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Highlights—August 27, 2005
- Call to action from
Janet Krueger. Full excerpt: We need your help to tell Congress the real
story about cash balance
plans. Over the next few weeks, there are three ways that you can
make a difference:
- Write and call your Senator, if you have not already done both.
(See www.senate.gov for contact information.)
- Tell your story in a short two-paragraph letter to the editor of
your local newspaper. (Please send me a copy of the letter. We will
make sure your Senator sees it.)
- If you live in one of the following states, please become a key
contact for us with your Senator by requesting a meeting, bring up
your experience at a town hall meeting, and possibly travel to
Capitol Hill: Alabama,
Please call and leave a message for Joy Howell at 202-828-7838 with
your contact info and story.
Right now, millions of Americans' retirement security is at stake as
Congress considers changes to the laws that have prohibited age
discrimination in private pension plans for more than three decades.
This debate, triggered by the efforts of certain employers seeking to
legitimize cash balance pension plans, raises troubling questions
regarding aging employees' private pension benefits at a time when a
spirited national dialogue is already raging about the future of
Cash balance plans, which fall outside the structure established by
Congress in 1973 for private pension plans, have been adopted by
numerous employers in recent years and now cover more than 7 million
employees across the country.
Controversial from the beginning, cash balance plans have aroused
particular opposition from older, long-term employees who frequently
find their pension benefits cut by as much as 50% as a result of
conversions from traditional defined benefit plans. Career employees
have also objected to the fact that they frequently work for years
after such conversions without earning additional pension benefits
while younger similarly situated workers begin to earn additional
benefits immediately. For that reason, AARP and employee groups have
long expressed concerns about cash balance plans. Other employees
have challenged such plans and in 2003 a federal court in Illinois
held the IBM conversion to a cash balance plan illegal as age
discriminatory. IBM is now appealing that decision.
Thank you in advance for your help.
(Editor's note: For more background on cash balance pension plans, please
refer to "Cash Balance Myths and Facts", the second bulleted item in last
- Yahoo! message board post by Kathi Cooper (of Cooper v. IBM): I'll
Full excerpt: I'll be glad to be the Illinois rep since I've been active in
Illinois for many years. Many Illinois politicians and staff
already know me.
I met with Rep. Costello last week and he was pleased to find out
that the case is progressing (Judge Murphy signing the final
orders). I was in DC earlier this month and met with one of Senator
Obama's staff members during. We had a very interesting conversation. (Janet was there too)
I'd like to encourage those from the other states (whether an active
employee or not) to represent their state. If/when we go to DC,
I'll be going with you and it will be an adventure. You will be
doing millions of employees a great service and help protect
America's pension system.
Please feel free to come forward. Call Joy (below) or Janet.
- In a Yahoo!
message board post, Janet Krueger answers the question "Why are
cash balance plans, without
conversions, bad for older employees?". Excerpt: The basic reason is that instead of being
plans that motivate employees to stay
with an employer in order to build up a defined benefit when they reach full
retirement (which is the basic public policy Congress was supporting when they
decided to grant companies a huge tax benefits for creating defined benefit
plans), they are plans that motivate employees to be more mobile. As soon as
that virtual cash balance becomes a critical mass where it no longer makes sense
to leave it in a simple, interest-bearing savings account, the only way the
employee can move it to an account with reasonable investment returns is to
leave the company. When you leave a company, you can transfer your cash balance
to an IRA or a 401K, but as long as you stay employed, you are stuck with a
minimal interest rate. That hurts older employees, but not younger ones. Also,
see if you can convince IBM to tell you what vested 'defined benefit' you have
earned on your virtual cash balance -- there isn't one!!!
Does that give you enough rationale, or do you need more?
- In a Yahoo! message
board post, Janet Krueger comments on the Cooper v. IBM settlement arrangements.
Excerpt: Now that the Settlement Agreement has been finalized by a Federal
District Court Order, it constitutes a binding contract between IBM and
the class members. IBM *HAS* to pay a minimum of $314,293 to the class
members at the conclusion of the federal appeals process. The only open
question is whether they will also have to pay the additional $1.4
billion. There are only two issues being appealed; whether the cash
balance formula itself is age discriminatory, and whether the always
cash balance conversion factor was age discriminatory. Under current
ERISA law, it is likely that IBM will lose the appeal. That is why IBM
is currently spending millions of dollars lobbying in DC to have the law
After the appeals process is concluded, if IBM decides for any reason
not to abide by the settlement agreement, we can sue them for Breach of
Contract. Under Breach of Contract laws, IBM can be forced to pay
attorney fees, and could not pay those fees from the pension trust fund.
So the chances that we will not get the base amount are slim to none.
What is undetermined is exactly how much each class member will get...
The amounts paid to all members of all subgroups will change based on
whether we win the appeal as well as on whether the process concludes
before November, 2006.
- Yahoo! message board post by Gene Martin: Response
from Congressman Honda.
Full excerpt: Here is the response I got from Congressman Mike Honda D-CA.
Dear Mr. Martin:
Thank you for contacting me regarding cash balance pensions plans.
I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter.
Starting in the mid-1990's, many companies sought to increase
savings by converting their employees' traditional defined benefit
pension plans, where an employee's pension is determined by his or
her length of service and salary level, to cash balance plans, where
companies apply a flat amount to a hypothetical cash retirement
account on behalf of an employee. The independent General
Accounting Office (GAO) found that cash balance conversions hit
older employees particularly hard, concluding that conversions
without safeguards would lead to a 20-50 percent reduction in their
In 1999, the IRS stopped giving formal government approval to cash
balance conversions after 800 age discrimination complaints were
filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by affected
employees. However, the Department of Treasury recently proposed
regulations that could create an incentive for thousands of
companies to convert to cash balance plans by providing legal
protection against claims of age bias by older employees. The
regulations could result in millions of older employees losing a
significant portion of the annual pension they had been promised by
their employer and had come to rely on as part of their retirement
planning. That is why I joined over 200 of my Congressional
colleagues in a letter to President Bush, urging him to withdraw the
proposed Treasury Department regulations and to issue new
regulations that would prohibit profitable companies from reducing
the pension benefits of existing employees or retirees by converting
to age-discriminatory cash balance plans. You can be sure I will
continue to be engaged in this critical issue, and take your views
into consideration should related legislation come before me for a
Once again, thank you for contacting me. Your views help shape the
way I represent our district, and I value your opinions.
Sincerely, Mike Honda; Member of Congress.
- Yahoo! message board post by "omikey2": Response
From Senator William H. First -- has a sucking sound. Full excerpt: I sent an email (followed
by snail mail letter) to my Congressman and
Senators. I also sent an email to ALL of the Senators on the H.E.L.P
Committee ... (I posted the letter in one of my earlier postings).
I received NO EMAILS from ANY of them, not even my own representatives
responded to me.
I did receive a hard copy letter from Senator First. I'm typing it
verbatim here for your awareness. I do plan to respond to Senator
First to inform him that I am appalled at his response, in that he not
only DID NOT address my concerns, but he didn't even recognize the
subject matter at hand. The letter reads as a 'Template' to be sent
to ANYONE and EVERYONE that sends correspondence to him.
Dear Mr. Oliver:
Thank you for contacting me. I appreciate the opportunity to serve as
a Senator, and it is a privilege to respond to your concerns.
As a Senator, I regard communication with concerned citizens as my
highest priority. A representative body that is out of touch with its
constituents cannot function effectively. Having your views on a wide
variety of issues helps me focus on your priorities. With your help,
we can ensure that Congress remains well-informed and accountable for
Throughout my tenure in the United States Senate, I will continue to
make government more efficient and more responsible regarding the use
of our tax dollars. At the same time, we must also develop sound
policies that generate jobs and improve the standard of living for all
Americans. Most importantly, we must remain bold in our aspirations
for the future.
Congress will continue to face many difficult decisions. As we
confront these challenges, I hope you will continue to share your
concerns with me and let me know how I can serve you better.
Sincerely, William H. First, M.D.,
United States Senate
message board post by "Dan_Britton". Full excerpt: I've read some of the
comments regarding the Future Health Account, so
I asked IBM HR to send me an estimate of what a non-Medicare health
insurance premium from IBM would cost me (for coverage for myself and
spouse). I was shocked to find the premium would deplete my FHA in
less than four years. Has anyone had similar findings? Is the FHA
truly so inadequate for those contemplating retirement before 65?
- Kathi Cooper comments. Full excerpt: I'm being charged $551.34 a month, for just me.
Wanna bet it won't be there in four years (let alone last that
long)? IBM can take it away at any time and there is no law against
it. I'm glad to see that you are curious about it. Imagine the
thousands upon thousands of others that retire under the FHA and the
day after retirement they discover the horror of it all. Too little
I joined the Alliance, for this and many other reasons. At least
the Alliance tells the truth. Here is their URL on this topic: http://www.allianceibm.org/FHA.html
- NBC-17 News (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill): IBM
Buyer Wants Incentives To Keep Workers In RTP. Full excerpt: The Chinese company that bought
IBM's personal computer business in May wants the state and Durham to provide incentives to keep
it in the Research Triangle Park area.
Lenovo Group is seeking a package worth about $14 million to keep the company's 1,800 workers
there. The Herald-Sun of Durham reported that Lenovo is looking at sites in Durham and Wake
counties to build a $75-million campus.
The company estimates that it would add 400 new workers by 2009.
The newspaper cited a four-page document it obtained that outlined the plan. In it, company
officials said other states in the Southeast have offered "reasonably attractive'' incentives
to entice the company to relocate.
- Yahoo! message board post by "whydo1lovemycats": Loss
of simple human manners and politeness. Full excerpt: Is it me or has anyone else noticed
the drop in manners in human
interactions among us IBM employees? Even simple human decency? Pathological management personnel
is a given these days. I'm talking
about dealing with Internal IBM customers who treat you like dirt with
disdain and when you do your job as you've been told to do, get
vituperation in return. I work in an area where we provide costs to
Finance who in turn makes them into prices for our salespeople to
propose to IGS Customers.
The unchecked ability of these Sales people and their allies to walk
all over us and even get us removed from their deals for non-business
reasons is unprecedented in my experience.
Anyone else feel like inside IBM we're tearing each other apart?
message board post by "whydo1lovemycats". Full excerpt: Zapfel had better be worried
about how the drop in our morale has
hurt and is continuing to hurt our Customer relations. We just lost
an IT Outsourcing Deal in Ohio. The Customer told us afterwards " IBM
is not a company we want to do business with."
The arrogant inhumanity of the S&D IBMers driving the deal bled over
into their meetings with the Customer people and cost us the business.
- Fortune: Crunched
by low-cost competition, Big Blue is betting that giveaways of precious technology will expand
the market—and boost its own prospects.
By David Kirkpatrick. Excerpts: It’s IBM’s nightmare. In a conference room in Bangalore,
a team of retail experts at software company Wipro are redesigning the consumer experience
for a major U.S. retail chain. They’re methodically evaluating the checkout area. The
client wants its processes to be state of the art, and Srikant Shankaranarayana, Wipro’s
brainy, intense 44-year-old general manager for retail solutions, is pushing his consultants
and engineers to ask tough questions: Should salesclerks carry handheld transaction devices
or stand at cash registers? Which merchandise should be tracked electronically? How much information
needs to be in the database to ensure that discount promotions don’t last longer than
(Editor's note: A subscription to Fortune is required to read the entire article. IBM employees may
access the full article on W3).
Traits for Big Blue.
IBM recruiter Michael Riegel says it seeks MBAs who do great work and possess "that intangible
mix of humility, respect, and wisdom". Excerpt: Q: What makes IBM a great
place to work?
A: There are three things that make IBM a standout place to work: The high
level of skill and experience of the people we employ, our commitment to being the leader in
every market we serve, as well as our focus on doing things that matter to the world.
- BusinessWeek: The
Rich Get (Much) Richer [PDF]. By Steven Rattner. Excerpts:
Hooray for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal for returning
the problems of class in America to the front page. Shame on the rest of us,
passive witnesses to the emergence of a second Gilded Age, another
Roaring Twenties, in which the fruits of economic success have gone not to
the broad populace but to a slim sliver at the top. For this handful, life is a sweet mélange
of megafortunes, grand houses, and massive
yachts. Meanwhile, the bottom 80% endures economic
stagnation, including real wages that haven’t risen in 14
months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Much of the recent commentary has focused on class.
- "ibmmike2006" comments.
Full excerpt: This article is from Steven Rattner who is a managing principal of
the private investment firm Quadrangle Group and former deputy
chairman of Lazard.
In this article he states, over the past 30 years, the share of
income going to the highest-earning Americans has risen steadily to
levels not seen since shortly BEFORE the Great Depression.
He references IRS data, the US Government tax collectors as the
source of information. The share of income going to the top 1% of
households has doubled in the last 3 decades to 14.7% in 2002, up
from a low of 7.7% in the early 1970's. By comparison, the income
share for the top 1% peaked at 19.6% in 1928 before the beginning of
the long slide to the Great Depression.
At every step up the ladder, the disparity has progressively
widened. Over the past 30 years, the share of income garnered by the
top 10% of Americans has grown by about a third; the share of the
top .01% - the 13,000 households with an average income of $10.8
million in 2002 has multiplied nearly four times.
Income inequality is now wider in America than anywhere else in the
industrialized world and on par with that of a Third World Country.
Is this the American dream?
Don't you think we need to turn this trend around for the sake of
our kids and grandkids? Interesting to note, when the top 1% held
all the wealth in the country, we had a Great Depression with
millions out of work. A Supreme Court Justice once stated that money
is like manure, if you pile it up in one spot it stinks, money needs
to spread it around to eliminate the stink of it.
It also might remove the incentive of the Fortune 500 to rob Pension
funds that allows executives to join that top 1%.
- Yahoo! message board post by "ibmmike2006": Buy
stock at $31 - Sell at $84 - $1.8 M. Excerpt: Steve Mills had a nice payday - bought
34,000 shares of IBM in the
morning for $31 a share, then sells the same 34,000 shares of IBM
stock that day for $84 a share. Nets $1,800,000 as a result.
Not a bad payday especially considering the IBM share price in
recent years. Of course, the $31 share purchase price could have
been from 10 years ago.
- MarketWatch: Time
to overhaul HSAs. Health accounts no panacea for retirement. Excerpts: Hailed as an IRA for
current and future health-care expenses, researchers now say HSAs may not be the greatest
thing since electric toothbrushes. HSAs will help retirees pay for just a fraction of future
health-care expenses. And those expenses are expected to be huge, according to recent research
from the Employee Benefits Research Institute, a Washington-based nonpartisan group. Consider:
a person retiring at age 65 in 2015 might need somewhere between $160,000 and $687,000 to
pay for health-care expenses during retirement. Or put another way, EBRI says health-care expenses
are likely to be higher than most individuals anticipate and could add 20% or more to the
amount of preretirement income that workers will need to replace in retirement.
|Vault Message Board Posts
screw the consultant scam..." by "FooserGB". Full excerpt: Latest Blue scam I've been
caught in -- the Extended Traveler program. I've been traveling on a project for over a year
now. IBM gives you 50% "Tax Assistance" on all expenses to "help" you since
the govt treats these expenses as your personal income. Unfortunately, the 50% comes nowhere
near covering the additional personal taxes you have to pay, so in essence, you're paying part
of the expenses for the joy of being an IBM consultant.
just IBM..." by "FooserGB". Full excerpt: True, all long term traveling
consultants are taxed on their expenses, but most companies (I've talked to SAP, and have
direct experience at PwC), give you enough tax assistance so that you're not losing money. Unfortunately,
the IBM accountants setting the policy don't realize we're paying taxes on the taxes, and
haven't taken it through enough cycles to come close to making the consultant "whole".
Stay?" by "Frank_Reality". Full excerpt: It depends on the person of course,
but in my case at this time, staying is my best of a bunch of less than good options.
- First, I love what I do.
- Opportunities to do what I enjoy are few and far between.
- I have too many years of service to move somewhere else. I have the max earned vacation
time, I'm at the time when the increases in my pension are ar a max and I'm closing
in on earning the FHA.
- Being older than 50, it is very difficult to find other employment. Age discrimination
not only exists - it is widespread in the industry.
- A change in employers would require a move elsewhere. There are many established roots
and threads that such a move would tear and break.
- I view the miserable promotion allowances, the ridiculous salary plans, the increasing
job demands (the 2080 rule) and lack of respect the corporation's executive leadership
has for its workforce are temporary. Positive change in such policies will come - the company's
life depends on it. Too many are leaving and too many potential hires are not signing
up to work for IBM. The question is whether that change will come before I retire or after.
- I still believe IBM and IGS are not beyond repair.
- I am one of the "Hangers-on" that IBM executives treat with contempt and which
they imply aren't doing their jobs. Let me assure you, that not only do I do my job,
I do it well. I go well beyond the requirements of expectations of the job. If that weren't
the case, I would have been bounced in one of the great purges in the last five years.
May IBM once again become a great place to work
- Let's indulge your fantasy" by "Dose of reality". Full excerpt: IBM can
be great again. No one can argue against that, any more than we could argue against the POSSIBILITY
of any other turnaround.
The question is realistically, what would have to happen before IBM
could become great again. If the people from the top down into the first three or four layers
of the pyramid have brought us to this state of "ungreatness", does it not follow
that they are incapable or unwilling to take the steps necessary to reverse course. The operative
word is REALISTICALLY.
That would require several hundred or so generally egotistical, career-defense
minded, self-important people to simultaneously turn their back on that which garnered them
their positions of influence, power and fortune. That is not going to happen without an external
catalyst that renders their current positions untenable as they are. Simple incremental attrition
in the financials will never be strong enough to compel that kind of tectonic shift. That's
why the only path back to IBM greatness is REGIME change, radical restructuring, and a major
If ever there was a case for Creative Destructionism, this is it.
a fan of ..." by "Frank_Reality". Full excerpt: Joseph Schumpeter?
Seems we've seen a lot of "creative destruction" going on at IBM - like the sale
of the PC business, the sale of the storage business to Hitachi and sale of card manufacturing
to companies like Solectron and Celestica.
While Dr. Schumpeter holds that the failure and destruction of aging businesses frees capital
to enable new creative ventures, IBM has largely squandered the proceeds.
Rather than invest the proceeds in the "next big thing", new
technologies and new businesses, much has gone into stock buybacks and executive bonuses. However,
some did go into buying the PWC consulting business. ;-)
I agree with your characterization of the problem with corporate leadership
by the "several hundred or so generally egotistical, career-defense minded, self-important
people". I agree that the top 3 to 4 layers are the source of the problem - total lack
of ethical leadership combined with personal greed and arrogance, mixed in with lack of accountability
and strong psychopathic tendencies.
However, I see these people are so entrenched in power, that the only
way they will be removed from the company is if it goes bankrupt. Call that the "nuclear
option" - the true destruction Schumpeter describes. It is clear the members of the BOD
either do not see the problem or are unwilling to demand and force the necessary changes.
Until that comes, there will be no tectonic shift, no radical restructuring, no regime change.
fantasy" by "Frank_Reality". Full excerpt: I too know of many good, productive
people who were cut from the company. Literally everyone is vulnerable including myself.
Nobody is denying that.
The issue is what can I do about it. The answer is that I have no control over what the IBM
execs choose to do to their employees. None.
One thing I can do is maximize my value to the corporation. That's not absolute job protection,
but it's the best I can do. Count me as both skilled and lucky - anyone who has survived
IBM as long as I have has to be dam* good AND lucky.
Of course at my age, I'm socking as much away as I can for retirement
as this could very well be my last job in the business. I probably could retire now if
I had to, but the longer I work the more fiscally viable and comfortable my retirement will
About once a year, I take an inventory. Am I still growing? Do I still
enjoy what I do? Is there demand for what I do? Can I still tolerate the overwhelming
bureaucratic mess that IBM has become? Do I want to do something else? What other options
are there for me? How is my health holding out? and more.
If the answers remain right, I mentally plan to stay another year. I've been doing that ever
since the 1999 pension theft. One year at a time.
for a thoughtful post..." by "Dose of reality". Full excerpt: I know
it may seem strange to you, but I am not unhappy, nor am I “disgruntled”, “bitter”, “sulking”,
It is not a matter of money with me - the upside doesn't motivate me, nor does the downside
associated with changing jobs keep me here. It is the freedom that I have in not having
to worry about sucking up, impressing colleagues, or establishing a reputation that is the ultimate
hook for me here. You have no idea how liberating it is to be able to feel absolutely
no dependence on your employer and no fear of “worst case” outcome. I don’t have a
need to reach another plateau with success in the industry. It is not because I am at an absolute
pinnacle, but having a larger or more successful practice has no marginal utility for
Furthermore, the vast majority of problems that are presented here have
little impact on me personally. As constrained as the reward system is here, I am well beyond
my perceived living wage. With regard to culture, personalities, and the general unpleasantness
of the environment and my colleagues, I can easily maneuver around them since I have little
need for networking to maintain my position and output. On top of all of this, I am making a
real difference for those that for whatever reason are continuing to persevere here. I am getting
more job satisfaction now than I have gotten in years. Add to this the comedic value of working
at IBM, and it just can’t get any better for me.
“That dark, depressed, bitter broken record of "IBM sucks,
run far, run fast" has done wonders to help people make informed career decisions. I realize
it is hard for the under 40 crowd to accept bad news or negative commentary as a prevailing
sentiment. We are living in a Prozac kind of world. However, if it sucks, I am going to say
At the end of the day, “how you look at things” can help
you get through a tough situation, but “how things are” determines what your best
course of action is. You keep focusing on the former and I’ll focus on the latter.
_Sprint Project" by "s12671". Full excerpt: What can anyone tell me about
the IBM_Sprint project? Good jobs? Good pay?
quote Monty Python" by "Old_Project_Manager". Full excerpt: Run away, run
They just did a large peon layoff.
The contract calls for us to make them No. 1 in Customer Sat in their industry, with heavy
penalties if we do not.
Do those two sentences sound like they connect together into a coherent strategy?
The PE on the account has no clue what is in the Contract so he accepts whatever the Customer
asks of IBM. He's too close to retirement to care.
And No. 1 on the list - it's a BCS Project.
two different models" by "Dose of reality". Full excerpt: I agree that
there is a need to build commodity service capabilities for outsourcing, support, and the
low value parts of the IT development/implementation work.
However, I see two problems - one with the strategy, and one with the execution.
First, we will never be able to compete with Wipro on cost alone with
the heavy corporate overhead structure that we have. If we engage in a footrace purely on those
terms, we will lose in the long run.
That brings me to my second point. Since we can't compete on cost (without
a major fat trimming exercise) we need to differentiate ourselves. That requires having an elite
group of extremely motivated consulting resources that can do the diagnostics, business analysis,
design, and client relationship management. On the latter point, I am not talking about BD leeches
with their heads in the clouds. I am talking about PMs, functional experts, and technology specialists
that can immerse themselves in the client's needs, spend dedicated time on proposal work, and
give clients a reason not to choose the low cost bidder. They can farm the grunt work out wherever
they want to. If we position ourselves like a commodity, then price will rule the client decision
That is why the handling of the PwC acquisition was such an abysmal
failure. IBM squeezed compensation and incentives, foolishly believing that there would be no
backlash. McKinsey told them ‘the staff would have no place else to go”! Now we
are trying to pass off average talent for industry experts and we have set utilization targets
so high that the few that have sales talent have no time to build or nurture the pipeline.
While the hours billed may be 75% commodity resources, the consulting
expertise is needed to find and close deals. Without it, all we have is a roster of coders sitting
around waiting for a technical spec that will never come.
on the Alliance@IBM Site:
- Binghamton (NY) Press and Sun-Bulletin:
rates higher near Endicott spill.
Study: Spike in kidney, testicular malignancies. Excerpts: George Kretzmer was not surprised
Tuesday evening when he learned that he and others living south of the former IBM plant
had significantly elevated rates of birth defects and two types of cancers. "It's
hard for me to believe how many people I have buried that are less than 50 years old," Kretzmer
told officials from the state Department of Health after they presented the information
to residents at a meeting at Union-Endicott High School. "I see a bigger common denominator
than I think you're letting on. I don't have a whole bunch of statistics or registry, but
this is what I've seen with my own eyes."
The study included an area of about 300 acres polluted by solvents first discovered
seeping from the IBM plant on North Street in 1979. It also included several blocks west
of Jefferson Avenue, polluted by an undetermined source.
- Poughkeepsie (NY) Journal: IBM/Philips
site workers log illness. Excerpts:
Eleven workers at the IBM and Philips Semiconductors plants have complained of symptoms
and sought further medical treatment following the accidental release of a powdery chemical,
the two companies said Monday.
The chemical was released shortly before 9 a.m. Thursday from exhaust ducts at the
Philips manufacturing plant. The two companies have plants at the same industrial campus
in East Fishkill. A similar incident happened July 7.
Eight employees and two contract workers from IBM complained of symptoms that included
sore throats and a metallic taste in the mouth, IBM spokesman Steve Cole said.
- Click the Alliance@IBM
sponsored Health Focus Survey, if you are an
IBM employee, former employee (EI), IBM Retiree, or contractor.. . We urge all IBMers
to fill out our Health Focus Survey to help document health problems IBMers might associate
with working with toxic materials at IBM.
- Contractor UK: India
rules 30,000 UK IT Work Permits. Excerpts: Over
30,000 UK IT work permits have been granted to foreign computer experts within the last
year-and-a-half, according to exclusive data obtained by Contractor UK under the Freedom
of Information Act.
More than 80 per cent of the 30,090 permits approved between January 2004 and June
this year went to Indian computer experts, flocking to British shores as software engineers,
system analysts and ‘other IT related’ occupants.
The grand total of 24,764 Indian nationals arriving in the UK dwarfed the second highest
number of entrants, who originated from the United States.
Just over 1,700 American IT managers, engineers and techies snapped up work permits
within the same year-and-a-half period. [...]
Paul Taylor, UK managing director of Hudson IT, says two “key
drivers” inspire swathes of Indian nationals to join British technology departments.
“Essentially it’s about remuneration. Indian IT pros, whether they seek contract
or permanent work, can obviously earn a lot more in the UK than at home. If we set
aside the quality of life lure of the UK, remuneration probably is more important than anything
else as a key driver,” said Taylor.
John Kell, the Professional Contractors Group’s political researcher, supports the
IT director’s view, citing homeland rates for Indian IT workers ranging from just £4,000
to £7,000 a year.
- Alliance@IBM: Attention IBM employees:
IBM is blocking e-mail to and from the Alliance@IBM e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org 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 6-21-05. 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.
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:
- Comment 08/20/05: What is IBM really selling with all
these re-badging IT services deals? Better IT services? Hmmm...but aren't
re-badged employees, like Sprint to IBM, basically paid the same with
comparable benefits? Don't the IBM customers' former employees mainly
continue to do the same work, they always did, only as IBMers? How does
this sort of IBM business scheme, save customers money? How? By churning
the customers workforce and removing the customers employees from their
payroll, benefits and pensions plans; by re-badging them as IBMers. A
slick way to save IBM customers these sort of expenses without being
accused of age discrimination or being unethical. Just an IBM business
deal is all! Sweet!
The customer unloads those aging employees nearing
retirement; or that are being over compensated, and IBM does the dirty
work of unemploying the clients former workers. Churning them into the
job market, where they most likely will end up doing similar work, for
less pay. An employers dream: desperate, cheap experienced labor; churned
back into the US employment meat market! Need to renege on promises made
to to your employees of decent pay, benefits and pensions? Call in the,
International Business Mafia! They'll take care of your problem! You
sit back and count the savings as the 'IBM', sticks it to your ingrate
former employees, that actually expected you to keep your end of the
bargain! Ungrateful bloodsuckers! -Anonymous-
- Comment 08/22/05: Brazil...yeah we knew that. Brazil...where
they fire two Americans and hire someone's brother-in-law who isn't even
an IBM employee and can't spell WebSphere. Good luck to our customers.
They're going to need it. -Anonymous-
- Comment 08/22/05: A number of us at Pomeroy IT Solutions
were working on the IBM / Thrivent hardware refresh. We were told going
in that the project would last several weeks. Then the project got put
on hold today. I didn't turn down any jobs to work on this, but the gentleman
I was working with had turned down three different work opportunities
because he expected to be working on this project for the next few weeks.
I get the feeling that IBM thinks that temp employees are a dime a dozen
and they can do whatever they like with us. -Anonymous-
- Comment 08/22/05: Laying off employees that have been
around a long time saves IBM a bunch of money by not having to pay for
additional weeks of vacation. In addition, if they let employees go before
they can bridge or retire, IBM accrues additional savings by not having
additional employees to contribute to retiree health benefits. It makes
no difference if IBM is cutting IBM employees or re-badged employees,
the savings are a major attraction to the IBM senior management team
and the HR folk that are dancing to the tune! Anyone who has the concept
that their job is secure hasn't really thought things through. It's only
a matter of time before any given employee will be on the list of employees
that are no longer needed. This is especially true given the penchant
to move jobs to less expensive geographies. Tag, you're next! -Anonymous-
- Comment 08/22/05: Re - International Business Mafia
comment is interesting. I have seen several customers outsource to IBM.
We let the employees go and then they are "insourced again" a
few years later. I won't name the customers but I am sure most IBMers
know who they are. Easy way to clean house. -Anonymous-
- Comment 08/24/05: From an outsider I believe the layoffs
are hurting IBM's quality. In my old company I learned that they were
trying to sell the optical storage products group. They had cut back
to ONE engineer supporting the whole line worldwide. I also heard that
the marketing person for the line also had 40 or 50 other products they
were supporting. They also had problems with supplying certain types
of disks as the contract with the vendor had fallen through the cracks,
no surprise given the minimal staffing.
Needless to say it was no sale, but I wonder how many customers
invested $100's to $millions in technology that was supported with one engineer and
1/40th or 1/50th of a marketing staff? IBM used to be known for quality product and
service, but I can't believe with less than 2 full time people in one product line that
customers get quality in either. -Anonymous-
- Comment 08/24/05: I think it is hilarious how the management
in East Fishkill are all hopped up on this new "improving the atmosphere" kick
lately. I think it is even funnier when they try to feed the employees
the usual line of "How great the company is doing for the second
and third quarters" and then the employees had enough and get up
and leave the meeting. The jig is up and the employees are not blind
anymore. I think it is great how they try to improve morale and all they
are doing is making it worse. -Anonymous-
- Comment 08/24/05: Nobody's job is safe with the IBM!
The International Business Mafia, that is! Where's your name on the IBM's,
list? The IBM offers, offshoring schemes also! Not just re-badging. The
IBM can churn theirs and their customer's workforce by sending American
jobs overseas. Is your name on the IBM hit list? After a year or so of
unemployment, will you be willing to work for less, for the IBM or one
of the many IBM scams? IBM sells workforce churning and employee separation
schemes, under the guise of IT business services. That's really what
the IBM sells! Selling American employees out. It's a global eCONomy
after all! -Anonymous-
- Comment 08/26/05: We used to hire from only top universities,
now we hire from monster.com. We used to be major players in high tech:
dedicated seats at NASA launches, inventors of the hard disk that enabled
the information age, and too many others to list. Now we wail, trail,
and bail when we meet challenges. We used to have high pay, great benefits
and a long term commitment to employees, now it’s decreasing pay/benefits
and a revolving door. We used to charge into new territories and countries,
now we consolidate, contract and hang on by our fingernails. We used
to deliver the best, no excuses. Now we deliver the best excuses. We
used to fear nothing, now we fear the close of every quarter, the approach
of every competitor, the sound of our manager’s footsteps in the
hallway. By any measure the changes in culture have not been good for
the company, the employee or long-run, our country. -Anonymous-
- Comment 08/27/05: Received word that another team in
the Schaumburg office that is on the Discovery team were told that their
jobs were being moved to South America. -Anonymous-
- Comment 08/27/05: To the author of the comments dated
8/26/05: "We used to hire from only top universities, now we hire
from monster.com...........By any measure the changes in culture have
not been good for the company, the employee or long-run, our country."
Well said and very sad, indeed.
honor, and fair employment practices - with disrespect for their
customers and extremely poor customer support/service. It is a company void of leadership
and industry knowledge or products/services consumers want. Today, everywhere you look
in IBM you find employees who loath their managers, managers with no skills desperate
to hang on to their high paying jobs. Managers with no knowledge of skills required
of employees to execute the piece of the business for which that manager is responsible.
You see poorly trained employees executing key projects with large margins of error.
These errors are costly to both IBM and the customers. Instead of retaining skilled
employees who can mentor others and improve project deployment and applications, IBM
keeps cutting and cutting. For fear of loosing their jobs and lack of trust in IBM and
their managers, these same employees are afraid to take the ridiculous surveys IBM has
sent out lately, afraid of offering managers constructive suggestions, and afraid to
admit they need help or need additional training. There is no longer a feeling of teamwork
~ instead it has become George Orwell's Animal Farm. IBM execs and management have absolute
power and absolute power corrupts absolutely!
I have had many people ask why IBM believes they are a company
worth doing business with. My answer is always the same, "the execs and management
of IBM believe IBM is a company worthy of your business because they are arrogant and
clueless! It is a company with no foresight, leadership or direction. The execs have
no respect for the consumer and believe you are so stupid, you will pay premium prices
for "the new IBM" to provide you with inferior products, services and support.
They don't care about you, your business or their employees. It is all about them getting
all they can before they are asked to step down". In every case, people I have
talked to made the decision to do business with a company other than IBM. When will
IBM execs, managers and stock holders learn?
IBM is rapidly becoming a fourth rate company without a product
or services portfolio. They simply cannot compete. Many customers have said they are
concerned about entrusting their databases and files to IBM ~ they are concerned about
IBM's ability to ensure security for their networks and databases.
After over 20 years with IBM, I was RA'd by
a manager for whom I worked only 5 weeks. He knew nothing about me and
nothing about my skills or what it took to do my job. I had always been
rated a top performer and my personnel jacket lists a long string of
awards for excellence and leadership. He didn't care and he never said
he was sorry or hated to be the one to let me go. The ultimate insult
came when he and my new second line manager both had the nerve to send
me notes saying they didn't realize all that I had accomplished over
my IBM career and wished they could have gotten to know me better.
Does IBM management always shoot first and ask questions later?
The bottom line was my new management was simply executing a " strong suggestion" from
my former manager, someone with whom I "had issues". When I was transferred
to the new manager she rid herself of any possible retribution allegations.
Clever, eh? Not so clever...my peers figured out what they did. Management was never
upright enough to correct the situation nor did they extend me the courtesy of an apology
or say they cared. Shame on them and shame on IBM!
Like many, many others, out of fear of being on the RA hit
list, I didn't join the Alliance until after this happened to me. Shame on me! There
IS strength in numbers. Your membership is kept confidential unless you want it to
be known. Let's all take this opportunity to let IBM know we're mad as hell and we
aren't going to just lie down and play dead while they reek havoc with our livelihood.
IBM execs and most of the managers in place today are the ones who should be out of
work, not us! -Anonymous-
Languages. Excerpt: In 1969, three IBM researchers created GML, a
formatting language for document publishing. Understood to mean Generalized Markup Language,
the letters also happened to be the initials of its creators: Charles Goldfarb, Edward Mosher
and Raymond Lorie.
GML allowed text editing and formatting, and it enabled information-retrieval
subsystems to share documents. Instead of a simple tagging scheme, however, GML introduced the
concept of a formally defined document type containing an explicit hierarchy of structured elements.
Major portions of GML were implemented in mainframe publishing systems,
and the language achieved substantial industry acceptance. IBM adopted GML and produces over 90%
of its documents with it.
GML was expanded with additional concepts, such as short references, link
processes and concurrent document types, into Standard Generalized Markup Language. SGML made
inroads in the publishing world, especially at the U.S. Government Printing Office, and it became
an international standard in 1986.
Still, SGML was largely unknown until 1990, when Tim Berners-Lee, inventor
of the World Wide Web, created Hypertext Markup Language as a subset of SGML. Soon, every type
of document and data was being littered with tags at the beginning and end of text elements like
this: <:tag>and<:/tag>. Then Extensible Markup Language (XML) came along in the late
1990s, and the IT world hasn't been the same since.
(Editor's note: In a variety of assignments during my IBM professional
career, nearly all of my work over the past 28 years has involved markup languages...Script/GML,
ISIL, BookMaster, BookManager, and now HTML. When the world quits using markup languages,
it'll be time for me to retire!).