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    Highlights for week ending September 28, 2002
  • Reuters Business Report: Pension Hole to Hit S&P 500s in 2003. Excerpt: "Stocks slumping for the third straight year will leave large portions of the pension funds of hundreds of top U.S. companies underfunded at the end of 2002, investment bank Merrill Lynch & Co. said. These companies, which include General Motors Corp. and some other big names in the broad Standard & Poor's 500 index, will take a hit to their 2003 cash flow and earnings as they will be forced to contribute billions of dollars to their pension plans -- waylaid by the stock market's spectacular decline since 2000 -- to comply with U.S. laws that protect employee retirement funds." ... "Even as the U.S. stock market suffers its third straight year of heavy losses, S&P 500 companies currently still assume that their long-term returns on pension fund investments will be 9.3 percent, according to Adrian Redlich, director of Merrill Lynch's global analytic and thematic research." ... "Among the most underfunded companies in absolute terms for pension and post-retirement plans are GM and Ford Motor Co., the world's top automakers; International Business Machines Corp., the world's largest supplier of computers and computer services; SBC Communications Inc., the No. 2 U.S. local phone company, and The Boeing Co., the world's largest maker of commercial jets."

  • From "just_a_bean_counter": "As you know, IBM outsourced our HR department to Fidelity Investments. This means that from now on we get our pension and health care administration from Fidelity, not IBM. What you may not know is that ERIC (not our friends) and Fidelity Investments are also tied together. Fidelity Investments just completed a white paper on Retiree Health Care Costs. Of course it is written for Corporate eyes only, not intended for the lowly and unsuspecting employee, to get their hands on it. We have Fidelity working with ERIC telling Corporate America (IBM) how to screw us out of our remaining retiree medical." View Fidelity Workplace Services (SM) Retiree Health Care Costs: Addressing the Growing Gap [PDF]."

  • From Janet Krueger: "Below is an interesting article on just how profitable the medical insurance companies have become. It makes me wonder, since IBM is self-insured, how much of a profit center IBM has created out of 'sharing' insurance costs with employees and retirees! Please note that one thing a union negotiation team could do, that we cannot, is ask to see the actual income and expense associated with IBM medical care. Currently, no one regulates or audits IBM's medical insurance programs, and it is impossible to decipher the full picture from the annual report. THINK!" Read MSNBC article Higher premiums, higher profits. U.S. health insurers’ profits rose 25 percent in 2001 — study.

  • San Francisco Chronicle: Rank-and-file pensioners struggle. Excerpt: "When former President David Coulter left Bank of America in 1998 at age 51, he got parting gifts worth more than $30 million, plus a $5 million annual pension and free medical and dental benefits for life. When Hugh McColl retired as BofA's chief executive officer in 2001, he was guaranteed a pension of about $2.4 million per year, plus other benefits. Louise LaMuth retired from BofA in 1970 after working at the bank in San Francisco for more than 20 years. She receives a monthly pension check for $47.57. The gross amount is $190.83, but BofA deducts $143.26 for medical and dental benefits."

  • Poughkeepsie Journal: IBM fires union backer. Worker, company differ on reasons. Excerpt: The man who launched a drive to start a union at IBM Corp., Peter Plavchan, has been fired, and is weighing his options on what to do. He said the company terminated him for making errors on cost reports, but claims IBM's real reason is mainly that he refused to present misleading data in his reports."

  • "doobiespal2002" full excerpt: I am in the process of filing an age discrimination complaint against IBM San Jose where 300+ people were fired in June. &4% (sic) were over 40 years old and I am sure that when I finish the stat analysis it will track very close to the Burlington study. I would like to know who the EEOC contact is for the Burlingon Age discrimination complaint, so that I can get the EEOC contact hear talking to the EEOC person there and hopefully strengthen the complaint with additional San Jose examples of the same kind of discrimination. ANY HELP WOULD BE APPRECIATED!! If you have any info please email it to me at Doobiespal2002@yahoo.com, thanks!

  • From Linda Guyer (full excerpt): FYI to everyone, the Alliance has been investigating age discrimination at IBM. It is so far clear to us that IBM is deliberately practicing age discrimination in layoffs, based on the impact we see to the various divisions in the U.S. Whether this is actionable in terms of a class action lawsuit is however not entirely clear yet. We are talking to various attorneys about what might be done.

    The point I'd like to make is that if you wait until you are laid off, and then think you can take some legal action against IBM, is at best a distant hope. Class action lawsuits can take 10 years and roughly $15 million in legal costs, while the law in age discrimination is not clear at all and no guarantee in outcome can be deemed likely. Bottom line is, IBM knows this. They KNOW they can boot you out without much risk of a lawsuit. You get your 6 months' severance pay and they get rid of you and your pension and FHA obligation.

    Your best bet, is to unionize now. Whatever your reservations - is losing your career, your pension, your retirement medical, and every other benefit you have - worth the wait? If we don't come together soon, IBM will have rid of you and me. It's up to you. Save yourself or suffer the consequences. http://www.allianceibm.org.

  • "i_be_mad_as_heck" comments on filing age discrimination charges with the EEOC. Excerpt: "After reading discussions about possible age discrimination in the recent layoffs, I think it is important for those contemplating filing ADEA charges to understand some of the requirements."

  • From Janet Krueger: "AARP just released a set of research on older workers, when they expect to retire, where they prefer to work, and which companies count as 'older-worker-friendly'... Surprise, surprise; IBM didn't make the list."
    • Staying Ahead of the Curve: The AARP Work and Career Study. Excerpt: ""Overwhelmingly, 45+ workers say their ideal job would feature: a friendly work environment; respect from coworkers and their supervisors; and opportunities to use their skills and talents, do something worthwhile, learn something new, help others and pursue something they've always wanted to do. Not as high on their list of priorities, though important nevertheless, are so-called 'hard benefits'."
    • What Makes a Company Great for Older Workers? Take a look inside nine of the companies on AARP's "Best Companies for Workers over 50" list to see what sets them apart.

  • Sacramento Bee: Working against time. Middle-aged workers say they are finding that their laugh lines and crow's-feet are getting in the way of finding jobs or getting promotions.

  • Wall Street Journal: Goodyear Ends Review System Ahead of Discrimination Suit. Excerpts: "Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. abandoned a performance-rating system for salaried employees just as discrimination attorneys were planning to file a class-action lawsuit over it. Goodyear said it was dropping major parts of its program, including its so-called "10-80-10" feature, which essentially graded all salaried employees on a curve. The top 10% were rated A, the middle 80% were rated B, and the bottom 10% were rated C. Those falling in the bottom 10% weren't eligible for raises or bonuses and were warned they might lose their job." ... "The lawsuit, which is expected to be filed in state court in Akron Thursday, alleges that the workers who got C ratings were humiliated and stigmatized among their peers and managers. The legal arm of the AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, has joined the lawsuit as co-counsel. Most of the plaintiffs in the case are Goodyear employees who are over 50 years old and who got C rankings. "This case will send a clear message that performance rating schemes that target older workers for unfair treatment are illegal and will not be tolerated," said Laurie McCann of the AARP."
    • "just_a_bean_counter" comments. Full excerpt: "Let's not lose site of the fact that age discrimination and termination starts with our PBC. We all know it. So does Goodyear, AARP and discrimination attorneys. Goodyear, in anticipation of an age discrimination suit against it's PBC plan, removed it's plan. Smart cookies they are! Their PBC sounds just like ours. Perhaps MacDonald ought to consider tossing ours out? Nah... IBM is too arrogant."

  • United Press International: Workforce: Pension reform slouches along. Excerpt: "The Democratic-led Senate has been sitting on pension reform legislation passed by the Republican-led House last spring, but the Democrats say there is a good reason: the proposed reforms won't effectively protect the average worker. On Wednesday, a coalition of Democratic congressional leaders and labor-union groups blasted the House pension reform bill as biased towards corporate interests and being too little, too late, given corporate scandals such as those at Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc."

  • "Joe Dirt" comments on why it's impossible for IGS employees to actually take their vacation.

  • Ananova: Union funds to demand over 100 US firms expense options, tied to performance. Excerpt: "A union pension fund manager at an institutional investor conference here said a coalition of union funds representing $210 billion in assets will file shareholder resolutions at over 100 companies demanding stock options be expensed and tied to financial performance."

 

"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.