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Highlights—March 3, 2012

  • WRAL-TV (RTP, NC): Layoffs at IBM continue to spread across more work groups. The number of job cuts underway at IBM (NYSE: IBM) continues to grow, workers and the union seeking to represent Big Blue workers are saying. By 6 a.m. Tuesday, internal documents provided by affected employs across 12 work groups totaled 870. Based on the amount of information being sent directly to union officials, the union local estimated that “at least seven to eight business units” are being “hit” and that the job cuts could “build up into the thousands.”

    A corporate spokesperson for IBM confirmed that a "rebalancing" was underway but declined to provide specific numbers. "IBM is constantly rebalancing its workforce," he said in response to a query from WRAL. "That means reducing in some areas and hiring in others - based on shifts in technology and client demand. This flexibility allows IBM to remain competitive and relevant in an industry that is constantly changing. And given the competitive nature of our business, we do not publicly discuss the details of our staffing plans." ...

    Lee Conrad, the local’s national coordinator, confirmed that layoffs have started. “Job cuts happening in a number of business units today,” he said. “No numbers yet.” However, Conrad said that the layoffs are expected to continue into March. “This is a continuing story,” he added. “Before it’s over the layoffs could build up into the thousands.” According to Conrad, “Workers are saying jobs cut here and work moved offshore … anywhere from Bratislava to China.” ...

    IBM laid off some 10,000 people in the U.S. in 2009 and several thousand more in 2010. Over the last several years, IBM has reduced its work force in the United States by nearly 30 percent, according to figures published by IBM through 2009 and estimated since by the Alliance based on a variety of information.

    The numbers by years:

    • 2011: 98,000
    • 2010:101,000
    • 2009: 105,000
    • 2008: 115,000
    • 2007: 121,000
    • 2006: 127,000
    • 2005: 133,789

    In a report last month, Reuters said IBM was looking into the replacement of some full-time employees with contractors and temps. “Internally the restructuring has been dubbed ‘Generation Open’ and staff that work for IBM on projects but are not full time are called ‘liquid players,’ according to an internal document seen by Reuters,” the news service said.

  • WRAL-TV: Another 45 IBM layoffs - Will the cuts stop? Nope. By Rick Smith. Excerpts: Drip by drip, information about job cuts at IBM (NYSE: IBM) continues to leak to Alliance @ IBM. And despite predictions by the union’s top coordinator there seems to be no signs that the layoffs are ending. As of Thursday night, the casualty total reached 1,440 across 20 work groups. Early Friday, another business group and 45 more cuts. (See updated list below.)

    Lee Conrad had said earlier in the week that he believed the worst of the layoffs was over, but they have dragged on. He still fully expects a bigger round of cuts to come later this month. The fact that the job cut information continues to dribble out in no surprise.

    IBM has a brilliant strategy when it comes to layoffs:

    • Make them quietly – no public announcements
    • Make them in relatively small numbers – that limits media attention and avoids the need to file reports with state and federal governments
    • Make sure to shut up employees - If you go public about your job loss, you get no severance
    • Make sure the job cuts are spread among all age groups – that avoids age discrimination suit problems
    • Make sure to say next to nothing publicly to the media if a reporter calls (chances are, they won't unless the number is a big one) – that’s good damage control.
    • Make sure the cuts don’t hit any large metropolitan area or state at one time – that keeps politicians from squawking and demanding more information.

    The bottom line: IBM slashes its U.S. work force by a third over the past few years and the government as well as the media remains relatively quiet as the transformation of the world’s largest technology company under Chairman Sam Palmisano continues to make Big Blue less of a U.S. company than ever before.

    Canada and Western European work forces are getting hammered, too, by the way.

  • InfoWorld: IBM cuts more than 1,000 U.S. workers. Union reports layoffs occurred this week across the country and more may be coming. By Patrick Thibodeau. Excerpts: IBM has laid off just over 1,000 employees so far this week and more layoffs may be possible, according to an employee organization. IBM never comments on the specifics of any cuts, and the only reason that the company's job action is noticeable is due to the Alliance@IBM/CWA Local 1701, which gathers its data directly from IBM employees.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • IBM will rue the day that whoever in IBM decided to get rid of these talented people and go off shore. IBM will soon find out that the offshore talent isn't as well prepared. 60 Minutes last Sunday had an article the over 400,000 call center jobs that disappeared and now these jobs are coming back to the USA. They forecast these new jobs will pay 40k where the off shore job paid a lot less. Too many off shore call centers cant provide the needed support and often the user has to call back twice to get the desired answer. Too many other companies have returned to the USA and so will IBM. Ask IBM about Lenovo if you want an embarrassed smile and dumb look when they can't answer.
    • As a retired IBM'er, who worked there for 40 years, I say this: There is no more IBM, just a company flying the once proud flag of what was once the greatest company in the world. In my last couple of years with the company (I "participated" in a "resource action" in 2009) there were so many overpaid, over hyped, in-over-their-head executives that you couldn't get your job done....at least not in any effective manner. Like a poorly designed ship, with too much superstructure and not enough hull and keel below the waterline, this bunch of ninnies that runs IBM today will oversee the capsizing of the once proud craft. I hope they are offered jobs in some third world toilet. I will go down to the docks to wave goodbye.
    • "The company went on to say, "that means reducing in some areas and hiring in others." To clarify, "some areas" refers to North America and Europe. "others" refers to India, China, and South America.
  • Burlington Free Press: Impact of IBM layoffs for Vermont not clear. No information on situation in Essex Junction. By Dan D’Ambrosio. Excerpt: While IBM does not give out official employment numbers, it’s commonly known that the Essex Junction facility employs an estimated 5,000-plus people, down from a peak of about 8,000 employees at the beginning of this century. IBM also has more than 3,000 retirees in the state. The 55-year-old plant in Essex Junction remains a vital manufacturing and research facility, responsible for about 10 percent of IBM's total number of patents. The Vermont facility is responsible largely for manufacturing microchips.
  • Senator Greg Ball (NY): In the Wake of IBM Layoffs, Ball Urges Legislation To End Tax Incentives for Companies That Offshore Jobs. Excerpts: In the wake of the news that IBM is laying off more than 1,000 jobs nationwide— 200 here in the Hudson Valley— Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson) is holding a press conference to discuss his legislation that would end tax incentives for companies that offshore jobs. Senator Ball will also renew calls for the state to get a guarantee from IBM that they will keep jobs in New York, and be transparent in their reporting practices.

    “A few months back I stood alone, warning of my fears of relying upon promises from IBM, a global outsourcing giant, without getting those guarantees in writing. These new reports are deeply troubling and once again show why my demands that NY state demand specifics from IBM were legitimate. We must hold IBM accountable for any direct or indirect benefits they receive from NY taxpayers. They have already received hundreds of millions of dollars from New York State taxpayers. And, we know IBM has a history of cashing checks from taxpayers while simultaneously patenting a new technology specifically designed to outsource our jobs in America,” Senator Ball said. “Back in October, I warned our leaders that we should not reward these global giants with an even larger giveaway of corporate welfare. But, IBM was handed another $400 million. That money could have been divided into 1,600 or more small business loans, spreading opportunity to new businesses and entrepreneurs statewide. In fact, a portion could have immediately went to fix bridges, roads and crumbling infrastructure, putting thousands of New Yorkers back to work. Instead, we have once again made a deal, evidently without written guarantees, with a global outsourcing giant and the taxpayers are now left holding the bag as employees get pink slips. I don’t care if I have to continue to be the sole voice on this, this is unacceptable.” ...

    Somers resident V. Gordon Sears was dismissed from IBM in 2009 after 40 years of employment. In this round of layoffs, he said he is watching friends lose their jobs. Sear said he fully supports Senator Ball’s legislation. “They are getting benefits for moving jobs out of the county. Why?” Sears said. “That’s why unemployment is so high. No longer are American companies, American companies.”

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: job cuts have started" by "workforlife". Full excerpt: Bluecat, I hope you are really new to IBM. A 3 PBC is almost a sure RA target. But 1's, 2+'s and 2 are tossed just as fast. 1993 was the last RA that had any type of rating system to it. Since then it has been burn and churn.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: job cuts have started" by "ncdad1". Full excerpt: Remember that the US has about 100k employees and the road map has that going to 70k by 2015 ... so 1/3 of who ever is left needs to go ... for my organization 60% are retirement eligible so the younger folks may have a chance to survive just due to attrition.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "RA'd and now training another IBMer" by John Merritt. Full excerpt: Is this legal ? I was told Monday that I was part of a Resource Action. 2 days later I'm told that I have to train another IBM'er, who is losing their job to Manila. So, bottom line is that another IBMer's job is being offshored and I am being bumped from my job. Do I have any recourse? Thanks.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: RA'd and now training another IBMer" by Lee Conrad. Full excerpt: IBM can do whatever it wants because you don't have a union contract spelling out conditions of work that is negotiated with the company and employees. It is what we have been saying for years.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: RA'd and now training another IBMer" by "bluecat_jump". Full excerpt: No one says you have to do a good job training the other IBMer. That is how I would respond. What are they going to do about that--fire you?
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: RA'd and now training another IBMer" by Paul Sutera. Full excerpt: Technically, they could threaten to not pay a severance. The severance is not guaranteed and some people have left with no severance. Usually if the R/A is effective in 30 days, most employees are not expected to continue working, other than a minor amount of turnover. Some R/As occasionally are given 2 months instead of 30 days. For these some work is often expected.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: RA'd and now training another IBMer" by "willbefree25". Full excerpt: Paul, my team leader did indeed threaten me, on behalf of my manager who fired me via a phone call, that if I did not 'cooperate', I 'might' not get my severance. I had to train my replacement in the Philippines and considered training her badly, but decided not to sink to the level of the company that was firing me.

    I'm sorry, John, that you are one of the many thousands of casualties who have been fired by IBM for so many years now. Yes, right now it's legal, someday perhaps it might not be. A small consolation? The air is better outside of IBM.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: RA'd and now training another IBMer" by "alwaysontheroad4bigblue". Full excerpt: Usually if the R/A is effective in 30 days, most employees are not expected to continue working, other than a minor amount of turnover. At least in Global Services, this is no longer true. My manager (who I am on good terms with) told me that in the past when someone was RA'd, their last 30 days didn't count towards the department's utilization target. Now it does. So, they really do want you billing your 44 hours a week up to your last day.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "race to the bottom" by "sby_willie". Full excerpt: IBM is continuing letting go of its experienced workforce. To say someone with 10-15-20-25-30+ years of employment and experience needs to be part of a workforce rebalance or RA is saying that these folks don't deserve to be IBMers. So what did these folks do for all the years previous to be IBMers? Surely they must have added or done some value add and something good to be employed so long!

    So IBM management thinks the only way to grow the business is to slash all costs and expenses and jettison better paid employees all in the hope of increasing the EPS. Then replace the experienced workforce with new hires mixed with a few experienced professional hires. The professional hires will very soon find out first that IBM is a big facade (and what a mistake they made in joining IBM) and the new hires might take a few years to come to the same conclusion, and then a sizeable number will leave.

    IBM thinks the revolving door workforce will let them keep making increased EPS but eventually it will crumble and IBM will be history. IBM will have a bad quarterly report eventually. Once IBM finds India, China, Slovakia, Brazil, Russia, etc. too expense for them that hurts their lofty EPS goals and goes to Africa they will run out of places in the the world to go to conduct business. Eventually the smarter planet will realize IBM management direction is not as smart as they want everyone to believe. Once the world economy gets better and employees leave IBM in droves IBM will have nothing left to woo talent back to save IBM.

    IBM has got to get back to the founding principles of TJ Watson: notably RESPECT FOR THE INDIVIDUAL, otherwise it is doomed. Doomed maybe not in Rometty's reign, but certainly in the next decade or so.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: race to the bottom" by "redrock_5432". Full excerpt: If the new employees consider IBM today I would expect they think of it as just a job/career with no expectations or benefits of lifelong employment. IBM is just a company that provides competitive entry salaries, benefits, portable retirement benefits and a good resume. All the other stuff 'we' thought is gone, IMO. I hope this business calculation works out.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: race to the bottom" by "ncdad1". Full excerpt: I think the plan is to become a "virtual" company with "liquid employees" that are paid by the job / hr in WW bidding wars. So, you get a billion dollar company run by a few project managers creating projects the people bid on as the demand requires. What the equation misses is the value of loyalty. The $'s being missed in the virtual / liquid employee model is the time on weekends I "invest" in my job or the computers I buy to make me more productive ... loyalty will be missed and ultimately cost more than they expect.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: race to the bottom" by "bluecat_jump". Full excerpt: Is anyone ever hired by IBM directly anymore? Almost all new people are acquired (via acquisitions). I don't know anyone at the company who "joined" that was a new hire from outside.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: race to the bottom" by "thekanck". Full excerpt: In the last several years I've only known one person ... IBM offered her a job as a college new-hire starting when she graduates this spring.... she accepted it, but they have already started jerking her around ... oh you can't start when you want to you have to start on this day or this other day... oh the group offered you no longer has openings you have to work over here instead... I think it's an effort to try to get her to rescind her acceptance... It's just embarrassing...
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: race to the bottom" by "workforlife". Full excerpt: Three new hires in last 16 months in my area. One as a supplemental. The manager is dangling the full time stick in front of this person. One is a tech and the third is a PhD engineer. The tech is building a resume and already planning an early exit if the grass looks greener. The engineer is just happy to be employed after grad school.

    My area can not keep people. Global foundries, Albany college, and a few other employers look to IBM as a good training ground for their future hires.

    Heard that IBM Burlington is losing people at an alarming rate to Green Mountain Growers. Yup, the coffee maker pays better and treats their people much much better.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: race to the bottom" by "bluecat_jump". Full excerpt: This is the only company I've worked for that does not care about its employees. There is no mention of them at all in any exec vision statements. All we get is talk about profits.

    When the blue collar jobs went to Mexico, the white collar guys sneered. When the low-level white collar jobs went to India, the rest of the white collar guys got a little nervous but were relieved. Now, as the rest of the white collar jobs go to Brazil and China and India, only the managers are safe. For now...

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "FHA (Future Health Account) Rates" by "fhawontcutit". Full excerpt: Madinpok was kind enough to post a spreadsheet listing retiree medical plan costs for the old (non-FHA) plans and the FHA plans. The rates are from 2010 and the data was collected for plans available in the Hudson Valley area.

    Go to the Files section of the this board, click on folder IBM Retirement Benefits Info, scroll down and click on IBM 2010 Retiree Medical Plan Costs.pdf. (Editor's note: I have copied the document to this server.)

    The cheapest plan was the High-Deductible PPO- MVP.

    For the old (non-FHA) plan the rates are Self: $0.00; Self+1: $381.00.

    For the FHA plan, the rates are Self: $541.27; Self+1: $1,082.73.

    These were the rates for 2010 and are the rates for premiums only. The spreadsheet shows the differences in the plan rates for all of the available choices. It shows how much more expensive the rates are for retirees on the FHA.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: FHA Rates" by "fhawontcutit". Full excerpt: And let's not forget those who are fired prior to FHA eligibility.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: FHA Rates" by "johnngai2002". Full excerpt: The old non-FHA has a subsidy cap of $7000; actual premium costs beyond that were paid by the retirees; the new FHA has funding from IBM for a 10 year period instead of the subsidy, from which retiree pay part or all the new premium, and yes, one can run out of the bucket of money if you use the funds at 100%, before age 65.

    Retirees under FHA are paying more, when compared to non-FHA retirees but FHA retirees need to factor in the subsidy cap to come up with a fair comparison.

    Sad to say, gone are the days of zero monthly premiums for all employees/retirees; if you work the numbers, IBM is really only insuring the employee/retiree with the subsidy or the 10 year FHA contribution; dependents or spouses are not being subsidized.

    Just compare the -0- below for self under non-FHA, and $541.27 for self under FHA, and apply the 'subsidy of $7000, which comes out to about $583 per month.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: FHA Rates" by "madinpok". Full excerpt: What you say is basically correct, but the fact is that the FHA retirees will receive a much smaller benefit in retirement, even if they don't use the FHA to cover 100% of their medical premiums in an attempt to get zero premiums.

    The account balance of an FHA retiree might reach $50,000 by age 55, although it might not even get that high due to the low interest rates IBM has been paying for most of the last 10 years. (As a side note, there are some people under the FHA plan who may have larger balances, due to differences in their ages when IBM created the FHA which resulted in different opening balances for employees who were over age 40 at the time).

    Starting at age 55, if the FHA withdraws $7000 per year to match the IBM subsidy that older retirees receive, the FHA will run out of money by age 63. After that, the retiree is entirely on his own. For the next 2 years, he will have to come up with an extra $7000 each year to continue with the same coverage.

    At age 65, the FHA retiree will be eligible for Medicare, but if he wants to continue with IBM supplemental coverage, he will have to pay for that entirely out of his own pocket, while retirees under the old plan will get a $3000 per year subsidy.

    Assuming the FHA retiree lives to age 85, he will have had to pay $74,000 more for the same medical insurance as a retiree under the old plan.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: FHA Rates" by "lastdino1". Full excerpt: We pay $62 a month (self+1) for our IBM medicare supplement plan and another $48 for dental . Add to that $15 for vision and you get about $125 a month. No co-pays and we have not had to pay for anything this or last year for medical services. Now add another $96 each for medicare and another $15 each for our Humana drug plan and that is our coverage. So the net/net is around $350 for the whole deal. Life is Great.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: FHA Rates" by Kathi Cooper. Full excerpt: There you go. Proof in the pudding how much we got screwed with the FHA. Turns out, it was a worse screw job than pension! Life is not great for those on the FHA. And it is devastating for those not on anything. Kathi.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: FHA Rates" by "In Focus". Full excerpt: FWIW I have the FHA. I ran the tool in NetBenefits in 09. Rough estimate was that my FHA could pay for a little over 3.5 years for my wife and I. I did a screen shot and saved it. I recently ran tool again, YE 2011 My FHA will last a little over 3yrs. obtw. The tool limits you on how many years out you could potentially use it for estimation.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: FHA Rate" by "willbefree25". Excerpts: >We've gone a long way from "free for life for you and your spouse" eh? Sadly, we were told this at various points in our career or it was implied or however it is we remember being told, BUT bless IBM's heart, neither the manager nor the Personnel people nor the executives nor the CEOs ever wrote it down anywhere for anyone to prove it.

    Sadly.

    That said, yes most of us were absolutely, positively PROMISED when we were hired that we would have LIFETIME RETIREE MEDICAL. Absolutely. Positively. Free? Possibly.

    Did YOU think to demand it in writing? Of course not. Did Joe Schmo the executive or Lou or Sam or Ginny the executive demand it in writing? Of course they did, and they got it in writing.

    We were naive and took IBM at their word. Heck, as late as last year there were people writing about other threatened takeaways: oh IBM wouldn't do that, would they? Unbelievable but true.

    So, my point? If you have it in writing from IBM "free for life for you and your spouse" I, and some others who don't espouse the mendacious "life is great" platitude, would LOVE to see it.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: Is Future Health Account taxable?" by Kathi Cooper. Full excerpt: I agree nothing is free. However, I earned this benefit. Then it was taken away. I earned it. They owe me. Of course it's not free. I earned it!! Kathi.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: Is Future Health Account taxable?" by "willbefree25". Full excerpt: Exactly right, Kathi. You earned it, and I earned it too. And, I was PROMISED (verbally, not in writing) it. I didn't expect it to be free, but I did expect if for my lifetime, as other retirees had and have it for their lifetime.

    I wish I could remember the 'free for life' promise, but I can't. But I do remember the yearly meetings where I was PROMISED the lifetime retiree medical and given the doublespeak about how the "additional compensation" made up for the paltry raises in most years.

    Then, as you say, it was taken away. Because they could take it away and no one could do anything about it. If not for Janet et al, the DB plan would have been stolen too, as it was for those who had the misfortune of being under 40 in 1999.

    Yes, they do owe you. And they owe me. But guess what? They don't care. They don't have to. They're IBM.

  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • IBM Senior Consultant in New York, NY: (Current Employee) “Very bad place to work - avoid.” Pros: Global Brand, decent money to begin with. Cons: Company restructures at the drop of a hat. Not very employee friendly. I was made to work on projects as a non billable resource which made it very hard for me at appraisal time
    • IBM Financial Analyst Co-op in Rochester, MN: (Current Employee) “Good Place to Learn. Easy to Get Lost in the Back Office.” Pros: -decent ability to work from home when needed (flip side is you're expected to be "online" at ridiculous hours. As a co-op I had to work until midnight once a month!); -good compensation for the MN area; -tons of free education online, but it only applies to areas within IBM; -work only with other finance people at the Center of Excellence, lots of face to face knowledge sharing and ability to move around within finance. Cons: -TONS of employee turnover, it's rare if someone stays over 4 years; -not a lot of respect for the individual, most teams you support are not local, so there's only SameTIme (chat) or phone conversations; -very easy to get into finance in Rochester and get stuck, I'm lucky I got out while I could. Advice to Senior Management: -Non-finance manager needs to be more involved with career development of employees; -COE was a good idea on paper, but it leads recruiters to miss the best talent that won't relocate to MN.
    • IBM Program Director: (Current Employee) “A great company to learn, good salary and benefits, run by finance, some exceptional leaders, and some bad ones.” Pros: - Great company to gain leadership skills; - Extremely smart technical team; - Great HR programs to develop employees; - Many opportunities to work on world changing projects; - Great products that have world's top customers; - Access to information, advice and guidance; - Freedom to innovate; - Excellent benefits, good salary; - Great work-life balance; - Opportunity to travel and meet clients and colleagues in all parts of the world; - Access to world class research teams and assets.

      Cons: - There are some VERY arrogant VPs and Directors who treat their employees like dirt. If you get stuck under them, it's better to leave IBM. (Some think of themselves as Steve jobs, except they lack in the creative department unlike Steve); - Because of IBM's size, sometimes processes can kill progress; - Politics at the VP & Director levels can inhibit innovation and collaboration unless it advances their agenda; - Internal competition exists between divisions that is counter productive; - Finance is king and many decisions forced by finance results in short sighted actions; - Employee appraisal process is rigged to give the company an advantage to let people go. There is a forced distribution of performance grading regardless of how talented the whole group being graded, a few must be at the bottom and will be let go. Management does not think of this as talent drain.

      Advice to Senior Management: Our new CEO, Ginny has started some very creative collaborative dialogue within the company. She must continue that and take actions by listening to employees. I also wish there was a way to report counter productive behaviors by some mid-level executives without ending one's career!

    • IBM Sales Manager in Columbus, OH: (Current Employee) “Significant change for the worse.” Pros: This list would have been long a few years back. Significant cultural change in the last 18 months. Pay is okay, job flexibility is good, products are top notch, most people that work here are good. The current senior sales management team is the worst I have seen and I have worked for other large software companies. Cons: From a Sales perspective: Complete lack of trust of employees. Dictatorial management style. Very metric oriented with virtually no employee feedback is allowed or encouraged. Turnover is high. Advice to Senior Management: Encourage trust and employee autonomy, reduce the dictatorial metric focused management style. Focus on actual performance and not simply pipeline.
    • IBM Human Resources Practitioner in Quezon City (Philippines): (Current Employee) “Working at IBM is just like being in a rocky relationship—you have to really work hard to make things works.” Pros: - Lots of job opportunities, not difficult to find a different role; - Great company name, good to have in your resume; - Good base pay, decent benefits package, salary is reviewed annually; - Location is convenient and near my house; - Flexible Hours and working arrangement; - Ability to work from home; - Work is day shift. Cons: - People do not respect each others time/schedule; - Difficult to get resources such as additional headcount; - Long working hours.
    • IBM Financial Analyst in Rochester, MN: (Past Employee - 2012) “The Rochester COE is a Black Hole.” Pros:
      • Benefits - pretty decent, health and dental insurance you can get for free if you sign up for the basic plan. 401k match is up to 6% after you've been there 1 year.
      • Flexibility - Depending on how lenient your manager is (mine was) you can work from home if you're sick or out of town without taking any PTO.
      • Co-workers - Basically all of the FA's are 20-somethings, so you'll be able to work alongside some good people. Then you can all go to lunch and talk about how stupid your job is. True story. Happened a lot.
      • Good resume builder
      • Ping-pong.

      Cons:

      • Compensation - Starting salary is 40k with a sign-on bonus of $1,500. Not bad for a recent college grad just starting out, I'll admit. But don't expect to see a raise any time soon. Or a bonus. You'll likely see that same paycheck twice a month for years to come.
      • On-the-Job Training - This was how I figured out IBM was a joke within the first couple weeks. My previous manager told me on the first day, "you'll think we've never trained somebody in before." He was right. Although they offer training classes, these are basically a formality for all new hires. These sad excuses for classes won't actually help you do your job. The person I shared an office with basically taught me everything.
      • Job Satisfaction - I worked some not-so-fun jobs through college. I sold shoes, did janitorial work, cleaned horse stalls. Even at $8-10 an hour, these jobs were still more enjoyable than being a Financial Analyst at IBM.
      • Cost-Cutting - This is my biggest problem with IBM as a company. IBM actually just laid off about 1,200 employees from their US workforce in the week I wrote this review. Some from the Rochester plant were included in this. If you're thinking about starting a career at IBM by taking a financial analyst job, consider this: From 2007 to 2011, the US IBM workforce has shrunk from 135,000 down to 98,000 employees. They have been shipping these jobs overseas and will continue to do so because the labor is simply cheaper over there. IBM could care less about their employees. It's all about making the shareholders money, even if it means canning people that have been with the company for almost 30 years.
      • Work-Loads - Although some of the work is being shipped overseas, a lot of this work is just being piled on to current employees' workloads. Now I understand that the longer you stay with a company the more work you'll have to do, that's a given. But along with that usually comes a pay increase. As a Financial Analyst I guarantee you will be given more, and more, and more mind-numbing work to do. And to thank you for your efforts, IBM will let you use their bathrooms. Sweet deal, right?

      This job does provide good finance experience for a recent college grad, but that's about it.. This isn't the place to build a career. In my opinion, the entire COE will be shipped overseas in the next 5-10 years.

      Advice to Senior Management: The cheapest workers are rarely the best workers. I'm sure Sammy P and Ginny will take these words to heart.. Ha.

    • IBM Graphic Designer in Atlanta, GA: (Past Employee - 2010) “In the Sales divisions, support personnel are treated, despite lip service to the contrary, as glorified secretaries.” Pros: Benefits, variety of industries with which to work, flexible work schedules, prestige of the brand. Cons: Like most of the global mega-companies, there is ruthless adherence to the bottom line; the difference between IBM and others is that IBM is so much better at it than most. Support personnel are often treated as nothing more than numbers. Advice to Senior Management: stop outsourcing and bring jobs back from overseas
    • IBM Senior Engineer in Research Triangle Park, NC: (Current Employee) “IBM has become a horrible company...upper management is completely clueless.” Pros: IBM salary is OK. Not much else to say... horrible management. Cons: 90+ hr work weeks. Vacations not allowed...management emphasis to keep extra time "off the clock". This is a HORRIBLE company to work for.
    • IBM Anonymous in Austin, TX: (Current Employee) “Awesome.” Pros: Work/Life Balance programs; Flexibility of work locations; Benefits; Employee respect; a number of other reasons which make IBM a top employer. Cons: Poor performance rating system. Too dependent on higher level management decision whom, most of the time, have limited visibility to employees working in their organization. Advice to Senior Management: Restructuring of personal business commitment process to reduce the amount of influence higher level management has in employee rating decisions.
    • IBM IT Specialist: (Current Employee) “I had high expectations when I joined IBM for opportunities that never materialized. Very Disappointed.” Pros: Work from home and no travel.

      Cons: Too many levels of managers. Bad management decisions at at every level. Poor execution of critical processes and projects. Performance rating system is a complete joke. Begging for office supplies is embarrassing. Typical politics get in the way of trying to do the right thing.

      Advice to Senior Management: Morale cannot be any lower than it is today. Revamp PBC system to use clearly QUANTIFIABLE metrics. "Relative Contribution" is completely subjective and results in abuses. PAY FOR PERFORMANCE, like IBM advertises. Salary has barely kept pace with inflation. Not what is expected from such a "respected" company. No raises and pitiful bonus payouts are unacceptable.

    • IBM Staff Engineer in Essex Junction, VT: (Past Employee - 2010) “Average place to work.” Pros: Nice atmosphere to work. Fellow employees are easy to get along with. IBM is reasonable about work/life balance. Cons: The bottom line is prohibits and always cutting cost. Doing more with less, year after year is the norm. Layoffs come quite often and many good employees are unfortunately lost in the process. Advice to Senior Management: Be patient with the economy's ups and downs. Don't be so ultra reactionary to changes in the market when making cuts. This is especially true when dealing with laying off seasoned employees with much needed knowledge and experience.
    • IBM Anonymous: (Current Employee) “After 29 years, I have seen tremendous changes. It is no longer the prime place to work that it used to be.” Pros: salary, experience, good on your resume, good benefits, educational opportunities, the long-term people are good people to work with, possibility to work from home in some organizations.

      Cons: The workforce is being heavily globally resourced. More and more jobs are moving to other countries, with IBMers being laid off, with no regard to performance or length of time with the company. If you are exempt from overtime, then you can work your life away, with no recognition.

      Advice to Senior Management: Be careful about how you are gutting the company. You are removing years of experience and training and replacing it with people with a lack of experience in their jobs, or in the work world in general. Those people are getting their training at IBM and then leaving to other, better paying companies in their own countries. How is that building a new, stellar employee base, with a strong bench strength? Where is the future of the company?

    • IBM Anonymous in Frankfurt am Main (Germany): (Current Employee) “learned a lot but not appreciated.” Pros: great reputation. great brand image. knowledge sharing. diversity. Cons: weak development of talents. salary is not good.
  • Financial Times: 16 Countries Where People Work the Longest Hours. By Steve Yoder. Excerpt: When it comes to annual hours worked in 2010, the U.S. tied with Italy for 13th place among the OECD countries. But when compared with a block of Eurozone countries called the EU-15, we come in at second place. South Korea takes the cake with 2,193 average annual hours worked per worker, and surprisingly, Greece comes in at number two. That’s because Greece has the highest share of self-employment among countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and self-employed people tend to work longer hours, according to an interview with Dimitris Drakopoulos, a European economist at Nomura Holdings, in the London Times. Greece’s fiscal problems, it appears, aren’t due to lack of work.
  • Detroit Free Press: White-collar GM workers to see pensions pinched. By Susan Tompor. Excerpts: Thousands of salaried employees in their 40s and 50s at General Motors are looking at quite a pension pinch. Under a new program, the expected monthly pension check is going to be slashed for about 19,000 GM salaried employees now on the payroll.

    How much are they losing? It could take an online calculator for many workers to find out -- and GM is likely to have that calculator in place later in the spring. But some rough estimates indicate some employees in their early 50s could see cuts by nearly 35% or so, compared with what they expected if things remained on track and they retired at 62, according to some who worked up calculations. ...

    As companies revamp retirement rules, the only solutions for many employees are to crank up savings and keep working as long as possible. Five years ago, GM made a major move when it changed its salaried pension plan regarding employees hired after Jan. 1, 2001. Those employees shifted to defined-contribution or 401(k) programs, as opposed to defined-benefit pensions.

    (Editor's note: IBM, in a leadership role among American corporations, screwed its employees in a similar fashion thirteen years ago, in 1999. See Retirement Heist for details. )

    The Pension Rights Center, a consumer organization dedicated to protecting retirement security, has a long list of major employers who have announced significant changes to their defined-benefit pension plans since December 2005.

    That list includes IBM, Verizon, McGraw-Hill, Crain Communications, the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Wells Fargo, Talbots, Neiman Marcus, Dow Chemical, Whirlpool and FedEx.

    Companies are freezing their defined-benefit pension plans now to cut pension costs, which have been inflated by extraordinarily low interest rates, said Ellen E. Schultz, author of "Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit from the Nest Eggs of American Workers." Because pensions are recorded as debts, freezing the plans enables a company to reduce the debt it has recorded, Schultz said. And she noted that the move generates gains to boost a company's income. Reducing the debt by freezing or cutting benefits generates paper gains for the company's operating income, Schultz noted.

  • Plan Adviser: Workers Would Trade Pay for Retirement Security. Excerpts: Nearly half (44%) of U.S. workers are worried about reductions in their retirement benefits over the next two years, according to a survey by Towers Watson. --- In addition, 55% of respondents said they are willing to pay a higher amount from each paycheck to ensure they have a guaranteed retirement. That compares to 46% two years ago. Half of respondents said they would trade a portion of their pay to ensure they have access to healthcare benefits if they retire before they are eligible for Medicare benefits, versus 40% in 2009.

    This growing interest in retirement security is not limited to older workers; the survey found that some of the most dramatic changes in attitudes toward risk, rewards and security trade-offs have been among younger employees and those with a defined benefit (DB) plan. Among DB plan participants younger than 40, the number willing to pay for a guaranteed retirement benefit jumped by nearly 70%, from 39% in 2009 to 66% in 2011.

  • Chicago Tribune: What's your retirement number? By Jill Schlesinger. Excerpt: A former client once argued with me about his "retirement number." He couldn't believe that he needed $1 million in savings before he could retire. "That amount just seems like way more money than is necessary!" But after walking through the variables and calculations, he finally said, "Geez, a million bucks. ... I guess that's my number."

    Determining your retirement number is like getting on the bathroom scale: Sometimes it's a pleasant surprise; however, more often than not it forces you to face an ugly truth. Just as taking the dreaded step onto the scale is a necessary part of the weight-loss process, so too is crunching the numbers for retirement planning. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey, only 42 percent of American workers have taken the time and effort to complete a retirement needs calculation. Without going through that process, you're flying blind into your retirement.

    Please know that this is not rocket science, especially in an age when there are so many online retirement calculators available. I like EBRI's Choose to Save Ballpark E$timate, which is easy to use, but your retirement plan/401(k) website probably has a tool available as well. The tricky part about using these calculators is that they ask you to estimate several factors that even economists can't agree upon, like future inflation rate or expected rates of return on investments. My crystal ball isn't perfect, but here are some sensible estimates that should help:

  • Chicago Tribune: Mull options, even if 401(k) offers low fees. By Janet Kidd Stewart. Excerpts: Q: I have a 401(k) from a former employer, IBM, that I have yet to roll into an IRA. I am charged a fee on the account in addition to the profit each fund is pocketing. I feel I should not be penalized for a dormant fund. The fee is small, but my broker does not charge me when I do not make any transactions, so why should someone looking out for my retirement? How can I engage an army of "Davids" to raise this issue?

    A: Several online communities connect former IBMers, but be aware that Big Blue is known for rock-bottom fees and robust investment selection. BrightScope Inc., which publishes data on 401(k) plans, routinely lists IBM among the 30 highest-rated large plans.

    Still, millions of U.S. workers will begin to see these fees this year because of new disclosure requirements from the Department of Labor that compel employers to detail the investment and administrative costs associated with their plans. IBM has not yet made any changes to fees or fee disclosures this year, said Laurie Friedman, an IBM spokeswoman. ...

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  • Job Cut Reports
    • Comment 02/27/12: The whack-a-mole hit me today. 11 year IBMer with all 1 and 2+ appraisals. The sad part is, I am relieved. Glad to be leaving the sweatshop that is IBM. Package details forthcoming via email so the Alliance can announce. -LowlySDM-
    • Comment 02/27/12: Just received my RA notice this morning, 9am on the button. No big deal considering what has transpired the last several years. Some preparation and hard work ahead and I will overcome this. I prepared myself for a few months on this being that I am a long-term planner. As much as I am shocked, I am also excited at the prospect of change. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: GTS notifications being done now, main reason if for work being moved to GR ("global resource") sites ...just received the call, safe for now...but its only a matter of time...same package as usual -survived for now-
    • Comment 02/27/12: M&TS Bus Ops hit today. I am safe but 4 people got the axe. All of their work going to Brataslava. More work for me, until they can expand that group and take all of my work as well I'm sure. Good to hear that the 4 did get the std severance pkg at least, since I had heard that may be going away as well. -Disappointed-
    • Comment 02/27/12: Global Admin lay offs today. About 10% of the population. -Anon-
    • Comment 02/27/12: A colleague just got RA notice this morning. IBM CHQ, BT/IT CIO -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: Resource Action hitting US AIS today. Not sure of exact numbers. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: So far I know of one person in my group to get RA notice this morning. Div 68, HR. Also an assistant that was IBM, not ManPower. Both in NY, Poughkeepsie and Somers. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: Yup - like I mentioned on 2/22, CHQ is getting hit REAL hard today. Still more to come. How stupid is management to let go some people that have an incredibly unique and NEEDED skill set? They cannot possibly replace them with a GR - and if they could, it would take that person MONTHS (not 4 weeks) to get even close to up to speed. Smooth moves on IBM's part -bite their nose to spite their face. -From Westchester-
    • Comment 02/27/12: Just got the call in GTS this morning, sent the package with stat info to the Alliance Email. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: Hit after 20++ yrs GTS SO.. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: Another SDM who got RA notice this morning. 11 years with IBM. -Anonymous SDM-
    • Comment 02/27/12: I feel terribly for the folks that received RA notices this morning. My manager pinged me and asked if I had a minute... I was sure it was going to be me today. He said I was not affected. I can only say that I wish the best of luck to those that were affected today and read this. I hope that you find a better opportunity than what we have all been reduced to at this company. It is very sad. I am a member, but I feel very discouraged. -ThereislifeafterIBM-
    • Comment 02/27/12: Received my RA call this morning. Been a PM for IBM for over 16 years. Knew it was only a matter of time. Sr. Management in the PM area made it very clear 5 years ago that they were working to eliminate as many US employees as possible and they are staying that course. -Deflated-
    • Comment 02/27/12: 16 years with ibm and now I am a low performer .. HA Good luck with the foreigners that will replace me .. I worked in GBS .. the layoffs are BIG across the board -Gone now-
    • Comment 02/27/12: ITD hit today. 10% of small group gone. Hearing of others, will post what I hear. -Anon-
    • Comment 02/27/12: Just received my RA notice this morning in BT/IT CIO. About 100 people on list in my package. -MTA- Alliance reply: To all, please send us the RA pack so we can track the numbers at ibmunionalliance@gmail.com When reporting job cuts only count those "Selected" for job cuts, not the whole list. Good luck to all.
    • Comment 02/27/12: Guess I am the mole today. 15 years of 1 and 2+ services.. I knew this was coming so I am not shocked. I too am somewhat relieved that I don't have to pretend to like BLUE. where do i send the package info? -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: RA today in ISC... more jobs move to China -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: Just received RA at the Rochester MN site at 9:00 am....I am in shock but also a little happy to be out of the hell of "Big Blue" -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: 9+ years IBMer, also all 1 and 2+ appraisals. Because IBM shafted the customer so badly, the customer requested early exit... so this was expected. HOWEVER, all the SDMs on this account originally had new roles to move to, till they went "on hold". Found out today, THOSE jobs all went to India. So a bunch of us, in a way, have lost TWO jobs. Double-screwed. Nice work, IBM. -AnotherLowlySDM-
    • Comment 02/27/12: RA notice this morning. 15 years down the tubes. Hearing of cuts across STG and GBS. -DoneinDFW-
    • Comment 02/27/12: Counted 178 in the packet for GTS Delivery Distributed Server Management organization. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: 15 years, all 1 or 2+ in GTS and got the call first thing this morning that I have been RA'd. Not sure whether I should be relieved after the past 5 years of dwindling US based employees that I got the call. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: 15+ years, band 7, DBA in GBS group. Heard of 20 others in our group. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: When I was laid off in 2009, they did it in a way so that we weren't given any reimbursement for vacation for that month "because it hadn't been accrued yet". Rotten bastards. -Laid Off in 2009-
    • Comment 02/27/12: Just got my walking papers Today. One of the last Novus guys to go. -No Job-
    • Comment 02/27/12: just got notified. I am so close to retire... only 10 more months then I can bridge ... any one know any legal right I have to get retirement? -TooClose- Alliance reply: Sorry for your job loss. If you missed the date of your 29th year of service, you will not be eligible to "bridge" to retirement and will lose your FULL pension. Chances are that you WILL be able to collect a "vested rights" pension for the 28+ years service you do have. That amount of pension $$$$ depends on what plan you are in. Sorry for the bad news.
    • Comment 02/27/12: 15 years...found out at 10 AM today...but for some reason I'm not upset about it...probably relieved to an extent! -IBM No Mo-
    • Comment 02/27/12: 15 years, band 8. Relieved in a way to finally get the boot! -anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: I was resource auctioned way back in 2003. Check Google news today, NOTHING in either the business section or tech section on this massive layoff. What a shame. Thank Goodness I didn't go back to IBM when I had the chance. -Out of IBM for 7 years-
    • Comment 02/27/12: GTS Finance here...25 people on list, 24 over 40 years old, many in late 40s and 50s. Nice right? After surviving many layoffs over many years, I got the tap this morning. He read it from a script...how sad. This is my 3rd job that has been offshored or consolidated and I'm glad its over! I don't have to stress anymore about 'if' and 'when' it will happen to me. Already looking for new opportunities. There is LIFE after IBM. Best to all...... -LiferNoMore-
    • Comment 02/27/12: I am band 8, get the news at 2pm. Shocked but relieved because it had to end somewhere after 6 years of service. -anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: 3.5 years, consistently high performer. Moved to Technical Sales about a year ago from the labs, into the East IMT. Notified early afternoon. No clue how many others are affected. Guess that explains why my manager hasn't returned my emails in weeks. -anon-
    • Comment 02/27/12: Almost 14 Years at IBM, 28 years in Disaster Recovery. Not surprised. Its much like being ordered to get in a life boat on the Titanic. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: I count 41 affected in Software Group East Region Sales. -Anon-
    • Comment 02/27/12: 15 Years, Band 7. I was part of what we considered the skeleton crew that remained. I am actually relieved that it is finally over. -Relieved-
    • Comment 02/27/12: The exact same thing that was done to TooClose was done to me in 2008. I was about 11 months away from 29 years. They're obviously targeting people who have almost 29 years of service, but try to prove that. It sucks that IBM or any company is allowed to get away with this crap and nonsense!! -CloseButNotCloseEnough- Alliance Reply: A union contract in place would have significantly stifled that particular method of getting rid of employees close to retirement. IBM Executive Management is very happy that you DON'T have a contract, so they can do with you as they please. Sad and mean, but true.
    • Comment 02/27/12: 30 years 2+ , 2 performer finally glad to get it and get away from this madhouse ISC looks like 50 selected based on package 42 over 50 years old. -happytbgone-
    • Comment 02/27/12: -TooClose- Hope you are at least 55 years old or you'll most likely lose retirement medical, if you have FHA. Sorry if this is bad news as well. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: RA's hit STG today. 20% of my dept gone. Work won't go away, our work will increase, and other groups work will get dumped on us. Survivor guilt, maybe. Just not in a situation where I can leave without big penalties. -More_work@IBM-
    • Comment 02/27/12: After 12 straight '2+' reviews and probably 8 years of RA manager phone calls/wondering if I was next, I finally get my severance package! -Crazy Happy-
    • Comment 02/27/12: Just got RA'ed this morning because of my PBC rating of 2 and limited skills. I never agreed with my PBC rating in 2012 since I double-increated my role responsibilities and substantially contributed to the success of the project office objectives. So disappointed and disgusting. Good luck to the rest of you (survivors and victims). -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: 33 yrs and Pension ready - Do I still get the severance of 1/2 yr. salary? -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: They hit STG today - I just got laid off. -anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: My group was hit - GBS AMS. I don't know how many yet. Manager calls and says, "You were not affected. That's all you need to know. Now, keep quiet, and don't talk about this." Hell no, I'm not going to keep quiet. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: 50% of my department was RA'ed today. A good 15 people. But with every RA, comes a Re-org and with that comes new challenges. -anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: 13 years as IT Specialist and finally got the ax. I said finally because i have been preparing for this moment for the past 5 years. I am relief that I can start the next chapter of my life without IBM. -Finally-
    • Comment 02/27/12: Our whole team of 1,2 and 2+ performers in Boulder was outsourced to Poland got the news today. (5 in all). Absolutely no regard for how this will impact service to our customers; it's all about the bottom line; I hope IBM bites it big time. -Anon-
    • Comment 02/27/12: Is there some way to get media coverage on this bloodbath, just from a human perspective? Perhaps with the right coverage, people would wake up a bit more and join forces to get these companies to stop this corporate greed? - Axeoverourheads- Alliance reply: There IS media coverage. But there would be more, if IBMers decided to do something about it publicly. There is a post below by someone who suggested the same thing.
    • Comment 02/27/12: 112 from a single HR unit -Not_the_old_days_anymore-
    • Comment 02/27/12: I wasn't on the RA list today but my heartfelt good wishes to those that were. May life bring you better opportunities than what IBM has become. It's not the same company that most of us thought it was going to be. I have no dreams or illusion of ever retiring from this company. It will not be long before the American corporate customers find out that IBM cannot make it happen for them...they are not going to get the same loyalty, support and dedication that an American worker for an American account will give to the job. Amaakasahalahba Balidibalinaosasleki will not put his heart and soul into the work like we have done for the accounts. I am not a racist or elitist...just stating the facts. Customers are becoming aware of this more and more...but a time will come when no one will re-sign...Companies will take IT support back in-house for sure. I predict this will become the trend prior to the 2016 roadkill. -byebyemissamericanpie-
    • Comment 02/27/12: RTP STG 28 years -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: The Hartford account...multiple layoffs today -bill-
    • Comment 02/27/12: In the Federal sales transaction hub in Roch, MN. Manager said I was not affected but others in my dept would be. i don't know how many yet. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: NO THANKS to the Regime in Washington. Hell, he may even apologize to IBM! 23 years with IBM, my dept. not affected today... but KNOW it is not if but when... It will probably come as a relieve to me when that time comes too. I want to know how many manglers got the axe! Best wishes to all the good people that IBM screwed today! -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: GTS BCRS Service Delivery got hit today with at least 10 people if not more.....are already bare-boned with resources as it is. Can't afford to lose any more people !!! -Sad IBMer-
    • Comment 02/27/12: Who is ultimately responsible for selecting which employees are selected, 1st or 2nd line or they decide together? I understand the actual numbers come from HR. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: It's sad...so bad...so sad. There are so many posts today of IBMers being RAed. I have to wonder how many posting and reporting that have been RAed are actually Alliance members or subscribers? If most of them ate not members or subscribers then think what could happen if they were members or subscribers all along. Maybe this"drive by layoff" could have been lessened or even averted with more vocal support for the Alliance cause that these unfortunate RAed IBMers could have done -Wunderin-
    • Comment 02/27/12: I've been covering IBM layoffs for more than 10 years and almost no one is willing to share "the human side." They are concerned - understandably - about losing severance cash and having trouble getting future tech jobs at IBM and related companies,like CTG. Every time the ax falls I scramble looking for people to talk. I'm told the newspaper should do something to tell this story, but that is followed by them declining to talk. That said, I would love to talk Rochester, Minn. IBMers that were axed Monday. Jeff Kiger - 507-285-7798, jkiger@postbulletin.com -MN newspaper columnist-
    • Comment 02/27/12: GTS SARM CnC got hit today. I know of 2 of us in my department that are 2+. We both are relieved it is finally over. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: GBS/AMS - 7 years all 1 & 2+ ratings. RAd today. So happy to GTFO! Go to hell Big Blue! Lead said job off-shored, no duh, I ve only been training your intl resource teams for years now. Cant stomach any more and happy to go. Best of luck to all of the survivors. -anon-
    • Comment 02/27/12: with 2 weeks before my 13th year anniversary been told I've been let go. Still a little numb but knew the day would come. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: For years, I've been asking my management (who I do respect and trust...not so much the big boys and girls above them) to give me a package. Today, they did so. For me, it's the best thing that could have happened. I'm tired of traveling, and the projects haven't been fun in years. They're all troubled now. I heard my group (IBM Interactive) got a 5% hit. I have a young colleague who is incredibly talented, and he got hit too. He's also delighted. I'm very sorry for the IBMers that can't afford to be laid off, or who will have trouble finding another job. My prayers and thoughts are with you. I'm the guy that does www.ibmemployee.com. I'll continue to keep it going. Best wishes to all...and, please, if you haven't done so...JOIN THE ALLIANCE! -No longer alwaysontheroad4bigblue-
    • Comment 02/27/12: 31+ years and got the call at 9:15 AM ET....to say I was in a state of shock is an understatement... -given my life...-
    • Comment 02/27/12: Many in S&D across all of north America got hit today. Even in the new IBM Security Systems division, just days after the sales teams were announced. One head down in a small, newly formed teams of 3-4. No managers affected, bloody bastards. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: BCRS was hit hard. All delivery teams in Boulder, Gaithersburg, & Sterling Forest recovery sites involved. Several managers RA'd too. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: It's Shame to work for IBM anymore !!! IBM is good and too big to fail ??? They can spend lavishly on conferences etc.. cannot take care of it's people. IBM products are getting sick, not scalable, not reliable they all are bought out ones in street. Crazy IBM -Ramki-
    • Comment 02/27/12: @Regime in Washington, This road map has been in place since 2002 and announced publicly as well. The current "regime" has only been in place for 3 years. If you can point fingers at one party, you need to start paying more attention to the details. -Where-does-your-news-come-from-
    • Comment 02/27/12: When they start hiring H1Bs because there are no techs in the USA then the fight is on! It appears that they are after those of us making good monies, being on call 24/7. And working our ass off for them for at least 15 years or more . There are many VETS that can do this job with no problems and a bit of education on the IBM products. Actually it takes around 3 years to train someone and IBM is not even backfilling these positions. IBM does not want to even train new people. HIRE A VET! IBM -HOBO-
    • Comment 02/27/12: Those who were RA'ed should read the Alliance site's job cut survival kit - http://www.endicottalliance.org/news/survival.htm There's some good advice there. Good luck to you all. I am not impacted this time, but I am not so naive to think I won't be on the next list. I am looking for a new job immediately. This should please IBM - one less severance to pay. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: First thing tomorrow morning selling all my ibm stock. Will no longer patronize this company. It is sad to hear that so many people are actually relieved that the torture is over. This website is like a free employee satisfaction survey for the upper management. -no_security-
    • Comment 02/27/12: GBS AIS with almost 11 years at IBM. Just got the axe today. I knew this day would eventually come, but will admit that I was not expecting it to come today. Hoping to secure a new job soon, and pocket the severance. Here's to dreaming that I'll be more than a faceless number at my next company. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: After 18 years I was let go from Blue in Oct 2010. Best thing that ever happened to me. I feel for all of you and wish you the best. My advice is don't waste your time stressing over their crappy HR practices. The are not worth it. -Happier Now-
    • Comment 02/27/12: GTS delivery about 179 --Its finally over!--
    • Comment 02/27/12: Taken from IBM's own website: "Drawing on established IBM policies, Thomas J. Watson, Jr., codifies three IBM basic beliefs: respect for the individual, customer service, and excellence". Way to go IBM you no longer do any of these! -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: After 28 years of service I was layed off today. Zero retirement, zero medical benefits... What a truly Inhumane company IBM has become. I just finished training my YOUNGER replacements! I am glad that the 60 hr work weeks are over. -Told I was doing a great job!!-
    • Comment 02/27/12: Yepper - came over in 2004 from the Candle acquisition as a band 0 and got the axe today - was on the IBM Software sales team of the year for 2005 on the stage at the MGM Grand and now I sit on the sidelines watching Big Blue tout respect for the individual, customer service, and excellence... Really??? 1's and 2's for the reviews and yet here we are!!! So much for corporate love! -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/12: cuts on front page do no include GBS and all service lines. BUT they talk about rebalancing ??? don't you want you strongest performers to work in your company? Why were NONE ZERO ZIP of the costa Rican, Brazilian or Indian doing the same job (for only 2 yrs) as I have not RA's ??? I have 12 yrs and i am a mentor to my peers ??? that is rebalancing.. yes but not on skills .. on pay ...-rebalancing ?? on skills or pay ?-
    • Comment 02/28/12: Hundreds were cut to pay for CEO salary increases alone... how can they live with themselves!!! http://www.networkworld.com/news/2011/030811-ibm-palmisano-compensation.html http://www.thejanedough.com/virginia-rometty-salary/ -IBMsGreatest Asset- Alliance Reply: They live very well with themselves, because they don't care about you. That's YOUR responsibility; to care about you and your co-workers. Organize and fight back. Get busy fighting for your jobs or get busy losing them.
    • Comment 02/28/12: ISC hit me yesterday after 15 years. Unrelated I'm sure to the fact that they had someone from India here for the last 3 weeks training. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/28/12: STG Systems Hardware development 48 RA'ed. 34 were age 50 or older. Right! No age discrimination here. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/28/12: What happens if you have stock options and are RA'd? I'm talking the ones I was given to retain me which expire a few years from now. -Plaxico-
    • Comment 02/28/12: -Anonymous- Comment 02/28/12: HP, Dell, Sun, and others must be overjoyed by all the RA's. There are thousands of former IBMers in IT operations who are doing everything possible to prevent future IBM sales. IBM is getting the reputation of screwing up projects. It's a house of cards waiting to fall. Eventually management will run out of levers to pull to prop up the stock price and IBM will be a has been company. My sympathy to those RAd...there is better life after Big Blue, companies are out there, just keep looking and leave no stone unturned. To those who remain, pay attention to the message from the Alliance and organize and help stop employee abuse -Gone4years-
    • Comment 02/28/12: AMS IBM Global Acct - 139 people affected on 2/27. Looks like the IBM acct is going to 100% Global Resources in a big hurry. -Former GBS Slave-
    • Comment 02/28/12: Here is the number of people let go at the Dallas Command Center. 3 Duty Managers, 7 Mainframe Operators, 1 Operations Analyst. This wipes out the command center. -See ya-
    • Comment 02/28/12: For those affected: Just know that there is hope after something like this happens. It happened to me 4 years ago and within 30 days of my leaving, my blood pressure dropped by 30 points. I am now happier than ever because I do not have the worry of losing a job that went nowhere. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/28/12: Got the golden ticket out of hell yesterday which was the second best day of my IBM career. Kind of like a boat the two best days when you buy and when you sell. Sad to say the financial results are more important than customers. I am sad for the remaining people. -I Am Out-
    • Comment 02/28/12: So many people tried to access this site yesterday that it couldn't handle the workload. If all these same people had joined the union, we wouldn't have had this RA problem in the first place. I lost my job. If you still have yours, join the union NOW! If you don't, you'll get to go through all this again every 3 months until you are gone too. -anon-
    • Comment 02/28/12: Odd that nobody is reporting RA's in AIS. I've heard from a few people that they got the call. Anyone knows (or has experience) with getting cut during leave of absence or while on short-term disability. Do you get severance if they cut you? Is there a way they can kick you out without a package? -NeedToKnow-
    • Comment 02/28/12: Finally got mine yesterday, after 15 years. On the one hand, it's better to be employed then unemployed in this economy. On the other hand, working conditions had finally become so miserable over the last year or so that having to take my chances on the outside doesn't look like the worst possible outcome. Adios! -Done-
    • Comment 02/28/12: after 12 years 1 and 2 performance got a 3 because I did account shutdowns and they were not profitable (managers excuse). I say farewell to an unethical and general sickening environment -Former IBM-
    • Comment 02/28/12: @Former GBS Slave, there have been more than one instance of people reporting on GBS RA's but so far the Alliance does not seem to have the RA package info. -Short on Info-
    • Comment 02/28/12: Hi I can help you with Short term disability. You can get RAed on STD at IBM. Your last day will be either your first day back from STD or the day after your first day back. You will continue to accrue vacation while on STD, so IBM can't pull the " work till 3/29 and only get vacation for Jan and Feb" If you would like you can also search for an IBM job while on STD after being notified of the RA. Can't comment on your chances but they can't stop you from looking or working your contacts if you would like to stay. -anon-
    • Comment 02/28/12: After 15 years of service, this is my second go round with this layoff madness. My first experience was back in 2009 but managed to hang on. With the exception of a 3 rating in 2011, nothing but 1's and 2+'s my entire career. Add 2 Golden Circles, 7 100% Clubs, 1 Leadership Award and 2010 Sales Eminence with a trip, it continues to baffle me how IBM can continue down the path of wanting to cut top talent. It's all about "what have you done for me today" mentality. You can use the economy and recession as an excuse to layoff people, but in the end it only makes the company look better and more profitable. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/28/12: I was also layed off after 32 yrs. My father retired from IBM in 1990. The package he received was amazing not like what we get now! But the good thing I am already feeling the stress level going down. I have friends that have gotten the ax over the years and they a so happy not being a IBMer. Life goes on just have to figure out what I am going to do. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/28/12: I was a second generation IBMer who was fortunate to have been RA'd last year and I tell you it was a load off of my shoulders and the best thing that ever happened in my career. It disappointments me to see IBM is still doing business in this manner. My message to those who are apart of this recent action....Your better days are ahead of you and you will shortly see there is A LOT more out there than IBM trust me!! -haventlookedback-
    • Comment 02/28/12: If you are older than 40 years and feel your RA is based on discrimination, you may want to contact a lawyer. There are some law firms involved in IBM RA situations. I know McTeague Higbee has worked on previous RA situations. (207) 725-5581. Good Luck to all of those with an RA--and to those who are still in IBM. (I too was RA a few years ago.) -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/28/12: Plaxio: when I was RA'd back in one of the first big waves in March '07 I had 30-60 days if I recall to exercise my options or they were lost. not sure if things have changed since then. to all those hit: as others have said, there are some good opportunities out there. after 9 years with IBM I started working every contact I had and found myself in another company with better opportunities, compensation and a senior mgmt that understands the tie between employee morale and performance. -RAdin07-
    • Comment 02/28/12: Hi all, I reported on Friday that my appeal for overturning my PBC 3 was overturned and has been amended to a 2. I received the call from my BPM yesterday at noon. After 13 years, I am eligible for 1 wks pay per six months of service. Frankly, I'm not surprised that I was RA'd and while it's still a shock, I'm a little relieved. Interestingly though, BPM informed me that my last day with company is in September. Anyone else given an extended date of release? Any idea what that's about? -Davinia-
    • Comment 02/28/12: From the Resource Action Employee Information Package that I received on 2/27: The number of 'employees selected' for the Resource Action in the 'AMS Commercial Delivery' category that I apparently fall under totals to 116. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/28/12: Sorry to hear about the RA's. Two years ago I received a 3 rating a year after doubling my workload. My customers and my manager were happy with my performance but I still got a three. I realized at that time my values were not in line with IBMs. It took me 2.5 months of looking for a job and I ended up with a 30% increase in pay and much more responsibility. I am very happy now. I learned a ton from IBM that I use in my current job. If you are on the fast track you will most likely be OK if you have some VP looking after you. If not then you are just a number and IBM will use you to make money for their shareholders. It is simple as that. It is a well oiled machine. The irony is that most companies want to be like IBM. So if you are reading this and you know you are not on the fast track and you are not happy with your job at IBM. Start looking! You will be surprised by what you find. Good luck. -LD-
    • Comment 02/28/12: "This website is like a free employee satisfaction survey for the upper management. -no_security-" Upper management doesn't care and does all it can to isolate itself from the real people. When Gerstner came in I had 9 levels between myself and the CEO. When he left I had 5. When Sam left I had 11 levels of management. Do you think this increase was accidental. Of course not. The more buffers the less he has to care about what happens to those on the bottom. The way to have your concerns represented is to unionize. -Anonymous_Retiree-
    • Comment 02/28/12: GTS Delivery, Band 7. Got the call yesterday. Received standard 2 weeks/year severance. Last day is 3/28. Having a hard time "finishing strong" for this last 30 days. -anonymous-
    • Comment 02/28/12: I have been RA'd. I also am eligible to retire. Have just been advised to take the "pkg" then about 45 days before the money runs out, contact IBM Pension and apply for my pension benefits. Also to take adv. of the 12 mo. of medical insurance in the RA Pkg. and then about 11 months into that apply for the Retirement Health Care account to continue my insurance. DOES THIS SOUND RIGHT???? -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/28/12: Is $120/yr too much to ask, in the names of our fallen "colleagues" to try to change the practices that we all are forced to work under? The media can't help, the politicians can't help and are starting to ask for donations themselves! Is it not worth $120/yr to try to give the Alliance and yourselves a fighting chance to reverse the tables here???? Please think about it!! -SeeTheLight-
    • Comment 02/28/12: I was with IBM for 24 years. I was hit last February. I guess it is good they stopped doing it at Christmas. One year. Divorce, Cancer, Last parent died, and then to top it off, a layoff. Respect for the bottom line. Humans don't run this company anymore. I am better now. -Blaine-
    • Comment 02/28/12: GBS also being hit. I'm in GBS Industrial and rec'd notice yesterday. Looks like 25 people hit in our group alone. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/28/12: GBS also being hit. I'm in GBS Industrial and rec'd notice yesterday. Looks like 25 people hit in our group alone. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/28/12: Was RA'ed 10 years ago in June. Looks like not much has changed. Few of the team that I worked with at IGS remains. Sad... we did a lot of good work back then. -OuttaLex-
    • Comment 02/28/12: To all of you still employed by IBM, if you are reading this site's comments, then you probably realize the ones leaving are really the lucky ones. I was RA'ed almost two years ago. The Friday prior to when I was RA'ed, I had informed my manager that I would be away from my home office some of the following Monday because my husband was having an outpatient heart procedure. He seemed concerned, and indicated that he wanted to talk with me on Monday, and that I should give him a time he could reach me. My false assumption was that he really was concerned and wanted to check on my husband's health. But it turns out my memory of the call from my manager became me standing in the recovery room at the hospital, listening to him read IBM's official RA statement. So much for respect for the individual. Those of you left at IBM should give serious consideration to joining Alliance@IBM, together before your fate becomes mine. On the positive side for myself, I am MUCH happier and healthier now (blood pressure actually runs low now instead of high), and my husband is also doing well! -NoRespect-
    • Comment 02/28/12: To anonymous who is eligible to retire. I don't know why you wouldn't start collecting your pension immediately unless you are going to collect unemployment. If that is the case, I don't think you would want to start collecting pension until unemployment is close to running out. I am in the same position as you and I hope they give me a package so I can get out of here with a severance. I am in SWG. Has anyone heard of layoffs in SWG yet ? -LongTimeBeemer-
    • Comment 02/28/12: I am a 2+ admin. Got the call Monday morning to be effective March 28. 60 years old, cancer patient, 12 year employee so 24 weeks severance. 20% of our team got the boot. Did get my insurance paid through the 24 weeks. Then as a cancer patient COBRA payments will be prohibitive. I have $2300 in my Health Care Spending account ;) No way I can even use half of that amount. Physical activity and personal vitality rebates, gone. Profit-sharing bonus, gone. Centennial bonus (vest in 5 year), gone. What little salary increase there may have been, gone. I telecommute and live in a tiny town about 250 miles from my home office. This area has the highest unemployment rate in the state, and one of the top ten in the nation. "Hello - welcome to Walmart. Basket or Buggy". I'm happy to be leaving though; don't get me wrong. Employees are too expendable. -Adios Big Blue-
    • Comment 02/28/12: I'm hearing of cuts in IBM Canada, not sure how many are affected... -Canuck-
    • Comment 02/28/12: to -LongTimeBeemer-, the SWG cuts will start in April and will be on a product/project basis. Once they cut, the project or product maintenance/development will go offshore, as has been the plan for some time. They are starting this process to avoid the WARN process in SWG. It also allows management to restrict RA packages to just a particular area, so no one will actually see how many in SWG are cut. Rumor says the cuts in SWG will be modest, about 18% of headcount per quarter for the next 3 quarters. -SWG RA Victim-
    • Comment 02/28/12: -Adios Big Blue- When I retired in 12/2009, I got the cobra medical for 18 months (without the government enhancement). It was expensive, but still cheaper than what they're charging for retiree medical. I think you may qualify for that govt enhancement. Check to find out. -Dave-
    • Comment 02/28/12: "DOES THIS SOUND RIGHT???? -Anonymous-" It's a valid approach, but whether you take the advice depends on your personal situation. The advantage of deferring your pension (if you can) is that you will have a lower income tax bill for 2012 - and a slightly higher monthly pension amount when you start collecting. On the other hand, if you can live on your monthly pension and don't need to 'live on' your severance pay the next several months, then you might choose to start the pension immediately and use the severance to pay off debt, invest, or splurge. As for medical insurance, it depends on whether youâ??re under the old IBM retiree plan or the IBM FHA plan, and whether or not you're eligible for Medicare. You need to compare the costs of the 12-month COBRA or transitional plan to whatever retiree options apply to you. The old retiree medical plans probably cost much less than the COBRA plans. But the FHA medical plans are much more expensive than the COBRA plans (but you can use your FHA account offset the cost of the FHA plans). You should be receiving hard copy documentation on the plans that apply to you. Also, you can call the Employee Service Center (ESC) for further information, and to get a Retirement adviser assigned to you. -Been there-
    • Comment 02/28/12: A theme that bears repeating is that there is life outside of IBM. A much happier life. While that statement may seem of little consolation to those who are getting RA'd, take it as hope for better things to come. MY BP and stress dropped immediately when I left. I did find a job at a smaller company and the positive energy is amazing. I can say that getting away from IBM is better than you think right now. Stay positive. IBM does a great job at destroying self-esteem. Get over it and find yourself again. -ex-ibm'er-
    • Comment 02/28/12: To SWG RA Victim 18% of headcount per quarter for the next 3 quarters? Is that correct ? Doesn't sound like a modest amount to me. -longtimebeemer-
    • Comment 02/28/12: To anonymous able to retire. There is no reason to defer the start of your pension that I can think of. You are early enough in the year that the tax ramifications of the severance payment should not be of major concern. The difference in monthly payment from deferring until the severance runs out is also insignificant. Using the 12 months of company paid insurance would be a good idea as you will have to pay something on any of the various retiree options (unless you go 100% FHA). -Anonymous_Retiree-
    • Comment 02/28/12: 33 years with the co....got the layoff notice. Had a 2 PBC. Is it just us old folks that are getting the axe? I really wish this site would capture age stats to see if IBM is in violation -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/28/12: Sorry for your job loss. There is better job out there than IBM has to offer. There is LIFE after IBM. You might be eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits if you are in one of the certified groups. http://www.doleta.gov/tradeact/taa/taa_search_form.cfm example TAA Decision 75087 INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGY DELIVERY DIVISION STORAGE MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION IN SERVER SYSTEMS OPERATION -cannedbyblue-
    • Comment 02/28/12: GTS Maint & Tech Support East..45 people. I'm one of them. Found it refreshing this morning to get out of bed knowing the only stress the next 30 days will be finding a new job! -Ciao Big Blue- Alliance reply: Please send RA pack to ibmunionalliance@gmail.com
    • Comment 02/28/12: Sorry to hear IBMers are losing their jobs. It looks like Ginni is executing Sammy's plan to the tee. Cut jobs to keep the stock price up. Shares of IBM rose 45 cents to close at $197.98 Tuesday. This is how IBM raises their stock price... by firing employees. -GotTheBootToo-
    • Comment 02/28/12: "Having a hard time "finishing strong" for this last 30 days." Advice: Be as unavailable as possible to your work assignment and manager: Your already "persona non grata". Send Ginny an e-mail and thank her for IBM treating you worse than dirt. Try to find another job in IBM if you want. If not, stay home and enjoy a breather, check out what you might want to do post-IBM, and then look for another job. IBM owes you nothing during the 30 days. RESPECT FOR THE INDIVIDUAL has long been a dirty phrase since little fat, greedy as hell pudge Gerstner was in IBM. "(their) Greed consumes me" -anonymousBeamer-
    • Comment 02/28/12: IBM Layoffs 2012 - made Forbes news - ibm-reportedly-cut-over-1000-north-american-jobs-this-week One irritating thing about the article is they fail to indicate there are less than 100K IBMers in the US now - less than 25% of the worldwide workforce. -Anonymous- Lee Conrad's reply: Whenever I talked to the media I stress the decline in the US employee population. Some print it , some don't. Alliance reply: There is a good reason why "they fail" to mention the US IBM numbers: Because IBM stopped reporting what those numbers were, in 2010. IBM will not tell the press or anyone, (least of all their own employees) how many US IBMers there are. The Press has stopped guessing. We have a running estimate on our front page and the Press has used it in some past articles about layoffs or IBM in general, as Lee has said, above.
    • Comment 02/28/12: CHQ was affected as well at least 70 jobs bands 6 - 10. Hoping for SEC and IRS fines. BA and Slovakia are now too expensive and jobs are moving to Guad and China. -husbandwithbigmouth-
    • Comment 02/28/12: to -LongTimeBeemer- SWG is currently cutting the 3 performers, after they're gone, then they'll know how many more need to be cut, RA will come next. -qtr_century-
    • Comment 02/28/12: I had a 2+ pbc & preparing an Executive presentation when I was RA'ed 2 years ago. Exec's went nuts, escalated my dept, but nothing happened. After I left I was called many times to assist with IBM IT problems, since the Global resources had no clue. Been working for an IBM competitor & the company is great, better benefits, higher salary, less bureaucracy. Leaving IBM was a relief. -Was Adiosed 2 yrs ago-
    • Comment 02/28/12: 10 of 17 employees have been laid off from SWG team in Edmonton, Canada. -acquired then eol'd-
    • Comment 02/28/12: Have any SSR's been given their notices in this latest RA? Can anyone tell me what IBM group the SSR's work for? All these acronyms for the IBM departments are very confusing. -puzzled-
    • Comment 02/28/12: US IBM internal Education Personnel took a huge hit again this go round. Jobs were outsourced to Malaysia and India. IBM Education has been gutted. They have used US employees to train their own overseas replacements before cutting them loose. By end of 2012 IBM US internal education will probably be non-existent. All to save a few bucks on less labor. however it takes 3 overseas employees to replace one qualified US worker. Where is the true labor savings. with this last go round IBM US internal Education now suffers brain drain. -Anonymous- Alliance reply: Apparently, education and training are not priorities for IBM to help their employees become better at what they do. 'Brain drain' seems to be proof that "lack of skills" is a big lie that IBM perpetuates throughout the company; at least here in the USA. How's that for curious?
    • Comment 02/28/12: SWG Services and Business Operations RA'ed 39 people (20 in Admin, 16 Sales Specialists, 2 in Sales Support, and 1 Executive IT Specialist) -Phred-
    • Comment 02/28/12: There were 6 people RA'd in Accounting yesterday. 4 in Raleigh and 2 in NY. Given til 3/28. Also, 10 people in World Wide Accounting in both Raleigh and NY, including myself, are currently training our Argentinian replacements. Our work goes to them 4/16. They have a plan to movr the rest of World Wide Accounting to Argentina by 1Q of 2013. They keep telling us they will find us other roles within the company but I haven't seen any openings. Just thankful I am around long enough to get my Bonus. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/28/12: Now more good workers laid off because more work is being offshored. I guess the lessons weren't truly learned as they keep getting told that the offshore and GDF folks aren't able to keep their systems functional. Cheaper labor will cost them by losing accounts, but they don't care. Those people that you layoff to offshore more jobs are people that are part of your customer base...less people working means a smaller customer base. Is that so hard for these large companies to understand? They are ruining their image and their reputations with these low skilled offshore and GDF workers that find themselves moving from a restaurant job to managing a huge enterprise overnight. Not meaning to hurt these employees feelings, just pointing out that you can have some low skilled people on each account if you must, but to keep getting rid of the guys that have twenty and thirty years of experience to save money is stupid and will cost them dearly in the long run as these clients take their IT back in house and tell all the CIO's that they know about the nightmare they went through with IBM. -Fail-Fail-Fail-
    • Comment 02/29/12: 54 of 58 cuts are age 40 and above in my husband's dept. I will be contacting EEOC just so they know. -Wife of Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/29/12: I was resourced Monday from CHQ. Clear case of retaliation. Does anyone know of a lawyer that would handle this in or near Raleigh, NC? -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/29/12: My God. What happened to the beloved IBM I used to know? I retired in 1991 when they began that Orwellian garbage about rating you relative to your co-workers, but also how well you cooperate with your co-workers. Insane. Cynical. I could see it was the beginning of the end. -Walt C. Snedeker- Alliance reply: Thanks for commenting. Yes, IBM has been firing its workforce by the bushel, since 1994. Every year after that fateful first "layoff", IBMers in the US have had to fear every fiscal period with trepidation. It's now at a fever pitch with no end in sight; unless you consider a USA with no more IBM employees working there, "an end". That 'beloved' IBM you once knew, has become "bedeviled" with greed and hubris; and they are doing nothing but destroying the lives of IBMers throughout the USA. Very sad indeed. We've been telling US IBMers for almost 13 years, that they need to stand up and fight back. Your comment implies that you might have felt the same way; if you were still an employee. We welcome your comments, Walt.
    • Comment 02/29/12: Anyone who can, during the '30 days' should request the 12 week Family Medical Leave. That basically shifts out later the ending of COBRA for another three months. From what I understand they have to give you the 12 weeks if you have a relative that it's plausitive needs your care... even if requested during that '30 day' period. -Tricky Dick-
    • Comment 02/29/12: It still amazes me that people think that IBM (exec's) don't know what they are doing. They know their customers and future customers needs and are building the staff to meet them. To believe they don't realize the impact is naive. Wake up , this is a strategy. -beenthere-
    • Comment 02/29/12: I left IBM on my own terms a year ago and I couldn't be happier. The cycles of RAs where pressure enough but when my manager took a 1 year assignment in India to train resources to "supplement" our work staff it was clear days were numbered. Trust me there are good jobs available and its easier to get a job when you have one. One irony is that I got this from an IBM recruiter 2 days ago.
      "I found your profile on LI. I am a recruiter for IBM's Systems and Technology Group. We are looking to hire 40-50 new IBMer's in RTP and I wanted to tap into your network to see if you know anyone! These opportunities are for a small, $35-40M division within IBM with 120 employees and we are exploding in growth. We would like to target the Raleigh area first since this offers a huge opportunity for growth as we transition from a hardware group to a services firm. We prefer computer science and engineer professionals who are customer focused, but can dig into the details as needed. I would love to talk to you about your background to see if we have an opportunity that matches your career goals. If you are interested in speaking with me or if you know anyone, please forward my information along. Here is a link to a sample opening:" https://jobs3.netmedia1.com/cp/job_summary.jsp?job_id=STG-0456433 -Rich-
    • Comment 02/29/12: I served a 14 year sentence in two different stints with IBM in sales before I just could not take it anymore and found another job. Please, please, please know that just about anyplace on earth is better than working for IBM. You will be better off not working there. -TwoToursOfMisery-
    • Comment 02/29/12: I was an employee with OAOT (Canada), a partnership with IBM US. In the late 90s, jobs were outsourced to us in Toronto and Moncton on the 10-year contract. Then in 2004-06, 80% jobs were moved off-shore to India. I got laid-off at that time. Shortly after I got rehired in 2007, they announced they would move the remaining of the jobs to IBM Brazil, so I got laid off again. How in the world someone can survive in the IT industry. I think we should all become plumbers and brick layers. - jobless in Toronto-
    • Comment 02/29/12: People, please understand that North Carolina is an "At Will" employment state. This means IBM, or any other NC company, does not need a reason to let anyone go from any job. Simple! All this talk of age discrimination, getting a lawyer to fight it, etc is totally futile. Go ahead, take your savings and give it to a lawyer to review your issue. He/she will tell you they will not take you on, due to the "At Will" status. How do I know? Been there done that! As for age discrimination in layoffs, IBM has that covered cold. Have any of you looked at your dept? Chances are a good percentage of your area are "over 40" years of aged. If a large percentage of people RA's are over 40, it is because most employees are over 40. This is not a company of youngsters, like Red Hat or Google. Also, a number of folks have written that they were shocked they were RA'd. IBM's goal is as few US employees as possible. I think many IBMers are still not living in the real world. -Concerned-
    • Comment 02/29/12: Got the RA. I personally am looking forward to not working for IBM anymore. 24 years in. -PutAForkInMe-
    • Comment 02/29/12: Cut from GTS Services Risk & Compliance in Canada after 10+ years and 2/2+ PBC's - position is being moved over to Argentina; A little upset, but looking forward for the opportunities elsewhere. I do feel bad for those that are remaining, as needed skills are going missing and managers aren't allowed to backfill positions where help is needed (I guess that's where the move to GR comes in). What is also sad is that IBM ends up paying penalties (and huge ones) for accounts due to GR's not being able to do the work, and accounts aren't happy and are leaving. For those of us waiting for time to tick down - good luck! - MondoinCanada-
    • Comment 02/29/12: Left IBM last year. Life is so much more enjoyable and less stressful now. To those RA'ed hang on, there is opportunity out there. -EnjoyingLifeAgain-
    • Comment 02/29/12: Sorry to see news about more RA's but also wanted to let you know there is a life after IBM. I was RA'd after 13 yrs of service and am working for a competitor now in a better position, better corporate culture, and better pay! It was nice not having all the stress after working like crazy and training my worldwide replacement. Enjoy the severance, sign up for unemployment benefits, and use that retraining program assistance money! -RA'd 2 yrs ago-
    • Comment 02/29/12: Waiting for the next round of RAs is emotional torture. The amount of stress this causes and the amount of concentration it takes away from actually working is insane. IBM seriously needs an internal overhaul. This is not the way...but not leaving until they kick me out. Why would one give up 6 months severance. -cometomyemotionalrescue- Alliance reply: The internal overhaul needed is a union and a contract for employees.
    • Comment 02/29/12: 150 GA Exec Admins laid off or 20% of our US workforce. -SeeYa-
    • Comment 02/29/12: The local Rochester, MN community no longer places IBM in high regard. the overwhelming attitude toward IBM in this community is at an all time low. Many would like to see it just go so the land could be used for prosperous commercial industry. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/29/12: To those hit with the RA this time around: I was affected in the 3/2009 one. I found a job the next month, started a bit later, and got a 60% pay increase. I have not worried about being laid off in the interim. IBM is a dysfunctional family. You have a choice to change it or leave it. -Oatmeal-
    • Comment 02/29/12: Best of luck. Left that madness on my own terms 10 years ago and never looked back. Found out what work/life balance REALLY means once I got to the outside. Every measurable aspect of life improved. immediately. -TenYearsOut-
    • Comment 02/29/12: Is it true the IBM's plan will close the Pok Lab, after the IBM lab is opened in China?? -jef-
    • Comment 02/29/12: 2/27 STG Cross Platform Software ~50 folks most over 40 -NotMyDadsIBM-]
    • Comment 02/29/12: Expected to see the 3rd consecutive year of RA's - does anyone know if the UK will be hit, it's all been very quiet over here and most don't think it will happen but I'm not sure as massive push to move as much as possible offshore plus UK losing some massive contracts this yr. -alldownhill in the uk-
    • Comment 02/29/12: 16 years of nothing but 1 and 2+, latest manager gives me a 3 after assigning me a project which he knew would fail. He made sure to micromanage it to the point where my hands were tied, then blamed me for not making goals. This sort of thing takes planning, folks. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/29/12: I know that there is a nice life outside of IBM -- I left it once before and then rehired with IBM when the other employer went out of business. But that doesn't make me any less sad to see my friends and former co-workers shoved out the door. I spoke with someone today who has other interests and pretty good job options. She said even with her other options, being shown the door like that "feels crappy". In my dept (within STG division) we lost 3 out of 19. I looked at the 16 of us remaining and I thought -- do I feel confident that any of them would make a better target than me when the next RA comes, which we've heard is May. The answer is No. I am sending in my $60 Alliance associate membership because "do nothing" is no longer an option for me. This is a blood bath. Every day I hear of another friend who was cut. Something about this year feels significantly worse, though I can't quite put my finger on what it is. -Saddened by Lies and Mistreatment-
    • Comment 02/29/12: "Wonder how many "life is better after IBM" might be IBM HR bloggers paid by IBM to say this. Like they are doing a little shove to those that are left to just leave IBM." Speaking for myself only: I left IBM voluntarily, and I'm definitely in the "life is better now" crowd. I'm learning more relevant skills; I'm paid as well; I work hard, but the people I work for appreciate it in both words and dollars. I realize that people stay @ IBM for different reasons. To everyone who stays voluntarily: It's not going to get better without a union. It may not get better WITH a union, but it's the only chance you have of staying there and not enduring this emotional torture every year, year after year. If you're not going to be a dues-paying member to the Alliance, then don't wait around for "the package". The package may never come. The package may go away. You're enduring incredible stress and emotional damage to wait around to be whacked, and for what? Why do that to yourself? I wouldn't treat a skunk the way IBM treats its employees. If you're not going to try to make IBM better, then for your own sake, get the heck out. -irRational-
    • Comment 02/29/12: The Feb 29 Leap Year Day tradition is alive - the girl (Ginni) takes the initiative and invites her targets to the dance where they get whacked. -Done unto me in 2005-
    • Comment 02/29/12: Given my walking papers today. -greenvillescmanager-
    • Comment 02/29/12: I was laid off today. Let me work the entire day and then laid me off right before going home. -greenvillesc -
    • Comment 02/29/12: I'm aware of at least 20 losing jobs in Montreal but probably over 100. I'm one of those... -BeenliedTo-
    • Comment 02/29/12: I don't understand. The economy is supposedly on the mend. Jobs numbers are increasing and new claims for unemployment continue to fall. Why then is IBM continuing with their layoffs. I'm in Software Group in RTP/NC and go hit this week. Very discouraging. -econWondefulReally?- Alliance Reply: I'm sorry for your job loss. IBM has been planning the reduction of US IBM employees for over a decade. They began this job cut/offshore policy in 1999. It has nothing to do with "The economy is on the mend. Jobs numbers are increasing and new claims for unemployment continue to fall."
    • Comment 02/29/12: STG. Band 8. Got notice yesterday. I couldn't even think anything out of it because I have been so tired working day and night to meet the delivery date ... -Tired-
    • Comment 02/29/12: We lost 2 SSR's in our territory. One large system SSR and one midrange SSR. B/O 49R -Gifted One-
    • Comment 02/29/12: KROC-AM 1340 in Rochester MN reported that the IBM employee population in Rochester is now under 3,000, down from a peak of 8,100. Also KROC reported that IBM-Roch is mothballing two buildings. -Frank-
    • Comment 03/01/12: I left IBM over a year ago and am very happy with my new job. I hadn't realized how good my skills were until I left - I have GREAT skills in my new job. IBM has forced out so many people that only the very best are left and the competition is fierce. It is much, much better to be hunting for a job while you have a job. It it a factor at your job interview. Waiting until you are RA'ed is simply too late for most of us. It is very scary to walk away but if you need to work another 10 or 20 years there simply isn't any future in staying with IBM. Good luck to all of you. -Jeff-
    • Comment 03/01/12: I survived this go around. We lost a significant % of our department. Manager was nice enough to say the work doesn't go away and that the"survivors" must absorb the work. We work ~60 hours a week now. I was "offered" all of the work of 1 teammate. Knowing that I am in a unique situation without the ability to leave, I will get dumped on. If I were to leave on my own, I would be liable for more than double what severance would be. I am stuck for another year before I can look outside. Once that term is up, my resume is ready to go. I am using the time to build the additional skill sets that are valuable outside IBM. -Survivor-
    • Comment 03/01/12: Got the ISC Axe. My work is going to India. Which is kind of funny since about 1/3 of my day is answering stupid questions from India and fixing the messes they make. Who is in worse shape, the people leaving or ones left behind to hold things together? -Gone Fishin- Alliance reply: Sorry for your job loss. Who is in worse shape? The people that were fired because they didn't have a union contract. The people left behind have a chance to change things and organize their co-workers and work to prevent the abuse and uncertainty of being an "At Will Employee".
    • Comment 03/01/12: After spending many years at IBM thinking it was a great place to be, I was RA'd 5 years ago. I found another job that actually appreciates what I can do and has helped me further my career. What I find disturbing is this lack of respect for the American IT worker that IBM has. It has not gone unnoticed in the universities either. -Former IBMer and will stay that way- Alliance reply: It's not just IBM that lacks respect for US IT workers. It's most of the IT companies that are based or began in the US. They continue to perpetrate the LIE that "the US IT workers do not have the skills to compete in the Global Market". The truth is otherwise, obviously. IT companies, especially IBM, are exploiting workers in other countries because their labor costs are a tenth of what a US IT worker costs. On top of that, the US IT workers are forced to train them, before the US IT worker is fired.
    • Comment 03/01/12: IBM has opened several Admin Hubs in Raleigh NC, Austin TX, England, Toronto and Malaysia - all staffed by Manpower Temps. This is the face of the new IBM Admin Support Groups. IBM Savings = no benefits, less pay, no pension and less vacation. This is degrading U.S. salaries. -Outta here-
    • Comment 03/01/12: What can we do to have a media presence at the next IBM annual meeting of stockholders? April 24, 2012 at the Charleston Area Convention Center, North Charleston, South Carolina. I would go if something were organized. I am a member of the alliance and still employed, for now...until the next RA. -proUNION-
    • Comment 03/01/12: Things are only getting worse at IBM there was an e-mail sent out yesterday about PBC bonuses. Now it doesn`t even matter if you get a 1 or not, if your group didn`t make a profit then you`re not entitled to any bonus. -whatever- Alliance reply: All of your above comment would change if IBMers in the USA had a contract. Organize now. Join Alliance@IBM. Don't wait until the next "layoff" or firing to come around. You can DO this.
    • Comment 03/01/12: For all those that have just been RA'd, be sure to ask your managers about bonus/PBC/variable pay that is due 03-15-12. This is for the work year 2011, you are all eligible, except anyone rated a 3. -Concerned-
    • Comment 03/01/12: I was RA'd 5 years ago and am now a Manpower employee. Manpower, through IBM, offers NO vacation time to employees; 1 pay raise every 3 years regardless of performance; and only 6 holidays per year. Plus are paid 30-40% less than an IBM worker doing the same job. Insurance is so poor you may as well not have any. I understand that "cloud employment" will soon be the next new strategy that IBM will use to pay employees on a "per project" basis and will probably be rolled out in Europe. IBM's on a roll to attain their 2015 goal for shareholders regardless of the cost to employees (the 99%)!! -Underemployed-
    • Comment 03/01/12: Felt wasted 4 years of prime time at IBM. Left IBM two and half years back, and am glad that I did. Company with no morals. One rower, eighteen managers. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/01/12: Just had an All-Hands Call with VP of GBS Operations (George Metz) A team over 400 people attended the conference call to basically tell us that GBS operations will be flushed down the toilet. Expect HUGE cuts sometime in 2012. Major overhaul of several areas of the business: Business Management Operations, RDMs, Contract Management and Project Management, Internal Controls, Testing and Compliance. Expect whole functions to be gone i.e. fired sometime in 2012. -Done4it-
    • Comment 03/01/12: To add to "Outta here" comment. This is happening in IBM Hong Kong too. IBM hired me/us through middle recruiter -- namely "Verossity" and "Infoteck" as contractors and placed us to some Hong Kong local clients. The IBM --"project managers" do not take part in any of the works. There were clauses that specifically state IBM relationship with me would terminate once my contract is cut or completed. IBM did not get involve in any work. They are like any cheaper agencies who suck blood out of the contractors same as a parasite. That's how IBM makes money these days, completely unprofessional with IT -- losing much blood--
    • Comment 03/01/12: STG-MD Division was letting go quite a lot of people. An engineer who had spend over 30 years of his youthful years in IBM was forced out. Poor fellow was slapped with two PBC 3 in a role by his 1st line without warning except informing him he would be on the chop board. What a humiliation way to exit? NO RESPECT! -Call it quit-
    • Comment 03/01/12: company is eating itself from the inside. i see it now from Greenville. clients are leaving, cancelling contracts, service is terrible. good for those who got it now, will just get worse later -greenvillesc-
    • Comment 03/01/12: In the wake of this bloodbath, have the membership numbers gone up for the Alliance? I know many rely on this site for the best information and many are reading, are they acting too? -hoping- Alliance reply: 9 new members since Monday. The web visits on Monday were 13,000.
    • Comment 03/01/12: -Membership Numbers- I think a lot of folks got RA's and came here for info (good). But since they were RA'd they don't think of joining (bad). If you come to this site, then join the Alliance and support it like it's trying to support you. I'm RA'd (retired) and I am a member. -Neal Watkins-
    • Comment 03/01/12: I cannot believe after reading most of these comments her that most are in shock here for being surplussed. Did you think since 1993 you were better than those let go before you? How many of you who were hired after 1993 thought you were better than those who were the first wave? All current IBMers need to wake up and move out on your own.. -Retired-
    • Comment 03/01/12: Just learned 4 execs band D or above made a significant effort to stop my management team from RA'ing me. FOUR!!!! It's amazing how ppl outside of the organization I work with understand the value I provide to the client and my management team is just blind. Oh well, this just makes me know this has little to do with my performance. I hope Ginny somehow gets these threads on this forum because she is losing a lot of good staff and experience; and keeping people who know how to run scared and have no clue as to how to evaluate employee performance. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/01/12: The best thing you can do for yourself is be prepared. Join LinkedIn and take a seminar on how to work the tool for a new job. Get your resume prepped and hunt for a job while you have a job. I'm an 11 year IBMer and I love my job but I'm not crazy enough to think they wouldn't fire me in a heart beat to meet 2015 EPS goals. I do have two Minneapolis VPs that I work with both with headcount for Bus Analytics and infrastructure architecture email me if you're in Rochester or Mpls -bigNDfan-
    • Comment 03/01/12: It is very disheartening to see IBM cut their US workforce like this. I am still with the company but I know my time is limited. The division I work in SC has had major layoffs this past year and there are rumors that we will be shut down within the next 6 months. What really bothers me is the manner in which we have been treated during this process. Only a handful of the employees who were let go received a severance package. And the management has been disrespectful to say the least. Many in the management team have been told that they are safe and will be placed in other areas of the company. They continue to get raises and bonuses while we get nothing and are told that we should just be thankful to still have a job. One of the team leads actually complained in front her entire group because her bonus this year was less than what she got the prior year. And she did this the day after half the people in our office were laid off. -Disappointed-
    • Comment 03/01/12: It's good to see the membership increase with the Alliance. How many times does the axe have to fall before people get it? I ignored the warning signs and got whacked. Don't be stupid. Join the Alliance now and do something positive to save your job. It's too late for me. -GoneFromBigBlow-
    • Comment 03/01/12: The ISC let go the last of the non-contractors in 3x/5x and the only IBMers left are in 7x and those jobs likely offshored .in in 3 years. They will take the hit in lost sales from unhappy customers but figure cost differential will more than make up the entire difference. Their thought is that by that time the customer base will be more willing to accept substandard support that comes with .in, "after all that is where everyone goes for support." Stupid? Yep, Short sighted? Yep, but I see no way around it. -TimeLineTillGone-
    • Comment 03/02/12: Received notification of my RA on Monday, last day is March 28. After years of watching my friends and top-performing colleagues getting the boot, while work was sent overseas to under-qualified replacements with the remaining US team members having to pick up the slack and keep the projects/systems from breaking, I am more relieved than anything that it's my time to go. Seeking out a job change can be scary, especially given the tough economic climate these last few years, but honestly this is a transition I should have made long ago. IBM is not the same company I joined and the work environment has become unbearable. I look forward to bigger and better things in my professional career. -Relieved-
    • Comment 03/02/12: OK End date is 3/28/2012. Do we have to work till that date to get the severance package? What happens if I get a job prior to that date? -GLAD ITS OVER!-
    • Comment 03/02/12: Was informed that I was being let go on Monday. Was given a Blue folder containing the PACKAGE by my manager. Felt bad for my manager she was almost in tears. She was just the messenger. Worked in Poughkeepsie NY IBM plant. Was a Technician with almost 23 years working for IBM. 4 people out of 23 let go from my dept. Hear that there will be more resource actions taking place next QTR. At least 50 percent of my area is made up of Contractors (Manpower). Was told by Management that it was good to have Contractors. It would save jobs! because if work slowed down they would be let go first. What bullshit they spread. I think they really believe it. Well looks like I get 6 months of medical coverage and up to 26 weeks of separation pay. And 30 days to look for another job in IBM. In the past they always closed out the job search during that period. What B.S. The company is only interested in profits. Respect for employees does not exist there. -Anonymous- Alliance Reply: Sorry for your job loss. You are correct, "The company is only interested in profits. Respect for employees does not exist there." The IBMers AND the contractors must do what is in THEIR interest. They must respect themselves and take care of themselves. IBMers and contractors MUST organize. It IS the right solution.
    • Comment 03/02/12: Is the Future Health Account available at age 55, or 30 years service? That's a consideration for me as I have 30 years service but am only 52. -RochesterGuy-
    • Comment 03/02/12: Overheard a senior manager say, "we lost some 1000 people this go around and the next ones this year are going to be at least a factor of 4 or more." Isn't that delightful. Can anyone out there say they've heard anything similar? IBM has stood for many things but now it means: It's Become Miserable -rather not say-
    • Comment 03/02/12: Found answer to my own question. Since I was not yet 40 years old on 7/1/1999, I need to be 55 to get my FHA, regardless of years of service. I'm sure I read somewhere that retirement benefits MUST be based on years of service...looking. -RochesterGuy-
    • Comment 03/02/12: Sorry RochesterGuy. Screwed over. FHA only if you are 55 with at least 15 years; But with 30 years and being 52...no dice. Check with the ESC though. Another reason for a Union. Union benefits. -Same Boat-
    • Comment 03/02/12: -RochesterGuy- Seriously? 30 years and you don't know what your entitled to? Everyone in your position needs to call Fidelity right now and find out what they are entitled to, what age they have to be or years of service etc. Not to single you out -RochesterGuy- because believe me your not alone. People. Find out what awaits you in your Golden Years from this company you work so hard and blindly for. As each person's situation may differ due to age, years of service, plan your under etc., there are no pat answers without you calling and verifying your own situation. You will probably be shocked to find out how little you will be getting. And from a 2007 retiree, trust me, You are NOT going to see any raises from what you are told other than your costs for the medical. Also ask them about covering any children you may have that are still on your insurance after you retire. That answer will surprise you also. FHA covering just you, no spouse and no kids MAY last 5 years at best for the least expensive coverage. Know what ducks you have in a row. Or don't have as the case may be. You may be trying to hang on under the radar for something that is not worth staying for. Want to improve your retirement picture? That can be part of a union contract you know. IBM sure as hell isn't going to improve it for you. Also anyone who is getting your " VESTED" benefit and not the actual pension, you have no option to leave any of it for your spouse. When you die, its gone. Your spouse gets not another thin dime. Pretty Shitty deal but unless you organize and force changes with contracts it is not going to improve. Yes folks there really is no bright side to any of this shit. IBM wins and we lose! Yet again. -Exodus2007-
    • Comment 03/02/12: -HoboKEN-, IBM has no way of knowing who is and who is not an Alliance member. The Alliance would not know if a member got RA'd unless the member wanted to tell them. My management has known me to be an Alliance member since 1999. I survived many RA's and am still here. -Biker1mike/workforlife-
    • Comment 03/02/12: The Alliance wants to protect your anonymity. If IBM ever found out of the names of Alliance members who are not Alliance public organizers then they could figure out which IBM business units and sites have the most Alliance membership which would give IBM management heads up to take action to try to further thwart an organizing attempt and movement. Of course the Alliance would not want to see this happen so that is a main reason non-public Alliance members are kept anonymous. Think of it this way: IBM doesn't disclose how many USA employees it has (supposedly for competitive reasons) so then why should the Alliance disclose it's membership? -AnonUnionSupporter-
    • Comment 03/03/12: to -rather not say-....i think all you need to do is look at Loughridge's earnings remarks this past quarter. i think he basically says layoffs will continue. i believe ibm has billions of dollars earmarked for cost take-out..and i bet you can guess what workforce that is going to be unleashed on. this has been in the works for at least a decade and they are fully committed to their 2015 roadmap..just go look at w3 right now and the story on the roadmap and emerging(growth) markets. they are committing numbers and targets to wall street, wall street loves the roadmap and you better believe..they will hit those targets.....expect the numbers of employees r/a'd the next go arounds to be more than this time.... - I've been out and am lovin' it-
    • Comment 03/03/12: Let's break it down really easy for everyone out there who reads this. I work in Services and we make money for IBM. The problem is that we do not make enough to hit our unreachable annual GP targets. So, what happens? RAs. Folks, this is part of the plan! We play this game of false choices where it seems we are failing and we have to do something and RAs are the only choice. It's such crap. The vast majority of our revenue comes from long-term contracts yet our GP goal is raised to a unachievable level so our division is supposedly forced to RA people to put up something of a respectable GP number. In my area, the first to go are the "legacy" employees and PBC 2s and 3s. After a few RAs, IBM forces people into Manpower with almost no notice. Then on Feb 27, the cuts go deeper (8% of IBM employees in my office). While people are waiting to finish up, it's found out that we are about to hire more Manpower employees. Look I grew up being taught to hate unions and I understand the argument for and against, but without someone fighting for you against this evil, you're screwed. IBM doesn't give a damn about your mortgage, your health, your kids, your standard of living. There are no checks and balances. What are you going to do about it? You have three options: union, quit IBM or bend over. I've spent the week talking up the union with co-workers. -Just the facts man-
News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
Minimize
  • Reuters: Taking that healthcare tax deduction. By Amy Feldman. Excerpts: A recent Census report (here) shows a decline in median household income; real median household income was $49,445 in 2010, 7.1 percent below its 1999 peak of $53,252.) Indeed, in 2009 (the latest year for which data is available), healthcare tax deductions were the only itemized deduction that grew, rising nearly 5 percent from the previous year to a total of $79.9 billion, according to Internal Revenue Service data. The amount has probably gone up since then.

    Indeed, in 2009 (the latest year for which data is available), healthcare tax deductions were the only itemized deduction that grew, rising nearly 5 percent from the previous year to a total of $79.9 billion, according to Internal Revenue Service data. The amount has probably gone up since then.

    To qualify for a healthcare tax deduction, you need to spend more than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income on health costs, as only the expenses above that threshold can be deducted. The U.S. Census has reported that real median household income in 2010 was still below its 1999 peak, so the combination of rising costs and lower incomes could produce more qualifying deductions. ...

    What's included in deductible medical expenses? Actually, quite a lot. Doctor and dentist bills, eye glasses and contact lenses, hearing aids, prescription drugs (including birth-control pills), crutches, transportation to doctors' appointments, and nursing home fees. Acupuncture appointments, chiropractor visits, stop-smoking programs, and as of last year, breast pumps, too, are deductible. Laser eye surgery, infertility treatments, and service animals are all deductible. And the list goes on.

  • Los Angeles Times: Healthcare history: How the patchwork coverage came to be. A shipyard's need for healthy workers, World War II wage freezes and attempts by the government to expand healthcare coverage led to our unique patchwork of coverage. By Bob Rosenblatt. Excerpts: Workers swarmed through Henry J. Kaiser's Richmond, Calif., shipyard in World War II, building 747 ships for the Navy. The war "had siphoned off the most hardy specimens," a newspaper reported, so Kaiser was left with many workers too young, old or infirm to be drafted. The workers needed to be in good health to be effective on the job, and Kaiser offered them care from doctors in company clinics and at company hospitals. The workers paid 50 cents a week for the benefit. It was something new in industrial America — a bonus offered to attract scarce labor while wages were frozen during the war. ...

    Most of us get health insurance through our jobs, a system puzzling to the rest of the industrial world, where the government levies taxes and offers health coverage to all as a basic right of modern society. But for many Americans, their way feels alien — the heavy hand of government reaching into our business as some bureaucrat tells doctors and patients what to do.

    We always seem to fight over the role of government in our healthcare. In 1918, California voters defeated a proposed constitutional amendment that would have organized a state-run healthcare program. Doctors fought it with a publication declaring that "compulsory social health insurance" was "a dangerous device invented in Germany, announced by the German Emperor from the throne in the same year he started plotting and preparing to conquer the world." The amendment was defeated by a huge margin. ...

    When FDR became president in 1933, the committees that developed the concept of Social Security for him also considered national health insurance. Roosevelt flirted with the idea but never threw political muscle behind it. After Harry S. Truman became president in 1945, he called on Congress to provide national health insurance but could never bring it to a vote. Opponents included the American Medical Assn., which in 1948 asked each of its members to kick in $25 to fund a campaign warning that Truman's "socialized medicine" plan could lead to socialism throughout American life.

  • New York Times: Many States Take a Wait-and-See Approach on New Insurance Exchanges. By Robert Pear. Excerpts: States are lagging in the creation of health insurance exchanges, the supermarkets where millions of consumers are supposed to buy subsidized private coverage under President Obama’s health care overhaul. Many states are waiting for a Supreme Court decision or even the November election results, to see whether central elements of the new law might be overturned or repealed. But that will be too late to start work. By Jan. 1, 2013, the Obama administration will decide whether each state is ready to run its own exchange or whether the federal government should do the job instead. ...

    In another curious twist, insurance companies, which battled Mr. Obama over health care in 2009 and 2010, are now urging state officials to set up exchanges. They generally prefer state regulation, and they stand to gain because the United States Treasury will send subsidy payments directly to insurers on behalf of low- and moderate-income people who enroll in health plans offered through an exchange. “Insurance companies are making planning and investment decisions around the Affordable Care Act,” said Representative Joe Courtney, Democrat of Connecticut. “They want to make sure the exchanges work.” ...

    Texas is also taking a hard line. “Gov. Rick Perry believes that the federal health care law is unconstitutional, misguided and overreaching,” said his spokeswoman, Lucy Nashed. “Because of that, there are no plans to implement an exchange in Texas.”

  • Thompson: EEOC: Asking Employees to Explain Medical Absences Violated ADA. By Kathryn McGovern. Excerpt: Asking an employee to explain the nature of an illness that has kept them out of work violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is arguing in an ongoing California case. The commission sued retailer Dillard’s, which maintained a written policy requiring employees returning from sick leave to submit a doctor’s note stating “the nature of the absence.” This question amounted to an unlawful medical inquiry under the ADA, the commission alleged in its suit — and a federal district court agreed.
  • AARP: Health Law Guide. Whether you have health coverage or no coverage at all — GET THE FACTS! With AARP's Health Law Guide, learn how the Health Care Law, also called the Affordable Care Act, benefits you and your family — wherever you live.
  • International Living: Americans Already Have Perfect Health Care System…in Mexico. By Suzan Haskins. Excerpts: If you could get complete health care coverage from qualified doctors anywhere in the country for $250 per year, would you do it? That’s exactly the kind of health care many Americans are getting…in Mexico.

    The Mexican Social Security Institute (known as IMSS in Mexico) provides a national health care plan with no deductibles and no limits that includes free exams, tests, and medications for a flat annual fee that averages about $250 per individual.

    For a growing number of American expats, this makes Mexico a no-brainer as a retirement destination. Having a Mexican retiree visa qualifies you to enroll for the plan.

    Mexico’s IMSS plan isn’t perfect for American users — hospitals and facilities can be “bare-bones” by U.S. standards, and it can be a challenge to find English-speaking doctors and staff. But the price is right – there are no costs besides the annual fee. And Mexican health care providers are as well trained as any in the world. Mexico’s IMSS system is especially attractive to Americans who aren’t old enough to qualify for Medicare yet can’t afford private insurance in the U.S., either because they’re self-employed or underinsured by their current employer.

  • Huffington Post: Why Should Employers Control Health Care Benefits? By Eliot Daley. Excerpts: Why should your employer have any say whatsoever about how you manage your reproductive health? Why? Can you think of one good reason? Your employer, of all people, influencing the most intimate decisions in your life -- could anything be more ridiculous? Because it's all we have ever known in the U.S., we Americans think it normal for employers to be enmeshed in the provision of health care for their employees.

    Few realize that this arrangement is both unique and absurd in comparison with other industrialized countries, where employers have absolutely nothing to do with health care. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Abroad, nationally funded programs enable private doctors and hospitals to care for one and all, unfettered by what any employer does or does not like -- just like Medicare, the most popular and cost-effective health care program in America.

    People who feel insulted by the notion of the U.S. following anybody else's lead are quick to bad-mouth the national health programs elsewhere. And while one can find something to criticize about any of them, the fact is that they produce healthier citizens than our way does -- by a long shot.

    The New England Journal of Medicine shows Americans floundering around in 37th place in terms of health status (e.g., mortality, life expectancy). Did you get that? Thirty-seventh place. Despite spending nearly twice as much per-person as the next most-costly nation's program. ...

    Second, employers are burdened not only by paying for employees' health care but in maintaining the internal bureaucracy to manage those benefits. U.S. employers find it increasingly difficult to compete with non-U.S. companies because of the financial burden of covering employees' health -- even after their retirement, in many cases. What is more, the issue of health care coverage is a perennial aggravation to both employers and labor unions as they negotiate appropriate compensation; this bone of contention simply need not exist.

    Third, the scatter gun array of private payers who administer employers' coverage has failed miserably in their half-hearted efforts to bring sanity to their reimbursement policies. No wonder. When presenting a cost-saving idea to the medical director of one of the two largest private health insurers in the country, I was told bluntly and without embarrassment that saving money was not a concern of theirs, as they simply pass increasing costs along to the employers (and their co-paying employees) as increased premiums. They largely shell out whatever providers put on the bill, irrespective of the value any particular procedure or medication might have in restoring the patient's health. ...

    And can't you just imagine the coast-to-coast whoosh of relief if the unemployed and the about-to-be unemployed all awoke that morning to find themselves members of Medicare for All? That's actually the best reason of all. No more terror of falling out of a job and into medical bankruptcy. No more being reduced to medical beggars cringing hopefully at the door of the Emergency Room. And for the employed, no more revealing your most sensitive medical situations to a fellow employee in the H.R. department as you grope for a pathway forward through the confusing coverages.

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.

  • Bloomberg: Wall Street Bonus Withdrawal Means Trading Aspen for Coupons. By Max Abelson. Excerpts: Andrew Schiff was sitting in a traffic jam in California this month after giving a speech at an investment conference about gold. He turned off the satellite radio, got out of the car and screamed a profanity. “I’m not Zen at all, and when I’m freaking out about the situation, where I’m stuck like a rat in a trap on a highway with no way to get out, it’s very hard,” Schiff, director of marketing for broker-dealer Euro Pacific Capital Inc., said in an interview.

    Schiff, 46, is facing another kind of jam this year: Paid a lower bonus, he said the $350,000 he earns, enough to put him in the country’s top 1 percent by income, doesn’t cover his family’s private-school tuition, a Kent, Connecticut, summer rental and the upgrade they would like from their 1,200-square- foot Brooklyn duplex.

    “I feel stuck,” Schiff said. “The New York that I wanted to have is still just beyond my reach.” ...

    Executive-search veterans who work with hedge funds and banks make about $500,000 in good years, said Arbeeny, managing principal at New York-based CMF Partners LLC, declining to discuss specifics about his own income. He said he no longer goes on annual ski trips to Whistler (WB), Tahoe or Aspen. He reads other supermarket circulars to find good prices for his favorite cereal, Wheat Chex. ...

    Richard Scheiner, 58, a real-estate investor and hedge-fund manager, said most people on Wall Street don’t save. “When their means are cut, they’re stuck,” said Scheiner, whose New York-based hedge fund, Lane Gate Partners LLC, was down about 15 percent last year. “Not so much an issue for me and my wife because we’ve always saved.”

    Scheiner said he spends about $500 a month to park one of his two Audis in a garage and at least $7,500 a year each for memberships at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester and a gun club in upstate New York. A labradoodle named Zelda and a rescued bichon frise, Duke, cost $17,000 a year, including food, health care, boarding and a daily dog-walker who charges $17 each per outing, he said. ...

    The malaise is shared by Schiff, the New York-based marketing director for Euro Pacific Capital, where his brother is CEO. His family rents the lower duplex of a brownstone in Cobble Hill, where his two children share a room. His 10-year- old daughter is a student at $32,000-a-year Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn. His son, 7, will apply in a few years. “I can’t imagine what I’m going to do,” Schiff said. “I’m crammed into 1,200 square feet. I don’t have a dishwasher. We do all our dishes by hand.” He wants 1,800 square feet -- “a room for each kid, three bedrooms, maybe four,” he said. “Imagine four bedrooms. You have the luxury of a guest room, how crazy is that?”

    The family rents a three-bedroom summer house in Connecticut and will go there again this year for one month instead of four. Schiff said he brings home less than $200,000 after taxes, health-insurance and 401(k) contributions. The closing costs, renovation and down payment on one of the $1.5 million 17-foot-wide row houses nearby, what he called “the low rung on the brownstone ladder,” would consume “every dime” of the family’s savings, he said. ...

    “If you’re making $50,000 and your salary gets down to $40,000 and you have to cut, it’s very severe to you,” Dlugash said. “But it’s no less severe to these other people with these big numbers.” A Wall Street executive who made 10 times that amount and now has declining income along with a divorce, private school tuitions and elderly parents also suffers, he said. “These people never dreamed they’d be making $500,000 a year,” he said, “and dreamed even less that they’d be broke.”

  • New York Times: Bonuses Dip on Wall St., but Far Less Than Earnings. By Kevin Roose. Excerpts: It is apparently going to take more than shrinking bank profits to put a big dent in Wall Street bonuses. The total payout to security industry workers in New York is forecast to drop only 14 percent during this bonus season, according to a report issued on Wednesday by the state comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli. By comparison, profits last year plunged 51 percent. ...

    Despite the difficult environment, New York firms paid roughly $20 billion in year-end cash compensation to their employees. The average bonus was $121,150, down just 13 percent from the year before as the head count shrank. In 2006, the year before the financial crisis, the average investment bank employee took home a bonus of $191,360. But the comptroller’s estimates do not include noncash compensation given for last year and so may not give the full picture given that many banks dole out a larger portion of their annual payouts in stock. ...

    Wall Street continues to be a lightning rod for politicians and critics who contend that the industry’s pay packages are too high. In 2010, the average pay, including bonuses, in the securities industry in New York City hit $361,180. (Figures are not yet available for 2011.) At that level, Wall Street paychecks are 5.5 times higher than those in the rest of the private sector.

  • The Guardian (United Kingdom): Upper class people are more likely to behave selfishly, studies suggest. Higher social classes more likely to lie, cheat, cut up other road users and not stop at pedestrian crossings, say researchers. By Ian Sample. Excerpts: The scientists also found a strong link between social status and greed, a connection they suspect might exacerbate the economic gulf between the rich and poor. The work builds on previous research that suggests the upper classes are less cognizant of others, worse at reading other people's emotions and less altruistic than individuals in lower social classes.
  • Financial Times: The US tax system needs rebuilding. By Lawrence Summers. Excerpts: For a variety of reasons, 2013 should be the year when the tax code is overhauled in a substantial way. First, the US will need to mobilise more revenue. This year, the federal government will collect less than 16 per cent of gross domestic product in taxes – far below the post-second world war average. The reality is that the combination of an ageing society, rising healthcare costs, debt service costs that will skyrocket whenever interest rates normalise, a still dangerous world in which our allies defence spending is falling even as that of potential adversaries rises rapidly, and a growing fraction of the population unable to hold steady work means that, in all likelihood, federal spending will need to be larger relative to GDP in the future.

    ...the current tax system is in certain ways manifestly unfair at a time of rising inequality. As is well recognised, America’s rich have become richer with the share of income going to the top 1 per cent increasing from about 10 per cent to about 20 per cent over the last generation while middle class incomes have stagnated.

    There is plenty of room for discussion about the causes of this growing gap, the extent to which reducing inequality should be a central objective of government policy and the possible disincentive effects of excessively progressive taxes. But it is undeniable that certain fairly expensive aspects of the current tax system favour the most fortunate and border on the indefensible. Recent political debates, for example, have highlighted loopholes that permit a few to accumulate tens of millions of dollars in a tax-free individual retirement account (IRA) when almost everyone else is constrained by a $2,000 contribution limit.

    Can the observation that Ireland, Bermuda and Luxembourg are three of the five jurisdictions where the US corporate sector earned the most profits reflect anything other than rampant tax sheltering? Anyone who doubts this should ponder the fact that in 2007, US corporate profits in Bermuda totalled 646 per cent of Bermuda’s GDP. The treatment of profit incentives paid to investment operators who do not use their own money but simply receive the “carry” as they invest other people’s money is another example of an inappropriate provision. ...

    Leaders in both parties should commit themselves to the goal of tax reform for growth, fairness and deficit reduction. They should acknowledge that every tax expenditure or special break has to be on the table. They should ensure their staffs are compiling a large inventory of options. The relevant Congressional committees should take testimony from experts of all persuasions. And then, right after the election, the negotiations should begin. Nothing that is likely to done during the next presidential term will be more important.

  • Washington Post: How the GOP would expand the deficit. Excerpts: At a time of record debts and deficits, the two leading Republican presidential candidates are proposing a path on taxes and spending likely to add trillions more. That’s the sobering conclusion of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), whose board includes six Republican former lawmakers with expertise in budget issues, three Republican former heads of the Congressional Budget Office, and two former Office of Management and Budget directors under Republican presidents.

    Last month, we examined former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s reckless tax plan, which, according to calculations by the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, would drain another $180 billion from the treasury in 2015 alone. The CRFB estimated the 10-year cost of the original Romney tax plan at $1.3 trillion. By the end of the 10-year window, the debt would be a dangerous 86 percent of the gross domestic product.

    But last week Mr. Romney upped the tax-cutting ante, promising, in addition to the previous grab bag of tax goodies, a 20 percent across-the-board cut in marginal rates and repeal of the alternative minimum tax. The Tax Policy Center estimated that the 20 percent rate cut would cost about $150 billion in 2015 alone. The Romney campaign said that the rate change wouldn’t add to the deficit because it would generate unspecified economic growth and be accompanied by spending cuts and elimination or cutbacks of deductions. Okay, which ones? On that question, the campaign was decidedly unspecific — understandably so, because its math doesn’t add up. Until he is more specific about what sacred cows he would tackle — employer-sponsored health care? — Mr. Romney’s plan cannot be taken as a fiscally responsible proposal.

    Then again, he looks reasonable by comparison with former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, who envisions a tax cut costing an eye-popping $6 trillion over 10 years — above and beyond the $4 trillion cost of extending the George W. Bush tax cuts. ...

    The campaign debate needs to move from pie-in-the-sky promises. Promising additional tax cuts may win votes, but these proposals are unaffordable and dangerous.

  • The Fiscal Times: Obama, Romney Sweep Real Tax Reform Under the Rug. By Bruce Bartlett. Excerpts: This week, both Barack Obama and Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney put forward tax reform plans. Only one of them can be taken seriously, however. The Obama plan addresses tax issues substantively, backing up the proposals with documentation and analysis.

    By contrast, the Romney plan is little more than a press release, lacking even the most basic information necessary to begin to evaluate it. This is not to say that one plan is per se good and the other bad; only that there is a major imbalance in terms of addressing complex tax issues in a way that tells us whether we can trust the author to implement meaningful tax reform. To begin with the Romney plan is only slightly longer than this column and consists largely of subheads with little in the way of actual text. Almost all of the text involves assertions that cannot be taken at face value. ...

    Undoubtedly the best thing that could be done in the tax area would be to stop fiddling with the tax code and make all of its provisions permanent. A vast amount of the complexity of the code comes from the annual expiration of the so-called fix for the Alternative Minimum Tax to keep it from taxing the middle class instead of the wealthy for whom it was originally intended; the research and development tax credit and many other provisions that have been expiring for decades and routinely extended. ...

    Unfortunately, the lack of fiscal responsibility is the biggest problem with the Romney plan. While it claims that the proposed reduction in statutory tax rates for both businesses and corporations will be paid for with loophole closings and broadening of the tax base, it contains no specifics whatsoever. University of California economist Brad Delong calls this making policy through “magic asterisks.” It’s a reference to one of Ronald Reagan’s budgets that had a line in it for unnamed spending cuts, with an asterisk in place of an actual proposal. ...

    Turning to the Obama plan, it at least has the virtue of naming specific tax expenditures to pay for a reduction in the statutory corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent. It also makes some important points about the necessity of addressing some “sacred cows” in the tax code, such as the deductibility of interest by corporations, which has contributed heavily to excessive indebtedness.

    The Obama report also makes the critical point that in comparing U.S. corporate rates to those of our competitors, it is essential to look at effective rates, which include the impact of deductions and credits, and not just statutory rates. The U.S. corporate tax system is not nearly as far out of line with other countries on that basis, which is why Republicans only talk about statutory rates, which are basically meaningless, economically.

  • The Fiscal Times: The High Price of Losing Manufacturing Jobs. Study: Overseas manufacturing hits U.S. regions hard, leaving workers unemployed for years and local economies struggling. By Peter Dizikes. Excerpts: The loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs is a topic that can provoke heated arguments about globalization. But what do the cold, hard numbers reveal? How has the rise in foreign manufacturing competition actually affected the U.S. economy and its workers?

    A new study co-authored by MIT economist David Autor shows that the rapid rise in low-wage manufacturing industries overseas has indeed had a significant impact on the United States. The disappearance of U.S. manufacturing jobs frequently leaves former manufacturing workers unemployed for years, if not permanently, while creating a drag on local economies and raising the amount of taxpayer-borne social insurance necessary to keep workers and their families afloat. ...

    The findings highlight the complex effects of globalization on the United States. “Trade tends to create diffuse beneficiaries and a concentration of losers,” Autor says. “All of us get slightly cheaper goods, and we’re each a couple hundred dollars a year richer for that.” But those losing jobs, he notes, are “a lot worse off.” For this reason, Autor adds, policymakers need new responses to the loss of manufacturing jobs: “I’m not anti-trade, but it is important to realize that there are reasons why people worry about this issue.” ...

    In conducting the study, the researchers found more pronounced economic problems in cities most vulnerable to the rise of low-wage Chinese manufacturing; these include San Jose, Calif.; Providence, R.I.; Manchester, N.H.; and a raft of urban areas below the Mason-Dixon line — the leading example being Raleigh, N.C. “The areas that are most exposed to China trade are not the Rust Belt industries,” Autor says. “They are places like the South, where manufacturing was rising, not falling, through the 1980s.”

    All told, as American imports from China grew more than tenfold between 1991 and 2007, roughly a million U.S. workers lost jobs due to increased low-wage competition from China — about a quarter of all U.S. job losses in manufacturing during the time period. And as the study shows, when businesses shut down, it hurts the local economy because of two related but distinct “spillover effects,” as economists say: The shuttered businesses no longer need goods and services from local non-manufacturing firms, and their former workers have less money to spend locally as well.

  • The Smirking Chimp: GE Breaks Law, Avoids Taxes. Gets Billions From Gov't, Avoids Taxes. Gets White House Post - Ah, You Know The Rest. By Richard Eskow. Excerpts: GE paid an effective tax rate of 2.3 percent or less over the past ten years. What did the government do for GE while it was paying little - and often no - taxes? Let's see: The government let it off with just a slap on the wrist - more than once - after it repeatedly broke the law. The government bent the rules so that it could receive bank bailout money, although it wasn't a bank, saving it from destruction and giving it billions in profits.

    The government rescued it even though it had already blown a reported half-billion dollars on a shady mortgage firm that hired strippers and at least one ex-porn actress to sell its loans, shafting thousands of homeowners and leading many of them into foreclosure.

    The government gave it favorable tax treatment for moving thousands of jobs offshore.

    And to top it all off, President Obama honored it (and undoubtedly helped its sales) by naming its CEO to be his "Jobs Czar."

    You'd think GE would be more than 2.3 percent grateful for all these favors. But apparently our tax code reads "To whom much is given, very little will be required."

  • Crooks and Liars: Buffett: High Corporate Taxes Are a Myth. Excerpts: Billionaire investor Warren Buffett says that it's a "myth" that high taxes are "strangling" U.S. corporations. In a Monday op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum called for the corporate tax rate to be halved from 35 percent to 17.5 percent to "[r]estore America's competitiveness."

    CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin asked Buffet what he thought the highest rate should be.

    "What the rate should be are rates that bring in about 18.5 or so percent of GDP [gross domestic product] as revenue," the Oracle of Omaha explained. "The interesting thing about the corporate rate is that corporate profits, as a percentage of GDP last year were the highest or just about the highest in the last 50 years. They were 10 and a fraction percent of GDP. That’s higher than we’ve seen in 50 years."

    He continued: "The corporate taxes as a percentage of GDP were 1.2 percent, $180 billion. That’s just about the lowest we’ve seen. So our corporate tax rate last year, effectively, in terms of taxes paid for the United States, was around 12 percent, which is well below those existing in most of the industrialized countries around the world."

    "So it is a myth that American corporations are paying 35 percent or anything like it. Incidentally, 1.2 percent of GDP or 12 or so percent of corporate profits actually paid, that is a rate far, far, far below what we've seen in the United States. ... Corporate taxes are not strangling American competitiveness."

  • New York Times opinion: Memo to Mitt Romney: We Get It. You’re Rich. By Andrew Rosenthal. Excerpts: Last Friday in Michigan, while babbling about the virtues of American automobiles, he said, “My wife drives a couple of Cadillacs.” That should sew up the more-than-one-luxury-car-per-person vote.

    Most recently, there was his cringe-inducing appearance at the Daytona Speedway. Mr. Romney wandered through the Nascar crowd like an anthropologist in a pith helmet observing the natives. He was trying to be Just Plain Joe, but he ended up being Just Plain Thurston Howell III. “I like those fancy raincoats you bought,” he said to a group of fans wearing plastic ponchos. “Really sprung for the big bucks.”

    Not content with just one lame attempt at levity, Mr. Romney also recalled driving “a little fast” as a youth near his Michigan home. That would be Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, one of the wealthiest small towns in America.

    When asked if he was a stock-car racing fan, Mr. Romney said, “I have some great friends who are Nascar team owners.”

  • New York Times opinion: Speaking of Money, I Have a Lot of It. By Dan Schnur. Excerpts: Romney’s reference last week to the fact that his wife “drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually” is not grounds in itself for a voter to oppose his candidacy. Neither was the $10,000 bet he offered to Rick Perry during a debate in December or the time he told a group of the unemployed in Florida that he was “also unemployed.”

    But his penchant for awkward references to his own wealth has underscored the suspicion that many voters have about his ability to understand their economic problems. His opponents in both parties are gleefully highlighting these moments as a way to drive a wedge between Romney and the working class voters who have become an increasingly important part of the Republican Party base.

  • truthOut: Corporate Margins and Profits are Increasing, But Workers’ Wages Aren’t. By Pat Garofalo. Excerpts: As we’ve been noting, corporate profits have made it back to their pre-recession heights (even if corporate tax revenue hasn’t followed suit). In fact, in 2011, corporate profits hit their highest level since 1950. But as Bloomberg News noted today, this hasn’t translated into wage growth or more purchasing power for workers:
    Companies are improving margins and generating profits as wage growth for the American worker lags behind the prices of goods and services…While benefiting the bottom line for businesses, the decline in inflation-adjusted wages bodes ill for the sustainability of economic growth as consumers may eventually be forced to cut back. [...]
    Of the 394 companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index that have reported since Jan. 9, earnings for the quarter ended Dec. 31 increased 5.1 percent on average and beat analyst estimates by 3.2 percent. Some 70 percent of the companies have posted better-than-projected results. ...

    Between 2009 and 2011, 88 percent of national income growth went to corporate profits, while just 1 percent went to wages, a stat that is “historically unprecedented.”

  • Huffington Post: The Great Thing About Having Been Poor. By Bill Maher. Excerpts: ...I began my illustrious career as a standup comedian in New York City in 1979. First year I lived on 99th Street in Spanish Harlem, a five-floor walk up, toilet down the hall. No shower -- a tub that sat in the kitchen with a snake-like attachment that hooked up to the kitchen sink. Walked home every night from the comedy clubs on the tony Upper East Side, watching the neighborhoods become poorer and scarier as I made my way north, and I'm sure the only reason I was never robbed was, they took one look at me and knew it wasn't worth the trouble. Sometimes, freedom really is just another word for nothing left to lose.

    And yet, in a short 33 years, things had turned around enough so that I was able to give a million dollars to the super PAC of a certain mixed-race president who, I would like to remind all my overconfident progressive friends, does NOT have this election in the bag. And a lot of people this last week have said the same thing to me: "You're not picking up the drinks tonight?"

    The great thing about having been poor is how liberated it makes you if you eventually become rich. There's nothing like the knowledge that you don't need money to survive. That the money cushion you lie on every night doesn't have to be three feet thick, and you can still get to sleep. ...

    You know, the only place in America where the millionaires and billionaires are predominantly liberal is here in Hollywood -- with the possible exception of Silicon Valley and Ben & Jerry's ice cream. There's a reason that of the 16 billionaires that have contributed to super PACs this year, 14 have given to Republicans. It is generally the party of the rich. And in a post-Citizens United world, the party of the rich has an advantage like they've never had before. In 2008, the most you could give to a candidate was $2,300. Now it's Infinity. No, the election is not in the bag.

  • Washington Post: The Two Cadillacs Fallacy. By E.J. Dionne Jr. Excerpts: If Romneyism is what now passes for “moderation” in the Republican Party, no wonder the authentically moderate Olympia Snowe decided to end her distinguished career in the Senate. There is no room anymore for proposals remotely worthy of the moderate label.

    Romney’s plan is simultaneously extreme and very, very boring. It draws on the one and only idea that today’s conservatives offer for solving any and every problem that comes along: just throw yet more money at rich people.

    At his moment of triumph Tuesday night after his necessary victories in Michigan and Arizona, a bit of inspiration from Romney would have been nice. Instead, he detailed a list of tax changes that might lift the spirits of accountants and lawyers for wealthy Americans across our great nation, while sending everyone else off to the fridge for a beer.

    Romney promised to enact an “across-the-board, 20 percent rate cut for every American,” pledged to “repeal the alternative minimum tax” and said he’d abolish the “death tax” (conservative-speak for the estate tax paid by only the most affluent Americans.) He’d lower the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, “make the R&D tax credit permanent to foster innovation” and “end the repatriation tax to return investment back to our shores.”

    It’s not exactly “Ask not what your country can do for you,” but these ideas do appeal to Romney’s most faithful constituency in primaries: Republicans earning more than $200,000 a year. In Michigan, they backed him over Santorum by 2 to 1.

    They’re Romney’s base for good reason. That “across-the-board” tax cut sounds fair and balanced. But a Tax Policy Center study in November of the impact of a 20 percent across-the-board rate cut showed that the wealthiest 0.1 percent would get an average tax reduction of $264,000. The poorest 20 percent would get $78, and those smack in the middle would get $791.

  • New York Times movie review: Tracing the Great Recession to a Memo 40 Years Ago. ‘Heist: Who Stole the American Dream?,’ a Documentary. By Stephen Holden. Excerpts: “The mess we’re in now did not begin on Wall Street. Long before the financial collapse, the dismantlement of government regulation was well under way. All the consequences are the result of a brilliantly executed coup. This is the story of the biggest heist in American history.” ...

    ...this project, produced and directed by Frances Causey and Donald Goldmacher, has the virtue of taking the long view of a crisis that recent films like “Inside Job” and “Too Big to Fail” have only sketchily explored. It makes a strong case that government regulation of business is essential for democracy to flourish. One of many pertinent observations from a host of experts is that the rich really don’t need the government as much as everybody else. ...

    The seeds of the financial crisis, the film maintains, were sown by Lewis F. Powell Jr., a Virginia lawyer and representative of the tobacco industry who later became an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. In a confidential memo to the United States Chamber of Commerce, “Attack on the American Free Enterprise System,” he urged American corporations to take a much stronger role in influencing politics and law.

    The memorandum helped spur the formation of advocacy research organizations like the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute and paved the way for lobbyists to descend on Washington. In 1978, while on the Supreme Court, Powell successfully argued for the right of corporations to make political contributions.

    The movement to deregulate government control of corporations and to disempower organized labor accelerated after the 1980 presidential election. An early public battle in 1981 pitted Ronald Reagan against striking air traffic controllers. The film says that the number of American workers in unions has dwindled to 1 out of 14, from 1 in 3 in the 1950s.

    The filmmakers swiftly tick off legislation that they regard as concerted class warfare waged by corporations in collusion with corporate-controlled news media against the middle and working class: Starting in 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement, which encouraged the outsourcing of cheap labor; the 1999 repeal of parts of the Glass-Steagall Act, which had separated commercial and investment banking; and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which deregulated over-the-counter derivatives, allowed financial institutions to run wild. Both major political parties, they argue, promoted deregulation fever.

  • truthOut: Stop Starving Public Universities and Shrinking the Middle Class. By Robert Reich. Excerpts: Last week Rick Santorum called the President “a snob” for wanting everyone to get a college education (in fact, Obama never actually called for universal college education but only for a year or more of training after high school).

    Santorum needn’t worry. America is already making it harder for young people of modest means to attend college. Public higher education is being starved, and the middle class will shrink even more as a result.

    Over just the last year 41 states have cut spending for public higher education. That’s on top of deep cuts in 2009 and 2010. Some public universities, such as the University of New Hampshire, have lost over 40 percent of their state funding; the University of Washington, 26 percent; Florida’s public university system, 25 percent.

    Rising tuition and fees are making up the shortfall. This year, the average hike is 8.3 percent. New York’s state university system is increasing tuition 14 percent; Arizona, 17 percent; Washington state, 16 percent. Students in California’s public universities and colleges are facing an average increase of 21 percent, the highest in the nation.

    The children of middle and lower-income families are hardest hit. Remember: The median wage has been dropping since 2000, adjusted for inflation.

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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