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    Highlights—December 11, 2004
  • Wall Street Journal: IBM to Exclude New Workers From Its Cash-Balance Pension. Move to Only 401(k) Plans Follows Legal Questions, Marks Shift in Hiring Tack. Excerpts: International Business Machines Corp., in a surprising move, disclosed that it will exclude new workers from its cash-balance pension plan starting Jan. 1, and offer them only a 401(k) savings plan. The change comes as IBM grapples with legal challenges over its cash-balance pension plan, which was implemented in 1999. The move won't affect current employees or retirees and will have little impact on the company's cash flow. However, the new policy is noteworthy because IBM and many other employers long have maintained that cash-balance plans are better pensions for younger workers who don't plan to spend their entire career with one employer. ... In changing its practice, IBM appears to be acknowledging that its cash-balance plan may not be quite as attractive to new workers as it had maintained.

    Cash-balance plans have been controversial because when companies adopt them, the pensions of older, long-employed workers can fall 20% to 50%, which has led to charges of age discrimination. This fall, IBM agreed to pay $300 million to thousands of current and former employees to settle part of a suit regarding its cash-balance plan, which last year a federal court determined had discriminated against older employees. (IBM is expected to appeal the age-discrimination claim in the case.) Despite the criticism, more than 400 large employers have adopted cash-balance plans, which can give a substantial lift to a company's earnings, thanks to accounting rules. Reducing workers' pensions generates gains that boost income. IBM's cash-balance plan has contributed more than $4 billion to the company's income during the past five years. ... IBM didn't publicly announce the change, which some employees noticed yesterday on the company's Web site. If link is broken, view Adobe Acrobat version [PDF--23 KB].

  • New York Times: I.B.M. Prepares Substitution for Pensions of New Hires. By Mary Williams Walsh. Excerpts: I.B.M., dogged by complaints about changes it made to employee pensions in the 1990's, has decided to close its pension plan to new employees at the end of the year and give all new workers a 401(k) plan instead. The outcry over the pension plan highlighted the wrenching changes for many workers, as corporate America moved away from providing fixed, guaranteed pensions and toward offering vehicles for employees to use to save for their own retirements instead. The changes in I.B.M.'s plan, in 1995 and 1999, creating hybrids of the traditional pension plan and a 401(k) design, led to protests by older workers, who lost significant benefits as a result. With the decision to close what is known as a cash-balance plan, the company has completed a decade-long shift.

    The cash-balance model was thrown into doubt in 2003, when a federal judge ruled that the changes I.B.M. made to its pension plan in the 1990's caused the plan to discriminate against older workers. Implicit in the judge's decision was the opinion that virtually all cash-balance plans - which cover millions of workers at hundreds of companies - were illegal for the same reason. I.B.M. is appealing. Since the ruling, the companies that offer cash-balance pensions have been in limbo, uncertain about the legality of their own pension plans and their degree of potential liability. Repairing a cash-balance pension plan to eliminate the age-discriminatory aspects is very costly. In September, I.B.M. reached a settlement with lawyers for current and former workers that would limit its liability to about $1.7 billion if the ruling was upheld. I.B.M. said that its decision to offer new employees a 401(k) plan in the future was made in an effort to keep its compensation in line with the pay and benefits offered by competitors. If link is broken, view Adobe Acrobat version [PDF--22 KB].

  • Washington Post: IBM Stops Offering Cash-Balance Pension. Excerpts: International Business Machines Corp., taken to court by workers over changes it made to its traditional pension plan, has decided to stop offering any such plan to new employees. IBM will continue to defend its current "cash-balance" pension plan in court against charges that it violates federal age-discrimination laws, IBM Senior Vice President Randy MacDonald said in a telephone interview yesterday, but will offer workers hired after Jan. 1 only an enhanced 401(k) plan.

  • Plan Sponsor: New IBM Hires Lose DB, Gain Enhanced 401(k). Excerpts: The future of cash-balance plans literally hangs in the balance, as International Business Machines pursues an appeal of the landmark court ruling that its 1999 traditional defined benefit plan conversion to the nearly 20-year-old CB hybrid savings concept discriminates against older workers. So it may not come as much of a surprise that starting on January 1, 2005, all new U.S. hires at IBM will be enrolled in a newly designed "401(k) pension" rather than the controversial cash-balance plan. Randy MacDonald, senior vice president of human resources for IBM in Armonk, N.Y., explains the change to contributing editor Bruce Shutan while also lamenting the industry's restrictive legislative and regulatory climate.

  • IBM outlines its retirement plan for new employees on its "Jobs at IBM" Web page. Excerpt: Through the IBM Savings Plan, IBM offers a leading-edge 401(k) pension plan. Employees can contribute up to 80 percent of eligible compensation each pay period on a before-tax basis, and up to 10 percent on an after-tax basis, up to amounts permitted by tax laws. For eligible employees, IBM offers a dollar-for-dollar match, up to the first 6 percent of pay you contribute to the plan. Employees are eligible for this match after one year, and, once eligible, are fully vested. (Employees are always fully vested in their own contributions.)

  • Janet Krueger comments on IBM's move to an enhanced 401-K plan for new employees. Full excerpt: Actually, it looks like new IBM employees will be getting a relatively good deal. I've always said that a defined contribution plan with good investment options and a full match is MUCH better for employees than a cash balance plan attempting to disguise itself as defined benefit plan where it takes 5 years to vest, the employees get minimal interest rates with no investment choices, and all that is protected is a derived age 65 annuity. REAL accounts in each employee's name, with the employee benefiting from investment proceeds, are way better than virtual accounts where the employer benefits from investment proceeds and gets to meddle with the formulae every 4 or 5 years.

    An employee hired on Jan 1, 2005, *IF* he participates in the new 401K up to the full match, will be far better off in 10 years than an employee hired on Dec 31, 2004 with the old 401K and the cash balance plan. Now, if we could only make Congress listen -- they do NOT need to legalize cash balance plans, they need to encourage employers to leverage options that are already available and legal!

    P. S. One last thought... IBM claims they are modeling their employee benefits after what their competitors have to offer. Someone should let them know Microsoft allows up to 12% with 100% matching!

  • "west_coast_retired_guy" comments on the change. Full excerpt: The new enhancements look like a good deal for new employees compared to the cash balance plan which really was constructed to maximize moving vapor profits to the bottom line using surpluses in the old pension plan. IBM's cash balance plan had lots of problems, including: Took 5 years to vest at all. Yielded only one year treasury bill rates plus 1%. Vunerable to some loss of benefits. Provided no individual flexibility in investment choices. Vunerable to management efforts to puff up bottom line. Probably illegal. Looks to me like the replacement of the cash balance plan with an enhanced 401K is a win-win, both for employees as well as IBM.

  • "ibmaccountant" comments. Excerpts: Now that IBM has now eliminated its CB and DB plans and has defined contributory medical for new employees, it will become much easier for new prospective employees to compare IBM versus other companies in terms of benefits. The big secret brand image of IBM having great benefits that couldn't be easily compared is rapidly disappearing. It's like the "open source" movement for operating systems. IBM will not be able to play shell games and hide behind the brand image in the recruiting market for new talent. They've already started to react to that future problem by proclaiming a 0 cost medical as an option for single employees, sticking it to the older employee with dependents. This skews the medical costs to make the company more attractive to new college hires at the expense of committed employees. For now, dumbing down benefits make sense since there is a glut of talent in the IT industry. Demographics, however, paint a grim picture for a company that takes this strategy in the next 5 -10 years here in the US.

  • "Don" comments. Full excerpt: Actually, I think the big plus to IBM is they can run their business without having to have a pension plan. First IBM stopped giving COLAs to current retirees. Next they changed the way DB pensions were calculated. Then they tried to pass off a CB plan as a DB plan. Now they only offer a 401K and can reduce or terminate the employer match at any time. Along with this, they put a cap on retiree medical contributions by the company and started charging retirees the 'difference.' I put that in quotes since there is really no way to find out what percentage of the medical costs IBM is really paying. By jacking these fees up with time, IBM can be sure it will never have to actually contribute any real money to the DB pension fund if it starts running short. What happens to the CB plan is still up in the air until the final settlement is in but I suspect that those employees who managed to get vested will be offered some kind of conversion either back to the DB or into the 401K or offered an annuity from the insurance company IBM recently acquired. In any event, IBM is really no longer in the pension business.

  • National Public Radio Morning Edition: Companies Doing Away with Pensions. Excerpt: A 401K savings plan is the choice of more and more corporations trying to stabilize the bottom line. Dallas Salisbury, president and CEO of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, talks about IBM's decision to jettison traditional pensions -- and why the move represents the future of retirement options. Hear Salisbury and NPR's Steve Inskeep.

  • Washington Post: IBM Reassures Workers After Milestone China Deal. Excerpts: During an IBM employee meeting here Wednesday, a worker got up and asked a question that perhaps only 10 years ago would have been unthinkable: If he wanted to keep his job helping to design some of the world's most advanced computers, would he have to move to China? On the other side of the globe, at a Lenovo employee meeting in Beijing, a worker got up and asked a similar question that a decade ago also would have been unthinkable, but for different reasons: If he wanted to keep his job, would he have to move from communist China to America? ... None of the workers asked about the deal here would speak for the record, but some said privately they had feared significant layoffs were in the offing. IBM and Lenovo officials said Wednesday that the deal will not result in job cuts at either company. That news brought relief for now, but some remain worried about the ultimate outcome. "We're concerned about the long-term situation for the employees. When deals like this go through, there are usually job cuts that follow," said Lee Conrad, national coordinator for Alliance@IBM, which advocates for worker rights at the company. "IBM employees are finding themselves working for a Chinese corporation. And that's making a lot of people nervous."

    In meetings with workers Wednesday, IBM executives reassured those who are about to become Lenovo employees that their jobs are secure and that their pay and benefit levels will remain roughly the same. "Things really aren't going to change," said Fran O'Sullivan, who is general manager of IBM's PC division and slated to become chief operating officer of Lenovo. "I'm going to stay here. And I'm going to continue to manage the PC business out of Research Triangle Park." If link is broken, view Adobe Acrobat version [PDF--32 KB].

  • CNET News: Michael Dell: IBM deal a dud. Excerpts: A deal that would let China's Lenovo acquire IBM's PC unit would work about as well as other mergers in the industry, Michael Dell said--that is, not well. During a question-and-answer session Tuesday at Oracle's OpenWorld conference, the Dell chairman said a deal between Lenovo and IBM would likely follow a pattern seen in many mergers where two very different organizations fail to mesh. "We're not big fans of the idea of taking companies and smashing them together," Dell said. "When was the last time you saw a successful acquisition or merger in the computer industry? It hasn't happened in a long, long time...I don't see this one as being all that different." Dell also said his company is not interested in buying IBM's PC unit. Dell has only made a few acquisitions in its 20-year history. They have all been relatively small. The company's largest and first acquisition, ConvergeNet, helped get Dell into the storage market, but it didn't work out, and Dell dissolved the unit a few months later. "We like to acquire our customers one customer at a time. We see organic growth as the more sustainable and healthy way," he said.

  • CNET News: Method to Palmisano's madness. Excerpt: Above all, Palmisano gets top credit for securing the future of IBM with its big move into services. Even though the global services push got started under Gerstner, it was Palmisano who drove that train. With 20/20 hindsight, it now seems a no-brainer: Margins on personal computers, workstations and servers were getting thinner every year, and IBM needed to find a place in a high-priced business where the word "commodity" was not part of the lexicon. Under Palmisano, IBM achieved all that in spades--so much so that Big Blue's success in services loomed large in Hewlett-Packard's controversial acquisition of Compaq Computer, a deal that has yet to prove itself. Charlie Chaplin was the perfect mascot when 40 megabytes was mega-storage and 80286 microprocessors constituted technology's cutting edge, but those days are gone. Just like legendary safecracker Willie Sutton, Palmisano long ago recognized where the real money was--and he's pointed IBM in that direction ever since.

  • The China Syndrome. If You Want to Understand IBM Selling Its PC Division, Just Look East. By Robert X. Cringely. (Editor's note: highly recommended). Excerpt: What is absolutely key to this deal is that the buyer is Lenovo, the largest Chinese PC manufacturer. Yes, the division was unprofitable and IBM would have eventually had to do something about it, but Sam Palmisano wanted a Chinese buyer and was willing to accept far less cash than he might have received elsewhere just to get the buyer he wanted. IBM got rid of a headache and in doing so, gained unique access to what will shortly be the world's largest IT market. This deal is all about China, not the U.S. Doing business in China always requires having a partner. You don't just set up an IBM China and start selling stuff. You find a local partner company and move into the market together. Now IBM's partner will be Lenovo, the biggest, baddest PC maker in China, which is a good partner to have. IBM not only has its Chinese partner, it has a substantial equity position in that partner as a result of this transaction. That's unique as far as I know. Chinese-U.S. corporate partnerships aren't always the easiest marriages, but in this one, IBM actually has a vote. It also got Lenovo to move its global headquarters to the U.S. and accept an American CEO and 10,000 U.S. employees, which will have to change the way Lenovo runs its global business.

  • BBC News: Engineering the difference, by James Dyson (inventor of the Dyson vacuum cleaner). Excerpt: Thousands of other companies are doing what we were forced to do. From Doc Marten shoes and Hornby train sets, to Sony's high-tech electronics, they were all failing to make things competitively in their home markets and moved their production to China. This shift has led to a huge period of wealth creation. But it won't last. Why? China syndrome Because countries such as China have already mastered low-cost production. Now they are buying Western know-how - the joint venture between Shanghai Automotive and MG Rover, is primarily to secure rights to Rover's technology. Chinese companies are also copying Western styling. Their universities are churning out vast numbers of engineers and scientists. And they're good.

    They're taking on Western companies by snapping up Western brands. Today, a Chinese company bought IBM Personal Computers lock, stock and barrel. Manufacturing, management and the brand. Chinese corporations have bought Thomson and RCA televisions, Dirt Devil and Vax vacuum cleaners, Alcatel cellphones `and Dornier aircraft. To survive against them, we can't just rely on shallow styling. We need technology and design that they don't have. Our only chance for survival is better engineering. But to get engineering and manufacturing right in the future, we need to recognise our strengths and failings in the past. Manufacturing companies and entrepreneurs need to have their ideas here. Do the engineering here. Develop the technology here. Oversee the production from here. Plan the marketing and organise the selling here. Then the revenues return to this country.

  • Wall Street Journal: Will Chinese ThinkPads Still Seem Hip? By William M. Bulkeley and Charles Forelle. Excerpts: ThinkPad users aren't the only ones who might have reason to worry, analysts say. IBM also could lose prestige and some of its reputation as an innovator among corporate types who buy the company's other products if the jet-black laptop ceases to be the computer to be seen with in executive suites and business-class sections of airplanes. ... No longer being connected to such a widely noticed product could be bad for IBM's overall brand image, because much of what the company sells is out of the public eye. "If the name IBM is locked up in the [computer] server room and sits on all that [software] that I don't see, I think that the brand begins to lose the resonance that it has left," says Stephen Baker, director of industry analysis at NPD Group, a market-research firm. ... Bill Morrow, who runs the Florida-based Web site Thinkpads.com, which sells the machines and hosts a discussion forum, says their value to IBM is far broader than their sales. "CEOs buy these machines. CEOs put these machines on their desks," he says. "That logo is there in front of them at all these times. That's great advertising." And it's not just corporate chieftains who love their ThinkPads. Al Gore, Walter Cronkite and Bryant Gumbel are among celebrities who have been cited publicly as fans, IBM says. An ad campaign IBM ran last year featured such notable users as the founder of Cirque du Soleil, author Sylvia Nasar and Harvard Prof. Henry Louis Gates. If link is broken, view Adobe Acrobat version [PDF--36 KB].

  • Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC.
    • "ancientblueconsultant" comments on IBM's sale of its personal computer division. Full excerpt: Armonk is transitioning from being a technology company headquarters into a investment management firm. This is not the beginning of a downhill trend nor a good thing for consulting business. It is the beginning of the mediocre period where IBM will be managed like a flexible, "On Demand" (for disposal or acquisition) set of operating franchises. The sale of the PC operating franchise is the beginning of a growing pace of asset sales and acquisition to make IBM look like a real On Demand enterprise. The termination of the pension plans for new employees are the last HR step to design the employee into a disposable tool that goes along with the rest of the assets. In 5 years, all of the older folks will be gone and the liability will be history. The large multi-national will become a new type of life form, and humans are a lower form of life, subject to the whims of the borg as it continues to search for profit.

  • Washington Post: Temps Lose Bargaining Rights Won In 2000. NLRB Reverses Stand Along Party Lines. Excerpts: Temporary workers will no longer be able to bargain for job benefits as part of a unit with permanent employees, the National Labor Relations Board has ruled, reversing a Clinton-era precedent. In a 3 to 2 vote that was issued Friday, the three members appointed by President Bush -- Robert J. Battista, the chairman; Peter C. Schaumber and Ronald E. Meisburg -- said there is a difference between temporary and permanent workers. "Thus, the entity that the two groups of employees look to as their employer is not the same. No amount of legal legerdemain can alter that fact," their ruling stated. ... The new case is the latest of three major decisions overturned by the board this year by 3 to 2 votes. In June, the board ruled that employees in nonunion companies are no longer entitled to have a co-worker present when they are interviewed as part of a disciplinary investigation. In July, it ruled that graduate teaching assistants at universities are not employees, and therefore cannot organize. ... Labor experts and attorneys said they expect the labor board to continue to overturn Clinton-era decisions as its majority moves from Clinton appointees, who were thought to have a pro-labor bias, to Bush appointees, who are thought to have a pro-corporate bias, Panken said.

  • New York Times commentary, by Paul Krugman: Inventing a Crisis. Excerpts: Privatizing Social Security - replacing the current system, in whole or in part, with personal investment accounts - won't do anything to strengthen the system's finances. If anything, it will make things worse. Nonetheless, the politics of privatization depend crucially on convincing the public that the system is in imminent danger of collapse, that we must destroy Social Security in order to save it. ... But never mind: the same people who claim that Social Security isn't an independent entity when it runs surpluses also insist that late next decade, when the benefit payments start to exceed the payroll tax receipts, this will represent a crisis - you see, Social Security has its own dedicated financing, and therefore must stand on its own. There's no honest way anyone can hold both these positions, but very little about the privatizers' position is honest. They come to bury Social Security, not to save it. They aren't sincerely concerned about the possibility that the system will someday fail; they're disturbed by the system's historic success. For Social Security is a government program that works, a demonstration that a modest amount of taxing and spending can make people's lives better and more secure. And that's why the right wants to destroy it.

  • New York Times commentary, courtesy of LibertyPost.org: A False Start on Social Security. Excerpts: Even before the debate has truly begun over the centerpiece of President Bush's second-term domestic agenda - creating private retirement accounts within Social Security - White House and Congressional budget leaders have been floating the idea that it won't require a major increase in the federal budget deficit. This is dangerously misguided. Unwilling to raise taxes, Congress and the administration will have to borrow well over $1 trillion to turn the president's wish into reality. For a country that already needs to borrow $2 billion a day just to stay afloat, that gargantuan price tag for privatization is one reason it's a bad idea. It is far from the only reason, and arguably not even the main one. Yesterday, for instance, the president's top economist said privatization would very likely lead to major benefit cuts, which could be devastating for people who lost money in their private accounts. For now, however, the cost issue is moving to center stage in Washington. It is imperative to refute the suggestion that private accounts would somehow, magically, pay for themselves.

    To convince the public that those costs won't matter, privatization advocates are concocting a ruse something like this: Borrow, say, $2 trillion today to establish private accounts, with the expectation that they'll generate such tremendous personal savings that the government will be able to cut future Social Security benefits by an even larger amount and use the savings to erase the debt, plus interest, some 40 years down the line. By this sleight of hand, the money borrowed is not new debt, and there's no need to count it toward the deficit. Remember how Enron used off-the-books maneuvers to pretend it had no debt? Remember how well that worked out? For privatization advocates who have been stumped by how to pay for the transition to private accounts, this ploy has significant political advantages: creating the illusion that Social Security privatization entails no cost would bolster the case for privatization for an unwitting public. It would also give political cover to legislators and other policy makers who want to be on the president's team but may otherwise balk at the huge deficits that come with playing along.

  • New York Times: The Two Faces of China. Excerpts: Few business executives watch the growth of the Chinese economy as closely as Michael R. P. Smith, the chief executive of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. Yet even Mr. Smith was startled when his staff recently projected that in 2034, bank assets in China would surpass those in the United States. "When I saw that, I said, 'That can't be right,' and I went back to the economics guys," who confirmed the projection, Mr. Smith recalled. Much the same surprise is cropping up in industry after industry and in country after country. From steel to oil to cars to credit cards, China is poised to become the world's biggest producer and market for many goods and services. Along the way, China has come to terrify many foreign business executives and attract others - and sometimes both at the same time, depending on whether they see the country as a competitor, a cheap source of supply, a market, or all three.

    American imports from China exceed exports by more than five to one, as retailers like Wal-Mart Stores buy immense and growing quantities of goods from China. With as many people as the entire industrialized world combined, China has tens of millions of unskilled workers willing to work for less than $100 a month. During the Democratic primaries this year, Senator John Kerry repeatedly denounced "Benedict Arnold C.E.O.'s" who moved jobs overseas. Those statements drew strong objections from the business community, including Democratic business leaders, and Mr. Kerry's comments about trade were relatively tame during the general election campaign. Yet many corporate executives wonder how much longer a big American trade deficit and the moving of jobs overseas can persist without becoming the subject of strong protests by Americans who say that foreign workers are taking away their jobs "China kind of got a pass in this campaign; that may not always be the case," said Benjamin W. Heineman Jr., G.E.'s senior vice president for law and public affairs.

  • Washington Post: Bush Plans Tax Code Overhaul. Changes Would Favor Investment, Growth. Excerpt: Instead the administration plans to push major amendments that would shield interest, dividends and capitals gains from taxation, expand tax breaks for business investment and take other steps intended to simplify the system and encourage economic growth, according to several people who are advising the White House or are familiar with the deliberations. The changes are meant to be revenue-neutral. To pay for them, the administration is considering eliminating the deduction of state and local taxes on federal income tax returns and scrapping the business tax deduction for employer-provided health insurance, the advisers said.

  • WLNS TV News: Colgate-Palmolive Execs Get Perks Despite Cuts. Full excerpt: Even as Colgate-Palmolive announces job cuts, the consumer products maker has disclosed that many executives are given allowances to spend on anything from pet sitters to running shoes. The plan, called "Above and Beyond," is detailed in the company's quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The program has been in place since 1986 and covers 800 executives. Under the plan, executives and officers can ask for reimbursement for exercise equipment, instructional videos, grooming and boarding services for pets and veterinarian fees and visits. The allowances range from $11,500 yearly for top executives, down to $2,000 for more junior officers. The Associated Press came across the program while searching SEC filings. Colgate-Palmolive announced plans to cut 4,400 jobs and close one-third of its factories as part of a 4-year plan aimed at boosting its sales and profits.

  • New York Times: Unions Plan Big Drive for Better Pay at Nonunion Wal-Mart. Excerpt: The A.F.L.-C.I.O. and more than a half dozen unions are planning an unusual - and unusually expensive - campaign intended to pressure Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, to improve its wages and benefits. The campaign will be highly unusual because it will not, at least at first, focus on unionizing Wal-Mart workers, but will instead focus on telling Americans that Wal-Mart - with wages averaging between $9 and $10 an hour - is pulling down wages and benefits at companies across the nation. ...

Now on the Alliance@IBM Site:
  • IBM PC Division Employees Alert! Full excerpt:
    • PC Division Sold - Although virtually unknown in the United States, Lenovo, China's largest PC maker and the world's fastest growing one, has bought the IBM PC Division for $1.75 billion. The sale brings the end of an era in an industry that IBM helped invent.
    • What of the PC division employees? The impact on employees, their families and communities is still to be determined. Nearly 10,000 IBM employees will become Lenovo employees, doubling their workforce. In RTP alone there are an estimated 1900 PC division employees.
    • The fight for a voice in the workplace continues. The Alliance@IBM/CWA Local 1701 is deeply concerned about the impact that this sale will have on current IBM employees. We want to make it clear that we will not abandon our members or co-workers. We intend to keep organizing and representing employees as they move into Lenovo. In fact, we will actively pursue the formation of a new Alliance chapter at Lenovo. We encourage IBM PC division employees to contact us. Let us not be victims in this sale, but active participants in this transformation. Let us all do our part to ensure that the employee's voices are heard, as employees of IBM become employees of Lenovo.
    • Contact the Alliance@IBM/CWA Local 1701 via phone at 607-658-9285, fax us at 607-658-9283, email us at EndicottAlliance@stny.rr.com

  • RTP Alliance@IBM Newsletter Fall 2004 [PDF]. Included in the newsletter are these articles:
    • Cash Balance Class Action Lawsuit Update
    • Profile of a Successful IBM Career
    • Conference On Non-Majority Unions
    • PBC Survey Asks: Does It Work? Is It Fair?
    • PBC: How Does It Work?

  • American Rights at Work: Litany of NLRB Decisions Strip Workers of Protection in Union Organizing. Excerpt: A recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), announced last Friday, makes it more difficult for workers to receive legal protection from employer threats. Reversing a 2000 decision, the Bush-appointed NLRB members ruled that employees must provide evidence that an employer spread a threat of plant closing among its employees for the purpose of overturning union election results. According to the dissenting NLRB members, “Since the 1950s, at least, the Board rightly has recognized that when an employer threatens to close a plant if the union wins a representation election, the threat very likely will make the rounds of the workplace. It is, after all, an extraordinarily powerful message, for it implies the end of every employee’s job.” "This rapid erosion of labor law is leaving workers in America more vulnerable than ever," says David Bonior, Chair of American Rights at Work, a new workers' rights advocacy organization. “Workers who stand up for themselves are now in double jeopardy—attacked by their employer and abandoned by the very agency created to protect them.”
Coverage on H1-B and L1 Visa and Off-Shoring Issues
  • WashTech: Honeywell’s Secret Five Year Globalization Plan Exposed. Excerpt: Honeywell International Inc. is planning to move 5,000 aerospace division jobs offshore over the next five years, according to internal documents that outline the company’s global development strategy. The documents, titled, “Strategies In-Place to Enable 5-Year Plan,” detail key Honeywell priorities, including establishing avionics manufacturing in Brno, Czech Republic, outsourcing selected manufacturing, reducing high-cost staff and increasing the use of technical capabilities at international locations based in Mexico, India and the Czech Republic.
Grand Avenue, by Steve Breen:


"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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