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Highlights—February 7, 2009

  • Information Week: IBM Offers To Move Laid Off Workers To India. Big Blue wants to help redundant U.S. employees relocate to developing markets, according to an internal document. By Paul McDougall. Excerpts: The climate is warm, there's no shortage of exotic food, and the cost of living is rock bottom. That's IBM (NYSE: IBM)'s pitch to the laid-off American workers it's offering to place in India. The catch: Wages in the country are pennies-on-the-dollar compared to U.S. salaries. Under a program called Project Match, IBM will help workers laid off from domestic sites obtain travel and visa assistance for countries in which Big Blue has openings. Mostly that's developing markets like India, China, and Brazil.

    "IBM has established Project Match to help you locate potential job opportunities in growth markets where your skills are in demand," IBM says in an internal notice on the initiative. "Should you accept a position in one of these countries, IBM offers financial assistance to offset moving costs, provides immigration support, such as visa assistance, and other support to help ease the transition of an international move."

    Selected reader comments concerning this article follow:

    • On January 28th, IBM CEO Sam Palmisano was in the East Room at the White House taking part in the stimulus show. Standing shoulder to shoulder with President Obama and host of CEOs representing entities such as Xerox, Kodak, Google, Motorola, and Applied Materials. All agreed that a massive taxpayer investment in tech infrastructure projects is needed to save workers from unemployment. President Obama invoked “those who live in fear that their job is next” and Sam Palmisano gave a stirring speech about the need to “reignite growth in our country” and “undertake projects that will actually create jobs”. As Palmisano waxed pious in the White House, heat-seeking a $30 billion stimulus of projects that would benefit IBM, his company was laying off thousands of workers.
    • I find some of the comments on this news story rankly xenophobic and close-minded. In point of fact, as I understand it, these workers have been laid off, and are free to pursue any opportunities they choose. Ex-employees of IBM are not being coerced to work overseas. They are being given an option which many of them would be wise to accept. IBM is a global corporation with offices in most countries. And the 21st century is a global century. Many young people in college today are learning Chinese and expect to live and work in that country. Having global and international skill sets in one’s resume strengthens earning potential and improves the chance of remaining employed.

      I understand that many employees, particularly those in their fifties and older, may be aghast at the thought of uprooting their lives and living in another country. But this is a different world, and any opportunity is still an opportunity. An international relocation is not a life sentence - one might come back from two years in Dubai with an enviable work record and be a catch for any U.S. corporation. Many of the countries listed under Project Match are colorful, exciting and interesting places to live. The IBM worker’s salary (though less by dollar exchange rates) would still put them in the local upper classes in many of these countries, allowing them luxuries unheard of in the U.S., such as the ability to hire house staff, a cook and a driver, and many other perks. People with open minds might view this as an adventure and a big step up into a larger world.

      I applaud IBM’s Project Match for opening its employees up to these unexpected, exotic opportunities. Unless U.S. citizens learn more about becoming global citizens, partly by actually living overseas, we are not going to be able to adapt to the economic challenges ahead. Those who do not adapt, perish.

    • So bring H1-B visa people into the US and send the US workers to India for pennies on the dollar is the answer? Are you kidding me?
    • This whole discussion about H1B visa's and offshoring is purely academic unless each American writes their Congressmen and Senators and puts enough pressure on them to take the issue seriously. Consider how many politicians got an earful regarding gas prices (not that they could actually do anything about it), but the issue got plenty of awareness until every politician was talking about it.

      The sorry state of things is that Corporate America has been the only audience most politicians listen to. The money companies like IBM spend on union busting and lobbying politicians is outrageous. IBM like Wal-Mart has no tolerance of unionization efforts and will surely fire anyone suspected of such activities, as I am living proof. So as long as everyone does nothing while secretly hoping it's the other guy who loses their job to offshoring and not you, then IBM's intimidation tactics. Organize and write your politicians before it's too late.

    • I have been a consumer of IT resources for years. You are not alone in this experience. In fact you hit on IBM's real motivation for paying US people to go to India instead of just hiring people from India and avoiding this cost. I am very good friends with a director of HR for IBM in India. He says IBM at the office where he works had a turnover of more than 35,000 people last year alone. This relocation assistance is their attempt to introduce some sort of stability in their India work force.

      I believe these relocation packages have terms to them requiring the employee to stay with IBM for a required period of time or they have to pay some of the relocation back to the company. I speculate that perhaps part of their visa assistance will make the stay in India (or other country) dependent on the employee staying with IBM.

      This is not about the worker no matter what they say; this is about taking advantage of the current economic situation to attempt to stabilize a very shaky workforce in these developing countries.

    • Looks like their is no more IT job shortage in the US. I call for us to scrap the H1-B visa program for IT professionals.
    • What we need are company leaders who think about what is best for their employees and their country. If this trend continues, in the end, there won't be a United States to offshore work from.
    • @LWPAGE who stated: "Big business isn't offshoring for the costs, it's for the productivity." You are an idi0t. I deal with work coming back from these 'more productive' work forces all the time, and the quality is very poor. I've rewritten projects from scratch in 4 hours that a team of them couldn't complete correctly in 4 weeks. I've recoded work from scratch in 30 minutes that they couldn't figure out in 2 weeks.

      I'd rather have an ounce of gold than a big truckload of mule defecation. Problem is, corporate leaders want to stuff their fat wallets and make things look good on paper. In the meantime they are undermining the talented US workforce for an extra bonus check.

    • IBM is definitely a double face. I have seen it threaten the NY State that it will move its headquarters out of the state unless a state contract worth billions was awarded to it. And NY State buckled in. I have seen it try to hard sell its big-iron (old era mainframes) to NY State for hundreds of millions of dollars in the name of "being 100% committed to making NY state the leader in high-performance computing".

      But when it comes to jobs, IBM IS OFFSHORING JOBS. All types of jobs. It has nothing to do with the economy. Just pure profits. I was at a conference in India in December and an IBM representative was boasting how they are setting up high-end research and development centers in India and contributing to Indian economy. I wouldn't mind if they are up front about it -- "We don't care about US or India or China. We Care about profits".

      But to hear IBM execs speak is to feel like puking. They are doing MASSIVE hiring in India right now. Highly skilled Indian IBM employees with PhDs are stampeding to move to IRL (IBM India Research Labs). As an Indian citizen, I should feel good for India, but I look at the big picture and think how long before they move the jobs next door to Vietnam?

      And the thing is, its not just IBM. Every major US tech and non-tech company - Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, GE, you name it. Every one of those bas***rds is setting up big shops in India and China while laying off US workers. Its time for Obama to live up to his works and stop appearing on stage with the parasite Sam Palmisano.

    • Wow! What a concept! - Cut employee wages by moving them to bottom wage countries and then resell those bottom wage employees’ work back to the U.S. for maximum profits. Isn’t there something wrong with this picture.

      I know that the article says that the employees would move to India to support rapid growth in India, but I don’t think that is the ultimate goal. What they should do is give U.S. employees (citizens) jobs to support U.S. companies and keep them in the U.S.; then reassign those supporting U.S. companies from India to India based companies. But I think that makes too much sense.

      It must be nice to be a CEO and get paid based on short-term short-sighted goals and quarterly profits; 2 years at the helm; 40 million dollar bonus and out! No wonder why the economy is failing and the U.S. lead in the world business arena is decreasing rapidly or gone.

  • InfoWorld: IBM's Palmisano: Tech's slumdog millionaire. IBM's cruel layoff options: Take a job in the Third World and lose your severance, move within the United States at your expense, or lose both your job and severance. By Bill Synder. Full excerpt: Meet Sam Palmisano, bozo of the month. We diss IBM's CEO for allowing some management numbskull to suggest that the thousands of Big Blue employees who have been fired recently should consider a move to India. And work really cheaply. Always helpful, IBM is willing to pitch in with moving costs and -- in a particularly ironic twist -- visa assistance.

    Yeah, it's hard to believe. But IBM put it in writing: "IBM has established Project Match to help you locate potential job opportunities in growth markets where your skills are in demand," IBM says in an internal memo first obtained by InformationWeek. "Should you accept a position in one of these countries, IBM offers financial assistance to offset moving costs, provides immigration support, such as visa assistance, and other support to help ease the transition of an international move." [ Everyone from Bill Gates to prestigious

    [ Everyone from Bill Gates to prestigious business publications such as the Wall Street Journal and the Economist has claimed that for every H-1B visa granted, between three and five new jobs are created. Read why that's far from the truth.]

    Maybe India's not to your taste. No worries. IBM is also offering to send the newly unemployed to China, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Russia, South Africa, Nigeria, and the United Arab Emirates.

    Pink slips at Big Blue
    And in a touch that could only be called Dickensian, the IBM memo notes that Project Match, which sounds like a reality show on Bravo, is limited to "satisfactory performers who have been notified of separation from IBM U.S. or Canada and are willing to work on local terms and conditions." Right. The worthy poor who don't mind working for wages that are infinitely lower than what they've been paid in the United States.

    The stunningly stupid memo comes amid a wave of firings that has cost the jobs of at least 2,800 IBMers, a move the company was unwilling to acknowledge until ousted workers and their union leaked internal documents to the media, including the Associated Press, which said that workers have reported layoffs in Tucson, Ariz.; San Jose, Calif.; Rochester, Minn.; Research Triangle Park, N.C.; East Fishkill, N.Y.; Austin, Texas; and Burlington, Vt.

    Did I mention this came at the same time IBM reported strong financial results?

    According to the Web site of the Communications Workers of America which represents some IBMers, roughly 1,400 workers in the software group and a similar number in sales have been let go. There are unconfirmed rumors that as many as 16,000 workers could eventually be let go, surpassing even the 13,000 who were canned in 1985. I suspect that number is too high, but we'll see.

    The Associated Press reported recently that in 2007, the last full year for which detailed employment numbers are available, 121,000 of IBM's 387,000 workers were in the United States, down slightly from the year before. Meanwhile, staffing in India has jumped from just 9,000 workers in 2003 to 74,000 workers in 2007.

    And of course, tens of thousands of workers are working for other companies, including such giants as Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Intel, and Motorola, not to mentions dozens of startups across Silicon Valley.

    Take this job or nothing
    Meanwhile, some IBM workers who still have jobs are being given a very tough choice: Move across the country at your own expense, or get fired with no severance package.

    That information comes from an angry IBMer who spoke with a writer from the Silicon Alley Insider. According to the tipster, one of several who told similar stories, the workers are being placed at newly formed Global Delivery Centers in Colorado, New York, and Iowa. If they don't take the job, IBM labels them a "voluntary departure" and terminates them with no severance.

    For those who are simply laid off, outplacement services aren't very good. One IBMer (I know his name but won't use it) gave this account in an e-mail to me: "The outplacement service is pretty bad, like calling the DMV. ... I called last week for a résumé review, left a message on the 800 number. 48 hours later someone calls back and leaves me a message -- they say they are returning my call, please call the 800 number if you would like to talk to someone. I call and get the same message."

    Interestingly, this gentleman actually gave some thought to a potential IBM job in Malaysia, but as the pay was about one-third of his current salary, he rejected it. He also tells me that there's yet another catch in the offer to move employees to what we used to call the Third World. "The deal is that if you take the job IBM won't pay severance but will pay 'a portion' (undefined) of your relocation expenses, including tax and visa services. Not a good deal for many of my colleagues who have 20-25 weeks of severance under their agreement."

    Sadly, with the economy in terrible shape, layoffs are sometimes necessary. But a company as rich as IBM should handle a downsizing better -- much better. At the moment, I'm ashamed to be an IBM shareholder. (I don't own much.)

    I welcome your comments, tips, and suggestions. Reach me at bill.snyder@sbcglobal.net.

  • Blogger News Network: Stimulus IBM Style: Take the Jack, Ship Out the Back. By Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff. Excerpts: On January 28th, IBM CEO Sam Palmisano was in the East Room at the White House taking part in the stimulus show. Standing shoulder to shoulder with President Obama and an all-star cast of CEOs representing entities such as Xerox, Kodak, Google, Motorola, and Applied Materials. (Applied is a supplier to the semiconductor industry.) All agreed that a massive taxpayer investment in tech infrastructure projects is needed to save workers from unemployment. President Obama invoked “those who live in fear that their job is next” and Sam Palmisano gave a stirring speech about the need to “reignite growth in our country” and “undertake projects that will actually create jobs”. Word has it Palmisano’s performance may shoehorn him into a late Oscar nomination for supporting actor. Roll over Heath Ledger, a bigger joker could best you.

    As Palmisano waxed pious in the White House, heat-seeking a $30 billion stimulus of projects that would benefit IBM, his company was laying off thousands of workers. Calling the firings a “resource action”. Doing it on the down-low at facilities in several states. Such tactics make the exact number of fired employees difficult to ascertain. IBM has a history of being secretive about job losses. Federal law requires companies to report mass layoffs (also called “material events”) to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) but IBM claims that a few hundred here and a few hundred there are all in a day’s non-work. And given the SEC’s record of oversight on Wall Street, it’s easy to believe they might miss any number of material events. Layoffs are being more reliably tracked by Alliance@IBM, an affiliate of the Communications Workers of America. Alliance@IBM has been trying to unionize Big Blue for almost ten years. A tough job, but somebody has to do it.

    In this recent round of firings close to 5000 workers have lost their jobs at IBM facilities in New York, North Carolina, Minnesota, and Vermont. Laid off employees plus those “who live in fear that their job is next” have been burning up the comments section at the Alliance@IBM website. Further layoffs are said to be looming. Posters who are still employed use pseudonyms. Some even post from libraries, out of concern their IP address will be traced. IBM has a rep for retaliation and for being rabidly anti-union.

    That IBM should expect a generous slab of stimulus is no surprise. Federal, state, county, and municipal governments have been funneling corporate welfare to IBM for decades. Think tax breaks, public utility deals, real estate shuffles, low interest loans, etc. The rationale has been development and job creation– even as IBM was pulling out of the USA in favor of cheap global labor. Not that they’ve disappeared completely; in areas where IBM once employed thousands the threat of losing the last few hundred jobs has a powerful effect on pols who pull purse strings. And IBM has even expanded in some states– while simultaneously reducing overall employment. The primary focus of IBM development and job creation is offshore, not stateside. Nowhere has that fact been made more clear than in Endicott, New York.

    Endicott was the birthplace of IBM. Where IBM flourished and grew into an industry giant. Endicott was a true blue company town and IBM was seen as a benign, if somewhat authoritarian, lifetime employer. IBM encouraged (almost demanded) employees to trust the company’s commitment to the social contract. By 1980, 14,000 people worked at the Endicott IBM facility. By 2005, IBM had reduced that number to 1600. The town was devastated. Economically and socially. Meanwhile, the number of IBM employees in India rose from 9,000 in 2003 to 74,000 by 2007.

    If IBM could jettison its own hometown why should taxpayers believe the company gives a fig about the need to “reignite growth” in the country at large? Cynics ask if the real deal is the need to reignite IBM. They also ask where profits from stimulus projects will be invested.

    No doubt CEO Sam Palmisano would answer “here”. Palmisano claims that a $30 billion stimulus injection would enable IBM to do what supporters of global sourcing (aka offshoring) declare to be impossible. Create large numbers of tech jobs in a country where the workers are just too darn greedy and lack high-level skills. And oh yeah– where government doesn’t do enough to help business.

    Big Blue Slumdogs

    Whether IBM gets stimulated or not, its recently laid off workers need not despair. They can sign up for IBM’s “Project Match” and do a tour of duty in the Big Blue Foreign Legion. According to an IBM internal memo Project Match is for “satisfactory performers who have been notified of separation from IBM US or Canada”. IBM will provide immigration assistance; possible outposts include India, Nigeria, China, Turkey, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates. Only folks excited at “the prospect of contributing to a developing economy” and “potentially taking on different job responsibilities” need apply. And applicants must be “willing to work on local terms and conditions”.

    Back in the 1950’s, comic and jazzman Jimmy Durante recorded “Dollar A Year Man”. The song’s refrain goes: “I’ll work for the government for a dollar a year, but I have to get paid in advance”. Substitute IBM for government, make it a dollar a day, and you get the picture of what those terms and conditions could be. However, the Project Match memo makes no promise about being paid in advance. Better wait before taking out a mortgage on a McHovel or making a down-payment on a pallet. Then there are the “different job responsibilities”. Could this mean hauling CEO Sam Palmisano and other IBM mandarins around in a rickshaw? If so, would IBM provide the rickshaw gratis? Or would employees foot the cost of leasing?

    Finally, after serving for a set period (say 10 or 20 years) in a developing economy under local terms and conditions, will Project Match vets be rewarded with an H-1B visa so they can re-enter the USA as foreign guest workers for IBM? As H-1B workers the vets would make less than the skilled employees they replace. But they’d enjoy their jobs more. Anything beats hauling cans through a traffic jam.

    Taxpayers shout “I hear ya!”

    In 2007, Sam Palmisano made $24.35 million; $5.8 million of which was in bonuses. The better IBM does, the more Sam makes. The song “Dollar a Year Man” takes its title from the manufacturers, bankers, and other patriotic professionals who volunteered to serve in the federal government for a dollar a year during World War One. Imagine how much more credible Sam would seem when seeking stimulus if he offered to do likewise! Also imagine how much more compelling IBM’s job creation fever would be if they hadn’t been shipping out the back and keeping mass layoffs secret.

  • Hudson Valley Times Herald-Record: As IBM layoffs mount, company eyes government billions. By Christine Young. Full excerpt: Standing beside President Barack Obama, who was touting his $825 billion stimulus package this week, IBM Chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano stepped up to the lectern and waxed patriotic. “We need to reignite growth in our country,” Palmisano said. “We need to undertake projects that actually will create jobs.” He is positioning IBM to get a slice of the stimulus pie. Since November, Palmisano has been making a pitch to Obama’s transition team that investing $30 billion in expanding rural broadband access, computerizing health-care records and improving the electrical grid could create 949,000 U.S. jobs.

    It could also create billions in revenue for Big Blue, which specializes in the technology and services used for health-care IT and smart-grid infrastructure, not to mention its recent $9.6 million contract to provide broadband service in rural America. “It is an imperative that business and government come together,” Palmisano said. “We know that $30 billion could create a million jobs in the next 12 months.”

    As Palmisano trumpets job creation numbers, IBM regards job numbers as immaterial. The Armonk-based company has cut thousands of jobs over the past week and won’t release the numbers; the Securities and Exchange Commission requires companies to disclose only “material” events. The layoffs included hundreds in East Fishkill, one month after New York taxpayers paid IBM $45 million for not cutting jobs in East Fishkill. The layoffs were “material” only to the workers who lost their jobs, and to New York’s depleted unemployment fund.

    To IBM, which reported record 2008 revenue of $103.6 billion, “Managing resources in this way keeps us competitive, while adapting to the evolving needs of our clients,” said spokesman Doug Shelton. It also enables the company to hire cheaper workers in places like India.

    In 2007, 121,000 of IBM’s 387,000 workers were in the U.S., down slightly from 2006. Meanwhile, staffing in India jumped from 9,000 workers in 2003 to 74,000 workers in 2007. But for $30 billion, Palmisano promises a million jobs will come to America. “We help the president get the package through, and we get the work,” he said. “And we have a lot of work ahead of us.”

  • Hudson Valley Times Herald-Record: Reader reactions to the above article. Selected comments follow:
    • On Jan 30, 2009 at 01:21 PM, fredsmurf said: Never ceases to amaze me: Business waves the flag of unregulated free market capitalism wide and high when times are good--tells gov't to mind its own business, and lobbies continually for tax breaks. Then when they make a bad decision, what do they do--run crying to big brother gov't for financial help. That IBM c---sucker exec, for example, has the arrogance to play legal hardball in refusing disclosure about business practices?! He wants my money--no questions asked. I would hope Obama tells him to go F--- himself.
    • On Jan 30, 2009 at 01:28 PM, Mazz said: Keep on kicking butt Christine Young.
    • On Jan 30, 2009 at 06:40 PM, Brownie said: I hope Christine Young delves into the dirty workings of IBM and makes this farce front page news. Perhaps our new President is smart enough to see not only this back stabbing but for making fools out of their former employees and us, the taxpaying public.
    • On Jan 30, 2009 at 10:51 PM, Sue1 said: I just don't get it. Sam(IBM CEO) is with the president vowing to bring jobs to the US, while on that very day as well as days before his company is laying off workers. Does the President not see that? I can't even believe that the CEO had the nerve to have his pic on the tv with the President for that topic on that day.
    • On Jan 31, 2009 at 12:12 AM, elynn12 said: This story infuriates me. Tuesday, my father was laid off from IBM, after 25 years there. This man has been my role model for my entire life. I remember watching him leave for work at 5 am. I remember him working weekend after weekend. I remember him coming home at 10 or 11 pm, after working a 16 or 17 hour day. I remember hearing the phone ring at 3 in the morning,a problem at IBM, and he'd be in the car in ten minutes on his way there. My father gave so much of his life to IBM. To see this "man", the CEO, talk about bringing jobs to the U.S.,it makes me sick.
    • On Jan 31, 2009 at 05:57 AM, hockeyrules said: you are absolutely right elynn...it is disgusting. Even more so the false reporting of layoff numbers. What they don't report is how many people they forced into retirement or how many people they fired for "bad" ratings. Some people do deserve the rating but IBM grades you under a bell curve and what has changed is all ratings are under that curve. In the past this wasn't the case, you had to deserve a bad rating to get one. Under the current rating system and bell curve, someone has to get the bad rating, deserved or not. It is time to wake up people, IBM isn't the only sellout...all our business leaders are selling out America and it's workers. And it's all for greed.
    • On Jan 31, 2009 at 07:42 AM, Rasputin said: Notice President Obama's eyes were closed. Hope he counted his fingers after shaking hands with Sam.
  • CNBC: Palmisano's IBM-pire (video). Insight on how the company plans to innovate in a rough economy, with Sam Palmisano, IBM chairman & CEO, and CNBC's Maria Bartiromo.
  • KTTC (Rochester, MN): IBM Rochester layoffs may number more than 1,000. By Noel Sederstrom. Excerpts: A source inside IBM has now provided information to KTTC indicating that the massive layoffs underway in the Systems and Technology Group in Rochester may actually number more than 1,000. It comes in the form of a spreadsheet (see below) showing that 1,208 positions are being slashed in the STG unit over the next month. Most of the people who are being let go are based in Rochester, according to this inside source, though some are believed to be in different locations. The termination process is playing itself out over the next four weeks. A spokesperson for IBM in Rochester, Mary Welder, declined to comment about the STG layoffs on Friday afternoon. ...

    IBM has declined to provide any comment on its process of the numbers of people laid off in Rochester or its other locations, other than to say that it continually reviews its needs and makes adjustments as necessary to satisfy its clients around the world. One of our sources inside IBM who is angered by the massive layoffs in Rochester this week tells us "I believe, as they say, sunshine is the best disinfectant, and you are in the sunshine business. If IBM was not ashamed of this they would not be trying to hide it."

    An analysis of the spreadsheet, a copy of which was provided to KTTC, shows that 722 of those dismissed were age 50 or older. This is believed to be the same summary accounting document seen by different IBM sources earlier in the week. ...

    An inside source told the NewsCenter on Tuesday the number was as many as 800 in STG and other groups in Rochester. To put the number in perspective, the Rochester Chamber of Commerce says about 4,400 people work inside the sprawling IBM complex along U.S. 52 in northwest Rochester. ...

    "At least he won't have to be looking over his shoulder any more," said the wife of one long-time IBM worker. What she was referring to was an environment of fear inside the ranks at IBM, perhaps widely known by those who work there, but rarely described on the outside.

    One laid-off IBM employee told us that everyone is rated against other employees on something called "Personal Business Commitment" levels. A PBC-1 is outstanding on-the-job performance, for example, while a PBC 2+ is good, a PBC-2 represents a "solid contribution but not outstanding," and a PBC-3 is akin to "you need improvement." This laid-off worker said that IBM cultivates a highly competitive environment, and said he had never in ten years had he gotten anything other than excellent marks.

    "I had never gotten a 3, this was the first time in ten years, when I was called in and given my review and laid off," he told the NewsCenter. "Years of service mean nothing."

  • National Public Radio (NPR): IBM To Open Center, Bring New Jobs To Dubuque. By Dean Borg. Abstract: IBM says it will open a new remote computer services center in Dubuque, Iowa, that will employ up to 1,300 people. The company has been criticized in the past for shipping jobs offshore. It says the Dubuque site would be its biggest U.S. facility in 10 years, but getting IBM there was costly for Dubuque.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: NPR reports IBM is creating jobs in Iowa. By "mhmago". Full excerpt: Are these really new jobs? I've heard that some people here in RTP lost their jobs if they declined to move themselves to Iowa. What's the truth? Here is a link to the NPR story: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100131293 Thanks!
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: NPR reports IBM is creating jobs in Iowa" by "melysel". Full excerpt: What you heard is true.. They are asking people in IGS to move to these places (Iowa,Fishkill,Boulder) on their own dime and train the new hires they will need since not everyone in IGS is going to move to these places with no guarantees of jobs after a year. And since this job only requires a 2 year degree for a new hire the pay scale will be very low to more align with the rural area.. so the ones that do move will get a pay cut eventually (or laid off)..
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: NPR reports IBM is creating jobs in Iowa" by "weeboo0104". Full excerpt: I can also confirm it. I was talking to someone still in Server Support Operations in IGS and they were asked (strongly encouraged) to move to Boulder because of the "uncertainty" in the job market.

    My own personal observation of the work climate in IGS now seems to be moving from fear and apathy to downright hostility from folks still in IBM. Hostility from the management because they are trying to keep their jobs and have to cut people they still want to keep, and hostility from the remaining server support members because of the constant lack of bonuses, pay raises and abundance of layoffs.

    And IBM needs to quit calling the workers in the global factories (especially in End User Services) "experts", when the only qualification they have is showing up at the front door of their office. The quality of work is taking a serious hit. Don't take IBMs word for it, look at the new customer signings and the current customers dropping IBM service contracts!

    I'm not sure, but I thought that there was a federal law that stated if your employer was requiring you to move to a new office more than 50 miles away, they had to pay moving and living expenses. Can anyone verify or refute that?

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: NPR reports IBM is creating jobs in Iowa" by Lee Conrad. Full excerpt: There is no law requiring companies to pay relocation expenses. Many people believe there all kinds of labor rights in the US. They are mistaken.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: NPR reports IBM is creating jobs in Iowa" by Kathi Cooper. Full excerpt: Nope. What you are thinking of is the IRS tax code that says you can deduct a portion of your moving expenses if you have to move more than 50 miles to maintain work.

    As Lee stated earlier, everyone is just about SOL because you are NOT protected by law. The only way we can get help is from our union. What union you say? The Alliance! Have you joined yet?

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: screwed out of the pbc rating i deserve". Excerpts: A BU (business unit)VP of mine told me that the guidance for PBC ratings have been made harder this year - and that a 2 is the new 2+. If a BU didn't make quota NOBODY therein gets a 1.

    I have ten years service of 2+ and 1 until this year when I got a 2 after some stellar work. I even got a VP award from our WW leader.

    A combination of a change of managers and the current climate have led to the bar being raised on contribution.

    Rather than make a fuss, I have just resolved to make sure I force my manager and other stakeholders into bi-monthly PBC compliance meetings with me so I do not only do what is right for IBM and our clients, but that all the right people know I am doing this. I have been very bad at this as I really do not value it.

    I honestly think you should take this PBC 2 on the chin and just resolve to have better personal PR this year. I HATE IT but that's the reality of today's IBM I think. What we gonna do, go to the competition ? :)

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: What a cheap company IBM became" by "danhicksbyron". Full excerpt: You know why they did the latest round of layoffs on Jan 26, don't you? If they'd done them on Jan 27th they'd have to give everyone an extra month's credit for vacation.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: What a cheap company IBM became" by "Bob Sutton". Full excerpt: This is hardly new at all. In 2002 they fired 16.4k on June 28 and then gave them a leave of absence for two days to them out on 7/1. That way they did not have to pay 6 mo. variable pay for all those people which requires you to work for six months in a yr. Some in plants with over 500 layoffs got 60 days and got their variable pay. Variable pay is part of your compensation and these low life went to that extreme to steal it. Never and I mean never trust IBM; it will do anything to feed the greed of its execs..
  • Slashdot: IBM Hides the Bodies, Eyes US Government Billions. Excerpt: "As his company was striving to hide the bodies of its laid-off North American workers, IBM CEO Sam Palmisano stood beside President Barack Obama and waxed patriotic: 'We need to reignite growth in our country,' Palmisano said. 'We need to undertake projects that actually will create jobs.' While Sam positions IBM to get a slice of the $825 billion stimulus pie, Big Blue is quietly cutting thousands of jobs and refusing to release the numbers or locations, arguing that SEC disclosure rules don't apply since the US job cuts are immaterial in its big global picture. The layoffs included hundreds in East Fishkill, coming early in the year after NY taxpayers paid IBM $45 million not to cut additional jobs in East Fishkill in 2008. Some are questioning whether IBM incentives are worth the cost."
  • Wall Street Journal: How to Manage Layoff Survivors. By Michelle Wu. Excerpt: As companies struggle in the downturn, layoffs continue to mount. Last year, the U.S. lost about 2.5 million jobs -- the most since 1945 – and the cuts don't seem likely to end anytime soon. Layoffs don't hit only the people who lose their jobs – they also affect the survivors. Layoffs hurt employees' trust in the company, prompt anxiety about the future, and create stress from having to pick up the extra workload. All of which can wreak havoc on productivity and morale.

    "Layoffs are a fundamental form of betrayal by the organization to the employee," says Jamie Showkeir, partner at Henning-Showkeir & Associates, a Phoenix-based workplace consultancy co-founded by Mr. Showkeir in 1989. So what can managers do to better manage layoff survivors? We asked Mr. Showkeir and his wife and business partner, Maren, for their advice. The Showkeirs are also co-authors of the book "Authentic Conversations," about how to communicate well and increase workers' commitment to their

  • AARP: Planning for Retirement? Web Calculators Weak on Health Costs. By Bryan E. Dowd, Ph.D., University of Minnesota; Adam Atherly, Ph.D., School of Public Health, Emory University; Robert Town, Ph.D., School of Public Health, University of Minnesota. Abstract: Consumers face the challenge of estimating retirement savings needs. This issue paper, by Bryan Dowd, Adam Atherly, and Robert Town from the University of Minnesota and Emory University, explores how 12 web calculators handle health costs in planning retirement income. They found that the calculators reviewed provide different estimates and use different variables in their calculations. Most don’t provide consumers with much information to help them understand and estimate their health care spending needs in retirement. Calculators could be improved and contribute more to consumers’ financial education about the role of health spending in retirement budgets if they provided more information on life expectancy, likely health spending associated with Medicare and other health coverage, and the need for long term care services and their associated costs. (18 pages)
  • Accounting Web: Prevalence of corporate fraud and misconduct is high according to KPMG survey. Excerpts: KPMG's 2008-2009 Integrity Survey, the third in a periodic series that began in 2000, published by KPMG Forensic, concludes that little has changed in the frequency and pattern of corporate fraud and misconduct over the years. ...

    "Preventing misconduct begins by better understanding its root causes," the report says. More than 50 percent of respondents said that the following were factors that might cause individuals to engage in misconduct. They might:

    • Feel pressure to do 'whatever it takes' to meet business targets
    • Believe they will be rewarded for results, not the means to achieve them
    • Believe the code of conduct is not taken seriously
    • Lack familiarity with the standards that apply to their jobs.

    A significant number of respondents (66 percent) said that the CEO and other senior management set the right "tone at the top" on the importance of ethics and integrity. Less than half (49 percent) said that senior management "knows what type of behavior really goes on inside the organization."

  • BusinessWeek: Microsoft: Layoffs for Some, Visas for Others. A longtime advocate for more skilled immigration, Microsoft continues to ask Congress to lift caps on the H-1B visa program for highly skilled workers and offer more green cards to foreign-born talent. As recently as Jan. 5, the company posted a policy proposal on President Obama's transition Web site requesting that the government "remove caps that bar entry into the U.S. by high-skilled immigrants." Several weeks later, on a Jan. 22 earnings conference call, the company announced plans to eliminate 5,000 jobs in research and development, information technology, marketing, sales, finance, legal, and human resources over the next 18 months, as well as thousands of contract jobs. ...

    The H-1B program was started in 1990 to give employers a short-term fix for what they claimed was a shortage of highly skilled workers. In 2007 and again in 2008, Microsoft co-founder and then-Chairman Bill Gates argued in Congressional testimony that there was a severe shortage of U.S. science and engineering talent. He urged Congress to raise the cap on H-1B visas for highly skilled workers. ...

    Terzano (a Microsoft spokesman) says that despite the worsening job market, Microsoft still has trouble filling such core positions as software development engineers, software architects, and program managers. Also, while the company will eliminate jobs in some business segments, it will continue to hire in emerging areas, including online services, search, and cloud computing.

    Such explanations don't satisfy critics, who say employers are abusing the program to hire cheaper foreign workers who displace Americans, depressing U.S. wages and working conditions. Terzano says Microsoft is working with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services on reforming the program to prevent it from being abused in this way, but critics want tough legislative reform rather than administrative adjustments. "Microsoft is laying off 5,000 workers," says Kim Berry, president of the Programmers' Guild. "Are we to believe that none of them would be qualified to fill these openings?"

  • Yahoo! Finance: Can Obama Keep IT Jobs in the U.S.? By Rachael King. Excerpts: Corporate America's drive to cut costs by moving jobs offshore has hit Robert Poulk hard. A veteran of the defense, aerospace, and computer industries, Poulk never had trouble finding work -- until 2003. That year, his job as a senior troubleshooter for a major software manufacturer was moved offshore to Bangalore, India. During a yearlong period of unemployment, Poulk sent out five to seven resumes a week and got only four responses. Eventually, he was hired by a temp agency and assigned a job at his old company, which he asked not be identified, where he now works as a contractor for about 30% less money and no benefits. ...

    Keeping jobs within U.S. borders proved a tall order for Obama's predecessor and may be comparably vexing for the current Administration. Poulk's job was part of an early wave of IT jobs headed offshore, but the trend has only accelerated since 2003. U.S. corporations will move at least 140,000 jobs offshore in 2009 and 2010, and more than 50% of those jobs will be in IT, according to a December 2008 report by the Hackett Group, a global strategic advisory firm that specializes in outsourcing. By 2010, about 25% of all IT jobs at the world's largest companies by market value will have been moved offshore, according to Hackett.

  • San Jose Mercury-News: Layoffs mean more than lost wages for H-1B visa holders. By Pete Carey. Excerpt: For the two out-of-work engineers, it's a race against time. They've lost their Silicon Valley jobs and need to quickly find others at a time when companies everywhere are tightening their belts. Both are Indians whose advanced degrees were earned at American universities. And both are facing the inflexible rules of their H-1B work visas. Technically, as soon as they lost their jobs, they were required to leave the country. In reality, they can probably wing it for a week or two, but not much longer.
  • Workforce Management: Deep Corporate Staff Cuts Heat Up H-1B Visa Debate. Excerpts: Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, kicked off the latest debate in January by publicly calling on Microsoft to prioritize American workers over foreign guest workers as the software giant downsizes. In the wake of Grassley’s letter to Microsoft, questions have been raised about the legality of axing H-1B workers first. And H-1B critics have stepped up their attacks on a program they say makes little sense during a time of corporate belt-tightening.

    H-1B visas rarely go to exceptional talent and often are used by “body shops” that provide contract labor to other companies, said Ira Mehlman, media director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform advocacy group. “H-1B visas are not being used as they were intended,” Mehlman said. ...

    Microsoft was among the top 10 firms getting approvals for H-1B visas in the year ended September 30, 2007, according to research by technology industry publication Information Week. The top 10 was made up largely of India-based firms that provide outsourcing services, including Infosys Technologies, Wipro and Satyam Computer Services. ...

    Semiconductor giant Intel also ranked in Information Week’s top 10 list of visa approvals, while technology firms Accenture, IBM and Oracle made the top 100. Intel and Accenture did not respond to requests for comment. Oracle declined to comment for this story. IBM spokesman Clint Roswell declined to comment on Grassley’s call for prioritizing U.S. workers.

    In a twist on immigration work matters, IBM recently began offering U.S. employees who have lost their job the option of working for IBM in a less-developed country, such as South Africa, India and China. Roswell said the offer includes help with visa matters and moving costs. So far, no IBM workers have taken the company up on the offer, Roswell said. “It’s not for everyone,” he said.

  • Financial Week: Pension plans' 8% solution no solution anymore. Diminishing returns puts plan sponsors at risk, with underfunding now epidemic. By James Saft. Excerpt: That 8% annual return on investment you and your pension fund manager were banking on is now looking almost as optimistic as Bernie Madoff’s magic 12%, as deleveraging and deflation bite. With extremely low or negative interest rates and everyone from consumers to banks trying to shed debt and assets at the same time, what seemed like reasonable projections for a mixed portfolio of stocks, bonds and other assets are now substantially too high.
  • Wall Street Journal: Lenovo Ousts CEO, Returns to Roots. PC Maker Hands Control Back to Chinese Executives, Refocuses on China Market as It Battles Downturn. By Jason Dean. Excerpt: Stung by a sharp downturn in its business amid an aggressive international expansion, Chinese computer maker Lenovo Group Ltd. replaced its American chief executive and said it plans to refocus on its home turf. Lenovo said Thursday Chairman Yang Yuanqing is taking over as Chief Executive from Bill Amelio, and that it was bringing back co-founder Liu Chuanzhi to head the board, putting the world's fourth-largest PC maker by shipments back in the hands of the Chinese executives who established it.
News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
  • Wall Street Journal: Medicare-Payment Fix Weighed. By Jacob Goldstein. Excerpt: As leaders in Congress and the Obama administration look to expand health-insurance coverage while controlling costs, they are considering changing the way doctors are paid for treating patients covered by Medicare. Critics of the current system, in which most doctors are paid for each procedure they perform, say it creates a financial incentive for unnecessary treatments. Alternatives such as paying a fixed annual rate for each patient have been criticized for giving providers an incentive to withhold potentially helpful treatments.
  • Miami Herald: Insurers overcharged Medicare for prescriptions, report finds. By David Goldstein. Excerpt: Insurance companies involved in the Medicare prescription drug benefit have overcharged subscribers and taxpayers by several billion dollars, according to the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services. Eighty percent of the participating insurance companies owe the program an estimated $4.4 billion for 2006 alone.
  • Christian Science Monitor: House stimulus bill widens healthcare. Newly jobless would get Medicaid or other subsidies to help pay medical costs. By Alexendra Marks. Excerpts: For the first time ever, newly unemployed workers and their families will be eligible for Medicaid coverage and healthcare subsidies if the economic stimulus package passed by the House Wednesday becomes the law of the land. Those are just two of the healthcare initiatives included in the omnibus $819 billion stimulus bill. They're aimed at pumping cash into the ailing economy at the same time they shore up the nation's unravelling healthcare system.
  • Los Angeles Times: Health savings accounts are ill-advised. By David Lazarus. Excerpts: Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's decision Tuesday to withdraw as nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services was a setback for President Obama's goal of reforming the U.S. healthcare system. What could that mean for you? Three words: health savings account.

    As healthcare costs for employers continue to soar, and as hopes fade for quick relief from Washington, a growing number of businesses are expected to stop offering costly insurance benefits and push workers instead into tax-free health savings accounts.

    Proponents of the accounts, which operate like 401(k)s for medical expenses, say they give people more control over their healthcare spending. They also say people become savvier medical consumers when they're more aware of the costs of treatments and procedures. Critics of health savings accounts counter that the plans favor the healthy and wealthy, and can increase medical costs for everyone else by requiring people to take out high-deductible insurance policies that kick in only after thousands of dollars in healthcare expenses have been rung up. ...

    In reality, would you want your healthcare nest egg to take the same beating your retirement fund took over the last year? What if, God forbid, you actually needed it? Just as most employers found pension plans to be unsustainable and have turned instead to 401(k)s to meet workers' retirement needs, so too will they increasingly move away from group insurance policies and adopt health savings accounts.

    And, as with 401(k)s, they'll soften the blow by contributing to employees' accounts, at least for a while. "There's a seductive notion that some healthcare is better than none," Pollitz said. "But that's not really the case. You wouldn't say that part of an air bag is better than none. You need complete protection."

    When you take into account Medicare, Medicaid, veterans assistance and similar programs, it turns out that more than half of all Americans are already receiving health coverage from the government.

    Want to help working families and cash-strapped businesses? Extend Medicare to everyone, with employers and workers covering the tab with tax money, rather than premiums, deductibles and co-pays. It may not be a perfect solution, but it's a lot better than most of the alternatives out there. Whoever's next in line behind Daschle should make it a priority.

News and Opinion Concerning the U.S. Financial Crisis
Minimize "It is a restatement of laissez-faire-let things take their natural course without government interference. If people manage to become prosperous, good. If they starve, or have no place to live, or no money to pay medical bills, they have only themselves to blame; it is not the responsibility of society. We mustn't make people dependent on government- it is bad for them, the argument goes. Better hunger than dependency, better sickness than dependency."

"But dependency on government has never been bad for the rich. The pretense of the laissez-faire people is that only the poor are dependent on government, while the rich take care of themselves. This argument manages to ignore all of modern history, which shows a consistent record of laissez-faire for the poor, but enormous government intervention for the rich." From Economic Justice: The American Class System, from the book Declarations of Independence by Howard Zinn.

  • Jim Hightower: Stop Coddling Elite Crooks. Full excerpt: Let’s say you’re a run-of-the-mill burglar arrested for stealing $50,000-worth of stuff. How deep in jail would you be right now? Then, let’s say you’re Bernard Madoff, the New York City high-society scammer who looted some $50 billion from his victims. Having stolen a million times more than the common crook, shouldn’t Madoff be that much deeper in jail?

    But, no, the Ponzi-scheme superstar posted $10 million in bail money and was allowed to remain under house arrest in the $7 million luxury penthouse he owns on the upper East Side of Manhattan. In another mink-glove touch from authorities, Madoff didn’t have any gruff guards posted outside his door – instead, he was allowed to hire his own private security agents.

    Excuse me, but why is this confessed scam artist still able to spend his ill-gotten money for bail, guards, and a luxurious lifestyle?

    Meanwhile, investors he bilked are told they’ll have to wait up to three years to see if they can recover even pennies on the dollar they had entrusted to him. That’s because the court says it’ll take months for investigators to track what business funds and personal assets Madoff has tucked away. Excuse me again, but why not speed up the process by making him do that? Throw him in a cold slammer until he accounts for every dime.

    Why have the authorities pampered this guy for so long? Because he’s a silk shirt crook who was not only a Wall Street insider, but has also been a longtime crony of Washington regulators, Even while he was running his scam, Madoff was serving on several advisory committees to the very regulatory agency that was supposed to be watching him!

    It’s time for regulators like the SEC to start regulating again, and for the justice system to stop coddling the Madoffs of our country.

  • Jim Hightower: The Cluelessness of Wall Street CEOs. Excerpts: The latest outbreak of banker cluelessness comes from John Thain, who was honcho of Merrill Lynch until a few days ago. Merrill, which lost $15 billion in just the last 3 months of last year, was such a mess that it was taken over by Bank of America in a fire sale. Well, a fire sale underwritten by you and me – Bank of America was given $20 billion by the government to take Merrill Lynch, plus Uncle Sugar guaranteed another $120 billion-worth of bad investments that the two merged entities have on their books.

    In the midst of this embarrassing collapse and bailout, what was CEO Thain doing? Redecorating his office. Nero might have fiddled as Rome burned, but Thain went shopping while Merrill imploded. He spent $1.2 million last year to spiff up his executive nest, including paying $87,000 for a rug and $68,000 for a credenza.

    But he also focused on important personnel matters, such as trying to weasel a bonus of about $30 million for himself – a tidy reward for presiding over the demise of his bank and the loss of jobs for thousands of his employees. Board members balked at this, however, so Thain didn’t get the money, but he did rush out end-of-year bonuses to other top executives – just before the bailout money was paid.

    Thain’s excesses were too much for his overseers at Bank of America, so he was forced to resign. As a pampered prince of Wall Street, however, his downfall will be cushioned by millions of dollars in severance and retirement money – and he still won’t have a clue about what a greedhead he is.

  • New York Times: Disgorge, Wall Street Fat Cats. By Maureen Dowd. Excerpts: The president’s disgust at Wall Street looters was good. But we need more. We need disgorgement. Disgorgement is when courts force wrongdoers to repay ill-gotten gains. And I’m ill at the gains gotten by scummy executives acting all Gordon Gekko while they’re getting bailed out by us. ...

    Mr. Obama was less bracing than during the campaign, when A.I.G. executives were caught going to posh retreats after taking an $85 billion bailout. He called for them to be fired and to reimburse the federal Treasury. Now that he has the power to act, Mr. Obama spoke, as his spokesman Robert Gibbs put it, “like that disappointed parent that doesn’t embarrass you in the mall, but you feel like you’ve let somebody down.”

    That’s not enough, not with the president and Geithner continuing to dole out what may end up being a trillion dollars to these “malefactors of great wealth,” as Teddy Roosevelt put it. USA Today wrote about “the A.I.G. effect:” executives finding ways to spend more discreetly, choosing lesser-known luxury hotels and $110 pinot noir instead of the $175 variety. ...

    Senator Chuck Grassley urged the administration to snatch back the bonuses. “They ought to give ’elm back or we should go get ’em,” the Republican told me. “If this were Japan and a corporate executive did what is being done on Wall Street, they’d either go out and commit suicide or go before the board of directors and the country and take a very deep bow and apologize.” ...

    Rudy Giuliani resurfaced Friday to defend corporate bonuses, telling CNN that cutting them would mean less spending in restaurants and stores. Stupid. Even without bonuses, these gazillionaires can still eat out. It’s like Rudy’s trickle-up Make Work Program: Make Leisure.

  • New York Times: It’s Theirs and They’re Not Apologizing. By Alan Feurer and Karen Zraick. Excerpts: Getting between a broker and his bonus is like getting between a schnauzer and his lunch bowl. He may not bite you, but you are going to smell his breath. “People come here because they want to work hard and get paid a lot for working hard,” one investment banker said Friday as he wended his way, lunch bag in hand, through the World Financial Center. “I think there’s a disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street.”

    That certainly was the case this week when Main Street learned that, despite the craters of a down economy, Wall Street bonuses were more than $18 billion last year — roughly what they were in the fatty, solvent days of 2004. The media hollered, the president scolded, and ordinary people checked their wallets. But downtown, in the caverns of finance, the moneymakers shrugged and took it on the chin. ...

    “I think President Obama painted everyone with a broad stroke,” said Brian McCaffrey, 55, a Wall Street lawyer who was on his way to see a client. “The way we pay our taxes is bonuses. The only way that we’ll get any of our bailout money back is from taxes on bonuses. I think bonuses should be looked at on a case by case basis, or you turn into a socialist.” That, indeed, was a recurring equation: Broad strokes + bonuses = socialist.

  • New York Times: Getting Theirs Cuts Both Ways on Wall Street. By Eric Dash and Louise Story. Excerpts: There was none of the old swagger at Citigroup headquarters on Friday. The bonus checks had landed — and some of the bankers were grumbling. After a year of yawning losses at the company, employees lamented that times were getting lean. The giant bank, the recipient of two multibillion-dollar rescues from Washington, had paid out only about $4 billion in bonuses.


    If you’ve never worked on Wall Street, it is hard to wrap your head around the idea that a company that lost nearly $19 billion in a single year, as Citigroup did in 2008, could still pay its employees billions in bonuses. It is probably even harder to believe that some of those employees grumble about it.

    “I feel like I got a doorman’s tip, compared to what I got in previous years,” said a 30-something investment banking associate at Citigroup’s offices in Lower Manhattan. ...

    Granted, bonuses are down from the heady days of the bull market. According to an estimate released this week by the New York State comptroller, which set off the recent uproar, payouts for 2008 at New York financial companies fell about 44 percent from the previous year. But bankers are still taking home about as much as they did in 2004, when the industry was flush. ...

    Of course, many Wall Street employees never expected the good times to end. They lived large, believing bonuses would always arrive, so they are ill prepared, both emotionally and financially, to cope with a sudden drop in income. “Without a doubt, $18 billion is a lot of money, but it’s a drop in the bucket on Wall Street,” said Gustavo Dolfino, president of the WhiteRock Group, a headhunter for the banks. “These bonuses are down, and the salaries are not enough for these people. They can’t live on $150,000 to $180,000, so they haven’t saved any money. They put it on credit lines and at bonus time, they thought they’d pay it off.”

  • New York Times: Bailouts for Bunglers. By Paul Krugman. Excerpts: Question: what happens if you lose vast amounts of other people’s money? Answer: you get a big gift from the federal government — but the president says some very harsh things about you before forking over the cash.

    Am I being unfair? I hope so. But right now that’s what seems to be happening.

    Just to be clear, I’m not talking about the Obama administration’s plan to support jobs and output with a large, temporary rise in federal spending, which is very much the right thing to do. I’m talking, instead, about the administration’s plans for a banking system rescue — plans that are shaping up as a classic exercise in “lemon socialism”: taxpayers bear the cost if things go wrong, but stockholders and executives get the benefits if things go right. ...

    Meanwhile, a Washington Post report based on administration sources says that Mr. Geithner and Lawrence Summers, President Obama’s top economic adviser, “think governments make poor bank managers” — as opposed, presumably, to the private-sector geniuses who managed to lose more than a trillion dollars in the space of a few years. ...

    Meanwhile, Wall Street’s culture of excess seems to have been barely dented by the crisis. “Say I’m a banker and I created $30 million. I should get a part of that,” one banker told The New York Times. And if you’re a banker and you destroyed $30 billion? Uncle Sam to the rescue!

  • Wall Street Journal: Obama Lays Out Limits on Executive Pay. Firms That Get Bailout Funds Face $500,000 Salary Cap, Must Disclose Luxury Purchases; A Move to 'Claw Back' Bonuses. By Jonathan Weisman and JoAnn S. Lublin. Excerpts: President Barack Obama laid out strict new regulations on executive compensation Wednesday, strafing Wall Street with tough talk as Washington asserts increasing control over a financial sector seeking more government funds. The plan, which represents the most aggressive assault on executive pay by federal officials, includes salary caps of $500,000 for top executives at firms that accept "extraordinary assistance" from the government. It also restricts severance packages, known as "golden parachutes," for dismissed executives and requires the disclosure of policies on so-called luxury spending on things such as holiday parties, corporate jets and office renovations. ...

    This is America," the president declared at the White House. "We don't disparage wealth. We don't begrudge anybody for achieving success. And we believe success should be rewarded. But what gets people upset -- and rightfully so -- are executives being rewarded for failure, especially when those rewards are subsidized by U.S. taxpayers."

  • Washington Post: Obama Outlines Limits on Executive Pay. Goal Is to Inspire Dedication to Long-Term Health of Firms. By David Cho and Binyamin Appelbaum. Excerpts: But perhaps more significant is a new rule that bans those firms from offering additional compensation except in the form of company stock that can be redeemed only after the government investment is repaid. The idea is to motivate executives to work for the long-term health of their companies, administration officials said. While the new restrictions would only apply to a few firms under limited circumstances, officials said the rules were an important first step.

    "We're going to be taking a look at broader reforms so that executives are compensated for sound risk management and rewarded for growth measured over years, not just days or weeks," Obama said yesterday. "We're going to examine the ways in which the means and manner of executive compensation have contributed to a reckless culture and quarter-by-quarter mentality that in turn have wrought havoc in our financial system."

  • New York Times: Wall St. Pay Is Cyclical. Guess Where We Are Now. By Steve Lohr. Excerpts: To most people, a salary cap of $500,000 would be anything but punishment. But in Wall Street’s executive suites, it amounts to a humbling pay cut — and, just maybe, the beginning of a cultural shift. ...

    Understandably, pay is a touchy subject for financial executives these days, with reports last week that total bonus payments at New York financial companies last year reached $18.4 billion. But with tighter regulations on risk-taking and greater public scrutiny, the pay for top bankers could fall into line with pay for other professions, like doctors and lawyers. ...

    In executive pay, Wall Street set the tone for other industries, as the compensation of senior managers rose far faster than for most workers. In 2007, the total compensation of chief executives in large American corporations was 275 times that of the salary of the average worker, estimates the Economic Policy Institute in Washington. In the late 1970s, chief executive pay was 35 times that of the average American worker.

  • New York Times editorial: Still Nice Work if You Can Get It. Excerpts: President Obama’s decision to cap senior executives’ pay at bailed-out banks and other companies addresses one of the most outrageous weaknesses of the Bush administration’s financial-rescue package. If anyone is feeling bad for the bankers, don’t. The banks can pay more than the figure Mr. Obama chose — $500,000 a year — but only in restricted stock that cannot be cashed in until the government has been repaid. That sounds more than fair to us. ...

    The administration and Congress should move quickly to determine whether new rules could be applied, using the tax code or securities regulations, to encourage all banks to pay their executives in a way that tempers the destructive lust for risk that has brought the financial system to this cataclysm. Critics of pay caps and other restrictions claim the limitations will make it harder to find new talent. But the economy has not been well served by the arms race in pay. The country needs executives whose remuneration is tied to the long-term success of their strategies — not just the immediate payoff of their latest risky bet.

  • New York Times Op-Ed: Please Raise My Taxes. By Reed Hastings. Excerpts: I’m the chief executive of a publicly traded company and, like my peers, I’m very highly paid. The difference between salaries like mine and those of average Americans creates a lot of tension, and I’d like to offer a suggestion. President Obama should celebrate our success, rather than trying to shame us or cap our pay. But he should also take half of our huge earnings in taxes, instead of the current one-third.

    Then, the next time a chief executive earns an eye-popping amount of money, we can cheer that half of it is going to pay for our soldiers, schools and security. Higher taxes on huge pay days can finance opportunity for the next generation of Americans. ...

    Perhaps a starting place for “tax, not shame” would be creating a top federal marginal tax rate of 50 percent on all income above $1 million per year. Some will tell you that would reduce the incentive to earn but I don’t see that as likely. Besides, half of a giant compensation package is still pretty huge, and most of our motivation is the sheer challenge of the job anyway. Instead of trying to shame companies and executives, the president should take advantage of our success by using our outsized earnings to pay for the needs of our nation.

    Reed Hastings is the chief executive of Netflix.

  • Associated Press, courtesy of Yahoo! News: AP Investigation: Banks sought foreign workers. By Frank Bass and Rita Beamish. Excerpts: Major U.S. banks sought government permission to bring thousands of foreign workers into the country for high-paying jobs even as the system was melting down last year and Americans were getting laid off, according to an Associated Press review of visa applications. The dozen banks now receiving the biggest rescue packages, totaling more than $150 billion, requested visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years for positions that included senior vice presidents, corporate lawyers, junior investment analysts and human resources specialists. The average annual salary for those jobs was $90,721, nearly twice the median income for all American households.

    As the economic collapse worsened last year — with huge numbers of bank employees laid off — the numbers of visas sought by the dozen banks in AP's analysis increased by nearly one-third, from 3,258 in the 2007 budget year to 4,163 in fiscal 2008. The AP reviewed visa applications the banks filed with the Labor Department under the H-1B visa program, which allows temporary employment of foreign workers in specialized-skill and advanced-degree positions. Such visas are most often associated with high-tech workers. ...

    Foreigners are attractive hires because companies have found ways to pay them less than American workers. Companies are required to pay foreign workers a prevailing wage based on the job's description. But they can use the lower end of government wage scales even for highly skilled workers; hire younger foreigners with lower salary demands; and hire foreigners with higher levels of education or advanced degrees for jobs for which similarly educated American workers would be considered overqualified. "The system provides you perfectly legal mechanisms to underpay the workers," said John Miano of Summit, N.J., a lawyer who has analyzed the wage data and started the Programmers Guild, an advocacy group that opposes the H-1B system.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site
  • Take Action! Job cuts and job shifting offshore by IBM! I am writing to you today to alert you to the ongoing job cuts at IBM. IBM has terminated almost 5000 employees over the past 2 weeks. Exact numbers are hard to come by because IBM claims the Securities and Exchange Commission allows them not to report these job cuts because it is "routine practice". IBM employees, their communities and the media have a right to know how many employees are losing their jobs.

    Not only is IBM cutting US IBM employees jobs, they are also shifting the work offshore to low cost countries. At a time of rising US unemployment I find this totally unacceptable.

    As IBM CEO Sam Palmisano seeks billions in stimulus money I believe you should be aware of IBM's "firing here and hiring there" practice. I am asking you to enact or support legislation that requires any company like IBM that receives Federal, State or local public money to be fully transparent in job cuts, where the jobs are being eliminated and if the work is being shifted offshore and to where. .

    On top of the need for openness and transparency, corporations like IBM that offshore work from the US and terminates a US worker should face financial penalty.

    Go to the Alliance@IBM site to send this message, or your own message, to your state and federal leaders.

  • Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comment 1/30/09: To laid-off-and-turned-over- Your manager is playing hardball. He's trying to drain every last ounce of work out of you before you go. While it may be true his comments will be in your file. IBM as a corporation, and as company policy will not release any of that information to a possible new employer. This is IBM Policy. Don't worry about it. Take care of yourself and do you need to do. -miss understanding-
    • Comment 1/30/09: I was infuriated when I saw the video clip of sam at the WH with the President. I called the Whitehouse Comment line and got a live person within 5 minutes in the middle of the afternoon. I made my feeling know on what sam's real agenda is with US worker jobs, Everyone should call the WH to complain. WhiteHouse Comments: 202-456-1111 -Sam_i_never_wuz-
    • Comment 1/30/09: +1 JohnBoy.. It's wasn't many years ago that the parking lots in RTP were full. If you arrived much past 7:30, you were parking in the back 40. Groups used to fight over lab space. Now, row after row of benches sit empty. Development of products is being moved off shore. Support and test have been there for quite some time already. I don't think there will be much left of SWG in the US in the next few years.

      I wonder how the military and Govt buyers will feel about IBM products that are built and supported by some countries that are not exactly friendly to the US... Losing large contracts is about the only thing that will get the attention of SJP, but by the time that happens, he won't care and will be laughing all the way to the bank.

      To Laid-0ff-and-turned-over, I'm not sure what band your in, but looking for something else inside your division will likely be a waste of time. There are zero postings for my band/division/location. The only openings are for intern/new hires that start in July. Keep looking, things do pop up, but then you're likely to be first to go when the next round of RAs hits. As for your situation with the hard ass manager, start taking your optional holidays and if you have enough vacation, take that till your last day. Your job right now is to find another job and off load tasks to those that remain, not work stupid amounts of hours to finish things up. -gettin-hosed-

    • Comment 1/30/09: Sam, the economy is going to get better and we'll remember "The Respect" treatment you showed us. -SWG WebSphere Developer-
    • Comment 1/30/09: Any word on cuts that may take place in GBS? I haven't seen any comments, but the incoming pipeline of work doesn't look positive. -not_hopeful-
    • Comment 1/30/09: just eliminated from marketing/communications. i have info, will send email from home email. please keep my name anonymous. thanks. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 1/30/09: IBM Marketing & Communications laid off 156 employees on 1/27, effective 2/26/09. I have 25 years with IBM and have been rated a "Solid 2" for the last few years and I'm one of those selected for the "resource action". Meantime, Sam is making $24+M per year (Forbes. com). Way to go, Sam. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 1/30/09: All 5 contractors in my IBM Tivoli group were laid of 12/31/2008. I'm sure we weren't the only IBM contractors released that day. Be sure to add in contractors into any layoff totals. -Contractors out too-
    • Comment 1/3109: Best Estimate: 8 of approx. 86 Permanent Science & Technology employees in IBM Research @ Almaden were RAed (9%) ... All 8 were non-managers (possibly one wasn't, but unlikely) -Anon-
    • Comment 1/31/09: About 40 laid off at Almaden. every department hit regardless of its mission. PhDs, technicians, support. Performance not considered - only wrong project at the wrong time, said project being right 3 weeks ago. -anonymous-
    • Comment 1/31/09: IBM suspends increments, cuts variable payouts, cuts basic salary and even eliminates workforce, at rank&file levels. Does it do the same at the Sr Mgmt & Executive level by the same percentage ? I did not hear that.Did Sam Palmisano take the same % of cut in his annual compensation of $25.13M (Salary+Bonus) and $9.41M in options exercised ? -prosecutor-
    • Comment 1/31/09: For those of you that were RA'd, I am sorry. Also, if your manager is telling you that you are expected to continue your role on any work, that is ridiculous. All IBM has done is given you a paid 30-day notice. Do not waste your time to work for your manager, he/she did not work for you.

      It sucks that you are not getting a paycheck any more. The economy is at a low right now. It will brighten up. If I could, I would be looking for employment else where. I am looking, but not overly serious. I am in the degree program. If I leave prior to 2-years after I get my masters, I have to repay the tuition. If the right job and right pay comes along, I will take a 2-week vacation and give my 2-weeks notice the same day.

      The current issue for employees remaining is that the work does not go away. We are going to get screwed by having to pick up the work, fix the problems the offshore people create, and get nothing in return but lower ratings. The one way to solve this problem is send the IRS against anyone in a US company making over $200k a year. Then, all these "decision-makers" will be in prison for tax evasion. Start of with SJP and Thain. -Not RA'd-

    • Comment 1/31/09: I just read all the comments. I don't think anyone has explicitly mentioned that this is a US-only layoff. Forbes layoff tracker has the number at 2800 - they are all US workers. I was not laid off but I have 4 close friends who were (I am at Lotus) so I know this is a very sweeping layoff. I hate how you have to find out numbers/who through the rumor mill (i.e. I may have even more friends hit but do not know yet). Their last day is 2/26. My feeling is that this layoff was targeted at non-developers -- QE and UX -- and it is clearly offshoring which has caused it. Sick to see Palmisano shaking hands with Obama. Other tidbit info I heard was 2 DEs. Extremely bummed out and feeling trapped at "I...BM" -CertainlyNotUsingIBMComputerToPostThis-
    • Comment 1/31/09: Do you need hard copies of the January 29 SWG RA packet? If so, where should we mail them? I’m as disgusted as anyone else by this RA and by IBM management’s secrecy about it, but I thought of one bright spot: since the media can’t get any news directly from IBM management, they are forced to quote directly from www.allianceibm.com, which helps publicize our union!

      The Lotus group (also known as WPLC) had an RA on January 27 that hit 20% of Notes/Domino, and including most of its best people. After that, it didn’t seem possible for morale to sink further. But two days later, it did. On January 29, Lotus General Manager Bob Picciano led a quarterly all-hands meeting, with an upbeat tone that was a slap in our face. Below are a few highlights.

      Bob led off with a 30-second “comment on the SWG resource action. This was a very difficult process, but one we need to better match our resources to our process” [actually, the loss of these key people has destroyed Lotus’s processes]. Bob added that “2008 was a very strong year for IBM and an exceptional one for Lotus. We had a very strong 4th quarter. I really think that 2009 will be a great year.” [bullshit!] Bob followed with 50 minutes of statistics showing what great results Lotus had had and saying no more about the RA. At the end of the meeting there were a couple of questions about the RA:

      Q: “What is the commitment to North American workers. We have no entry level positions and in the Resource action, we lost many very qualified people.” Bob: “We are, of course, very committed to North America. It’s the home of our corporation. 40% of our revenue is from North America.”

      Q: “With the latest RA, how do you see that impacting Domino delivery?” Bob didn’t give a direct answer to this; it sounded like they’re still working it out; but Alistair Rennie (VP of Lotus Development who reports to Bob) was kind enough to add that “We’ve seen some amazingly strong people affected by the RA.” [thanks, Alistair] Bob closed the meeting by saying: “I want to thank everybody again. Obviously we delivered a tremendous set of accomplishments for 2008. I want you all to reach out and let everyone know the success of the Lotus team." [OK, Bob. This posting is my way of reaching out.] -Gorya-

    • Comment 1/31/09: I was RAed several years ago and it was devastating to me and my family. The worst part was finding a new job. It was hard to explain what happened at IBM. IBM would just verify my employment. I could not use my manager as a reference. I finally did get another job and I'm back on my feet. I am working for a similar size company like IBM.

      Folks, I can honestly say that I realize now how screwed up IBM management is. I am getting good performance reviews from my new manager and I love my job. IBM has the worst management I have ever seen. Abusive, arrogant, deceitful, lying, etc.. these are all words to describe an IBM manager. I am convinced that their bad management will be the downfall of the company.

      I believe a union will force IBM to clean up their management practices. Right now IBM manages by fear and you can do nothing about it. So stick together, support the Alliance, and get a union going. If you feel you are not getting treated fairly, MOVE ON. Either in another position in IBM or leave for another company. Don't let your bad manager abuse and mistreat you. To my previous management at IBM, go screw yourselves. You are lower than dog shit. -ex IBMer -

    • Comment 1/31/09: A longer term comment: I simply cannot understand the thinking behind IBM's rolling layoffs, relatively small numbers from time to time here and there - doesn't high level management understand that this leads to a never-ending atmosphere of not only continuous distracting rumors and incredibly low morale, but outright fear and depression? On the plus side (from IBM's corporate view, perhaps), I suppose they think this policy can keep the actions (mainly) out of the news, and possibly avoid some legal issues (the WARN act as mentioned elsewhere, avoiding age discrimination lawsuits since larger numbers would be required to prove a pattern with statistically high enough significance, and so on). On the negative side (which to me seems infinitely greater), how can people do consistently good technical work, much less be creative and innovative, in such a horribly oppressive and fearful atmosphere? -puzzled-
    • Comment 1/31/09: Wow as pr Wikipedia Sam has a net worth of 6.9 Billion pounds not US dollars , do the math. Wondering how do you accumulate that kind of wealth being an employee.... Wow that's like almost 25% of IBM's profit for 2008 (the best year ever) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_J._Palmisano -Anon-
    • Comment 1/31/09: A few years ago, there was an IBM HR presentation that was leaked by an IBM manager. The presentation showed that IBM\'s goal was to move up to 80% of the US jobs offshore. IBM never denied that this was the plan - they were just pissed that it was leaked. No time frame was given in the presentation and many people thought that the 80% reduction might be the goal for that year. When nothing that drastic happened that year, I suspect most people simply forgot about it. But realistically, what was presented was a long term plan, not a 1-year plan. My opinion is that it would take 10 years or so make a change that large. So here we are, about 3 years later, and 25% of the jobs are gone. Only 55% more left to cut to reach that 80% reduction level. Do you have any doubts about what will happen over the next 7 years? -Doesn't-Anyone-Remember?-
    • Comment 1/31/09: I want to thank the alliance for sounding the alarm on IBM and forcing some transparency. It's time to pull the covers off and tell EVERYTHING we know. It's clear to me that the publicity that is generated by The Alliance when Randy McDonald starts sharpening his ax forces IBM to rethink and regroup. They still have their plan, but they have to adjust their implementation. I'm convinced that has happened with this round of lay offs. Palmisano trying to get his piece of the stimulus pie and the publicity generated by The Alliance really makes it tough on ole Randy !!! Keep up the good work Alliance. EVERYBODY TELL WASHINGTON WHAT YOU KNOW AND KEEP THE PRESSURE ON ... I'M TIRED OF TRAINING MY REPLACEMENTS AND PROPING UP ARTIFICIAL INDIA PRODUCTIVITY !!!! -Bob-
    • Comment 1/31/09: Concerning Obama's meeting with Sam: Use this opportunity to FLOOD the White House, AStrongMiddleClass.org, and your Congressmen with what you KNOW about how IBM has been treating employees and the middle class over the past 8 years: In Lexington KY, we have been forced to train our foreign replacements for years; they have off-shored HUNDREDS of jobs; for years they have had us train India/Brazil/Argentina for NEW work (in addition to what has been offshored); they have used OUR labor to prop up the off shore sites (how many times have you had to be on crit sit calls for accounts OWNED by India?)

      Don't forget Lou Gerstner\'s robbing pension fund profits when wall street was booming and reporting it as vapor profit; They continue to co-mingle Executive retirement funds in OUR pension accounts. SOUND OFF and be heard. This is our opportunity. TELL WASHINGTON EVERYTHING YOU KNOW...IF IT'S LEGAL AND ETHICAL, IBM WON'T MIND EVERYBODY KNOWING. IT'S TIME FOR A LITTLE FORCED TRANSPARANCY !!! -Fed Up-

    • Comment 1/31/09: Sam's stock sale activity for 2008: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/it?s=ibm Note he sold/exercised options big time in August just before the economy crashed with the credit crunch. Coincidence or did his pet canary whisper in his ear? He has the arrogance and audacity to cut thousands of IBM USA jobs, meet with Obama, and to have made himself even more wealthy on the backs of hard working IBMers who produced a record earnings year. -anonymous-
    • Comment 1/31/09: Lotus Division was notified 01/26 and 01/27. Complete departments were laid off, including first line managers. One Lotus product test teams of 15 or more laid off with that work going to China. Development teams in Boca Raton, FL, Austin, TX, Raleigh, NC hit hard, some teams losing 30% or more. No one will find jobs elsewhere in IBM. No one is safe. Who could be a manager in IBM knowing how deceitful they are? -Anonymous-
    • Comment 1/31/09: Alliance if you think Obama is pro-labor you just don't get it. And I would question becoming a member. Pro-labor giving money to big banks to pay execs ....who are you kidding. You got taken you should have voted for the other side. Wonder if you can start unionizing IBM in other countries...take off your blinders Obama is not pro workers.....hope you post this but I doubt it. -MarkM-

      Alliance Reply: Yesterday US labor leaders met with President Obama and VP Biden. Biden said "welcome back to the White House". Why do you think he said that? If you think McCain was a friend of labor you are naive. IBM IS unionized overseas and has been for decades. We don't have blinders on, and will pressure President Obama just like any other politician.

    • Alliance Reply: Yesterday US labor leaders met with President Obama and VP Biden. Biden said "welcome back to the White House". Why do you think he said that? If you think McCain was a friend of labor you are naive. IBM IS unionized overseas and has been for decades. We don't have blinders on, and will pressure President Obama just like any other politician.
    • Comment 1/31/09: Has anyone ever been denied severance because they concentrated on finding a new job and did not spend much time on their "former" job? This is my current course of action and want to make sure it will not be a problem. -wondering-
    • Comment 1/31/09: Can someone scan their separation papers and post them on here or another medium? Obviously redacting anything that could be personal or sensitive. The most important part would be the section that describes the demographics of those RA'd. This should then be released to the media. It's another way to get some attention in my humble opinion. Good luck to all. -SafeForNow- Alliance reply: We have been sending RA packages to the media.
    • Comment 1/31/09: I'm in a Maintenance and Technical Support call center in Australia and have been reading the Alliance@IBM web site daily over the last 2 weeks. It's very scary what's happening in the US. We experienced larger layoffs than normal last year, and now I'm afraid more is going to happen. In Australia other work sectors have unions, but I am not aware of any that covers IBMers in Australia like Alliance@IBM in USA. Any suggestions? -ScaredAussie- Alliance reply: check out this link: http://www.asumembers.org.au/flightdeck-eba-campaign
    • Comment 1/31/09: To Doesn't-anyone-remember: Is this the document you were talking about?... http://www.washtech.org/news/documents/india/indianums.jpg Plenty of other interesting stuff on that site as well. Based on my observations, this plan is well underway. Maybe delayed a couple years, but the fact is that IBM buildings in the US are emptying out. The total head count for IBM is about the same. The jobs are being moved, not eliminated. Unless you do something that cannot be done over seas, your days are numbered, it's just a matter of time. It's really sad, I joined IBM in the days of the blue suit and full employment. The company would "darken the skies with planes" to get the right people to a customer site to fix a problem. Now they get to call India, get transferred to Brazil, then who knows where and still have a broken system. -Gettin-Hosed-
    • Comment 1/31/09: My PBC rating was not 3. It never been this, yet I was placed in work elimination group. Work eliminated to where? -Anonymous-
    • Comment 2/01/09: FSA Gal, I was RAed in June this year which triggered an early retirement (I had 34 years). The guy I had helping me at Fidelity to me clearly that my HCRA could be fully used even though I had only funded 50% of total. I went ahead and used up my whole year's allowance of the HCRA (not FSA) in less than 30 days and got it all. I spent it on all sorts of things and I was glad I did. Bought myself 2 pairs of glasses, special AC air filters. 2 year's supply of Prilosec, and this list went on... -Out in June-
    • Comment 2/01/09: To the person who is on the "measured mile" (in the "other" section of the poll, on top of the page): speaking as an ex-manager, it is *very* difficult to successfully complete the measured mile. In today's climate, IMO it'd be quasi-impossible. So I think this is the decision you have to weigh: would you like to stay on, and be paid for, a few more months (till your next assessment) and then leave with no severance? I am pretty sure in the end your manager will say "sorry, you did not complete all of the superhuman tasks we asked you to do, so you have to leave." With this option, you get your regular salary, but you have to endure the stress and frustration of being on the measured mile. The other option would be to take the 13-wk severance now. So. if you think you can last more than 13 weeks on the measured mile and not go crazy, grit your teeth and stay. However, if your next assessment is within 13 weeks, I'd say take the money *now* and run. Disclaimer: I do not know the particulars of your case, but that's how I would handle it if I were you. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 2/01/09: I am a new hire, 1.5 years, at IBM in Tucson, AZ. They announced Tuesday that they were laying off 100 regular employees at the Tucson site, STG only, maybe Tivoli also. Plus, they have laid off contractors as well. I know of a few employees laid off. One with 10 years with the company and very skillful in his work. Another has been with IBM probably 15-20 years and is an ex-manager. The other is a second line manager who has probably been with IBM for 25 years, maybe more.

      Like other people on this site still employed by IBM, I am very scared for my job. I have moved into a more profitable department, but I am not sure if that will make a difference. I am still learning the ropes in my new department and am worried I may be a target for a future RA. Does anybody know if more lay offs are in IBM's future this year??? Also, what can I do in my new department to make myself indispensable??? Also, where can I find information to write my senators or congressmen??? Oh, one last thing...has anybody thought about having a nationwide IBM strike to try to get the union going? Or to protest the unjustifiable layoffs???

      I am fairly new in the technology industry and the work force in general...but it seems to me that the only thing corporations care about is making a profit. If you watch the documentary "The Corporation", you will see the disgusting things corporations do to people, animals and the environment to turn a large profit. The heads of these corporations couldn't live without their big houses and flashy cars. While we, the people actually doing the work and making the products, get pushed around like maggots.

      I think the idea of "job security" is gone in the USA. I fear that if the gov't doesn't start regulating corporations more and making them keep jobs in the USA, we'll all be working in retail and food industries at minimum wage! I went to college for six years, busted my butt to get this job...and it doesn't count for anything. I'm just another drain on IBM's bottom line! It's sucks!!! -Scared_IBMer-

    • Comment 2/01/09: You are absolutely right. The jobs aren't being eliminated, they are being sent overseas. My team was made up of people in US, brazil, and India, but even the US team is more than 60% H1B, green card, or new citizens. What is really ironic is "Project Match". It's target isn't US born or US citizens, In fact, its a slap in the face for those people. It's target is H1B, etc. IBM has discovered that bringing over H1B's is more expensive than just hiring in other countries. Yeah, I was RA-ed, last day is Feb 26, and all my work has already been transferred to Brazil and India. There are no internal jobs and the system is frozen. I got a response to all my applications (that were for jobs in different divisions )in a Late Sat Evening note from an automated machine. A human didn't even look at them. -another_one_hosed-
    • Comment 2/01/09: To Doesn't Anyone Remember. Yes, 80% is the offshore target. And of the target per the presentation for the USA is 10-20%. Of that, the target for Americans is 5% with the remaining to be "landed resources" meaning foreigners brought here on visas like H-1B and L1. That means of the roughly 400,000 employees worldwide, the Americans will be reduced to 20,000. We are now I think 50,000. So that leaves about 30,000 more to layoff. IBM will have done half that this year if the layoff is for the rumored 16,000 (and most are in the USA).

      A game changer may be they hire new college kids for their cheap labor as part of the "landed resources" portion. But the sad fact is that there is a massive reduction of American students majoring in computers and engineering because there are no jobs after the massive costs of years of education because the jobs go to foreigners. And what happens to these sources of cheap labor onshore after a few years of pay raises? They will become expensive and will be laid off. No one can blame American students for not pursuing these careers. That sure leaves our country vulnerable.

      Can Obama keep the good jobs here? And on the other end of the scale - can the stimulus package jobs like construction be guaranteed to Americans and NOT to the millions of illegal aliens here? Unless Americans have job guarantees, there will be no good middle class nor lower income jobs for us. .They will all go to foreigners right under our nose. While they, certainly for most illegals, get free heath, education and other services thanks to those of us losing or not getting jobs who pay for it all. -anonymous-

    • Comment 2/01/09: To -wondering- : If you're not sure I would talk to your manager. My manager told me to just concentrate on job hunting for the next 30 days. I went ahead and wrapped up as best I could what I was doing. I've read on here someone else said their manager told them they were still expected to work. I find that incredibly insensitive, but I suppose the manager has that right as you are technically still employed by IBM. If you read the packet, it does say something in there about how if you are asked to perform a task or do a TOI etc and you refuse then that is your right but you forfeit your severance. Managers would have to be jerks to pull something like that but then again if they are not sensitive to the fact that you have been laid off then I would be careful. Maybe talk to them so everyone is clear what expectations are. Good luck. -also_let_go-
    • Comment 2/01/09: To -another_one_hosed- I wasn't RA-ed but I have been using the jobs posting system to search for other opportunities. I have applied to several positions and I experienced the same thing. On a Saturday evening, all of my applications were rejected, with a note "You were not selected for this position" *WTF* This is a bogus jobs system! I wish they would be honest with folks instead of pretending there are jobs out there for us. -miss understanding-
    • Comment 2/01/09: I think it would be interesting for someone to go through the motions on Project Match and see what kind of offer comes forth. Indeed, a lot of people should do it, to really find out what's going on; and then tell about it here! -Glyptodont-
    • Comment 2/01/09: I have a friend that I want to help out. She was given 6 months severance if she left now or stay on without the bonus or executive level. is she telling me the truth or is their more to this. I want to help her but don't want to pry. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 2/01/09: fyi, more layoffs are coming. I'm on a board meeting with a bunch of high level techies...band 9 and 10 They anticipate another round of layoffs by midyear. In this economy I would expect a layoff every quarter just to maintain the stock price...because that's all that matters to them. I think they will wait for the dust to settle after this one. -anon-
    • Comment 2/01/09: Most companies cut jobs to stem red ink... but in the worst economic emergency since 1932, as this nation struggles to create more jobs, IBM and Sammy the Palm, fire thousands of US workers without cause, while bragging about the "Rosey Out Look for 2009" .. In our nations hour of need, this can not be good press. Lets make Sammy the poster boy for these disrespectful times. He is Hall of Shame material. I wish the press would wake up and put that on the financial page.

      The thin veil of adding 1,300 by 2010 in the new GDF in Iowa is a net loss of jobs in the US, and diverts our attention while he hires 10 times that in the BRIC. Maybe you can post the idea among your activist your members, to purchase a full page add in the Wall Street Journal, or somewhere to make national news along with a coordinated, day of mass e-mailing, at the same time of day, to get national attention. Include a short catch phrase subject line intended to make the 5:00 news, that brands Sam and IBM as "Shamefully Un-American" or "IBM prefers to Fire American vs Hire American". Their image is one of their few Achilles Heals. -luvintheafternoon-

      Alliance reply: We would love to take out a full page ad in the WSJ but we simply do not have the money. An appeal for donations from the posters on this comment section gained us $50. We did get 28 new members but at $10 a month we still are just keeping our head above water. So the appeal for donations and membership is raised again. Do you want to take on IBM? Then it's time to join or donate. Thank you for your support.

    • Comment 2/01/09: I would also like to convey my sympathies to those that have lost their job. I'm part of Global Services and the job cuts really haven't impacted us. I've read a lot of comments criticizing Sam and the actions he's taken. Did you really expect anything less? His sole responsibility is to the shareholders of IBM, not IBM employee's. I repeat, his sole responsibility to to increase the value of IBM shares and cutting resources is the simplest route they can take. The only companies that really care about their employee's are non public corporations because they have no one to answer to. IBM is no different from any other publicly traded company and they'll do whatever they can to appease the shareholders. Once you realize this you will understand that the only entity you should have any loyalty to is yourself. I consider IBM as my source of income - that's all they are to me. I have no allegiance to the company nor do I care about their financial health - regardless of the bullshit I paste in my PBC. -BamBam-
    • Comment 2/01/09: Frankly I don't understand why people are hanging around in this ship wreck of a company. Sure they are making some money, but once times get harder Sam will cut deeper to save his share options. I left IBM labs 2 years ago (and so glad I did), if I were still there I'd be looking for a new position and leaving IBM to it... I'd rather leave on my own terms than waiting for a worsening economy and Sam's off-shoring antics to force me out once he finds a foreign replacement. -Steve
    • Comment 2/02/09: What comes around, goes around. For those of you who are somehow involved in LEAN, you do all realize that the only thing LEAN is going to do is cause job elimination. The concept of LEAN was to move people around and better utilize people's skills. If you believe that, you're wrong! IBM is not using LEAN in that regard. The only thing LEAN is going to do is get you RA'd. If you think otherwise, you're not being realistic. You all should have seen this coming 3 years ago. You don't have to believe me, time will prove it through this year and next. -LEAN'd Out-
    • Comment 2/02/09: My manager sources tell me that RAs for ISC and some of GBS will be announced Tuesday 2/3. I know this is just a rumor, but... -Veteran-
    • Comment 2/02/09: ADVICE to NEW hire in Tucson. AFTER 10 years here, my advice: RUN !! Run Forest Run.!!.. It will happen to you too, eventually.. -anonymous-
    • Comment 2/02/09: I just read here that the appeal for donations was poor. A total of $50? Pathetic. To all you whiners who don't want to step up to the plate--What if Alliance closes these comment sections down for non-members? Get your information from IBM! Oh wait...they don't want to hear you. -Member-
    • Comment 2/02/09: Question for I Be Mad and others who have been RA'ed but are still required to work for the 30/60 days. How much real productive work can you really accomplish at this point? I was RA'ed on 1/21. When I asked my manager what I should do for the next 60 days he said, go home, just check your email. I know I would have a really hard time trying to force myself to do any more work for these bastards. -OutOfTheBlue-
    • Comment 2/02/09: Currently, according to a source in the press, there are now 120,000 IBM US employees. Two years ago, I believe it was 170,000. Several financial analysts let it slip that IBM will reduce its USA employees to 35,000 by year end 2012. Some of the reductions will be through selling off of businesses, not all will be layoffs caused by offshoring. I believe IBM has offshored more US jobs than any other US based corporation. If that can be proven, that would be a great club to publicly beat IBM. -Frank-
    • Comment 2/02/09: In the early 90's they told us to ignore IBM's non competitive wages and look at your benefits as your total compensation. In the late 90's they (IBM Execs) stole our pensions and healthcare benefits and raided the overfunded pension fund while providing pensions to lotus employees, sequent etc. They based this on age/not years of services and told us this was not age discrimination. In the 2000s they told us if we performed and were valuable employees we would be rewarded. Now we have no pension, no health care benefits, no job as they are moved offshore to India and elsewhere. Perhaps the pension case needs to be brought forward to congress for reversal of the supreme court decision? Clearly basing the pension choice on a minimum age of 40 and not years of service was age discrimination! -25yrslaidoff-
    • Comment 2/03/09: If you have a Facebook account, join the group IBM and encourage others there to join the Alliance. Many people in that group have drank or are drinking the IBM kool-aid. So join the group & start discussions to wake people up. And on another note, one that I keep mentioning, if you're salaried, don't give IBM more than 40 hours. It's your manager's job to ensure he's staffed properly to get all the work done. If he doesn't have enough employees then it's not your job to fill in the gap for free - make him do is job! -stirring things up-
    • Comment 2/03/09: To -OutOfTheBlue- : And others ra'd. I was ra'd May 07. My manager said to me, "I don't expect to see you much in the next 30 days, I know you'll be looking for a job". I basically left my laptop connected at home, sametime on, set to busy, and went on job interviews. No sense in lifting a finger for these bastards once you get the RA notice. -OUT2-
    • Comment 2/03/09: The 30 days is meant as a transition time to benefit IBM. At any point in this 30 days, IBM can retract the "offer" and keep you on your job. While the 30 days is nice to have, it's also nice for IBM because they can retract the severance if they discover that the RA selection breaks the business..I've seen this done in IGS, where management was so clueless to what people do and in cases where the customer had issues with the change. I find the fact that Sam is groveling at Obama's feet a clear message. There will be more cuts. IBM values are a sham. It's too bad Sam is using the US workforce as a hostage. Pay up Obama, or we'll cut more. -another_one_gone-
    • Comment 2/03/09: RA'd last week from SWG. My last day of work will be exactly 14 days before my 25th service anniversary. Buh-bye. And don't let the door hit you on the @ss on your way out. -No QCC for Me-
    • Comment 2/03/09: To: -retired-, I believe those are the numbers from the summary sheets. However, those sheets do not include the people let go for performance reasons. Those people are let go this same time of year (about a month after getting their second 3). Normally, IBM has been letting 5% go for performance reasons each year. I believe the total let go so far this year in the US is ~ 4800 + LotusCuts + 0.05* (NumberUsEmployees). It is not possible to say exactly how much IBM has reduced its US workforce in the last month, but probably over 10,000 have been let go. -Anon-
    • Comment 2/03/09: Can one of the moderators here comment on the privacy of your membership data? I support your efforts to inform and organize IBM workers but at the same time I don't want to open myself off for RA by joining (and no, I'm not using my work computer for this). Regarding IGS, still nothing...no reports of layoffs in my group, standard "keep looking for work" from the managers. Does anyone have good info about IGS layoffs? If you're on a project are you still a target? Last, anyone care to share recruiter info? I'm getting my resume together, just in case. -UhOh-

      Alliance reply: We keep all our membership names confidential unless the member wishes to be public (and we always ask). The database is at CWA headquarters in Washington DC and is secure. CWA and Alliance staff have access to the list. The list is broken down by Voting member (dues), associate membership and subscriber. The voting members list is given to Alliance officers by Alliance National Coordinator Lee Conrad. Alliance officers are bound by confidentiality. That list is used for contact in regard to conference calls, notices, information confidential to members and meetings. IBM does not see the list and we certainly would not share it with the company or any other entity.

    • Comment 2/03/09: Amazing what we take as employees. Last couple of years. OT went from 1.5 times plus pension contribution added to it, to straight time with no pension contribution. Given the fact that Canada has a graduated tax system, I get paid less to work O/T then regular time. They made these changes and then management included all employees to work 44 hours instead of 40 hours. 4 hours O/T at the new rates. Absolutely nothing we could do or say to change this. -west coast canada-
    • Comment 2/03/09: To -UhOh- IGS is planning on their layoffs in April and June of this year. We're not immune if we're working on a project because its all to easy to cancel the project, or move it to another country. Get your resume ready, The layoffs will hit this group soon. -miss understanding-
    • Comment 2/03/09: IBM is hiring for their new Technical Services Delivery Center in downtown Dubuque, Iowa. A radio story yesterday (maybe on NPR) mentioned that the educational requirement was only an Associates degree. I assume this means lower salaries. There is a link https://jobs3.netmedia1.com/cp/job_summary.jsp?job_id=ITD-0212668 (non-IBM). They got millions in kickbacks from local gov't to site in Dubuque. Is anybody going there to work? -No corn to shuck-
    • Comment 2/03/09: I was forced out by IBM in October because of personal reasons, I needed to move my location, and I worked for IBM for 26+ years. Even though other people on my team were working remotely, and the entire test team was in India, I was asked to retire, and they gave me no severance package. In addition, in the final paycheck, in about two weeks, they claimed I owed two vacation days. I paid them 800.00 in the two vacation days in about two weeks, and when the check passed in the mail, they sent me a nasty letter that they were going to send creditors after me.
    • Comment 2/03/09: I'm surprised that attorneys aren't all over this site scouting for plaintiffs in an age discrimination class action case against IBM. Any US IBM employee over 40 years of age that's educated and has at least 15 years of solid technical experience are the obvious targets in the Iowa scam as well as for RAs due to their higher salaries. Perhaps in the survey you can add a section for under/over 40. I'll bet that the vast majority are over. I also agree with the Alliance in that behaving unprofessionally or sabotage of any kind is just plain wrong. But a class action would line our pockets and help tie us over until we find something else. Asking you to move to Iowa and/or firing you isn't illegal (even though it stinks), but age discrimination is and it's actionable in a court of law. This is why this needs to be publicized. It was done before with the OT lawsuit and can be done again! -over 40-
    • Comment 2/03/09: I heard from a very reliable source (mid level manager) that BTV is already planning the next round of layoffs in 2Q. Hang on to your seats folks. It ain't over till the fat lady sings. -BTVer-
    • Comment 2/03/09: How did Boeing's engineers get recognized through SPEEA? You're now 10 years into this effort, and you have 300 dues paying members? You have 5,000 supporters? You need what, 50,000 or 60,000 to hold an election? By my figuring, you're getting 30/year or 500/year, so you've got between 100 and 2,000 years to go. I must misunderstand, because that doesn't make any sense. -Nother BTV'er-

      Alliance reply: There have been many organizing efforts in the US that have taken years to take hold. Here's the deal. If 70% of the manufacturing workers in BTV and Fishkill signed up tomorrow we would know we had enough support to go for an election. The only thing holding us back are the employees not signing up with the Alliance and building organizing committees. Same with other divisions. It could happen this year if you are willing.

    • Comment 2/03/09: There is some truth to organizing around age discrimination. Having spoken with a top level labor attorney this week the first words out of her mouth were "there is rampant age discrimination at IBM". What would or could the alliance provide in support if such a group of plaintiff's were organized? -anonymous- Alliance reply: The Alliance has and is referring people to the law firm of Pat McTeague in Maine (see our legal section on the front page). The support we can give is getting people connected to such an endeavor.
    • Comment 2/03/09: Take a look at this CNBC interview with Sam - http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=1020690058 Notice how Maria catches him on executive compensation, and he giggles his way out of it....oh no, executives aren't getting increases, huh? Well, that's ok, because we'll just pad their bonuses and stock options extra thick to make up for it. Smoke and mirrors. I am so DISHEARTENED by what IBM has become and by what many, many American corporations have become....dishonest, greedy, and corrupt. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 2/03/09: In this interview with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo -- http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=1020690058&play=1 -- Sam Palmisano claims that IBM execs "took a haircut" in 2008 in terms of reduced compensation due to the tough economy. And he has the gall to brag that 25% of IBM employees will be getting raises in 2009, while he and the execs get none. And he fails to reveal how many of that 25% are Americans, but if evenly distributed across all employees -- and that's a big if -- that means only about a third of that 25%. Let's all shed a tear for poor Sammy who sold $31 million in stock last summer (http://finance.yahoo.com/q/it?s=IBM), and that's only part of his 2008 compensation. He even goes so far as to claim that he's just like any other IBM employee, with compensation tied to IBM performance. All said with a straight face while he's laying off thousands of Americans following a surprisingly successful 2008 annual report. Does he have no shame at all? I am dumbfounded. -Flabbergasted-
    • Comment 2/03/09: To Insurgent - your analogy is correct. IBM, like the Nazis, perfected ways to motivate large numbers of people to do nothing, while they are systematically eliminated. No Allied Armies will come to the rescue either. The Union is the only hope. As for "finding ways to make every deal, solution, delivery, proposal, etc. an unprofitable disaster", as far as I can tell they have been doing that to themselves for years. -Gone in 96-
    • Comment 2/04/09: Didn't Palmisano say 60% of IBMers will get pay increases for 2009 in w3? Then he says on CNBC now only 25% will get pay increases? -anonymous-
    • Comment 2/04/09: 6 employees from Software entitlement located in Atlanta call center last day was 1/27/09. Management than told another 12 on 2/3/09 their jobs are now gone. Before the notification employees related to management or Dept Leads were moved for protection from lay off's. -anonymous-
    • Comment 2/04/09: After 29 years in IBM IT, I was RA'd in the spring of 07. With the exception of the last 2+ years (worst of my life), I was a consistent 1 or 2 performer and, after about 20 years I provided IT support to some of IBM's top executives, SP included. I was rated "3" for 2 years straight and nearly suffered a nervous breakdown from being lied to, manipulated and degraded. In the intervening years since I left, I've taken much comfort from reading of similar abuses by so many of my former colleagues. -OldestLivingDSR-
    • Comment 2/04/09: If it wasn't so sad, 'Project Match' could almost seem funny. IBM really believes that so many of their workers are just idiots, I guess. Now we are not only offshoring jobs, we are offshoring people--people who have great skills, many who are much better than the skills overseas whether it is software or manufacturing. (Buy a Chinese dress and wash it a couple of times and see what happens! And forget about food from Chinese plants because we already know about that!). However, IBM expects skilled workers to go and work for 25% of their salary and probably train all of the other workers in that locale as well. You have to give them credit--they do have balls! They're even trying to make it seem like it is a great opportunity. I wonder how they would fare if they asked a few of our executives to go to China or India and work for 1/4 of their pay... hmmm. It wouldn't be a bad idea to send the majority of them abroad! -Anon-
    • Comment 2/04/09: If you work at federal sites you will know that large percentage of contractors are on H1. If that is the case how american companies get footing in there and how our jobs are protected. If federal govt is doing that then how can they ask private sector to save american jobs? -Anony-
    • Comment 2/04/09: Seems that after the current RAs which will effective in 30, 60 .... days, then the next RA wave will start -noname-
    • Comment 2/04/09: Here is a question for the Administration here. If I join the Alliance do I need to fear losing my job at IBM? What if my manager finds out that I joined the Alliance or sees me in the cafeteria passing out Alliance membership flyers? To be honest, I'm afraid to join the Alliance for fear of my management finding out and losing my job. Am I protected by some sort of government protection law? If so, maybe I can use the Alliance as a way to keep my job. For example, I could threaten to sue IBM if I were a paying dues Alliance member and if IBM lays me off since I could claim that they laid me off because I was an Alliance member. Get my drift? Please clarify my status as an Alliance member. Thanks. -IBMer -Alliance reply: You can join the Alliance and not be an "out in the open" member if you wish. IBM does not see our membership list. If you become public in your membership and hand out flyers etc and IBM fires you for that (which they won't) we can file a complaint with the labor board. We have members who regularly hand out flyers and they have not been fired. We do not want you to join the Alliance "to keep your job" or to make it easy to sue IBM. It doesn't work that way. There have been members who have lost their job over the years due to RA's or performance issues. We can only challenge IBM on Labor law related issues.
    • Comment 2/04/09: I was RA'd from GBS AS (SEA&T). Not sure why I was chosen since 35% of the people in the practice group are on the bench. We have gone through numerous business development managers in this group. The trend now is to work with people overseas for several months before getting RA'd. This is sad. How stupid can our government leaders be - they are destroying this country's ability to compete by turning against the American people. It seems like everything is depressed here - maybe in time to go to Mexico and stretch the dollar. -Donein30days- Alliance reply: It is not the government doing this, it is Sam Palmisano. The Government needs to know immediately the extent of IBM's offshoring. Contact your congressional rep today.
    • Comment 2/05/09: rumor says, mainframe IMS, DB2, tools next on the chopping block. -anonymous-
    • Comment 2/05/09: Any news for GBS RA? With the slow down on the commercial side and Internal accounts being moved offshore, there will be a few folks on the bench. Just want a heads-up if there is RA in the pipeline. Thank you. -8-yr-IBMer-
    • Comment 2/05/09: How many people are there in this Alliance Organization at the staff level? Is it only the webmaster? Or is there an entire staff behind it? Why doesn't this staff visit IBM work sites? I have not ever seen any demonstrators from the alliance trying to recruit people ever. This is the only media I have noticed in my 10 years at IBM, it seems to be a feeble communication effort. -Alliance-Support-

      Alliance Reply: We have 1 full time staff person and a part time webmaster. We had to cut one other staff person due to lack of dues paying members. We also cut back on expenses for the same reason. In the past we sent an organizer around the country. In Boulder for example only a handful turned out for a publicized meeting. Last year our 1 staff person with Alliance volunteers regularly visited Burlington and Fishkill to hand out flyers and get people signed up. We have had stockholder actions every year where staff and volunteers demonstrate. We have also had picket lines at various sites. As mentioned we currently have 300 members who pay dues. Now more than ever we need to build membership so we can be more effective. Will you join today and help out?

    • Comment 2/05/09: One month ago I received a "1" on my appraisal, and last week I was laid off from Lotus. My job is going to India. I've been with IBM 10 years and am a Band 7 technical support rep -- was about to be promoted to Band 8 supposedly. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 2/05/09: Imagine the consequences of Project Match. If you move to another country and get paid on their wage scale, then you must really live like the natives. This means, for example, that your kids would be educated in Swahili, or Russian, or Hindi; in the public schools, and accumulate the local customs and mores. Assuming that country doesn’t separate church from state, they may be taught a religion that you are ignorant of. Your standard of living probably levels with that of the host country, which is likely lower than what you are used to here. You will have to learn new ways to keep the standard of hygiene you’ve been trained to. And you may find that you are not immune to some diseases common over there.

      You will learn to be wary of the drinking water, and to be skeptical about fresh fruits and vegetables. Laws will be different, too, and you haven’t been learning them all your life, so there could be some surprises; for example, a disparaging comment about the president might land you in jail. This sounds like a grand adventure! Since your wage is lower, you might discover that your pension accumulation is commensurately less. It might be enough for retirement there, but what about here? Being out of the US, you would not contribute to Social Security or Medicare for the duration. The current Social Security calculation considers your highest 35 years of contributions, so if you were out of the system for several years, you might ultimately have less than 35. This would mean a benefit calculation with a denominator of 35 but a numerator of something less, i.e. a fraction smaller than one. For example, if you only work in the US for 20 years your potential benefit is multiplied by 20/35 or 4/7, so you get 57% of whatever it might have been. It is true that some countries have arrangements that give credits back and forth, so you might benefit from that, depending on the country you went to. Be sure to ask. -Cyclops-

    • Comment 2/05/09: To -8-yr-IBMer- I'm in GBS and I was told off the record by a manager that an RA is coming at the end of the first quarter. -GrimOutlook-
    • Comment 2/05/09: Just got the word in GBS every first line manager will let go 5 folks on March 27th. I think this will include contractors but not for sure yet. -going_to_get_it-
    • Comment 2/05/09: I hope that Obama caps executive salaries that take the stimulus package. Sammy sucking up to Obama takes a little different light now, doesn't it Sammy? You greedy slimy bastard. I am struggling on living on $40,000 a year from my crap IBM salary. You are worried that you can't make is on $500,000 a year? On top of the millions and millions you have already socked away? You greedy bastard, Sammy Palmishito, you make me sick with your GREED. Your GREED is destroying America!! Go Obama, Cut executive pay!!!! Right on!!! Cut Sammy's pay to $500,000!!!!! -IBMer-
    • Comment 2/05/09: I finally managed to not avoid another resource action. I can't say that I'm surprised as I have far more experience at IBM than the average IBMer these days. That alone means that I'm not qualified since IBM no longer wants experienced employees. -IBMersDozen-
    • Comment 2/05/09: Hi , I work for IBM India and work in the USA. I do agree with most of you guys. IBM is a global company and they should hire individuals on basis of their skills, be it American or Indian. IBM is hiring resources from India, getting them over here in the USA, but they are not providing fair competition. IBM India people are paid half the salary in the US of what their counterparts in IBM US are paid.

      This is the problem. If SAP consultant from IBM US get 120K , they wont hire him, instead they would get someone from India to the US and pay him 60K bucks. The federal govt should stop this. L1 visas are to get people because there are no resources in the USA, not to get cheap labour from India. If they really need someone from India they should pay them on par with IBM US resources. That way only genuine (read rare skills) people will come to USA and will not have impact of locals working here. The policy of cheap labour is bad, and I do feel bad working here as cheap labour, when I know someone is paid double for what I'm being paid. If they can find someone with same skills in IBM US, I am happy to go back, otherwise they should pay me same salary as my counterparts. -India Landed resource-

      Alliance reply: We don't like what IBM is doing to American IBMers or any other IBMers. There is a caveat in your comment that you should consider: The skills that IBM claims are not here in the USA is a lie. Yes, we know that there are some "rare skills" outside of IBM US; however, the majority of workers hired through L1 and H1B visas are hired BECAUSE they will work for half or less pay. The USA has PLENTY of skilled IT people available. IBM simply chooses to fire them and hire someone for the same job at half the pay.

      Again, we know that there are some skills that are the exception; but it is clear that many many IBMers from the US had to TRAIN the people that would get their job AFTER they were gone. It is simple logic. Yes, IBM is taking advantage of you and your countrymen and women....and they are meanwhile taking US taxpayer dollars in their pockets and throwing US taxpayer jobs away, like trash. Why not start a union in India when and if you go back? Why not try to unionize IBM India? Could it be any harder to do than it is here, in the US? IBM is a Global Company; which calls for a Global Union. IBM is unionized in several other countries. Why not India? Think about it.

    • Comment 2/05/09: I am an IBM'er since 1985 working in BVT. I am also a dues paying member of the Alliance. Many of us have seen OUR IBM transition from the BEST in the world to an average(at best) corporation. Careers have been transformed into jobs. Pensions have been stolen. PBC's and Performance have little influence on who gets fired. Those of us who survived the latest firings are only safe until the next round. Like it or not those are the conditions we CHOOSE to work in. It sickens me when I read that 280K folks visited this site and only 27 had the nut sack to join. Bottom line is that all the bitching/complaining isn't going to change ANYTHING in the IBM workplace. For those of you who are anti-union: "What other venue for change do you have ?" Guess what , the ALLIANCE is your ONLY choice so it's time to get off your ass and join.

      How much longer do you think the ALLIANCE is going to hang around waiting for you? With only 300 paying members I am amazed it is still here. This is for those of you bashing the ALLIANCE about it's visibility in the workplace.Now that you know about it have you joined?? -Tom Watson III-

    • Comment 2/05/09: Regarding the rumors on GBS layoffs end of March, does anyone know if they are targeting particular areas. Commercial vs. internal accounts? -Worried-
    • Comment 2/06/09: IBM seems to be emboldened by our passivity in accepting their raping of their American employees. No longer are they satisfied to confine their dirty deeds to the dark of night -- now Sam P presents himself in national forums like CNBC as a dedicated ally of American employment, who's making sacrifices in his personal compensation for the good of his company and country. WTF!? Now I'm mad as hell. Are we going to keep passively taking this? I challenge all of you to do ONE THING, however small. Personally, I just upgraded my associate member subscription to voting member. And I've been sending emails to the president, my congressmen, posting comments to blogs, etc. It's not a lot, but if we all make these small efforts, it will add up to something big. I implore all of you to please do SOMETHING. ANYTHING. Don't just keep whimpering to yourself in the dark after Sammy's had his way with you again. And to those of you who can afford $5/month, please at least sign up as an associate member. Can you imagine how much further in the dark we'd all be if not for this communications vehicle? -Flabbergasted-
    • Comment 2/06/09: Good Job Alliance!!! Project Match is now in our local papers, on CNN (on-line) and I am now watching it on the CNN morning show. It sounds even more ridiculous hearing it on tv than when I first read it in my package. -Last Day Feb 23rd-
    • Comment 2/06/09: To India Landed resource, I have been with this P.O.S. company for just about 10 years. I have personally trained people from India and China as well for jobs that were previously RA'd in the previous year. It sucks that IBM takes advantage of you people because they are not going to be any more faithful to your country then they are to ours, Money is the motivating factor. So, it should be with the employee's of IBM. We need a Union here in the USA, however, I doubt it will happen in time. The resource actions that are predicted will be fast and swift over the next couple of years, and then we will hear whining and crying but it will be TOO LITTLE TOO LATE. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 2/06/09: "going_to_get_it", can you elaborate on this GBS rumor? Many first lines in GBS have less than 5 reports and in many cases the first lines have 100% billable resources that are not benched, so this makes no sense. -clarity please-
    • Comment 2/06/09: I am hearing that MSS support people are being told to move to Boulder GDF or no severance. The 3 people I know live in other states, not within 50 miles. They have 20 plus years with IBM. They cannot sell their houses and move. So they are screwed. -just1waiting-
    • Comment 2/06/09: -Still Employed- I am sick of hearing about shareholders. IBM has spent millions to buy back stock so they look like they are increasing the shareholder value. It is a dog and pony show. Then, the execs vote themselves these substantial stock options and they end up becoming the larger shareholders. So in the long run, what they are really doing is putting more money in each others pockets. Look at the insider trading charts and see what Sam has sold this past year. I think giving stock options to a corporate exec is a conflict of interest. He or she can directly affect what happens there. I am hoping the stock price of IBM takes a complete nosedive. I like the idea of capping the exec salaries in the Stimulus plan. That means companies like IBM will never take it. I am thrilled I got RA'd. I am going to work as hard as I can to ensure competitors know about IBM and their sorry products and their illegal tactics. Folks...IBM is ENRON all over again. -Shareholders_0r_people-
    • Comment 2/06/09: An IBM colleague of mine has just been told that their IT job is being eliminated and that they must train their replacement from India. Is the Alliance interested in speaking with this person in order to officially document one of these “dig your own grave” processes? If yes, post the contact info here where this person should contact you. -dig-your-own-grave- Alliance reply: Yes the Alliance is interested in anyone who wants to tell us about this. We also need people willing to talk to the media about it. Contact us at allianceibmunion@gmail.com or phone 607 729-4571
    • Comment 2/06/09: For those that have been RA'ed, when looking at a new company, try using glassdoor.com to see what employees think of the company and see if they value their employees more than IBM does. For that matter everyone should go there and register their opinion. It might make it harder for IBM to hire the few people it hires in the US now. For those making $90K+, theladders.com is a site full of good advice and jobs. -Can't wait to find something better-
    • Comment 2/06/09: All...we should all try to attend the IBM Annual meeting in Miami. A little protesting on the outside with some cameras from different television stations would do a world of good. Remember, the shareholders are the ones getting rich off of us. IBM also announced that its next annual meeting of stockholders will be held April 28, 2009 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach, Florida. -India Business Machines-
    • Comment 2/06/09: To Clarity _Please - I know IBM has laid off people a few years back who were on a contract and billing. The case I know of was even through the customer was left in the lurch. No joke. It was the time around when part of the big layoffs included Lotus Consulting which was decimated and what was left was then merged into GS. -anonymous-
    • Comment 2/06/09: Regarding the GBS rumors, I suspect that those on the bench will be offered a package when the other shoe drops (in a few weeks) ....let's just hope that the packages don't deteriorate by then. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 2/06/09: I work in GBS. Seven people in my group have been told 3/27 will be their last day on the project. They are training their offshore replacements now. Does this mean that IBM will offer them packages on 3/27? The rest of us are also slated to transition in 2Q2009. And then what, another package offered in June? -Anonymous-
    • Comment 2/06/09: After nearly 10 years, and consistent 2+ ratings, I was told this week that funding on my project was cut so my position is being eliminated effective end of March. Just 2 weeks ago, in the midst of the RAs going on, I was told I was safe and not to worry. My manager told me verbally that i would have at least 30 - 60 days on the bench, and if I do get cut, that there would be some kind of package. Oddly though, when I asked over sametime for some clarification on the bench time and package, he wouldn't commit to anything at all, not that there would be any bench or package. Doesn't sound good .... -something fishy in GBS-
    • Comment 2/06/09: I called both Sen Boxer and Feinstein and asked that they support amendments to both the TARP fund bill and the stimulus bill to prevent any company that accepts these funds or works on these projects to be prohibited from hiring additional H1B workers. -union_positive-
    • Comment 2/06/09: The week before the hammer fell in STG and SWG it was hitting GBS. The difference is GBS did not offer anyone a package. They were all told to start training their replacements in BRIC and to look for other jobs. When they can't find other jobs they will go on the bench after 60 days. Once on the bench they can either be given severance, or they can be offered a job no one would take and are told they are resigning if they don't take it. The depts I work with covering the IBM Account all suffered between 50-80% RAs. This includes all the PMs and First Line Managers. There are 60,000 people covering the IBM Account but no breakdown by country. By year-end the plan is to have only 10% US resources on the account. This has been going on for a couple of years but in smaller numbers, now it has accelerated. -GBS Slave-
    • Comment 2/06/09: All this "rare jobs" stuff is just another game management can play. Job req for any position can be written in such way that it is next to impossible to find anybody who would have the combination of skills stated as required AND agree to the position on offered salary. I've seen job reqs written like that many times, although, I am pretty sure all of those times that was not intentional. It was because managers were clueless about skills needed to do the job. However, I am very skeptical that there are any of those "rare" skills that cannot be found or easily grown in US. Hell, I know that there are people on H1B who are first line managers in IBM. On one hand, I am all for bringing in H1B people to replace IBM management (think of the huge cost savings), but on the other hand, how can first line management be a rare skill. Actually, now that I think about it and remembering all my first lines, people management probably is a rare skill in IBM. -Rare jobs-
    • Comment 2/06/09: A message to still employed. I joined the union, because that is a step I can take ... over sitting here and waiting to be RA'ed. Since you come here for advise, here is some ... put your picture out on blue pages with your children. Holding one of them will do the trick to show you support a family, that will make a huge difference on RA selection. -Young Lady-
    • Comment 2/06/09: I am in GBS Application Services. I know the push recently has been to move as much as possible to overseas locations. I have been extended to the end of March,. Way too many people on the bench due to the IGA projects being reduced. Something is up since email traffic from my SPM is non-existent. -Concerned2009-
  • General Visitor's Comment page
    • Comment 1/30/09: Hey Union Now.... you think that eliminating the ENTIRE EMERGENCY CONTROL Department seems a bit drastic? In RTP, they eliminated indoor potted plant services and announced an Adopt-a-Plant program in an attempt to get remaining employees to care for the plants. Now that's drastic. Yes, ibm is in deep trouble. Next up, Adopt-a-Stall. -Adopt_this-
    • Comment 1/31/09: The MBPS and GBS yearly kickoff meetings have stated that they are looking to get stimulus money from the government. Are you surprised and outraged that a $100,000,000,000 corporations needs more millions or billions handed to them by the US government under the guise of using it to improve the USA economy by recently adding thousands of technology workers to the USA unemployment rolls? -anonymous-
    • Comment 1/31/09: This will make you laid off IBMer;s happy. Disbursements area just got finished paying Sam's West Chester Country Club membership. "ONLY" 150,000 dollars. -Travel Accountant-
    • Comment 2/03/09: Thank God your website is back up! IBM tells us nothing. They are hiding how many folks are getting RA'ed. At least the Alliance is there to get the word out. IBM's motto is "TRUST and RESPONSIBILTY in ALL RELATIONSHIPS" Sure IBM. Tell me the sun sets in the east... Keep up the good work! -anonymous-
    • Comment 2/04/09: I just heard Obama capped executive compensation at 500k for any company receiving bailout money. Bet Sammy suddenly does not need govt money. -Exodus2007-
    • Comment 2/04/09: to adobt-a-plant, Well IBM BTV apparently prototyped in 2 buildings a system where employees have to bring there office trash to centralized locations. There was a note that this was going to be rolled out across more buildings. Not sure what's next ....They put in showers, so maybe we'll have kitchenettes and bunk beds in our offices and pay rent too. -donein2009-
  • Pension Comments page
    • Comment 1/30/09: to -Ben Screwed-: I was fired from a company that IBM sold their Endicott, NY plant to: EIT. I was fired for union organizing and (CWA) we filed a ULP (unfair labor practice). In the meantime, I was also collecting my IBM vested rights pension...I also collected unemployment for 5 weeks (minus the pension amount); and then EIT blocked my benefits because they claimed I committed "misconduct". Since CWA filed a Federal case against EIT, I argued before a judge that my unemployment benefits should be restored because the "misconduct" argument was not valid until the ULP case had been resolved. The judge agreed and restored my unemployment benefits. I even got 39 weeks total, instead of 26. You CAN fight for your benefits, even if you're in extreme circumstances like I was.. -former IBMer-
  • Raise and Salary Comments
    • Comment 01/30/09: Salary = 35k€: Band Level = 7: Job Title = It specialist: Years Service = 20: Hours/Week = 40 minimum: Div Name = SWG: Location = Italy: Message = Today I approved the terrible salary incentive plan named 'Profit sharing Bonus Plan'. My manager said me : if you don't accept this.. you will go out!! So I lost 18% off my salary. My English is not good enough to explain my sadness. Starting from next month my amount will be about 1500 € and I have to pay 800 € per month for my small apartment near Rome city. We are four: two children and my wife, she lost the job when became pregnant. Now we only have my small contribute to survive. Thanks Palmisano good results!! -hidden pls-
    • Comment 01/31/09: Salary = 105000; Band Level = 8; Job Title = Advisory PM; Years Service = 9; Hours/Week = 60-70; Div Name = SWG; Location = RTP; Message = Got 30 day to find a job, things are looking bad, no prospects of job with-in. This was really 'shock and awe'. And Sam has guts to tell the president that we need to create jobs; this is what he said a day after laying-off thousands. Hypocrisy...is all I can; I suspect he is begging for his piece of pie from the FED's relief funds, beggars can't be choosers, right? -Sorry-IBMer-
    • Comment 02/01/09: Salary = 90000; Band Level = 7; Job Title = IT Specialist; Years Service = 8; Hours/Week = 45; Div Name = SWG; Location = Singapore; Message = Hi, I'm in SWG in Singapore. Fixed Package (80%) = S$72,000. Sales Commission (20%) = S$18,000. Total Package = S$90,000. Is this package reasonable and will this be considered a low, mid, or high Band 7? All currencies quoted in Singapore Dollars. -new ibmer-
  • PBC Comments
    • Comment 1/30/09: To -wondering- I don't know why SWG would be any different. We all have the same HR -- Randy McDonald. For the years that I was a first line, we ALWAYS had loaded ratings in the official tool (in October) before we asked reports to write their results. ALWAYS. Employee feedback is used to write the manager write up and justify the rating that was established during 2nd Line calibration sessions that took place in February. The PBC write up is simply a 'Cover IBMs A**' exercise and has absolutely no bearing on the rating your received. The whole process is a joke. By the way, in addition to the skew (that IBM claims does not exist), built in to the calibration sessions are the Executive mandates for diversity--to keep the targeted pipe line number full with our diverse 'peers'. I hate to be the one to break the news to you, but everyone needs to understand ... -Former First Line-
    • Comment 1/31/09: Does the PBC really mean anything anymore? It's no substance and all fluff. It's a total waste and can't even be considered a process anymore. Just because Gerstner thought it was a good idea is no means to perpetuate it. Scrap the PBC just like IBM did to Respect for the Individual. -anonymous- Alliance reply: The PBC is not a tool it is a club to force people out of IBM.
    • Comment 2/01/09: I was a manager back 9 or 10 years ago and we always had the PBC ratings established and in the tool well before the employees were asked to submit their results. I would even tell my employees to not spend too much time on it if they had more important tasks to do. Why would I want them to waste their time on PBC's when their rating was already determined ? As said before, we just used the rankings we had been doing all year and a bell curve. It is all fluff -Anonymous-
    • Comment 2/02/09: The whole PBC rating system is a sham anyway. I worked in IGS for the internal IBM account, apart from being told repeatedly by our 2nd line that we were in the business of working ourselves out of a job, many of us were told during our reviews, including myself, that you deserve a 1 rating, but we don't have enough 1's to go around. Yet the PBC system is touted as a "fair" review system based on YOUR performance. If you deserve a 1 you should get a 1, etc. Another reason we couldn't get 1's is that our business goals pertained to IGS' commercial earnings. And since the internal IBM account didn't contribute to commercial earnings we could never make that goal, so no 1's. Doesn't sound like a fair rating system to me. I wasn't RA'd in 2009, rather 2008 after 11yrs of service, never got any rating below a 2...and they laid me off on the day of my divorce being final. I learned a valuable lesson about the non-existence of loyalty at IBM, even though they tell you how much of a family everyone is. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 2/04/09: Prior Yr PBC = 1; This Yr PBC = 1; This Yr Bonus = ?; Prior Yr Bonus = 3000; Message = To get a good PBC rating you have to do more then everyone else that has the same title as you. You have to look around and see what extra things everyone is doing, then do more. I worked my ass off the last couple years and its paid off. You have to stand out. Apparently IBM has to give you a 3 in order to give u a package. People who want to retire soon are purposely given 3's even though they do not deserve it. But they want 3's to retire with a package so they get them. Neat huh? -da hawk-
    • Comment 2/04/09: $3000 and you were a 1 and you worked your ass off??? Why not spend 3 hrs/wk and pump gas or bag groceries and get a guaranteed income? Anyway, pbc has nothing to do with the layoff. The people in my team who were laid off were 1, 2+, and 2. We didn't have any 3's on the team. For my group it was obviously role based with seniority as a factor. -teamlead-
  • International Comments
    • Comment 02/01/09: Union Affiliate = No; Job Title = IT Specialist; IBM Division = GTS; Message = UK GTS 1st line management told to ensure 10% of employees are ranked 3 or less at PBC. Clears the ground for possible Management Initiated Separation later in the year if needed. -easyrider-
    • Comment 2/04/09: Hi.. just got told 120 jobs to go, first cut, business moving to singapore, voluntary or involuntary in Stg Dublin....before April 09 -CONCERNED- Alliance Reply: To all IBM Ireland employees: If you wish to organize or get some information please contact the Communications Workers Union, Ian McArdle ian@cwu.ie
Vault Message Board Posts

Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC. A few sample posts follow:

  • "More should get the axe" by "Frank_Reality". Full excerpt: IBM is way too top heavy - way too many executives (VP and above) for the size of the workforce. Since thus far, around 4% of the US workforce has been laid off in the last two weeks and more to come, I'd like to see 4% of the VPs and above canned too. Far far as I'm concerned, they ought to start at the top. Regime change at IBM!
  • "Check Bluepages - Shameful" by "Scouter1". Full excerpt: Sitting at your desk at night waiting for a job to run? Poke around Bluepages - unbelievable number of Directors / VP's with less than 5 - 6 reports, some with one or two people - and I don't mean reports with dozens of people reporting to them - sometimes a single Director reports to a VP - Jerry York tried to clean up this bloated culture - but under the latter Gerstner year, and now Sam P - as bad as ever - the prime reason why IBM's cost structure inflates GBS rates - and don't get me started on the "value" research brings to GBS and also included in GBS rates - IBM management been flogging that bs since the 80's
  • "Cut some executive level fat" by "bluejules". Full excerpt: I agree with all the comments expressed here. Like I said, I'm surprised to see that some VPs are getting cut, but I'm glad to see it.

    In a much earlier life, I was at GE when Welch was really pushing "work-out" hard. A benefit was it increased the span of control of managers. This made a lot of sense. We got to the point where there were 5 levels from an engineer designing power plant parts to the CEO. It made communications a lot clearer, and managers didn't spend as much time on political games - less people to fight with.

    In my little part of GBS, we are at 9 levels from client-facing consultant to Sam. Strange part is that in general only the first level both manages people AND works for customers. The levels above all "manage the business." This generally means playing political games, tracking stupid metrics like completion of mandatory "how to flush a toilet" training, and fighting with other managers with no project responsibility over who gets to have their people work on a project. Usually this is all done by a mass of redundant spreadsheet files prepared by a whole other overworked staff of non-client facing support.

    I would love to see 3-4 levels just eliminated. In consulting, you could take out levels 2-6 of 9 and most customers would never know. Most customers have no idea who these line management leaches are. They just wonder why our rates are so #$(&^% high compared to the competition.

    Eliminating these non-work layers would align our structure with our more nimble competition. No idea if IBM could even begin to conceive of this, but it could be fun to watch if they do. The political battles over who stays and goes would be legendary.

    Since accountants run the place, the one thing that could drive this would be the need to keep increasing margin to meet the "IBM model" touted on every earnings call. Once you've moved a huge portion of the client work to low-cost providers offshore, the proportion of management costs gets way big - blows your leverage model. Even a first year accountant realizes that capping growth on an already low Tech Services salary doesn't deliver nearly the savings as axing one or two executive layers who have very few reports anyway.

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.