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Highlights—July 30, 2005
- USA Today's "Letter to Leaders": To:
Sen. Paul Sarbanes, from Charles Cox. Full excerpt: Sir,
Reading amended Bill HR2830 Several questions have come up.
There is no teeth in the bill to prevent an corporation from
changing a DB plan. IBM will and has broken the law by changing
It's workers DB plan.
I retired from IBM in 1965 at the age of 55. I am now 65. My whole income
is Social Security and my pension. It costs me $411.00 a month for medical(including dental
and eye care). Medical is $354 for my wife and myself. Any deduction in either S.S. or pension
would be a financial disaster. I have worked 29 years to obtain these benefits and to have
congress pass a bill that would allow a company to change them after I have retired under the
guise of pension protection is out right stealing to improve that company's bottom line.
Here are some questions I would like answered.
Does the bill affect those already retired from IBM,
over age 65, and receiving a DB pension ?
Does the bill affect those already retired at the age 55 and are now
over age 65 (early retirement subsidy)?
Does the bill affect those who have left IBM and are
already drawing a DB pension either in whole (annuity only) or
in part (combination annuity and lump sum)? If "Yes", to what
extent can they be affected?
Does the bill affect those who have left IBM and are
NOT already drawing a DB pension (such as those waiting until
age 55 to draw to commence receipt of benefits? If "Yes", to
what extent can they be affected?
Does the bill affect those who remain employed by
IBM? If "Yes", to what extent?
The bill doesn't directly affect anyone at IBM until IBM amends its pension
plan. The question is, will IBM be allowed to amend its pension plan to allow those changes?
- Yahoo! message board post by Michael Oliver: Letter
to Senators. Full excerpt:
July 28, 2005
Office of Senator Jim DeMint
1901 Main St.
Columbia, SC 29201
My name is Michael Bruce Oliver and currently I am an active working
employee with 28 years of service at IBM.
For many years I've been saving money, working hard and planning to
retire in 2007 with 30 years of employment, at which time I'll be 60
years old and fully qualified for retirement under the current plan.
A key component of my plan was to relocate my family to our chosen
place of retirement prior to 2007. Carrying out that part of the plan
in 2003, my wife and I bought a home (through your sister Kit) in
Timberlake Plantation located in Chapin.
We were full of excitement and great expectations of being able to
live out our retirement comfortably on beautiful Lake Murray. Today my
life is full of stress and I live in fear that my 30 years of hard
work and dreams of happy retirement will not be fulfilled. I am very
apprehensive that legislation will soon be passed that could allow IBM
to legally take away my current accrued, vested and protected
retirement benefits before I can begin to draw them, or even after I
When you were running for the Senate Jan and I heard your pleas for
support and we came though for you with our votes. We now implore you
to heed our plea for your support for protecting not only my pension
benefits but those of many thousands of South Carolinians who
Please show us your support in the following matters:
- President Bush's proposals for pension reform say that "workers
must be provided with the pension benefits they were promised by their
President Bush has also been quoted as saying "America's capitalist
economy is built on trust".
The Senate should support the president and enact new law consistent
with those positions and legislate pension reform that is fair to
older workers. To do otherwise would further undercut the remaining
faith American voters have in their elected officials.
- Support (S.1304) the bipartisan proposal released by Charles E.
Grassley, Republican of Iowa and chairman of the Senate Finance
Committee, and Max Baucus of Montana. Support provisions similar to those contained
in S.1304, Senator
Harkin's "Pension Benefits Protection Act.
- When the Senate HELP Committee marks up a pension bill in the
fall, please make sure that any legislation to legalize cash
balance plans is:
- PROSPECTIVE not retroactive
- Bans wearaway of early and normal retirement age benefits
- Provides adequate transition benefits
- DOES NOT eliminate or remove early retirement subsidies
- Please contact the Senators of the Health, Education, Labor and
Pensions (H.E.L.P.) committee. Inform them that you are supporting me
in this effort and what we are after in this legislation. (I have
included the names, email addresses and phone numbers of the members
of the H.E.L.P committee in the addendum of this letter)
I trust that you will work with members of the Senate to adopt bill
language in line with the items listed above and that provides full
protection of promised, vested, accrued and currently protected rights
Another area that is also very important to me is promised retirement
healthcare benefits. While current ERISA does not protect employees in
this area it has significant implications to older retiring employees
such as myself. I bring this item to your attention so that you might
work within the Senate to bring all promised benefits under the ERISA
Following this eMAIL will be a hardcopy letter mailed to your local
office in Columbia to avoid any problems with the mail processes in
Washington D.C. When the letter is received in Columbia – please FAX
it to the Washington office – Thank you.
- Yahoo! message board post by "mrcammeron": Employee
Morale Issues at IBM. Full excerpt: IBM recently
initiated a program to help boost employee morale. Yesterday, a group of System Administrators
I know were given the word
from their management, that they all needed to update their resumes,
because their jobs on the contract they were working on was being
given to System Administrators in Argentina. This won't happen over
night, their jobs will be transitioned over time, and they are
expected to stay on and help the new admins get up to speed...
What's wrong with this picture... It doesn't take a fool to figure out
why morale is so low at IBM.
You bust your buns to do a good job, performing the near impossible
task of keeping the customer and management happy, only to be told
that you job is going off-shore, but we want you to be happy about it... What B.S. all this
- Financial Times: Tax
break lets IBM repatriate $9bn.
By Simon London. Excerpts: IBM plans to repatriate $9bn of foreign earnings during the current
quarter, the latest US multinational to take advantage of a tax break offered by Washington.
The information technology group will record a one-off tax charge of $450m in its third quarter
earnings. Under the American Jobs Creation Act, US companies bringing foreign earnings back
into the country this year will be taxed at only 5.25 per cent, compared with a 35 per cent standard
The tax break was designed to stimulate the US economy by encouraging
companies to bring home capital parked in low-tax jurisdictions. Wall Street analysts estimate
that US companies could repatriate about $500bn by the end of this year, when the preferential
rate is withdrawn. [...]
Critics of the legislation have questioned whether it will create jobs
as intended. Companies do not have to detail how the money will be invested in order to get the
tax break. Qualifying uses of the money include research and development, capital investment,
pension funding and acquisitions.
- BusinessWeek: Profits
Head Homeward, But Where Are The Jobs? Excerpts: When
it comes to corporate income taxes, it sure pays to be a multinational these days. U.S. companies
fork over up to 35% of their domestic income in federal taxes. But for earnings from abroad,
the tax rate is just 5.25% this year, thanks to the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. The election-year
bill was aimed at spurring the U.S. economy by encouraging U.S. companies with international
operations to bring home profits they had parked in lower tax countries.
The one-year tax break has clearly opened the floodgates: U.S.-based
companies are on track to repatriate upwards of $520 billion by the end of December, estimates
Henry "Chip" Dickson, chief U.S. equity strategist at Lehman Brothers Inc. The
drug industry is far and away ahead of the pack. Led by Pfizer Inc., which is returning
$36.9 billion in foreign earnings alone, pharmaceutical and biotech companies could bring
$120.5 billion into their U.S. coffers at the lower tax rate. High-tech equipment makers
such as IBM and Hewlett-Packard Co. come next, with an estimated $62.9 billion
in repatriated earnings. [...]
One thing is clear, however: The money piling in from abroad as the result
of the Jobs Creation Act has done little to actually spur hiring. In fact, six of the 10 companies
repatriating the biggest totals are axing workers in the U.S. They include HP, which announced
July 19 that it would cut its head count by 14,500 in the U.S. and abroad, and Pfizer, which has
said it will shutter 20 factories with undisclosed U.S. job losses to lower costs by $4 billion
- Kansas City Star: Benefit inequity
deepens gap. Executives keep bonuses while workers' nest eggs slashed. By Mike Casey. Excerpts:
This year Congress passed a bankruptcy law with an amendment from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy that places
restrictions on special retention and severance payments for executives. “My amendment is designed to stop the travesty of high-level corporate insiders who walk
away with millions while the company’s workers and retirees are left empty-handed,” the
Massachusetts Democrat told The Kansas City Star.
Now lawmakers are considering what to do about pensions.
A bill offered by House Republicans would prohibit companies from giving executives pension
increases if their companies’ pension plans are less than 60 percent funded. Democrats
are backing legislation that would prohibit companies from giving executives pension increases
if their companies’ pension plans are less than 75 percent funded.
- Christian Science Monitor: You
deserve a refund for fat CEO pay.
By David R. Francis.
Executive pay has become so fat it is no longer just a matter of fairness or greed. It's
squeezing stockholders, perhaps even damaging the economy.
"The stakes from an economic perspective are quite substantial," says Lucian Bebchuk,
a professor at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Mass.
Here's the problem: In 2003, the top five executives at each of the 1,500
major public companies followed by Standard and Poor's earned a grand total of $350 billion. That's
not peanuts, even in the scale of an $11 trillion economy. It amounts to about 10 percent of the
aggregate earnings of these companies. Worse, it's double the share paid out in the 1993-95 period,
when executive compensation took only 5 percent of the profits of the S&P 1500.
So corporate executives are today taking an extra 5 percent of profits
for their own pockets - money that might have gone to dividends for shareholders or into
investments to expand their firms. Or maybe that profit money, by boosting stock prices,
could have pumped up the actual pensions or pension funds of millions of Americans. [...]
If companies themselves won't subdue CEO pay, Congress should, says US
Rep. Martin Sabo, a Democratic prairie populist from Minnesota. Earlier this month he reintroduced
a bill, the Income Equity Act, which would eliminate tax deductions for compensation that
exceeds 25 times that of the company's lowest paid full-time employee.
Currently, the gap is more likely 300 to 500 times. The Sabo bill would mean that if the lowest-paid
worker got $20,000, then the highest salary deduction the firm could claim would be $500,000.
A company could pay its CEO more, but couldn't deduct more from its tax obligations. [...]
Mr. Pizzigati writes a weekly online newsletter - www.toomuchonline.org
- dealing with economic equity. He charges that many top executives devote more energy to
manufacturing fortunes for themselves than to manufacturing quality products. They sacrifice long-term
enterprise health for short-term gains by mergers that leave veteran employees without jobs, by
reducing research, and by raiding pensions.
But the Sabo bill has no chance of passage. Too many Republican and Democratic legislators
depend on campaign donations from executives and their companies.
- Computerworld: IBM
Services Head Leaves Amid Reorg. Excerpts: BM last week said
it is reorganizing its Global Services business and has chosen a pair of executives to replace
the group's leader, John Joyce.
Joyce, a 30-year veteran of IBM who once served as its chief financial officer, is joining
Silver Lake Partners, a private technology investment firm.
Taking charge of IBM Global Services will be Ginni Rometty, senior vice president of enterprise
business services, and Mike Daniels, senior vice president of IT services. The two will report
to IBM CEO Sam Palmisano. [...] The spokesman said the realigned services group will focus more
heavily on "high value" skills, like those in the Business Consulting Services (BCS) group
IBM formed around its acquired PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting practice. Rometty previously ran BCS.
- New York Times: Yahoo
Is Wooing I.B.M. Technical Talent. By John Markoff. Excerpts:
Yahoo plans to announce Thursday that it is recruiting scientists who pioneered an advanced
search-engine technology at I.B.M.'s Silicon Valley research laboratory.
Beginning in the mid-1990's, the researchers at I.B.M. spent several years developing an Internet
search engine, called Clever, employing a series of algorithms to improve the quality of
the retrieval results. While that project has concluded, the I.B.M. researchers have continued
other work in the field.
- Information Week: Why
Kids Aren't Getting Into IT. By Mitch Wagner. Excerpts:
Kids these days are worried about money and survival, in a way that we haven't seen since before
the baby boom. The kids who will enter college in a few weeks are kids who turned 14 when the
planes hit the World Trade Center. They spent most of their adolescence, the time when kids get
ready to enter the world of adulthood, learning about terrorism, war, the economic downturn,
outsourcing, layoffs, increasing deficits, the health-care crisis--am I leaving anything out
here? They resemble, in outlook, the generation that grew up in the Depression and fought in
World War II. They grew up knowing the world is a scary place.
Even today, the headlines about IT careers fall far short of the exuberance
expressed in Varley's short story. The headlines are mixed and cautiously optimistic, like we
all have cancer and we've heard from the doctor that we might be in remission. IT staffing is
finally back to its summer 2001 levels. Foote Research reports that pay for key skills like application
development and database knowledge are gaining fast and returning to their pre-crash levels. On
the other hand, fewer employers are offering IT students summer internships and part-time jobs
this year. Hewlett-Packard cut 14,500 jobs. And hanging over it all is the miasma of fear that
workers in India or China will take all our jobs, fear that is never dispelled by reassurances
that outsourcing is not such a big problem or is even good for us.
Why aren't more kids entering IT? It's because they, quite reasonably,
don't know if there'll be any jobs for them when they graduate. That's easy to figure out, unless
you're the richest man in the world.
- Washington Post: Looking
to Locate The Comfort Zone. By Albert B. Crenshaw. Excerpts: In the
late 1970s, the nation appeared to be getting many of the economic problems of old age under
A 1974 revision of federal pension laws required that employers set aside and invest the funds
that would pay for pensions they promise their employees. A few years later, higher withholding,
a tweaking of eventual benefits and other changes seemed adequate to deal with the Social
Security system's problems for the foreseeable future.
- Bloomberg: Why
Is Company Pension Funding Such a Big Secret? By John Wasik. Excerpt: If you
were working for or investing in a company, wouldn't you want to know how much cash it was
putting into its pension plan? Some members of Congress know the answer, though they aren't telling.
If disclosed, these figures might change company credit ratings, market valuations and accounting
on how much cash is really going into defined-benefit pension plans.
In some cases, more accurate figures are a lot lower than what is provided in 10-K annual reports.
By one estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, only half of the $450 billion in pension
shortfalls have been reported to investors in annual public securities filings. This so-called
4010 data shows how much a company would owe its pension if the plan were terminated at the end
of 2004. Because of legal loopholes, companies can present a much rosier picture to investors
and the public of how their pensions are financed, making it appear as if two sets of books are
- New York Times: How
Wall Street Wrecked United's Pension. By Mary Williams Walsh.
Excerpts: Had anyone listened to Doug Wilsman, tens of thousands of United Airlines employees
would not be facing big cuts in their pensions. And the federal agency that guarantees pensions
might not be struggling with its biggest losses ever. So who is Doug Wilsman? He is a retired
pilot and a former fiduciary of United's pension plan for pilots, and in 1987 he discovered that
the company had abandoned its older, tried-and-true approach of investing retirees' money in
bonds timed to pay when the pensions came due. Instead, it had bought into the promises of Wall
Street that it could put less money into the plan - and take out more later - if it just put
most of the assets into the stock market.
Mr. Wilsman was skeptical of such promises, and soon after learning of
the change in strategy, he filed a grievance with his union, the Air Line Pilots Association. "Hey,
you guys are really building yourselves a trap," he recalled warning them at the time. "Someday,
at the worst possible moment, when the bottom falls out of the stock market, the plan is
going to have to come up with new money, and it's going to be enough to kill the company." [...]
While the money managers and other pension professionals who ran United's
pension plan walked away from the wreck unscathed - indeed, they collected about $125 million
in fees over the last five years alone, records show - the ones who will have to pick up
the bill for the advisers' collective failure will be the airline's 130,000 employees and
pensioners, the federal pension guarantor and probably, someday, the taxpayers. The Pension Benefit
Guaranty Corporation has said that since 1974, when the insurance program was created, United
has paid a little less than $100 million in premiums to insure employees' pensions. Of the $6.8
billion the agency will pay United's retirees in coming years, all but what United paid in premiums
will be borne by the other companies participating in the insurance program.
- New York Times: Toyota,
Moving Northward. By Paul Krugman. Excerpts: Modern American politics
is dominated by the doctrine that government is the problem, not the solution. In practice,
this doctrine translates into policies that make low taxes on the rich the highest priority, even
if lack of revenue undermines basic public services. You don't have to be a liberal to realize
that this is wrong-headed. Corporate leaders understand quite well that good public services
are also good for business. But the political environment is so polarized these days that top
executives are often afraid to speak up against conservative dogma. Instead, they vote with their
feet. Which brings us to the story of Toyota's choice.
There has been fierce competition among states hoping to attract a new Toyota assembly plant.
Several Southern states reportedly offered financial incentives worth hundreds of millions
But last month Toyota decided to put the new plant, which will produce RAV4 mini-S.U.V.'s,
in Ontario. Explaining why it passed up financial incentives to choose a U.S. location, the
company cited the quality of Ontario's work force. [...]
Canada's other big selling point is its national health insurance system,
which saves auto manufacturers large sums in benefit payments compared with their costs in
the United States.
You might be tempted to say that Canadian taxpayers are, in effect, subsidizing Toyota's move
by paying for health coverage. But that's not right, even aside from the fact that Canada's
health care system has far lower costs per person than the American system, with its huge
administrative expenses. In fact, U.S. taxpayers, not Canadians, will be hurt by the northward movement
of auto jobs.
To see why, bear in mind that in the long run decisions like Toyota's
probably won't affect the overall number of jobs in either the United States or Canada. But
the result of international competition will be to give Canada more jobs in industries like
autos, which pay health benefits to their U.S. workers, and fewer jobs in industries that don't
provide those benefits. In the U.S. the effect will be just the reverse: fewer jobs with
benefits, more jobs without. So what's the impact on taxpayers? In Canada, there's no impact at
all: since all Canadians get government-provided health insurance in any case, the additional
auto jobs won't increase government spending.
But U.S. taxpayers will suffer, because the general public ends up picking
up much of the cost of health care for workers who don't get insurance through their jobs.
Some uninsured workers and their families end up on Medicaid. Others end up depending on emergency
rooms, which are heavily subsidized by taxpayers.
Funny, isn't it? Pundits tell us that the welfare state is doomed by globalization, that programs
like national health insurance have become unsustainable. But Canada's universal health
insurance system is handling international competition just fine. It's our own system, which penalizes
companies that treat their workers well, that's in trouble.
- International Labor Communications Association (ILCA): Dismantling
Retirement Benefits: The Next Phase.
By Jack Rasmus. Excerpts: U.S. Corporations today are intent on restructuring the entire retirement
system in America. The twin pillars of that retirement system—Defined Benefit Pensions
and Social Security—are now under simultaneous attack, an assault that has escalated since
George W. Bush took office and is about to intensify further in 2005 and beyond. This intensifying
attack on retirement benefits appears, moreover, to be entering a new phase. Unlike in the
past when corporate strategies targeted Defined Benefit Pension Plans and Social Security as
two distinct and separate retirement systems, it now appears a single unified approach to rolling
back workers’ retirement
benefits is emerging. The assault on Defined Benefit pension plans and Social Security are
about to be linked, integrated, and rolled into one coordinated corporate lobbying and legislative
In the final analysis what Corporate America wants is a fully privatize
total retirement system. It wants Bush’s private investment accounts for Social Security,
which will allow banks and financial institutions to get their hands on workers’ payroll
taxes. And it wants to convert Defined Benefit Pension plans into hybrid ‘Cash Balance’ 401k-like
pension plans, which allow companies to get out from under the liability of having to guarantee
levels of benefit payments for their workers. Linking and integrating the restructuring of Defined
Benefit pensions and Social Security together may well prove a faster way to get both. It will
certainly make it more difficult for pro-worker forces in Congress to continue to resist Bush’s
privatization plans for Social Security. And it shows more clearly than ever that the true corporate-Bush
strategy is to restructure the entire retirement system in America, replacing it with a privatized,
401k-like system of personal accounts.
|Vault Message Board Posts
just gets worse and worse..." by "bluebell7". Excerpts: I just need to vent
about this place that just provides more misery each day... I'm sorry but why isn't there
a system for you to rate your managers? I just received a Project Assessment from January
3rd and the comments from my reviewer and evaluator were just entered this morning! They
wrote such demeaning and horrible things for less than a month of my work that I am just
beside myself. I was bullied and treated like crap (and everyone I worked with agreed and knew
about it)...Of course as soon as I stood up for myself, I was let go on the project, which
was ultimately for the best. I just don't see how writing comments about someone who was on
the project over 6 months ago can even be taken seriously! I'm new to IBM and consulting and
No,I'm not the best at it, thanks..I'm supposed to have leaders that teach and guide as opposed
to torment and harass...
And why aren't there people you can go to talk to about this stuff?
I went to my previous manager about it right when I saw it all about to blow up, and my manager
did nothing. And now, I have a manager that is never available to talk with me and when that
manager can, they just laugh everything off like I'm new and I'll learn. Wow, really comforting.
I'm sorry to let it explode but as you just read, there is no one here I can talk with or get
advice from. :(
only answer" by "Dose of reality". Full excerpt: Upward feedback will never be a real
part of the management processes here. The iron fisted approach to management is absolutely
necessary to hold this he[[h0[& together. Most of the project manager class here are in over
their heads - a combination of talent deficiencies, politically-driven career advancements
and battlefield promotions due to the high attrition rates. The only way incompetent managers
can continue to survive is to blame their problems on those that work for them. If you
are coming into a practice, or are on loan to a project, you are extremely vulnerable to being
the scapegoat for a failing project. If you are looking to be mentored, overall this is the worst
place to be. Even if your superiors had your best interests at heart, most don't have the
time or mentoring skills needed. There are a few decent practices left, but they are hard to
find. My advice to you is the same as anyone else – go find another career opportunity
outside of IBM. That is the only solution.
and the others are right" by "junkie2004". Full excerpt: I argued against
Dose and the others on this board some time back. I have been with IBm for 2 months now
and realize what Dose and others were saying. IBM is a C***y company. The worst company
I have ever worked for and I have been here 2 months and am already looking for a new job.
Please Please Please, Hope you take the advice of Dose and the others on this board seriously.
Dose: Now that I have been at IBM for 2 months (10 yrs Ind. Exp, top 10 MBA), how do I salvage
for taking the time" by "Dose of reality". Excerpt:
It was really good of you to take the time to post this message. Having someone like you,
(who was initially seduced into the Blue Pig and quickly saw the light once on the inside)
post a warning has ten times more impact than the 200th such warning from me!
I do recall some of our exchanges - they were a bit contentious, but I would commend you
in that you never made it personal, unlike some of the recent would-be inductees.
Dose" by "junkie2004". Excerpt: Initially, I thought this board was
so biased against BCS, but now realize that this board doesn't portray BCS accurately,
IBM is a 100 times worse and it's your worst career nightmare come true. The utilization
rates, sharing cars, horrible expense policy and the bait and switch is appalling. The
portrayal of IBM during recruiting was so much different from what BCS really is. It's
a complete bait and switch. One of the RDM's wanted some new recruits to drive 4 hours for
a 1 hr meeting at their own cost. The projects are all cost at fixed cost and you practically
stay at a dump! You are only allowed to share rental cars and the list goes on and on.
The on-boarding process was another story...It only gets worse.
Approach" by "Frank_Reality". Full excerpt:
My management never has any "feedback" for me until it's appraisal time, then they
stab me in the back and twist the knife a few turns and come up with an insignificant half-truth
to knock me down. My impact on business results never matter at appraisal time.
Management never has offered any suggestions, even when I specifically ask for them. Per
your suggestion, I will start asking more often and documenting such things as you suggest.
This is what happens when appraisals are done not by merit or by results,
but by cronyism, and by whatever the manager has to do to get himself promoted, e.g.
pushing forward the careers of minorities. And let's not forget the screw of the skew of the
I'm not going anywhere myself - too old to be promoted and too technically skilled (with
no backup or successor in line) to be dumped.
Call it a stalemate.
on the Alliance@IBM Site:
- IG Metall:
staff cuts at IBM and HP might just be the beginning. Excerpts:
IG Metall, German Metalworkers' Trade Union, fears that the staff cuts at the computer
manufacturers IBM and Hewlett-Packard (HP) might merely be the tip of the iceberg. "I
wouldn't exclude the possibility that all facilities of IBM in Germany expect for the
R&D laboratory will disappear in the long run," the head of the Stuttgart section
of IG Metall Jürgen Stamm said. Computing centers, service and branch offices too
are on the line, according to Mr. Stamm's assessment. A short time ago IBM and HP had
each announced plans to lay off 14,500 staff worldwide. How many jobs will as a consequence
vanish in Germany, is as yet unclear. IBM's staff in Germany currently adds up to about
27,000 people, that of HP to some 9,600.
- Alliance@IBM: Attention IBM employees: IBM
is blocking e-mail to and from the Alliance@IBM e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org from
inside the company. Please send your job cut information and other correspondence from
your home e-mail. You can also contact us the following ways: Phone 607 658 9285 or Fax
607 658 9283.
- IBM Pension
Lawsuit FAQ about Cooper v IBM,
Updated 6-21-05. Excerpt: Below is a list of frequently asked questions about the class
action lawsuit against IBM's 1995 and 1999 pension plans. The answers are my personal
opinions, have not been verified with either IBM or plaintiffs’ counsel, and
should not be construed as legal advice.
On July 31, 2003, a federal district court judge ruled in favor of the employees in
this case. IBM will appeal portions of the ruling.
On September 28, 2004, IBM and the legal team on Cooper v IBM announced that an agreement
had been negotiated that settles some of the claims and set the amount of damages that
IBM will pay to the class if IBM's appeal of the district court's age discrimination
rulings is unsuccessful.
Click on any question to jump to the answer. Or scroll down and read them all.
Cuts Status & Comments
Page. Excerpts: Job cuts are coming. Information needed:
What is Your location?
How many job cuts at your location?
What locations are cutting jobs?
Name of Division and Business Unit?
Some sample submissions follow:
- Comment 07/25/05: Does Palmisano realize with these layoffs that he is
fast building a 100,000 strong anti-IBM sales force?? That's many times more people than
the sales force the company keeps. These people he lays off stay in the industry. For example:
A while back a client asked me who was more ethical and trustworthy between HP and IBM.
I told them, given my experience, HP. Internally they had decided on IBM in a multi-million
$ deal, but were concerned with the quality of management promises. That negative reference
cost IBM the deal. I'll bet his finance people never figured in the cost of 'badwill' generated
by abusive layoffs. Message to Sam: Layoffs are bad business. -Anonymous-
- Comment 07/26/05: RE: Information Developer's (a.k.a. Technical Writer's)
06/27/05 comments on the "Job Cut Status" board. IBM has already outsourced
most of its technical writers and technical editors; very few are left. Why? They are
not part of IBM's "core business". For example, technical writers and editors
do not have a formal career development path as do consultants, IT architects, and project
managers. The only places with small pockets of information developers left to my knowledge
are RTP, Austin, and Boulder. Even then, competition for the few remaining information
development jobs is fierce - and most are also suffering cuts. In other words, being an
information developer/technical writer at IBM is like being in a dying industry. Join
the Alliance to help fight for your rights on the job. And, consider whether you have
the appropriate skills - or if you can learn them - to join a growth industry, such as
technical writing in the pharmaceutical or medical industries. -Anonymous-
- Comment 07/26/05: RE: 7/19/05 comment requesting help with a newspaper
story about Leave of Absence processing. Seeking any employee who took a "personal
Leave of Absence, Educational Leave, pregnancy leave" and were fired or demoted
afterwards - what about medical leaves? I've seen many, many people go as soon as
their medical leaves were up. -Anonymous-
- Comment 07/27/05: What Sam Palmisano and his highly compensated
senior staff have forgotten is that customers and prospects have developed relationships
with the representatives of the vendors they are working with. When IBM reduces
headcount senior management figures that the relationship remains with IBM. As noted
in an earlier posting, in many cases, the relationship is stronger with the laid
off employee(s) than with IBM. So keep up the good work Sam and company and the
lost opportunity costs will continue to climb. The sad thing is that in order to
continue to bolster earnings, pensions and health benefits will continue to come
under attack and headcount will no doubt continue to be reduced. It's a self-fulfilling
prophecy! Sam, if you treat your people right, they will go to the ends of the earth
for you. If you don't the consequences are going to be costly! You've obviously
forgotten what Thomas Watson Sr. and Jr. knew and practiced! -Anonymous-
- Comment 07/28/05: Want to know the companies posting the most jobs
in June on Monster, Hot Jobs and Career Builder? Workforce Management's Newsletter
lists the number 1 and number 2 job posting for jobs in the US as the U.S. Navy
and then IBM. Nice to know that working at IBM is nothing more than a big flush.