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    Highlights—October 7, 2006

  • IBM Yahoo! message board post "Pension calculation delay, errors" by "ibmaccountant". Excerpts: An old friend of mine with over 31 years in IBM told me he went to HR with a request to review his date of hire. He'd been a student engineering co-op and had heard he could add to his service time with the appropriate documentation.
    He went to HR in RTP and was told that IBM had destroyed all his records and that the company had no proof of his employment as a student and any of his early years of service full time (1971-1977). He remarked about the smug smile of the HR rep as they told him they couldn't help him. They even hinted they might review his start date and move it up to less than 30 years!
    Well, he got them good! He had copies of all his time cards, his TEAs and his payroll checks, as well as other legal documents. The HR folks were stunned when he came in with his lawyer into the RTP facility and presented them with boxes of documents, all originals or certified (signed by an IBM manager) first copies.
    The HR folks asked him to hand over the documents for copying and verification and that they'd need to keep them for a while, but he calmly refused their request because he didn't trust them (he's naturally not trusted management ever since I knew him) and told the HR folks he'd brought his attorney and a notary public along to make notarized copies for just that possible request. They all went to the copiers together and got the notarized copies done.
    When asked by an HR executive why he wouldn't hand over the docs, he answered "well if you lost them the first time what guarantee do I have you won't lose them again? I have lost confidence in HR with you losing all my original documents!" The HR folks then tried the IBM confidentiality thing with them but his lawyer intervened and that was the end of that fishing expedition....
    He then went home with the originals and got an extra 6 months added to his service date, which boosted his pension calculations. He called HR every week and followed up with a letter, pestering them until he got what he rightfully deserved.
    When challenged about an ILC CLAIM entry from 2003 last year, he calmly produced a pdf copy of the entry and stunned management. He has kept every document in his attic and the bank and intends to keep it until well after his retirement. He even has copies of the old green sheets from the beginning and engagement records on CD, scanned and neatly organized.
    He trusts no one and has no confidence in IBM management. I guess someone tried to fire him for cheating on the mileage to a client in 1975 and instead he got the manager fired for falsifying his records.
    Now there's a guy who we should have listened to many years ago. He calls the current management a spineless bunch of cowards.
  • Accounting Web: Study Finds Young Workers Displaced by New Immigrants. Excerpts: That the arrival of new immigrants in a state results in a decline in employment among young native-born workers in that state is just one of the stark images revealed by the authors of The Impact of New Immigrants on Young Native-Born Workers, 2000-2005.
    Published recently by the Center for Immigration Studies, the study analyzes recent employment data and draws a stark picture of the effects of immigration on American-born workers and the structure of the U.S. labor market. Andrew Sum, Paul Harrington and Ishwar Khatiwada of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, conclude from their study of data from Current Population Survey (CPS) monthly household surveys of employed persons, conducted by the Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Current Employment Statistics Survey (CES) and other U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, that the arrival of new immigrants in a state results in a decline in employment among young native-born workers in that state.
  • Accounting Web: Fastow’s Shortened Sentence Sparks Surprise, Anger. Excerpts: A federal judge last week shortened the prison sentence for former Enron Corp. finance chief Andrew S. Fastow from 10 years to six, prompting surprised reactions from those who thought his sentence was a done deal.
    Fastow made a plea deal in 2004, agreeing to cooperate with investigators. He also agreed not to seek a reduction in his 10-year prison term for pocketing more than $45 million from the Houston energy giant. “My outcome is already determined,” he had told the court. Now, he may spend as little as 3½ years in prison if he gets credit for good behavior and for completing a drug-treatment program.
    The reduced sentence “was a slap in the face to employees,” said former Enron worker Rod Jordan in the Washington Post.
  • CNET News: Indian call center staff sold data, TV show says. By Andy McCue. Excerpts: An undercover TV investigation claims to have infiltrated criminal gangs selling thousands of U.K. credit card and passport details for as little as $9.50 each from offshore call centers. The "Dispatches" documentary, shown on U.K.'s Channel 4, follows a 12-month investigation. It included footage of middlemen offering an undercover reporter the credit card details gleaned from Indian call centers of 100,000 U.K. bank customers.
  • MarketWatch: Going in for labor. Outsourcing not so lucrative when productivity factored in. By Thomas Kostigen. Excerpts: Despite New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's widely embraced thesis that the world is flat because technology makes outsourcing and therefore globalization a breeze, a new Conference Board study shows otherwise.
    The report released this week by the well-respected research organization best known for its consumer confidence index and the index of leading economic indicators, says the competitive advantages of outsourcing are in some cases completely wiped out due to low productivity.
    "One critical lesson for businesses that benefit from one-time labor-cost benefits when investing in 'low wage' countries is that productivity gains from new technology and innovation have to keep pace with often fast-rising wages of skilled and semi-skilled workers or the 'cost advantage' begins to erode," says Bart van Ark, Director of the Conference Board international economic research program.
    In other words, the comparative cost advantage of taking a business to low-wage countries such as China or India, where manufacturing costs are lower than in the U.S., are often not the giant bargain they seem when wages are adjusted for low productivity, according to the report.
  • The National Law Journal: Pension Law to Spur Legal Work. By Amanda Bronstad. Excerpts: Lawyers at some of the nation's largest law firms expect a sharp rise in legal work following the recent passage of a pension reform law that makes broad changes to employee retirement programs. Specifically, lawyers in tax, trusts and estates, and employee benefits anticipate that the law, called the Pension Protection Act of 2006, could bring more legal work from employers looking to overhaul the retirement plans they offer to employees. [...]
    The act also makes changes to cash-balance plans, which are increasingly popular alternatives to traditional pension plans. In a cash-balance plan, an employer makes annual contributions to a retirement account held by each employee, who then collects the sum when he or she retires. In a traditional pension plan, the employer also contributes funds, but the amount the employee receives on retirement is a set rate determined by salary and longevity.
    A recent example are the cash-balance plans provided by International Business Machines Corp., which won a court victory on Aug. 7, when the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that IBM's plans were not discriminatory against older workers under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Cooper v. IBM Personal Pension Plan, No. 05-3588 (7th Cir.). The 7th Circuit found that IBM's plan does not discriminate against older employees because its funds are accrued equally among employees of all ages. Older employees tend to favor traditional plans because they are based on an employee's tenure and salary in the last years of employment.
  • New York Times: The War Against Wages. By Paul Krugman. Excerpts: Should we be cheering over the fact that the Dow Jones Industrial Average has finally set a new record? No. The Dow is doing well largely because American employers are waging a successful war against wages. Economic growth since early 2000, when the Dow reached its previous peak, hasn’t been exceptional. But after-tax corporate profits have more than doubled, because workers’ productivity is up, but their wages aren’t — and because companies have dealt with rising health insurance premiums by denying insurance to ever more workers.
    If you want to see how the war against wages is being fought, and what it’s doing to working Americans and their families, consider the latest news from Wal-Mart.
    Wal-Mart already has a well-deserved reputation for paying low wages and offering few benefits to its employees; last year, an internal Wal-Mart memo conceded that 46 percent of its workers’ children were either on Medicaid or lacked health insurance. Nonetheless, the memo expressed concern that wages and benefits were rising, in part “because we pay an associate more in salary and benefits as his or her tenure increases.”
    The problem from the company’s point of view, then, is that its workers are too loyal; it wants cheap labor that doesn’t hang around too long, but not enough workers quit before acquiring the right to higher wages and benefits. Among the policy changes the memo suggested to deal with this problem was a shift to hiring more part-time workers, which “will lower Wal-Mart’s health care enrollment.”
    And the strategy is being put into effect. “Investment analysts and store managers,” reports The New York Times, “say Wal-Mart executives have told them the company wants to transform its work force to 40 percent part-time from 20 percent.” Another leaked Wal-Mart memo describes a plan to impose wage caps, so that long-term employees won’t get raises. And the company is taking other steps to keep workers from staying too long: in some stores, according to workers, “managers have suddenly barred older employees with back or leg problems from sitting on stools.” [...]
    So what’s keeping paychecks down? Major employers like Wal-Mart have decided that their interests are best served by treating workers as a disposable commodity, paid as little as possible and encouraged to leave after a year or two. And these employers don’t worry that angry workers will respond to their war on wages by forming unions, because they know that government officials, who are supposed to protect workers’ rights, will do everything they can to come down on the side of the wage-cutters.
  • AFL-CIO: Labor Board Ruling May Bar Millions of Workers from Forming Unions. By James Parks. Excerpts: The Republican-dominated National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) voted along party lines to slash long-time federal labor laws protecting workers’ freedom to form unions and opened the door for employers to classify millions of workers as supervisors. Under federal labor law, supervisors are prohibited from forming unions.
    The NLRB ruled on three cases, collectively known as “Kentucky River,” but it’s the lead case Oakwood Healthcare Inc. that creates a new definition of supervisor. Dozens of cases involving the definition of supervisor now before the NLRB will be sent back, with employers having the option to craft arguments that will meet the new definition of supervisor and limit the number of workers who can join a union.
  • AFL-CIO: Want Rights? Get Political. By John J. Sweeney. Excerpts: In one bold and unjust stroke, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) appointed by President Bush has invited employers to rob workers of their freedom to have a union by simply reclassifying them as “supervisors". [...]
    It is clearer now than ever that if America’s workers want to restore their hard-fought freedom to form unions and bargain collectively with their employers, we must replace our anti-worker national leadership. Now.
    The recent NLRB decision was not a surprise. Bush has spent years loading the board with Republican members who share his ideology and agenda. Under Bush, the NLRB—which was designed to protect workers’ rights—has effectively eliminated the right of temporary agency workers to form unions, ruled teaching and research assistants are students rather than employees and not entitled to federal labor law protections, questioned the legality of well-established majority sign-up and neutrality procedures to form unions and supported employer efforts to use taxpayer money for anti-union campaigns. Perhaps most outrageous of all, regardless how deeply its decisions affect workers, the Bush NLRB has refused to hear oral arguments in any case since 2001.
  • BBC News: Strikes close Indian tech capital. Workers striking over a regional border dispute have brought Bangalore, India's equivalent of Silicon Valley, to a standstill. Excerpt: Offices, schools and government sites were shut as activists staged a 12-hour stoppage in the state of Karnataka. The dispute centres on Belgaum, a town 500km north of Bangalore and claimed by both Karnataka and the neighbouring state of Maharashtra. It began soon after India gained independence nearly sixty years ago. More than 1,500 Indian and multinational technology firms like Hewlett Packard, Dell, Microsoft, IBM, Infosys and Wipro have offices in Bangalore.
News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
  • New York Times: Falling Into the Doughnut Hole. Excerpts: Millions of elderly Americans enrolled in the new Medicare prescription drug program are approaching the notorious “doughnut hole,” a gap in coverage that will force them to pay for their medicines out of pocket until they qualify for catastrophic coverage. Many of the heaviest users of prescription medications have already fallen into the hole — an unwelcome surprise for the many who do not pay much attention to the fine print of their policies.
    The hole makes little sense from a medical or insurance perspective. Rather, it is the inevitable result of designing a program with political rather than programmatic aims in mind. And the danger is that some who are ailing, suddenly faced with higher drug bills than they expected, will forgo needed medications and get sicker. [...]
    The decision to offer shallow initial coverage to all beneficiaries was largely an effort to please the millions of middle-class elderly voters who had been led to expect they would benefit from the drug plan. But with nowhere near enough money in deficit-ridden Washington to pay for all this, the doughnut hole emerged as the only way to combine politics with some modicum of cost control.
  • Workforce Management: Business Health Care Advocacy Group Calls For New Medical Safety Standards. A group of large employers say they will no longer allow hospitals and doctors into their preferred provider networks if they do not meet a series of safety standards. Excerpts: A group of large employers, among them Wal-Mart, IBM and Microsoft, announced Wednesday, October 4, that they will no longer allow hospitals and doctors into their preferred provider networks if those medical providers do not meet a series of safety standards aimed at reducing costs and avoidable death and injury. The large employers, who compose the board for the National Business Group on Health, will no longer pay for medical claims for avoidable medical errors, says Helen Darling, president of the Washington, D.C.-based group. Preventable medical errors lead to between 44,000 and 98,000 deaths each year and cost as much as $30 billion, a number that includes lost productivity.
  • New York Times: Poor U.S. Scores in Health Care Don’t Measure Nobels and Innovation. By Tyler Cowen. Excerpts: Advocates of national health insurance cite an apparently devastating fact: the United States spends more of its gross domestic product on medical care than any nation in the world, yet Americans do not live longer than Western Europeans or Japanese. More Americans lack insurance coverage as well. It is no wonder that so many people demand reform.
    But the American health care system may be performing better than it seems at first glance. When it comes to medical innovation, the United States is the world leader. In the last 10 years, for instance, 12 Nobel Prizes in medicine have gone to American-born scientists working in the United States, 3 have gone to foreign-born scientists working in the United States, and just 7 have gone to researchers outside the country.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site:
  • STG Systems and Technology Group Resource Action. Excerpts: About 400 IBM U.S. employees in Systems and Technology Group’s development and technology collaboration solutions organizations, across nine major site locations, will be notified today (Thursday, October 5), that they have been selected for a resource action. This is a subset of those selected earlier for redeployment. In addition, unlike the Sept. 7 redeployment program, which had an indefinite time frame, this program has a 30-day window. Below is a Q&A to help you answer employee questions. Please refer all press queries to your site communications team, or contact Jeff Couture, 1-802-769-2483, (T/L: 446-2483).
    Overview: About 400 technical positions are being eliminated. Affected employees are provided with retraining options and additional resources to help them move into other IBM jobs, including new positions we are creating. IBM is streamlining its Development organization to take advantage of more efficient processes that are helping reduce the time to market for new IBM products and lower costs for our clients.
    Q&A Q) I heard we are having layoffs. What is happening? A) About 400 US employees are being notified today, Oct. 5, that their jobs are being eliminated. They have 30 days to find another job within IBM.
    Q) Which locations are affected? A) Most of the jobs being eliminated are at our larger development and manufacturing sites, including Austin, Texas; New York's Poughkeepsie and Fishkill sites; Burlington, Vermont; Raleigh, North Carolina; Rochester, Minnesota, San Jose, California; and Tucson, Arizona. There are about a dozen other locations where a smaller number of jobs are being eliminated.
    Q) Why is this happening? A) Senior management has been frank about changes we need to make in our organization to continue to lead in what is a very dynamic marketplace. Some of those changes include streamlining our development organization to rebalance skills, eliminate redundancies and deliver greater economic efficiencies -- helping reduce the time to market for new IBM products and lowering costs for our clients. Managing change, while almost always difficult, is a constant at IBM, and in our industry.
    Q) How many IBMers do you expect will lose their jobs? A) That's difficult to say. Our experience has been that a significant number of employees are able to find other opportunities within the company.
    Q) Is there a time limit? A) Affected employees have 30 days to find a new position.
    Q) How many employees does IBM have in the US and do you expect it will have declined in 2006? A) About 130,000. We are expecting our US employee population to increase by a few thousand people in 2006.
    Q) We heard last month about job eliminations that involved the redeployment of employees into different positions. Is this action related to that one? A) Yes. The employees who are being notified today are a subset of those who were part of the redeployment process. The redeployment program has placed several hundred people into other IBM jobs, including some newly created positions where members of our technical community are working directly with IBM clients.
    Q) What kind of severance package are employees receiving? A) Employees who are laid off will receive one week of pay for each fully completed six months of service, with a minimum of two weeks, up to a maximum of 26 weeks. They will also be eligible for transitional medical and life insurance benefits, as well as outplacement and career counseling services.
  • Dear Alliance Members and Supporters,
    I’m writing to you now because your attention to the upcoming fall elections is critical. We, the American middle class, are under attack from corporations and from political officials who are complicit in encouraging mushrooming corporate profits and fat cat CEO raises and benefits. Meanwhile the average professional and blue-collar workers are taking home less and are seeing long promised pensions and medical benefits disappear.
    The Alliance@IBM /CWA Local 1701 does not endorse or give money to candidates but we do urge each of you to be politically active and find out how your elected officials have voted in the past few years on the issues that affect your personal economic survival.
    Issues, such as the list below, are extremely important to the Alliance and our members.
    • Pension legislation
    • Loss of jobs to off-shoring
    • Broken promises to retirees
    • Health Care affordability
    • Labor Law reform
    Not only must you know your elected officials’ history of supporting or not supporting issues important to IBM employees and retirees, it is also critical to understand that the court system in our country does not always work for fairness. Indeed, the laws can often be unfair. The Cooper vs. IBM lawsuit over cash balance pension conversion was won by employees in the first round; however, on appeal, the judge decided the conversion was (in my words) equally ripping off everyone, thus there was no age discrimination.
    Recently a decision by the National Labor Relations Board will impact future union membership for millions of workers (see article on our web site).
    What can we all do to fight such injustices? First of all you must join and encourage your colleagues and friends to join the Alliance@IBM, and support the activism that’s absolutely needed to fight and pressure IBM to do the right things for its employees. Are you willing to let Sam Palmisano have a 29% raise, while you have received little or no raise, no COLA in retirement or lose your job for the sake of outrageous CEO pay? Americans are already seeing a growing divide in wealth between “Haves” and the Have-nots”. This trend will continue unless we all say, “enough is enough”.
    Here’s the web site where you can find out past votes by your elected officials: http://www.aflcio.org/issues/legislativealert/votes/vr_memb.cfm
    Find out the facts and vote for yourself, your family, and the economic success of all IBM employees and retirees. Go to the polls this fall armed with the evidence and let’s change the direction of this country, from exploiting the middle class worker to helping us thrive. After all, isn’t that what America is about?
    In solidarity, Linda Guyer President, Alliance@IBM / CWA Local 1701
  • From the Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comments 10/02/06: Get a load of Nick Donofrio's paycheck. Can we outsource him? We can get bad management elsewhere, like India. -OutSource Execs-
    • Comments 10/02/06: Re: deluded RTP_guy. Your days are numbered and you don't realize it. You're like the guy on the Titanic saying all is well as the ship was going down. There are icebergs all around SWG in RTP. 30% will be outsourced to India/China/Brazil by the end of 2006. The remainder by the end of 2007. Your job does not require special skills that only Americans have.
      Our universities and universities around the world are graduating more Indian and Chinese programmers with your skills than American programmers. It's only a matter of time before you are on the street applying for that job at Jumpin Java coffee shop down the street from where the 500 complex used to be. Once IBM outsources most of the 500 complex to China, India, and Brazil. The few who are left can easily be consolidated into the main RTP campus.
      A friend in commercial real estate said that the 500 complex is being sold with IBM having a short term lease with the new owner that expires on December 31, 2007. For those in RTP SWG that don't see the writing on the wall, your days are numbered whether you believe it or not. -Anonymous-
    • Comments 10/02/06: I left IBM 9 months ago to work for a major competitor in the NW(starts with an "M")and it was the best choice I have ever made. While my 1st line manager at IBM was a really nice guy the org I worked in was going nowhere fast and my 2nd line and above were a bunch of sniveling wimps that only cared for themselves. I still read this board on a regular basis and continue to be stunned at the behavior of a once great company. The sad truth is I really don't understand why everyone is so upset, business is business. If IBM treats you like dirt go work for the competition and stick it to big blue. Big blue obviously sticks it to you.... -Glad-to-be-gone-
    • Comments 10/02/06: Fact, a few months ago I was outside and saw a photographer taking photographs of the 500 complex on loop road. I approached him and asked if I could help him. He identified himself as being with some commercial real-estate firm. I doubted he was from the Wall Street Journal doing a piece on what a great place IBM is to work. About the same time, I witnessed someone measuring the hallways in the 500 buildings with one of those professional wheel measuring devices. No, I cannot prove I saw these things. But I do believe that it's sold. -screwedbyibm-
    • Comments 10/03/06: Wow, JustTheFacts, your comment hit home. All of our testers are now in India and we are authoring documentation for all of our processes. We're being told to explain everything "intimately". Some of us see the writing on the wall, but management keeps telling us not to worry. It's like we're running a foreign student exchange program. We send a few people over to show them how we do things, and they send people here to see how we're doing our jobs. -Anonymous-
    • Comments 10/05/06: IBM RTP 500 complex not yet sold. You can track ownership here: http://tinyurl.com/hexlb Working @ IBM was like biting on aluminum foil for 2 years. I got out on my own volition. Now I get raises and bonuses; sure beats the framed plaques for your cubicle, the mind numbing "process", and ever present management condescension. -Anonymous-
    • Comments 10/06/06: I received my resource action notification today. Lots of questions about the fine print of how to get a severance package. Who can I talk to? Honestly, I'm happy to be leaving! Just happy that I'm not someone who invested 30 years in the place and thought he or she was going to be okay in the end. Looks like a lot of people over 50 and 60 got the ax. Spend time with your families..they'll appreciate you more for it! -Anonymous in RTP-
    • Comments 10/06/06: I was laid off today, after being "notified" of my "redeployment" on 9/7. I'm in Rochester. Since my job moved to India, I'm getting 60 days notice, last day is 12/4. Nov. 6 is the earliest "last day" allowed, per this doc. I'm getting the "26 weeks pay" severance. -dumped in rochester-
    • Comments 10/06/06: I have empathy for all of you undergoing this current resource action. I left in February 2003 after 23 years...just up and quit...no package...but a new employer, good job, and not having to travel every week. I was just sick of it all, and I had a feeling that it was only going to get worse. Back then the layoffs were about every 6 months and the way they announced it then was something like "We had a layoff action yesterday. If you did not receive a notice, then you are OK". Really a back asswards way of doing it, but the way they are doing it now is even more disgusting. As many of you have posted here, the grass is greener on the other side. Sure I had some fear in leaving, but I am really better off now. Had I stayed through all of this for another 3+ years, I most likely would have been a nervous wreck. The grass is really greener. -Anonymous-
    • Comments 10/06/06: Yesterday the team developing and supporting a crucial STG component for BladeCenter found out that a percentage of them were getting laid off. "Deal with it or get steamrolled"....well they dealt with it! The entire team had suspected an action soon even though management had stated many times that they were "immune to layoffs" because of the criticality of their component to blade strategy. The entire team turned in their resignations en masse Friday evening. Those who had gotten a package promised to share their severance with their teammates, if they got anything. Now that took guts! Bravo and Kudos to that team! Management is in shock. -Fighting Back Incompetent Leadership-
  • From the General Visitor's Comment page:
    • Comment 9/30/06: I am skeptical about some of the postings of people getting new jobs. If you are over 40 in IT, you don't exist. If you are over 50, you didn't exist 10 years ago. If you are over 60, your kids don't exist either. In my experience, most of the times, your applications will not even be acknowledged. You may be lucky to get an interview once every four months. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 10/02/06: To answer some of your questions below... So who’s running our country? Big business. The US government is just a puppet and it's been like that for a long time. Would most Americans vote to move jobs offshore? They just did, twice. How many would give up their pensions or allow their pensions to go unfunded, were it up to a vote?
      It will never be up for a vote. Your lifestyle is taken away from you. If you resist, you're a communist. How many would say that it’s ok to fire older workers if you’re only doing it because they are too expensive?
      Most Americans don't know &*$%^ about current politics. They don't understand what's going on, this is why it's happening. Corporations will go as far as we allow them. Unfortunately, I don't think they can be stopped peacefully. Would Americans vote to allow corporations to finagle the law to pay 7% income tax?
      Of course they would. Every time someone says "tax cut" the riff-raff jumps up and yells "Hurray, I want a tax cut, yes please, give it to me!" Would we vote to allow corporations to cut our way of life by, lowering pay, moving jobs offshore, un-funding pensions, firing older workers due to higher costs? Who is "we"? Most Americans believe ANYTHING. I've seen sheep with more charisma. How many Americans would vote for such a system? Roughly half. They've been brainwashed. Welcome to the Soviet Republic of America. -WakeUpTime-
    • Comment 10/02/06: The problem with IBM is not just management; it is also with the employees. It sure seems most employees still don't want to get involved to try to make working in IBM a better experience. These employees say they support and are behind the Alliance but are still waiting to join. To those that say they are still waiting to get involved, what are you waiting for? Join the Alliance: join NOW. You don't have to be apathetic about IBM which seems to be the prevalent sentiments these days. IBM can be fixed, improved, and saved. You don't have to be intent on leaving IBM or waiting to be forced out, but you have to do something positive, and take initiative with the first step. Joining the Alliance is that first step! The longer you wait or take inaction the worse IBM will get. Do you deserve a voice in the company you (still) work for? With collective bargaining you will get that voice and a contract as well for your benefits protection. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 10/03/06: For 'Beenawakeallthistime'--you seriously think that brainwashing is required to convince everyone of the Bush administration's idiocies? Lies, corruption--one after another. No liberal or 'left' brainwashing required, honey. Just look at the facts. These guys are a disaster and a total DISGRACE to our country. The man can't even give a speech without screwing SOMETHING up. Crooks, thieves, hypocrites and liars.
      Time to give up the IBM overtime and pick up a newspaper, buddy.... Maybe you will learn something about what is going on in the real world. In the last week alone we have had CEOs go to jail, a congressman who is a pedophile (oh, sorry--he was molested as a child--guess that is a good excuse!) and too many other things to mention. Are these left-wing fairytales, as you might like to believe? I think not, my dear. They are facts. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 10/03/06: Three years ago I got a glimpse of the Globalization plans that many of you are now experiencing. After hearing some very high level details, I knew that my days at IBM were numbered and I subsequently left for a much better job. For those of you remaining at IBM, you must understand that IBM is committed to offshoring to stay competitive. Realize that the plans to move more work offshore haven't materialized as quickly as first planned, mainly due to Offshore employee retention issues and labor rates outstripping cost structures.
      A union will only intensify the drive to move more work offshore, so either hang in there understanding the conditions, or make your plans to leave. Complaining will make you feel better momentarily, but getting a new job will revitalize you.
      Sadly, IBM is in the classic "death spiral"; costs cuts to show better net profit, customers reduce spend due to dissatisfaction with IBM, revenue declines, more cost cuts ensue, . . . . Evidence of this death spiral can be seen clearly in IGS. Services Backlog is a term IGS uses for signed revenue in future years. The backlog has been in continual decline in the past few years mainly due to large outsourcing contracts terminating early. Further complicating this issue is that contract values are declining and the investment to win new business is very high compared to retaining existing customer base.
      The impact of IBM's Globalization plans will be likely far reaching and long lasting. Like many other company's, IBM has an impending retirement bubble of Baby Boomers. The long term IBM'ers are hanging on until they retire. However, the next generation of leaders, have been steadily leaving, as they see little future in the company. A shortage of strong technical and business leadership in the near future will be further crippling to IBM.
      The same experienced leaders are leaving to influential positions with companies that buy IBM products and services. After seeing how dysfunctional the company had become, how many of them will buy IBM services in the future? Lastly, IBM is treating employees as a commodity, which leaves a lasting bad and all too often last impression of the company. How many of these people will work for IBM again? Fool me twice? Not on my watch. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 10/06/06: It never ceases to amaze me how badly informed Americans are. Don't get me wrong, Americans are pretty nice people, except the politicians, but you guys just don't see what is happening in the world. This is largely down to the impotent media you have. It's better to have a nation half asleep watching reality TV or Fox 'News' than actually knowing what is going on.
      Our governments in UK have screwed us over too but it never gets as bad as over there simply because you can't silence the media in the same way. We just don't have the Communist/Traitor/Terrorist witch hunts that you have every time someone tries to speak up. Companies like IBM play on this. Bush shuts up the opposition - FFS this man 'won' an election by coming second and no one challenged it! - while Sam and his cronies move your jobs out while you stand by and watch.
      America is buried in debt and the only thing stopping the ship tipping over is that oil and gold are priced in dollars, guaranteeing demand for the currency and ultimately somewhere to spend the cash. I implore all you who are eligible to vote this year to give Bush a kick in the ass and vote Democrat.
      On a side note, we get Fox News over here and apart from not being able to believe that you can blatantly lie in a news broadcast and not have a regulator penalise you, I was staggered to see the story of the Republican pedophile guy. His name was displayed on screen with his party affiliation shown as Democrat! Now that's deflection for you! -Former UK IBMer-
    • Comment 10/06/06: 80% of IBM jobs will be offshore. If you are not in an "External Customer Facing" position your days ARE NUMBERED. This is the IBM Executive plans for profitability. Too bad, the offshored employees will not be able to deliver. This means 8 out of every 10 people in the USA will lose your job with IBM. If your mindset has not grasped this yet, it better. -Anonymous-
  • Pension Comments page
    • Comments 09/30/06: Cooper has a lot of guts, and her efforts have impacted more than just IBM. Since I'm one of the lucky ones (2nd-choicers) who still has a pension (albeit, 1/2 of what was originally promised), I think I have her and some others who raised their voices in 1999 to thank for that. I wasn't really paying much attention--too busy putting in those 70 hours per week and not realizing that IBM culture had *radically* changed. I didn't realize yet that IBM execs and the Board were out to deliberately screw us, with the intention of getting long term Beamers to quit. Lou's legacy. Younger IBMers have no idea that "Respect for the Individual" wasn't just the slogan du jour. I can very distinctly remember, on more than one occasion, seeing a manager stopped dead in his tracks (literally!) because an employee said "I don't think you're demonstrating respect for the individual." It was a very powerful concept, which made this company into the great economic engine that can now, for a few years, sponsor a relatively few techies in India. It's probably too big to last without that shared sense of values, though. The execs and Board think they can "manage" it, but something this big really needs to be self-directed, and they have intentionally destroyed that. -Anonymous
  • IBM employees on employee raises
    • Comment 10/3/06: I was a band 9, made well over $100k a year, and still left to go work for Microsoft. If you have great technical or business skills take them somewhere else if you aren't happy!! Focus your energy on writing a great resume and cover letter. I don't read about many of the other tech companies in the US treating people this bad, why put up with it? -Band 9 and still left-
    • Comment 10/6/06: I work at east fishkill,most of the people I work with myself included did not receive a raise for 4 years. This year we received about 3% and management made a big deal about it. I'm sure our medical employee payment will be over 3%. They are already telling us medical will go up...what a joke this company has turned into. -Anonymous-

Vault Message Board Posts
Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC. A sample post follows:
  • "Right" by "Dose of reality". Full excerpt: The PwC fiasco was a symptom - we have beaten that one to death, but it was manifested in 1, 2, 3 and 4. The environmental issues can never be blamed for failure, since 1. you should see it coming, and 2. if leadership is better than the competition, you can always stay to the right of them. The problem is that most business "success" comes from rising tides and not astute management. That's why the greedy b@$+@rd$ climb all over each other to get to the top - so they can be there when the money is falling from the trees.
    That brings me to my root cause - incompetent leadership. What have I been saying for over three years??
  • "Well Said and a Tidbit for You" by "ancientblueconsultant". Full excerpt: I ran into an old Blue Pig corporate pilot, who proudly told me he now reports to HR and has the title of "Chief Pilot". He went on to report to me that the pig has 28 full time employee pilots and 2 dispatchers!
  • "Root Causes" by "CandorSense". Full excerpt: I would have to say.
    1. Short term focus on the press, quarterly results, and following the herd (lack of real imagination and innovation)
    2. No strategy. We tried to be all things to all people without trying to focus first on what we were good at.
    3. Poor execution. We could offer a range of products and services but lumping everyone together in one giant one-size-fits-all organization was stupid.
    4. Chronic Organizational obesity. Fat in the middle. Doesn't just cost a lot but also is like anchors dragging while the cruise ship is moving from port to port.

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