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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—April 18, 2009

  • The Observer (United Kingdom): IBM set to axe thousands in move to cheap labour abroad. By James Doran. Excerpts: IBM is planning to axe thousands of jobs in Britain, Germany and Ireland as part of a broader move to shift much of its workforce to cheaper outlets in eastern Europe, China, India and South America, the Observer has learned. ...

    IBM employs some 20,000 workers in the UK and 21,000 in Germany. "The jobs have already started going in western Europe," Conrad said, and there will be many more in the months ahead. "They are being reassigned to eastern Europe, India and China." ...

    The expected European job cuts come on top of 5,000 recent layoffs at IBM in America. The US cuts brought the total number of redundancies on IBM's home turf to around 9,600 for the first three months of the year. The layoffs come at a contentious time for IBM, which is in the running to receive billions of dollars worth of stimulus money from the US government. ...

    IBM has been one of the most profitable companies in the technology sector so far this year.

  • Yahoo! IBM employee issues message board: "Re: IBM to Cut Thousands of Jobs in Western Europe, Observer Says" by "purebob2004". Full excerpt: Its an uncertain and demoralizing time to be working for IBM here in Europe right now. Job cuts have been pretty brutal for a while here, so we're already reeling. However we're also already seeing expert resources choosing to leave IBM for the competition. I think IBM will lose many previously loyal expert staff when the jobs market picks up again. This is not the company I joined eleven years ago.
  • New York Times: Tech Recruiting Clashes With Immigration Rules. Excerpts: Immigrants like Mr. Mavinkurve are the lifeblood of Google and Silicon Valley, where half the engineers were born overseas, up from 10 percent in 1970. Google and other big companies say the Chinese, Indian, Russian and other immigrant technologists have transformed the industry, creating wealth and jobs. Just over half the companies founded in Silicon Valley from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s had founders born abroad, according to Vivek Wadhwa, an immigration scholar working at Duke and Harvard. ...

    But technology executives say that byzantine and increasingly restrictive visa and immigration rules have imperiled their ability to hire more of the world’s best engineers.

    “There are probably two billion people in the world who would like to live in California and work, but not everyone in the world can live here,” said Kim Berry, an engineer who operates a nonprofit advocacy group for American-born technologists. “There are plenty of Americans to do these jobs.” The debate has only sharpened as the country’s economic downturn has deepened. Advocates for American-born workers are criticizing companies that lay off employees even as they retain engineers living here on visas. But the technology industry counters that innovations from highly skilled workers are central to American long-term growth. ...

    Reflecting the growing importance of technology — and responding to industry lobbying — in 1990 Congress set aside 65,000 temporary work visas, known as H-1B visas, for skilled workers. The visas, which are sponsored by companies on behalf of employees, permit three years of work, with an automatic three-year extension. The limit was raised twice as the technology sector boomed, to 115,000 in 1999 and to 195,000 in 2001. But those temporary increases were not renewed for 2004, and the number of H-1B visas reverted to 65,000. (There are an additional 20,000 H1-B’s for people with graduate degrees from American universities.)

  • New York Times opinion: Do We Need Foreign Technology Workers? Excerpts: For the high-tech industries, particularly, foreign-born workers on temporary H-1B visas are an important labor pool. Many of these workers arrived in the United States as students and stay on through the H-1B program. Many also go on to become permanent residents and founders of startup firms. But there is longstanding criticism among some labor groups that workers on such visas suppress engineering salaries and actually make it easier for employers to move more jobs to low-cost countries like India.

    We’ve asked several experts how immigration policy affects high-skilled workers and the industries that rely on them. Please join the discussion in the comments section here.

    • Vivek Wadhwa, Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University
    • Norman Matloff, computer science professor, U.C. Davis
    • Guillermina Jasso, sociology professor, N.Y.U.
    • Ron Hira, public policy professor, Rochester Institute of Technology
    • Mark Heesen, National Venture Capital Association
    • John Miano, lawyer and computer programmer

    ...Norman Matloff: A core problem with the H-1B program is its impact on older U.S. workers. The median age of H-1B workers is 27, and since younger workers are cheaper, employers use H-1B to avoid hiring older (i.e. over age 35) U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Human resources departments routinely exclude the applications of older workers on the grounds that the applicants have experience beyond the range stated in the job ad. Proposals to grant green cards in lieu of H-1B visas are thus misguided, as they would still swell the young labor pool. The hiring managers have a “gotcha” for the younger applicants too, rejecting them as lacking job experience in some special (but quickly learnable) skill. ...

    The world’s “best and brightest” should be welcomed, but most H-1B workers are not in that league. Meanwhile, many of our own best and brightest are squeezed out of the market once they become “expensive.” The industry’s claim that American kids don’t study enough math and science is a red herring, and is rank hypocrisy, with the layoffs of thousands of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who were math and science whizzes as kids.

  • eWeek: Experts Debate H-1B Visas, Foreign Worker Issues. By Don Sears. Excerpts: Props to Brian Watson at CIO Insight. You know when the New York Times pubs a piece entitled, "Do We Need Foreign Technology Workers?" things are bubbling to the surface. The article, which is part of a larger series on technology and immigration issues, is about much more than the controversial H-1B program. Think overall immigration and green card policies, and the influence on academics, research, patents and U.S. labor. And yet, H-1Bs are certainly on the mind of all the experts who contributed to the piece. ...

    So, the caramelized sugar atop the creme brulee is leaving, but what about the folks in H-1B visa programs? Are they really top talent? Another expert, attorney and programmer John Miano, who founded the advocacy group the Programmers Guild, in the article poked serious holes in the notion and the mythology about what constitutes a "highly skilled" worker.

    The fact is, our immigration policy is very welcoming to highly skilled workers, and has been for decades. But this aspect of the immigration system tends to get little attention. Instead, much of the debate in this area has been driven by a dumbing down of what "highly skilled" means. When the annual quotas on H-1B visas are exhausted, one often hears lobbyists arguing that the world's best and brightest are being shut out.
    But for the most part the people who seek H-1B visas -- and may be barred by the quotas -- are not extremely highly skilled workers. A college degree from a correspondence school can qualify someone for an H-1B visa. Employers making skill-based prevailing wage claims for H-1B computer workers classify most as being at the lowest skill level. The reported wages for the majority of H-1B computer workers is in the bottom 25th percentile of U.S. wages. In short, H-1B is a cheap labor program being marketed as a program for the highly-skilled.
  • New York Times: Longer Unemployment for Those 45 and Older. By Michael Luo. Excerpts: When Ben Sims, 57, showed up earlier this year for a job interview at a company in Richardson, Tex., he noticed the hiring manager — several decades his junior — falter upon spotting him in the lobby. “Her face actually dropped,” said Mr. Sims, who was dressed in a business suit befitting his 25-year career in human resources at I.B.M.

    Later, in her office, after several perfunctory questions, the woman told Mr. Sims she did not believe the job would be “suitable” for him. And barely 10 minutes later, she stood to signal that the interview was over. “I knew very much then it was an age situation,” said Mr. Sims, who has been looking for work since November 2007, a month before the economic downturn began. ...

    Workers ages 45 and over form a disproportionate share of the hard-luck recession category, the long-term unemployed — those who have been out of work for six months or longer, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. ...

    But once older workers lose their jobs, Dr. Munnell said, “then it’s horrible.” They have a much harder time finding work again than younger job-seekers do, and statistics appear to show that it is harder for them in this recession than in previous ones. During downturns in 1982 and 2001, workers ages 45 and over were unemployed an average of 19 weeks and just under 17 weeks, respectively. Many out-of-work baby boomers have despaired as they wonder whether to trim their résumés to avoid giving away their decades of work experience, or to dye their hair. ...

    Joanna N. Lahey, an economics professor at Texas A&M University, conducted a study published in 2005 in which she sent out 4,000 résumés on behalf of hypothetical job-seeking women ranging in age from 35 to 62 for entry-level jobs at companies in Boston and St. Petersburg, Fla. She changed only the applicant’s high school graduation year, an age indicator. Dr. Lahey found that workers under 50 were more than 40 percent more likely to be called for an interview.

  • Wall Street Journal: Retirement Outlook Drops to Record Low. By Anne Tergesen. Excerpts: A long-running survey about Americans' plans for their later years shows that workers' and retirees' confidence about their retirement security has deteriorated sharply during the past two years, to record lows. In a sign of just how bleak the retirement landscape has become, the survey of 1,257 Americans found that the percentage of workers who say they are very confident about having enough money to retire comfortably has dropped to 13% this year. That's down from 18% in 2008 and from an all-time high of 27% in 2007. And it marks a record low for the 19-year survey, which the Washington, D.C., nonpartisan and nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute conducts with Washington public opinion and market research company Mathew Greenwald & Associates Inc. ...

    The deterioration in confidence was especially pronounced among workers ages 44 to 54, whose retirement-account balances will have less time than those of younger workers to recover from the recent stock-market meltdown. Confidence also was especially shaken among households with annual incomes of $75,000 or more, in large part because they had more money at risk in the stock market, Mr. VanDerhei says.

  • Plan Sponsor: Hewitt Says Employers Could Save $1500/Employee With Match Cuts. Excerpt: A Hewitt news release claims that companies can save, on average, more than $1,500 per employee each year by suspending their 401(k) match, assuming an average employer match of $0.50 cents on the dollar, up to 6% of pay. So, Hewitt asserts, a typical large U.S. company could see annual savings of $25 million a year, while the average mid-sized company can save more than $10 million, and the average small company nearly $2 million annually.
  • eWeek: Adobe Offers Flex Builder 3 Free to Unemployed Developers. By Darryl K. Taft. Excerpts: Adobe officials said the company is providing free trial Adobe Flex Builder 3 licenses as part of a "getting started" package that will allow unemployed developers to expand their skills and learn how to build Web applications in Flex. The package also includes access to training and information about developer events, and connects developers to resources within the community to help people find jobs. ...

    An Adobe spokesperson said for the last two years, Adobe has heard from companies that use Adobe Flex Builder to create Web applications that the demand for Flex developers is high and outweighs the current supply. In addition, Adobe has noticed an increase in the number of developers who were first-time attendees at Flex user groups and events, the spokesperson said. These developers said they were interested in learning about Flex because they had recently lost jobs at companies that used other development technologies such as Java or .NET.

  • Australian IT: Pay for your own tea and coffee, IBM tells staff. By Mitchell Bingemann and Andrew Colley. Excerpts: IBM worldwide has begun cost cuts that will scrap office amenities such as tea and coffee, and even company-funded home internet access, as the IT services giant battles the effects of the global financial crisis. From May 1, IBM will cease to reimburse internet access for staff working from home. Direct-pay corporate managed and contracted home internet services will also be scrapped.

    "IBM will cease the reimbursement of home internet access for employees," the company said in an email to staff. "Secondly, over the next several months the provision of some office amenities, including tea and coffee supplies, will be phased out. Where it makes sense, our intent is to replace this with user-paid vending machines at selected sites." ...

    IBM Australia staff are angry about the cost-cutting measures. "Some employees are not too worried, while others feel as though they have been slapped in the face, particularly those who work unpaid overtime," an IBM Australia employee said. "You would have thought that basic amenities like tea and coffee was not a lot to ask for after working long hours and neglecting private life; obviously we were wrong. "They'd put a coin slot in the toilet door if they could." ...

    Matt Tukaki, government and public sector general manager at human resources specialist Drake International, described IBM's decision to make employees pay for tea and coffee as "ludicrous". "What you really want to do is make sure that you're keeping your staff happy. There's already enough nervousness out there at the moment with people in fear of losing their jobs. What good is it taking away people's tea and coffee? I see no point," Mr Tukaki said. Another workplace relations consultant who asked not to be named said the decision was likely to have a dehumanising effect on employees. "It would make me feel like I was a commodity," she said.

    Des Heaney, principal at workplace relations specialist HBA Consulting, said the tactics IBM has chosen to pursue were rare in large organisations as the cost savings they generated did not justify the levels of animosity between staff and employers that they created. "We have found that where you start cutting marginal staff benefits like tea and coffee and internet access it comes across as really quite mean-spirited and it's not really effective," Mr Heaney said.

  • Selected reader comments from the above article follow:
    • As a previous employee of IBM, all I can say is that I'm not at all surprised. The underhanded tactics employed by the site management is only surpassed by that of upper management. IBM needs to wake up to itself - if they don't look after their talent, their talent will walk.
    • The people who introduce such petty rules are the ones who should be made redundant first.
    • What does a packet of tea bags cost these days?(or instant coffee?). not much. surely nowhere near the cost of one australian employee.(maybe a couple of FTE in India though) That is unless IBM staff need to drink an awful amount of coffee to get through the day. seems like a strange place to cut costs....then again in Oz apparently we pay the most in the world for groceries....
    • Our company, a large multinational in competition with IBM just purchased us 3 x $7500 coffee machines for each floor we occupy. Sucks to work for IBM.
    • Being an ex-long time employee of a worldwide IT company actions like IBM's come as no surprise. Govt people should stop complaining, live a day in our shoes with pay freezes lasting years, no flex time, no 14% super, no paid overtime, 24x7 on call, hot desking, having to be 85% revenue generating and justify every 15mins to your boss and an angry customer come invoice time.

      How much market share, operating margin and dividend growth is enough ? You do a great year and come next year, you have to do it again and 10% or face no job or a reduced salary as a result. Public companies are like drug addicts, they never have enough.

    • As a former IBMer, the issue here is the amount of overtime and hard work that many of the employees put it. This is not your traditional 9am - 5pm environment, there is significant amount of effort, in some respects 60 or more hours a week. Providing Tea and Coffee is a small incentive for all the hard work that the employees have put in for this organisation.

      There was also an initiative to save on real estate costs by working from home and the company would pay up to $60/month for your broadband bill. There is limited real estate to cope with employees moving back into the office.

      The reason why I left and so many others are thinking about this is the culture of the organisation has taken a significant nose dive. Now as a customer, I regularly get calls from people working at IBM if there are jobs elsewhere - and I can't blame them.

    • I currently work in the IT section at ibm, or as we call it, the toilet. unpaid overtime is normal here, where you are EXPECTED to work 70 hours a week, no time in lieu either as there are shortages in staffing. The area I work in has always been understaffed by over 60% due to IBM trying to save money. However we have to work the job of 3 people without any recognition or time off.

      One person I work with had a parent pass away last year, and was told to take his laptop with him as we could not spare him from the office. The poor guy had to go to the funeral THEN log in a do a 14 hour day afterwards. Talk about lack of compassion in the work force. Who cares about free tea & coffee when the company you work for does not even recognise that basic rights of its staff and treats them worse than lab rats.

      Recently we where told that there is no money available for after hours work, so as a service provider we are unable to give our customers the basic level of service that is in their contracts. However management were able to reward themselves with massive bonuses recently due to exceeding their Personal Benefit Criteria (PBC in IBM speak).

      If you even critise or mention something wrong in the way we do business you are hauled in front of management and told in no certain terms that your job is on the line for highlighting these discrepancies.

      Home internet access has only been recently cancelled to normal staff, management still have company paid lurks & perks, latest blackberry, massive corporate phone plans, car mileage allowances, entertainment budgets.

      Whereas us, the people who do the work, have to pay for our own internet access when we are on call, working after hours, have to pay for our own phone calls (even international) and believe me, IBM meetings can go on for 2 hours when you call overseas.

      And within the last 6 months we where advised that IBM will NOT be paying for any skills training or reimbursing staff for certification exams, but was expecting all staff to attain 3 industry related certifications by the end of the financial year. It some cases that means us having to pay nearly $20k out of our own pocket to get the training for something that IBM wants to be able to support. Who now days has a spare $20K?

    • I also worked for IBM Global Services - in my case for over 8 years. When I started with them in the late 90's they were still a great organisation and I was really proud to work there. Then every year it got worse and worse. After they merged with PWC the penny-pinching and procedural red-tape became unbearable - I'm so glad I left and love the unglamorous non-name company I'm with - who treat me and my abilities with total respect.

      These days IBM is just another glorified 'Body-shop', no better than any other crappy over-charging outsourcer. The only difference between IBM and other outsourcers like Satyam, Accenture, CSC or EDS is that they are holding onto the name of a once great company - and why would you bother paying a 25% premium for that?

    • Australian IBM'ers have obviously been mollycoddled. In 33 years with IBM UK I never received free tea and coffee and neither did any other UK employees (except in meetings organised by the company). I also worked with IBM in France and the USA and no free coffee there either. Get real and stop moaning - you're lucky to have a job. As for the comments of the so called HR experts - I think they are completely out of touch with what's actually happening.
  • ZD-Net: Algorithms everywhere: Can IBM automate business decisions? By Larry Dignan. Excerpts: IBM outlined a vision—and of course a new services unit to go with it—that takes a little time to grok. Big Blue talked about the “information journey,” fact-based enterprises and nudging out gut calls in everyday management for decisions based on hard, cold facts. But when you boil it all down, Big Blue is talking about providing a bag of algorithms that will automate many of your business decisions. ...

    In Corporate America you can easily (predictively) model some cultural issues. CEOs will love this “fact-based” management, but the front line folks can resist. IBM notes the hurdles, but expects rapid adoption—at least something faster than the ERP revolution of the 1990s. Why? Younger folks already look at their PCs—and Google—as an answer machine, said Brenda Dietrich, vice president of business analytics & mathematical sciences at IBM Research.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: Retirement "Bridge" question" by "cybertramp66". Full excerpt: I got a 3 day Retirement "Bridge", to bridge me to the end of the month. I am fully eligible for retirement (25+ years of service and over 55 y.o.). But the Employee Service Center (ESC) told me I must take this bridge b/c you can only retire at the end of a month and my separation date is 4/27. Now I no longer trust that IBM would do something in my best interest, so it makes me suspicious that this is just a ploy to force me to sign the Bridge agreement. It just seems like a silly paper exercise. Am I losing any substantial retirement benefits by accepting the 3 day bridge?
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: Retirement "Bridge" question" by "madinpok". Full excerpt: At 56 years old and 27 years of service, your husband is already retirement eligible. So I suspect that the bridge is really just to get him to the end of the month, although that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, either. Once you reach retirement eligibility, a bridge really does nothing at all, except in rare circumstances, whether it is for 3 days or one year. Since the pension plan is frozen, bridging to the end of the month (or to a year from now) does not increase your pension benefit if you are already pension eligible.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: Retirement "Bridge" question" by "cybertramp66". yes, my bridge is definitely a 3 day bridge. From the above comments it appears that I won't lose any benefits from signing the bridge agreement. And it apparently gives me one extra month of service because I would have been 3 days short for April. I have been eligible to retire for a couple years so it seems like an accounting stunt. So I'll just sign their bridge agreement and move on.

    Yeah, the RA call was short and sweet -- "Distress in world economies... blah blah blah ... global competitive pressures on IBM ... blah blah blah ... Congratulations, you were selected for the Soylent Blue program. Here's the ESC link. See ya!". Yes, it sounds like your hubby has been eligible for retirement for a year now. It probably is the 3 day bridge. Good luck to you.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: Retirement "Bridge" question" by "Bob Sutton". Full excerpt: There is a potential IBM benefit for a short bridge and that is if it falls in June to bridge to a July 1 retirement date. IBM does not have to pay any variable pay if you work for less than 6 months; this started in the mass layoff in 2002 which occurred in May of that year. Therefore all those people lost their variable pay since they were 3 days short of six months of service in 2002. Hard to believe a company as large as IBM would do such an unethical thing but I bet the person who thought of it got an outstanding contribution award.

    Given that IBM seemingly would stop at nothing to save money it seems logical that they have continued that short bridge process for any month the RA occurred so that they cannot be accused of discriminating against only those who are laid off in June.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "A study finds elevated rates of cancer among IBM workers" by "Adrian Rice". Full excerpt: Performance rating of "3" during a year I had a chronic respiratory infection. Went on long-term disability, returned after becoming healthy, got 30 days to find a job or leave. Was told my chances of finding a job in IBM with my rating were about zero. Luckily I was eligible for retirement bridge leave. I am sure this same kind of thing happens throughout the company, and to people far less lucky than I was because of the retirement bridge. I guess the US labor laws would make this illegal, but good luck trying to prove you were canned for being sick!
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "A study finds elevated rates of cancer among IBM workers" by "chickcancer". Full excerpt: I heard there is some class action suit for employees who returned from STD for cancer and other illnesses who were downgraded in ratings and then served up on a resource action. Anyone out there who can offer a good opinion about the lawyer Rick Seymour who is working on this lawsuit?

    I went out on leave returned to work, had my rating downgraded as a result they lowered my variable pay, tried to screw me out of a pay raise in 2008. To add further insult, HR did a major CYA with my 2008 rating my manager wanted to make me a 1 and was told he could only make me a 2 plus. I can only surmise if they moved me from 2 in 2007 to a one in 2008, it would be further evidence IBM screwed me the year I had cancer. Anyone working in HR at IBM has sold their souls and God help them.

    Love to join with other chemo buds to stick it to IBM

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: Another Reason to join a Union" by "ibmmike2006". Full excerpt: When I was a manager, I always kept in the back of my mind "Is this the right thing to do?". I no longer manage anyone except my dog(who loves me) and our family. However, I still subscribe to "Is this the right thing"? It has worked for me in the long run even though I have taken my lumps and losses along the way.

    IBM tried very hard under the Watson influence to "do the right thing" with every decision, it built a fanatic loyal workforce and IBM was successful. We had management memos that reminded us of "doing the right thing". My nephew believes in Karma, not sure how it works but seems to be things that happen mysteriously. Most who prescribe to ruthless "It is just business" usually fail. You Reap what you sow. I think the Mafia justified killings at lunch time in restaurants as "its just business" and went to church on Sunday.

    There are more measures of a successful company with "doing the right thing" that cannot be measured with money verses the bottom line mentality of "it's just business". The companies who subscribe to "business only decisions" litter the hiway of Failed Companies. Non-executives need to organize by joining a group like a Union to level the playing field to bring back the "do the right thing" mentality of business. Not very hard, just sign the card.

    Hopefully, IBM will not be able to get away with firing people if they do sign the card. I think there is legislation being considered to make it easier for non-executives (99% of the workforce) to sign up as members of a labor organization.

    Let's face it, the world is different from what we were taught about the bad things of Unions and now is the time to join an organization. Corporations have taken most of the gains of the Unions over the years because we operated on a "do the right thing mentality" while the executives evolved and are operating on "It's just business" like the Mafia.

  • Investment News: Many 'no-pay' CEOs actually were richly compensated, study finds. By Sue Asci. Excerpt: When a corporate chief executive voluntarily forgoes a salary or takes $1 a year in pay, it’s largely symbolic in many cases, according to a report released by The Corporate Library. In 41 companies where the chief executive had either no base salary or a salary of $1 for the year, as well as no cash bonus, 21 received some form of “all other compensation” payment, the study — of 2008 proxy filings — released yesterday, found. And the 18 executives who voluntary went without base salary had a combined total of nearly $6 billion in company stock alone.
  • AFL-CIO: 2009 Executive PayWatch. Excerpts: A chief executive officer of a Standard & Poor's 500 company was paid, on average, $10.4 million in total compensation in 2008, according to preliminary data from The Corporate Library.

    Excessive executive compensation has taken center stage since the government bailout of banks that began in September 2008. Americans have expressed outrage as CEOs and other executives responsible for the financial crisis have pocketed millions of dollars from bonuses and golden parachutes. CEO perks alone grew in 2008 to an average of $336,248—or nine times the median salary of a full-time worker. Meanwhile, the economy tanked for working people while many companies were bailed out with more than $700 billion in taxpayer money, as well as low-interest loans and guarantees.

    The case studies here focus on 10 executive compensation practices that define a broken system in which the American taxpayer is left holding the bag. Also in Executive PayWatch, you can find CEO compensation data for some of the country's largest companies, compare your pay to the CEOs, learn more about executives enjoying job and retirement security while fighting to keep workers from getting contracts, find out what you can do to put balance back into our economy and play a satisfying online game: Boot the CEO.

  • The Motley Fool: 3 Reasons to Be Bearish on IBM. By Dave Mock. Excerpt: More job cuts. IBM recently announced plans to cut more jobs. Like Microsoft and Google, it's already laid off or otherwise reduced staff. But while trimming headcount to "rightsize" a company for its potential markets is a good move in theory, some investors wonder whether the employee reduction may be going too far in some areas, leaving the company at risk of the lasting damage caused by brain drain
New on the Alliance@IBM Site
  • Click & Take action on job cuts and offshoring! IBM has terminated almost 10,000 employees over the past 3 months. These are not low-paid, low-skilled people being fired. They are highly educated, highly paid and experienced employees. They are also taxpayers.
  • To IBM Employees, if you want to calc the totals RA'ed in your division and get a count/percent RA'ed by Age from your Employee Package PDF; give this JobCutsStats tool a shot. Download it from here: http://groups.google.com/group/ppbiz-group/files. Just unzip to a folder. See the Help doc for usage instructions.
  • RA's employees needed to talk to media. Anonymous if you wish. Send email, name and phone number to ibmunionalliance@gmail.com Alliance@IBM (2/9/2009)
  • The IBM Stockholder meeting is in Miami, FL April 28th 2009. If anyone is going to the stockholder meeting and would like to participate in a picket line or talk to the media, please contact Alliance@IBM VP Earl Mongeon at jemongeon@myfairpoint.net. Earl will be speaking to his resolution on executive compensation. Be aware that the open comment section of the stockholder meeting is severely limited time wise, by CEO Palmisano. The Alliance will not be holding any activities other than a possible picket line this year due to the cost of going to Miami. In the past we have put out a call for employee and ex-employee participation only to see little participation.
  • Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comment 04/11/09: Markham & Winnipeg - worked with many of you over the years. Great talent. I'm so sorry guys & gals. Hope you're writing your reps too. -your American friend-
    • Comment 04/11/09: I was one of the IBMers who was "selected for the resource action" at the end of March. That means that I am fired. I was given a PBC rating of 3 this year, so I was well aware that I was selected before the notification came to me. However, I have been looking elsewhere and have found a couple of places that are interested in me as a candidate for job openings, and I have a lot of years of experience, skills, and knowledge that are valued outside of IBM and others that are marginalizing the work that I had been doing. One company even stated that an up front salary offer that was more that a 50% increase over what IBM was paying was easily expected.

      The way that I see it, IBM is going to lose the "best and the brightest." They are either going to terminate their employment through these RAs and GDF moves, or those who survive the selections will come to realize that the way that they are being treated is substandard and move out of the company once the economy improves. The result will be that IBM is left with an even lower quality of service and a horrible reputation emboldened by the stories from its ex-employees.

      The coming backlash against offshoring will only hurt IBM's position in certain markets. It may take some time, but I believe that these choices will someday lead to us seeing IBM being acquired by competitors in whole or in pieces. Of course, none of this means anything to the current executives or the day-traders that drive the decisions which are made. They will be long gone with money in their pockets. -1 2 X U-

    • Comment 04/12/09: Last week RTP workers laid off the week of Feb 28 with RPL designations received an unexpected additional check for 1 month severance. It says due to the resource actions of last week. Call ESC if you are in RTP but had a different designation, evidently they don't realize that RTP has several designations -- all in the same office complex! Also, I did receive the physical rebate about 10 wks. after completing. -feb layoff in rtp-
    • Comment 04/12/09: I've been waiting for a severance package for the past 2 years. I hate this company and I hate the administrative bullshit I need to put up with every year. I wish I could give my job to someone who actually needs it. I'm financially set for life and don't need this job, but I can't leave without getting the most money I can get from this company. -Jackal- Alliance Reply: In the meantime, why not join Alliance (if you haven't already) and do some public organizing? Channel that 'hate' into helping your co-workers organize.
    • Comment 04/13/09: To RipAnotherOne - unfortunately, you need to give up on trying to stretch your employment until the end of the month. IBM wants you and your colleagues off the books. By ensuring that you don't stay through the end of another month, IBM saves a bundle. I went through the same gyrations early in the year: I was 5 days shy of another 6 months completed for severance, another 1 month completed for vacation and staying long enough for my son to be able to win a Watson Scholarship to college. Under no circumstances was I permitted to stretch the employment for those last 5 calendar days to secure any of those benefits. Get your resume up to date and start looking for a job outside of IBM. You'll be happier in the long run. Sorry I can't be more encouraging. -Hard Luck in S&D-
    • Comment 04/13/09: To who-ever said that ITD is undergoing a hiring freeze until after June 30th, wasn't kidding. Has anyone looked at the job postings lately? There are NO jobs for ITD at all (except for the new GDF in Iowa). I hope everyone sees the writing on the wall. Our days are numbered!! -miss understanding-
    • Comment 04/13/09: To: -Jackal- If you're serious about not having to work anymore and just want the severance, then do what I did. Watch this bulletin board for rumors of the next coming layoff and then put yourself in a position where you have a higher chance of being selected. People have posted a wealth of information here. Internal accounts that can be outsourced overseas sounds like a good place to be. Or if your organization has a bench like mine does, then get on the bench and stay on it at all costs (that's what I did). Some people here mentioned a leave of absence can do it and that would have been my next option. -leaving with severance-
    • Comment 04/15/09: for those angry at Project Match and the new benefit to offshore ourselves - I heard that this program is a way for those on visas to get back home. I guess that makes sense. I do know one person who in the past before this program took a position in Brazil as he had wanted to move there. So there is a limited audience for this. -anonymous-
    • Comment 04/15/09: I understand that 5 of about 150 phone support technicians, and 1 team lead experienced RAs or were pushed to bridge to retirement or able to immediately retire at Intel Servers and Blade centers support at the 1500 Riveredge Parkway Atlanta facility: ITS: Integrated Technology Services. I also understand that a former blade support manager in this dept. was RAd, as well as a manager in a telephone support department in the same building was RAd. I had posted an earlier comment on this board that I was RAd as well; I have since found out more info on the issue. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 04/16/09: I was just RA'd this time. On one day this week I received three identical emails from a tech recruiter, as I had a resume listed. They wanted me to apply for a temp contractor position at a location about 2000 miles from my house. Apparently one message was not enough. Their client? IBM. They can't even read the name of the employer at the top of the resume. If these are the people that IBM has gathering up its new low-cost staff in the US, they will get what they deserve. -Gabba Gabba Hey-
    • Comment 04/16/09: Gabba Gabba Hey, I got the same email from a manpower recruiter working for IBM in Raleigh. LOL He evidently didn't read my resume, either, as to my current employer being IBM. He said he was 'running an agent' all night searching for key words. What a bunch of morons. -slammed-
    • Comment 04/16/09: The 150 phone support technicians, and 1 team lead experienced RAs or were pushed to bridge to retirement or able to immediately retire at Intel Servers and Blade centers support at the 1500 Riveredge Parkway Atlanta facility should contact the lawyers listed on this web site. http://www.ibmcallcenterovertime.com/index.html. The law suit started at 1500/1600 Riveredge Parkway. For those support folks from all types of call centers thru out the US please take the time and speak to the Law Team. The contact information is listed on the web site. -Anonymous-
  • General Visitor's Comment page
    • Comment 04/09/09: Anyone else notice that those obnoxiously cheery CLAIM reminders went away after 3/19? I wonder if the person writing them got sacked. (Or heaven forbid, management thought it wouldn't be appropriate in light of all of the layoffs...) -Anonymous-
    • Comment 04/11/09: -Anonymous- They (IBM beannie counters or overseers) got the closing CLAIM numbers for 1st QTR and for the recent RA. They are gearing up for another round. You'll see the reminders again! If you see a reminder to get all your CLAIM data in before 5/1/2009 you can bet everything there will be another RA. CLAIM is used as a weeding out tool more than a work receivable financial reporting engine that IBM abuses to screw the customer and the resource (a resource is any work widget that still breathes air). There is still time to join the Alliance. Have you joined yet? -Anonymous-
    • Comment 04/12/09: I finally got the see the "I am IBM" commercials while watching the Masters today. Those commercials scared the hell out of me. Because that technology would most likely get in the hands of people who want to control the world - it literally enables the Big Brother scenario of Orwell's 1984 and it empowers people to control the behaviors of others in unprecedented and unanticipated ways. The use by evil people in the world is the most obvious thing (like the use of IBM tabulating machines by the Third Reich to identify and exterminate Jews), but the absolute power enables even well-intentioned people in power to abuse that power. There is nothing in the commercials stating the obvious concern of the potential abuse of people's rights - including privacy, data ownership and the right to understand what their data is being used for and by whom. So, not only is IBM selling out its employees and the USA, it is selling out their personal rights and freedoms for a price. I don't trust IBM and I don't trust this technology in the hands of government. -Frank-
    • Comment 04/13/09: I wonder how many of those folks saying "I am an IBMer" in the commercial are still IBMers or will be hit in the next drive by RA. Funny that IBM has the $$$ to sponsor The Masters but not to invest in it's USA employees. (I guess Sam got his green jacket. Sam if you did then the snobs at the Masters will make sure you can't take that jacket off the course.) -anonymous-
    • Comment 04/13/09: Exodus2007: I agree that we need to drive for a union contract, but we also need to expose these greedy slimeballs like Ginni Rometty. I read in one of her ego- inflating interviews that she is considered to be a replacement for IBM's top CEO position. Would you want this bimbo running the IBM company? We need to expose these ego maniacs. Ginni's mission in life is to climb the ladder from one of the 50 most powerful women to 10 and finally to number one. She doesn't give a crap about me or you or anyone else. Ginni is interested in one person, herself. -IBMer- Alliance Reply: The point is: it doesn't matter who runs IBM... it matters whether the IBM employees are working with a contract. If they aren't, then ANY of the CEO's to take Sam's place will be treating the employees the same way... Ginni or Ninny.. It doesn't matter. The focus needs to be on organizing the next 5,000 or 10,000 IBMers that are rumored to be losing their jobs in June....NOTon whether Ginni is being groomed for "IBM's top CEO position."
    • Comment 04/13/09: It looks like Oinker Sam isn't going to provide corporate managed phone services to work at home employees any longer. The announcement states if you provide it yourself, IBM will continue to pick up the tab and provide you with an IBM phone number. Of course, you can count the days before Oinker Sam decides not to pick up that tab, either. -Oink! Oink!-
  • Pension Comments page
  • Raise and Salary Comments
  • PBC Comments
  • International Comments
    • Comment 4/17/09: Country = UK; Union Affiliate = None; Job Title = Transformation SME; IBM Division = GTS; Message = The axe is falling in EMEA, all contractors in my dept on notice from IBM. Have seen the same knee jerk reaction in other departments in the last few weeks. -So long and thanks for the fish-


News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
  • Health Affairs: Beyond Parity: Primary Care Physicians' Perspectives On Access To Mental Health Care. By Peter J. Cunningham. Abstract: About two-thirds of primary care physicians (PCPs) reported in 2004-05 that they could not get outpatient mental health services for patients--a rate that was at least twice as high as that for other services. Shortages of mental health care providers, health plan barriers, and lack of coverage or inadequate coverage were all cited by PCPs as important barriers to mental health care access. The probability of having mental health access problems for patients varied by physician practice, health system, and policy factors. The results suggest that implementing mental health parity nationally will reduce some but not all of the barriers to mental health care.
  • New York Times: As Pills Treat Cancer, Insurance Lags Behind. By Andrew Pollack. Excerpt: Chuck Stauffer’s insurance covered the surgery to remove his brain tumor. It covered his brain scans. And it would have paid fully for tens of thousands of dollars of intravenous chemotherapy at a doctor’s office or hospital. But his insurance covered hardly any of the cost of the cancer pills the doctor prescribed for him to take at home. Mr. Stauffer, a 62-year-old Oregon farmer, had to pay $5,500 for the first 42-day supply of the drug, Temodar, and $1,700 a month after that. “Because it was a pill,” he said, “I had to pay — not the insurance.”
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.

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.