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But it was true; Clark's severance paperwork showed he was among 1,213 employees, specified by age and position, in IBM's Systems & Technology Group to be terminated. That's when Clark noticed something else.
"Most of the people selected for layoff were high ages," he said. "It looked like they had selected older workers." Using spreadsheet software, Clark entered the ages and job titles of all 19,226 STG employees — also information in the severance paperwork — including those not chosen for termination. ...
Because 60 percent of those terminated were age 50 and older, it appeared using seniority as a tie-breaker meant more older workers were fired. "If you're over 50, you have a one in five chance — 20 percent — of getting laid off," he said. "If you're in your 20s or 30s, you have a 3 percent chance of getting laid off." ...
"IBM complies with all applicable laws," IBM spokesman Doug Shelton said after reviewing Clark's report. Clark, meanwhile, warns his aging former colleagues to plan an "exit strategy." He advises over-50 IBMers to update their resumes, eliminate debt and "think about what you might want to do for a living for the rest of your working life.
In campaigning for the election, the local Conservative Party criticised aspects of Southwest One, the county's joint venture with IBM, Taunton Deane DC and Avon and Somerset Police, and promised a review. The attacks focused on Southwest One's use of SAP software for paying invoices. Somerset CC's Conservative group complained that the system's start date had been delayed several times and was failing to pay suppliers, risking the stability of local businesses. It added that, as an emergency measure, the council was paying invoices of under £20,000 without checking their validity.
IBM has been doing research for nearly a decade in the region on these applications, but as Big Blue looks to future, it does so competitively by making changes in its workforce, laying off workers in the region, and causing those over 50 to worry, fearful of losing their jobs. Despite layoffs, the company continues to invest “heavily” in New York State, the Hudson Valley and R&D, said IBM Senior Vice President and Director of Research John Kelly.
“We always retrain people as best we can – but we’re in a very competitive market and technologies change. So, as a business, we must remain competitive, but our employees remain our most valuable resource.”
IBM often doesn't disclose layoffs or even confirm that they have occurred. The company employs more than 10,000 at its Research Triangle Park campus and has had gone through several rounds of local layoffs recently. “IBM… complies with all legal requirements in the U.S. for job notification,” spokesman Doug Shelton said. “With acquisitions, divestitures, movement across businesses units, hiring and reductions, our population is constantly changing.”
The moves represent an about-face from earlier this decade, when companies raced to open so-called captive units in India and other countries where workers cost a fraction of those in the U.S. At least 500 Western companies have such centers in India, according to estimates by several research and consulting companies. In the first quarter, four more companies opened offshore centers in India, says consulting company Everest Group.
Large firms like IBM, GE, Boeing and Cisco said they are ready and able. "As our [Smarter Planet] campaign has been formulated and put out in the marketplace, we're seeing a lot of government customers calling us and asking us for help," said Gerry Mooney, IBM's general manager of government. For example, Mooney said IBM has talked with local governments about the Department of Transportation's grants to ease congestion in cities. He said IBM has the technology to help implement a smart traffic project, calling it a "sweet spot that we're well-positioned for."
Yesterday, India began its counterattack. Som Mittal, president of trade group Nasscom, told a meeting in Bangalore, India, that the US administration’s plans could spark retaliation from Delhi, if they started hurting India’s crucial outsourcing industry. The Times of India said that Mittal warned that if the US followed through on its protectionist threats, "This war could get started off”.
People at the lowest levels of the corporation know that global resourcing is failing in product development and in services, but that truth is blocked from reaching Sam and his team because anyone carrying that message would be fired.
Ms. Krueger replies: Sit down with a life insurance agent and see what life insurance would cost to buy your spouse equivalent coverage. Make sure you get an actual estimate, not a "This is how much it will cost *IF* you pass the physical and no red flags are raised." Also, make sure you're not just getting an estimate for a term policy where the cost will go up over the coming years.
Then sit down with your spouse and decide how much coverage you need. If you can buy life insurance cheaper elsewhere, then take the 0% option and purchase the desired amount elsewhere. Otherwise, purchase the percentage from IBM using the surviving spouse option that gives you the desired amount.
My analysis suggested that in general, it is better for women to purchase a life insurance policy from somewhere else, while it is better for men to purchase using the pension surviving spouse option. This is because the actuarial tables relied on by IBM don't seem to factor sex into the equation. They could have fixed that in the decade since I left, though.
Your mileage may vary, but maybe this list will help provide some additional ideas for you to consider.
Moore says it wasn't hard to change gears. "When we started out to make this film, I didn't have an end point," he says. "It was: If we're open-minded we'll run across things we otherwise wouldn't have seen." Then, as he puts it, "KA-BOOM!" The fraud was exposed, and bailout fever began.
The still-untitled movie is set to debut Oct. 2, and much of what it will feature remains secret. But the firebrand filmmaker reveals he has been literally following the money. Right into oblivion. "During the past eight years, the top 1% have made off like bandits. And they were making all this money by convincing the average American to go into more and more debt," he says. "So it wasn't real money they were making. It was pretend money."
Chamber president Thomas Donohue said his organization is launching its "Campaign for Free Enterprise" because an "avalanche of new rules, restrictions, mandates and taxes" could "seriously undermine the wealth and job-creating capacity of the nation." Funds from the Chamber's campaign will be largely spent on advertising and lobbying.
Meanwhile, the Service Employees International Union launched a campaign to counter the Chamber's effort, including an online ad that juxtaposes a businessman stuffing cash in his pocket with a child who has no health insurance.
"The Chamber is now spending $100 million to roll us back to the ways of the Bush administration," said Anna Burger, secretary-treasurer at the SEIU. "We don't need more of their policies. We need new policies." ...
For the Chamber, the decision to kick off its campaign also has strategic value. Some of the group's members, including Johnson & Johnson, have objected to the Chamber's opposition to climate-change legislation designed to lower emissions of greenhouse gases. Focusing on a broad defense of the private sector is "a way to separate this debate from an individual legislative battle," Mr. Donohue said. ...
John Castellani, president of the Business Roundtable, a group that represents chief executives of large corporations, also saluted the Chamber's announcement. He said several of his member company CEOs are meeting with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and other administration officials Thursday to push for free-trade agreements and against the Obama administration's international tax proposal.
“We must attack the root causes of skyrocketing health costs,” Mr. Obama said, pointing to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and other institutions as among those that offer high-quality care at low cost. “We should learn from their successes and promote the best practices, not the most expensive ones. That’s how we’ll achieve reform that fixes what doesn’t work and builds on what does.”
US spends 15% of GDP on health care. All other industrialized nations pay 7% or less and they have universal HC -- no one goes bankrupt due to illness.
Don't believe the TeeVee ads that warn against universal HC. The campaign is being coordinated by CRC Public Relations (paid for by Rick Scott and HC industry), the group that masterminded the "Swift boat" attacks against 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry, and is inspired by the "Harry and Louise" ads that helped torpedo health-care reform during the Clinton administration.
Rick Scott, is a multimillionaire investor and was the controversial former CEO of Columbia/HCA. Columbia/HCA plead guilty to a massive array of fraud charges - which resulted in a fraud settlement of $1.7 billion dollars, the largest in U.S. history. Details on Scott and these Ads here... http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/6/5/92910/15565
"'Some estimates suggest 30 percent of health care dollars are going to care that does very little to promote health,' Baicker said. 'Meanwhile, uninsured people don't have access to care that would very much improve their health.'" But union leaders are fighting hard to keep the tax break they say they've won for their workers over years of hard negotiation and that taxing the benefits could provide a political torpedo to those seeking to derail reform. "Supporters say any tax could be limited to affect only the most generous insurance policies and perhaps only wealthier workers. Such a limited tax could still raise significant revenue to expand health care and could still make the system more efficient. In the coming weeks, though, as plans are debated on Capitol Hill, what's efficient is likely to take a back seat to what's politically doable" (Horsley, 6/8).
Average total fees at well-regarded hospitals like Apollo and Wockhardt in India are 60 percent to 90 percent lower than those of the average American hospital, according to a 2007 study by the consulting group Mercer Health and Benefits (where Dr. Milstein is affiliated). Even compared with low-cost American hospitals, the offshore fees are 20 percent to 50 percent lower.
Most medical travelers seek cosmetic procedures like facelifts and liposuction, but an increasing number have high-risk operations like heart surgery and joint replacement in places like India, Singapore and Thailand. ...
Which Americans consider this option? Typically, they are people who have either no health insurance or meager coverage. Though not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, they cannot afford a good health plan. But lately, even some people with good coverage have been encouraged to take advantage of cost savings abroad.
Back in the election campaign, some people spread rumors that Barack Obama might be a secret Muslim conspiring to impose Sharia law on us. That seems unlikely now, but what if he’s a covert Canadian plotting to impose ... health care?
Rick Scott, a former hospital company chief executive, leads a group called Conservatives for Patients’ Rights. He was forced to resign as C.E.O. after his company defrauded the government through overbilling and is now spending his time trying to block meaningful health care reform by terrifying us with commercials of “real-life stories of the victims of government-run health care.”
So here’s a far more representative “real-life story.”
Diane Tucker, 59, is an American lawyer who moved to Vancouver, Canada, in 2006. Like everyone else there, she now pays the equivalent of just $49 a month for health care.
Then one day two years ago, Ms. Tucker was working on her office computer when she noticed that she was having trouble typing with her right hand. “I realized my hand was numb, so I tried to stand up to shake it out,” she remembered. “But I had trouble standing.” A colleague called 911, and an ambulance rushed her to the nearest hospital.
“An emergency room doctor met me at the door, and they took me straight upstairs to the CT scan,” she recalled. A neurologist explained that she had suffered a stroke. Ms. Tucker spent a week at the hospital. “The doctors were great, although there were also a couple of jerks,” she said. “The nursing staff was wonderful.” Still, there were two patients to a room, and conditions weren’t as opulent as at some American hospitals. “The food was horrible,” she said. Then again, the price was right. “They never spoke to me about money,” she said. “Not when I checked in, and not when I left.”
Scaremongers emphasize the waits for specialists in Canada, and there’s some truth to the stories. After the stroke, Ms. Tucker needed to make a routine appointment with a neurologist and an ophthalmologist to see if she should drive again. Initially, those appointments would have meant a two- or three-month wait, although in the end she managed to arrange them more quickly.
Ms. Tucker underwent three months of rehabilitation, including physical therapy several times a week. Again there was no charge, no co-payment.
Then, last year, Ms. Tucker fainted while on a visit to San Francisco, and an ambulance rushed her to the nearest hospital. But this was in the United States, so the person meeting her at the emergency room door wasn’t a doctor. “The first person I saw was a lady with a computer,” she said, “asking me how I intended to pay the bill.” Ms. Tucker did, in fact, have insurance, but she was told she would have to pay herself and seek reimbursement. Nothing was seriously wrong, and the hospital discharged her after five hours. The bill came to $8,789.29.
Ms. Tucker has since lost her job in the recession, but she says she’s stuck in Canada — because if she goes back to the United States, she will pay a fortune for private health insurance because of her history of a stroke. “I’m trying to find another job here,” she said. “I want to stay here because of medical insurance.”
Another advantage of the Canadian system, she says, is that it emphasizes preventive care. When a friend was diagnosed as being pre-diabetic, he was put in a free two-year program emphasizing an improved diet and lifestyle — and he emerged as no longer being prone to diabetes.
If Ms. Tucker’s story surprises you, you should know that Mr. Scott’s public relations initiative against health reform is led by the same firm that orchestrated the “Swift boat campaign” against Senator John Kerry in 2004. These commercials are just as false, for President Obama is not proposing government-run health care — just a public insurance element in the mix.
No doubt there are some genuine horror stories in Canada, as there are here in the United States.
But the bottom line is that America’s health care system spends nearly twice as much per person as Canada’s (building the wealth of hospital tycoons like Mr. Scott). Yet our infant mortality rate is 40 percent higher than Canada’s, and American mothers are 57 percent more likely to die in childbirth than Canadian ones. In 1993, the “Harry and Louise” commercials frightened Americans into abandoning health reform. Let’s ensure those scare tactics don’t work this time.
"I … strongly believe that one of the options in the [health-care insurance] exchange should be a public insurance option," the president said. "And the reason is not because we want a government takeover of health care...but we want some competition. If the private insurance companies have to compete with a public option, it will keep them honest and it'll help keep their prices down."
That follows earlier declines in coverage, with just 38% of small businesses providing health insurance last year compared to 61% in 1993, according to the trade group. In 2007, 41% offered coverage. A Hewitt Associates survey found that 19% of all companies plan to stop providing health-care benefits in the next three to five years.
“Right now a number of my Republican friends have said, ‘We can’t support anything with a public option,’ ” he said. “It’s not clear that it’s based on any evidence as much as it is their thinking, their fear, that somehow once you have a public plan that government will take over the entire health care system.”
But Mr. Obama neglected to mention that some centrist Democrats have qualms about a new government health plan. Senator Max Baucus of Montana, the chairman of the Finance Committee, who is leading an effort to draft a health care bill, said Thursday that the public plan could take the form of an insurance cooperative that would be owned and operated for the benefit of its members, but not run by the government. “I am inclined, and I think the committee is inclined, toward a co-op,” Mr. Baucus said. “It’s not going to be public, we won’t call it public, but it will be tough enough to keep insurance companies’ feet to the fire.” ...
In the Senate, Republicans expressed alarm at the shape of legislation being developed by Senators Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, both Democrats. Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, called the bill “the most liberal bunch of gobbledygook I’ve seen in my life — a complete liberal mishmash of ideas.”
"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.
Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC. Sample posts follow:
The only way for this to turn around is for significant company failure as a result of off-shoring so that it falls out of favour, but who will have the skills (or the inclination) to help rebuild an on-shore effort of that happens. Many people in OZ are steering away from computing as they are sensible enough to see it is heading off-shore. There will be a generation that has no idea about system design, development and project management because companies like IBM no longer invest in western resources.
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