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Join your fellow employees who are fighting for your benefits - Join the Alliance!

Retirees, Vendors, Contractors, Temps, and Active Employees are all eligible to become members of the Alliance.


    Highlights for week ending February 10, 2001

Call to action: (From a Janet Krueger posting on the Yahoo! Pension Club):

Several months ago, the Department of Labor requested public input on disclosure issues:
http://www.dol.gov/dol/pwba/public/media/press/pr091420.htm

Initially, comments were requested by January 12, 2001, the deadline was extended through February 22:
http://www.benefitslink.com/erisaregs/fiduciary-disclosure-extension.shtml

The letter Janet sent is posted at:
http://www.cashpensions.org/Disclosure_JK.htm

Of course all of the industry lobbying groups have sent letters reminding the Department of Labor that pensions are voluntary, with implications that if the disclosure regulations are tightened up then more companies will find it too expensive to provide pensions, and will therefore back out.

This is our chance to be heard. We need to make sure there are enough letters from employees so that the Department of Labor clearly understands we CARE about our retirement benefits, and want to receive timely, accurate, and complete information about them send to us both periodically and on request. Your letter doesn't have to be long, or filled with legalese. It just needs to show you care. This is important!!! If you haven't sent a letter yet, please send one today.

While you're at it, copy your representative and your senator, to remind them you are concerned with retirement issues.

We tend to think about disclosure in terms of pensions, but remember ERISA also was intended to protect health care benefits. If you're one of the retirees now struggling with choosing which health care plan to co-pay for, use this as an opportunity to highlight your frustration at not being able to find written documentation that states in detail exactly what you were promised at the time you retired. If full disclosure of your promised benefits had been required and provided when you retired, it wouldn't be nearly so hard to hold IBM to hold those promises now!

Be a part of making things better; write a letter to the Department of Labor today...

See Janet's original posting for links

  • Retirees: From IBM's "After IBM" site for retirees, "Regional health plan informational sessions are being held through February 28. The sessions, run by fellow IBM retirees, are available to answer questions that you may have as you make your plan choices and to help you through the enrollment process. For details and available locations please refer to your IBM Retiree newsletter. To make your reservation for a session call 1-800-248-2867 (TTY: 1-888-896-6708) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST." A retiree attended a session and recommends it. Another retiree doesn't.

  • Nostalgia for IBM employees who used to follow the IBMPC conferences on VM. Gary Brown who once did online support for IBM PCs on Prodigy, AOL, and IBMPC (former owner of the IBM-PS1 and APTIVA FORUMs) is now working for the "How Stuff Works" Web site. Read an accolade for Gary. Read Gary's reply.

  • Dow Jones Newswire: Pension Activists Are Back With New IBM Shareholder Resolution. Excerpt: "Empowered by a larger-than-expected show of support for their shareholder resolution last year, pension-choice advocates at International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) are back for a second round. ...Big Blue evoked an outcry among employees when it announced changes to its pension plan in May 1999. They complained that it would reduce benefits for longtime employees." See full article [PDF-27 KB].

  • Dow Jones Newswire: Retirees Ready To Rumble Over Corporate Pension Plans. Extracts: "International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), Qwest Communications International Inc. (Q) and General Electric Corp. (GE) have each been hit with versions of the non-binding resolutions, which recommend that pension gains not feed into performance-based compensation awards." ... "Retirees are approaching the issue with a very different perspective, complaining that the setup produces a perverse result if pension plan contributions help line executives' pockets, while they forego cost-of-living increases. 'They're walking to the banks on the backs of retirees,' said Donald Parry, a 67-year-old former IBM systems engineer, who retired over a decade ago." If link is broken, view PDF version [PDF-69 KB].
    • Jimmy Leas responds to this article, accusing the authors of misrepresenting retirees' concerns. Excerpt: "Nowhere in your article are the facts that the company slashed pension obligation which increased surplus in the pension fund and required that the company report an increase in profit under FAS 87, and that boost to profit helped executives reach target to receive millions each in executive incentive compensation."

  • Business Week: Protecting Your Benefits after the Pink Slip. Extract: "Employees aren't thinking about retirement plans at all when they get laid off," says Valerie Federickson, whose Menlo Park (Calif.) executive-search firm works with many victims of Silicon Valley's high-tech slump. "Often I see [laid-off] job candidates who spend [all this] time negotiating an extra two weeks' severance pay or good references when they should be focusing on their stock options or their 401(k) money," she says." If link is broken, view PDF version [PDF-70KB].

  • Washington Post: They Don't Call It A Cell for Nothing. Phone, Fax and Laptop Keep Us Tied to Our Jobs. Excerpt: "Throughout the 1990s, thriving companies like Intel and Microsoft, corporate giants like Citigroup, AT&T and IBM, and struggling companies like Levi Strauss and Disney were among a long list of those committed to harsh new management strategies. Such "sweatshop" practices exact a painful toll not only on the men and women employed by the United States' largest companies but upon their families, vital civic structures and society as a whole." If link is broken, view PDF version [PDF-73 KB].
  • Retirees in the Washington, D.C. area: The Professional Associates (TPA), a group of about 150 retired IBM'ers is holding a special meeting to discuss the current benefit situation on Feb. 26th at 10am. The meeting is open to all retired IBM employees and all are welcomed to attend. For additional information e-mail ahett@attglobal.net. Location of the meeting:
    Potomac Community Center
    11315 Falls Road
    Potomac, MD 20854
    (See map)
  • Atlanta area employees and retirees: Thursday, February 15, there will be an informational meeting about the Alliance@IBM in Atlanta, GA. Jimmy Tarlau from CWA HQ and Linda Guyer will be there to meet local employees and retirees. The meeting will be held at 5:30 pm at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (formerly the Harvey Hotel), at 6345 Powers Ferry Road NW. Topics covered will include recent Alliance activities around the country, status of the stockholders' resolutions and information about the upcoming Stockholder Meeting; status of the pension lawsuit; the Retirees' Council; IGS activities; and others. This will be a good chance for Atlanta area Alliance supporters to meet each other and to bring interested friends. See map to Crowne Plaza.

  • A person that retired at age 51 with 31 years of service advises careful planning for people thinking of early retirement.

  • Rumors of layoffs in IGS are circulating...no details. har_philby tells us the "letter bands" will be safe.

  • Poughkeepsie Journal: IBM faulted in union action. Excerpt: "IBM Corp. can’t object to employees putting pro-union signs on their vehicles, even if they’re the size of a bedsheet, a federal agency has ruled."

  • Binghamton (NY) Press and Sun-Bulletin: U.S. Representative Hinchey still fighting for pension-reform legislation. Extract: "In vigorously fighting a change in their pension distribution formula, IBM Corp. workers may have unknowingly helped save the pension benefits of thousands of other workers across the country." If link is broken, view PDF version [PDF-132 KB].

 

"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have too much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." — Franklin D. Roosevelt
This site is designed to allow IBM Employees to communicate and share methods of protecting their rights through the establishment of an IBM Employees Labor Union. Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act states it is a violation for Employers to spy on union gatherings, or pretend to spy. For the purpose of the National Labor Relations Act, notice is given that this site and all of its content, messages, communications, or other content is considered to be a union gathering.