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Highlights—May 17, 2008

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues: IBM Pension Adjustment, by "ranheimchas:. Full excerpt: I received a letter from Randy MacDonald today addressing the possibility some of us retirees will receive a pension increase. Here is the text of the message:

    "I am writing to let you know that IBM will adjust pensions this year for approximately 42,000 U. S. IBMers – those IBMers (or their surviving beneficiaries) who have been retired the longest, with the lowest pensions. This adjustment will increase pensions for about half of those who qualified for the last pension adjustment in 2001.

    As you know, pension increases are not part of IBM's pension formulas. Following a periodic evaluation of pension levels, IBM determined that an adjustment to existing pensions was warranted at this time for a portion of the retiree population who retired before January 1, 1997. The change will increase IBM's pension liabilities by about $220 million.

    The majority of those who qualify for an adjustment will begin receiving their adjusted pensions with their September pension checks.

    This is the second time since 2000 that IBM has adjusted existing pension levels. Before 2001, IBM had not increased pension levels for existing retirees since 1990.

    We will be working to finalize details as quickly as possible. If you qualify, you'll hear more directly from IBM toward the end of the summer."

    Randy MacDonald

  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree Information Exchange: Re: Love letter from Randy, by "i_be_mad_as_heck". Full excerpt: > When was the TDSP plan created? July 1983. In 1984, IBM introduced the company match with a match of 30 cents for each dollar up to 4% that the employee contributed. In 1985 IBM increased the maximum deferral limit from 5% to 8%, and increased the company match to 30 cents for each dollar up to 5% that the employee contributed.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues: Re: IBM Pension Adjustment by "ranheimchas". Full excerpt: I personally would rather see some relief in my medical costs, than a small, if any, increase in my pension. A possible small pension increase will be wiped out in one increase in our medical payments. I would like to see the retirees put back in the much larger benefit pool, where every IBM'er, working or retired, share the medical costs. This would cost IBM very little to change. I suggested this to J.R. MacDonald a long time ago, but never got a response. Perhaps if more of us who think this way will write to him, he might reconsider putting us all together as one benefit group.

    Remember when it cost about 25% more to insure your spouse? Now it costs 400% more. Those of us fortunate enough to still have the spouse who stood by while we worked all kinds of hours, are now required to pay a premium for this blessing. I guess I am just an old fashioned family man, not a business man.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: Recent RA's, by "gary_pr". Full excerpt: This one happened very quietly this week. I've yet to read anything about it anywhere. My group lost 2 people and I've heard from friends of others that were cut. I have no idea what criteria was used to choose those cut nor what packages they may have gotten. Rumor is that in accordance with the LEAN initiative, IBM wants to shed all band 7 & 8 IT Specialists in favor of Architects and PMs. Who else knows of people laid-off this week or rumors similar to the above?
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: Re: Recent RA's by "Bob Rodriguez". Full excerpt: Our team (IGS Domino support) lost at least 6 in April, myself included, though we have until late June to find jobs within the company. I've also heard of PMs getting hit in the last week or so, but no idea of the numbers yet or the criteria used. Seems a bit arbitrary, as most of the ones we lost had at least 20 years service, were not ready to retire yet, and in band 7 or 8, but also had a lot of skills and experience working with the IBM account that will be hard to replace.

    We're getting ready to train people from India and Brazil that had never worked on some of our products, and whose command of English isn't that good.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: Re: Recent RA's by Larry Tuczynski. Full excerpt: IBM getting rid of band 7 & 8 IT Specialists doesn't surprise me. I was a band 7 IT Specialist in Global Services with 19 years service and was let go at the end of March. I'm not old enough or rich enough to retire so am looking for a new job. Also my pension won't be worth much either, about $715 a MONTH. Currently my unemployment is paying more.

    Also those looking internally before being cut loose, all I can say is good luck. The IBM Job Search tool sucks. I looked at jobs and applied for about 25 during the 30 days notice I was given. The majority don't even reply to acknowledge getting your resume. I only got one interview that looked very positive and then despite three follow-up notes from me the hiring manager never got back me.

    I suspect once you're tagged to be cut loose something pops in the system to tell managers not to hire you. IBM would rather cut loose people with lots of skills rather than transfer (or god forbid, retrain) you in another position.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: Re: Recent RA's by "bits_bytes_and_bugs". Full excerpt: I'm sorry to hear this. That's the SSO strategy - layoff more expensive but far more productive, more highly skilled, quality employees and "replace" them with cheap, unproductive, inexperienced, unmotivated and in many cases, totally incompetent Indian resources.

    You and I both know this is a disaster in the making. Guess who's fault it will be when the disaster hits - it won't be the execs who set the strategy for failure and it won't be the Indians - it will be YOUR backside on the hook. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt and got the pink-slip.

    When the servers fall all over the floor and the user data can't be recovered because backups have failed for weeks, don't be surprised if the execs get their own special servers and special support based in the US, just like the special deskside support they now get.

    Nobody at the executive levels in SO gives a rat's ass about quality of internal delivery and serving the internal clients. It's all about cutting costs, minimizing overhead, self-important power trips and maximizing the short term stock price. Nothing is more important than that *^%$!@ stock price.

    If you also haven't figured out by now, the only people in SO that are getting promotions and pay increases are the execs and higher level management - the rest of us will continue to get what few crumbs that fall off the table after the executive's 15 course feast is done - that is if we keep our jobs. This will continue in SSO for as far as anyone can predict. It's probably the worst place to work in IBM today and is getting worse every day.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: pension adjustments for disabled employee? By "cashmand98". Hi everyone. I'm hoping someone can clarify something for me. I'm on a long-term disability leave from IBM. My 30th service anniversary is coming up and I recently requested a statement of my projected pension benefits. I am covered under the old defined benefit IBM plan. I was just a little shocked to see that IBM apparently plans to use my annual disability benefit for this year and last year as part of the 5-year income averaging calculation. I thought the 5 year averaging was based on the annual income for the last year when I was at work, and years prior to that.

    Does anyone know what the "official" IBM retirement plan document says about this income adjustment for disabled employees? How do I go about getting a copy of the current IBM retirement plan document for the old, defined benefit plan? Thanks a lot.

  • Manufacturing.net: IBM Transferring 350 Jobs To Argentina. Excerpt: IBM plans to move 350 finance and accounting positions from Tulsa to Buenos Aires, Argentina, over the next two years. IBM spokesman Jeff Tieszen also confirmed Tuesday that another 48 Houston-based staff members are also being transferred. ''There are some positions opening up with clients in Houston that IBM staff will be able to apply for,'' Jeff Tieszen, an IBM spokesman, said. ''Employees not retained will receive severance.''
  • Tulsa World: Tulsa will lose 350 IBM jobs. By Laurie Winslow. Excerpts: When asked if this announcement indicates a change in IBM’s attitude toward Tulsa as a low-cost location for these types of positions and employees, Tieszen referred to his e-mailed comments. ...

    In 2004, IBM officials anticipated that the company’s Tulsa location, which had 1,200 employees at the time, could nearly double its Tulsa work force by adding up to 1,000 positions by 2009. When asked Tuesday if that was still the prediction for the company, Tieszen said he would have to check. He e-mailed later in the evening to say he didn’t expect to receive an answer so late in the day.

    Selected reader comments from the Tulsa World article follow:

    • 5/14/2008 8:10:06 AM, Lawrence, Tulsa. I work for this center. I'm fortunate I still have my job, but it won't be long. Look for the rest to be moved to North Carolina where IBM has another center within the next 3 years. About 2/3 are high paying professional jobs, $60,000-120,000 salaries, the rest are clerical which run less than half that. How can anyone say this is good for Tulsa?? Al
    • 5/14/2008 8:21:46 AM, IBMer, Tulsa. Not sure how this is good for Tulsa. The remaining 700 jobs will be gone shortly after these jobs leave, so that will be around 1,100 jobs lost. Wow, that should REALLY be good for Tulsa! From a professional Accountant/I.T. perspective, IBM is one of the worst places in Tulsa to work, so maybe in the long-run, this will force good employees to find a decent work environment elsewhere. Just looking for a silver lining...
    • 5/14/2008 9:21:35 AM, Montreal Dreamin', Jenks. Talk about it all you want, people. Talking is doing nothing to solve it. IT IS TIME FOR ACTION. The middle class is being executed while we sit and do nothing. I've heard it said that a little revolution now and then is a healthy thing. When the government and business world fails to do right by its people, the average Joe MUST stand up. We have been at that point for some time. Yes, I'm mad, and yes, I am ready and willing to act. Who else is? We have no leadership now. If it keeps going the way it is, we will be totally enslaved to the upper echelon of the corporate world and OPEC. We have to act NOW.
    • 5/14/2008 10:11:45 AM, IBM Contractor, Tulsa. This also affects contractors. Those that were told after six months to a year, they would be hired. So the contractor works their butts off only to be told they will not be hired. And now, we see why, because those contract jobs (along with permanent jobs) will be sent to Argentina
    • 5/14/2008 12:05:31 PM, JM, Tulsa. Anyone who thinks that ANY IT outsourcer will increase jobs in the US is living in a fantasy world. The only way IT outsourcers’ increase jobs in the US is if the contract requires it. I work for an IT outsourcer and all of them from IBM, EDS, CA, etc will continue to send jobs out of the US. The big IT guys don’t care about the long term damage this is causing the US tax base from schools to roads. They (IBM, EDS, CA, etc) cannot see past the next quarter and are they making enough money to satisfy Wall Street.
    • 5/14/2008 5:42:00 PM, IMO, Tulsa. I don't understand how we can keep moving income OUT of the country and expect the country to prosper. The ONLY prosperity or profit to be gained from that practice is for the companies taking away our source of income. Americans who are unemployed or underemployed cannot purchase good and services. Americans who are unemployed or underemployed contribute less in taxes to support everything that keeps our country running. Americans who are unemployed or underemployed cannot contribute to prosperity or improve the future for their children. They are doomed to struggle for survival. Americans who are unemployed or underemployed find it difficult to instill hope for a brighter future for their children if the opportunities only exist in OTHER countries. We need our government to own up to their failures and correct them.
    • 5/16/2008 8:24:30 AM, not OK, How many of you IBMers went to the 2006 Stockholder's Meeting to voice your concerns to the CEO about how important Tulsa is to IBM's success? IBM said it would increase jobs in Tulsa at that time. So how can IBM now afford to offshore 350 jobs and still plan to significantly increase Tulsa workforce by 2009? IBM hoodwinks again. Says one thing and does another.
  • CNET News: Dim outlook for H-1B changes in this Congress? By Anne Broache. Excerpt: The U.S. Congress won't be beefing up the number of H-1B visas anytime soon, the chief legal adviser to an influential Republican predicted Monday. Proposals to raise the annual H-1B cap would sail through Congress if called up for a floor vote, but political considerations mean that probably won't happen anytime soon, said George Fishman, chief counsel to the Republican side of a U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee panel on immigration.

    That's because the Democratic leadership, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has given the Congressional Hispanic Caucus "veto power" over any immigration-related bill that comes to the House floor, regardless of its popularity, Fishman said at a panel discussion here hosted by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that supports an increase in the H-1B cap.

  • CNN/Money: IBM and Indian business school sign agreement. Excerpt: Technology company IBM Corp. and the Indian School of Business on Tuesday said they signed a joint research agreement focused on improving the competitiveness of the services sector in Asia. The research will be led by the Centre for Global Logistics and Manufacturing Strategies at the Indian School of Business and IBM's India Research Laboratory. The research will study mathematical modeling techniques and social networks to enable organizations to improve the way people work.
  • The Street: Big Blue to Meet Its Match in HP-EDS. By Ivy Lessner. Excerpts: H-P announced Tuesday that it will buy the outsourcing services company for $13.9 billion. The deal will be bad "for anyone that doesn't have H-P or IBM on their business card," said IDC analyst Bob Welch.

    Even IBM, the leader in the global services and outsourcing business, will ultimately feel the pressure. Gartner puts the worldwide market for IT services in 2007 at $748 billion. With $54 billion in services revenue, IBM had 7.2% of the market. At $22 billion, EDS had 3%, while H-P had 2.3%. ...

    For IBM, the merger would create an aggressive, diversified competitor nearly on IBM's scale. IBM and EDS compete especially in the government sector. "There is now someone that is close to offering [IBM's] comprehensive offerings," Foster said.

    IBM delivers enviable profit margins on its services businesses: Its global technology services took in $35.1 billion in 2007, or 7% growth in constant currency, and had a pretax profit margin of 9.4%. Its global business services grew 9% to $18 billion, delivering a margin of 10.7%.

    Those figures are well beyond a reported profit margin of 6% for EDS, although the comparison is not "fair," Foster said. "IBM is selling higher-end consulting, application-customization services where the margins are very good."

  • Washington Post: HP taking aim on IBM with risky $13.2B acquisition of EDS. By Michael Liedtke. Excerpts: Investors already are worried that HP is taking an unnecessary risk on EDS, whose disappointing profit margins had caused its stock to drop by about 30 percent over the past year. HP shares sagged $2.56, or 5.5 percent, to finish Tuesday at $44.27. "It appears to be a very daunting deal," American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu. ...

    The estimated $550 billion market for technology services has long been dominated by IBM Corp., which has about a 10 percent share. HP ranks a distant fifth with a 3 percent market share, based on its $16.6 billion in technology services revenue in its last fiscal year. HP has already surpassed IBM as the world's largest all-purpose technology company, based on revenue. ...

    To wring more profit from the EDS takeover, HP indicated it will make significant layoffs as it eliminates overlapping jobs and cuts other expenses. Hurd and EDS CEO Ronald Rittenmeyer declined to estimate how many workers might lose their jobs. HP already has eliminated about 15,000 jobs since Hurd took control.

  • eWeek: Study Says H-1Bs Aren't the Best or Brightest. Excerpts: One of the main arguments touted by groups interested in seeing an increase in the cap on H-1B temporary worker visas is that those who wish to work here on these visas are some of the world's best recruits, and their addition to the work force would foster U.S. innovation and global competitiveness.

    Opponents to the program argue that H-1B visas do none of the above, but are instead used by large, greedy tech companies to undercut the wages of U.S. workers, effectively pushing them out of jobs. Opponents cite fines levied against system abusers as evidence.

    In an article published this month by the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank favoring fewer immigrants but a warmer welcome for those admitted, Norman Matloff, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who has been a longtime critic of the H-1B program, took a look at the median salaries of H-1B visa workers in the U.S. and found that although these workers weren't being underpaid, the median salary for a tech worker on an H-1B is simply the prevailing wage for their job and no more.

    From there, Matloff drew the conclusion that if these workers were truly the best and brightest and would be able to foster U.S. innovation, they'd be able to command salaries higher than the prevailing wage.

    "Most foreign tech workers, particularly those from Asia, are in fact of only average talent. Moreover, they are hired for low-level jobs of limited responsibility, not positions that generate innovation. This is true both overall and in the key tech occupations, and most importantly, in the firms most stridently demanding that Congress admit more foreign workers," Matloff writes.

  • New York Times: Good Times at Sotheby’s. Excerpts: As the housing market continues to implode, financial markets go haywire and recession looms, there is nothing like an art sale in New York to reassure everyone that it is still fun to be rich.

    By the presale estimates for the big auctions of contemporary art this week, the market could fairly be characterized as rosy. Sotheby’s estimates it will raise a record $375 million to $477 million. Christie’s hopes for $280 million to $390 million, also a record. Both hope to sell paintings at prices once reserved for large corporate jets or small islands: Sotheby’s expects to get $70 million for a triptych by Francis Bacon, almost $20 million more than the record for the artist set last year.

    Reassuring as it may be to see a least some consumer spending booming, the art world’s ever rising valuations are a symptom of a growing imbalance in the American economy: the unprecedented concentration of the spoils of growth at the very top. This is not a healthy thing for any country, especially one that eschewed royalty a long time ago.

    To understand how large the gap has grown, consider 1993. Then, the richest 1 percent of families pocketed 14 percent of the nation’s income. By 2006, their slice had grown to 23 percent. If that seems extreme, consider that two years ago the 15,000 families in the top 0.01 percent of the population drew 5.5 percent of the nation’s total income, an even higher share than during the gilded age. ...

  • Monster: Eight Tips for Older Workers in IT. By Allan Hoffman. Excerpt: There are good and bad ways to be on the cutting edge at work. Getting your tongue pierced or dressing like the latest pop idol are bad ways. Good ways, as some older techies know, include learning the latest programming techniques or staying current through listservs and blogs.

    Age discrimination and bias, burnout and the pressure to keep skills current are all issues older technology workers face. Some workers contend companies prefer young, comparatively cheap talent to those with more experience.

News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
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  • San Francisco Chronicle: More who need major surgery are leaving U.S. Overseas treatments sometimes carry extra risks, but can come at fraction of the expense. By Victoria Colliver. Excerpts: Robert Lupo of Santa Rosa had never been on an airplane until last month, when he flew to India to get his hip replaced. The 45-year-old self-employed contractor had dropped his Kaiser coverage before an uninsured driver hit him last summer while he was riding his motorcycle. A $50,000 settlement covered those medical bills and living expenses while he was unable to work, but Lupo later learned he needed a hip replacement - a $30,000 price he couldn't afford.

    With pain as his primary motivator, Lupo started researching his options online. He eventually found his way to WorldMed Assist, a 2-year-old Concord company that is part of a growing industry that makes arrangements for Americans to get medical care abroad.

    Lupo's hip surgery and hospital stay cost $8,880 at Wockhardt Hospital in Bangalore. Even with the $1,300 airfare, the procedure totaled about a third of what it would have cost Lupo at a local hospital. ...

    American physicians warn that patients who seek care overseas for complex procedures such as orthopedic surgeries may underestimate the potential for something to go wrong, both overseas and upon their return. "Everything is made in China now. It doesn't have to be that way for health care," said Dr. Robert Klapper, chief of orthopedic surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. "You take major risks when you go elsewhere."

  • National Public Radio: Insurers Eye Savings from Treatment Overseas. Excerpt: Uninsured Americans are flying to Thailand for cheap surgery. But reporter Avery Comarow says U.S.-based insurance companies are studying the safety of sending patients to foreign countries for cheap major surgery.
  • The Commonwealth Fund: Universal Mandatory Health Insurance in The Netherlands: A Model for the United States? By Wynand P. M. M. van de Ven, Ph.D., and Frederik T. Schut, Ph.D. Excerpt: In 2006, the Netherlands launched a sweeping national health care initiative to provide universal health care coverage for its population. According to the authors of "Universal Mandatory Health Insurance in the Netherlands: A Model for the United States?" (Health Affairs, May/June 2008), it is a model that may be of particular interest to policymakers in the United States. Not a single-payer system—a policy approach often considered a nonstarter in U.S. policy circles—the Dutch approach combines mandatory universal health insurance with competition among private health insurers. The Commonwealth Fund-supported article was authored by Wynand P.M.M. van de Ven, Ph.D., and Frederik Schut, Ph.D., of Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
  • TheStreet.com: Health Savings Accounts Come Under Fire. By Simone Baribeau. Excerpts: Health savings accounts were criticized as "tax shelters" that help the wealthy at the expense of those struggling to afford insurance coverage at a Wednesday Congressional hearing. The House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Health convened the hearing in the wake of a recent General Accountability Office report that found average adjusted gross income for HSA participants was $139,000 -- more than double that of non-participants. ...

    HSAs "start off providing assistance to those who already can afford health care coverage period," said Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.). Becerra argued that HSAs provided "tax shelters" for the relatively small number of people who had maxed out their yearly savings in IRAs and 401(k)s, and that the program lacked sufficient oversight to guarantee that participants were spending the money on qualified health care expenses. ...

    For healthy individuals who can afford to make large contributions, the benefits go beyond medical: after age 65 participants can withdraw income -- penalty-free -- and use it on non-medical expenses.

    Money deposited into an HSA can be deposited pretax or claimed as an above-the-line deduction, earnings grow tax-free, and no taxes are taken out when funds are used for qualified medical expenses. Though younger people who withdraw funds for nonmedical expenses are subject to taxes and a 10% withdrawal penalty, people over 65 can use the money for other expenses, and it's taxed only as income.

    Those looking to skirt the law and withdraw the money early for other uses, face very little risk of being caught: the only oversight to HSA spending is IRS audits, and fewer than 1% of taxpayers are audited every year.

    "This is sounding more and more like a really good tax shelter if you happen to have a lot of money if you've maxed out on your [401(k) or IRA]," said Rep. Becerra. "It sounds to me like a Ponzi scheme here."

New on the Alliance@IBM Site:
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  • Spotlight: As the Alliance@IBM CWA Local 1701 begins its Spring membership drive you need to know some hard facts.

    The Alliance has been losing members due to retirement, job loss and employee financial difficulties. This web site receives an average of 40,000 visitors a month.

    Tough economic times are obvious; however, we simply can not go on or take employee advocacy to higher levels if we don't build our dues paying membership. It is not just this web site: It is an office and an organization that is at stake. Our staff of 1 full time, 1 part time and volunteers/members are dedicated to building this organization; but it is up to YOU to see that we are able to keep the office open and the organization financially viable. We need to become financially independent--We can not continue to rely on being financed by non-IBM CWA members. IBM employees need to support their own organization!

    Frankly if IBM employees do not see the value of this employee organization then the future of our work is in jeopardy.

    Please consider joining the Alliance@IBM as a member for only $10 a month--the cost of a few Starbuck's coffees. Your dues and involvement help the Alliance with the following:

    • Organizing employees and challenging IBM on policies and practices detrimental to employees and retirees.
    • Exposing job cuts.
    • Helping employees to deal with redeployment and replacement training.
    • World wide media source for IBM employee issues.
    • Legal references and current labor law information.
    • Political action on employee issues.
    • Stockholder proposals and actions.
    • Working with International IBM employee Unions to develop worldwide responses to IBM employee issues.
    • Working with Federal, State, and Local officials to make sure IBM employees, IBM retirees and communities find information and remedies for toxic exposures from IBM sites.
    • Union privileges and benefits through Alliance@IBM's membership that are offered through the Union Plus /Privilege program.

    We also have the expense of keeping an office up and running: Rent, Office supplies, fax, phones internet access and mailings of organizing materials; such as newsletters, flyers and brochures.

    We believe Alliance@IBM has, by its very existence; given IBM Corporate Mgmt pause, during their anti-employee actions.

    The bottom line is that if we are NOT here, then IBM Corporate Management has the field. There will be some who say that employees do not want representation through an employee organization or a union. Now is the time: Prove them wrong or prove them right.

  • From the Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • To readers of the Alliance comment sections: Please read the front page of the Alliance web site for important news on our membership drive. Many of you read and participate in the comment sections and find them a valuable resource for what is going on inside IBM. But in order to keep this resource we need growth in our dues paying membership. Please click the links above and join the Alliance. Your only source for the real news inside IBM.
    • Comment 5/12/08: My hiding place was not good enough. After being held accountable for things well out of my control, I now find myself in an RA situation. I have been around long enough to know that yes you can"look" for another internal job, but I am asking myself, do I want to continue working for this shithole company or do I want to try and hold on long enough that I can recover from this financial looting our government and CEO's have done for the past 8 years. I guess 10 years and 41 yrs old is the cut off. In the meantime, I am reporting revenue counts for a customer in excess of 22mm. I hope they all rot in hell. Get out if you can, I was stupid and stayed too long. -Pissed off-
    • Comment 5/13/08: RIF 5/12/08 - Just got the call yesterday, I've been laid off. ITS AIX division, 11 years IBM. Had to tell the PM of my current project I was laid off. So far this appears very hush-hush. Not finding any detail about it at all, only heard of 2 other people being cut in GBS. Only common thread is we are all IT Specialists band 8. -Outta here!-
    • Comment 5/13/08: Internal job post openings in Microelectronics have been pulled. Even offered jobs have been closed. A sure sign that it is time for a big lay off and making sure there are no internal jobs to go to. -no name-
    • Comment 05/14/08: Layoffs in May? Of course this has been the norm for many years now. IT Specialists? One of their favorites. You can't sit back and wait and see. You have to be active and organize a union or they will do whatever they want. To those of you getting notified, my advice is, there is life after IBM. You'll be glad you got out of there. Believe me it's not the end of the world. To those of you left, if you want to stay, get the union going now or you're next. Don't sit back or you will be getting your notice next. -Its_starting_again-
    • Comment 05/15/08: RA notifications today for Public Sector delivery in ITD. Unknown numbers. -The Informant-
    • Comment 05/15/08: monday and tuesday IBM laid off IGS and SO employees this week The IGS folks have 30 days to find another job in IBM or leave. They will not tell us how many people were affected or why this is happening except for a resource action for either "work elimination" or staff reduction. They still have hiring slots for Maximo, ITCAM, and NetCool skills. The people being laid off are mobile so they live all over the country. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 05/16/08: I am seeing jobs going away, and new job postings for Job Title + Intern; like Project Manager-Intern. Now if they hire interns for IBM customer projects (at a reduced rate) do you think that these savings are passed along to the customers? I think not. So they are not only ruining the workforce but damaging quality. Sad. -green mile-
    • Comment 05/16/08: To those of you being told you have 30 days to find another position"within" the company, use that time to find a job "outside" the company. Believe what I tell you...NOBODY in that company will even look at you. Been there done that. Use the next 30 days 8 hours a day, or more, looking. You are marked for termination!! Without a UNION, you have no chance and are treated unfairly by companies like big blow. -I_had_30_days_too-
  • General Visitor's Comment page:
    • Comment 05/12/08: IBM is now outsourcing support jobs to Vietnam for order goods from the United States. Someone called me today from Vietnam regarding a purchase requisition. I tried in vein to understand what this person was trying to say. Talk about a major communication gap. I had to hang up and only wonder what the status of my order was. Sending jobs to Vietnam is another one of IBM’s values that only show what the present Day IBM has become. Meanwhile American workers are losing their jobs to forced cheaper labor and becoming complacent for their actions.. -POW-
    • Comment 05/13/08: http://www.physorg.com/news129225048.html Donofrio and Zeitler to retire. Hooray. About time these hanger on executive pigs leave. Notice how Donofrio's CTO position is not being filled. Wasn't Nick the guy who said that there is no new big thing in technology now? Some words of wisdom. They both will also be able to exercise the last of the Gerstner granted executive stock options so the run up of the IBM stock now with the accelerating stock buybacks makes these two pigs that sure can fly now in retirement! -pigs_can_fly-
    • Comment 05/16/08: First, they started off shoring jobs, and I did not join the Alliance because my job was not being sent offshore. Then they froze the pension, and I did not join the Alliance because it would be a long time before I retired and I would have many years to make up the difference with the enhanced company contributions. Then they cut the salaries of the IT Specialists, and I did not join the Alliance because I was not an IT Specialist. Then I was RA'd, and there was no Alliance left to speak out for me. Wake up people!! - Join the Alliance before it is too late. -You Could Be Next-
    • Comment 05/16/08: For sale. CEO and Board of Directors along with various other top level executives. These folks will make a great addition to a mining company because they have proven adept at driving a huge corporation straight into the ground. Contact IBM for the latest prices on these positions. Sammy stacks em deep and sells em cheap, no wait, that's employees jobs and lives. End this madness for yourselves and your families. Unionize. -Exodus 2007-
  • Pension Comments page
  • Raise and Salary Comments
    • Comment 05/16/08: IBM stock price in a huge run up. This means more stock option profits to reap for the executives and likely less of a fair and decent USA employee compensation plan to be done next month. Why I joined the Alliance? Easy. I want a union contract so when IBM does better and it's stock goes up significantly my pay will go up as well. I work for IBM and contribute to their success so I should also see more money because of it just like the IBM USA executives always do. Without a union contract the only compensation that really goes up is the IBM executives'. I'm tired of hearing '---that is all we have in the budget when it comes to salary plans---' year after year and getting no raise or a 2% slap in the face raise when I am lucky enough to get one. -go_union-
  • PBC Comments
  • International Comments
Vault Message Board Posts:
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Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC. Some sample posts follow:

  • "Interesting point" by "civilliberty". Full excerpt: I can't say that I knew many of these people at the upper echelons of IBM, but based on the presentations of the more senior figures in the consulting/services side of the business they remind me very much of Australia's current prime minister - disposed more towards spin than substance. I would have to question any claims that such people were/are successful in industry. Industry by and large is a lot more pragmatic than IBM with an emphasis on producing tangible results or you'll be out the door.

    IBM is not a good place to start or end a career - as most people on here would probably testify to. If it's your only start then view it as a stepping stone, but not an end in itself. The appraisal system is rigged (it simply is not objective enough and is designed to favor management). I am now convinced that HR's role in IBM is to break the independent spirit of an individual and then remake that person in an image of their own choosing. This creates a gullible employee who will stay with the company and put up with their dehumanizing processes until THEY are ready to dispose of them.

    I have worked in industry and consulting. Industry still has good processes that are designed to produce favourable outcomes for the business. IBM's main concern is for it's people to be billable. Unfortunately, this creates a range of detrimental and counter-productive behaviours.

    It isn't your manager's fault - it's the executives who are using this to drive costs down and stock price up. They don't care about employee morale, or investing in employee education or retaining talent and skills - all they want is to cut costs regardless of the effect upon the business. Here's the reality:

    • At IBM and many large companies, the sole goal of the executive leadership is to increase the short term stock price. Nothing else matters.
    • Stock price determines a large part of executive compensation - including performance bonuses and stock options.
    • Stock price is directly related to corporate profits.
    • Profit is revenue minus costs.
    • If you can't grow revenue to grow profit, you must cut costs.
    • It is much easier to cut costs than it is to grow revenue.
    • You are a cost.
    • As a cost, you stand between executives and their compensation.
    • The executives believe (perhaps wrongly) that investing in you by paying you competitively, giving you raises and promotions, and treating you fairly doesn't raise profits.
    • The executives believe (perhaps wrongly) that their miserly scrooge-like remuneration practices won't hurt profits.

    That's the frank reality.

  • "Raises - the white elephant in the room" by "dilbertlives". Full excerpt: What is the deal with raises this year? Don't they go into effect in June. I have not heard ANYTHING. I guess management thinks that if they don't say anything, people will forget. Ya right!Cheap b@st@rds
  • "They aren't talking..." by "Frank_Reality". Full excerpt: ...because the salary plans are a devastatingly poor. Many, perhaps most job families in the services part of the business are getting zero pay increases. If you're lucky and are a top performer you might see a token performance bump of 1 or 2%.

    What part of nothing don't you understand?

    It isn't your manager's fault - it's the executives who are using this to drive costs down and stock price up. They don't care about employee morale, or investing in employee education or retaining talent and skills - all they want is to cut costs regardless of the effect upon the business. Here's the reality:

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.

This site is designed to allow IBM Employees to communicate and share methods of protecting their rights through the establishment of an IBM Employees Labor Union. Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act states it is a violation for Employers to spy on union gatherings, or pretend to spy. For the purpose of the National Labor Relations Act, notice is given that this site and all of its content, messages, communications, or other content is considered to be a union gathering.