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    Highlights—February 21, 2004
  • Wall Street Journal: Judge Rules IBM Must Make Back Payments in Pension Case. Excerpt: A federal judge has ruled in a landmark pension lawsuit that International Business Machines Corp. must make back payments to workers covered by a 1999 retirement plan that didn't give longer-service workers a fair share of benefits. IBM, of Armonk, NY, says it shouldn't have to make the payments, which it estimates could amount to $6 billion in retroactive benefits. The company on Wednesday reiterated that the amount it would have to pay under the decision hasn't yet been determined.

    ... Judge Murphy's action last week was the latest development in a case that has been seen as a testing ground for cash-balance pension plans, hybrid retirement vehicles that combine elements of traditional plans with 401(k)s. Controversy has swirled around cash-balance plans, with critics saying that longer-service workers often lose benefits when companies convert to the vehicles. Saying that the IBM workers are "entitled to retroactive relief," Judge Murphy also criticized IBM's legal argument that the company shouldn't be liable for the back benefits.

    IBM based that argument on City of Los Angeles, Department of Water and Power v. Manhart, a 1978 pension case that involved the issue of age discrimination. IBM argued that, like the city of Los Angeles, it was blind-sided by what it called a drastic change in the law. In the case of IBM, the drastic change was Judge Murphy's contention that the company's plan had violated federal law. IBM, "like hundreds of other companies, reasonably assumed" that its pension plan was legal, according to IBM spokeswoman Ms. Collins.

    "There has not been a change in the law," Judge Murphy said. "All that has changed is IBM's clever, but ineffectual, response to law that it finds too restrictive for its business model." Kathi Cooper, an IBM employee who is a lead plaintiff in the suit, said she wasn't surprised by Judge Murphy's ruling. "I would expect no less," Ms. Cooper said in an interview. "IBM reached beyond limits to try to pull Manhart over on Murphy, and he caught it." If link is broken, view Adobe Acrobat version [PDF--39 KB].

  • Washington Post: IBM Loses Another Round in Pension Case. Excerpt: IBM Corp. owes back payments - possibly worth billions of dollars - to 140,000 older employees who were harmed when the technology giant converted to a new kind of pension plan in the 1990s, a federal judge has ruled. The plaintiffs in the case want IBM to make up for what they lost after the company adopted a "cash balance" pension plan, which pays workers a lump sum when they leave the company. A federal judge had ruled last July that the plan amounted to age discrimination because it unfairly penalized older employees. ... Lead plaintiff Kathi Cooper, 53, a 24-year IBM veteran from Bethalto, Ill., who filed the lawsuit in 1999, said she was "extremely gratified" by the judge's ruling on retroactive benefits. "It would have been a travesty of justice if IBM had gotten away with only paying damages to 140,000 injured employees from today forward. That is not the American way of doing things," she said. "I want to stay with IBM for a long, long time. It is one of the magnificent corporations of the world. But they just can't do what they've done with their pension benefits and think they are above the law."

  • CBS MarketWatch: IBM to appeal pension-plan ruling. IBM said Wednesday it would appeal a federal judge's decision in a pension case that could be worth billions of dollars in back payments to 140,000 Big Blue employees. Excerpt: Kendra Collins, an IBM spokeswoman, said the company "disagrees with the court ruling and believes no retroactive payments are warranted." Collins said IBM would appeal the case and stands by its defense. ... George Elling, an analyst with Deutsche Bank Securities, said that while it is impossible to predict how the IBM case will turn out, it has potential ramifications for other companies that either have, or might consider cash-balance plans. "It's important because it's the first time the judge has said IBM might have to make retroactive pension payments," Elling said. "At issue for a lot of companies now is that they will probably have to look at what they are doing and decide if they want to go through with it." Deutsche Bank has an investment banking relationship with IBM.

  • A complete copy of Judge Murphy's order in the Cooper v. IBM case is available here [PDF]. Janet Krueger comments: Needless, to say, ERIC is not too happy. Interestingly enough, they are also unhappy with the administration's proposal for legalizing cash balance plans; apparently, permission to screw employees prospectively, without any legalization of past conversions, isn't good enough.

  • "just_a_bean_counter" answers this question: Anyone have any insight into what the remedy in the current decision means if it stands? I assume that it means that IBM would have to deposit funds into the Cash Balance plan for those who are on it? But for what age group? More for older than younger I guess? And would it include those who took the Cash Balance plan voluntarily vs. not? The answer (full excerpt): Judge Murphy ruled that both the Cash Balance plan and the prior plan (PCF) is illegal. IBM keeps our pension money in a trust. If we win, the money would be paid out of that trust, as it is our trust. (It is loaded) People in the Cash Balance plan and the PCF plan should get remedy, not just the Cash Balance people. Remember, Judge Murphy said BOTH are illegal. It has nothing to do with what choice you took or if you were hung with the Cash Balance plan voluntarily or not. Choice is totally irrelevant and should remain so. When IBM gave us 'choice', they gave us 'choice' between two very harmful plans. (Please, don't ever fall for choice again). If you really want to understand all of this, click on the 'Files' section located in the navigational box to the left on your screen. There are many good files including the brief on remedial relief.

  • Janet Krueger opines on the comment "What we don't know is how the damages will be determined." Full excerpt: When asked to submit a brief on what would constitute a 'fair' amount of relief for the damaged employees, maybe IBM should have used the opportunity to submit what they would consider to be a 'fair', reasonable, non-discriminatory settlement instead of first ranting about how unreasonable and expensive the plaintiff's proposal was and then proposing no retroactive relief at all?

    And maybe IBM's pleas about having been innocently led into an illegally discriminatory plan would have played with the court better if the court hadn't seen a presentation IBM made to the Board of Directors before the 1995 plan changes admitting there was a 'risk' someone would discover the plan was discriminatory, but that the cuts needed to made in order to fund the new executive retirement plans that were needed to retain today's super-duper executives??? (It was NO accident that the amount cut from employee obligations almost exactly matched the amount added to the new SEPP!!!) [Editor's note: SEPP=Supplemental Executive Pension Plan]. As I've said before, I'm not sure outsourcing the legal team was one of IBM's smartest decisions.

  • Newsday: Big Blue’s Pension Problems. IBM fights high-stakes’ ruling it owes older workers billions. Excerpt: Nothing in Kathi Cooper's background suggests a hint of rebellion: She has worked as an internal auditor for IBM Corp. the past 25 years and has lived in the tiny Illinois town of Bethalto all her life. But Cooper has certainly caused headaches for Big Blue. The latest came late last week, when a federal judge in East St. Louis ruled that -- as a result of an earlier successful suit Cooper filed against IBM -- the company owes back payments possibly involving billions of dollars to 140,000 older employees who were harmed when the computer giant converted to a new kind of pension plan in 1999. "I'm absolutely thrilled," Cooper, 53, said Thursday in a telephone interview. Cooper, the lead plaintiff in the pension case, would be among the employees owed back pay. She declined to say how much.

  • Ellen Schultz of the Wall Street Journal wrote a landmark article on cash balance pension plans late in 1999. If you haven't read it in the past, it's worth doing so now. See How a Single Sentence By the IRS Paved the Way to Cash-Balance Plans.

  • Wall Street Journal: Forcing Employees to Buy Drugs Through the Mail. New Corporate Policies Curb Ability to Fill Prescriptions at the Local Pharmacy. Excerpt: A growing number of large employers, from Citigroup to the Big Three auto companies, are forcing employees to get their prescription drugs through the mail rather than a local pharmacy. As with most shifts in health care, the motivation is money. Prescription-drug prices are one of the fastest-growing categories of medical costs. But mail-order drugs can be substantially cheaper in large part because the companies that sell them don't have as much overhead as retail pharmacies. There's another big reason for the growing use of so-called mandatory mail. Employers generally hire outside companies to manage their pharmacy benefits. Many of those companies own their own mail-order businesses, and tell clients they will get big discounts if they sign up. Pharmacy-benefits companies make much larger profit margins on prescriptions filled in their own mail-order pharmacies. International Business Machines Corp., Southwest Airlines Co., General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., DaimlerChrysler AG and a number of municipal governments have all started mandatory mail programs.

  • Center for American Progress: Health Care: Dumping Retirees. Excerpt: American businesses have found a new way to make a buck: Kick retirees out of their health care programs. The NYT reported last week, "Employers have unleashed a new wave of cutbacks in company-paid health benefits for retirees, with a growing number of companies saying that retirees can retain coverage only if they are willing to bear the full cost themselves." And while President Bush reassured seniors on 10/29/03 that his new Medicare bill would not give incentives to corporations "to what they call dump retirees," that has proven not to be the case: the bill provides an $89 billion subsidy to big corporations, ostensibly to encourage them to keep prescription-drug coverage for former employees. The problem? "Companies are not obligated to set aside funds to pay for retirees' health benefits, and the health plans can usually be changed or terminated at the company's choosing, with no appeal available to the retirees." As the WSJ reported last month, "companies are entitled to the subsidy regardless of how much of the cost they pick up themselves. As a result, it does nothing to halt the current rush by some employers to shift more costs to retirees." In fact, "benefits consultants are designing employer-sponsored prescription plans to save companies more money by unloading costs on their former workers without losing out on the new subsidy."

  • Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC. Some sample posts follow:
    • Layoff Alternatives. Author: Bad CEO, No $50 Million Bonus for You! Excerpt: With the company making about 2.5 - 3 times a person's salary in billing per person, and a goal of 93% chargeability, I don't see why offshoring a person's job is required at all. They whack people who don't come close to the chargeability goal, so it is not like they have to carry a bunch of consultants that are cruising along at 20% utilization. Is 2.5 - 3 times a person's salary not enough? I would be ecstatic if I got that sort of rate of return on my money. Or is it that consulting firms have so much overhead or administrative/management personnel that 2.5 - 3 times salary from the drones is simply not enough to cover those people? ... Another item that needs some 'splainin' (as Ricky would say), is the announcements made to Wall Street are glowingly positive, but then the powers that be send jobs offshore and withhold raises and bonuses. I understand being proactive if they really feel that we need to do the offshoring to stay competitive, but that hasn't been demonstrated to my satisfaction (see above commentary on the 10% difference). Maybe this is just poor communications from above, but I think some 'splainin' of the above points would help a lot of us feel less frustrated with offshoring, layoffs, and raise/bonus issues.

    • "blue_and_bitter" posts a recent corporate communication from IBM to its employees. Full excerpt: IBM's values are the most basic reflection of who we are as a company -- and at the same time, a very practical necessity. Given our business model, IBM's competitive success depends on IBMers' judgment, knowledge and teamwork. And the best way to ensure that is not through processes and procedures, but through consistent behavior shaped by common values. One of the most important systems to support both our values and the success of IBM's business is how we set objectives, evaluate performance and reward people. In fact, this was one of the most passionate topics in the discussions among the thousands of participants in ValuesJam. I want you to know we heard you loud and clear. You will soon be hearing from your business leader about significant changes to both the PBC and Variable Pay programs, which will take effect in most countries this year. Our new system is designed to reduce the role of process and to reinforce personal responsibility and trust -- on both sides of the manager-employee relationship -- while continuing to ensure rigorous integrity and fairness. Aligning our management systems and daily behavior with IBM's values doesn't stop here, of course. That is many years' work. But these changes to our performance programs are an important step on the way to making IBM the values-based organization we all want it to be.

    • "blue_and_bitter" "translates" the recent internal corporate communication "into English". Full excerpt: IBM pretends to have values even though we are a large, bureaucratic organization. Since we focus on maximizing our profit, our ability to do that depends on people like you working a lot for as little as possible. And the best way to ensure that is to pretend that we have common values across the organization, despite the fact that we will continue to operate as a large, bureaucratic organization. One of the most important facades we use to convey our insincerity, is how we motivate you to work more for less. In fact, this was one of the topics that people like you bitched about the most with your loser co-workers during ValuesJam. I want you to know that we heard your bitching and we will pretend we were listening. You will soon be hearing from someone else who you do not know who affects your career about changes in how we will pretend to reward you, which will take effect in all non-third world countries this year. This new facade is designed to further mislead you - on both sides of the manager-employee relationship - while continuing to ensure more work for IBM and less pay for you. Pretending to improve your situation at IBM doesn't stop here, of course. We will continue to brainwash you for many years. But these changes to our performance programs are an important step on the way to making IBM as profitable as it can be.

  • "ibm_country_boy" comments on IBM's announcement that IBM Global Services Business Consulting Services (BCS) employees will not receive a bonus this year. Full excerpt: Although I think "alwaysontheroad4bigblue" pretty much summarized as to why we front line consultants and IT Architects in BCS won't get a bonus, I'd also like to add that the staffees who weren't on the line will ironically be rewarded with those variable pay checks. This award, of course is subject to deductions by the various "loans" and "advances" that allegedly we were already given in 2003. There is also a big problem on multiple site dual taxation and on tax liability on bonuses not paid. Morale is pretty bad here now. If the strategy is for BCS to identify new business for the other units to reap we are in a heap of trouble folks. The sad thing is that the VP and incentive pay combination was a good buffer for getting a little less in good and at least something in bad times for an individual or unit. Now it appears HR is flipping it back and forth based on how they can minimize any payouts beyond fixed salary.

  • Reuters: Former IBM Korea officials jailed in bribery case. Excerpt: Three former officials of IBM Korea have been given jail sentences for bribery and illegal business activities in a case involving state contracts for computer parts and servers, a Seoul court said on Wednesday. "Chang Kyoung-ho (the former head of IBM Korea's public sector team) was sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined 98 million won ($84,770) over the bribery charges and for illegal business activities," an official at the Seoul District Court official told Reuters by telephone. Chang, along with some 47 IBM venture officials and South Korean government officials, had been investigated over allegations that executives of IBM's wholly owned IBM Korea and LGIBMPC Corp -- a joint venture 51 percent owned by IBM and 49 percent by LG Electronics Inc -- had bribed government officials to win state contracts.

  • John Mellon (full excerpt): To: All Ex-IBMers advised of termination on or after 07/07/01; What: Meeting with Attorneys Jeff Young and Pat McTeague; When: Friday, 03/05/04 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 03/06/04 from 10:00 a.m. to Noon; Where: The CWA Union Hall; 2015 Naglee Avenue; San Jose, CA 95128; RSVP: by Wednesday, 03/03/04 to 800-482-0958.

    Jeff Young and Pat McTeague, the attorneys handling the age discrimination case against IBM, will be in San Jose for a court conference on March 5, 2004. While we have had a chance to meet many of the folks back East, this is our first trip to San Jose. We would welcome the opportunity to meet with you, get acquainted, update you about the March 5 conference, and answer questions in person about the suit. To that end, we have scheduled meetings on March 5 from 6:30-8:30 and March 6 from 10-12 as set forth above. Please note that Jeff Young will be present at the Friday night meeting only.

    Many of you may know of other laid-off employees who have not yet joined our suit. For example, if you took outplacement classes offered by DBM (Drake Beam Morin), you might have picked up the e- mail addresses of your "classmates." Please tell them about these meetings. You can also tell them the benefits of joining the suit (which they will probably be able to join if the judge grants class status to the suit). The meetings are not limited to current clients but are open to those who may want to join. At the current time, this would include anyone advised on or after July 7, 2001 that they were being let go.

  • PBS FrontLine: Tax Me If You Can. Inside the bogus tax shelter business--the companies involved, the schemes concocted, and how the ultimate victim is the American taxpayer. Excerpt: It was one of corporate America's biggest hidden profit centers in the past decade -- the tax shelter -- and it became so lucrative that last year it helped major U.S. companies cut their tax rate to just half of what they had historically paid, leaving individual taxpayers to make up the difference. The General Accounting Office estimates that illegitimate tax shelters cost the government more than $85 billion in recent years. ... "Tax Me If You Can" also reveals how some of America's most respected accounting firms drove the tax shelter wave, generating dozens of shelters that were mass marketed and then found to be illegitimate by the IRS and the courts. In the documentary, Smith speaks with a former tax attorney for KPMG, who describes how the firm's accountants and attorneys were ordered by KPMG tax executives to design -- and market aggressively -- as many tax shelters as possible, since the firm made a profit based on how much it saved its clients in taxes.

    "Tax Me If You Can" concludes by reporting that while the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate has passed broad tax shelter reform legislation, both the Bush administration and private sector companies, such as accounting and leasing firms, oppose a Senate-backed provision requiring that shelters have economic substance and genuine business purpose to be legal. The House of Representatives has so far declined to pass such legislation, which remains bottled up in the Ways and Means Committee.

    "You're talking about powerful accounting firms, powerful legal firms, powerful investment bankers in a conspiracy to promote these tax shelters," declares Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, who sponsored the Senate bill. "They also have a fourth arm. They hire some of the most powerful lobbyists in town to work against this legislation."

  • PBS: Now with Bill Moyers, February 13, 2004. Interview with the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times financial columnist David Cay Johnston. He spent nine years researching his book Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich and Cheat Everybody Else. Excerpt: BRANCACCIO: There's a whole other realm of income, that often affluent people can use, what, to get out of paying taxes? JOHNSTON: Well, let me give you… use an example here of CEOs. You read about a CEO who made $105 million for a single year's work. He may have only paid $1.7 million in taxes immediately. He takes $5 million to support his lifestyle, and he pays the taxes, $1.7 million. He takes the $100 million, and defers it. He leaves it on deposit with the company. He doesn't pay taxes on it. The company invests that. It grows on his behalf. When he retires, he takes the money. And he pays taxes at that point, which may be years down the road. Now, all the other senior executives do this, to varying amounts. It may go all the way down to managers making these little… these $55,000, who put away $5000 this way. The company has to not only put away for the CEO the $100 million. But it doesn't get to deduct that, because it didn't pay it. So, it has to pay $35 million more in federal income taxes.

    BRANCACCIO: So, the shareholders are paying this bill. JOHNSTON: Maybe the workers get the bill. Because when you add up all this money that's sitting in these deferred accounts that hardly anybody knows about, and there have been executives who have built up billion dollar untaxed fortunes this way, what the companies do is they go to the rank and file. And they say, "You know, David, you and the other guys, you worked here a long time but we can't afford your healthcare plan anymore because of competitive pressures. We can't afford your pension plan anymore. Or you're going to have to move to a 401-K plan. You can save for your retirement instead of having a pension that adds to your salary."

  • "whoknewbluewhen" provides details on IBM's new measurement system for employees. Excerpt: The Rating Distribution Guidelines are: 1 Among the top contributors this year: 10 -20%; 2+ Above average contributor, 2 Solid contributor: 65-85% (divided at 1st line manager's discretion); 3 Among the lowest contributors, needs to improve: 5-15%; 4 Unsatisfactory. Please note: Do not apply rating distribution guidance to recent graduates from any school in the past 12 months who come to IBM as their first employer. ... IBM provides distribution-guidance ranges that are flexible and set standards to recognize top contributors (PBC 1) and focus on identifying those among the lowest contributors (PBC 3). Identifying the top and the bottom contributors is important for the continued viability of IBM. It is also important to recognize the achievements of above average (PBC 2+) and solid contributors (PBC 2). This distinction between the 2 and 2+ ratings is determined solely by the first line manager based on an assessment of relative contribution. The unsatisfactory rating (PBC 4) is reserved for those who are not demonstrating required knowledge / skills or are not executing against job responsibilities, or who after consecutive PBC 3 ratings do not show significant improvement. Since the PBC 4 rating is not based on relative contribution, there is no distribution guidance for PBC 4 ratings. Note: All graduates from any school within the past 12 months, who come to IBM as their first employer, will be excluded from the distribution calculation. This helps ensure that IBM does not lose the investment we have made in these talented individuals.
Coverage on H1-B and L1 Visa and Outsourcing Issues
  • New York Times editorial: Dark Side of Free Trade. Excerpt: he classic story of the American economy is a saga about an ever-expanding middle class that systematically absorbs the responsible, hard-working families from the lower economic groups. It's about the young people of each successive generation doing better than their parents' generation. The plotline is supposed to be a proud model for the rest of the world. One of the reasons there is so much unease among voters this year is the fact that this story no longer rings so true. Books based on its plotline are increasingly being placed in the stacks labeled "fantasy." The middle class is in trouble. Globalization and outsourcing are hot topics in this election season because so many middle-class Americans, instead of having the luxury of looking ahead to a brighter future for the next generation, are worried about slipping into a lower economic segment themselves. This is happening in the middle of an economic expansion, which should tell us that the terrain has changed. In terms of job creation, it's the weakest expansion on record. The multinationals and the stock market are doing just fine. But American workers are caught in a cruel squeeze between corporations bent on extracting every last ounce of productivity from their U.S. employees and a vast new globalized work force that is eager and well able to do the jobs of American workers at a fraction of the pay. ...

    Mr. Pardon does not buy the rhetoric of the free-trade crusaders, who declare, as a matter of faith, that the wholesale shipment of jobs overseas is good for Americans who have to work for a living. "There aren't any new middle-class `postindustrial' or information-age jobs for displaced information-age workers," he told me. "There are no opportunities to `move up the food chain' or `leverage our experience' into higher value-added jobs." The simple truth, as Mr. Pardon and so many others have found through hard experience, is that enormous numbers of well-educated, highly skilled white-collar workers are having tremendous trouble finding the kind of high-level employment they've been trained for and the kind of pay they feel they deserve. The knee-jerk advocates of unrestrained trade always insist that it will result in new, more sophisticated and ever more highly paid employment in the U.S. We can ship all these nasty jobs (like computer programming) overseas so Americans can concentrate on the more important, more creative tasks. That great day is always just over the horizon. And those great jobs are never described in detail.

  • Computerworld: Offshore outsourcing poses privacy perils. Excerpt: Outsourcing jobs to offshore destinations can sharply increase data privacy risks and the complexity of managing that risk, several experts at the Fourth Annual Privacy and Data Security Summit here warned this week. As a result, companies need to ensure that overseas vendors are contractually tied to specific conditions regarding how data is transmitted, accessed, used, stored and shared, they said. Those challenges include regulatory compliance, data protection and access issues, as well as monitoring and auditing issues. "The risks are enormous to business strategy," said Richard Purcell, founder of Nordland, Wash.-based consultancy Corporate Privacy Group and former chief privacy officer at Microsoft Corp.

  • Washington Post: Greenspan Calls for Better-Educated Workforce. Excerpt: Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said yesterday that U.S. workers must be better educated so they can find jobs in an economy that is increasingly creating conceptual goods rather than tangible products. ... "We have reason to be confident that new jobs will displace old ones as they always have, but America's job turnover process is never without pain for those caught in the job-losing portion," he said.

  • AccountingWeb: Outsourcing to India Grows While Legislation Aims to Apply Brakes. Excerpt: The trend towards outsourcing accounting work to India added another brick to its foundation this week, with the announcement of the launch of a new U.S. based company to assist with the transactions. Accountants in India (AII) is the brainchild of accounting profession veterans Wayne Harding (formerly with AICPA's CPA2Biz) and KC Truby (Bridge 21). The outsourcing matchmaker was launched Thursday to help lower costs for U.S. accounting firms by hiring full-time accounting professionals in India. "Through AII, CPA firms can hire a qualified, college graduate accountant, successfully trained in QuickBooks Pro and other business management applications, for about $8 an hour," said COO Wayne Harding in a press release. According to the New York Times, 100,000 U.S. tax returns, both federal and state, will be prepared by Indian citizens in Bombay and Bangalore this year. The number of returns is four times larger than last year, and many more times greater than the several thousand of just two years ago. ... Steven Clemons, executive vice president of the New America Foundation think tank, speaking to the Chicago Tribune from Bombay, said that Congress and the Bush administration should focus not on protectionism, but on encouraging innovation. "There's a culture of inquiry here. I've never met so many smart, so incredibly inexpensive people."

  • Los Angeles Times: U.S. Firms Lament Cutback in Visas for Foreign Talent. Excerpt: Pulling up the welcome mat to foreign talent when corporate America is gearing up for a turnaround poses a threat to America's global competitiveness, Cheung and other executives said recently. They predicted that a shortage of H-1B visas would force them to pass over promising foreign-born scientists, leave crucial jobs unfilled or delay projects that require special talents that can't be found in this country.

  • Slashdot ("News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters"): Indian Techies Answer About 'Onshore Insourcing'. Excerpt: It's common here for new grads (slang term: "freshers") to spend up to six months in a low-paid or even unpaid internship before they get a "'real" job. This is true not only of programmers and other IT people, but in almost all white collar positions. One of the desk clerks at the hotel I'm in is a new-grad management trainee who earns what she calls "a stipend that buys my clothes," and won't start earning her full starting salary -- about $330 per month -- for another four months.

  • Computerworld: Bill Would Force Disclosure of Offshore Plans. Excerpt: Companies that plan to move IT jobs overseas may be required to disclose layoff plans three months in advance, under a bill introduced last week by Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.). Daschle said he was responding to a Bush administration argument put forth by Gregory Mankiw, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, defending a free-trade approach to the offshoring of service jobs, including IT jobs.

Now on the Alliance@IBM Site:
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  • Study Shows Extent of Washington State Agencies' Offshoring. Excerpt: A preliminary report released Monday by the Washington state governor's office discloses that dozens of state agencies have outsourced work and sent millions in state revenues overseas. Three Washington state lawmakers who are sponsoring measures to curb offshore outsourcing held a news conference Monday to discuss the impact of the report's findings. "Our state is in its third year of a severe recession," said Rep. Steve Conway, D-Tacoma. "We saw a net growth of only 1,000 jobs in Washington last year. This is no time to be sending taxpayer dollars and jobs to businesses and citizens outside our state."

"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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