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    Highlights—June 11 , 2005
  • Cooper v. IBM Proposed Settlement for Subclasses 1 and 2. Excerpts: This site contains information regarding the proposed settlement of the claims of members of Subclasses 1 and 2 in the lawsuit entitled Cooper v. IBM Corporation and IBM Personal Pension Plan. This site provides the following information:
    • Important Dates;
    • The Notice approved by the court and sent to eligible class members of Subclasses 1 and 2 describing the proposed Settlement;
    • The Settlement Agreement;
    • Frequently Asked Questions regarding the case and the Settlement;
    • Other Important Contact Information. [...]
    The content of this Web site has been approved by IBM and the counsel for Subclasses 1 and 2.
  • Boulder Daily Camera: Attorneys sue IBM, claiming age bias. Firm will meet with ex-employees Saturday in Boulder. By Alicia Wallace. Excerpts: ttorneys from an East Coast law firm that has filed an age-discrimination suit against IBM Corp. are planning to meet with plaintiffs and interested individuals in Boulder on Saturday. The meeting follows a recent decision by a U.S. appeals court that reinstated a 3-year-old age-bias claim against the Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM, said Jeff Young, an attorney from McTeague Higbee & Case, the firm visiting Boulder. On May 3, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that IBM can't prevent Dale Thomforde, a 53-year-old former employee in Rochester, Minn., from suing the company for age-discrimination. A termination agreement he signed lacked clarity regarding whether he could sue under the Age Discrimination Employment Act, circuit judge David Hansen wrote.
  • Boulder Daily Camera: About 225 nationwide have filed over alleged age discrimination. By Vanessa Miller. Excerpts: "There is no one thing that proves there was disparate treatment," said Jeff Young, an attorney with McTeague, Higbee, Case, Cohen, Whitney & Toker, P.C., the law firm that filed the suit. "But if you look at the whole picture, we think a judge could conclude that IBM showed ageism." The suit, representing former employees of the Armonk, N.Y.-based organization, was filed Oct. 7, 2003, against the company for violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Concerns are based on data, which attorneys and former employees say show that IBM has terminated thousands of long-term workers older than 40 while continuing to recruit and hire young college graduates. [...]
    Attorneys said Saturday that in addition to statistical proof they have regarding IBM's discrimination, other supporting indicators include the savings IBM collects for terminating workers before they reach the next step in their retirement plan; age-based statements by managers; a refusal to re-hire or transfer employees who have been laid off; and termination of employees who have a history of superior performance. McTeague said there are several ways a former employee could benefit by joining the suit including reinstatement, back pay, liquidated damages and lost future earnings. Any former employee notified of a layoff on or after July 7, 2001, and before May 4, 2005, is eligible to join the suit. They must have been older than 40 at the time they were notified.
  • "Layoffs happening in Canada this week" by "icapture2000". Excerpt: As mentioned 06/06. FYI - a lot of staff got emails from their managers to attend special meeting with another manager from another dept. to discuss special project. In fact it is about their pink slip. This is occurring as we speak. Be warned!
  • Yahoo! message board posting: "Call for Action from the Pension Rights Center" by Janet Krueger. Full excerpt: Hi everyone. The pension industry is out in force pushing their proposals, a number which would result in even more broken pension promises! For example, on Tuesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee invited witnesses to talk both about why they thought cash balance plans should be legalized, and also why Congress should authorize benefit cutbacks in certain underfunded "union" plans. (These are multiemployer plans negotiated by unions with groups of employers). If you are interested, you might want to take a look at some of the statements at http://help.senate.gov/bills/pen_92_bill.html.
    At the same time on Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee heard witnesses talk about underfunding of pension plans in the airline industry. Although the focus was on increasing retirement security, there is a concern that some of the proposals under consideration could result in reduced benefits for employees and encourage more companies to terminate their plans. http://finance.senate.gov/sitepages/hearing060705.htm. You can get a glimpse of the hearing, and see our own Karen Friedman in this video of a NewsHour with Jim Lehrer segment that aired Tuesday night.
    That brings us to today. There was a hearing about underfunding of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation convened by the House Budget Committee at 9:30 this morning. http://www.house.gov/budget/ And, finally, at 10:00 this morning, Congressman John Boehner, Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a press conference announcing the bill we mentioned in an earlier listserv message, "The Pension Protection Act of 2005" (H.R. 2830). A summary, named Bohner cash balance bill summary 6-9-05.doc, is posted on the FILES area of this board. It looks as if it would:
    • permit financially troubled union plans to dramatically cut benefits,
    • significantly reduce the dollar amounts of lump sum pension payouts, and
    • allow mutual funds and other financial institutions that invest employees' 401(k) money to give the employees advice about their own products - an irresistible invitation to conflicts of interest.
    And there is more (including some potentially helpful disclosure provisions). Legislative language for this bill is posted at http://edworkforce.gov.
    In addition, Congressman Boehner announced that he is also introducing a separate bill that will legalize cash balance plans. A summary of this Pension Preservation & Portability Act named Boehner PensionProtectionAct 6-9-05.pdf is posted on the FILES area of this board. Letters should be going into Congress now to tell them that any legislation that addresses cash balance issues MUST protect the reasonable expectations of older workers -- or the legislation will not be acceptable.
    Ryan Williams
    PensionAction Coordinator
    Pension Rights Center
  • "omikey2" comments on the the statements in http://help.senate.gov/bills/pen_92_bill.html. Full excerpt: I read a lot of the statements posted there...makes me ill when I read it. So, in simple terms they propose, if a plan becomes underfunded, Dear Sirs: Please allow us to govern ourselves. If you will allow us to impose increased contributions to the plan (and we'll define what that level should be), and don't tax us on it (even if we want to overfund it by up to $140%) AND allow us to REDUCE EARNED BENIFITS, we promise to bring the plan to full funded status within 10 years!!!! And if it doesn't well then we can just announce another reorg to the plan and try it again. Then my lil mind says...... I'm sure if they are allowed to self govern, I'm sure they can lower the earned benefits and accrual rates to such a level to bring any plan into full funded status...regardless of how much it's under funded...HEIVES !!!!!!!!!!
  • Yahoo message board: "Re: Salary increase?" by "agvetsch2000". Excerpt: Well here you go. Those of us still here at IBM can now join our Spirit advocate in raising the bar for IBM morale. The fallowing is note sent by a member of upper management.
    IBM has long been recognized as one of the truly great companies to work for, and we know that maintaining this status is important to our long-term success. This means doing the things it takes to stay on top, such as investing in you, our most valuable asset. To get the ball rolling, IGS-Americas recently launched the SPIRIT Initiative, with Lois Brown-Saint Surin serving as the new director of employee satisfaction. With the formation of the SPIRIT Center of Excellence, Lois and her team will work closely with us to focus on sharing best practices from IBM and other companies in order to help us address our key employee satisfaction issues. For Technical Support, the SPIRIT Advocate community has been selected, and I have appointed Carol Lynn Miller, as our Lead SPIRIT Advocate. Carol Lynn will be coordinating our efforts to ensure we are tuned-in to, and acting on, the most important issues. I strongly believe in the connection between employee satisfaction and business success, which is why I want to see our organization embrace this initiative...and this is where you come in. If you are interested in playing an active role in bringing about change – to drive new programs and initiatives that can make a difference - send a note to your unit’s SPIRIT Advocate, copying your manager.
    • "bits_bytes_and_bugs" comments. Full excerpt: I wish this were a joke, but it merely shows how clueless the executive ranks are. Of course first and second line managers as well as employees know the many causes of the poor morale. No amount of positive mental attitude and cheerleading will overcome the major deficiencies in the manner in which IBM treats its employees. I had the privilege of watching a teleconference featuring Ms. Lois Brown-Saint Surin re the SPIRIT initiative. Thank God I wasn't there in person, it was all I could do to keep from throwing up. All this program does is attempt to raise the morale without actually committing to and paying for the reform that really is necessary. Something akin to the site that in response to "morale problems" decided to put in a pair of Foosball and table tennis tables. Yes, that will truly do it <said with sarcasm thicker than molasses in January in Maine>.
  • New York Times: Pension Loopholes Helped United Hide Troubles. By Mary Williams Walsh. Excerpts: Loopholes in the federal pension law allowed United Airlines to treat its pension fund as solid for years, when in fact it was dangerously weakening, according to a new analysis by the agency that guarantees pensions. That analysis is scheduled to be presented at a Senate Finance Committee hearing today. A second report, by the comptroller general, found that most companies that operate pension funds are using the same loopholes. Those loopholes give companies ways - all perfectly legal - to make their pension plans look healthier than they really are, reducing the amount of money the companies must contribute. [...] The trouble is that at United, as at many companies, money contributed in the 1990's was invested in assets that lost value during the bear market that began in 2000. But the pension rules allow companies not only to keep their pension credit balances on the books at the original amount, but they are even permitted to allow their credit balances to compound in value at some interest rate determined by the plan's actuary. When United's calculations finally began to show that contributions were quickly needed, in 2003, the airline was able to satisfy the requirement with just a small amount of cash and lots of bookkeeping entries from its credit balance. Senator Grassley said he believed many companies were "booking phony investment gains to hide that workers' pensions are going down the tubes."
  • Workforce Management: Core Values, Devalued. Excerpt: Imagine a workforce that's wholly committed to a set of values that constrains their behavior, but leaves executives free to do as they please. By E. L. Kersten. Excerpts: Why aren’t employees happy? It’s a question organizations constantly face and try to address, in part, through motivational programs and books. In the view of E.L. Kersten, such efforts are wasted and only compound the problem of employee dissatisfaction. In his radical new book, The Art of Demotivation, Kersten offers his vision of a new workplace, powered not by self-confident and empowered employees but by workers who have been "radically demotivated." In this excerpt, Kersten explains that a first step is the creation of a collusive relationship with employees, "one that systematically suppresses acknowledgment of the dynamics that violate the relationship in order to maintain the relationship." The beginning of that collusive relationship is a very special set of core values.
  • New York Times: The Bush Economy. Excerpts: With all of the debate about taxes, the economy and domestic spending, it is hard to imagine anyone supporting the notion of taking money from programs like Medicaid and college-tuition assistance, increasing the tax burden of the vast majority of working Americans, sending the country into crushing debt - and giving the proceeds to people who are so fantastically rich that they don't know what to do with the money they already have. Yet that is just what is happening under the Bush administration. Forget the middle class and the upper-middle class. Even the merely wealthy are being left behind in the dust by the small slice of super-rich Americans. In last Sunday's Times, David Cay Johnston reported that from 1980 to 2002, the latest year of available data, the share of total income earned by the top 0.1 percent of earners more than doubled, while the share earned by everyone else in the top 10 percent rose far less. The share of the bottom 90 percent declined. [...]
    Which brings us back to the super wealthy and the merely rich. The divide between rich and poor is unfortunately an old story, but income-class warfare among the top 20 percent of the scale is a newer phenomenon. One cause is that the further up the scale one goes, the more of one's income comes from investments, which under the Bush tax cuts enjoy about the lowest rates in the tax code. But many families making between $100,000 and $200,000 are not exactly on easy street. They don't face choices anywhere near as stark as those encountered further down the income ladder, but they face serious tradeoffs not experienced by the uppermost crust, particularly when hit with the triple whammy of college for the children, care for aging parents and preparing for their own retirement.
    There is something deeply wrong about a system that calls into question a comfortable retirement or a top-notch education for people who have broken into the top 20 percent of income earners. It starts to seem politically explosive when you consider that in a decade, those making between $100,000 and $200,000 will pay about five to nine percentage points more of their income in federal taxes than those making more than $1 million, assuming the Bush tax cuts are made permanent. This is not about giving wealthy people more money to invest back into the economy. At this level, it's really about giving more money to those who have nothing to do with it except amass enormous estates for their heirs. Fixing the problem will require members of Congress to summon the courage to say no to a president who wants more for the richest of the rich at the expense of everyone else. We're not holding our breath.
  • New York Times. Losing Our Country. By Paul Krugman. Excerpts: Baby boomers like me grew up in a relatively equal society. In the 1960's America was a place in which very few people were extremely wealthy, many blue-collar workers earned wages that placed them comfortably in the middle class, and working families could expect steadily rising living standards and a reasonable degree of economic security. But as The Times's series on class in America reminds us, that was another country. The middle-class society I grew up in no longer exists. Working families have seen little if any progress over the past 30 years. Adjusted for inflation, the income of the median family doubled between 1947 and 1973. But it rose only 22 percent from 1973 to 2003, and much of that gain was the result of wives' entering the paid labor force or working longer hours, not rising wages. Meanwhile, economic security is a thing of the past: year-to-year fluctuations in the incomes of working families are far larger than they were a generation ago. All it takes is a bit of bad luck in employment or health to plunge a family that seems solidly middle-class into poverty. But the wealthy have done very well indeed. Since 1973 the average income of the top 1 percent of Americans has doubled, and the income of the top 0.1 percent has tripled.
    Since 1980 in particular, U.S. government policies have consistently favored the wealthy at the expense of working families - and under the current administration, that favoritism has become extreme and relentless. From tax cuts that favor the rich to bankruptcy "reform" that punishes the unlucky, almost every domestic policy seems intended to accelerate our march back to the robber baron era. It's not a pretty picture - which is why right-wing partisans try so hard to discredit anyone who tries to explain to the public what's going on. These partisans rely in part on obfuscation: shaping, slicing and selectively presenting data in an attempt to mislead. For example, it's a plain fact that the Bush tax cuts heavily favor the rich, especially those who derive most of their income from inherited wealth. Yet this year's Economic Report of the President, in a bravura demonstration of how to lie with statistics, claimed that the cuts "increased the overall progressivity of the federal tax system." The partisans also rely in part on scare tactics, insisting that any attempt to limit inequality would undermine economic incentives and reduce all of us to shared misery. That claim ignores the fact of U.S. economic success after World War II. It also ignores the lesson we should have learned from recent corporate scandals: sometimes the prospect of great wealth for those who succeed provides an incentive not for high performance, but for fraud.

Vault Message Board Posts
Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC. Some of this week's posts follow.
  • "You have to love this one!" by "Joe Dirt". Full excerpt: As Ginni Rometty has stated in her 2Q address, BCS is taking action to recapture momentum and get our business back on track. Across the company, individuals and teams are committing themselves to making the necessary changes to put us in a position to deliver on our promises. To drive revenue and profit during this critical time, we are asking for your assistance in the area of scheduled time off, as follows:
    • If you are currently engaged in billable work, and currently do not have scheduled vacation time in June, please be aware that we will not be able to accommodate any requested time off, except for exceptional circumstances.
    • If you are not engaged in billable work, and are currently on the bench, we encourage you to take vacation at this time.
    • If you have previously scheduled vacation in June, and you are currently engaged in billable work, we'd ask for your consideration in rescheduling your time-off for 3Q.
    This is a voluntary request, and without question, may or may not be difficult to execute on given the time of the year. That said, we appreciate your understanding and support as we pull together – all of us – to make sure we meet our goals in second quarter. I hope you can help, and urge you to do so. Please know that we appreciate all that you're doing to personally help to make second quarter a breakout one for BCS.
  • "What she didn't say" by "no_longer_blue_or_bitter". Full excerpt: Notice the lack of reference to: 1 - the approach to generating more revenue; 2 - how this personally benefits employees (you get to keep your job?); 3 - the vision beyond June. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
  • "Leave the Sales People Alone" by "Frank_Reality". Full excerpt: I thought the article on W3 essentially telling the rest of us to not bother the sales people was equally as cute.
  • "...is too, strategy..." by "CONsulting_2_long". Full excerpt: When you are nothing more than a glorified sales manager, the whole world can be distilled down to quota, leads, wins, bill. Nothing more complicated than that. If you want strategic leadership, don't look in BCS.
  • "Regime Change at BCS needed" by "howard stern". Excerpt: Ginni's note ones again reiterates the absolute lack of vision and strategy at BCS. The approach seems to be "do whatever it takes" to hit the 2Q numbers even if the actions are short term and not sustainable. The question begs to be asked - "What happens in Q3?" What happens in Q4?" Based on the short term thinking and apparent lack of strategy of BCS leadership we should anticipate more short term, cook the book solutions rather than real leadership. The problem with BCS is that the overhead is so high and the budget goals so unrealistic failure is almost a certainty. Why does a project with a 32% GP not make money? Those kind of economics are simply insane. So it is time for Regime Change at BCS. This crew has failed to lead and basically has done nothing to address the BCS "death spiral". GR, MC - time for you to go. Along with DS and his embarrassingly short sighted e-mails.
  • "Just Got My Call" by "redhead_stepchild". Excerpt: Am I late getting my phone call? I just got mine today and found out that I am getting 0 raise and no promotion either!! Something about being at the midpoint and anyone at the midpoint or above didn't get a raise. So, my question is: how did they determine what the midpoint is and what were the qualifications from being above or below the midpoint? After the crappy bonus, I was expecting at least some kind of raise. This just furthers my feelings of being a red-headed stepchild at IBM. I hardly ever see any Partners. I used to see them all the time at PwC, they would wine and dine us. I only see or talk to my manager once a year when I get the raise call. I just feel very unappreciated. I have been billable for 5 years straight. I had the highest utilization out of all the people under my Manager, and I am a Lead on a 6.5 mil project for over 2 years, with absolutely no help from IBM. And I'm still a Band 7!!! I'm getting screwed, no matter which way you spin it.
  • "Of grain and oxen" by "Marking Time". Excerpts: The current incentive plan has resulted in a huge disincentive for the rank and file consultants. Here’s a prophecy: hundreds will choose to leave creating severe problems on most of our current projects. This will become more and more of a crisis in the short-term and needs to be addressed. The only mitigation I can see is to hire more subcontractors to deliver technology services. For management and strategy consulting it’s going to be a lot tougher to mitigate the attrition that’s bound to occur. There are a lot of high performing IBM people that are highly dissatisfied with their raises and bonuses compared to their peers in the industry. This is true across the board, be they technical consultants or management consultants. Some of this dissatisfaction is expressed to the customers. While I will not defend that since they should not be taking compensation complaints to the customers, some do. This only serves to make the customers unhappy with IBM especially where there are multiple service providers. People being people sizes are getting compared and in many cases the IBM people are getting far less than similarly performing peers. [...] Delivery is accomplished from the bottom up. IBM determines incentives from the top down and with a sieve so fine that very little trickles down. Performance based incentives awarded from the bottom up would improve morale immensely but IBM will likely not consider such a plan. Of course the details would differ for each business unit and could even be tailored at the project level if APs could be given that level of autonomy. But that is highly unlikely given IBM's culture.
  • "2001/2002/2003/2004" by "Joe Dirt". Full excerpt: 2001: PBC 2, Utilization 97%, Raise 0%, Bonus 8%; 2002: PBC 2, Utilization 105%,
    Raise 0%, Bonus 10%; 2003: PBC 2, Utilization 110%, Raise 0%, Bonus 0%; 2004: PBC 1, Utilization 108%, Raise 3.5%, Bonus 3%. Too close to vesting for pension unless I find a really good offer so holding tight for 8 more months and then planning on moving out.
  • "Really?" by "pork". Full excerpt: Dirt- Over the last 3 years you are averaging 108% utilization? That's billing over 2100 hours per year. Are you kidding? Have you seen your family, the sun or a beach in the last 3 years? Taken a training class or attended a conference? After 2001 and 2002 why keep working like a dog for no reward.
  • "not common, but not unusual either" by "SubStdDeviation". Full excerpt: In my practice area, probably 20% of resources have over 100% utilization consistently for the past 3 years. Myself included. The other 80% are not struggling to hit the 84% target. In my experience it's not that hard to do when you travel 100%. Break it down like this:
    • Monday: travel in the morning then work until 8pm, let's say 8 hours billed.
    • Tuesday and Wednesday: 8-8 each day, 24 hours billed.
    • Thursday: 8-4, travel home in the evening for 8 hours billed.
    • Friday: work a half day, 7-12 for 5 hours billed.
    Week total is 45 hours. If you do this every week of the year, taking two weeks off for vacation, no time off for training (yeah I know), and all the normal holidays....you're going to be +100% utilization. The 12 hour days when on the road are pretty common, and in fact I don't mind doing it, it's just part of the consulting lifestyle. I know its not just an IBM thing, several friends work at ACN and Deloitte and they do the same thing.
  • "Re: Home Depot" by "ibmmike2006". Excerpt: The reason you are having to work at Home Depot is because IBM had you on a program to leave before you maximized your defined benefit pension that usually takes place in late 50's or early 60's. Had IBM
    allowed you to retire then, you would not have to "work from cradle to grave". You might feel comfortable to know that your deferred 30 year compensation earmarked for you when you were in your 60's went to fund the Non-qualified SERP IBM Executive Retirement pension fund. Gerstner increased the SERP 800% in 2000 so he could retire with $1 million dollars a year pension for life. Sam Palmisano will more than likely retire with $8,125,000 annual pension when he turns 60 in about 5 years. I am sure Sam appreciates your contribution from your DB monies to the SERP.

Coverage on Social Security Privatization
  • Gannett News Service, courtesy of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger: Social Security's importance growing. By Brian Tumulty. Excerpt: The risk of outliving your money is on the rise. Blame it on the creeping increase in longevity. The average life expectancy in the United States was up to 77.4 years in 2002, up from 77.2 the year before. At the same time, more than 41 percent of American families do not have retirement savings, according to the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute. That means the monthly income guarantee from Social Security has become increasingly important at a time when President Bush is suggesting a reduction in future benefits to address the long-term funding shortfall. [...] Ominously, a growing number of major American corporations are pulling the plug on traditional pensions, from United Airlines to US Airways, Sears, and IBM. Sears will curtail new benefits under its traditional pension plan after December for employees age 40 and older, offering them a more generous employer match in the 401(k) savings plan. Back in January, Sears cut off pension eligibility to younger employers and new hires, offering them the 401(k) instead. Likewise, IBM has been offering new hires only a 401(k) since Jan. 1 and not offering them enrollment in its controversial cash balance pension plan that is embroiled in a federal age discrimination lawsuit.
  • Los Angeles Times: "Longevity Crisis? Kill Grandma." By Barbara Ehrenreich. Excerpts: A specter is stalking the Western world, and it looks a lot like Grandma. As President Bush has repeatedly put it, the problem with Social Security is that "baby boomers will be living longer." Not "too" long, he's careful to say, but long enough to create a fiscal catastrophe. And it's not just Social Security. Medicare, as well as any company rash enough to have offered pensions, may eventually sink under the weight of its obligations to the elderly. A welfare state designed in the era of bacon, eggs and Lucky Strikes cannot expect to survive in an age of "active seniors" who wash down their Viagra with soy milk and think a six-pack is something you get at the gym. So far, the policymakers' response has been to gut the welfare state before the greedy geezers can plunder it. For example, the Bush administration has achieved deep cuts in Medicaid, which supports many of the middle class in their post-golden nursing home years, and it continues to fight for the evisceration of Social Security. [...]
    It would take courage for a president to promote a consistently pro-death outlook. Some Christian spokesmen will fret that we are on the slippery slope to euthanasia, although they have never complained about torture or war. Nevertheless, it might be tactful to frame the new stance as a way of encouraging turnover — as at Wal-Mart, where 40% of employees leave every year — rather than death. Get born, get into the crucial 18-to-35-year-old consumer demographic, and have the good sense to get out before you've overstayed your welcome. And it would take genuine heroism to confront baby boomers with the question usually addressed to 18-year-old grunts: Are you willing to die for your country? Like maybe right now? Because that's what they want from us, folks, unless we can come up with a better idea.
  • The Century Foundation: Blaming the Boomers. By Richard C. Leone. Excerpts: The current Social Security debate is filled with ideologically derived premises that seem to make little economic or factual sense but are great political slogans. One of my favorites is that, with the retirement of the huge baby boomer generation, we just "won't be able to afford the program any more." A quick check of the history of the program, however, reminds us that we used to have quite different ideas about what was possible in America. When Franklin Roosevelt launched Social Security the nation was deep in the Great Depression, our worst economic crisis ever. Roosevelt didn't look at the sorry state of the economy, at an unemployment rate of 25 percent, and say we cannot afford to create a program to provide security for the elderly. He didn't promise that we would take action some day in the future, after workers had all accumulated large returns in on private accounts invested in the stock market (which might have sounded a bit silly, anyway, in the 1930s). He just did it. Indeed it was the market collapse and the subsequent drop in employment and national income that taught him and people in general that some sort of social insurance program was a necessary safety net for most workers. The effects of the Depression lingered when, in 1941, the United States became involved in the greatest war in history. But Social Security's promises were not abandoned because of the overwhelming demands of World War II, financial and otherwise. In fact, the program was expanded. [...]
    So what has happened to make Social Security unaffordable? The problem can't be the simple ratio of workers to non-workers. When one calculates the total number of people per worker—including children and the elderly—it turns out the ratio was greater in the 1960s than it is today. Yet I don't think the sixties are generally thought of as a time of economic deprivation. Looking into the future, the ratio of workers to non-workers hardly changes: from a total of 170 people who today depend on the output of every 100 workers, the number is projected to rise no higher than 178 at the peak of baby boomer retirement. Is this what we cannot afford? Furthermore, average incomes which have more than doubled in inflation adjusted dollars since 1960 are expected to grow by another 50 percent by mid-century. Finally, consider the fact that while the boomers came into the world with nothing, they will leave a great deal behind. Besides the obvious trillions in inheritances, they have built, invented, and contributed vast amounts to the national economy. We are a richer people than we were in Franklin Roosevelt's time, and richer, too, than we were during the childhood of the boomers. The question then is not whether we can afford to keep Social Security in the future; it is whether we still believe in the idea that Americans, boomers included, have the right to a dignified old age.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site:
  • Alliance@IBM: Attention IBM employees: IBM is blocking e-mail to and from the Alliance@IBM e-mail address endicottalliance@stny.rr.com from inside the company. Please send your job cut information and other correspondence from your home e-mail. You can also contact us the following ways: Phone 607 658 9285 or Fax 607 658 9283.
  • IBM Pension Lawsuit FAQ about Cooper v IBM, Updated 6-2-05. Excerpt: Below is a list of frequently asked questions about the class action lawsuit against IBM's 1995 and 1999 pension plans. The answers are my personal opinions, have not been verified with either IBM or plaintiffs’ counsel, and should not be construed as legal advice. On July 31, 2003, a federal district court judge ruled in favor of the employees in this case. IBM will appeal portions of the ruling. On September 28, 2004, IBM and the legal team on Cooper v IBM announced that an agreement had been negotiated that settles some of the claims and set the amount of damages that IBM will pay to the class if IBM's appeal of the district court's age discrimination rulings is unsuccessful. Click on any question to jump to the answer. Or scroll down and read them all.
  • Resource Action Tool Kit. Along with the CWA Job Survival Kit, here are some resources you can use when challenging or questioning a company policy, procedure or practice.
    • Reduction in Workforce actions (RIF)...
    • Escalations, Appeals and Skip level meetings...
    • Implied contracts vs. Employees at Will...
    • In General...
  • Job Cuts Status & Comments Page. Excerpts: Job cuts are coming. Information needed: What is Your location? How many job cuts at your location? What locations are cutting jobs? Name of Division and Business Unit? Some sample submissions follow:
    • Confirmed: Wednesday 6/8/05 is hatchet day for SWG. Everyone please wear your black and blue. Local news has been contacted to publicize the layoffs. Managers who are trying to get ahead are putting a pretty spin on the cuts. Thankfully this management population is in decline. Many managers are fed up with corporate and are no longer pitching their crap. Tide maybe turning.
    • I've been able to determine that 20 individuals in the IGS BIE have been laid off. This is not a complete number but it appears to be about 1/3 of the BIE population. Managers have been told not to disclose how many employees they lost.
    • I got hit tuesday 5/31. E&TS. Division was supposed to do $155M in bookings this qtr, currently (as of today) at $66M. I'm hearing LOTS of stories about people with good reviews and even promotions getting cut, about R&D getting slashed, anything remotely associated with chips or manufacturing is on the chopping block either now or soon, etc....Yuck. Sam Palmisano is an A-HOLE. I don't have a final count, but I believe at least 50 people got hit in STG.
    • 6/8 is D Day in SWG - Lots of somber faces in Lotus division in Cambridge/Westford/N. Reading MA area.
    • Toronto Lab @ 8200 Warden Ave to cut over 100 R & D jobs on June 8th starting at 10am... This is on top of roughly 50 others that have quietly disappeared over the past few months. The target quota set for 15%. Some jobs offshore to India and China
    • We here in Endicott Printers, are on pins and needles waiting to hear our fate. The word is that it is going to be worse than anyone anticipated. Not our local management, but the higher corporate Witches keep postponing our 'D-Day'. It shows how much lack of respect they have for us here in Endicott....New word is that we will hear within 2 weeks. This is a terrible way to treat people.
    • I am a little annoyed when there are base pay reviews going on today. Some people are getting pay raises while others are getting laid off.... Does this make sense?
    • Lay-offs started in AMS Canada today 8th June; not allowed to look for other positions within IBM even though I could fulfil many of those vacancies advertised on the IBM internal and external jobsites. Manager would not divulge who else or why or how many others (got good rating, 20% bonus and team award last year; reward for hard work and loyalty?).
    • Zero communications out from UK senior management on whether or not voluntary figures have been achieved. Rumour mill has the take up as low! Morale is lowest I've ever seen in 20+ IBM years. Time for Sam to go - we need real leadership.
    • There were layoffs supposed to occur in GeT today. It seems they have been postponed for at least a day with no reason given. I was told that it was most likely due to the volume and the managers could not get the packages all printed.
    • Here are the drive-by firings I know about: - 33 out of 174 SDMs (Service Delivery Managers, customer interface) including 1 woman who just returned from maternity leave. - 4 AVMs (Availability Managers who approve system changes, drive problem analysis) - 4 Duty Managers who manage Sev1 outages, get right support teams involved. - 6 AIX sysadmins in Southbury for web hosting, contractors - 2 AIX sysadmins in Pok supporting STG (mainframe), contractors - 1 Linux sysadmin in Pok supporting office workstations, contractor - 1 Lotus sysadmin in Pok helping w/ user problems - 2 Lotus server admins in Pok.
      Also heard 100 programmers in Raleigh lost jobs outsourced to India. Contractors now have to take 2 weeks vacation per quarter for 2005. Rumor that IBM wants to achieve the following workforce mix: - 25% IBMers; - 25% contractors; - 25% LTS (long-term supplemental) sort of adjunct IBMers for 3-4 years, at end of term. IBM must hire them on full-time or fire them; - 25% outsourced.
    • IBM: I'VE BEEN MUGGED! Robbed of my income and full severance pay. I was selected for resource action in May shortly after completing a critical project that saved IBM "big" $$$$. For years I have been a top performer with a history of several major awards for excellence. I am 55 with enough years of service to retire. Could this be age discrimination and a planned assault on older employees?
    • The layoffs in Get started at 9:00 am eastern sharp. In addition to fair number of remote employees Folks at the MA, NH, TX and NC campuses are being let go. It looks like the total will be well over 100
    • Demand redeployment resources from your manager and HR. Demand retraining internal resources from your manager and HR. Some employees are allowed to look for jobs, others aren't. Everyone getting a formal Resource Action Notice should apply for an Executive Interview and file an Internal Appeal today. -
    • Markham Canada got hit yesterday (June 8th). We (in IGS TS) all were told at 10am. No real count of how many, most didn't realize it wasn't just them. I didn't either until I saw people with the same white plastic bags for my personal belongings.
    • Local newspaper reports 80 people were involved in the June layoffs at the Boulder site. Internal mid-level management discussions seem to indicate the real number was somewhat higher. 30 days given to find another internal job
    • Canadians are taking a beating too, with layoffs hitting all the major offices. Layoffs hitting accounting, r&d, support as well as IGS. Numbers are rising and could be in the multiple hundreds before the week is up.
    • I got the boot yesterday. I was in IGS Canada Application Processing. I knew something was up because one of the girl's I work with all of a sudden started quizzing me on some of the procedures I do and the boss was barely speaking to me. I grabbed the separation package and left without listening to any BS of why I was being let go
    • Ten employees from Reso Facilities Dept in Austin Texas received their (IREA) IBM Real Estate Resource Action packages on Tuesday 05/31. Last work day is 06/30. Eight were retirement candidates.
    • I've been laid off. My manager told me just a few minutes after arriving today. I'm in SWG at Silicon Valley Lab in California. Not given exact total # of layoffs by manager, but told "enough employees being laid off that the WARN act applies." I think that means at least 50 up to 500 people have been laid off today if I understand the law correctly.
    • Re: the IGS AMS layoffs announced 5/31, I've heard of at least 5-10 people being given the '30 days to find a job' layoff, and some are even project managers, who are supposed to be so 'important' to IBM.
    • I was informed this morning, June 9, that I'm one of four business development representatives in my department in AIM division of SWG whose job is being cut and have until July 11 to either find another job or retire early from IBM with 28 years of service. My severance pay offer, if I sign a release, is 26 weeks salary. Being forced to retire early, before reaching 30 years of service, is costing me at least $500 per month in retirement pay. If there is any class legal action in progress or contemplated by current/recent IBM employees, who are being or were forced to retire early without a bridge to 30 years of service, even though they would have been eligible for full retirement in less than five years, I'd like to hear about it.
    • I heard that 20% of Paul Scorza's organization is cut, that's IGS AMS group, it's in Southbury Ct.
    • Heard/saw layoffs happening at several locations in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) yesterday...rumor has it 400 total; not sure if this is GTA or all of Canada....
    • SWG Worldwide HQ hits today - resource actions
    • Got laid off, access card taken right away as well as connectivity to all IBM systems. Lost any opportunity to print off own records of education, appraisals, team award letters, letters of thanks from happy clients. It's like I never existed there
    • Anyone notifying the media? How does one do so? Editors note: Yes the media has been notified. One thing that grabs their attention is CONFIRMED numbers of job cuts. That is why we encourage employees to send us the Resource Action packages. All those employees cut, should also be contacting their local media. This puts pressure on IBM to respond.
    • Software Group OWBPA (federally required age and title report) shows 682 terminated 6/9
    • IGS BTE know of at least 10 others resourced within same area in the building- I am seasoned and have 23.5 yrs with the "Thunk" company. -
    • 4 to 6 developers cut from 45 member SWG development team in Boca Raton, FL.
    • Ok. 4 are gone from my unit in IBM Canada. 2,000 will be cut by end of summer. 400 were eliminated on Wednesday and some more today June 9,2005. The slaughter has calmed down. The next wave in Canada will be (as per the grapevine) the 25 and up years of service folks. The door they will get. IBM is thanking them for the loyalty with the boot. 4 of my colleagues are presently training 4 fellow India IBMers to understand what to do and then they will take the job and the account to India. Celestica and another account (Templeton) are being outsourced to IBM India. What are we waiting for to organize? Brothers and sisters, lets raise all together.
    • Got laid off. I still have full connectivity & full access to my workplace, for what that's worth. Not sure how many got hit because I left soon after. My resource action package doesn't have specifics about my site, just what IBM/SWG is legally required to disclose. Not a huge surprise after hearing that job growth case went through for 2005, but all the jobs were slated for India & China. Our own management probably wrote the case for our dismissal when they asked for more jobs in our field of work. (SWG, Information Management division)
    • IBM's Silicon Valley Lab got hit today. Rumors are 10% to 20%. It's another sad day for IBMers all over the world
    • Rational software got hit today. The percentage is around 5 to 15. All site in us closed except Lexington,MA
    • They were implementing the job terrorism program today in Tivoli. From What I could determine the hit is 2 people per dept, or 18%
    • 'm also being separated with 26.5 years of service. IBM is covering themselves legally with their numbers for the age discrimination charges, but there does seem to be a lot of people between 2-5 years to full retirement that are affected. Is there a way that the percentage can be tallied to see if it's significant enough to explore a class action? If we're being targeted just to reduce IBM's current and future contributions to the retirement plan, then we might have a case for reimbursement.
    • SWG, AIM group (WVS - Speech Recognition team)was affected 6/09, 10 people a whole department including lower level management in Watson, NY have been outsourced to China. They have 30 days to find a new job within IBM and transition the work to China. They have been threatened that if they resist to transition the work the severance package is a benefit and can be revoked at any time. Other individuals within other departments of AIM, SWG in Boca Raton, FL have been offered voluntary layoffs (not sure of those numbers). Contractors have been laid off since the beginning of the year in Boca Raton,FL (at least 7). Rumors are that all contractors at Boca Raton, FL site may be laid off, as well as possible layoffs in FL to increase 2Q profits. IGS AMS layoffs occurred last year in April, numbers where not disclosed about all the individuals affected to the employees who were given packages (2 people in FL for certain affected).
    • Laid off 6/9/05 from IBM SWG GeT - 5 yrs 6 mos service to IBM and am 55 years old. Look for another job at IBM? Only to practice interview skills for a REAL job!!!
    • I am from IGS Fishkill , was notified on May 31st that I have until June 30 to find another job in IBM. My wife is from SWG and was notified yesterday that she has 30 days to find another job. An entire family nuked! If today's IBM was running the military during WWII - they would have tracked private Ryan down and promptly shot him!

"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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