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Highlights—July 5, 2008

  • American Public Media: Janet Goes to Washington (audio broadcast). Synopsis: IBM was central to Janet Krueger's life. Her father worked there. The company paid for her college education. After graduating, Janet began working there herself. She expected to be there until retirement - at which point she expected IBM would take care of her just as it had her father.

    But when she learned about drastic changes in IBM's pension plan, she lost faith in the company. She went to Washington to make her case and, to her surprise, developed a belief in the power of the American political system to help ordinary Americans. At the age of 49, Janet left IBM. She is now working as a lawyer.

    Editor's note: This interview with my hero, Janet Krueger, is a "must listen to" broadcast. In it, Janet talks about the love she had for IBM, her father's IBM history, the pension rip off of IBM employees, Janet's association with Senator Wellstone, her trips to Washington, and her new career as a public defender. Even if you've faithfully followed these highlights and the Yahoo! forums since the pension and retiree medical theft in 2000, you'll gain new insight into what went on by listening to the broadcast.

    If the broadcast is no longer available on the American Public Media link above, you may download or listen to the MP3 file hosted on www.ibmemployee.com.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: Re: "The Story" broadcast. By Don Shuper. Full excerpt: Great interview Janet !! I also learned quite a few 'pieces" of your story that I was vaguely aware of . I'll bet a small percentage of the posters on this board - and an even smaller percentage of IBM- GE-Boeing- etc employees-retirees know just how much work and effort you put in. From myself - a big THANK YOU ! Should be required listening for all- and yes it can be downloaded - and takes about 1/2 hour to listen to.

    I took the liberty of digging up a related article on the duke site that appeared in Plan Sponsor several years ago SOME OF THE NEWBIES MIGHT FIND IT WORTHWHILE http://www.dukeemployees.com/madashell.html

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: Re: "The Story" broadcast. By "volunteerdfw". Full excerpt: Janet, I listened to your interview over the net last night. Although I am one of the happy ones that lasted 40 years and got a pension, I can identify with the changes you witnessed. Your recollections of the holiday gatherings and recognition events made me smile. Thanks for representing so many IBMers.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: "The Story" broadcast". Full excerpt: Janet, your interview was truly inspiring. I will never be able to thank you enough for getting the ball rolling and for greatly contributing to the creation of the large group of second choicers. What's ironic is that the dismantling of American retirement security continues right through today with Boeing just announcing the demise of their traditional pension plan. The greed of the "haves" is ruining our great country. Again, thank you so much and I hope you enjoy your new and rewarding work.
  • Money/CNN: Texas state auditor: $863M collaboration behind. Auditor's report: $863 million Texas-IBM project bogged down by employee, coordination issues. Excerpt: Challenges such as the difficulty in obtaining seasoned state workers and high turnover among IBM employees are slowing an $863 million state of Texas-IBM project, the state auditor said in a report. The seven-year IBM project, designed to streamline the information technology operations of 27 Texas agencies, was 273 days behind schedule as of April, according to the audit release Wednesday.
  • Yahoo! Finance: The highest paid IT company CEOs. Excerpt: AP examined 2007 CEO pay data from the 410 companies in the S&P 500 that filed compensation disclosures with federal regulators in the first six months of this year. The following are the top earners at companies in the IT sector. 1. Mark Hurd of Hewlett-Packard: $26 million 2. Samuel J. Palmisano of International Business Machines Corp.: $21 million 3. Ronald Rittenmeyer of Electronic Data Systems: $13.6 million.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Raises" by "sby_willie". Full excerpt: Any constructive talk about the paltry raises IBM has been giving out this month? Or is everyone numb in shock? I for one asked HR why the raise announcements were being delayed and I got a response that signalled me in early June that the raises would have to be poor since the response I got was not believable. I told them it was unacceptable to delay the announcement and also delay the raises upwards to two weeks even with a retroactive action. (Who got to play with the 2 weeks' raise money buckets and interest?)

    It also showed that IBM wanted to close and dust 2nd QTR first before announcing gloomy raise news to the resources. But gloomy news should have been foreseen already once the I/T Specialists and System Admins in 06A got clobbered with a -15% base pay cut. One could only conclude that the raises would stink since the same IBM comment on it "...we (IBM) have to do this pay remix to remain competitive..." also actually applies to these recent raises as well.

    IBM says they pay based on performance but how come some PBC "1" performers got no raise? How come PBC "2+" in skilled areas got little or also no raise? And how come no MBA's for skill groups that have many well below their market base reference midpoint pay for PBC "2+" appraisals for many, many, consecutive years?

    2007 was supposedly a banner year for profits and revenues in IBM. The executives did well and judging from their insider trades are still doing quite well for themselves.

    So all those profits went to stock buybacks for the executives to enjoy and none was put into the raise buckets for employees. So even if IBM has a bad QTR going forward the rainy day for the executive is but a drizzle and not a drencher like it will be for the IBM resource (we used to be called an employee).

    So what is next in 2009? Either no raises at all, less bonus pay if any at all, or more folks being added to the 7600 pay cut folks?

    I say we do our best now to work toward getting IBM to the table with a collective bargaining agreement since we have to hold them to a written contract since they don't make any positive promises to us anymore and whatever ones they made in the past they seem free to break. If IBM had a great 2007 then our raises should reflect it with at least an average raise at the rate of inflation!!! If 2008 is also stellar then we should also see better raises as well.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: Raises" by "bits_bytes_and_bugs". Full excerpt: Three comments:
    • You know something is terribly wrong when the company is making record profits, but more of the employees got nothing (again) and those that did got a measly 1-2 percent.
    • We have a crisis in leadership at IBM - certainly if times are so tough that employees get next to nothing, the executives should lead by example and not receive pay raises, bonuses, stock options and other remuneration.
    • It is clear the executives of IBM do not give a rat's ass about their employees. I think it is time to return the favor. F*ck 'em all.
  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree Information Exchange: "Re: Social Security Do-Over" by "artthomp". Full excerpt: Social Security and other social programs fall in the area of tax fairness to me. We appear to be living in a second gilded age such as occurred in the late 1800s and early 1900s in my opinion. Finally the wealthy and powerful of that era screwed up the economy so badly we had the great depression and that gave Roosevelt the opportunity to create Social Security and increased government regulation on markets gone wild (as today).

    It is a well known fact that hedge fund managers who make hundreds of millions of dollars pay federal taxes at a 15% rate. It is also a well known fact that a single working poor person with a taxable income above $7,551 pays federal taxes at a 15% rate plus FICA and Medicare taxes at a rate at a 6.2% rate (earned income is taxed at this rate up to $97,500) for a total federal tax load of 21.2%. Hedge fund managers play the role of witch doctors in my opinion and none of them would beat a well diversified portfolio of index funds over the long haul. They represent the rich man's folly in my opinion. This is an obscene tax loophole!

    It is also true that a wealthy person that inherited all of their wealth and never contributed a day's work to society is taxed at a 15% rate on dividends and capital gains.

    Since 1980, government tax and industrial policy has resulted in more and more concentration of wealth in the hands of the wealthiest while the middle class has lost income and wealth in real terms during the same period. I am a beneficiary of some of those policies having taking full advantage of my 401K and IRA opportunities while I was working. Because of that, since I am now retired, I am in a fairly comfortable position unless Social Security and Medicare are dismantled and my companies defined benefit pension is stolen.

    In 1980 the maximum income tax rate was 70% for a married couple making more than $117,504 in taxable income. In 2007 the maximum income tax rate was 35% for a married couple making more than $336,551 in taxable income. I thought taxes were too high then since I was married and in a 43% tax bracket while making a little over $35,200 of taxable income.

    I believe the Bush tax cuts and the Iraq war are the primary reasons for the huge budget deficits. I personally am willing to pay for a government that works. If we want a war we should pay for it and people making $336,551 or even $1,000,000 a year in taxable income can certainly afford to pay more than 35%! They have a bigger stake in protecting their accumulated capital! I have also not noticed that having more money has necessarily made anyone more altruistic, generous, or a better citizen (Enron executives, Global Crossing executives, Adelphia executives, many corporate executives stealing employee's pension funds, many corporate executives stealing corporate funds, etc.).

    I don't believe the wealthy are necessarily creating jobs and redistributing wealth in the United States anymore. They are just as apt to invest in sending jobs overseas, moving money overseas, increasing their own compensation (interlocking boards of directors with minimal owner oversight today), and minimizing their responsibilities and promises to shareholders, employees, retirees, and vendors.

    In 1980 a CEO earned on average 42 times the average worker's salary. In 2004 CEOs earned an average of 431 times the average worker's salary. In Europe and Asia CEO salaries are on the order of 11 or 12 times workers salaries. These salaries hold up even when the business results are poor. I believe the stockholders, the employee, and everybody but management is being taken for a bath!

  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree Information Exchange: "IBM Retiree Reunion Atlanta" by "rbiggy42". Full excerpt: Did anyone else on this group attend at the Hillside complex yesterday? I'm not an IBM booster, haven't been for years. As if I needed confirmation that my opinion of IBM is right on, yesterday clinched it for me.

    An invitation was received at home. I did the RSVP thing and actually was looking forward to seeing some guys I hadn't seen in probably 20 years. First, it seems the whole event was put on by the IBM credit Union. All the greeters, etc, etc were credit union people. And it should be said before I go on, they did a fine job of making us feel welcome.

    The point I want to make is that the IBM Company expended nothing, zip, zero, zilch as far as I could tell to make it seem like this was an event sanctioned, supported by the management of IBM. The first speaker was Shed Hamilton, who is now the Area Manager or some such title. What an absolutely awful speaker. Some woman, her name escapes me was next up and gave what was really a pep rally for IBM going forward. When anyone had the gall to ask a retiree oriented question, the answer was "I don't know".

    I've had the opinion for decades, including the last few years I was there that IBM management is nothing but a bunch of self aggrandizing wind-bags, and it was confirmed n-fold yesterday.

    When I retired, I joked with my friends that as long as IBM sent me my hush-money every month, I'd do as the definition of hush-money would imply, bite my tongue and smile. Not anymore. This company sucks like nothing I would have ever imagined.

    If a car at the mall is right at the door and taking up 2 spots, it's probably an IBM Manager. If a guy owns/drives a Hummer and a BMW and has a credit score of 500, it's probably an IBM manager. If a guy races up the breakdown lane on the interstate to get ahead of traffic, it'll be an IBM Manager. If a guy is a greasy money-grubbing CEO, he's ... If I guy is dumber than a fence post, it will be Randy.

  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree Information Exchange: "Re: IBM Retiree Reunion Atlanta" by "bits_bytes_and_bugs". Full excerpt: Best thing the credit union could do is "can" the IBM speakers and let the retirees mingle. But at least your credit union still retains the "IBM" in its name. The IBM MidAmerican Federal Credit union, realizing that they needed to expand while IBM was chronically laying off employees, first became Think Credit Union (and dropped the IBM from its name), then became Think Mutual Savings Bank, which means they are no longer limited to IBM employees and their relatives. Unlike IBM, Think Mutual Savings Bank now has a vibrant future.

    And speaking of your "if a guy..." quotes - I once was listening to a an IBM Vice President at a table with several customers. He was complaining about having to buy another new Mercedes Benz M-class for one of his children - his family already owned 4 of them. He also was whining about the cost of sending one of his kids to a private school at $30K+ per semester. I am not making this up.

    I hope the customers were as disgusted as I. My kids drove beat-up, high mileage cars, not new MBs. My kids went to state schools because private schools weren't possible given my financial state. We don't live in a fancy new large home. Yet my kids are both hard working and happy - both know we did our best for them.

    This exec's whining about his wealth, his privilege and his assets not being enough was arrogant but at the same time, was most pitiful. This is a glimpse of what the executive class is like within IBM. No wonder the company has a leadership vacuum.

  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree Information Exchange: "Re: IBM Retiree Reunion Atlanta" by Jake Standifird. Full excerpt: I tend to be a "glass half empty" type guy - but when it comes to IBM as an employer they have to be considered as one of the best. I worked for them 22 years, left in 1988 - have numerous friends who still work there - have worked for NCR, Stratus, Intelligroup and now Capgemini (70 or bust) since I left - all good companies - but none compared to IBM.

    For me, it's the personal things that made/make IBM so good to work for - like the secretary with a Poetry degree - that made a super career in system software support - or the typewriter tech who went on to be a Senior Project Manager.

    I think it's what you made/make of it. If you wouldn't work on your own advancement, wouldn't move for an opportunity, saw your work as just a J O B - then that's too bad.

  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree Information Exchange: "Re: IBM Retiree Reunion Atlanta". Full excerpt: Jake - IBM once was a great company to work for. It started going downhill just after you left. As for the current IBM, you're utterly clueless.

    But since 1999 it has been abysmal and going downhill every quarter - every quarter there are more layoffs regardless of the amount of work to do. Every year the salary plans are funded with less, every year benefits are cut back. Every year bonuses get cut. Good employees are going many years without a raise and when you get a raise, it's a piddling 1-2% even for a 1 appraisal. Everyone (except execs) are losing ground vs. inflation and have been since 1999. Exempts are brutally overloaded due to excessive resource cuts.

    Respect for the individual is dead - killed off by greedy money pinching executives whose sole goal is to pump up the stock price for the short term while cannibalizing the company's future prospects.

    It used to be when you worked there that employees were valued. The company invested in you and trained you. Management would reward you for extra effort and high performance There was the unwritten contract that the company would treat you well if you performed well. That gentlemen's agreement is also long gone.

    Employees are now treated like fungible commodities - to be dumped like garbage whenever the company execs want a quick cost reduction to pump the stock up. To be bought and sold like slaves. To be dumped without reason. To work hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime and get nothing but a scowl from your wife.

    Loyalty of the employee to the company is demanded, yet the company gives none in return. Quality and productivity are no longer rewarded or even valued - all that matters now is cost cutting. When is the last time you saw IBM on the 100 Best Companies to Work list. If there was a list of 100 worst, that's where IBM would be. Count you blessing you got out before all hell broke loose.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues: "Has Anything changed?" by "genpowerva". Full excerpt: Greetings, I am an ex- ibm'er who was laid off from BTV in 2002. I worked for ibm for 22 years. Like most ibm'ers in my age group, I had a great respect for the ibm I first joined, not the ibm I left. I've had several different jobs in the past six years, and not one of them treated me as bad as the way lou Gerstner's ibm did. Even at my lowest point, working at Home Depot, I was still treated better than when I left ibm. Not one of my employers since I left ibm have used a bell curve related appraisal system to review me. But enough about my escapades after ibm. I had not been on this web site since I left six years ago. I have just recently rejoined this site and I am a little surprised to see the same problems exist now as when I left. PBC's stink, Lay offs, Retirement bridges, People who need new jobs, and poor raises. Has ANYTHING Changed?
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues: "Re: Has Anything changed?" by "Bill and Barb...". Full excerpt: Nope...nothing's changed.. To be fair I think IBM had to 'change' from what it was in the 80's and early 90's. If it didn't they were sure to go out of business. But like many things once they got the ball rolling towards that change they didn't know when to stop. And since the employees sat back and let it happen. Why would the brass change how they are doing business? I'm not sure there is anyway to swing the pendulum back.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues: "Re: Has Anything changed?" by "sby_willie". Full excerpt: Has anything changed? Yes. Has the changes been for the better since 2002? Generally speaking, no. Here are some changes I can think of:
    • No pensions for newer employed IBMers.
    • Pension plans are frozen. Supposedly the pension plans are being replaced by the 401k+. But IBMers who simply can't afford to contribute to the 401k+ plan shows a shortcoming of the plan being used as a pension plan replacement.
    • IBM USA jobs are being increasingly offshored.
    • Raises are becoming closer to nothing and in some cases are 0%.
    • IBM Corporate communications is more distant. An example was the handling of the delay in the 2008 pay raise announcements. To say management needed more time to announce the raises or lack of a raise is not a real reason.
    • IBM bonus based pay called GDP (Growth Driven Pay) has replaced the variable pay program. The % payout has proved to be less than offered in 2002.
    • IBM buys back more and more (billions of $) of it's own stock. It would be interesting to see what the IBM share price would be without the buybacks. It would be real interesting to see how the net worth of the executive options would be without the buybacks.
    • More layoffs.
    • 7600 IT Specialist and Systems Management types in the USA were given a 15% pay cut which IBM is calling a "pay remix". This action smacks of retribution on IBM's part for the Rosenburg case which IBM agreed to settle rather than lose.
    • IBMer morale is generally lower.
    • There are other changes as well. Anyone else willing to add any?
  • New York Times: Anxious in America. By Thomas L. Friedman. Excerpts: Up to now, the economic crisis we’ve been in has been largely a credit crisis in the capital markets, while consumer spending has kept reasonably steady, as have manufacturing and exports. But with banks still reluctant to lend even to healthy businesses, fuel and food prices soaring and home prices declining, this is starting to affect consumers, shrinking their wallets and crimping spending. Unemployment is already creeping up and manufacturing creeping down. ...

    My fellow Americans: We are a country in debt and in decline — not terminal, not irreversible, but in decline. Our political system seems incapable of producing long-range answers to big problems or big opportunities. We are the ones who need a better-functioning democracy — more than the Iraqis and Afghans. We are the ones in need of nation-building. It is our political system that is not working. ...

    I continue to be appalled at the gap between what is clearly going to be the next great global industry — renewable energy and clean power — and the inability of Congress and the administration to put in place the bold policies we need to ensure that America leads that industry. “America and its political leaders, after two decades of failing to come together to solve big problems, seem to have lost faith in their ability to do so,” Wall Street Journal columnist Gerald Seib noted last week. “A political system that expects failure doesn’t try very hard to produce anything else.”

  • Associated Press, courtesy of Forbes: Anheuser-Busch to cut health, pension benefits. By Christopher Leonard. Excerpts: Anheuser-Busch Cos. plans to cut pension and health care benefits for its salaried employees as part of an effort to slash $1 billion in costs by the end of 2010 and fend off an unsolicited $46 billion bid from Belgian brewer InBev. The nation's biggest brewer laid out its benefit-cut plan in a memo sent to salaried employees Friday morning and provided to The Associated Press by the company Monday.

    The memo says employees' individual, lump sum payouts under the pension plan will be reduced by approximately 5 percent to 6 percent in 2009 and approximately 15 percent by 2012. Workers also will make a bigger contribution to their health insurance plan, rising from approximately 21 percent today to 25 percent of the cost beginning in 2009. ...

    The maker of Budweiser and Bud Light also said it is increasing its 2008 share repurchase plan to $3 billion from $2 billion and plans for $4 billion in repurchases in 2009. Anheuser-Busch will take a $300 million to $400 million charge related to the retirement plan in the fourth quarter. The plan has the potential to raise Anheuser-Busch's value to $66 or more a share, but that doesn't mean shareholders will go for the deal, said Stifel, Nicolaus and Co. analysts Mark Swartzberg and Mark Astrachan. That's because InBev is ready to pay $65 a share in cash immediately.

  • The Register: HP VP charged for trying to pass on IBM trade secrets. By Kelly Fiveash. Excerpt: A former Hewlett-Packard vice president has been charged by US federal prosecutors for allegedly attempting to pass trade secrets from his previous employer, IBM Corp, to senior HP execs. According to a US District Court indictment filed last Friday in San Jose, California, Atul Malhotra obtained “confidential” pricing details in March 2006. Prosecutors said in the document that Malhotra was the director of IBM global printer sales between 1997 and 2006.
  • Financial Week: Special Report: Retirement Benefits Execs pay it forward—to themselves. The IRS targets a popular (and perfectly legal) strategy for dodging the tax man when execs have huge company stakes to diversify. By Megan Johnston. Excerpt: The internal revenue service is cracking down on a formerly popular strategy for executives to defer taxes, and tax experts believe that a slew of litigation is on its way. At issue are variable prepaid forward contracts, which allow executives to get cash for their stock holdings while skirting capital gains taxes. They have served as an appealing retirement planning device for executives who want to reduce their personal financial exposure to their own companies as a result of stock option grants, although much of that diversification flies in the face of pay-for-performance demands by shareholder activists.
  • BusinessWeek: Technology: It's Where the Jobs Are. A new survey shows growth across the country, with higher-than-average pay. And with the number of tech grads falling, demand will only rise. By Arik Hesseldahl. Excerpts: Here's a hint for high school graduates or college students still majoring in indecision: Put down that guitar or book of poetry and pick up a laptop. Study computer science or engineering, and plan to move to a big city.

    A new survey out this week from AeA, the group formerly known as the American Electronics Assn., reports that jobs in the technology industry are growing at a healthy clip, especially in large cities. The organization's Cybercities 2008 survey says that 51 cities added high-technology jobs in 2006, the most recent year for which data were available. The survey tracks new jobs related to the creation of tech products, including fields such as chip manufacturing and software engineering. It is the AeA's first such survey since 2000, which was taken before the crash of the tech bubble that created so many jobs in the late 1990s. ...

    The highest concentration of technology workers—286 for every 1,000 workers—was in, no surprise, Silicon Valley. Boulder, Colo., came in second, with 230, and Huntsville, Ala.; Durham, N.C.; and Washington rounded out the top five in density.

    Now for the answer to the question on everyone's mind: Where are the highest salaries? That would be Silicon Valley, where the average tech worker is paid $144,000 a year. That's nearly double the $80,000 national average for tech jobs. Runners up included San Francisco and Oakland, Calif. Austin, Tex., home of Dell came in fourth, and Seattle was fifth. San Juan, Puerto Rico, had the lowest salaries, with an average of $38,000 a year, but living expenses there are also considerably lower.

  • Daily Herald (Suburban Chicago): Public sector benefiting in tough times. Decent pay, job security makes it attractive in uneasy economy. By Bob Susnjara. Excerpt: Like many people, Dann Giesey is making less money than this time last year. But for Giesey, the lower salary is his choice. In February, Giesey left his technology chief job at Klein Tools to become the director of technology at Woodland Elementary District 50 in Gurnee. He says his new job offered things more valuable than a larger paycheck: stability in a school system that won't be moving operations and helping in the education of children.

    "You make a difference in the corporate world, but it's measured by dollars and by sales," said Giesey, 44, of Crystal Lake. He's not alone in his thinking, jobs experts say. As the nation's economy continues to suffer, schools, villages and other areas of the public sector are being viewed as good places to work with traditional pensions and lower-cost health-care benefits making up for what can be reduced annual salaries.

News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
Minimize
  • New York Times editorial: Maybe I’ll Get Better on My Own. While politicians have been debating endlessly over the best ways to reform the American health care system, the plight of American patients has rapidly worsened. A new national survey found that an alarming 20 percent of the population, some 59 million people in all, either delayed or did without needed medical care last year, a huge increase from the 36 million people who delayed or did not seek care in 2003.

    As expected, people who have no health insurance — there are some 47 million of them — were most likely to make that difficult choice. But insured people also chose to go without care in ever-larger numbers.

    According to the survey, the main reason is soaring medical costs, which have outstripped the modest growth in wages in recent years. High costs are deterring not only the uninsured from seeking care, but also many insured people who are struggling with higher deductibles, co-payments and other out-of-pocket expenses as their employers or health plans shift more of the cost burden to them.

    Many patients with insurance said they went without care because their health plans would not pay for the treatment or their doctors or hospitals would not accept their insurance. Both insured and uninsured patients said they skipped treatments because they had trouble getting timely appointments, were unable to get through on the telephone, or could not make it to a doctor’s office or clinic when it was open. No doubt a weakening economy, high fuel prices, the home foreclosure crisis and general economic anxiety also played a role. ...

    Champions of so-called “consumer-directed health care” might argue that the market is working — people are wisely delaying or forgoing care of low marginal value. But it is disturbing that unmet medical needs increased the most for people in poor or only fair health — those most likely to get even sicker if they don’t get treatment.

  • RTTNews: UnitedHealth Settles Class Action Lawsuit; Trims FY'08 Profit Outlook Below Consensus. Excerpt: The lawsuit filed by the California Public Employees' Retirement System in 2006, alleged that UnitedHealth's CEO and COO collectively earned over $500 million by exercising the backdated options. However, the company has denied any wrongdoing.
  • National Public Radio: Most Patients Happy With German Health Care. By Richard Knox. Excerpt: Mention European health care to an American, and it probably conjures up a negative stereotype — high taxes, long waiting lines, rationed care. It's not that way in Germany. Very little tax money goes into the system. The lion's share comes, as in America, from premiums paid by workers and employers to insurance companies.

    German health benefits are very generous. And there's usually little or no wait to get elective surgery or diagnostic tests, such as MRIs. It's one of the world's best health care systems, visible in little ways that most Germans take for granted. ...

    The health care system that took such good care of Sabina is not funded by government taxes. But it is compulsory. All German workers pay about 8 percent of their gross income to a nonprofit insurance company called a sickness fund. Their employers pay about the same amount. Workers can choose among 240 sickness funds.

    Basing premiums on a percentage-of-salary means that the less people make, the less they have to pay. The more money they make, the more they pay. This principle is at the heart of the system. Germans call it "solidarity." The idea is that everybody's in it together, and nobody should be without health insurance. "If I don't make a lot of money, I don't have to pay a lot of money for health insurance," Sabina says. "But I have the same access to health care that someone who makes more money has." ...

    Actually, it's about the same proportion of income that American workers pay, on average, if they get their health insurance through their job. The big difference is that U.S. employers pay far more, on average, than German employers do — 18 percent of each employee's gross income versus around 8 percent in Germany. ...

    Moreover, German health insurance has more generous benefits than U.S. policies cover. There are never any deductibles, for instance, before coverage kicks in. And all Germans get the same coverage. For instance, the Casagrandes' insurance covers an expensive medicine Jan needs for a chronic intestinal problem. He says if they moved to America, they might not be able to buy insurance at all because of their pre-existing conditions — a nonproblem in Germany.

    "He says for himself — or for us — the health care system in the United States is the major reason why we have never moved there, and never will move there. Because both of us have chronic illnesses that have to have a lot of medical attention, and we would go broke," Sabina says, translating for Jan. Jan adds something else. "It's also the No. 1 reason in the United States that people personally go bankrupt," Sabina translates, "which would never happen here ... never!" ...

    Germans really hate any hint of unfairness in health care. The fundamental idea is that everybody must be covered and, preferably, everybody should get equal treatment. So the fact that 10 percent or so can buy some perks is an irritant — something Germans complain about but manage to put up with. But it's unthinkable that 48 million people wouldn't have health insurance at all — the situation in America. As an American, Chris thinks that's shameful. "It's terrible," he says. "It's unbelievable. It shouldn't happen." Germans, he says, would never tolerate that. And their system has been working pretty well for 125 years.

  • The American Prospect, courtesy of Physicians for a National Health Program: The Doctors' Revolt. Doctors, the traditional advocates for the medical status quo, are increasingly in favor of major reforms to the U.S. health-care system. By Roger Bybee. Excerpts: Doctors have historically been the watchdogs of the U.S. medical system, with the American Medical Association scaring New Dealers into dropping national health coverage from the Social Security Act and then the AMA shredding Harry Truman’s reform efforts in the late 1940s. But a new poll and other significant indicators suggest that doctors are turning against the health-insurance firms that increasingly dominate American health care.

    The latest sign is a poll published recently in the Annals of Health Research showing that 59 percent of U.S. doctors support a “single payer” plan that essentially eliminates the central role of private insurers. Most industrial societies — including nations as diverse as Taiwan, France, and Canada — have adopted universal health systems that provide health care to all citizens and permit them free choice of their doctors and hospitals. These plans are typically funded by a mix of general tax revenues and payroll taxes, and essential health-care is administered by nonprofit government agencies rather than private insurers.

  • Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation: More Than 500 Backlogged Whistle-Blower Cases Allege Health Care, Drug Company Fraud. Excerpts: Whistle-blower lawsuits alleging that pharmaceutical companies and government contractors defrauded the federal government have created a backlog of more than 900 cases at the Department of Justice, the Washington Post reports. According to the Post, more than 500 of the cases involve the health care and pharmaceutical industries, as well as Medicare and Medicaid.

    Lawyers involved in the backlogged disputes say DOJ "cannot keep pace with the surge in charges brought by whistle-blowers," the Post reports. Since 2001, 300 to 400 civil cases have been filed each year; however, the 75-lawyer unit that reviews the allegations investigates about 100 cases annually. Whistle-blowers routinely wait 14 or more months to find out whether DOJ will get involved in the case, during which time whistle-blowers are not allowed to discuss or disclose the existence of such disputes. The government rejects about three-quarters of the cases it receives, saying the majority lack merit.

    Some of largest the false-claims cases include a $650 million settlement reached this year with Merck in connection with an alleged failure to repay Medicaid rebates and a $515 million deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb to cover illegal drug pricing and marketing. The Post reports, "Even bigger lawsuits containing potentially explosive allegations are waiting in the wings."

  • San Francisco Bay-Guardian, courtesy of Consumer Watchdog.org: Bad Medicine, Under the Guise of Helpfulness, Big Pharma is After Your Confidential Medical Records. By Jake Whitney. Excerpts: Let's say you were recently diagnosed with a serious medical condition -- depression, for instance. Your doctor thinks medication is the way to go, but says it may take some experimentation to find the right drug. The first try: Paxil.

    For two weeks, you don't notice a difference. But then suddenly you can't sleep and you're suffering from headaches. So you call your doctor, who tells you to stop taking the meds and come in to discuss your condition further. In the meantime, you get an unusual mailer from Walgreens, your local pharmacy, saying "please remember to take your medication." Perplexed, you wonder if your pharmacist knows something your doctor doesn't, and you consider resuming the Paxil. Then you take another look at the mailer.

    In fine print, you see that the message wasn't sent by Walgreens, but by a company called Adheris. Since you've never heard of Adheris, you call your pharmacist for an explanation. The pharmacist tells you that Walgreens has been selling your prescription information to outside companies, which are contracted to send you these "reminders."

  • New York Times editorial: The Senate Stalls on Medicare. Excerpts: Before leaving town for the Fourth of July recess, Senate Republicans thwarted a vote on a sensible Medicare bill that would benefit doctors and patients at the expense of overpaid private health plans. The House approved the legislation with a vote of 355 to 59. The bill is supported by most doctors, hospitals and pharmacists. But it is vehemently opposed by the insurance industry and its Republican coddlers.

    The bill would protect doctors from a 10 percent cut in their reimbursement rates, and it would give them a tiny increase next year. It would also spend more money to enhance preventive services, improve low-income assistance programs and make other modest but worthwhile changes. The bill would largely and sensibly offset the additional costs by reducing payments to the private plans that participate in Medicare.

    That has inflamed opposition from the White House and Senate Republicans who seem determined to protect inefficient private plans from the rigors of competing fairly against traditional Medicare coverage. Medicare pays these private plans, known as Medicare Advantage, an average of 13 percent more to provide the same services as the traditional Medicare program.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site:
Minimize
  • Is IBM offshoring the IBM Payroll Help Desk to Manila, Philippines? If you have documentation please send to: Allianceibmunion@gmail.com
  • From the Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comment 06/26/08: I have heard from some top sources that as the summer progresses in BTV there is going to be more jobs lost. This will happen when Fishkill is done with their re-org. Good Luck to all those that feel safe. -Good Luck-
    • Comment 06/30/08: to the Alliance: Let me just say that if you maintain the number of members you have through 2010 you will get your union, because that is probably the number of IBM employees that will be left in the late, great, U.S. of A. -just1waiting-
    • Comment 06/30/08: 13 Distributed Operators to be RA'd in Lexington Kentucky due to the Wellpoint account going to India. Way to go Jeff Miller and Owen Cropper! Thanks for your support. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 07/01/08: Concerning the RA of Lexington Distributed Operators: I have it from good authority that anyone claiming time against the Wellpoint Account will be RA'd. In the past, Management was allowed to shed contractors and move regulars from the account that was being offshored to other accounts. Not with this action though. My understanding is that Jeff Miller has directed that anyone who was claiming time to Wellpoint must go. This is Miller’s way of sucking up to senior executives--showing them how tough he is. Cropper is on board with this strategy as well. Smee and Company must be proud of you boys. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 07/02/08: To Anonymous - any idea when the Wellpoint Unix SAs and DBAs are being offshored? There was talk of the DBAs being insourced. Thanks! -Wellpoint - Just a matter of time...-
    • Comment 07/02/08: Just a matter of time: I haven't heard that the DBAs would be insourced, but it wouldn't surprise me. As for the SA's, I believe you are right: it's just a matter of time. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 07/02/08: To Fingerbun: Two political actions that could slow offshoring: 1) Mandate that no Medical or Financial records for US Citizens be processed/accessed from outside the United States. 2) Tie H1B Visa quota's to the national unemployment rate for a particular job class (ie Unemployment for Project Managers or System Administrators falls below 2%, then H1B visas can be used to bring the number back in line). Write your Congressmen ! -Anonymous-
    • Comment 07/08/08: Just wanted to pass on to others on the board that some of the people who came over from the Micromuse acquisition are getting thrown under the bus from IBM. All Micromuse employees were told that their time at Micromuse counted for IBM time; however, upon getting RA'd and a package, are now being told that isn't the case. HR is now saying things like "Who told you that?" I have spoken to so many people today that verified we were told that Micromuse time on the job would transfer to IBM. Now HR is saying they are only including the 2 years since the acquisition. Should I seek a lawyer? I know others that can back me up including past and current employees. Anyone know a good lawyer? -Anon-Muser-
    • Comment 07/09/08: To -Anon-Muser- I am sorry to hear of what you are going thru. Sadly, EVERY ibm deal that includes taking on employees from another company goes the same way. IBM uses an 18 to 24 month transition period to consolidate, and transition the new work into ibm's hands. After they do this, they shed a good number of the original employees who came over. This is known upfront to the signing company as well as IBM mgmt. It's only the poor employees who think they still have a job, who sit in the dark until its too late. It's part of the process. That's why we need a union. All this stuff would be up-front at the beginning of these deals, and people would have choices if they wanted to work under those conditions or look elsewhere. -miss understanding-
  • General Visitor's Comment page:
    • Comment 06/28/08: I heard via the rumor mill that IBM execs had considered making the LEAN co-locations which are now short term (3-4 week) gatherings of personnel at one location into permanent co-locations. Your job, regardless of your current location, would permanently move to the co-location site whether it was Atlanta or Poughkeepsie or Boulder or elsewhere. The proposal provided no relocation funding, no benefits to ease the necessary real estate issues, and no airfare to travel to/from the new location. so the employee wouldn't have to move. I heard the reason it was dropped was that IBM would lose too many high performing employees who would refuse to move and could find local employment outside of IBM. Don't know how much of this is true, but that's the rumor. -Boo-
    • Comment 06/29/08: Work at Home Boy: I haven't heard that specifically, but this might be what you're referring to... A GDF (Global Delivery Framework) operation was set up in Fishkill for systems administrators for a bunch of accounts...IBM Internal, as well as some commercial accounts. Sys admins from Poughkeepsie, Southbury, Watson and Fishkill have been "co-located" to Fishkill. It's essentially a LEAN operation, where system administrators are herded into a help desk environment instead of handling their own accounts from start to finish. All work has to be ticketed and put into a queue, then dispatched to a pool of sys admins, etc. ...you get the picture. It's infuriating and degrading. As an added bonus, employees are required to be in the office from 8:30-5:15 Monday through Friday. No working from home.

      So, on the heels of our 15% pay cut and gas at $4.25/gallon, IBM decides that everyone has to drive to the office every day. Fishkill is 20 miles south of Poughkeepsie, so an employee who lived north of Poughkeepsie is now commuting an extra 40 miles/day, five days a week. There is no mileage allowance...your office has been moved to Fishkill. Period.

      They played hardball here. Any employee who lived within 50 miles of Fishkill was given two choices: either you go to Fishkill, or you have 30 days to find something else within IBM. If you don't find anything within 30 days, you resign. No severance, no nothing. The ONLY exception was for employees who lived more than 50 miles from Fishkill. They were given an opportunity to opt out, with a guarantee that IBM would find them another position.

      I don't know what the reasoning would be behind requiring everyone to come to the office...I thought it was cheaper for IBM when employees work from home. But it may just be another ploy to entice people to quit. Sooner or later, they'll make our lives miserable enough that we'll quit and save them the trouble of laying us off. -Sinking Ship-

    • Comment 06/30/08: To Boo....I have heard the same thing regarding co-location. I work in IGS, and all of Jackie's group was destined to be co-located to Boulder during the 1st phase of LEAN. Mgmt changed their minds after they ran the stats and found too many of the employees who were (at that time) critical to the needs of the business would not relocate, but rather find different employment. As it was, we lost a boatload of good skilled people after LEAN. In a way it was a good thing because after all the good folks left, we were under headcount, and mgmt no longer needed to lay folks off. This year may be a different story.. We are losing accounts due to LEAN. Customers are NOT happy. -miss understanding-
    • Comment 06/30/08: Do you believe these Bozo's? Unbelievable. "Operating a business ethically and environmentally is not only a requirement today, but also an opportunity -- companies that demonstrate they adhere to the highest societal expectations of conduct have a significant advantage in attracting consumers, investors and talent," said George Pohle, IBM vice president and global leader for business strategy consulting. http://biz.yahoo.com/iw/080630/0411787.html -John-
    • Comment 07/01/08: The move from work at home back to the office issue is possibly because IBM has all this vacant office space they are still paying for so they want to utilize as best they can while they still have it. If it entices USA resources (we used to be called employees) to quit then that saves IBM more bucks and helps their profits and the executive stock options to become more lucrative. Try asking IBM what their plan is. I'm sure they'll be straight with you! LOL -IBM workabee-
    • Comment 07/04/08: Hey IBMer's...did you know that all your personal data...(Name, Social security #, Birthdate, address) is now residing in Manila. Call the Payroll help desk and see for yourself. By the way; none of the top execs had their data moved. -ID theft coming-
    • Comment 07/06/08: I'm no insider but in my honest opinion I would sell IBM stock now. My reason? Look at the Yahoo IBM insider site. The IBM execs and officers are cashing out like mad now. Obviously they know to take their money or invest their money elsewhere and that is not in IBM! No real stock buying going on it appears just cashing out of options fueled obviously by billion and billions in absurd stock buybacks. -sell IBM-
    • Comment 07/08/08: Have those of you in IGS noticed the new industry buzzword and IBM"programme de jour"? It's ITIL! (Info Technology Infrastructure Library) Interestingly enough, IGS management is using the same lame excuses to gain employee buy in that they used for ISO 9000. You know, "ITIL conformance is required on 85% of new contracts, competitor's are leveraging it" blah blah blah! ITIL SCHMITIL!! No raise, no ITIL! And whatever happened to ISO?? When was the last time you had a dept meeting where THAT was a topic of discussion?? Same thing will happen with ITL because the management lemmings will buy some other phony program from some other think tank. What a joke. -Da Catboid-
  • Pension Comments page
  • Raise and Salary Comments
    • Comment 06/27/08: Salary = not enough; Band Level = 8; Hours/Week = 60+; Div Name = IGS; Message = Ok, listen folks......I really feel for those of your who did not get any raise this year. I guess I'm writing this to let everyone know that even the folks who did get a raise got next to nothing. I was one of the lucky ones who received a raise. Do you know what they gave me? 19.87 extra per MONTH. Our dept is banding together and planning on working 3-4% less this year because of the crappy or non-existent raises. (Inflation is running about 4%, so those who didn't receive anything are cutting back 4% of their time, while the ones who received 1% will cut back 3% of the time). We're still doing our honest days work, however, we are giving back to the company what they are willing to pay. If they believe the are paying us adequately, and we do not deserve a raise to at least compensate for inflation, then they must be right, We can't continue to work those long hours anymore because IBM doesn't pay for them. They've streamlined and given us the LEAN process...how about the employees LEAN ibm, and only give IBM what they are paying for. -I'm a Bozo-
    • Comment 06/27/08: Salary = 63000; Band Level = 7; Job Title = PM; Years Service = 12; Hours/Week = 30-40; Div Name = 7 Location = NC; Message = well out of 12 years I missed getting a raise 1 time and that was about 7 years ago.....so 11 out of 12, I guess I am doing above avg...as for raises, they avg from 3 to 7% a year, 2 promotions also ...been a 2+ last several years, been a 1 a few times before that...VP also avg from 3 - 6 % ..i don't kill myself but I am there when needed, add my points and suggestions...and everyone is happy -the exception?-
    • Comment 06/27/08: Salary = $120K; Band Level = 9; Job Title = IT Architect; Years Service = 30; Hours/Week = 60; Div Name = GTS; Location = Florida; Message = 2.8% Raise for PBC=1. Mgmt BS about how lucky I should feel to get that. What a crock. Happy to get something and feel bad for others that got less, but the whole Salary and Growth Driven Profit plans are badly broken and essentially de-motivators. -BOHICA-
    • Comment 06/28/08: Salary = 99K; Band Level = 8; Job Title = Dreaded IT Specialist; Years Service = 33; Location = Atlanta; Message = To "I don't care anymore" I have it from an unimpeachable source that the 7600 employees were were rebanded were NOT eligible for salary increases this year. I was told this was specifically spelled out in the salary plan tool. So, I'm with you, I don't care anymore and haven't for a long time. This is the 2nd year in a row I have received no raise even though a consistent 2+ performer. I'm retiring this year and have the old pension plan so I'm not as impacted as some. I feel really sorry for those employees who are not in my position. My advice, get out now it will NOT get better, only worse. I've watched this company erode for years and while it breaks my heart to remember what IBM used to be like, now it's just another company to work for, and not one of the best anymore. -Really Bummed-
    • Comment 06/28/08: Salary = 35,000; Band Level = 4; Job Title = technician; Years Service = 9; Hours/Week = 40; Div Name = microelectronics; Location = fishkill; Message = It is insulting to read people that are band 7 through 9 making 85 to 120K per year and complaining that they received no raise or barely any at all this year. Are you kidding me? You make that much and you complain? Half the workforce at IBM does not make 1/2 your salary. You should be ashamed to even post here -insulted-

      Alliance Reply: The dichotomy of salaries and wages has always existed within IBM. The reality of IBM's US workforce is that they are diverse in job classification, salary, and description. The point that Alliance@IBM is trying to make is, that ALL of the IBM employees are affected by IBM's management policies; that offer no recourse for the employees, other than leaving or staying if they are unhappy; or simply fired. With a union contract, the structure of job classification, salary, and description can be changed for the betterment of ALL the union employees. It can be negotiated by the union employees and their representatives. But first; you need to organize and join together for that common goal. There are several companies in the US that already enjoy a contract and a work environment, that they were involved in making. It can be a reality for IBM employees, too.

    • Comment 06/28/08: Salary = 100K; Band Level = 8; Job Title = Advisory IT Architect; Years Service = 28; Hours/Week = 55; Div Name = I'm not telling; Location = I'm not telling; Message = PBC = 1, MBA=0%, TCR=2.7%, in the middle of the salary range. When I told my son, he screamed that's below the rate of inflation! Yes, it surely is. I told him that 2.7% was as good as it gets for us workers, that all of my coworkers got less and most got nothing even though the company had reported record profits. I have friends that haven't seen a raise in 4-5 years and one that hasn't for 8+ years. They're daring people to leave and bluffing that you won't find something better. Time to call their bluff and raise the ante. Better off out. -Ma Linger-
    • Comment 06/28/08: Salary = 90K; Band Level = 8; Job Title = Senior IT Specialist; Years Service = 30; Hours/Week = 48; Div Name = IGS/ITD; Location = Poughkeepsie; Message = No raise again this year. PBC 2+and the exact words from my manager this year when they called to discuss salary were... Your increase this year is ZERO Percent... Record profits for IBM... Millions for the execs.. The trickle down must have dried before it got as low as I am. Oh wait... I was one of the 7600... so in reality.. I got a NEGATIVE 15 percent at the beginning of the year. I can almost hear the folks at Armonk singing... We're in the money :-) --Been a very long time-
    • Comment 07/01/08: I'm surprised there is not more outrage at the lack of raises or paltry raises this year! Did anyone get a raise at at least the rate of inflation this year? Why were raises often less than half of what they were in 2007? Are you folks actually happy at what you got in 2008? So why so rather silent? Why is it that folks that got an MBA last year who are still below their market target average now not eligible for the MBA? IBM said last year that the MBA would eventually level the salaries and pay for those folks paid below and well below market to catch up to market for valued skilled resources.

      Demand an answer from your IBM manager! Make your manager earn their pay since they obviously get more for less now in how they regard your compensation growth chances now and going forward. If you manager can give you the frank and honest answer or even ignores you about it then blast pay@us.ibm.com with your question. .cc the Corporate HR Payroll Compensation Director if you wish as well. Put the pressure on now! So who determines what pay for market is? It can't be the cheap IBM payroll bastards now can it? Join the Alliance. Together we can work towards a collective bargaining agreement and then IBM will have to answer our question(s) on compensation practices! If you do nothing now, expect nothing next year as your raise at best. -Market Based Absurdity-

    • Comment 07/01/08: I work at east fishkill, band 3. I received a 1% raise and was told its better than nothing; which I was told by my manager a lot of people received zero...like he was doing me a big favor with a 1% raise. I laughed when he showed me its monthly value. He laughed with me. They can't even give us an inflation increase with record profits! -flipper-
    • Comment 07/02/08: They may not respond immediately, but tell management how you feel. I've told my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd line (a VP). I've told them my team can't keep delivering if the company treats us this way. I've started saying "no" to new work requests. I've told them how I'll respond if given the Global Pulse Survey (which IS part of their appraisal). -Fed Up-
    • Comment 07/02/08: To Indian Fool- You must think we are fools. Salaries are increasing very rapidly in India in particular. I understand this is due to the lack of skilled employees in India, despite the very large pool of labor. Not sure whether this trend has yet been successful in other brics. Who do you think is the fool? -I never comment here; will this time-
    • Comment 07/03/08: Exec's aren't giving themselves 1% raises, it's only the working stiffs earning the cash that executives grant themselves that are getting squat! As for what workers in other lands get, in some countries they are little more than slaves, in others there are various levels of socialized support that doesn't make for a level playing field. Globalization is about making all the world's workers slaves, wake up and get organized! The communist dictators fear independent unions because it will mean democracy, justice and a more even share of wealth, corporate dictators fear unions for the same reason. -anonymous-
    • Comment 07/05/08: Re: Why would people rather work for the state than IBM? Because the state pays better! -LoneStar- I had a friend who got RA'd from Austin and went to work for the State of TX in a "lower status" job in the same area of computing--basically he went from inventing/implementing software systems at IBM to using them at the State. In his case, the best part was that he was not *allowed* to work overtime!

      At IBM, he was basically expected to work 80-hour weeks with no overtime pay, but at the State he was legally forbidden to work over 40 hours, without being explicitly budgeted for overtime. Nevertheless, he said he was making more! I don't want to belittle the work he was doing at the State; he was highly skilled and experienced and had a nice title, but he *was* just basically running the code that he had helped create at IBM. The most important reason for these folks to not go to IBM, though, would be the State pension (and medical) that they will receive. I was shocked a few years ago to find that retired garbage collectors in some cities had better pensions than I did after I retired as a Senior Engineer at IBM! Ah, but who has the better memories of their workplace? Who, indeed??? -alreadyGone-

  • PBC Comments
    • Comment 6/28/08: HR, in every corporation, is there to protect the interests of the corporation and to back the decisions, actions, and policies of the corporation. The myth of HR; that the employee (now called a resource in IBM) thinks, is that they are a liaison to them in dealing with management and would support the resource in an unfair action against them. HR is more than likely, in most instances to support management; even if the resource has a strong case that the corporation's actions and decisions done through management, might have been clearly unfair. If you want to have a liaison and support for an unfair action as a resource against management decisions and actions; you need union representation. -sby_willie
    • Comment 6/29/08: In replying to sby_willie ... Wow! Now that you explained about the role of HR, I could see what they did to me. Their support and help towards employees is crap! -Anon-
    • Comment 6/29/08: SBY Willie is 100% correct. I would add, that when you take an issue to HR, you've 'tipped your hand,' and provided them your defense, so that they can go back to their peers, management, and attorneys to figure out ways to shoot holes in your defense. It's 20 of them against one of you, and HR is simply the trained mouthpiece. That is why IBM needs a union. To level the playing field. No more 20 to 1 in IBM's favor, but 20 to 20 with the Union as the equalizer.-Former First Line-
    • Comment 7/06/08: The PBC is just a weeding out tool. It always was. It always will be. Your PBC rating was already decided in a management calibration or ranking session earlier this year. If you were calibrated as a PBC "2" then the best you can expect is to be a "2". You can't improve. The"weak 2's" are gonna be more aggressively managed out. If you were calibrated a "3" then it's: see ya. Your a dead employee walking. -plain truth
  • International Comments
    • Comment 6/24/08: Country = USA; Union Affiliate = CWA 1701; Job Title = I/T Specialist; IBM Division = 1K; Message = The IBM executive bastards used IBM Ireland until China was ready for the IBM global initiatives. No doubt about it! They don't call the preferred IBM countries they offshore//move/expand business BRIC for nothing and we all know the"I" is for India and not Ireland. -Joe A Beamer-
    • Comment 06/27/08: Country = USA; Union Affiliate = CWA; Job Title = I/T Specialist; IBM Division = GBS; Message = To Amazed from Japan: In the USA I got a 15% base pay cut in February which put me about $2000 USA under the band 08 minimum for geography for I/T Specialist (about $65,000 or so, the band minimum is higher than this). I was rated a PBC 2+ too. I reckon I would be better off working in IBM Japan :) IBM can do anything it wants in the global scheme of things without a strong global union presence. -IT paycut test resource-
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:

  • "Pockets of excellence..." by "wonderaboutibm". Full excerpt: You will certainly find them at IBM. They may be a chance occurrence , but they do exist.

    The dreary truth, though, is that IBM is damn good at rigid central control. Look at the stranglehold that has been placed on spending any money for any purpose whatever. IBM Finance would call this expense control, and to an extent it was, once. Now it is a design for sucking all the oxygen out of the atmosphere. It is now the corporate way ... and it is not just IBM. It is every large multinational corporation, every organization that believes its future growth prospects are not really any more in the US and Europe.

    That's one reason why ABC and others keep saying the boutiques are better bets for consultants. The boutiques haven't gone into English-speaking rigor mortis yet.

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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