebound in business, but top executives this week said any jobs added to meet growing demand will likely be in countries where labor is cheaper than the United States. Executives speaking at the Reuters Technology, Media and Telecommunications Summit in New York said they see increased hiring in countries like India and China, but few jobs will be added in the United States.

  • Inland Valley (California) Daily-Bulletin: Newest outsourcing wave: Your tax returns. Foreign accountants to begin preparing taxes. Excerpt: Twelve-hour shifts and seven-day work weeks exhausted accountants at Rucci, Bardaro & Barrett. But most painful for Chris Barrett was the annual "Easter parade" layoffs of seasonal workers and interns after April 15. So Barrett, a partner in the Malden, Mass., firm, will send about 150 of his 600 clients' tax returns this year to India, where recent college graduates will prepare Americans' 1040s. Barrett won't hire or fire any extra employees, and the average turnaround time for completing returns is already shrinking. "We're always looking for ways to reduce the pressure," Barrett said. "It frees us up to provide financial and estate planning, which we didn't have time for when we were too busy filling out returns." Tax experts say Indian chartered accountants the subcontinent's version of certified professional accountants will prepare 150,000 to 200,000 returns this year, up from about 20,000 in 2003 and only 1,000 in 2002. Critics say outsourcing short-shrifts U.S. accountants and exposes unwitting Americans to identity theft, which the Federal Trade Commission ranks as one of the country's fastest-growing crimes.

  • MS-NBC: Treasury secretary defends outsourcing. Firms 'need to do what they need to do' to compete -- Snow. Excerpt: Treasury Secretary John Snow on Tuesday defended U.S. corporations' right to send U.S. jobs offshore to cheaper-labor countries, and said a more productive source for jobs might be found by breaking down global trade barriers. Snow was asked on CNBC television whether he would advise U.S. corporations to reduce the rate at which they are "outsourcing" U.S. jobs by having them performed in countries like China and India. "I think American companies need to do what they need to do to be competitive, and as they're competitive, it's good for their shareholders, it's good for their consumers and it's good for their employees," Snow said.

  • New York Times: U.S. Payrolls Change Lives in Bangalore. Excerpt: A social revolution is under way in India's numerous back offices and call centers. Many of the employees are barely in their 20's, and just a year or two ago they were living traditional lives in their parents' homes, often in smaller towns. Now, caste, religion and other age-old Indian social divisions are being shaken. Empowered by an ample paycheck, often from big American companies like American Express and America Online, some Indian workers are living lavishly on credit cards, and their open-mindedness is breaking conventions about dating. ... Many of these young Indians deal with car insurance but may never own a car; book hotel suites that cost nearly as much as their annual pay; and chat about pretzels, snow and baseball, which they have never tasted, seen or experienced. Ms. Murthy, who has never been outside India and does not even have a passport, said she sometimes envied her callers' lives. "They have such facilities — 24-hour convenience stores, 365-day power supply," she said. She said she hoped her job would help her move upward and onward. "I may be a small-town girl, but there is no way I'm going back to Mysore after this," she said.

  • New York Times: Meet the Zippies. Excerpt: And as education levels in these overseas homes rise to U.S. levels, the barriers to shipping white-collar jobs abroad fall and the incentives rise. At a minimum, some very educated Americans used to high salaries — people who vote and know how to write op-ed pieces — will either lose their jobs, or have to accept lower pay or become part-timers without health insurance. "The fundamental question we have to ask as a society is, what do we do about it?" notes Robert Reich, the former labor secretary and now Brandeis University professor. "For starters, we're going to have to get serious about some of the things we just gab about — job training, life-long learning, wage insurance. And perhaps we need to welcome more unionization in the personal services area — retail, hotel, restaurant and hospital jobs which cannot be moved overseas — in order to stabilize their wages and health care benefits." Maybe, as a transition measure, adds Mr. Reich, companies shouldn't be allowed to deduct the full cost of outsourcing, creating a small tax that could be used to help people adjust. Either way, managing this phenomenon will require a public policy response — something more serious than the Bush mantra of let the market sort it out, or the demagoguery of the Democratic candidates, who seem to want to make outsourcing equal to treason and punishable by hanging. Time to get real.
Now on the Alliance@IBM Site:
  • Join Us at the IBM Shareholders' Meeting. Lend your voice to protect American High Tech Jobs. The Alliance@IBM/CWA Local 1701 will join Jobs with Justice, the Programmers Guild, TORAW and other organizations to hold a major rally against offshoring of American jobs by U.S. high tech companies. Read more...

  • San Jose Mercury News: Jury backs IBM in its toxics trial. Excerpt: Santa Clara County jury Thursday found that two former IBM workers did not suffer systemic chemical poisoning from their work at the computer giant's San Jose plant, clearing the company of responsibility for their health problems. Alida Hernandez, 73, and James Moore, 62, blamed chemicals they used to make computer components between the 1960s and 1980s for causing them to develop cancer. They sued IBM under a provision of California law that allows workers to collect punitive damages if they can prove an employer fraudulently concealed information and exacerbated an injury. After less than two days of deliberation, the jury unanimously concluded the plaintiffs had failed to meet their first legal hurdle: proving they had suffered from systemic chemical poisoning as a result of their jobs.

  • Click here for the Health Focus Survey. Alliance@IBM is offering this due to the recent interest in lawsuits and health issues related to IBM chemical exposures.

  • Call to Action! Join the Rally to protest Offshoring at the IBM Shareholders' Meeting - April 27 in Providence, RI.

  • Alliance@IBM urges IBM workers to fight plan to move jobs offshore.
WashTech logoNow on the WashTech site:
  • Congressmen Propose Retraining Benefits for Jobless IT Workers. Excerpt: Two Washington state lawmakers plan to introduce a bill this week that will extend training benefits to information technology workers who have lost their jobs as a result of offshore outsourcing. "Outsourcing has exploded on the U.S. economy," said Rep. Jay Inslee, who added that Congress must act this year to help dislocated American workers obtain retraining. ... Inslee said the U.S. tax code must be revised so that there are no disincentives for companies to keep jobs here."One corporation last year reduced its tax burden by millions of dollars and told stock market analysts they did so by outsourcing jobs overseas," said Inslee.

  • Washington Deemed 'Ground Zero' for Tech Worker Legislation. Excerpt: Baldwin, who holds a doctorate in Labor Relations from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, underscored the nature of the current economic recovery, which continues to shed jobs even as the nation's businesses earn profits. "(This is) a job-loss recovery, not a jobless recovery," he said. Reasons for the shrinking job market during an economic recovery are increased productivity and offshore outsourcing, Baldwin said. How much offshore outsourcing is responsible for the loss of jobs in otherwise good economic times is hard to determine, he said. Part of the reason so little is known about layoff statistics is the Bush administration's elimination of the collection of the layoff statistics program, said Baldwin, although he noted that the program "didn't really ask many good questions in this area anyway." ... Former Boeing Co. technical publications illustrator Stephan Gillyard testified he and about 400 other employees learned last June that they we about to lose their jobs to offshore outsourcing. Gillyard, who worked for McDonald-Douglas before the aircraft maker merged with Boeing, said he had just moved to the Seattle area from California a year before to take the job. He said at the time that he thought he had a bright future with the company. "In the 17 years I spent building my skills with (McDonald Douglas and Boeing), I always felt that there was a place for me," said Gillyard. "Outsourcing has changed that." Gillyard, 41, said the relationship between employees and employers has changed since he first started working 20 years ago. "We've always had in this country a compact that we would provide opportunities for talented, skilled, educated people to participate in the American dream." But now, Gillyard said, that compact seems to have vanished.
"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have too much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." — Franklin D. Roosevelt
This site is designed to allow IBM Employees to communicate and share methods of protecting their rights through the establishment of an IBM Employees Labor Union. Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act states it is a violation for Employers to spy on union gatherings, or pretend to spy. For the purpose of the National Labor Relations Act, notice is given that this site and all of its content, messages, communications, or other content is considered to be a union gathering.