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August 11, 2001 August 4, 2001 July 28, 2001 July 21, 2001 July 14, 2001 July 7, 2001 June 30, 2001 June 23, 2001 June 16, 2001 June 9, 2001 June 2, 2001 May 26, 2001 May 19, 2001 May 12, 2001 May 5, 2001 2001 Stock Meeting April 21, 2001 April 14, 2001 April 7, 2001 March 31, 2001 March 24, 2001 March 17, 2001 March 10, 2001 March 3, 2001 February 24, 2001 February 17, 2001 February 10, 2001 February 3, 2001 January 27, 2001 January 20, 2001 January 13, 2001 January 6, 2001 December 30, 2000 December 23, 2000 December 16, 2000 December 9, 2000 December 2, 2000 November 24, 2000 November 17, 2000 November 10, 2000 November 4, 2000 October 28, 2000 October 21, 2000 October 14, 2000 October 7, 2000 September 30, 2000 September 23, 2000 September 16, 2000 September 9, 2000 September 2, 2000 August 26, 2000 August 19, 2000 August 12, 2000 July 29, 2000 July 22, 2000 July 15, 2000 July 1, 2000 June 24, 2000 June 17, 2000 June 10, 2000 June 3, 2000 May 27, 2000 May 20, 2000 May 13, 2000 May 6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—December 8, 2007

  • Yahoo!'s IBM Employee Issues message board: "IBM in North Carolina" Full excerpt: I am a newspaper reporter in Durham, NC, looking to talk to IBM employees in Research Triangle Park about their experiences. Anyone interested should email me at the address below. Mosi Secret, Staff Writer, Independent Weekly msecret@... (919) 286-1972, x143.
  • The Street.com: IBM Speeds Up Buyback. Excerpts: IBM sped up a plan to repurchase as much as $1 billion of common stock, saying it will buy the shares by the end of February, rather than in March and April as had been previously proposed. The buyback is in addition to a $12.5 billion repurchase announced earlier this year.

    "These stock repurchases are enabled by IBM's strong, consistent cash flow and are an important way of returning value to IBM shareholders," said Samuel J. Palmisano, IBM chairman, president and chief executive, in a press release. "They are an element of our long-term roadmap for earnings per share growth through 2010 and also represent a good value at today's prices."

    Editor's note: Despite "IBM's strong, consistent cash flow" a spending freeze in IBM Global Services is still on, meaning employees must spend their own money to purchase ink cartridges, printer paper, and pencils.

  • Baseline Magazine: Clash of the Titans: HP vs. IBM-Who Wins? By Lawrence Walsh. HP is on pace to crack the $100 billion mark-and put Big Blue in second place for good. Excerpts: Nearly two years ago, Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd laid down the gauntlet to his business partners, the company's unequivocal goal was to wipe away the tagline its chief competitor-IBM-wore for the past 60 years: "The world's largest technology company."

    Not only has that day come and gone, but HP continues to widen its lead over Big Blue. The latest quarterly revenue report showed HP posting more than $28 billion in topline revenue, putting it on track to become a $100 billion company. By comparison, IBM continues to grow at a much slower pace and with slimmer margins.

    The day may soon come that HP not only wears the moniker of the world's largest technology company, but also steals the other famous saying: "No one ever got fired for buying IBM." The reason? Superior customer service and delivery of products that add value to clients' business. ...

    According to Ziff Davis Enterprise research, HP outclasses IBM in nearly every measure of customer service and product execution. In overall satisfaction, HP bested IBM 79 percent to 66 percent.

  • Yahoo!'s IBM Retiree - Information Exchange: UHC never give up by "mr_quarkwrench". Full excerpt: Up until this month, I had the UHC EPO coverage. I'm now on medicare. During the time I had EPO this year, I had several tests both in and out of network. You can go out of network on EPO if there is no network provider within 100 miles of you. All procedures were pre- approved. Several, totaling over $20,000 were denied even though they had been pre-approved.

    Don't take no for an answer, document everything and appeal. Don't take no for an answer to the appeal, appeal again.

    Today we collected over $13,000 on two of the claims, one from April and one from August. Still fighting for one for $3,500 from April.

    Fortunately, my wife has been in the administrative part of the medical field for most of her working life and knows how to write appeals. -- Don

  • Yahoo!'s IBM Retiree - Information Exchange: Re: UHC never give up, how to appeal by "mr_quarkwrench". Full excerpt: Log in to myuhc.com then go to "View My Claims". From there on the left side of the page, click on "Appeals and Grievances" where you will find links to the proper form for your appeal. Download and print the form you need.

    If you are having someone else file for you, they need to have a power of attorney or patient authorization on file with UHC. We have done both.

    As a guy on another board says, document everything. Always get pre- approval for anything beyond usual checkups or tests, ESPECIALLY if it is out of network even if they tell you that you don't need it. When you get pre-approval UHC will give you a case number. Be sure to reference that in the comments section on the "Customer Issue Submission Form" which you down load and print from the Appeals and Grievances section. Also, be sure to keep a copy of the pre-approval letter which details the exact coverage that was approved and submit copies of it with your appeal.

    As noted on the form, include a copy of the EOB (Explanation Of Benefits) that came from UHC for the claim that you are appealing. Also, request an itemized statement of charges from the service provider and submit a copy of that with the appeal.

    Once you appeal, UHC has to respond within 30 days. Even if the answer is no, don't give up. Read their refusal carefully and then see if you can address the points of refusal. Often their reason won't even pertain to your case. I suspect that some UHC employees merely glance and the claims and issue refusals based on seeing a single word or phrase taken out of context. This is where the itemized statement can be very important in the appeal since it will include the date of service, the service code and a more or less English description of what the charge is for.

    Again, don't let "out of network" be an excuse. If the service you need is not available from an in network provider with in 50 miles of your home, you can get permission for out of network coverage. However be prepared to have those claims denied on the first submission.

    Here is a direct quote from a letter from UCH that finally agreed with us and notified us that our providers would be paid with seven to fourteen business days: "The plan under which you are covered is a self-funded Group Employee Welfare Benefit Plan governed by ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974). This plan is not subject to state insurance law. UnitedHealthcare provides administrative and claim payment services to the plan. UnitedHealthcare is not the insurer for this plan."

    So far this year my wife has recovered over $50,000 in denied claims. If anyone needs specific help on an issue, she will be willing to answer questions when she has time. You can email them to me depeter @ aol.com

    Since I turned 65 last month, she has started studying up on medicare appeals as well. -- Don

  • Yahoo!'s IBM Retiree - Information Exchange: Re: Aetna plan. By "wavo841". Full excerpt: Actually if the truth be known, very rarely does IBM pay any medical claims. You have to be in a catastrophic medical situation to reach the point where IBM kicks in anything beyond what Medicare pays. I would bet that 90-95% of us get nothing from IBM. In one instance I know of an individual that got reimbursed by IBM on two claims.

    One for 12 CENTS and another a whopping 16 CENTS!!!

  • Yahoo!'s IBM Retiree - Information Exchange: Re: Aetna plan. By "topcatone". Full excerpt: Retired now, but I have not used either IBM's plans for retirees or employees for ten years. We have used plans available from my wife's employers. In every case, they ALWAYs beat IBM's, in almost every possible category, at lower premium. We are currently thru Aetna PPO "CHOICE POS II", and it is far better and cheaper than the Aetna IBM for retirees. And the companies she has worked for had always less than 1000 employees. Go figure. IBM either does not want to use its clout, does not care, or is too incompetent (likely).
  • Yahoo!'s IBM Retiree - Information Exchange: Re: Aetna plan. By "topcatone". Full excerpt: No, IBM just doesn't want to spend the money on us. They are self insured except for the HMO offerings. UHC and Blue Cross only act as paper shufflers for IBM. The money you pay in premiums goes to IBM and the money that gets paid to Drs. and Hospitals comes from IBM. That is why their paper shufflers first order of business is to deny a claim.

    I'll try to get a post together soon on what to do to appeal. However, it is key that you document everything. If there is any doubt, make sure you got pre-approval. Even if you call UHC and they say you don't need it, get it! -- Don

  • New Web site: IBM Network Outsource to AT&T. Reports of 4000 affected over 30 countries or more. Summary: Change is stressful to many people. This site is intended to assist by giving a forum for exchange of information, and also just a place to say how you are feeling. Some of the publications in the reading list deal with job and career changes.
  • Yahoo!'s IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: Re: IBM 401K (TDSP) rollover. By "ranheimchas". Full excerpt: I certainly don't expect IBM to "Love" the retirees, but it would be nice if they showed a little more respect for those who not only worked hard for the better part of their working lives, but also dedicated a lot of personal time (Cutting vacations, willing to be on call 24/7, took long assignments away from their families) in order to help make IBM the great company it was.

    We did this out of respect and trust in the company who in turn, respected us as well. There were times when IBM went through some difficult financial periods, and expenses were controlled by delaying raises. We had no problem with this. Do you remember when IBM even assigned a manager to keep track of their retirees to see if they needed additional help after retirement? Now, many have been forced to retire early with a reduced income because IBM changed the rules.

    Our "Promised" medical for life was taken away, COLA's disappeared, and the Fidelity Firewall was put in place to completely isolate us from having any contact with an IBM employee for help of any kind. I sometimes wonder why the financial burden of medical costs has to be greater on the retirees than on the working employees who can better afford it. Putting us in a "High Risk" pool made sure of that.

    Increasing our medical cost by 400 to 500%, if you are lucky enough to still have a living spouse, really hurts as well. I do not live with anger in my heart because of all this, but I do feel hurt because I feel I lost a good friend in IBM. I also have no intention of throwing bricks at you or anyone else with a different opinion. These are just my thoughts, right or wrong.

  • Financial Week: CEO comp-consultant ‘conflicts’ slammed by Congress. By Jeff Nash. Excerpts: Some of the largest companies in the U.S. use outside compensation consultants with “significant conflicts of interest” to determine CEO pay, according to a report released today by California Rep. Henry Waxman, the Democratic chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

    Mr. Waxman said the report—based on a seven-month investigation by his staff of the 250 largest publicly traded companies—found that 113 of the Fortune 250 companies last year received executive pay advice from consultants that were also providing much more lucrative services to the company, such as employee benefits administration, human resource management and actuarial services. On average, these consultants receive $200,000 to advise the company about executive compensation—and more than $2.3 million to provide other services, the report found.

    “In effect, the consultants are being asked to evaluate the worth of the executives who hire them and pay them millions of dollars,” Mr. Waxman said at a committee hearing on the issue this morning in Washington, D.C. “Like the auditors who signed off on Enron’s books, they have an inherent conflict of interest. For every dollar the consultants are paid to advise on CEO pay, they are being paid $11 to perform other services for the company.”

  • New York Times: Business Lobby Presses Agenda Before ’08 Vote. By Robert Pear. Business lobbyists, nervously anticipating Democratic gains in next year’s elections, are racing to secure final approval for a wide range of health, safety, labor and economic rules, in the belief that they can get better deals from the Bush administration than from its successor.

    Hoping to lock in policies backed by a pro-business administration, poultry farmers are seeking an exemption for the smelly fumes produced by tons of chicken manure. Businesses are lobbying the Bush administration to roll back rules that let employees take time off for family needs and medical problems. And electric power companies are pushing the government to relax pollution-control requirements. ...

    A priority for many employers in 2008 is to secure changes in the rules for family and medical leave. Under a 1993 law, people who work for a company with 50 or more employees are generally entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for newborn children or sick relatives or to tend to medical problems of their own. The Labor Department has signaled its interest in changes by soliciting public comments. ...

    Few industries have more cause for concern than drug companies, which have been a favorite target of Democrats. Republicans run the Washington offices of most major drug companies, and a former Republican House member, Billy Tauzin, is president of their trade association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

  • Speaking Truth To Power: The Impending Destruction of the U.S. Economy. By Paul Craig Roberts. Excerpts: Hubris and arrogance are too ensconced in Washington for policymakers to be aware of the economic policy trap in which they have placed the US economy. If the subprime mortgage meltdown is half as bad as predicted, low US interest rates will be required in order to contain the crisis. But if the dollar’s plight is half as bad as predicted, high US interest rates will be required if foreigners are to continue to hold dollars and to finance US budget and trade deficits. ...

    A few years ago the euro was worth 85 cents. Today it is worth $1.48. This is an enormous decline in the exchange value of the US dollar. Foreigners who finance the US budget and trade deficits have experienced a huge drop in the value of their dollar holdings. The interest rate on US Treasury bonds does not come close to compensating foreigners for the decline in the value of the dollar against other traded currencies. Investment returns from real estate and equities do not offset the losses from the decline in the dollar’s value.

    China holds over one trillion dollars, and Japan almost one trillion, in dollar-denominated assets. Other countries have lesser but still substantial amounts. As the US dollar is the reserve currency, the entire world’s investment portfolio is over-weighted in dollars.

  • New York Times: Now and Forever. By Bob Herbert. Most of the time we pretend it’s not there: The staggering financial cost of the war in Iraq, which continues to soar, unchecked, like a rocket headed toward the moon and beyond. Early last year, the Nobel-Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimated that the “true” cost of the war would ultimately exceed $1 trillion, and maybe even $2 trillion.

    Incredibly, that estimate may have been low.

    A report prepared for the Democratic majority on the Joint Economic Committee of the House and Senate warns that without a significant change of course in Iraq, the long-term cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could head into the vicinity of $3.5 trillion. The vast majority of those expenses would be for Iraq.

    Priorities don’t get much more twisted. A country that can’t find the money to provide health coverage for its children, or to rebuild the city of New Orleans, or to create a first-class public school system, is flushing whole generations worth of cash into the bottomless pit of a failed and endless war.

  • Jim Hightower: Black-Robed Corporatists. Full excerpt: Do you feel as sorry for corporate executives as I do?

    These poor babies feel put upon by their own shareholders, customers, and workers who have sued them to stop their fraud, monopoly pricing, discrimination, and other illegal acts. The corporate royalty is mightily offended that such commoners have been allowed to interfere in its brutish pursuit of riches, and the royalists have been crying louder than Paris Hilton about the unfairness of having to answer to the law.

    Luckily for them, they have friends in high places who feel their pain and can dry their tears with government actions to stop dastardly citizens from bothering them with lawsuits. The corporate wrongdoers have long had the Bushites on their side, and many congress critters of both parties have also been there for them, offering comforting legislative hugs. Now, however, the best friend of the corporate elite is in the third branch of government: The Supreme Court.

    With Chief Justice John Roberts at the helm, the nation's highest court is stacked with judges whose legal careers have been dedicated to corporate service, and this bias has turned the court into a safe play zone for corporate ruffians. This year, the Supremes have revealed their corporate coziness by taking a greater number of business cases and stretching the law, precedent, common sense, and their own credibility to enhance corporate power.

    In 13 business rulings this year, the corporate majority has favored tobacco companies, automakers, insurance giants, and others over the people harmed. Even more important than each individual case, the court's decisions are making it much harder for those who are injured or defrauded to go to court. in effect, the are building new legal walls for corporate wrongdoers to hide behind, shutting out ordinary people who try to get justice from the system.

    These black-robed corporatists are out of control. The court should be working for justice, not for corporations.

News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
  • Contra Costa Times, courtesy of Physicians for a National Health Program: Genentech bumps $40 drug with $2000 version. U.S. senator chides Genentech plan. By David Morrill. Excerpts: A U.S. senator said Genentech’s plan to restrict availability of its Avastin drug so doctors might be forced to use the more expensive medicine Lucentis to treat an eye disease will cost taxpayers $1 billion to $3 billion annually.

    The South San Francisco-based biotech company’s decision “is of great concern to me,” U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., said in letters to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Food and Drug Administration made public Wednesday

  • Boston Globe, courtesy of Physicians for a National Health Program: Single-payer healthcare is the one way. By Michael Kaplan. Excerpts: Along with most residents of Massachusetts, I assumed that the Massachusetts Health Reform Law was going to allow my daughter to keep her health insurance coverage after she graduated from college. The Connector Authority specified that for two years of post- dependency status, a young adult could remain on a family policy. What a relief that was. She graduated this May and is in those early stages of becoming self-supporting.

    When my wife’s employer, Berkshire Health Systems, informed us that my daughter’s coverage would end on Dec. 31 of this year, I was shocked. It turns out that the law requires only companies that pay health insurance premiums to give the extra two years of coverage. Those companies that self-insure are governed by federal law under ERISA and are not bound by this requirement. Self-insured companies pay the health insurance companies to administer the benefit, not to insure them. So our Blue Cross Blue Shield policy seems like an insurance policy, but it is not. Berkshire Health Systems insures itself, as do national companies that employ across state lines. Many large local employers are self-insured as well. These large companies do not have to pay the extra cost to cover dependents for those two more years. ...

    As a physician and healthcare activist for many years, I was aware that this reform law was not a panacea and did nothing to control the rapidly rising costs of private insurance that force both employers and their employees to pay more in premiums, with the insured also paying more in higher copayments and deductibles. While the reform widened the safety net for some poor families, this safety net will shred if there is not a massive infusion of new money from the state or federal governments.

    Two important lessons can be learned. First, we need to sever the connection between healthcare and employment. People need continuous, portable coverage that is affordable, comprehensive, and equitable. Second, we cannot depend on the private insurance industry to provide this for us.

    Piece-meal reform such as the new law will not work. Both employers and the public support the concept of single-payer healthcare. Big business is starting to realize that a single payer system will be the only affordable way to cover everyone. When will our politicians understand that their political futures will depend on supporting this kind of comprehensive reform?

  • Economic Policy Institute: Canada's health system beats U.S. in cost and results. By Ross Eisenbrey. Full excerpt: When the Clinton administration tackled health care reform in 1993, Canada's national health care system—which operates without a private insurance industry—was held up as a model by progressives and a disaster by conservatives. The United States rejected any positive lessons from the Canadian single-payer model in 1993, and we are living with the results of that decision today.

    As the chart below reveals, the cost gap between the United States and Canada has only widened since 1993, and per capita health care expenditures in the United States are now almost double those in Canada ($6,401 vs. $3,359). Canada's per capita health expenditures rose about 65% from 1993 to 2005, while costs in the United States rose by over 90%.

    Yet infant mortality in the United States is higher and life expectancy at birth is less than in Canada. It is also noteworthy that despite Canada's much lower expenditures on health care, Canadians consult with physicians far more often than do Americans. The average number of physician consultations per capita was 6.0 in Canada, versus 3.8 in the United States.

  • National Public Radio: Socialized Medicine Belittled on Campaign Trail. By Julie Rovner. Excerpts: In the debate over health care on the campaign trail, the term "socialized medicine" is getting thrown around more and more often. It is almost never a compliment. But the politically loaded phrase means different things to different people.

    Republican rival Mitt Romney labeled the plan "socialized medicine" in his critique. "It's a European-style socialized medicine plan," he said. "That's where it leads, and that's the wrong direction for America." ...

    History of Term: But what is socialized medicine? "The term socialized medicine, technically, to most health policy analysts, actually doesn't mean anything at all," says Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of health policy at the University of North Carolina. ...

    Term's Definition: "When you talk about Europe, and you talk about a British system where the hospitals are owned by the government and the doctors are directly employed by the government, then you might say that's socialized medicine," Oberlander says.

    But that is different from what most single-payer proposals would do. "There, you would essentially have government financing, just like you do with Medicare, but you would continue to have private practicing physicians and private hospitals," Oberlander says.

    None of the leading Democratic candidates, however, has proposed anything like a single-payer system, much less a fully government-run program like Britain's National Health Service.

  • The Century Foundation: The Mandate Debate. By Maggie Mahar. Excerpts: Over time, if private insurers are forced to compete with public sector insurance on a level playing field (which means that all insurers offer community rating and that all offer benefits that are, at a minimum, as rich and comprehensive as Medicare), I think that the majority of Americans will wind up picking the public sector plan. The public sector plan should be able to offer better value for our health care dollars because it doesn’t have as many extra expenses: Medicare doesn’t have to return profits to investors; it doesn’t have to advertise and lobby Congress, and it doesn’t pay its executives the seven-digit salaries that for-profit insurers feel they must pay in order to compete with each other.

    But right now, many Americans are nervous about health insurance. And they don’t trust government. They need time to decide whether they feel more comfortable with for-profit insurance or a public program. In the meantime, we need to ensure that everyone is covered, and that everyone helps weave the safety net. That’s why we need community rating and mandates. It’s all about solidarity.

  • New York Times: The Mandate Muddle. By Paul Krugman. Excerpts: Imagine this: It’s the summer of 2009, and President Barack Obama is about to unveil his plan for universal health care. But his health policy experts have done the math, and they’ve concluded that the plan really needs to include a requirement that everyone have health insurance — a so-called mandate.

    Without a mandate, they find, the plan will fall far short of universal coverage. Worse yet, without a mandate health insurance will be much more expensive than it should be for those who do choose to buy it.

    But Mr. Obama knows that if he tries to include a mandate in the plan, he’ll face a barrage of misleading attacks from conservatives who oppose universal health care in any form. And he’ll have trouble responding — because he made the very same misleading attacks on Hillary Clinton and John Edwards during the race for the Democratic nomination.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site:
  • From the Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comment 12/5/07: RA_me_please_IBM- It has been posted here before but I will say it again. I was part of the "resource action" in May. I was given the separation package and read through it very carefully. If you express any interest to your manager in being laid off you will forfeit any severance package that you might have otherwise been entitled to get. When I was RA'd, several of my colleagues said they wished it was them that got laid off and one even asked our manager if it could be him instead of me. I quickly advised him not to do bring it up again based on what I read in the sep package. Of course a lot depends on your relationship with your manager but it's better to be safe. BTW, if you are in any sort of technical support role, I have heard throught the grapevine that most, if not all, internal support roles will be replaced by contractors or outsourced next year. So, sit tight, do the minimum and maybe your wish will come true without having to jeapordize your severance package. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 12/5/07: TO; -RA_me_please_IBM- >>>> If you have to ask, you should have been laid off already. Simply do a half-azz job continuously. You will either get laid off or promoted. With the current poor management you never know which will happen. -gotta-go-go-go-
    • Comment 12/5/07: to: RA_me_please_IBM I was RA'd in the spring. To encourage my manager I asked him what future I saw in my job/career at IBM because I didn't see where I fit in. I was notified of my selection 3 weeks later. -RA'd bear-
    • Comment 12/5/07: Good article. My apologies to those who have read it already. http://www.baselinemag.com/article2/0,1540,2227222,00.asp 12/03/07: Clash of the Titans: HP vs. IBM-Who Wins? By Lawrence Walsh HP is on pace to crack the $100 billion mark, and put Big Blue in second place for good. -whatisthebestway-
    • Comment 12/5/07: To -whatisthebestway- That WAS a good article. Thank you. The only thing that would have made it better would be under the caption "Clash of the Titans," rather than two guys arm wrestling, they would have one guy ready to arm wrestle (HP), and the other guy standing to the side giving a lecture on the evolution of business models and the history of world corporations (Sam Palmisano). HP=Get it done right, and get it done right now. IBM=Let’s talk about on-demand processing and utility computing. What ever happened to Palmisano’s bet-the-company on-demand strategy anyway? Doh! -John-
    • Comment 12/5/07: How can you jeopardize your severance package? If IBM fires you and you did nothing legally wrong, don't they have to give you severance? -Anonymous- Alliance reply: There is no legal requirement to pay severance pay. Too many employees believe they have certain rights that simply don't exist, absent a union contract.
    • Comment 12/8/07: I do contract consulting now and have my resume listed on several of the job boards. Right now I am getting two to three calls a day for postings in my old organization. Most of the postings are for 20% more than I was making as a IBM'er. I am politely declining the requests but I think it's ironic that IBM is trying to hire back the positions they so graciously slashed this last year as a result of LEAN. -RA'd bear-
    • Comment 12/9/07: If anyone reading this was cut and IBM tries to hire you back, don't do it. There are plenty of other good companies out there to work for. IBM is rotten and cares only about it's cheap foreign workers in the third world. IBM is quickly becoming the Nike of the IT industry. -dirtysanchez-
  • General Visitor's Comment page:
    • Comment 12/05/07: "IBM plans accelerated $1 Billion stock share repurchase" How much $ has IBM wasted on these buybacks over the years since Gerstner and now with Palmiselloff? Is there a way to find out?IBM would have made a better investment with stockholder's money by investing in their most important asset: their employees. Investing money instead of stock buybacks in their employees would definitely pay better dividends to the business. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 12/05/07: I guess we all know what performance bonus will be this year . Gee Sorry No money left after the accelerated buyback last month. Maybe next year if you double your efforts. But the executives bonus will be incredible due to the buyback. -Exodus 2007-
    • Comment 12/05/07: Concerning work-life balance and overtime: As a FORMER IBM manager, I can tell you that 2-years ago my former organization tracked overtime broadly. Anyone who worked less than 10% OT were reported as slackers at the director level. Anyone who worked greater than 20% were also tracked at the director level as those people who did not know how to manage their time. AWS employees were exempt, but tracked. I feel pretty confident that the director didn't track this information for the fun of it. He was feeding it to someone else or responding to HR or something. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 12/06/07: To former IBM Manager. I know in my organization before I left, if you were not tracking at least 18% to 20% overtime, you were considered a slacker. What was really interesting before I was RA'd, was IBM started a rule in a lot of teams that you couldn't report your OT in Claim. If you worked 60 hours, you could only claim 40. Methinks it had to do with the overtime settlement.

      The managers could personally track your OT, but don't put it in a system where it could be documented. As to working more than 20% OT. In my former team, if you didn't work at least 20% OT, you were considered a slacker. Last year I was low claimer for the year at 18% OT and I was rated a 3. The rest of my team was claiming 25% to 40% OT for the year. On top of that, I had 4 weeks vacation and all the IBM holidays. That OT number for the year was pure hours worked. My vacation time had to be made up with extra OT to get the billable to 2300 hours. -RA'd bear-

    • Comment 12/09/07: The following site was previously posted. It is worth the read. http://www.secform4.com/insider-trading/51143.htm If you look at all of the awards handed out this year, you will get sick to your stomach. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 12/09/07: On 08/28/06, Nick executed options on 197,228 shares at $36.0625, and sold them for $80.00 a share, realizing a profit of $8,665,705.20. The expiration date on these shares was 03-12-07. If he had sold them on 01-16-07 when the shares closed at $100.82, he would have realized an additional profit of $4,106,286.90. Pretty costly mistake, kissing away a mere extra 4.1 million. -CostlyMistake-
    • Comment 12/09/07: I knew a guy a couple of years ago who billed 3000 hours in one year and was still RAd. -Flat Hat-
  • Pension Comments page
  • Raise and Salary Comments
    • Comment 12/08/07: Salary = 80600; Band Level = 7; Job Title = IT Specialist; Years Service = 3.5; Hours/Week = 45; Div Name = Systems and Technology Group; Location = Austin, TX; Message = In my three and a half years at IBM, my salary has gone up 7% total (less than the rate of US inflation) even though I got promoted over a year ago. I was told that I was making 5% more than the average Band 7 this year and was overpaid already so I get no raise. Very frustrating to hear since I have several e-mails indicating that I perform way more than 5% above average. Way to encourage mediocrity IBM. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 12/09/07: Salary = 73000; Band Level = 7; Job Title = Software Sales Teamlead; Years Service = 5; Hours/Week = 40; Div Name = IBM.com S&D; Location = North East (Europe); IOT Message = No SIP during 2007 due to IBM's 'cost of sales', effectively equates to a decrease year on year when matched to inflation + increase in cost of living. No visibility or 'line of sight' to actual commisionable earnings. Major frustration is not getting wage increase with a PBC 2+. Feel sorrier for those with PBC 1 going into 2007. -paddyboy-
  • PBC Comments
    • Comment 12/03/07: to: -no one- You take yourself too serious. Not to realize my tongue in cheek response. BTW, I am doing private consulting work now, spending time with my children and living a healthier life style. I don't need to make the consistent income I had at IBM and I surely don't need the stress. Actually I am very happy to be away from the Blew Pig. I only stuck out the last couple years because it was easier to stay rather than leave. I gave up trying to care after three years of 2's without a raise. Then wham, bam - I was a 3 performer with a target on my back. I ended up getting 6 months severance which I banked and am now living on my wits and grins. Really feels good to feel like I can do something positive and my clients actually say thank you. Who I really feel sorry for are the poor suckers left behind. They work 60 hours a week minimum, have to show a positive attitude to keep their lousy jobs and dread the consequences of the getting a PBC 3. Especially since those of us who knew our stuff are gone and not there to bail their incompetent managers arses out anymore. -RA'd bear-
    • Comment 12/05/07: IBM HR says there is "no quota" or "bell curve" on PBC distributions. Sam Palmisano or Randy McDonald: can you swear on your life about this being true and take a lie detector test to attest to it? Of course you two won't. But why is no one surprised? -Anonymous-
    • Comment 12/06/07: For those of us left who survived the RA, the news is not good going forward. I heard that mgrs have to give out 10% 3s this PBC cycle so we are all now getting closer to the 3. In addition, this will lead to another big layoff in 2008 with 50% of those 3s targeted to go for starters. Fun place to work - Not. Good luck to you all on your PBC review and rating. I so hate the politics involved pitting worker against worker for a better rating. Got to get out. -usingNonIBMmachine!-
    • Comment 12/06/07: For those of us left who survived the RA, the news is not good going forward. I heard that mgrs have to give out 10% 3s this PBC cycle so we are all now getting closer to the 3. In addition, this will lead to another big layoff in 2008 with 50% of those 3s targeted to go for starters. Fun place to work - Not. Good luck to you all on your PBC review and rating. I so hate the politics involved pitting worker against worker for a better rating. Got to get out. -usingNonIBMmachine!-
    • Comment 12/06/07: When I first started at IBM years ago, one of my first meetings was talking about the new performance evaluation system. All the experienced employees asked about rating skew. One of them was a manager. Skew is a fact of life in IBM PBC's. If a manager didn't give a 3, he was deficient. But what I've heard is there is a percentage of 3's in every department. One team may not get a member with a 3. But it is expected that the department (at second line managers level) will have a certain percentage of 3's every year. -RA'd bear-
    • Comment 12/08/07: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = ?; Message = you're exactly right RA Bear. There is a skew and every manager needs to pony up at least one (depending on dept. size, etc.). 3 performer. I do think every organization has different skew percentages. Basically though, all the managers gets together (example: first lines with the second line leading) and do what is called a calibration session. Employees are 'ranked' into the four rating buckets: 1, 2+, 2, and 3. About 10% are 1, 2+ and 2 are about 80% (with more 2 than 2+) and about 10% being 3. It's a mandate by HR. Very few managers get out of giving a 3 even if they have to pull the old standby "relative contribution' out of the hat to achieve it. -Innovation Station-
    • Comment 12/08/07: In our org, typically the PBC skew is 5% 1's and 15 to 20% 3's. The skew varies with the org and also year to year. Regardless, combined with the pitiful salary plan allocations and the grid system, it's a game which ensures to keep minimal pay and bonuses for the vast majority of IBM employees. -screwed-
  • International Comments
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 few sample posts follow:

  • "Leave or perish" by "Big_Blew". Full excerpt: I quit IBM after a 3-odd year stint in GBS. During this time, I depreciated my resume fully, gained no valuable experience, got grossly underpaid and felt extremely ashamed to work for an organization with no ethics, employee loyalty or customer respect.

    IBM should sell GBS at scrap value. There are no employees to boast of (the PWC heritage is long gone), no incisive thought leadership and a complete lack of value-addition on client engagements. Calling this empty corpse shell a consulting organization is an insult to the consulting industry.

    For any self-respecting individual looking at making a career in the consulting industry, the only reasons why you should join IBM GBS are as follows:

    1. You are too under-qualified to make it to a real consulting firm
    2. You would like to coast along, suck up and make a career out of making proposals for the sales of servers
    3. You believe all the gloss so craftily painted by the leadership team while they exploit third-world consultants to fatten their bonus pools
    4. You are a masochist

    I hope this message goes out to all the prospective employees and HR trolls. Be warned - the end is near.

  • "It took some of us a while to get the message..." by "alternationalconsultant". Full excerpt: In 2004, I was one of the university grads reading those posts -- and of course, I ignored them. IBM's offer was higher than the consulting firms. Plus, my manager at my senior-year internship was ex-PWC, and she had glowing reviews for the firm. Not much would have changed with IBM, right?

    Needless to say, everything said came true -- so earlier this year, I left to another firm where I am much happier and have never looked back.

    But why so long for the move? Ironically enough, I did gain some great experience -- thanks to my client (and my PM). They both saw some potential with me and cultivated my development where my practice did not. The client actively sought me to fill larger and more visible roles with each project phase, signing at least two PCRs to keep me there. The PM saw this and also saw my growing discontent -- and gave me separate opportunities to expand my core consulting skill set. These were things that he could have easily handled, but wanted to give me a shot at trying out. Meanwhile, my practice could have cared less, other than the $$$ signs from me being a band 6 filling band 7/8 roles -- and when my PM left IBM, the well of opportunities and development started to dry up. So I left too.

    In any case, one thing has certainly changed. I was one of the first (if not the first) college recruiting classes to come into BCS, so I had to navigate the company on my own. We were some of IBM's biggest cheerleaders -- and since we joined, we jump started successive recruiting efforts at our alma maters. Within my first year, I not only had project work under my belt, but I was involved in recruiting, knowledge management, proposals -- I even wrote winflashes for my projects.

    Now, today's recruiting classes are coming into a different environment. The precedent has been set with past hires, and the new joiners that are working directly with the unhappy band 6s and 7s from the '04/'05 recruiting classes are getting the truth much earlier in the process. It took me several months to realize my situation -- the new band 6s that I managed on my last project got the picture within their first two weeks.

  • "The sooner the PIG" by "mogrits". Full excerpt: dies the better off everyone will be. I'm sorry to say that for the few people still at IBM who have struggled so hard to stay around and retire so as not to throw away 20 or 30+ years of service BUT IBM needs to be relegated to the history scrap heap along with Wang, Digital, etc., etc. The company is totally beyond recovery, at this point, having been almost fully consumed by inept, arrogant, pinheads that call themselves executives and leaders. From the ashes of IBM will arise some viable companies I have no doubt. Perhaps these companies will even remember the combination of ingredients that made IBM great once, starting with giving a damn about their employees and customers. Unfortunately, the same idiots who have brought about the downfall of IBM will continue to prosper instead of being recognized for what they are.....greedy, self-absorbed cretins.
  • "You are waking up" by "ancientblueconsultant". Full excerpt: Yes, you are correct about public companies. That's why Kennedy (despite heavy advertising threats by IBM BP and ACN) had a seminal article on the fact that private smaller boutique firms are beginning to offer better career opportunities, higher pay and have less retention problems with their human assets versus public company "resources".

    Clients also are starting to rate the boutiques with better practice capabilities and engagement satisfaction. This will only get worse for large companies as technological barriers of entry and social networks continue to evolve.

    Just like we all know that consulting is a good way to earn a living but not the road to wealth, public companies are waking up to the fact that consulting and services can only be a low margin supplement to a product business, not a core business in itself. Despite all the hoopla of supply chain dehumanization of resources and IC re-use, the margins of software and hardware continue to trump services.

If you hire good people and treat them well, they will try to do a good job. They will stimulate one another by their vigor and example. They will set a fast pace for themselves. Then if they are well led and occasionally inspired, if they understand what the company is trying to do and know they will share in its sucess, they will contribute in a major way. The customer will get the superior service he is looking for. The result is profit to customers, employees, and to stcckholders. —Thomas J. Watson, Jr., from A Business and Its Beliefs: The Ideas That Helped Build IBM.

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