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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—January 15, 2011

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "I need to contact other IBMers on LTD" by "tomsparkz". Full excerpt: I am needing to contact other IBMers on LTD. Has anyone been on LTD for a while and then denied and then reinstated after legally fighting it. I have and I have questions about how the reinstatement was handled in regards to retroactive benefits that were denied while fighting the claim. This is very important to me. If anyone has been in this situation please respond. Tom.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: Question about RA and Retirement benefits" by "netmouser". Full excerpt: I was RA'd in 2009 with 10 years service. I was also bridged to retirement (as I was eligible within a year). So I signed two documents on leaving. I got an official retirement gift and could have had a dinner with family/friends of my choosing if an IBM manager was present. I got my retiree ID card that gives passage to some NYC museums and has other benefits.

    If you are considering retiring, I would recommend you not say that to anyone.

    This is what happens in NJ, other states may vary. In NJ you get unemployment right away. It is not reduced by the severance check nor if you choose to start your pension. This is because the pension was frozen a few years ago. And the severance check, probably, because it is a lump sum.

    The severance check was reduced by an overly high tax amount, but I got a lot back with a big refund when I did my taxes.

    I choose to not start my tiny little small pension until I have to at age 65. I believe there is a good chance it will be worth more if I wait due to inflation returning and rates increasing, and also because I will be a few years older. I am single and will select the immediate annuity as that is the only guaranteed income for life along with social security (which should increase for any substantial inflation going forward). In comparisons of the Net Benefits calculations, the IBM immediate annuity pays more than getting one outside based on review at the immediate annuity website - which is expected and typical for company annuities.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: Question about RA and Retirement benefits" by "madinpok". Full excerpt: It is best to think of this as two separate events. The first is the termination of your employment. The second is collecting your pension.

    If you terminate your employment voluntarily, you will not be eligible for severance pay or for unemployment. So, if you submit a letter to IBM saying "I retire as of <date>" that will be considered a voluntary termination.

    If you are RA'd, that is an involuntary termination and you will be eligible for severance (which has always been offered as part of resource actions in the past) and you may or may not be eligible for unemployment depending on the state you live in. The fact that you sign an agreement with IBM saying you accept the offered severance package does not make it a voluntary termination.

    Even if you are part of an RA, you should still be able to receive the retirement "parting gifts" such as a coffee and cookies party and an official retirement gift. Note that this retirement recognition has nothing to do with collecting your pension!

    As far as collecting your pension goes, when you choose to start receiving it is between you and the Employee Services Center. Your manger does not initiate this. You have to call the ESC yourself and make the arrangements.

    In many states, you can collect unemployment even if you are receiving your pension at the same time. Although many states say that the amount of your pension will be deducted from your unemployment benefit, in many states (including NY, NJ and TX), this is only true if, during the last 5 calendar quarters, working earned you increased pension benefits. Since IBM froze the pension plan as of 12/31/2007, you did not earn any increased benefits and therefore you should be eligible to collect unemployment.

    If you are denied unemployment benefits after your initial application, do not give up. Many workers in the unemployment office do not understand these fine points and you may be required to submit extra documentation to support your case.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: Question about RA and Retirement benefits" by Bob Nelson. Full excerpt: On January 2 I called HR and told them I was retiring and the end of the month. Then I called my boss. As a practical matter, it takes a couple of weeks to get the process done with HR. I got my first check on February first.

    My thoughts were that if I announced my retirement a couple of months in the future - my plans might change and put retirement on hold. You never know. I had seen that happen and the employee was not in good standing with management.

    I will say that my boss probably had an inkling. I had 37 years of service and was 63 years old. I had previously put out the word, through the grape vine, that if I got axed it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. The grape vine replied - no way too valuable.

    There is life after IBM. Retirement is good - I recommend it. Regards, 73, Bob Nelson. K2QPN. IBM 1967-2005, ITS NE Area Technical Support Staff.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: Question about RA and Retirement benefits" by "Tony." Full excerpt: 3 people in my workgroup retired by their choice in the last year - nobody gave more than 6 weeks notice. It does take at least 30 days to get everything processed

    I have seen a pile of retirements in the last 12 -14 months. A lot of people are happy that their investments are back somewhat and are just plain tired of coming in to work and want to do something else with the rest of their lives. Some have had health problems and realize that if they want to do things on their retirement 'bucket list' that they better get going while they are still physically able.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "It's PBC Feedback Time Again" by "In Focus". Full excerpt: So, in 2009 I was rated a 2 for 2008 work. I had been a 2+ since the "plus" system started, even when I had gotten a promotion to a higher band. I loved my job! In 09 we lost 3 people to RA's. In 09 I got VPAY but no raise. Manager said, "we are lucky we have a job". I agreed and worked harder.

    In 2010 we lost 1 person to RA. I got a 2 rating for 2009 work, no raise and less VPAY than 2008. Manager said, "we are lucky we have a job". I worked harder.

    Manager called me into their office this morning. They said that it showed how hard I worked BUT gave me a PBC 2 for 2010 work.

    I told them, "do NOT tell me I am lucky to have a job". They shut up. I left office and kept my door closed the rest of the day. So now I expect even crappier VPAY and no raise AGAIN!!!!!! Ask me how my morale is. I DARE YOU! Happy New Year, N.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board "Re: PBC time again" by Paul Sutera. Full excerpt: My story is your story. I get: "That's the environment we're in". I was a 2+ for 2 years running until 2009. I got a small raise last year. And after taxes it amounts to a dinner for 1, once a month. With a cheap drink. :-). I joined the Alliance several years ago. Look it was only through union agitators in the 1930s that Saturday stopped being a regular workday. Grandpa worked 6 days a week and greased the truck on Sunday. But today we work 6 days a week in hours, so we've lost many of the hard-fought gains.

    It will be another 2 again. Although 3s are always possible too. The 'evil' flows down from the top, from those who set the tone for corporate governance and behavior at the highest levels of the company. The Fortune 500 pulled out of the USA and continue to do so. We've been hearing those words: "Growth countries" for many years.

    I can only think of work environment our 3rd world counterparts face. Only through collective bargaining can companies like IBM be made to respect the individual again.. The benevolence and wisdom of the Watsons and others, towers over the current band of scoundrels in charge of many American corporations.

  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree information exchange: "Re: 345% monthly Increase in health premium" by "madinpok". Full excerpt: You are receiving an IBM subsidy, although you may not realize it because IBM does not make it clear what health insurance coverage really costs and what part of it you are paying.

    IBM has said that, for retirees like yourself, they would cap IBM's contribution at $7500 per year (and $3500 per year for medicare retirees). There is also a different set of caps of $7000/$3000 for retirees who retired a few years after you did. And recent retirees who are in the FHA plan have to pay the full price of medical coverage each year, which for some plans is over $2,000 per month.

    IBM doesn't say what they are actually contributing each year, but it is something a bit below the cap. I'm guessing you are on Medicare, given when you retired, so the IBM contribution in your case is probably $3000.

    Did something change in terms of Medicare eligibility for you or your spouse between last year and this year?

  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree information exchange: "Re: Retirees' health care suit gets class-action status" by "cybertramp66". Full excerpt: I wish I had kept the original job offer documentation from IBM (circa early 1980s). IBM did promise Medical for life (cost fully covered if I recall). I passed over some other good offers based on IBM promises (later to be reneged on by Gerstner, Palmisano, et al). Looting has become the norm for this "Greed is Good" generation.
  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree Information exchange: "Re: Retirees' health care suit gets class-action status" by "teamb562". Full excerpt: I went digging through my archives. I found my first year "Personal Benefits Statement" from 1978 and a second one (renamed to "Total Compensation Statement") from 1993. Both of these detail the pension payout and of course each has the disclaimer - "IBM reserves the right to modify, etc". There was nothing about retirement medical in these statements. Then I found the "About Your Financial Future" publication dated 1989. Under the Retirement section there is a column that that lists the various benefits due at normal (age 65) or early (30 years) retirement. It states:
    IBM Medical Plans, IBM Dental Plans, Survivor medical/dental coverage one year or lifetime depending on service, IBM Adoption Assistance Plan, etc.

    At the end of this book is the following:

    The foregoing illustrates IBM's benefits, policies, rules and regulations in effect at the time of this publication. Each or any may be changed as the company requires. Nothing contained in the book shall be construed as creating an express or implied obligation on the part of IBM.

    Boy were we gullible and trusting.

  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree Information exchange: "Re: Retirees' health care suit gets class-action status" by "suvas98". Full excerpt: I have "Financial Status of IBM Benefits Plans 1982-1983". This does not have disclaimer for Retiree Medical. I also have Personal Benefits Statement for 1986,1987,1988,1989,1990,1991, and 1992. This have disclaimers but has a clear statement "Salary is only one component of your total compensation. It also includes medical and retirement benefits, IBM's payments to Social Security, and other programs, as this chart indicates for the average employee."
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "RE: FHA" by "fhawontcutit". Full excerpt: madinpok posted a spreadsheet in the files section of this board. Look for IBM 2010 Retiree Medical Plan Costs.pdf in the files section. This data was collected for plans available in the Hudson Valley area. (Editor's note: I have copied this PDF file to the ibmemployee.com server for your convenience. You may view it here.)

    The cheapest plan is High Ded PPO - MVP.

    Here are the rates for the old (non-FHA) plan: 2010 non-FHA Self: $0.00; 2010 non-FHA Self+1: $381.00; 2010 non-FHA Self+2: $516.00.

    Here are the rates for FHA: 2010 FHA Self: $541.27; 2010 FHA Self+1: $1,082.73.

    Those are the rates for the CHEAPEST PLAN. Those are just the monthly rates for the high-deductible plan. The rates DO NOT INCLUDE THE DEDUCTIBLE. You pay the deductible IN ADDITION to the monthly rates.

    If you need coverage for more than SELF, you really got nailed.


  • LinkedIn's Greater IBM Connection. Posting by Chris Golden. Full excerpt: Hi, My name is Chris Golden, I am an AT&T, IBM Alum. I was outsourced to IBM in 2000. I am currently working on my Thesis on Outsourcing at AT&T&IBM. I'm asking fellow Alums to help by participating. I am currently working on my Master of Science in Management (MSM) at Thomas Edison State College. Since I was outsourced by AT&T & IBM I decided to use outsourcing at AT&T & IBM as my Thesis. This research will look at the experiences of employees affected by outsourcing, either directly or indirectly. The survey is just a simple survey and easy to complete. Thank you in advance for your support, Chris.
  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • IBM Managing Consultant: (Current Employee) “So average...will always look for opportunities outside.” Pros: Good project opportunities if you have good network (esp at Partner Level). Cons: Annual review process is pants...as a result, you don't get the right recognition even if you work your socks off for the whole year. Your annual performance assessment has already been decided even before your 1-1 annual performance review with your manager.
    • IBM Business Consultant in Fairfax, VA: (Past Employee - 2009) “Great name to have on resume; not a great place for young professional growth.” Pros: Benefits package is great when you first start out of college. Great training opportunities, and looks GREAT when interviewing for other jobs after. Cons: Such a large company that your manager most likely won't be in the same location as you. It is difficult to get that professional career growth when your immediate manager doesn't see you day to day work. Advice to Senior Management: Work harder to keep your young hires. From my experience, most people start working there with SO much potential and interest - but slowly get defeated because there are limited opportunities for career growth - so they move on to other consultancies that pay more $$.
    • IBM Financial Analyst in Rochester, MN: (Current Employee) “Great Name, terrible place to work if you don't like stress!” Pros: Great benefits, and a great name on the resume. Cons: Management will tell you what you want to hear, but the truth will be completely different. When getting an offer, they tell you it will be reg full time, and most times you become a long-term supplemental (basically contract) you get less benefits compared the regulars. They tell you that you will be converted soon and it takes years no matter how hard you work. Over worked, under paid. Pay is 40K in rochester, no matter what, no negotiations, and unless you want to live in Rochester, MN, stay away. Not worth the stress. Advice to Senior Management: Try treating your employees with respect and stop looking for ways to screw over your employees. High turnover is because how you treat your employees. Also, stop worrying about the street and screwing your employees.
    • IBM Senior Managing Consultant: (Current Employee) “Great opportunity for go-getters.” Pros: Solid value proposition/corporate strategy, innovative, good opportunity to develop new skills. Vast resources available. Focus on rewarding top performers. Good benefits package and emphasis on work-life balance. Opportunities to work within IBM in a non-consulting role, which is not available in some competitors' consulting organizations. Cons: It seems there is little on the job training. I work with many new hires who are expected to perform with little introduction into the Blue Machine. Because it's a huge company, it is difficult to navigate the various organizations & stakeholders. Also, very "rules" focused which creates a lot of administrative work that does not necessarily add value to the client but is required for internal processes.
    • IBM Consulting IT Specialist in Chicago, IL: (Current Employee) “Good.” Pros: Flexibility, Reliability, Brand Name, Learning Growth. Cons: Lack of Career Growth, Doesn't Pay Well. Advice to Senior Management: 1) IBM pays well below market average. 2) Not much career growth. 3) Employees aren't considered as assets unlike many other orgs.
    • IBM Sales Specialist in Cincinnati, OH: (Current Employee) “IBM offers great benefits, flexible work schedule but is a very hard company to navigate and find answers to questions.” Pros: Great health benefits; telework; lots of opportunity; great technology stack. Cons: Lack of communication from management. Unreasonable quotas. Too much red-tape. Not a team feel in sales. Advice to Senior Management: Be more involved with mentoring, teaching.
    • IBM Software Engineer in Pune (India): (Current Employee) “Good place for Management people, no hike, no good salary.” Pros: Cool environment, good work culture, flexibility of work. Cons: Salary is not good, if they offer good salary while joining then don't expect any hike next 2- 3 yrs. Advice to Senior Management: Salary and hike needs reconsideration
    • IBM Senior Software Engineer: (Current Employee) “Managers outnumbers workers, process outpaces progress.” Pros: Stable large well-respected company. Decent people. Knowledgeable people. Good benefits: health insurance, company contributions on savings. Mature HR processes accessible to all employees. Cons: Too many people trying to 'manage.' Too vague in goal settings. Not agile in many ways. Tendency to build complexity in the product.
    • IBM Anonymous: (Past Employee - 2009) “IBM; an amoral world.” Pros: Interesting problems to solve for clients, so interesting and challenging work. Generally talented and hard-working associates with whom to team. Cons: Random "Resource Actions" where a mass (like, hundreds) of good employees are all fired at once, with virtually no notice - not because they did poorly, but because the company did poorly. No morality or value system, apart from the almighty dollar. Zero work-life balance (what's "life"?). Advice to Senior Management: You are destroying a sterling brand. Your disdainful disregard for front-line, client-facing employees - the heart of your intellectual and human capital - is breathtaking. Who taught the corporate ethics and responsibility course at your MBA program? Lucifer awaits you...
    • IBM Systems Support Analyst: (Past Employee - 2010) “it was a rewarding and growing experience in several areas.” Pros: You are part of a team that works with other towers of management almost daily Cons: If you are part of a multi-site account, you can get by-passed for promotions if the management team is not at the site you actually work at. Advice to Senior Management: Deal with disgruntled employees immediately and directly. Adhere to all IBM business conduct practices as given to all employees yearly.
    • IBM Software Engineer in Dublin, County Dublin (Ireland): (Past Employee - 2010) “Good work opportunities but poor relative pay.” Pros: A chance to work on some truly interesting technologies and projects. Great work life balance. Excellent, understanding mid level management who really look after their workers. Cons: Poor pay relative to other companies. Once inside IBM, your pay will not increase relative to your increased experience - you need to leave and return to be properly compensated. Can be too big a place, with lots of bureaucracy.
    • IBM Staff Software Developer in Ottawa, ON (Canada): (Current Employee) “Not great.” Pros: Working with smart people. Can work from home. Cons: Yearly layoffs are disheartening, even if you don't feel targeted. Advice to Senior Management: The company is being run by the accountants and the lawyers instead of the innovators. Productivity is dismal. For instance, there are no administrative assistants, so managers must act as part time secretaries, which is silly, since they are paid much more. Computers provided are laughable, and cause too much loss of time. etc etc.
    • IBM Anonymous: (Past Employee - 2010) “Great place to learn but not good for money.” Pros: Growth, learning opportunities, work environment, flexibility. Cons: Sr. management is sad, some of the top managers can't even speak proper English. Too much of delegation by Indian Sr. Managers to their subordinates. Advice to Senior Management: Effective communication skills, demonstrate leadership.
    • IBM Staff Software Engineer: (Past Employee - 2010) “It's a sweat shop.” Pros: Nice office and work infrastructure. Cons: They say not to work > 40 hours a week. However, the reality is that they expect you to be available and communicating by email 24/7. The only kinds of people they want are the single new grad with no life outside of work. Advice to Senior Management: Expect people to have a personality and life outside of work too.
    • IBM Global Product Manager in Charlotte, NC: (Current Employee) “Good Place to work.” Pros: Nice to work for the 800 lb gorilla. Fair compensation certainly when hired but promotion is highly managed. Lots of room to grow. Great range of skill development. Lots of company resources dedicated to governance activities which supports that broad range of skill acquisition and development. Cons: Expenses for non customer facing employees has been greatly restricted. Visibility is very difficult to achieve. Work at home office expenses has been greatly reduced. Advice to Senior Management: Continue working cross LOB bundles and squeezing some of our development processes down to size. Further streamline our OMD teams. If the list of level 30's is more than 10 and and make sure service names are more descriptive and less clever to enable customers and internal sellers to consume what we sell.
    • IBM Managing Consultant in Fairfax, VA: (Current Employee) “Disappointing, especially when compared to its reputation and pretention.” Pros: 1. Because of its reputation and standing, it gets interesting assignments and you get to do interesting work. 2. It has a large, organized reservoir of templates, models, tools and instruments -- and training to back their use -- and you can learn and grow in your profession. 3. It has many competent professionals and encourages 'communities of practice,' which aids professional growth. 4. IBM is huge and involved in many different lines of exploration, which in turn broadens your professional view and, if you choose, helps you develop your knowledge and skill in a new or different direction -- a major career advantage in a time of radical flux.

      Cons: 1. Despite its claim, it is a very mechanistic organization, which has an engineering approach to its employees, who are viewed as cogs in a machine and left to feel used and dispensable. 2. Despite an elaborate on-boarding program, its treatment of new employees is casual and thoughtless, and the initial period for newcomers is hard. 3. It is particularly bad for younger employees, who haven't had long working experience and are not principally self-directed; they often rudderless and lost in a giant maze. 4. Most employees are now 'virtual' and get scant team or organizational support, leaving them isolated, unsupported and painfully on their own.

      Advice to Senior Management: 1. Your organization is so big and so well-resourced that you can afford to do better than the usual hire-and-fire policy of a run-of-the-mill company. What you do now, you forfeit all loyalty and dedication. Think of retaining good, strong, skilled people, no matter what. 2. Your accent on virtual employment has its advantages, but you seem blind to its disadvantages: isolation of individuals, poor teamwork, huge leader-follower distance, scandalous work-life balance and, in essence, shameless exploitation of staff. Think of supporting your people. 3. You are imaginative with ideas and crassly primitive with people. You will hamstring your best ideas if you don't start thinking a little more of the people who can bring those ideas to fruition.

    • IBM Security in Boulder, CO: (Current Employee) “No longer "the best of the best". Now, just the cheapest!” Pros: The ability to work from home. Cons: Not enough staff for all the work. US staff constantly fixing problems by unskilled workers. Upper management refuses to admit when an idea isn't working. Advice to Senior Management: Stop assuming that anyone can do the job your US team does. IBM is holding on by a thread and you don't even know it.
    • IBM Software Engineer in Bangalore (India): (Past Employee - 2009) “Very good.” Pros: Training is very good, work culture is good. Process oriented. Cons: less salary, should have more employee focus. Advice to Senior Management: get to the ground problem
New on the Alliance@IBM Site
  • To Alliance@IBM supporters: The Alliance is the only organization that advocates and supports IBM employees and ex-employees. In fact, there are few like it in the Information Technology field. It is always difficult to keep an organization like this alive, but as a supporter you know how important it is that we exist. We are calling on you today to help keep us alive another year by joining as a member or associate member. See our online forms below. As our membership has dropped, it is imperative that we gain new members or this organization and web site will cease to exist. Help us keep our organizing and advocacy work alive!
  • General Visitor Comments: Due to a lack of membership growth the comment sections will be closed until we see sufficient growth in full membership, associate membership or donations. Many of you that visit our site have not yet joined, but seem to value its existence. The only comment section that will remain open will be Job Cuts Reports. If you have information that you want the Alliance to know about please send to ibmunionalliance@gmail.com. Information of importance will be put on the front page of this web site. To join go here: Join The Alliance! or here: Join The Alliance!
  • Job Cut Reports
    • Comment 1/03/11: I was RAed with 2-2's in a row. I thought I was safe. Wrong. No one is safe. When I was RAed my manager told me i had 30 days to find another job. I applied to around 10. They were all good fits. I knew the job and knew the manager. Not one manager responded. I called one manager I knew well at home in the evening and asked why no response. He said he was sorry and couldn't. That was all he said. I wasted my time trying to find another job. In retrospect I wish I gave my manager the middle finger. He lied and gave me hope that there would be another job. -Gone From Blue-
    • Comment 1/03/11: I just read an "amusing" article in Money magazine's Investor's Guide (Jan/Feb, p42). The Chief business correspondent for CNN wrote that he is often asked by parents what fields he'd recommend for their children. His answer: IT & Accounting. I wonder if he's talking about the woman in Argentina that has my wife's job, or the guy in India that has mine? This just shows how much the company & industry have been able to delude the press about jobs that are moving off-shore. I'm planning to write Money an opposing viewpoint. It would be interesting if others did the same and see if there is any recognition of the truth in future issues. -No Money-
    • Comment 1/04/11: To Gone In 07: Like you I was RA'd. The posted jobs were so few. Like magic a job popped up that I was perfect for. The hiring manager said I was a fit for the job. But our senior management denied a transfer that would have kept me employed by IBM. I appealed to corporate HR (Randy) who pointed me to the group HR. They had one excuse after another for defending I could not have that job. I successfully challenged each excuse. Then they finally said that the job was marked to offshore. So the truth finally came out, and I could not challenge that. This was an internal job in the CIO group. Armonk was all about offshoring their local jobs. So that job remained "vacant" and a twin job that had an expert in the seat for years was RA'd as it was now marked to be offshored. -anonymous-
    • Comment 1/04/11: Support the Union. PBCs are a joke in IBM. They are all political. If you're liked by executives and go to the correct happy hour or have s@@ with the right person, no problem, you will be promoted in IBM. Support the Union. -Ana-
    • Comment 1/04/11: "Armonk was all about offshoring their local jobs." Last I checked, IBM is in dozens of cities in the USA. It is not a local thing to Armonk, to off-shoring or out-sourcing. -Unionize-All-Cities-
    • Comment 1/04/11: Wondering if there's any rumor-mill churn going on concerning "The IBM Annual 1st Quarter Mega-Firing!" For the last three years, they've been really nailing people around the end of February. Frankly, I'm surprised the company has any fulltime US employees left. -Anon-
    • Comment 1/05/11: Anyone brave enough to write an article for the newspaper or magazines describing the job search experience nightmare when searching for another IBM assignment within the 30 days-60 days RA period? I would like to but I have not been RA yet but am an associate member. We need to get the word out on unfair and unequal employee treatment by IBM to the public otherwise IBM always make the list of most respected and fair employers list. -anonymous- Alliance reply: They can also write it for this web site and we will get it out to the media.
    • Comment 1/05/11: To anon regarding the mass layoffs that occur each year towards the end of February: I can't speak for other groups, but our group in GTS seems to be preparing for that. Some of our accounts are officially moving to Dubuque very soon. (one cut over today), another goes on 2/15. They are moving people around to the remaining work. They are ending DOUs that have been in place to help out other groups. At first there weren't enough people to do the work. The 're-arrangement' of work and accounts has now shown there are more than enough people to handle the workload. I'm guessing they will be letting the contractors go first. That seems to be the way they've rolled in the past. -miss understanding-
    • Comment 1/07/11: I read the Money Magazine article that "No Money" cited. The worst part of the article was that the guy (their chief business correspondent for CNN) says, "...my favorite economic trend, globalization." That doesn't bode well for Accounting or IT job security - at least not in the US. -anon-
    • Comment 1/07/11: Did all those reporting job cuts get let go. We had manpower job cuts this week in Poughkeepsie. -jim-
    • Comment 1/08/11: I was passed over for a well deserved promotion based entirely on politics and the 'good 'ol boy' network. A seriously underqualified person was the only one told about the posting, and subsequently was awarded the position, as a second line mgr was attempting to save that person, whose original position had been targeted to go to offshore. I've had and seen enough, and am looking for work, and have a few offers. Can I volunteer to be placed on an RA list in hopes that some faithful person will be retained as an exchange? Also, if I am straight up honest and tell my manager that I am looking for work, what is the recourse? I would gladly accept a paltry severance to either be asked to immediately exit or stay a bit longer and train a replacement. Or does IBM kick you to the curb on the spot and empty handed if you make mention of looking for work elsewhere? -anon- Alliance Reply: IBM kicks you to the curb on the spot and empty handed. Count on it. Fight back! Organize.
    • Comment 1/09/11: I have worked at several companies during my career and have found IBM to be by far the most abusive. My manager was in my face, using four letter words, and mentally abusing me. I was afraid to speak out and go to HR since he was a high level manager and I thought HR would side with him. In the end he won, broke me down, and laid me off. A union would have helped me since I would have had someone to go to that I could trust. Don't make the same mistake I made. Support the Alliance and get a union going to protect your rights as an employee. -mentally abused- Alliance Reply: Thank you for the endorsement and thank you for reminding people that they don't have to accept the 'mental abuse' by IBM management. Like Nancy Grace said, "If you allow yourself to be manipulated, then it's NOT manipulation". Same goes for mental abuse. Don't allow it. Fight back! Organize. Join us and your co-workers and build a union that stands up for it's members, and fights for a contract.
    • Comment 1/10/11: "Can I volunteer to be placed on an RA list in hopes that some faithful person will be retained as an exchange?" I for one would not do this. The management would get you and someone else and exceed the requirements of finding a target to RA. Your best bet, do not tell anyone you are looking for a new job, and when you obtain the new job take a few days and actually start it, then give your IBM manager notice. They would do that to you in a heart. .... -Ich Bin Muede-
    • Comment 1/10/11: While not offshoring, moving jobs to a new location with no consideration for those currently performing those jobs, is somewhat disconcerting. I work in what is called Mainframe Configuration Management and was told today these jobs are moving to Columbia, Missouri. Internal accounts first followed by commercial accounts. We are currently spread all over the US, Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Colorado, New York, and South Carolina are just some of the states we inhabit. Transition of the IBM Internal accounts is to begin in March 2011. -DISAPPOINTED BUT NOT SUPRISED-
    • Comment 1/11/11: Fellow IBMers New and Old, Active and Retired. Past and Future even. It occurs to me that we will never get enough votes in the Boardroom at IBM to make a difference in our lot in life. The deck is certainly stacked against any employee initiated proposals there. This leaves two options. Do nothing and just accept that this is the way things are going to be, or join the Alliance and force change through a union contract. For a paltry 10 Dollars a month you can stick a virtual thumb in Sammy's eye and keep this Website and other organizing efforts going. Then at least you can say you tried to make a difference. Invest in yourself. Join the Union today. -Exodus2007-
    • Comment 1/11/11: Look at how much IBM cares anymore about its employees. RTP was predicting an ice storm evening of Jan 10, we received this note January 10, 2011: 5:00 p.m. Most companies in the area decided Jan 11 morning to delay opening due to road conditions etc. however IBM decided before the event they were remaining open on normal operating. Glad they sent at 5PM and also closed the cafes since those are some other companies employees they are putting at risk:
      IBM RTP will be open on Tuesday, January 11. However, precipitation and cold temperatures forecasted throughout the Triangle area overnight may create hazardous road conditions in the morning. IBM employees should exercise caution and personal discretion when planning their commute, and should contact their managers to discuss alternative work arrangements as necessary.

      Employees in departments which have their own inclement weather or emergency operating procedures should follow those procedures.

      This message is also available via the Emergency Status Line: 919-543-5607.

      Please note the following: All cafeterias will be closed on 1/11, and food service will be limited to the sundry shops located in buildings 713 (main site between buildings 001 and 201) and 500.

    • Comment 1/12/11: -treated like dirt- IBM used to cancel business back in the 1980's due to snowstorms. They even closed as recently as an April snowstorm in 1997 at Poughkeepsie plant. Remember IBM's founding principle RESPECT FOR THE INDIVIDUAL includes IBM employee safety. This ended completely under Palmisano creating his own IBM business principles under the direction of Gerstner no less. Is the RTP cafeteria serviced in some way by SEIU workers? If so then they are union and that might be why the cafeteria was closed. You can bet these workers would be protected from an RA layoff if they chose to stay home for their own safety during any ice storm which is always bad wherever you live (I know from working in CT and NY.) I remember when I was on a road trip through NC and stopped by RTP and was chased out of the main cafeteria for passing out Alliance literature by an IBM manager so perhaps IBM doesn't want to advertise any unions already existing on site in RTP(?) All the more reason to get a union contract through the Alliance and get IBM provisions for delayed opening and closures for inclement weather conditions as part of that contract! -sby_willie-
    • Comment 1/12/11: To Fellow IBMer: Look at how much IBM cares anymore about its employees. RTP was predicting an ice storm evening of Jan 10, we received this note January 10, 2011: 5:00 p.m. Most companies in the area decided Jan 11 morning to delay opening due to road conditions etc. however IBM decided before the event they were remaining open on normal operating. Glad they sent at 5PM and also closed the cafes since those are some other companies employees they are putting at risk. IBM does not care about their employees. I lived in Dallas and worked at the IBM call center at the Diplomat location. They made us come to work in an ice storm and risk our lives, but all the managers and the executive worked from home; executives made us take days of vacation if we did not come to work. Join the union. -ana-
    • Comment 1/12/11: @treated like dirt...how many employees at RTP have laptops and thus are able to work at home? I was up there last year for about a week and saw maybe a dozen people. My inclination is that 90% or more have laptops and could work from home. I know I did. -Bedazzled-
    • Comment 1/12/11: SWG is readjusting assignments, they have been unable to fill open slots in the US from the internal population, so they are forcing the issue asking managers.
    • Comment 1/12/11: -Bedazzled- My inclination is that 90% or more have laptops and could work from home. I know I did. Good for you. That is the problem with IBM Executives and managers.They have no respect and do not care about those employees who have no laptops and cannot work from home. Their attitude is, show up for work in a ice storm, or get fired, while executives and managers can work from home. What a joke that is working from home. Give me a break. Join the union today and bring back respect for the individual back to IBM. Tommy Watson would be rolling over in his grave if he would see how the rank and file are being treated by the managers and executives of this company. -ANA- to pop for 1 reassignee. -qtr_century-
    • Comment 1/13/11: Southbury CT had about 28 inches of snow on 1/12 so does anyone know if IBM showed any for the individual and told employees and contractors to stay home or work from home? Or did all the employees have to trudge in to avoid the next RA and did all the contractors need to come in to fulfill their contractual obligations? -IBMCSOsux-
    • Comment 1/14/11: to IBMCSOsux, "Or did all the employees have to trudge in to avoid the next RA". Please be aware that IBM does not discriminate or show favoritism when executing an RA. Jumping Hoops, Kissing Butt's or sacrificing your life will not save your job from an RA. RA's are decided at the top and the Plumber's Theory kicks in after that. All Shit Flows Down Hill. -Union-Member-IBM-Alliance-
    • Comment 1/14/11: IDT employee. My entire workgroup of IT architects was informed today that our jobs are being moved to GDF. No specific information on dates, or if severance allowance will be offered. At least 3 people affected, likely more. -lucky-
    • Comment 1/14/11: I am part of the CIO organization and I was informed on Jan 4th that due to funding my job would be eliminated at end of 1Q and that I had<3 months to find another position within the company.....Happy New Year! I know others are affected too but some are vested in the retirement plan and can retire which is great for them, unfortunately I cannot even though I have 28+ years. Not sure why they chose me instead of someone who can and should retire. It's pretty useless having a discussion with my non-US manager who is a just pawn in this too. -Shouldn'tbesurprised-
    • Comment 1/14/11: Word is coming out that Pok mainframe group is going to do some significant cuts this quarter. Anyone else hearing of new layoffs? -pokie ny job cuts planned-
    • Comment 1/14/11: I was selected for RA IN JUNE 2010, but managed to come out of RA when I applied for a post and got it. Now I have a highly political crook, as blue pages manager, who has given a PBC rating of 4. My previous ratings were 2.The PBC rating now comes with a performance improvement plan within 30 days, I know and I am ready to leave IBM; but my question is, will I be able to come back after a few years. Will the 4 rating affect future employment at IBM, The 4 rating is result of political maneuvering by this female who reaches up to the top hierarchy. I got this despite my hard work. -Anonymous- Alliance reply: "political maneuvering" is just one of the many examples of why IBMers should be organizing, now! Whether you come back to IBM or not, is not the problem that you have, right now. Thinking about your future in IBM, after the fact, may not be beneficial to you, now. Thinking about it previously, may have been.
    • Comment 1/16/11: "I know and I am ready to leave IBM; but my question is, will I be able to come back after a few years." When you are targeted with a PBC 3 you are gone...gone. IBM is discarding you with the trash. With a PBC 4 then you're worse than gone. IBM wishes you never had been around. They don't even want to take the time or effort to throw you out. Repeat this to yourself folks: to IBM you are a resource and nothing more than an expense; you are considered by IBM to not be a human being. Why do you think IBM treats you in an inhumane way? The only human beings that are not resources and are not expenses to IBM are the middle and upper management and executives who have rigged the PBC system and the IBM business against you and your colleagues. The ONLY way to change this is to join a union and attempt to get IBM management to play fair on a playing field that does constantly change based on management whims and egos. -faceit-
    • Comment 1/16/11: We received notification from our management that PBC ratings/reviews will be tougher this year and will be discussed within the next week. Isn't it kind of early in the year for reviews? Or is it just a set up for the annual February slaughter? -feeling the blade-
    • Comment 1/16/11: "Will this PBC rating 4 affect my job application process in other companies. Will IBM inform my future employer of my latest PBC rating which is politically motivated and spoil my chances elsewhere. Is it possible for me to file a workplace harassment suit or appeal the PBC rating within the next 30 days?". IBM will only acknowledge that you worked for them from x date to x date. Anything else would open them up to lawsuits. They are far too smart for that. Appeal the PBC if you want but you were selected by the same upper managers you will be appealing to. Think it will do any good? Take it to your Union Rep, Oh shit that's right, No union Rep, cuz you didn't help organize so you would have one. If you were an organizer for the union and can prove that's why you were targeted you may have had a court case. You can find a lawyer who will be glad to sue for anything you want as long as you pay up front. You won't win, but nothing stops you from suing except your own finances. Best advice is look elsewhere and get out asap. Do not waste anymore time dealing with IBM. If you can find another job with benefits grab it. You can keep looking if it isn't exactly what you want. Times are tough and things are bad. Do not waste time trying to save something that is already gone. Move on. Your manager probably won't even answer emails anymore. Bet you're already off the distribution lists. This is how they deal with people they fire. Even 1 rated people caught in an RA get treated this way. No sense bothering with the walking dead. By ignoring you it makes it less stressful to your managers. They don't have to think about you as a human being. Just a broken and discarded work widget. Good luck with your future employment and close the door behind you for your own health sake. -Exodus2007-
News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
  • New York Times op-ed: The Truth and Consequences of Repeal. Americans will pay a high price if opponents (to health care reform) get their way. Reform means that tens of millions of uninsured people will get a chance at security; and many millions more who have coverage can be sure they can keep or replace it, even if they get sick or lose their jobs.

    Repeal would also take away the best chance for reining in rising health care costs — and the government’s relentlessly rising Medicare burden.

    The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that repealing the reform law would drive up the deficit by $230 billion over the first decade and much more in later years.

    For all his claims of fiscal rectitude, John Boehner, the House speaker, immediately dismissed the budget experts’ report as “their opinion.” In a particularly cynical move, Mr. Boehner and his new team have exempted the repeal bill from their own rule that any increase in spending be offset by cuts in other programs.

    Many individuals and businesses are already benefiting from reform, and they will benefit even more once it goes into full effect in 2014.

    Thanks to reform, it is now illegal for insurance companies to deny children coverage because they have pre-existing medical conditions, or to rescind a policy after a person becomes sick, or to cap the amount that insurers will pay for medical care over a lifetime. After 2014, it will be illegal for insurers to set annual limits on the amount they will pay for medical care or deny coverage to adults with pre-existing conditions.

    Young people are now allowed to remain on their parents’ policies until age 26. And insurers are now required to cover preventive care in new policies without cost-sharing, and to spend at least 80 percent of their premium income on medical care and quality improvements, not profits or administrative costs. Repeal would eliminate all of these new protections.

    Repeal would also eliminate federal tax credits that are helping small businesses provide coverage to employees as well as a reinsurance program that is helping more than 4,700 employers, large and small, provide health coverage to early retirees.

News and Opinion Concerning the "War on the Middle Class"
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.

  • New York Times: Obama the Centrist Irks a Liberal Lion. By Michael Powell. Excerpts: Though Robert B. Reich, the former labor secretary, endorsed Mr. Obama and has traveled to the White House to provide economic counsel, he offers a smile that looks unmistakably pained. “We have a remarkably anemic recovery; it’s paper-thin,” Mr. Reich says. “In the narrowest, tactical terms, in sheer dollars committed to programs, Obama’s done pretty well, and his favorability ratings are better than those of the Democratic Party.”

    Then he sweeps his hands far apart in his sun-filled warren of an office at the University of California, Berkeley.

    “If you widen the lens, the public is being sold a big lie — that our problems owe to unions and the size of government and not to fraud and deregulation and vast concentration of wealth. Obama’s failure is that he won’t challenge this Republican narrative, and give people a story that helps them connect the dots and understand where we’re going.” ...

    Mr. Reich served as labor secretary for President Clinton, and in his latest book “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future” he applauds Mr. Obama for deft work in preventing the economy from toppling into a Depression. But the president demanded too little of the bankers he saved, Mr. Reich says, and he conflated a rising stock market and soaring corporate profits with an improving economy.

    The majority of Americans, who derive much of their wealth from their homes rather than the stock market, are falling far behind the top 1 percent, who took in 23 percent of the nation’s income in 2007. That inequality, he says, is at the heart of America’s malaise.

    “Obama had a chance to reboot the bailout,” he says. “He could have said to the bankers, ‘If you want more, you’ve got to put a cap on salaries, you’ve got to agree to modify X number of mortgages.’ ” ...

    Democratic presidents, he goes on, raise money from and are surrounded by Ivy League-educated meritocrats, often of substantial wealth. “Their norms are of those who earn more than $300,000, whose kids go to private school and whose primary savings are in the stock market rather than in their homes,” he says. “Their assumptions are different in profound ways from most struggling Americans.”

    The modern Democratic Party, he says, is removed from what he and Mr. Krugman view as a better time: the decades stretching from World War II until about 1970. The typical high-income earner then paid more than 50 percent of income as taxes. The economic bargain was explicit: government encouraged industry, and working Americans shared in the fruits, buying houses and cars, with pensions to tide comfortable retirements.

  • AlterNet: The Problem Is That America's Richest 1% Are Raking It in -- Not Public Employee Pensions. By Robert Reich. We can't let the conservatives pit private-sector workers against public servants -- it's a distraction from the ongoing huge wealth transfer to the richest Americans. Excerpts: In 1968, 1,300 sanitation workers in Memphis went on strike. The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to support them. That was where he lost his life. Eventually Memphis heard the grievances of its sanitation workers. And in subsequent years millions of public employees across the nation have benefited from the job protections they’ve earned.

    But now the right is going after public employees.

    Public servants are convenient scapegoats. Republicans would rather deflect attention from corporate executive pay that continues to rise as corporate profits soar, even as corporations refuse to hire more workers. They don’t want stories about Wall Street bonuses, now higher than before taxpayers bailed out the Street. And they’d like to avoid a spotlight on the billions raked in by hedge-fund and private-equity managers whose income is treated as capital gains and subject to only a 15 percent tax, due to a loophole in the tax laws designed specifically for them.

    It’s far more convenient to go after people who are doing the public’s work - sanitation workers, police officers, fire fighters, teachers, social workers, federal employees – to call them “faceless bureaucrats” and portray them as hooligans who are making off with your money and crippling federal and state budgets. The story fits better with the Republican’s Big Lie that our problems are due to a government that’s too big.

    Above all, Republicans don’t want to have to justify continued tax cuts for the rich. As quietly as possible, they want to make them permanent. But the right’s argument is shot-through with bad data, twisted evidence, and unsupported assertions. ...

    The final Republican canard is that bargaining rights for public employees have caused state deficits to explode. In fact there’s no relationship between states whose employees have bargaining rights and states with big deficits. Some states that deny their employees bargaining rights - Nevada, North Carolina, and Arizona, for example, are running giant deficits of over 30 percent of spending. Many that give employees bargaining rights — Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Montana — have small deficits of less than 10 percent. ...

    Don’t get me wrong. When times are tough, public employees should have to make the same sacrifices as everyone else. And they are right now. Pay has been frozen for federal workers, and for many state workers across the country as well.

    But isn’t it curious that when it comes to sacrifice, Republicans don’t include the richest people in America? To the contrary, they insist the rich should sacrifice even less, enjoying even larger tax cuts that expand public-sector deficits. That means fewer public services, and even more pressure on the wages and benefits of public employees.

    It’s only average workers – both in the public and the private sectors – who are being called upon to sacrifice.

    This is what the current Republican attack on public-sector workers is really all about. Their version of class warfare is to pit private-sector workers against public servants. They’d rather set average working people against one another – comparing one group’s modest incomes and benefits with another group’s modest incomes and benefits – than have Americans see that the top 1 percent is now raking in a bigger share of national income than at any time since 1928, and paying at a lower tax rate. And Republicans would rather you didn’t know they want to cut taxes on the rich even more.

  • AlterNet: Wall Street Desperately Trying to Kill Law That Could Curb Obscene CEO Pay. By Sam Pizzigati. Corporate America is working feverishly behind the scenes to smother a new federal mandate to roll back excessive executive pay. Excerpts: Sometimes lobbyists — even the most perfectly coiffed — mess up. Lobbyists for Corporate America messed up big-time last summer. They let slip into law, via the 2,300-page Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, an obscure provision that could give future lawmakers a powerful lever for ratcheting down excessive CEO pay. Now those lobbyists are pushing hard to undo their mistake — and progressives, led by AFL-CIO president Rich Trumka, are pushing back. ...

    This Menendez mandate requires America’s corporations to disclose, for the first time ever, the specific gap between what they pay their CEO, on an annual basis, and what they pay their most typical workers. Current law requires corporations to report how much their top five executives are making. Under the Menendez mandate, corporations must now also report their overall wage “median” and the ratio between this median and their top pay.

    That information — from a public relations standpoint — could be explosive. CEOs who make 1,000 times more than their most typical workers would have to explain what makes them so much more valuable than competing CEOs who make just 100 times their worker pay. ...

    In Britain, advocates for more reasonable executive pay levels are now making just this sort of proposal. The prospect of similar pressure here in the United States has Corporate America shuddering — and pressing the Securities and Exchange Commission to water down the Dodd-Frank Menendez mandate.

  • Wall Street Journal: More Bank Reforms Needed, Economists Say. By Mark Whitehouse. Excerpts: Global financial reforms that have drawn howls from bankers aren't nearly enough to avert another disaster, said academic economists gathered here for the annual meeting of the American Economic Association. ...

    Over the past few days, though, economists here offered a litany of reasons why the reforms fall short. Among their concerns: The new capital requirements aren't tough or simple enough, there is too much uncertainty about how governments will deal with distress at the biggest lenders, and little has been done to prevent the kind of crisis that could occur if trouble broke out at many smaller institutions, such as hedge funds.

    "I just don't think we're doing what we need to do," said Anat Admati, a finance professor at Stanford University. "We've allowed bankers to confuse us into keeping things pretty much the same."

  • AlterNet: Why You Should Feel Cheated, Deceived and Sickened by America's Stunning Inequality, Even If You're Doing Well. By Paul Buchheit. If middle- and upper-middle-class families had the same share of the economic pie as in 1980, they'd be making an average of $12,500 more per year. Excerpts: Why should a relatively prosperous upper-middle-class family care about inequality? There are lots of reasons, but here's the most personal one: that's our money the very rich are taking! Based on Internal Revenue Service figures, if middle- and upper-middle-class families had maintained the same share of American productivity that they held in 1980, they would be making an average of $12,500 more per year. That bears repeating: $12,500 of my money every year to the richest 1 percent, and $600 more to pay my share of their tax cuts!

    Inequality in the U.S. doesn't get the attention it deserves. Many of us brush it off, thinking, "So the rich get richer -- it's always been that way." Or we think: "I'm doing OK myself – and I want to be really rich someday, too."

    The lopsided distribution of wealth in the U.S. doesn't get the blame it deserves for our budget problems, either. On the contrary, since our economic system is based on individual freedom, most of us believe in the inalienable right to make unlimited amounts of money. The thought of taking back a greater share from innovative and industrious business leaders is (shudder) "socialism."

    So instead we increase sales taxes and service fees. We cut police forces and educators. We remove funding for food pantries, homeless shelters and elder assistance. ...

    U.S. GDP has quintupled since 1980, and we all contributed to that success. But our contributions have earned us nothing. While total income has also quintupled, percentage-wise almost all the gains went to the richest 1 percent. ...

    The deception has persisted for 30 years. According to Forbes magazine, the top 20 private equity and hedge fund managers took an average of $657.5 million in 2006. The salaries of these 20 people could have paid for 25 police officers, 25 firefighters, and 50 teachers for every one of the 3,000 counties in the United States. Instead we see counties like Ashtabula in Ohio, which cut back its police force from 112 to 49, while a judge advises the residents to "get a gun" to defend themselves.

    Some hedge fund managers made up to $4 billion in one year. That's like one man telling my son and 100,000 other young men and women: "I have jobs for you, but my personal stimulus from the top will start with a yacht and an estate -- and then we'll just wait a while." ...

    It gets worse. According to noted researcher Edward Wolff (pdf), only the top 5 percent of American families increased their percentage of the country's total household net worth from 1983 to 2007. So unless you make $160,000 or more, your household value has decreased, percentage-wise, over the last 25 years. Taxing the 1 percent of America responsible for all this is not "soaking the rich." The soaking has already been done, in the opposite direction. The inequality caused by this sickening theft and deception is not just a plague on poor people -- at least 90 percent of us should be feeling it, and fighting back.

  • AlterNet: How Wall Street Elites Are Dynamiting Our Democracy. By Jim Hightower. Our society can tolerate such raw selfishness by the privileged few, or it can have democracy. It can't have both. Excerpts:By gollies, America is still an exporting powerhouse. In fact, the good ol' U.S.A. is No. 1 in the world in exports! Our corporate leaders, backed by Republicans and Democrats alike in Washington, are now routinely exporting America's most precious goods -- our jobs, factories, technologies and middle-class opportunities.

    With unemployment and underemployment devastating millions of families in our country, perhaps you've assumed that U.S. corporations simply aren't hiring these days. Nonsense. They added 1.4 million jobs last year alone -- overseas. ...

    Such homemade brands as Coca-Cola, Dell and IBM are also among the multitude of corporations abandoning our shores and our middle class. Of course, they keep their posh headquarters here so they and their top executives can continue enjoying all that America has to offer.

    Calvin Coolidge once famously asserted that "what's good for business is good for America." That's myopic enough, but today's narcissistic CEOs are even more self-centered, declaring that "what's good for business is good for business, America be damned." ...

    No one at the top wants to admit it, but big business has quietly been imposing a structural transformation on our economy, shifting from a workforce of permanent employees to one in which most jobs are temporary, scarce, low-paid, without benefits and with no upward mobility. Of the 1.2 million jobs created by the private sector last year, for example, 26 percent were temporary positions, and in November, temp jobs soared to 80 percent of that month's total.

    What's happening here is not merely a matter of a few million folks being momentarily down on their luck, but of an intentional dismantling of America's middle-class structure.

  • The Smirking Chimp: Class Warfare. By Larry Beinhart. Excerpts: We're in a class war. It's the corporations and the very wealthiest against all the rest of us. We're losing. In 1962 the wealthiest 1% of American households had 125 times the wealth of the median household. Now it's 190 times as much. Is that a case of a rising tide lifting all boats, just a few of them a little bit higher? No.

    From 1950 to 1965 median family income rose from $24,000 a year to $38,000 a year. That's close to 4% a year, close to 60% over 15 years. That's a rising tide.

    In 1979 the richest 1% of Americans earned 9% of all US income. Now they earn 24% of all US income. One percent of Americans earn nearly one fourth of all the income in the country. ...

    Timothy Noah, in The United States of Inequality (Slate, 9/30/10), wrote, "Income distribution in the United States [has become] more unequal than in Guyana, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, and roughly on par with Uruguay, Argentina, and Ecuador."

    Take a look at that list. Countries with wide income inequality don't lead the world in research, technology, industry, and innovation. They're unstable. They have large underclasses. They have high rates of crime. They have little opportunity.

    In such countries the rich have disproportionate power. They take control of all aspects of society, especially government, the police, and the judiciary. They become self perpetuating. If current trends continue, "the United States by 2043 will have the same income inequality as Mexico." (Tula Connell, Mar 12, 2010, AFL-CIO Now).

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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