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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—June 20, 2009

  • Hudson Valley Times Herald-Record: IBM's East Fishkill job cuts number 900 in 2008. By Christine Young. Excerpts: Despite collecting $45 million from New York state for not laying off workers in East Fishkill last year, IBM slashed 900 jobs in East Fishkill in 2008, according to a recently released IBM marketing document. For months, IBM has steadfastly refused to disclose employment head counts by site. But at an event Thursday trumpeting the company's "commitment to New York," Big Blue handed out promotional materials stating "there are approximately 5,000 employees working at the Poughkeepsie site."

    Earlier this year, IBM announced it employed 10,700 in Dutchess County between two sites — East Fishkill, where semiconductors are manufactured, and Poughkeepsie, where mainframes are built. That's 900 fewer employees than one year earlier, when the company said it employed 11,600 in Dutchess County.

    Hudson Valley Times Herald-Record: Reader comments concerning the above article. Selected comments follow:

    • I have first hand knowledge of managers at IBM Fishkill that had to lay off (read fire) employees last year due to "resource actions". It didn't matter if the employee was close to retirement, a good employee, etc. They were just told to cut numbers by 24 - 28%. So, if IBM Corporate took State money, promising to grow the numbers of employees, then IBM straight up lied to the state and took the money under false pretenses.
    • I am not an IBM employee - I am married to one. And I have had to watch him agonize over which employees he had to let go - AGAIN! And worry about whether his name was on the chopping block - AGAIN! Since being with IBM he has had to go through 3 or 4 "resource actions", as IBM calls them. And he hates them. They are unfair, one-sided, and happen far too often for his taste.
    • When is Dutchess County going to learn that IBM is not a county friendly company - IBM one day hires all these people gets huge incentives - pollutes the water - creates a traffic mess and Dutchess County politicians roll over and ask how high do you want us to jump - then IBM goes back on promises and lays off and comes begging for more tax incentives - when is Dutchess COunty going to learn IBM is a company to make monet - get all they can and not a care a bit of what they are doing - this has been going on for years especially in East Fishkill
    • IBM received the first $45 million on Dec. 15, and one month later announced it was cutting 274 jobs in East Fishkill. http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090325/BIZ/90325040/-1/BIZ2101 What ever happened to business ethics?
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: Book: Pension Dumping: The Reasons, the Wreckage, the Stakes for Wall Street" by "ibmmike2006". Excerpts: >In all the years that I worked for IBM, we were always told that the IBM pension plan along with social security should not be viewed as the sole sources of one's retirement income.<

    Mel, I am not sure when you retired and how many years of IBM employment but there were changes to the IBM retirement plan in the early 90's, two factors were the capping of the years from "No Cap" to 30 years as a multiplication factor. The other was the reduction of the other multiplication factor from .015 to .0135. For years, if you had the defined benefit, the determination of what your retirement pension was .015 times the number of years (no max) times your salary.

    If you hired on at 22, and retired at 60 which is the mandatory retirement of the IBM CEO's (unwritten), then you would have 38 years. 38 times .015 times last five years salary average. (Editor's note: Given this scenario, your pension amount would be 57% of your average salary during your last five years of employment. Under the "old" pension plan now in place, this percentage is approximately 25% to 30%. Cash balance plan participants can expect even less.)

    When the changes were made, it was .0135 times 30 times max last five years of salary. The COLA's (cost of living adjustments) that happened occasionally went away. The defined benefit program maximizes in your late 50's or late 60's and usually resulted in a comfortable retirement, the kids out of college, house paid off, and just you and the wife. But getting to that stage was improbable and not many made it.

    Compare that to US Congressman, school teachers, police, IRS employees, and public employees who receive .02 to .025 times years of employment times three years of salary today. It is not unheard of that school teachers and public employees who are protected by their unions or have a unionized competition, to retire with 70 to 80 per cent of their final salary. My US Senator makes $200,000 a year, he will retire at $160,000 a year for life, full medical and COLAs.

    IBM Managers did include the benefits, to show uplift of salary by 30% at each appraisal. The healthcare after age 65 provided by IBM today to retirees is catastrophic only. I am not sure most IBM retirees realize that. If you are over age 65, sign up for Medicare A, B, D, and Medigap level F at least if you want good coverage. This is out of your pocket. IBM's health coverage is not Medigap. I talked to another retiree who thought it was.

    If you retired before 1990, and 1999 or made it with the "Old plan", then you have not experienced what the Cash Balance Converted IBMers have. I barely did but I estimate I lost half my IBM retirement with all the changes and the force out in my early 50's sorely to prevent me from getting to the pension maximizing stage. (Editor's note: IBM is no longer making any contributions to current employee's pension plans, either the "old plan" or the cash balance plan. Therefore, there is no longer such a thing as the "pension maximizing stage.")

    Check out Front Line's, "What happens if we cannot retire" to get an understanding of "A lifetime of Work instead of a Lifetime of Retirement". ...

    There used to be over 125,000 DB plans, today there are less than 17,000 last count. This was not a result of a poor economy. The defined benefit pensions were targeted for only one reason, they were lots of money in them and unprotected by law with conversion schemes and the ability to change the rules.

    The next time you talk to a retired school teacher or IRS retiree, ask them how much of their final salary is their pension. In retrospect, I should have become a school teacher. Nine months a year working, three months off, and not on call 24/7.

  • Information Week: IBM CEO's Description Of Big Blue Used Against It In Court. By Bob Evans. Excerpts: IBM CEO Sam Palmisano recently told institutional investors, in a very pointed fashion, that IBM is "not like the other companies in the IT industry" because it's transformed itself. And so when IBM sued one of its VPs to prevent him from joining Dell, the VP defended his legal right to make the move by using Palmisano's own words as proof that Dell should not be regarded as a competitive threat to IBM. ...

    And now some of those words have shown up in court papers filed by former IBM vice president David Johnson, who is seeking to jump ship to Dell, which recruited him to be senior VP of strategy. As reported exclusively a few weeks ago by my excellent colleague Paul McDougall, IBM is claiming that Johnson's move would unfairly harm IBM by virtue of his first-hand knowledge of internal IBM strategy and trade secrets.

  • The Register (United Kingdom): IBM launching American-only software support. Big red, white, and Blue. By Austin Modine. Excerpts: IBM is rolling out a new software support package manned entirely by United States citizens. Big Blue says its Software Secure Support via USA Citizens option provides tech support as well as data analysis and call data contained in an isolated US network untouched by foreign intents.

    The offer will be available October 1 to both commercial and federal customers, which previously had to verify the US citizenship of their support operators by grilling them on who won the 2008 World Series (correct answer: the Phillies) and what's the capital of British Columbia (correct answer: I have no idea). ...

    IBM says its US-only facility meets all the proper US government security specifications. No word on how much keeping things American will cost, or whether the hold music is a Toby Keith album set on repeat

  • Computerworld: Best Places to Work 2009. Excerpts: These top-rated IT workplaces combine choice benefits with hot technologies and on-target training. Our 16th annual report highlights the employers firing on all cylinders. (Editor's note: Conspicuously absent from the list is our "favorite" large IT company.)
  • Computerworld: 5 ways to make your company a Best Place. By Adam Lawrence. Excerpts: Don't let the growing talent pool fool you. Though unemployment levels are at an all-time high, the war for talent still rages on. Competition in the IT industry for highly skilled workers is as fierce as ever. Companies realize that these "A" players are now, more than ever, critical to the ongoing success of their operations.

    So how does a company beat the competition? The key is to create a positive work environment -- the type of atmosphere that motivates and respects employees, rewards and cultivates their skills, and fosters their growth and professional development. More simply put: Become one of the Best Places to Work in IT.

  • Computerworld: 7 tips for keeping IT employees upbeat. By Adam Lawrence. Excerpts: In these tough economic times, even workers at stable organizations might be finding it hard to stay motivated. This can make it difficult for managers to maintain a positive, productive work environment. Strong staff morale is critical to ensuring that productivity and retention levels remain high. The organizations on Computerworld's Best Places to Work in IT list come from diverse industries and vary in size and geographic reach, but they all share a common feature: They're focused on maintaining an upbeat work environment and sustaining employee morale.

    Here are seven effective ways to keep your own employees motivated and ensure that your organization remains a positive place to work.

  • Computerworld: Worst Places to Work 2009. Excerpts: Computerworld is about to release its annual Best Places to Work special. We want to create an alternative survey here in the Shark Bait community — the worst places to work!
    • IBM Global Services has become a bad place to work, with the global outsourcing, and move to global delivery centers, you don't know from one day to the next whether you still have a job or not. Anonymous – Tue, 05/26/2009 – 16:23
    • I was with IBM for 13 years. The mid 90's was a great time for the company, but the past few years -- especially since the PWCC "acquisition" and the rise of GBS -- have shown a steady decline in morale and especially in IBM's old motto, "Respect for the Individual." We were reduced to revenue-generating machines, only as good as the hours you book... this week.

      You were obligated to work a minimum 45-hour week and were then encouraged to work beyond that. Staff meetings were scheduled for government holidays or lunch hours so you would not "lose billable customer time." If you took vacation days you were basically expected to make up the time off. For instance, if you took a week's vacation, you were expected to work 40 hours of overtime to make it up. If you didn't do this, your utilization was low, and your appraisal suffered greatly!

      The only people there who are happy are the ones who are "married" to the job. Everyone else walks around wondering what happened to "work/life balance." (It was replaced by "work/life integration" which means that you basically are always at work!)

      I have been IBM-free since January and I feel like I have been reborn. I actually enjoy my work once again!

    • I work for a very large company who thought it would be a good idea to "save" money and outsource to IBM Global Services ... bad isn't anywhere near strong enough name to describe it.
    • I worked 8 years for IBM Global Services until I left of my own accord almost 2 years ago. IBM is focused on increasing profits by reducing costs. That means most US jobs are being eyed to move overseas where the labor is cheaper. There is only so much blood you can squeeze out a turnip.

      The moral at IBM is at an all time low, and people with skills are leaving. The uncertainty of when the axe may fall on your job is driving the declining moral. It's also driving customer service down.

      The most recent move of reigning in all remote employees by forcing them to relocate to one of 3 "global delivery centers" is the latest moral breaker. If they deem your job is to move to a GDC, then you must relocate yourself in order to still have a job. No relocation paid for most employees.

    • IBM might not be worst, but down in the bottom 10. I still work there, but I would leave if the economy were better. Management smells the fear and they are shoving more work down everyone's throats. They are laying people off and cutting costs everywhere. They insinuate that more layoffs are coming without ever really threatening you with a layoff.

      They can get away with offshoring, because people are being replaced by other IBM employees in China, India, Brazil or Eastern Europe. It is essentially the same as when companies outsource to replace US workers with lower paid workers. Its really sad and very poor for morale. The worst part is that they're increasing revenue and profit is good. This is just a matter of greed and making upper management look good. It's a real shame.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: STG division" by "bits_bytes_and_bugs". Full excerpt: There have been rumors that the x-series server manufacturing, development and support could be sold off to Lenovo, but Lenovo likely doesn't have the available cash to buy it due to the sour economy.

    I think the sour economy and IBM's relative apparent strength work against a sale of anything. IBM won't sell any part of the business at a discount and the sour economy means that few buyers can afford IBM's price.

    There also have been some speculation of selling the i-series platform to a venture-capital firm.

    As expected, STG is struggling with lower volumes of shipped hardware, software and systems products. It is very ugly right now.

  • CNN/Money: Amid Reform Debate, Obama Picks IBM Executive To Head Patent Office. Excerpt: President Barack Obama nominated International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) executive David Kappos to head the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, an agency at the heart of a long-running debate dividing the business community. As IBM's General Counsel for international property law, Kappos advocated for patent-reform legislation, saying Congress needs to take action to improve the quality of patents and address what many high-tech firms view as excessive patent lawsuits. "This excessive litigation threatens to sap America's innovative capacity and its ability to compete in the world if left unaddressed," Kappos told the Senate Judiciary Committee in March. IBM received over 4,000 patents last year, its 16th consecutive year as U.S. patent leader.
  • Workforce Management: Government Work: No Longer the Job of Last Resort. By Elaine Pofeldt. Excerpts: In the 1990s, the coolest jobs were at tech companies, where workers could sip lattes and invent the future. In the Aughties, everyone wanted to work in the big-money worlds of real estate and finance. Now, post-crash, job seekers are lining up to apply for the new hot career: in government.

    A combination of an energetic young president and a widespread sense that the nation is badly off-track are drawing those who seek a chance to serve. Stomach-turning scandals in the private sector mean that there are few shining examples of company chiefs inspiring young graduates. And, perhaps most compelling of all, government jobs offer steady paychecks, good job security and top benefits packages.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site
  • Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comment 06/07/09: To -reply to emotional response post- : I was ra'd in 07 and did the same thing for years and years. I pointed all my co-workers to the alliance site. Most were kids but even the 40 plus people acted like I had 3 heads. They would rather keep their eyes closed and hope for the best. I still know a stupid PM who says he only needs 10 more years and he can retire. I suspect they will get him before that as he works from home 100% of the time and lives the good life. When he gets cut he will be totally screwed because he has no skills other than very basic pm skills, not even certified. They will learn the hard way. -rad_in_07-
    • Comment 06/07/09: Received an email within SWG about taking time off in the summer and receiving 1/3 pay during that time. IBM states it's a way for employees to do other endeavors such as family time or volunteering. My conspiracy side thinks it's a way to push a PBC of 3 to them and then to RA...Manager says "well you did request that extra time off but Susie didn't and put the time in to really go above and beyond...so you get the 3"...and then 3 months later find yourself RA'd...Hard for me to imagine a team of executives taking time to purely plan a way for employees to take time off in addition to vacation with the sole premise of the employees well being... -massworker-
    • Comment 06/07/09: Sorry to hear of the RA's going around - I got out earlier as posted and back in October I warned of the waves of RA's coming up to June as well as the GDC's - it was known back in Aug what was to occur down to 3rd line's. Right now I am a OPS Mgr at another IT company and supervising a PMO and 25 PM's and have IBM with me as the client. I already know the problems with Tivoli, Maximo and other items and already looking at reducing SLA's to conform to one product. Main point I told our CTIO is that we can save $5m by having one product instead of six products that IBM has offshored to Bangalore and can't give us help - that is why he brought me in.

      IBM should know, if you RA a lot of good people they take that underlying knowledge and are able to use it against them especially that I am on the other side and I pay the bills. Another reason as well not to undercut GOOD I/T setups for cheap short terms that offer no long term rationale.

      the other side and I pay the bills. Another reason as well not to undercut GOOD I/T setups for cheap short terms that offer no long term rationale. They asked for it, they got it - just they are supposed to maintain a profit line - not just the stock index. BTW - looking at hiring good SAM PM's for my company now and looking at former IBM'rs. My company is in the top 100 and never happier right now. Heard from a friend that IBM lost SunTrust recently and about to lose Allianz and Equifax before end of year. Seems that had to do with BRIC support. -IBM UC'd-

    • Comment 06/07/09: To IBM UC'd: I work on the Allianz account. Mgmt has been furiously trying to offshore the work by years end. What information do you have that ibm might be losing the allianz account ? They keep telling us Allianz is so happy with our service. Must be just another lie. -dun-4-
    • Comment 06/08/09: To -IBM UC'd- you mention that you are looking for some PM's. I worked at IBM for over 12 years and have numerous years in PM and setting PMO's. I would be interested in knowing where the job location is at and finding out more about what you are looking for. Please post your direct contact info if you don't mind. -FormerIBMPM-
    • Comment 06/08/09: There are empty boxes being brought into the Lexington MA complex. Not a good sign for later this month -JohnK-
    • Comment 06/09/09: I am not sure if this is the right forum for this question but I was RA'd with my last day in May. I was told by a church friend that use to work in my state's unemployment office that if my job was sent overseas I should be eligible for the Workforce Investment Act and the 2 years of free training. My project was slated to go completely to Singapore by the end of the year and I was 'supposedly' moving to another project which obviously didn't happen. I hate that I wasted so many nights working because of the time difference with Singapore. A complete waste. Anyway, I got the 2500 in training stuff with my package, but I do not know if I am eligible for it. Does anyone know if I would be or how I could apply? Thanks! -FreeinNC-

      Alliance reply: Contact the following: Russell Doles Governor's Rapid Response Team Manager; North Carolina Department of Commerce; Division of Workforce Development; 313 Chapanoke Road, Suite 120; 4316 Mail Service Center; Raleigh, NC 27699-4316; 919-329-5284; Fax: 919-662-4770; Email: rdoles@nccommerce.com Also: http://www.doleta.gov/tradeact/benefits.cfm

    • Comment 06/09/09: I just got some info from a former colleague that a bunch of ABAPers got terminated in the San Jose, CA area on 26 May. One guy I know started over 11 years ago. Meanwhile the ABAP jobs go to cheap labor Indians here on L, business or H1B visa or off-shore in India. My experience w/these ABAPers is that they are very inexperienced and the communication is tough, too. Apparently upper management at IBM have decided that it is worth it for them to pay more middle managers to manage the Indians than pay Americans a fair wage and benefits. Seems to me that IBM is also seeking American taxpayer dollars via the stimulus. -c currey-
    • Comment 06/10/09: It looks like an am off to my first job as an ex-IBMer, and it is a particularly sweet one. The customer bought one of the IBM buggy bloatware products and could not get it installed and configured properly. IBM is blaming the customer and wants to charge $400-$500/hr for help. Well guess what? IBM fired my ass to save money and I have the perfect expertise for this problem, and from what I can see, there are at least four customers so far who need help.

      Word is IBM can't find the expertise needed. The kicker is that for two years before I was fired I was trying to transition from development and Level 3 support to doing this exact job!

      I'm gonna bust my butt for this client and I am delighted to make the customer happy with good service and cut out the IBM middleman and overhead. When IBM dropped 'Respect for the Individual' it dropped "IBM means service" as well, and I hope I can help take IBM's lunch because of it. So make a good resume and post it on dice.com - you might find out somebody out there appreciates what you have to offer, even though IBM doesn't. -anon-

    • Comment 06/10/09: Regarding Comment 06/06/09: Interesting comment by RacerX... about how layoffs have not hurt IBM. GE also has practiced layoffs and Jack Welsh (or it it Welch) taught a lot of these execs the mantra of yearly layoffs in good times... - keep laying off what you perceive to be your bottom 10% of the workforce and it will work wonders for your business. GE followed this practice mindlessly for decades.

      Have you checked how GE fared in this recession? 44% drop in revenues. This mindless blather by a heartless and egregiously overpaid executive is now driving that corp to its knees. You can guess what they were left with? The kinds of employees most valued by managers. I am old enough to have one of the "How To Stuff A Wild Duck" posters... How the times have changed. Also, I seem to recall some posters to the effect that "Eagles Don't Flock, You Have to Find Them One By One". May not have been an IBM poster, though. -I.B. Emmer-

    • Comment 06/11/09: I was RA'd March 26 with an end date of April 27. I went to the Boulder site, signed the papers and took 26 weeks of severance pay and left. It took me ONLY 7 weeks to find a job that pays 10% more than my band 8 IBM job, snf gave me a signing bonus to boot. I looked at only small to medium sized companies and found a terrific job that I will cherish after enduring the last several years at IBM (left after 19 years of service). Best wishes to all those leaving. -Sagemeister-
    • Comment 06/15/09: I see there are still many using this site to ask, "anybody know of new layoffs?" Unbelievable. They will never stop. The only thing you can do is step up and form a union, or find a job with a different company. By the way, the company I now work for gave me a bonus for the year that was more in one check than my las 5 years of variable pay at ibm combined. There is life after ibm, and it's better. -gone_in_07-
    • Comment 06/15/09: We're just ending a 'forced' vacation mode for the contractors in ITD. They were told they had to take 5 days unpaid vacation that ended 6/12. They were also told no overtime. I wonder what's in store next? We're running pretty bare bones, and I think mgmt knows it. They're trying to come up with other ways to save money instead of lay-offs. (Of course that will resume as they continue to off-shore the jobs). I am wondering when our division will be given the 'option' of taking the 1/3 pay vacation time off. -miss understanding-
    • Comment 06/16/09: Our 2nd line manager is going to India next week to meet with the employees. As a separate project, he is sending a few SME's over to India to train them on the products. Apparently, there aren't enough skills over there and it's holding up GR-ing the accounts. I can't help but feel the US workers who are going over there are traitors. -dun-4-
    • Comment 06/17/09: I have heard from IBMers in Dutchess County that IBM is now forcing work at home employees to report to Fishkill in order to mask the number of layoffs that have taken place. People are being told that they must now commute 30 miles or more each way so IBM can hide what they are doing from NY State. It is truly shameful. - DISGUSTED -ex-Beemer-
    • Comment 06/17/09: Saw on JOBS that business and solution design positions within S&D and other divisions are now being targeted for GR's as well, location of position is listed as Bangalore. If you think its only technical jobs leaving the US market, think again, this company needs to move its headquarters overseas, no reason for it to reap tax breaks in the US anymore. -Indian Business Machines-
    • Comment 06/18/09: More fun stuff from IBM. I got a letter 2 days saying that my COBRA has been cut off b/c of 'non-payment of premium.' I have never missed a payment and have the IBM-cashed checks to prove it. ESC has opened a case to review. Can't tell if this is mean-spirited, underhanded or just incompetent. -RA'd in Feb-
    • Comment 06/18/09: I received the response from the DOL regarding the denial of COBRA premium reduction. They determined I'm not eligible since I was eligible for 'other group coverage.' How these scumbags can fire people then call them 'retired' is beyond comprehension, but it's typical of the piece of crap IBM has become. As far as contacting your 'representative' in Congress, don't make me laugh. These people know who they work for and it's not the American people. It's this mindset of most IBM employees, that, writing to Congress can make a difference, or if I just work hard I won't be fired, that is the reason so few are interested in the union. They still believe the BS they've been fed all their lives about how wonderful our American system is. -exSVLer-
    • Comment 06/18/09: I recently asked IBM for a separation payment due to my decision to retire, has anyone ever received a separation package based on your intent to retire. Please email me, examples of such payments may strengthen a legal case against IBM. uvm2000@aol.com -Steve Bergeron-
    • Comment 06/18/09: Steve Bergeron: I recently asked for a package and I would retire. I was told there are no packages available. I said fine, I'll just keep passing go and collecting my pay until they get tired of seeing me. There's no pleasing them assholes. -PassGoandCollect-
    • Comment 06/19/09: Steve - my understanding is that you are only able to receive a package (severance and also unemployment benefits) if your job has been formally eliminated - by something like a resource action. For you to voluntary retire or resign is not the same thing. -anonymous-
    • Comment 06/19/09: To all whose age + years of service reached the magic number of 70. I had posted info several weeks ago about the COBRA reduction program and how we are being determined ineligible because IBM has excluded us from the plan. I filed a claim with DOL and received my rejection letter today. I followed up with both the Dept. of Labor who sent me to the IRS. The IRS sent me back to the Dept. of Labor. I've also contacted our NY Sr. Senator.

      Their advice get people to start complaining in large groups to get action. Net is this: The loophole in this legislation originates in WA. IBM attorneys and other corporations are taking advantage of this.

      I was only with IBM 10 years, but it seems the fact that I am offered a group plan at $1800/mon. for 2 people renders me ineligible for the COBRA reduction.

      I wasn't blind or ignorant at the company. I worked for a paycheck and never bought into the bill of goods sold. I expected to leave on my own terms -- a fatal mistake. I appreciate all that the alliance is trying to do -- but they can't do it alone. It takes the collective voice and support of many to make a difference. Thank you Alliance, because if it wasn't for you, I would have been in the dark. -Cobra-

    • Comment 06/19/09: To RA'd in Feb- I had the same thing happen to me (health insurance canceled due to "non-payment.") I also called ESC and escalated the situation to someone who actually apologized for the screw up and reinstated my insurance. I think incompetence plays a large part in this. -Fired and "retired" in Feb 09-
  • General Visitor's Comment page
    • Comment 06/11/09: To Concerned - I feel bad for you, because you should be concerned. Before I left earlier this year, I saw an alarming trend that admins were, by and large, no longer IBM employees, even at all but the exec-iest levels (think Mills, Palmisano), and worse than that, it is not even the Tascor model, but these admins are in Singapore and other Asian areas. The admins are fluent in English, they work US hours, can be called via tie-lines, are on SameTime and for all intents and purposes, could be viewed as a contracted admin anywhere in the US, but they are lower-cost in foreign lands. So yes, I would indeed worry that there is no viable position for you should you return to IBM. I hope your health improves, and while it's awful to say, figure out how to stay out on disability till you figure out where you can go when you return to work, because likely IBM will not be a long term choice. -RA'd in Jan-
    • Comment 06/18/09: Is there anybody left in Southbury CT? Have not been there in a couple years now I hear it's a ghost town. Was such a nice place, built for the execs and they never came, great cafe, etc. -Just_Curious-
    • Comment 06/19/09: To -Just_Curious- SBY A building closed up for years now. C building about to be closed up. Yes, the site population is down quite a bit since the 1990's and the parking lot is much of empty asphalt. Used to been a lot of H1B visa employees on site and being listed to be filled in Southbury but not anymore. -sby_willie-
  • Pension Comments page
    • Comment 06/04/09: 401k+ plan transitional credits end on 6/30/2009 according to the NetBenefits IBM 401k+ plan description. -sby_willie-
    • Comment 06/09/09: Ok, after 6/30/2009 I stand to lose the 4% transition credit from IBM each paycheck. Wow, another benefit lost.. it never ends. Also glad to know my 401k+ still hasn't recovered it's balance from 2007 even with more contributions. Some replacement for a pension plan. -more2loose-
  • Raise and Salary Comments IBM CEO Sam Palmisano: "I am pleased to announce that we will not only be paying bonuses to IBMers worldwide, based on individual performance, but that they'll be funded from a pool of money nearly the same size as last year's. That's significant in this economy -- and especially so, given the size of the 2007 pool. Further, our salary increase plan will continue, covering about 60 percent of our workforce. As always, increases will go to our highest performers and contributors. We should all feel good about the company's ability to invest in people in these very concrete ways."
    • Comment 06/11/09: To WeShouldAllFeelGood - Sam did indeed say raises to 60% of the workforce. However, did you look at the proportion of the US to non-US workforce? The US is by far NOT the majority of the IBM workforce, and while I'm sure there are those in the US who will get raises, he could give that entire 60% of the workforce raises to non US and still not be lying. There's lying and then there's going with non full disclosure. -RAed in Jan-
    • Comment 06/14/09: I heard one employee who was told they were getting a $25 a month raise, that is about $9 a day period, but still counts toward the 60% of employees getting raises -Frank-
    • Comment 06/15/09: I work in Integrated Supply Chain, and no one in our area, 5 managers in our area, has talked to any employees about salary, raises, lack of raises, nothing. Simply pretending they missed salary planning thinking no one will notice! The IBM "head in the sand" routine is alive and well. I plan to ask my manager exactly what is going on, in plain language. I will post what I hear. -What's happening?-
    • Comment 06/16/09: Band Level = 7; Job Title = Senior Consultant; Div Name = 16; Message = Rumors abound on promotions for this year's cycle. Apparently promotions will be few and far between if you were going to get promoted to Band 8 and above. 90% chance you will be the same Band with a higher PDF level and receive a script IBM managers received about business conditions to make you think its OK. -gbs_7-
    • Comment 06/16/09: It's official, no Market Based Adjustment this year. Excerpt from w3: In 2009, while the MBA remains one of our key compensation elements, benchmarking surveys shows a flattening of pay or slowing of overall pay levels in most markets this year. As a result, there will not be MBA funding in this year's program. So only PBC 2+ or 1 *MAY* see anything via TCR, no guarantee they may see anything either. -Anon-
    • Comment 06/17/09: this year, no exception. performers 2+ and 1 get between 1% and 3%. -Anon-
    • Comment 06/17/09: I work in SWG in RTP, it's odd. I've never heard one peep out of management with regard to salary adjustment this year. The silence is deafening, just like the layoffs this year. I'm starting to see a pattern. -RTP-Guy-
    • Comment 06/18/09: Raises in Canada will be delayed until after July 1st due to "special circumstances". Note went out to second lines (I have an "in"), that due to these circumstances raises will be delayed in Canada. Second line indicated that this means layoffs. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 06/18/09: Don't feel bad if you are not 1 or 2+ performer. From my meeting with my manager, the raise is only range from 1-2%. -anonymous-
    • Comment 06/18/09: Work in SWG. Was told by my manager I'm headed for a "3". The consensus is they are prepping for a 4Q RA program. Been through this before, tired of it, the humiliation and ibm's sleezzzball tactics. Hard/quality work not appreciated. BS visibility (if you like to talk, dance and pitch) is appreciated, no matter what you ultimately produce. -PleasePutMeOutofThisMisery-
  • PBC Comments
    • Comment 06/13/09: Is the PBC an IBM policy, how can if effect your employment contract, is it an implied term of the employment contract -IK-
    • Comment 06/15/09: -IK- Employment contract??? Except for Sam no IBMer has an employment contract!!! The PBC is an IBM policy but it's just a piece of paper they use to screw you over with. -anonymous-
  • International Comments
    • Comment 06/16/09: Country = UK; Union Affiliate = No; Job Title = Sales; IBM Division = STG; Message = I am not aware of any job cuts, though I know a few who have been told to look for new jobs so perhaps - some RAs are coming. A few people also seem to have left or be leaving for better jobs outside of IBM - unfortunately for IBM these seem to be some of the better and harder working people whilst a lot of the time servers sit it out. -Big Z-
    • Comment 06/17/09: Country = UK; Union Affiliate = NA; Job Title = Admin role; IBM Division = GTS; Message = UK headquarters in Portsmouth (North Harbour) are slimming. Not half (of what used to be IBM owned and fully occupied buildings) remains. A few dozen of contractors have been sacked this month. Why? Offshoring to India and Eastern Europe. It's an on-going project (I've been told of code name "Galileo project"?) so nothing really new there. Still... HR has already gone to Hungary, Payroll to the Philippines, Fulfillment to Slovakia and Finance people starts to be India based. No news of that in any media of course... Many many thanks to Alliance! Great job really. Hope you will succeed in getting the membership. It worth it, really... -Spitfire-
News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
  • Political Irony: Our Health Depends On It. Excerpts:There are too many “facts” being thrown around in the healthcare debate, and not enough information for me to figure out which ones are true. This is made worse by “facts” that I know are false. For example, I keep hearing opponents of health care reform claim that if health insurance was provided by the government, then you will not be able to pick your own doctor. Not only is this not true in every plan being proposed in the US, it is not even true in any country I know of that has single payer health insurance.

    But other “facts” are more difficult to evaluate. For example, I keep hearing about long waiting lines in Canada for certain treatments, or to see specialists. Or about people crossing the border from Canada to the US to take advantage of our “superior” health care. It shouldn’t be difficult to actually find out if either of these things are true. How many people come to the US for medical procedures? How does this compare to the number of people in the US who travel to other countries to get medical procedures? Where are these numbers?

    What we are left with — which is better than nothing — is anecdotal evidence. For example, a posting today in Reddit from a Canadian, giving what looks to be a fairly balanced view of the Canadian health care system — largely positive, but not afraid to point out things that could be better.

    A better researched example, but still anecdotal, is this excellent article in The New Yorker that argues that “Costlier care is often worse care” in the US.

    So I guess I will throw in my anecdotal evidence too. I am actually in a fairly good position to provide anecdotal evidence for and against health care reform. I have mainly lived in the US, but I have also lived — and more importantly had interactions with the health care system — in three other countries: England, Canada, and New Zealand. In addition, I have good friends in all of those countries, including friends who have lived both in the US and those countries, and we have had discussions about the relative merits of the various systems. This is what I’ve found...

  • Wall Street Journal: Sebelius: Health Plan Would Cut Costs. By Peter Spiegel. Excerpts: The administration's top health-policy official on Sunday said President Barack Obama's plan to create a government-run health insurance program would bring competition to private insurers and lower health-care costs nationwide. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that in many markets, private insurers currently have no competitors, giving them wide latitude to raise premiums on customers. She said a government-run option, as long as it followed the same rules as private providers, would force such insurers to lower prices to keep existing customers.

    "Most Americans understand that choice and competition is what we want," Ms. Sebelius said in an interview on CNN's "State of the Union." "You can write the rules for a level playing field. The president does not want to dismantle privately owned planned…. He wants to strengthen the marketplace."

  • Workforce Management: Sweeping Health Care Reform Legislation’s Debut Draws Ire of Employers. But underneath the bristling, employers are trying to figure out what a good compromise might look like on key issues including taxing health benefits, employer mandates and a government-run option. By Jeremy Smerd. Excerpts: During the meetings of stakeholders, known as the “workhorse group” and organized by Kennedy’s staff, employers made clear that they opposed four potential provisions under discussion: the introduction of a publicly run health plan; any changes to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which gives employers the freedom to design one health plan for employees in various states; a requirement that employers provide health benefits; and taxing an employee’s health benefits. ...

    Suffice to say, there is enough in the bill to upset most constituents, which means there’s a lot of room for negotiation. Republicans, employers and insurers adamantly oppose the public plan. Though the bill as it stands includes an individual mandate that could be a boon to insurers, it also imposes important restrictions: Insurers could not deny coverage or limit annual or lifetime payments. The bill regulates how much insurers can spend on non-health care costs. Insurers would have to cover as dependents anyone up to age 25. ...

    Some employers, including Wal-Mart, are bracing for an employer mandate and hoping the level of benefits mandated would be low enough to resemble what they already provide employees, people familiar with the company’s thinking say. The key would be retaining enough flexibility that a plan could be designed by a company based on the health of their employees.

  • Jim Hightower: Rick Scott's Latest Fraud. Full excerpt: Our country's corporatized health care system is so uncaring that 76 percent of Americans tell pollsters it must be "fundamentally changed" or "completely rebuilt." But Rick Scott says uh-uh – what health care needs is more corporatization – and even Wal-Martization.

    Rick who? He's the ex-CEO of the massive Columbia/HCA hospital chain and a laissez-fairyland zealot who is feverishly opposing Barack Obama's health reform ideas.

    I say "ex-CEO" because his profit-above-all-else approach to running Columbia ran it into a very deep ditch – and got him fired in 1997. Among his "health care" tactics were overbilling Medicare, giving kickbacks to doctors who referred patients to his hospitals, and dangerously understaffing hospitals to cut costs. Columbia later pled guilty and paid $1.7 billion to settle fraud charges against it.

    Yet, he's running TV ads and infomercials featuring him as a health care "expert." Scott's ads attack Obama with that tired, old bugaboo of "Government Run Health Care," and to coordinate his attack, he has hired the same PR hacks who ran the infamous "Swift Boat Veterans" assault on John Kerry in 2004.

    Scott's television blitz features theatrical horror stories of "socialized medicine," direly warning that this is Obama's plan. Only... it isn't. Not even close. Private doctors, nurses, and others of our choosing would continue to provide our health care. The change that Obama seeks is merely in how we pay these practitioners. By offering a new "public option" we'd have the choice of sticking with an insurance corporation, or buying into a public insurance pool.

    This disgraced ex-CEO is flailing ridiculously at the strawman of government-run health care – which no one has even proposed. To keep posted on Rick Scotts latest fraud, go www.healthcareforamericanow.org.

  • New York Times: Following the Money in the Health Care Debate. By Reed Abelson. Excerpts: Much of the discussion so far has focused on President Obama’s proposal for a government-sponsored health plan that he says will reduce costs. Insurers and doctors argue it will limit patient choice. Drug companies warn that the quality of care could be compromised.

    But Mr. Obama’s proposal is only one of many that await Congress as it wrestles with how to rein in exploding health care costs while taking care of the country’s nearly 50 million uninsured. The size and complexity of the issue are daunting. To help understand what’s going on, you need to follow the money.

    Roughly $2.5 trillion is at stake, the amount the nation spends each year on health care, nearly a fifth of the American economy. How that money is divided up — or prevented from rising at its current pace — is at the center of the debate. Many doctors, insurance companies and drug companies say they fear that their revenues could shrink significantly and patient care could be threatened.

  • U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders: A Petition to Congress. Supporting Single-Payer Health Care.
  • New York Times editorial: Malpractice and Health Care Reform. Excerpts: Hoping to enlist support for his campaign for health care reform, President Obama told the American Medical Association this week that he would work with doctors to limit their vulnerability to malpractice lawsuits. That was a reasonable offer — provided any malpractice reform is done carefully.

    The current medical liability system, based heavily on litigation, has a spotty record. It fails to compensate most victims of malpractice because most never file suit. When cases reach the courts, some juries do a decent job of sorting out whether there was negligence or preventable error; others are swayed to grant large damage awards based more on the severity of a patient’s injuries than on clear evidence of negligence. ...

    Whether malpractice reform would save much money is unclear. Malpractice claims do drive up insurance premiums paid by doctors in some high-risk specialties, such as obstetrics and neurosurgery. Those costs are presumably passed on to patients. There is also concern that doctors may overprescribe costly tests and treatments to avoid possible lawsuits. But the evidence is inconclusive, according to the Congressional Budget Office, that doctors engage in enough “defensive medicine” to have a significant impact on costs.

    The office estimates that caps on damages would ultimately reduce malpractice premiums for medical providers but would have a “relatively small” impact on total health spending, reducing it by less than half a percent. Even that could save billions of dollars a year, which is not trivial. But malpractice claims are probably not a major cost driver.

  • New York Times: Health Care Follies. By David Brooks and Gail Collins. A conversation between the two columnists about health care reform.
  • Los Angeles Times: Health insurers refuse to limit rescission of coverage. Lawmakers ask three executives if they'll stop dropping customers except where they can show "intentional fraud." All say no. By Lisa Girion. Excerpts: Executives of three of the nation's largest health insurers told federal lawmakers in Washington on Tuesday that they would continue canceling medical coverage for some sick policyholders, despite withering criticism from Republican and Democratic members of Congress who decried the practice as unfair and abusive. The hearing on the controversial action known as rescission, which has left thousands of Americans burdened with costly medical bills despite paying insurance premiums, began a day after President Obama outlined his proposals for revamping the nation's healthcare system.

    An investigation by the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations showed that health insurers WellPoint Inc., UnitedHealth Group and Assurant Inc. canceled the coverage of more than 20,000 people, allowing the companies to avoid paying more than $300 million in medical claims over a five-year period. It also found that policyholders with breast cancer, lymphoma and more than 1,000 other conditions were targeted for rescission and that employees were praised in performance reviews for terminating the policies of customers with expensive illnesses. ...

    "Insurers ignore the law, and when they find a discrepancy or omission, they rescind the policy and refuse to pay any of your medical bills -- even for routine treatment or treatment they previously authorized," Horton said. She and others from around the country accused insurers in testimony of gaming anti-fraud laws to take policyholders' premiums, only to drop people who developed serious illnesses. They testified that they or a deceased loved one had had policies canceled over innocent mistakes and inadvertent omissions on their applications.

    A Texas nurse said she lost her coverage, after she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, for failing to disclose a visit to a dermatologist for acne.

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.

  • Wall Street Journal: CEOs of Bailed-Out Banks Flew to Resorts on Firms' Jets. By Jesse Drucker and Mark Maremont. Excerpts: Some executives at banks propped up by government aid have retained a coveted perk: personal use of the company jet. Flight records show numerous occasions when banks receiving federal money have flown their planes to destinations near resorts or executives' vacation homes, including spots in Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean, south Florida and Aspen, Colo. In some cases, it's clear that bank executives were traveling for personal reasons; for other flights, many of which were over weekends or holidays, the passengers and purpose couldn't be established. ...

    At Citigroup, two days after the bank canceled the jet order Mr. Obama criticized, former Chief Executive Sanford Weill boarded a Citigroup-owned plane for a flight to a small airport at Saranac Lake in New York state's woodsy Adirondack region. Flight records show it was the seventh trip a Citigroup plane had made to Saranac Lake, near where Mr. Weill has a vacation home, since the bank first received federal aid last fall. ...

    One of the largest recipients of government money is Bank of America Corp., which got $15 billion in October and $30 billion more in January in connection with its acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co. In between the injections, a Bank of America Gulfstream V flew from Bank of America headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., to Aspen, Colo., on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and to the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in mid-December. The latter flight was one of a number to Savannah/Hilton Head in the second half of 2008. Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis has part ownership in a home on Spring Island, S.C., near Hilton Head. ...

    Morgan Stanley received $10 billion in October from TARP, a government program to encourage lending amid the credit crisis by infusing banks with cash in return for preferred shares. In subsequent months, Morgan Stanley jets traveled twice to Wilmington, N.C., where property records show Chief Executive John Mack owns several beachfront properties. A Morgan Stanley Gulfstream V that went to Wilmington over the Thanksgiving break later flew to Paris and London over the Christmas holiday. ...

    At Regions Financial in Birmingham, two weeks after the October announcement it would get TARP funds, a company jet took off for a weeklong trip to the U.K., including a three-day stop in Prestwick, Scotland, which is near several famed golf courses. A Regions spokesman declined to discuss the trip but confirmed the Alabama-based bank has no operations in Europe. At the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia a few weeks later, Regions CEO Mr. Ritter was accompanied by other family members, including son Bill, who is also a Regions executive, according to the person familiar with their stay. They rented the seven-bedroom, $4,515-a-night Presidential Suite. The spokesman for Regions said its executives pay for their own accommodations when traveling for personal reasons.

  • The Huffington Post: Mission Shrink: We've Gone From Saving Wall Street in Order to Save Main Street to Just Saving Wall Street. By Arianna Huffington. Excerpts: In announcing his proposed "overhaul of the financial regulatory system," President Obama said, "Financial institutions have an obligation to themselves and to the public to manage risks carefully. And as president, I have a responsibility to ensure that our financial system works for the economy as a whole." But parsing through his 85-page plan, it's not clear how these reforms will ensure that our financial system works for the economy as a whole.

    "The Obama plan," writes Joe Nocera in the New York Times, "is little more than an attempt to stick some new regulatory fingers into a very leaky financial dam rather than rebuild the dam itself." For Obama's plan to have any lasting value, says Nocera, "he is going to have to make some bankers mad." ...

    I don't expect there will be too many on Wall Street unhappy with the massive loophole the new plan leaves by calling for so-called plain vanilla derivatives to be traded on an exchange but allowing customized derivatives -- which were at the heart of the financial meltdown -- to remain largely unregulated. This is very good news for the wheelers and dealers who helped turn Wall Street into a casino.

    The larger problem continues to be the administration's habit of conflating the health of the Wall Street economy with the health of the real economy -- when, in fact, the two economies have become decoupled. The Dow may be up 30 percent since March, but the numbers that matter most to everyday Americans continue to tell a very different tale.

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. Sample posts follow:

  • "Raises are effective 7/1" by "bigbertha92". Full excerpt: Don't expect a raise if you're a 2 performer. Only top contributors (1 & 2+) will receive a raise. The raise will most likely be around 1%. No kidding. Executives are not getting raises this year.
  • "IBM Just don't get it" by " Toa". Full excerpt: If you get the same money for a half ar*ed effort as you do for a good effort then why bother trying to do a good job! I've even seen 2+ being downgraded to a 2 because the manager didn't believe the 2+ was valid.
  • "Let's Go Global!" by "bigbertha92". Excerpts: Everything is "global" - from EO training to forced-by-mgmt-to-take IBM learning courses. Learn when no means yes, how not to be offensive, and watch slang!

    We all have to play nice-nice with our GR (global resource) peers. and when your GR team lead sends notes to IBM US mgmt that they need MORE WORK from their US counterparts, IBM mgmt. rolls over and gives them more work. Reminds me of an old CCR song: Fortunate Son.

    And when you ask them, how much should we give? Ooh, they only answer more! more! more. What a sad, pathetic, f'ng company.

  • "The Truth Can't Be Told" by "Frank_Reality". Full excerpt: Yes, even though the GRs in India can't handle simple tasks on time, with adequate quality and within cost, they are given more and more responsibility they cannot begin to handle. And of course when they screw up and fail as often happens, it's always the US teams' fault. It is pathetic (and clueless) to reward this incompetence with more work and more responsibilities.

    What's more pathetic is how India is not held accountable since they are Sam's chosen ones and how anyone who reports problems with India are considered anti-team, racist and uncooperative.

    The sacred cows over in India aren't cattle, they're the "office boys" pretending to be IT professionals working for IBM. What a sad, pathetic f'ng company indeed.

If you hire good people and treat them well, they will try to do a good job. They will stimulate one another by their vigor and example. They will set a fast pace for themselves. Then if they are well led and occasionally inspired, if they understand what the company is trying to do and know they will share in its sucess, they will contribute in a major way. The customer will get the superior service he is looking for. The result is profit to customers, employees, and to stcckholders. —Thomas J. Watson, Jr., from A Business and Its Beliefs: The Ideas That Helped Build IBM.

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