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    Highlights for week ending September 14, 2002
  • Suki Singh reports that most IBM U.K. employees will not get a pay raise this year.

  • "carolina_puerto_rican (CPR)" reports that Lou Gerstner's book titled "Who says Elephants Can't Dance" is about to be published.

  • "CPR" compares the Gerstner era to that of Akers and Opal. Excerpt: "We know AMSROUND quite well. That still doesn't excuse an executive management team that has left a company with a temporary but flagging higher stock value, almost no assets, lots of debt, unhappy employees and a lot less of a future than it did in 1993. Akers, Cary and Opel may have been inept and incompetent, but not selfish fiends who took the assets and put them in their own pockets at the expense of the employee. No previous IBM chief executive hurt so many people and took so much for himself. Even Watson took less than Gerstner. Class has no price. That's why he'll live with security guards and airplanes at employee and shareholder expense for the rest of his life. He can't mingle with crowds not controlled by his henchmen because he knows he'll be spat on."

  • Plan Sponsor: Workers Say Goodyear Grading System Full of Hot Air. Excerpts: "A group of Goodyear Tire & Rubber workers have sued their employer, claiming the firm's employee evaluation system discriminates against older workers. The lawsuit says the Akron, Ohio-based company's evaluation system discriminates against older workers, giving them a disproportionate number of low grades and depriving them of raises or causing them to be fired." ... "...Goodyear spokesman Keith Price said Thursday that the company doesn't discriminate, but it is revising the evaluation system to address workers' concerns. Furthermore, Goodyear now says it is dropping the most contentious part of its so-called ABC evaluation system, in which the top 10% of workers got an A, the middle 80% got a B and the bottom 10% received a C."

  • The American Prospect: The Scandal Beyond Enron. Pension coverage is shaky and dwindling. Will Congress act? Excerpt: "The Enron implosion briefly focused public attention on the vulnerability of ordinary Americans' pension coverage. But the remedial legislation passed by the Republican House actually makes workers even more vulnerable. The bigger scandal is not the occasional loss of entire retirement savings in cases such as Enron's but the inadequate coverage and systematic erosion of worker retirement benefits generally."

  • Boulder Daily Camera: IBM puts space up for lease. Excerpt: "BM Corp. recently threw up a "For Lease" sign on 70,000 square feet of space at its sprawling, 2.4 million-square-foot campus, adding more inventory to a market already suffering from a glut of office vacancies."

  • ComputerWorld: GAO to study impact of H-1B program on hiring. Excerpt: "There's no shortage of anecdotal reports from U.S. workers that the H-1B visa program is costing Americans jobs. But proving it has been elusive because companies don't disclose whom they hire or lay off."
    • "mike metoo" comments. Complete excerpt: "I am a US citizen and got laid off by IBM. My coworker is a young, non US citizen who did not even have a green card. IBM is sponsoring this person's green card while laying me off. We were basically doing the same kind of job, except I am 20 years older."

  • "cmohre", a former IBM employee who is now happily employed elsewhere describes what used to be a typical day for him as an IBM Global Services developer. Excerpt: "When I believed in ibm, my days followed this schedule: Up at 5AM to read and respond to notes from other geos. At work before 7AM to continue. Most of the day spent in useless meetings and teleconferences. Around 4-5PM, have time to do actual work. This continued till 7-8PM. Go home and get back on the thinkpad while eating dinner until around 10-11PM, or later." ... "Education at ibm ? What a joke. No classroom education for the past 2 years unless approved at the director level. Sure, Library Card learn on your own education was allowed, as long as it was free. A $99.00 online class required director level approval. When I did get approval for classroom education, I had to attend class during the day, and work 8+ hrs after class - gotta make those unreal IGS utilization rates."

  • Poughkeepsie Journal: Man sues; says IBM axed him in retaliation. Ex-worker claims manager had gun. Excerpt: "An ex-IBMer has taken the company to federal court alleging it fired him for blowing the whistle on an abusive manager who, he said, was tolerated by IBM Corp. even when he had brought a gun to work."

  • Burlington Free Press: Former IBM workers might receive federal help. Excerpt: "Many of the 770 workers laid off by IBM Corp. on Aug. 5 could qualify for federal benefits if the U.S. government agrees their jobs were lost to foreign manufacturing. This week the Vermont Department of Employment & Training ruled in favor of five former IBM workers who argued that since IBM moved the machines they had been working on to its Canadian factory, they qualified for benefits under the North American Free Trade Agreements."

  • Business Week: The Good CEO. There are plenty of ethical corporate leaders. Here are just a few who built enduring U.S. companies without bending the rules.

  • Business Week: Chainsaw Al Dunlap Cuts His Last Deal. Excerpt: "To put the debacle behind him, Dunlap agreed to pay $500,000 -- from his estimated net worth of roughly $100 million. He also accepted a lifetime ban from serving as an officer or director of any public company. To many observers, the settlement seems little more than the proverbial slap on the wrist -- and they're right. After all, the Dunlap era cost thousands of workers their jobs, resulted in shareholder losses of $4.4 billion, and ultimately led Sunbeam into a humiliating bankruptcy. It's not much of a comeuppance for a 65-year-old ex-CEO who never has to work again anyway. In fact, he took far more from Sunbeam -- at least $16 million in cash -- in salary, benefits, and reimbursed taxes."

  • Humor: view a Dilbert cartoon about Dilbert's new CEO...

  • Burlington Free Press Letter to the Editor: Age and IBM. "IBM spokesman Jeff Couture criticized the two of us in remarks published in The Burlington Free Press, saying "Leas and Mongeon often try to create issues that cast IBM in a bad light to drum up support for a union." (Aug. 6, "Former IBM employees say age factor in layoffs").

    "Yes, we joined the union. We believe IBM's top executives keep making poor decisions and we believe that concerted action is the most effective way to protect employees from those poor decisions. Employees speaking out as a group are protected from retaliation under federal law."

    "We did not create the age discrimination issue. IBM deserves full credit. When one of the laid-off employees carefully counted age data IBM distributed to each laid-off employee, he found older workers had a much higher probability of being laid off, and the probability increased rapidly with age."

    "We checked and rechecked the numbers. On July 3 we faxed a chart displaying this age trend to top site executives Hank Geipel, John Ditoro and Luke Dokla. We asked them to reinstate enough older workers to eliminate the age disparity or to inform laid off workers of the age discrimination trend. IBM politely declined."

    "We then decided to inform laid-off employees ourselves, along with potential remedies available by timely filing complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission or state attorney general: reinstatement and back pay. We are sad that IBM resorted to personal attack instead of presenting any contradicting evidence."
    Earl Mongeon, Westford
    James Marc Leas, South Burlington

This week on the Alliance@IBM Site:

  • September is Membership Upgrade Month! Upgrade your Membership from Subscriber to Voting Member.

  • Take Action: Sign the Petition! Help San Jose employees who've been sold to Hitachi find out what is going to happen to them!

  • Take Action: To IBMers that have been let go and feel they were targeted because they have a disability or other health issues, please send your e-mail address, name and phone number to endicottalliance@stny.rr.com.

  • Business Week: Workers, Beware of Brave New Health Plans. Excerpt: "Get ready for the Big Shift, Round Two. First, during the 1980s, CEOs deftly phased out rich defined-benefit pensions and moved workers into you're-on-your-own 401(k)s, shredding a major safety net even as they locked in lifetime benefits for themselves. The move promised the rank and file a chance to make big money in the stock market, but it has also enabled companies to cut 22% of their retirement spending since 1986, according to the Labor Dept. Warning labels about the risks of employees becoming their own investment managers--or about how much less companies would be contributing--were often missing from the promotional brochures.

    Now, health benefits are in the crosshairs. Faced with soaring increases of 13% and more in runaway costs--and with no relief in sight--companies for the past year have been shifting more of the bill onto workers in the form of higher deductibles, co-pays, and premiums. If the labor market continues to weaken, companies could be even more emboldened to shift more risk, responsibility, and management for health care onto employees."

"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
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