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Highlights—August 6 , 2005
- Yahoo! message board post by Janet Krueger: Legislative
Update. Full excerpt: If you don't want to let IBM win the Cooper appeal by spending millions
dollars in DC to legalize cash balance plans retroactively, please sign our
Then send a copy of the petition to your congressman and senators saying
do not legalize corporate take aways... Tell them just how unfair it would be,
and how you will react in the next election, if IBM gets to keep $1.4 billion
because of Congressional action!
We've collected 2126 signatures so far; surely we can do better!!!
Just a brief status update on the legislation:
It has been passed by both the House Education and Workforce Committee and the
Senate Finance committee with cash balance plans being legalized prospectively,
and not retroactively... After Congress returns from recess, it needs to go to
the House Ways and Means committee, the Senate HELP committee, and the full
floor of each body. Corporate lobbyists are working hard to get retroactive
language back in, and it would not be unheard of for them to add it during the
conference committee right before it gets sent on to President Bush,
particularly if they think we are not watching.
Make sure your voice is heard in Washington! P.S. P.S. If you're considering
a drive to East St. Louis for the Settlement Hearing
on August 8 from the Minnesota area, give me a call or send me a note so I can
coordinate -- it should be a fun trip!
- Yahoo! message board post by Don Shuper: Full excerpt: Urgent: Contact the
Senate HELP Committee this
week as they draft their bill to
be marked up in September. Dear folks:
We have gotten word that the Senate HELP (Health, Education,
Labor and Pensions) Committee is working this week to draft
their version of a bi-partisan pension bill that is likely to include
provisions legalizing cash balance plans RETROACTIVELY – not
just on a prospective basis.
The business community has been lobbying like mad – saying
that retroactivity is key to any cash balance solution – and we
need to FLOOD the offices of the members of the Senate HELP
Committee to ensure they mark-up a bill in September that is at
least as good as the Senate Finance Committee bill.
Here are the steps you should take:
- Call and e-mail the members of the
HELP Committee and tell them that any cash
balance legislation must be prospective ONLY. Tell them
making the bill retroactive would endanger pending lawsuits for
hundreds of thousands of employees. In addition, tell them that
any legislative solution MUST adequately protect the reasonable
expectations of older workers. If the committee marks up a bill, it
should include provisions similar to the `Pension Benefits
Protection Act' (S. 1304), introduced by Senator Tom Harkin
(D-Iowa), which allows workers the choice between the old and
new plan during conversions and which stops companies from
engaging in "wearaway" practices that effectively freeze the
benefits of older employees.
- First and foremost, send e-mails/faxes and call the
leadership of the Senate HELP Committee. Below is their
Senator Michael Enzi (WY),
Chairman, Senate HELP Committee
Phone: (202) 224-3424
Fax: (202) 228-0359
Senator Edward Kennedy (MA)
Senate HELP Committee
Phone: (202) 224-4543
Fax: (202) 224-2417
- Next, look at the attached
list of the members of the Senate HELP Committee. If you have time, write or
call each of the members, particularly if they are your own
senators. Call, fax or e-mail them with THE SAME STRONG
MESSAGE AS ABOVE.
- Also, call YOUR OWN Senators and ask them to co-sponsor
the Harkin bill (S.1304). Tell them that this is the ONLY bill that
will adequately protect older workers in cash balance
conversions. Ask your own Senators to contact members of the
HELP Committee to urge them to protect employees in cash
balance plans and conversions. You can find your Senator by
visiting the following website, http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senat
ors_cfm.cfm. YOU CAN ALSO CALL YOUR SENATORS BY
CALLING (202) 224-3121 and asking the Senate operator to
connect your call.
We'll keep you posted if we hear anything else. And please
FORWARD this email out to other activists and have them
contact the HELP Committee and their Senators too!
Karen, Ryan and Joellen
Pension Rights Center
1350 Connecticut Ave, NW Suite 206
Washington DC 20036
- In a Yahoo!
message board post, Janet Krueger answers questions posted by another
poster. Full excerpt: (Janet's responses are in italics).
...my senator is on the committee. Is it wise for us to wait for
a senate bill number? Do NOT wait. CALL tomorrow and follow up your call with
a letter. The staff is writing the damaging language while the Senate is in
recess, with hopes it can be rushed through when they get back.
What would be a good subject line, otherwise? Do NOT legalize corporate
pension theft. Especially not RETROACTIVELY. Cash Balance plans do NOT need to be legalized
-- they are only a
vehicle for corporations to break long standing promises to older
employees. If you feel you have to listen to the corporate lobbyists
who are lying through their teeth about how cash balance plans have to
be legalized to save America's pension system, then at least put in the
same safeguards for older employees that the Senate Finance Committee did.
I think consistency could be useful.
Make sure they hear you SCREAMing NO to cash balance plans. Make sure
they know you are watching, and what they do will impact how you vote
the next time they come up for reelection. The *ONLY* way our voices
will be heard over the millions of dollars companies like IBM are
pumping into Washington is to let them know we VOTE, and we TALK to our
friends, neighbors, and colleagues about how they vote...
- In a Yahoo!
message board post, Janet Krueger responds to another poster who
wonders if there is a "risk of too many letters / calls from same person?". Full excerpt: (Janet's
response is in italics).
I am looking for opinions... There are a lot of issues one might like
to comment on. Then in the pension related issues, there are many different bills on the
same topics. Not only is tracking and keeping up a challenge, I am afraid of being treated
like static if I respond on each one. I have sent enough letters and faxes to all my federal
legislators that I have a WORD template for each one. Now I am wondering if the staff will
treat a lot of traffic from one person as "junk mail". In the computer age, tracking
has to be easy.
IBM's lobbyists are visiting them, in person, once each day. You'll
have to send a lot of letters to have any chance of drowning them out.
If you're tired of writing Congress, write a letter to the editor of
your local paper, and then write to your friends and neighbors and ask
them to write as well.
They don't need to hear detailed comments on each
version of the pension reform bill.
What they need to hear is a loud and clear refrain that cash balance
plans are nothing more than corporate theft and should not be legal,
especially not retroactively.
- In a Yahoo!
message board post, Janet Krueger responds to another poster. Full
excerpt: (Janet's response is in italics). Got the same, IBM Attorneys waiting for Congress
on HR 2830/2831 Retro cash balance plan and the death blow to Cooper V. IBM ruling by Judge
Murphy. The fact that three out of four district courts have rejected plaintiffs' liability
argument provides strong evidence that plaintiffs may well lose that argument in the Court
IBM's attorneys would dearly love to have us all
believe HR 2830/2831 is so much of a lost cause that
we would stop calling Congress and collecting
signatures... The sad thing is that if we do give up,
they are right.
The *ONLY* chance IBM has right now of winning their
appeal is to convince Congress to retroactively
legalize what they did. The cases IBM counsel is
pointing you to in other district courts are red
herrings -- the most significant precedent to look at
is still Berger v Xerox -- the appellate decision is
in the IBMPension files area as:
Berger v Xerox (7th Cir 080103).pdf
Note that it was written by Judge Posner, who will
most likely be the appellate Judge assigned to the
In the interim, PLEASE keep those calls and letters
flowing into DC -- we need to make sure they know
voters are watching -- that is the ONLY way we can
counteract corporate lobbying dollars!!!
A group of us is flying to DC right after the hearing
to say our piece in person -- more signatures on the
petition would be great to have in our back pockets,
and it would also be helpful if all the staff members
knew they had received dozens of phone calls about it.
- Yahoo! message board post by Janet Krueger: Cooper Settlement Hearing on August
8. Excerpts: The next step in the process, if you still don't agree
with the proposed settlement, would be to testify at the
settlement hearing on August 8 in East St. Louis -- the
time for corresponding via letter or fax has passed.
FYI, I just uploaded the motions and supporting affidavits
that will be processed at the August 8 settlement hearing.
To view or print them, you need a copy of Adobe Acrobat
reader, as well as a Yahoo ID that is a member of this
group. Go to the following URL to download the files:
I found the recap of 1999 events that Bill Carr included
in his affidavit particularly interesting -- he brought
back a lot of memories!
If you plan to attend the hearing and are interested in
participating in social functions before and/or after the
hearing, send me a note before Saturday night. Also, we
do have room in our car for one more attendee from
It should be interesting!
Editor's note: We have copied the dispositions to this server for the
convenience of readers who do not wish to join the IBM Pension Yahoo! message group. They
may be viewed through the following links:
message board post by Kathi Cooper (of Cooper v. IBM fame). Full excerpt: This is Kathi Cooper.
I will be flying to Washington with Janet
and others on Tuesday. In the interim, please hound Washington
with your calls. Tell them that Cash Balance is bad and must
not be made legal. Tell them you are a class member of Cooper v.
IBM (if you are) and what IBM did to you was illegal, morally
wrong, and that you were hurt. Tell them that if they can't
protect your pension, then you will vote for someone who will.
Tell them to vote against cash balance plans and specifically
against making any changes that includes retroactivity.
We are at a very critical position.
Thanks in advance for all your hard work. Pass it on. Kathi Cooper, Bethalto, IL.
message board post by Kathi Cooper. Full excerpt: The courthouse is located
in a very depressed city. It was built
there in hopes of creating development interest in the area, but
not to be.
When you enter, go through the metal detector and walk up the
central staircase (forget the elevator). Make an immediate left at
the top of the stairs then make an immediate right. You will be at
his court room. Judge G. Patrick Murphy is the Chief Justice of the
Federal Courthouse, Southern District of Illinois.
The only art in his court room is 1) a picture of his grandma,
dressed up as Mother Liberty in a parade of many years past, and 2)
a picture of the Viet Nam wall in DC with a picture of him and his
war buddies (then) and his war buddies as of today (now)
superimposed over the war memorial picture.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
- Motley Fool: Share
Buybacks Aren't All Equal. By Richard Gibbons. Excerpts: It seems like every
second company on Wall Street is announcing a share buyback. And we're not talking pocket change
here. In the last reported quarter, Applied Materials spent $500 million, Merrill
Lynch spent a billion, Bank of America spent $1.8 billion, and Citigroup
spent $2 billion. These are some huge numbers, and shareholders are generally delighted
to hear of such buybacks. But there are actually times when buybacks are terrible for shareholders.
One particularly bad thing that management can do is to repurchase shares
to artificially support the stock price. In such a case, management uses the company's money to
reward sellers of the stock at the expense of long-term holders. The sellers do well, as they
end up selling their shares at a higher price than they would otherwise receive. But the long-term
investors do poorly, since the company is squandering money on something that's overvalued.
Another downside is that it diminishes a company's cash balance, reducing
its flexibility should a need for cash arise in the future. That's why, when evaluating whether
a share repurchase is a good idea, it's important to understand whether or not the company is
truly using excess cash, money that the business doesn't require.
A good example of a bad buyback was IBM's share repurchases
in the late 1990s. IBM, like most tech stocks of the time, was overvalued. Five years later,
it still hasn't returned to the level at which it traded at back then. Yet IBM was buying back
shares. Even worse, if you look at the balance sheets for those years, you'll see that IBM's long-term
debt increased. So, effectively, IBM was borrowing billions of dollars to repurchase its
own overvalued shares. As a shareholder, this really isn't something you want your management
team to be doing.
- WashTech: Deep
Throat Move Over: Disgruntled IT Employees Expose All. “Fair
Globalization” May Be the Answer to Offshoring.
By Roberta L. Wilson. Excerpts: Another day, another set of corporate slides arrives in the WashTech/CWA
Local 37083 office in Seattle. “We don’t go looking for these slides,” said
Marcus Courtney, President of WashTech. “But disgruntled employees continue to send evidence
of their companies’ offshoring plans to us through anonymous phone calls, faxes, emails
and even brown paper envelopes.” [...]
Another recent slide faxed to WashTech offices comes from IBM. It shows
IBM’s recent offshoring numbers from 2002 to 2005, confirming our August 2003 story about
IBM’s plans to accelerate offshoring. Total headcount in India in 2002 was 6,070. In 2005
it grew to 38,196. At the same time, thousands of IBM workers are losing their jobs in the
U.S. and U.K. [...]
These batches of slides, along with other evidence of offshoring-"for
example, the many e-mails WashTech receives to update our Offshore Tracker-"point to continued
and accelerated offshoring of jobs in many job categories. As Courtney says, “Every company
seems to have the same strategy: offshore jobs, increase work hours, provide fewer benefits.”
Meanwhile, according to a June 3, 2005, Reuters story, the Indian government, in service to
their free marketers, has noted the continued backlash against free-trade globalization
(fromWashTech, IBM Alliance and other organizations). They are petitioning the World Trade Organization
(WTO) to prevent the U.S. and other countries from taking steps to ban companies from outsourcing
jobs. See this
for more. [...]
The task is to address the jobs deficit with strategies to create enough
decent jobs for everyone. You can read more about this report in a paper located at FairJobs.org:
http://www.fairjobs.org/fairjobs/reports/ See “Outsource This? American Workers, the Jobs
Deficit and Fair Globalization.” Meanwhile, we’re depending on our deep throat contacts
in the high-tech sector to keep us reporting on the facts and consequences of free-trade globalization.
|Vault Message Board Posts
in the UK" by "nollag". Excerpts: Agree with much of what was said in the
last post. Go for Southbank, rather than Bedfont. The bonus scheme is rubbish, and only
pays out on a very arbitrary basis.
FS is probably the best practice, in an otherwise struggling consultancy. Morale is extremely
low in the UK, and staff attrition rates in BCS in the UK were up to 40% last year, so
that BCS are now just hiring to stand still. A lot of the new people are very weak. There
has just been a big partner cull to clear some dead wood, but it hasn't gone far enough.
A lot of the partner behaviour is questionable as well. As a female
Senior Consultant, I am constantly amazed at how many of our married Partners and APs
behave like the female staff are part of their personal harem. Promotion above SC level
seems to be a rare event for some one who is black, female, or gay.
In mitigation, FS are doing lots of interesting work, but think carefully before joining.
on the Alliance@IBM Site:
- 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 08/01/05: I was laid off from IBM in 2002 after 19 years of service.
I was a solid "2" performer and loved my job. My manager chased me down the hall
like an animal the morning I was laid off to pull me in his office and tell me I was "selected" for
the resource action. I have never been so mistreated in my life. Fortunately I quickly found
another job with a competitor. I am a top performer and wake up every morning with the goal
to beat IBM. Sammy better think long and hard about the damage he is doing to IBM with his
poor management style. -Anonymous-
- Comment 08/04/05: This is in response to the following comment posted
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-
Anyone who has taken a medical benefit and was out of work under the Sickness & Accident
Income Plan, Short Term Disability Plan or others please send a note to the Alliance
Editors. I was especially looking for someone from the RTP area. This is where I've
found a reporter to do the story. Please contact the Alliance ASAP. -Anonymous-
- Comment 08/04/05: I guess I'm one of the "lucky" ones,
having to work 60-72 hours a week (a big amount of time on weekend change windows
for our customer). Unfortunately, fellow co-workers in my old departments continue
to suffer at the hands of the recent resource actions and offshoring. My old department
lost just over 19 people (both in Texas and Colorado) during the last RA. Most of
them knew something was up when management wouldn't call them back to discuss their
IDPs (Individual Development Plans) that were being done at the time. Now another
co-worker is on her way to Bangalore to help start another group performing her
job function. She doesn't believe she is training her replacement (along with others),
but the writing is on the wall if you ask me. Personally I'd tell the company where
to go, but unfortunately they have her due to the fact she needs her check to support
I agree whole heartedly with comments earlier...I used to love
my job, working for IBM and with computers, but I now despise my job due to IBM. Don't
take this the wrong way, I've been with the company going on my 16th year and have
never seen the the disrespect managers now treat their employees with. Something
has to change, for once what was a great company, now I think should crash and burn for
their inhumane treatment of their most valuable resource, the people that make up the company.
My manager continues to insist I should thank IBM, because without
them, I wouldn't have a job. IBM needs to wake up, it's just the opposite. Without those
loyal, hardworking employees, there would be NO IBM! -Anonymous-
- Comment 08/04/05: With all the great talent being laid off from
IBM why not start a company of our own and go head to head with big spew!!! What
investor would not want a highly qualified workforce who knew the business already
and could simply just do the opposite of what IBM does and be a success!!! Why stay
at this antiquated, greedy, new world order company. I say F#^% IBM ...start a new
company American Business Machines!!! American made for Americans. What govt. agency
would not take us, over IBOutsourced ? -Anonymous-
- Comment 08/04/05: For those of us who are sitting on the fence
wondering what we should do about our future; the future of those still working
for IBM and those who have retired from IBM, consider the fact that there are no
guarantees. No guarantee of continuing employment, as is evidenced by the latest
round of layoffs. There is no guarantee that if you retire from IBM that you will
continue to receive your health benefits. IBM has the right to change the health
benefits, charge more or do away with them entirely and there isn't a single thing
that any of us can do about it except wring our hands, feel sorry for ourselves
and perhaps complain to our elected representatives. If we are represented by a
union, at least there is someone working on our behalf as a group. There is strength
in numbers! -Anonymous-