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    Highlights—December 31, 2005

  • Annex Bulletin: Analysis of Global IT Leaders’ Business and Stock Performances. HP, Intel, Fujitsu, Accenture, Capgemini - Top Gainers; Dell, IBM - Biggest Market Cap Losers; Oracle's "Pyrrhic Victory" over SAP; IBM Equity Depleted by Buybacks. Excerpts: So who were the biggest gainers? Well, HP, Fujitsu, Accenture and Capgemini topped their global IT peers in market cap percentage growth since March 15, 2005 - the last time we "took the temperature" of the Top 19 market. Lexmark, Dell, BearingPoint and IBM held up the rear in this category. They are the only four companies among the Top 19 to have actually experiences market cap declines since nine months ago. [...]
    Just how much things have changed around the IT industry can best be illustrated with the above Equity chart. Microsoft, HP and Intel are all now bigger than IBM in terms of shareholders equity. And EMC is the next biggest competitor in this respect. To a great extent, that's due to IBM's aggressive stock buyback program that has depleted its equity. [...]
    After a year's hiatus (in 2003), the company resumed stock buybacks in 2004, and accelerated them this year. IBM has spent $67 billion on share repurchases in the last 10 years. And 2005 is likely to set a new record high in stock buybacks, surpassing last year's total of $7.3 billion. [...]
    Large stock buyback programs have a negative effect on shareholders equity, as can be seen from the above chart. Also, since the IBM market cap has declined substantially (down $66 billion since 2001) despite the stock buybacks, another argument in their favor has vanished. So they have become a lose-lose proposition. Big Blue and other IT companies that practice stock buybacks would be better served to invest in their own businesses, rather than turn their hard-earned cash over to Wall Street for reinvestment elsewhere.
  • Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania: Giving Employees What They Want: The Returns Are Huge. Excerpts: David Sirota, co-author of The Enthusiastic Employee: How Companies Profit by Giving Workers What They Want (Wharton School Publishing), believes far too many managers stifle employee enthusiasm across the board by using bureaucratic or punitive techniques that should be reserved for a troublesome few. Yet his book, written with Louis A. Mischkind and Michael Irwin Meltzer, finds that firms where employee morale is high -- such as Intuit and Barron's -- tend to outperform competitors. The authors' research is based on the results of 2.5 million employee surveys taken since 1994.
    For example, out of 28 companies employing 920,000 studied by Sirota Consulting, the share price of 14 companies -- those considered to have high morale -- increased an average 16% in 2004. Those prices were then compared to the companies' industry averages, where the increase was just 6%. Six "low morale" companies saw their prices increase, on average, by 3%, as against an overall industry average of 16%. Industry comparisons were based on data from 9,240 companies.
    In an interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Sirota says managers should rely on common sense principles that allow workers to take pride in their work. He urges them to reject trendy, get-tough tactics that were promoted in the late 1990s, such as trimming staff even at healthy companies in order to improve shareholder value. [...]
    We find there are three basic goals of people at work. First, to be treated fairly. We call that equity. Employees want to know they are getting fair pay, which is normally defined as competitive pay. They want benefits and job security. These days, employees especially need medical benefits, so those have become significant. On the non-financial side, employees want to be treated respectfully, not as children or criminals. Equity is basic. Unless you satisfy those needs, not much else you do is going to help. If I feel underpaid and if I feel that the company is nickeling and diming me, or wants to pay as little as possible, there is not much else an organization can do to boost my morale. This runs contrary to what a lot of people in my field say -- that pay is not that relevant. Baloney. It's terribly, terribly important. [...]
    As a general proposition it is hard to be enthusiastic about an organization that is not enthusiastic about you. Let's look at a few specific things. One is job security. We expect employees to be enthusiastic, loyal and engaged in an organization, but with the slightest downturn or prospective downturn we get rid of them. They are expendable. They are treated like paperclips. How can you be loyal and committed to an organization that seems to have absolutely no concern about your job? According to one of the trendiest notions so popular during the booming 1990s, job security is not important to people, particularly young people in high tech, because if they lost a job in tech, they could just walk across the street and get another one. But with the collapse of the high-tech companies, surveys found that job security went to the top of the list. Take a high-morale company -- Southwest Airlines. After 9/11 it said: 'We will take a hit in our stock price and not lay off anybody.' That's putting your money where your mouth is. [...]
    What I think happened is that in the 1980s and 1990s we had a reaction to particular forms of management. We talk about four kinds: First there is paternalism, where workers are treated as children. Then there is adversarial where workers are the enemy. Then there is transactional, where workers are like ciphers. Management does not know what they are like as individuals. The attitude is, 'We paid you, now we are even. We don't owe you anything.' That's where most companies have gone today. Loyalty is dead. The fourth is what we have been talking about, which is the partnership organization. It does not mean that because I paid you, we are now even. You don't treat partners that way because you might need them to help you out sometime, and they might need you. It's more like a relationship between mature adults -- not like children or enemies, but allies.
  • Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WashTech): WashTech's Highs and Lows, 2005 Year in Review. By Jeff Nachtigal. Excerpts: WashTech President Marcus Courtney left little doubt as to the most significant action for the union in the past year, if not its eight-year history. “The organizing drive at Cingular was our biggest success,” said Courtney, who co-founded WashTech in 1998 to focus on permatemping at Microsoft. “At the same time it was a great victory for Cingular workers, as well as for our local to do large-scale industrial organizing. To organize a thousand workers in one place, in one shot, is a big deal,” Courtney said. That WashTech was successful in a year-long organizing campaign and will now support a large group of customer service reps, a job title nearly ubiquitous with India and offshoring, is a sweet victory in an uphill battle against disappearing high-tech jobs. [...]
    Earlier in the year the news for workers, both in the U.S. and abroad, was not as bright. In June WashTech made public IBM’s plans to hire 14,000 new employees in India over three years. IBM documents discussed "growth drivers" that made the expansion necessary. One reason for hiring in India? IBM’s announced job cuts in the U.S. and Europe. WashTech published a story discussing the realities of life as a call center worker in India. Personal accounts from Indian call center workers showed the divide between Washington Mutual’s (WAMU) “caring, courteous and respectful” concern for customers and working life for employees of the Indian company WIPRO, which handles WAMU accounts in India. [...]
    Numbers continued to climb on WashTech's Offshore Tracker, which counts nearly half-a-million jobs offshored. The offshoring leaders: EDS, Dell, Intel and Computer Sciences Corp. Recent news that Microsoft, Adobe and GM will spend billions more on their India operations does not come as a big surprise in a non-election year, a time when the political backlash is not as sharp. “I think that outsourcing is not an issue that’s going away,” said Courtney. “Companies in a non-election year are feeling much freer to publicly announce their investments in hiring and firing to hire overseas. "It clearly shows how politics impacts how corporations make these kinds of announcements,” he said.
  • Daily Telegraph (United Kingdom): Indian workers slash IT wages. By Philip Aldrick. Excerpts: Indian technology workers are flooding the UK on temporary permits, undercutting local wages and raising the prospect of a homegrown skills shortage, an IT association claimed. Salaries for certain IT workers have fallen in recent months, according to the Association for Technology Staffing Companies. ATSCo chief executive Ann Swain said: "Wages are being undercut by companies bringing over Indian workers, who are put up in hostels and paid poorly." [...]
    ATSCo's research shows that the "commoditisation" of IT services has reduced average salaries for permanent IT helpdesk workers by 3pc this year to £17,538 and for temporary workers by 25pc to £12 an hour. Ms Swain warned that the trend, known as "onshore offshoring", could lead to a damaging skills shortage. She said: "How will organisations recruit IT staff for mid-to-senior level roles if there are no entry-level jobs left in the UK? The fall in the number of graduates choosing IT careers will filter through to chronic shortages at the top in years to come."
  • New York Times: Transit Strike Reflects Nationwide Pension Woes. By Steven Greenhouse. Excerpts: Fast-rising pension costs for government employees - the issue that helped set off this week's transit strike in New York City - are a problem confronting cities, counties and states nationwide, causing many budgetary experts to predict a wave of painful fights over efforts to scale back government retirement programs. [...]
    Many government employees and their unions assert that the campaign to trim pensions threatens America's social contract for the middle class: a respectable pension. Saying that in recent contracts they had sacrificed wage increases or better health benefits for solid pensions, many public employees and their unions assert that governments are betraying their commitments by seeking to now cut pensions. Further, they argue that much of the shortfall in pension financing could be erased by a strong stock market in the next several years.
    "A lot of people are exaggerating the size of the problem," said Gerald McEntee of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents 1.4 million government workers. "Right-wing think tanks and conservative Republicans want to do away with traditional pension plans and replace them with much-cheaper 401(k)'s at the same time they want to give all these tax cuts to the rich."
  • Yahoo! message board post by "Bharat Patel". Full excerpt: Let's compare NY transit workers pension plan with IBM pension plan? According to my information, average 25 years of service and age above 55, NY transit workers get about 70% of their salary from pension after tax! While IBM retirees it is less than 35% in similar condition! Please correct me if I am wrong!
  • Coachville Resource Center: The Top 10 Reasons Why 'Forced ranking' Quota Systems Don't Work. By Diana Robinson, PhD. Excerpts: In recent years some industrial leaders and major corporations have advocated a system of "forced ranking and elimination" of an arbitrary percentage (often 10%) of the lowest performing employees every year. Not all organizational experts agree that this is an effective system. Some believe that it can lead to an attitude of fear, unwillingness to make mistakes, and to stifled creativity. Here are some of the counter-arguments to forced ranking, summarized from an article by Edward E. Lawler III in 'strategy + business.' [...]
    • 5. Long-term damage to morale. If continued year after year, once the initially identified poor performers have been eliminated, who is to be eliminated next? Those who were previously identified as satisfactory? New hires who have not yet had time to get up to speed? When employees are in a state of constant fear they rarely do their best work. [...]
    • 6. Reduced teamwork. The system encourages an 'each person for him/herself' attitude, and discourages teamwork. It also discourages people from asking others for help or for needed training, for fear that this will make them vulnerable to being identified as poor performers.
  • CNET News.com (August 18, 2002): The folly of forced rankings. Excerpt: Mythic leaders such as Jack Welch swear by distribution curves to remove low performers. But there are pitfalls in playing the percentage game. General Electric's former CEO Jack Welch is among the most vocal and articulate advocates of performance management systems that force turnover of the lowest-performing employees each year. At GE, it's the bottom 10 percent of employees who are supposed to be eliminated. Mr. Welch feels so strongly about this practice that he highlighted it in his 1999 letter to GE shareholders and advocated it again in his book “Jack: Straight from the Gut.” [...]
    A recent study at one major global pharmaceuticals manufacturer that uses the forced distribution approach determined from exit interviews that several hundred people in its worldwide finance organization who had been identified as top performers by their managers left because they felt undervalued. Managers tend to disown the appraisals and blame the quota system when they are forced to identify poor performers. They say to those individuals, "Well, I know you're not really a bad performer, but I have to identify somebody, and you are the unfortunate one." Supervisors thus discredit the entire appraisal system by not taking responsibility and significantly contribute to employees' negative perceptions of the system.
    Forced firings also create an unhealthy competition among peers. When employees in a work area compete with one another for ratings, knowing there is always a percentage at the bottom who will be forced out, creates fear and selfishness. People are much less likely to help one another, train one another, share information and operate as an effective team. In today's flatter, knowledge-work-driven and more team-based organizations, this can take a significant toll on organizational performance.
    A better way of dealing with poor performance starts with replacing bureaucracy and rules with leadership and judgment. Companies that require managers to fire a certain percentage of poor performers every year are simply imposing a rule to try to correct the poor leadership behavior of managers.
  • Jacksonville Business Journal (July 16, 2004): Forced rank performance appraisals don't show real picture. By Richard Hadden. Excerpts: Forced ranking makes sense only if you're trying to sabotage your performance management efforts and produce a completely inaccurate picture of performance quality. Why would any supposedly intelligent management team risk disenfranchising a large chunk of their employee population by force ranking them into an unfavorable rating category in order to satisfy an arbitrary quota? As one of our survey respondents put it, "Why isn't it possible for everyone in the class to be rewarded with an 'A' if they're all doing 'A' work?" I agree. [...] The problem is that forced ranking is just that -- forced. The entire premise on which it is based is flawed. It ignores the reality of people's individual performance, paying homage instead to the categories themselves. [...]
    Second, one idea whose time has definitely not come is the so-called 360 degree review. On the surface it sounds like a winner for people to get their performance appraised by folks who work all around them. Unfortunately, whatever good might be accomplished is usually undone by the recipient's understandable musings about which of their co-workers decided to take a cheap, albeit anonymous shot at them. Finally, performance reviews should be a low-tech, high-touch affair. If you're going to do it, do it right. Sending someone a review via e-mail is a long way from right.
  • Triangle Business Journal, courtesy of MS-NBC: Companies will get federal windfalls to keep drug plans for retirees. By Michael Wagner. Excerpts: Once the new Medicare prescription drug program goes live Jan. 1, some Triangle employers will receive a federal, tax-free windfall - in most cases worth millions - for doing absolutely nothing. [...]
    Among private employers, Duke University could receive as much as $1.8 million, GlaxoSmithKline $3.3 million, and IBM $6.6 million based on their number of Medicare-eligible retirees and the estimated $660 average annual payment per retiree. [...]
  • San Francisco Chronicle: Big payoff in CEOs' stockings. By David Lazarus. Excerpts: Today's the day to count your blessings. And if you're the chief exec of a major American corporation, you'll probably want to sit down. That count could take a while. We learned the other day, for example, that John Mack, CEO of brokerage Morgan Stanley, will receive a bonus of $11.5 million for all his hard work this year. Never mind that he's only been on the job for five months. At Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, CEO Henry Paulson will pocket a bonus this year of about $38 million. This will help compensate for the mere $30 million he received last year. [...]
    "Transparency is a big problem," said Paul Hodgson, senior research associate at the Corporate Library, a research firm specializing in corporate governance. "Disclosure levels in the United States are not as good as in other parts of the world." For instance, it was reported last week that some companies actually pay the personal taxes of their CEOs as part of compensation packages. But you wouldn't know this in many cases unless you waded through the footnotes of regulatory filings.
    In a recent report, Hodgson found that the median year-on-year increase in total CEO pay doubled last year to more than 30 percent. The average increase was 91 percent, thanks to 27 CEOs who made more than 1,000 percent more than they were paid a year earlier.
  • USA Today: Pension problems loom for boomers. By Stephanie Armour and Kathy Chu. Excerpts: The trend by companies to freeze or end their employee pension plans may have a big impact on baby boomers now on the cusp of retirement. Boomers with pension plans have counted on monthly retirement checks at the end of their career, but more employers are ending their plans or halting future benefit accruals. Those at greatest risk include boomers in their late 40s and early 50s, who are still at least a decade from retirement but too old to save enough to make up the difference in their pension benefits. [...]
    "This will definitely be a problem for baby boomers," says Karen Friedman at the Pension Rights Center. "You've been at a company under the plan and worked for years with that expectation, and then it's taken away." [...]
    More boomers are facing retirement without health benefits. Boomers are already facing a more financially risky retirement as the percentage of private-sector employers offering retiree health benefits drop. In 2002, 13% of private sector employers offered retiree benefits to early retirees (those not yet 65), down from 22% in 1997, according to a report this year from the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
  • Wall Street Journal: Lucent's Profit Crutch – Pensions. Overfunded Plan Is Invigorating Telecom Company's Turnaround; Retiree Health-Care Issues Loom. By Sara Silver. Excerpts: Lucent Technologies Inc. is proud of its turnaround, which just produced its second annual profit after the troubled years of the telecom bust. What the company doesn't brag about is that 82% of this year's earnings are from its pension fund, not improved equipment sales.
    At issue are something called pension credits – the amount by which the pension fund's income exceeds its current expenses. The year before, such credits accounted for more than half, or $1.1 billion, of the Murray Hill, N.J., company's reported $2 billion profit. Without the $973 million pension credit in fiscal 2005, its $1.185 billion profit would drop to $212 million. [...]
    Common wisdom among shareholders is that companies with lots of retirees face big pension problems. Lucent shows that isn't always the case. Lucent isn't the only telecom company whose pension plan has turned into a pot of gold. Earlier this month, Verizon Communications Inc. announced it will freeze the pensions of its management employees after June 30, 2006, a move the company says will save it $3 billion during the next 10 years. Like Lucent's, Verizon's pension program is overfunded and has added billions of dollars to the company's bottom line in recent years.
  • New York Times: Big Labor's Big Secret. By Robert Fitch. Excerpt: Workers' wages are falling, and hundreds of thousands of jobs are being sent offshore. America's largest parts supplier, Delphi, filed for bankruptcy protection, and General Motors, Delphi's main customer, may too, if a threatened United Auto Workers strike occurs next month. Meanwhile, Ford and its main parts supplier, Visteon, seem to be skidding down the same road. How did we get here? There are many causes: poor car designs, high pension costs, increased foreign competition. But much of it comes down to the overwhelming health insurance costs borne by the auto makers. This is why the union's president, Ron Gettelfinger, has urged Congress to enact sweeping health insurance reforms.
    If the government paid everyone's health insurance bills, as those in Canada and most of Europe do, Detroit's Big Three could save at least $1,300 per vehicle. Profitability would return. With deeper pockets, the auto makers could afford to pay their suppliers. Communities would be spared layoffs.Of course, there are a lot of other compelling reasons to support a single-payer plan besides helping the auto industry. Although it is by far the most costly in the world, our health care system still leaves 43 million people uncovered. The latest World Health Organization rankings listed America's system 33rd, below Costa Rica and only two notches above Cuba.
    Most advocates of universal health care focus on the opposition of Republicans and insurance companies. But perhaps the most important factor keeping an overhaul off the national agenda is one that few Democrats acknowledge: most of Mr. Gettelfinger's fellow labor leaders don't support a single-payer system either. The reason comes down to simple self-interest. The United Auto Workers is one of the few private-sector unions that doesn't run its own health plan. Rather, most have created huge companies to administer their workers' plans, giving them a large and often corrupt stake in the current system. Opposition to a national health care plan is as much a part of the American trade union tradition as the picket line. It goes back to Samuel Gompers, the founder of the American Federation of Labor, who railed at early Congressional efforts to pass a law mandating employer coverage as Britain had done, which he said had "taken much of the virility out of the British unions."
  • New York Times: New York Transit Deal Shows Union's Success on Many Fronts. By Steven Greenhouse. Excerpts: Mr. Toussaint, whose back appeared to be against the wall last week, can boast of a tentative 37-month contract that meets most of his goals, including raises above the inflation rate and no concessions on pensions. Indeed, several fiscal and labor experts said yesterday that Mr. Toussaint and his union appeared to have bested the transit authority in their contract dispute. [...]
    When Mr. Toussaint appeared before television cameras at 11 p.m. on Tuesday to announce the settlement, he commented little except to read an impressive list of new worker-friendly provisions: raises averaging 3.5 percent a year, the creation of paid maternity leave, a far better health plan for retirees, a much-improved disability plan, the adoption of Martin Luther King's Birthday as a paid holiday, and increased "assault pay" for bus drivers and train operators who are attacked by passengers.
    Then Mr. Toussaint announced a big surprise: Some 22,000 workers will each receive thousands of dollars in reimbursements for what are considered excess pension contributions; for several years, these workers paid more toward their pensions than other workers. For those workers, that money will easily offset the fines of slightly more than $1,000 that most of them face for taking part in the illegal strike. The union itself could still face a $3 million fine that a judge ordered because of the 60-hour strike. [...]
    At first glance, the authority seems to have embarrassed itself over pensions, the issue for which it appeared to draw its firmest line in the sand. To bring its fast-rising pension costs down to earth, the authority first pushed to raise the retirement age for future employees, to 62 from 55, and then demanded that future workers contribute 6 percent of their wages toward their pensions. Finally, after Mr. Toussaint said he would never sell out the union's "unborn," the authority pulled its pension demand off the table - a move that state mediators proposed to persuade the union to end its walkout.
  • Investment Advisor: Most Companies See Employee Retirement As Not Their Problem. Mostly concerned about reducing their own costs. By Savita Iyer. Excerpts: It’s no secret that the rising costs of retirement finance call for individuals to save more during their working life, namely by participating more actively in the retirement programs offered by their employers. But even if working folks are doing what’s right, how tuned in are their employers in helping them get to where they need to be? Not very much at all, according to a survey conducted recently by Hewitt Associates, a global human resources services firm. Indeed, of the more than 100 large, U.S. and European multinational organizations Hewitt selected for its Global Retirement Benefits Research Survey, only a paltry 4% said that enabling employees to retire is a top priority. For most companies, particularly those in North America, adequate planning for retirement benefits appeared to be a low priority, and less than half of the corporations surveyed ranked themselves “in control” of the measures required for proper retirement planning, which include aligning retirement costs with business strategies, managing those costs and associated risks, optimizing processes, enabling employees to participate in the programs companies offer and executing a global retirement strategy.
  • St Petersburg (Florida) Times: Study: Medicare misses drug discounts. Excerpt: Medicare is losing out on deep discounts by turning its new drug benefit over to private insurance companies instead of negotiating directly with the drug industry, a study released Wednesday suggests. The study, by Families USA, examined what the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays for 20 common drugs vs. what new Medicare Part D drug plans will pay, beginning Jan. 1. VA prices beat the private plan prices for 19 of the 20 drugs, and VA discounts were often two or three times deeper, the study says.
  • St Petersburg (Florida) Times: Bush steers around furor over drug plan. Excerpt: While President Bush was in Virginia touting his new Medicare drug plan Tuesday, delegates to the fifth White House Conference on Aging demanded it be overhauled. Their paths never crossed. Unlike his three predecessors, including his father, Bush will not attend the four-day conference. The administration is well represented there, a White House spokeswoman said.
    But seniors at the once-a-decade White House conference were in no mood to be sold on the plan. The Part D drug benefit, which takes effect Jan. 1, is administered by a raft of private insurance companies. Some drugs are covered; others aren't. Premiums and copayments vary widely, and Medicare, by law, cannot negotiate price reductions from the pharmaceutical industry. Picking the right coverage from the myriad options "is a daunting task," Bush acknowledged to residents of the Greenspring Village Retirement Community in Springfield. Still, he said, the drug benefit "is a good deal." [...]
    But when about 100 conference delegates convened a Medicare improvement session, they latched onto the Part D drug plan and wouldn't let go. "D is for disaster," yelled Wisconsin delegate Helen Dicks. "We need one Part D plan - a Medicare Part D plan," chimed in Ohio's Belle Likover, echoing widespread sentiment that the government, not private insurance companies, should administer a drug benefit and negotiate directly with the drug industry for cheaper prices. Other delegates called for allowing importation of foreign drugs, eliminating Part D's coverage gap commonly known as the "doughnut hole" and broadening subsidies for low-income people.
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.
  • "That's why I left" by "washdcib". Full excerpt: That was my starting salary from university. I think it was pretty standard when I graduated. BCS does not like to give raises or bonuses, and everything is dependent on if you meet your util target (and even then you might not get one). I have left BCS, and I got a 25% bump in my base and the new company considers a 7% raise a nudge out the door. However, if you do want a raise at BCS, say you are thinking about leaving. When I mentioned this to my manager, she immediately asked if more money would help me stay.
  • "I left in early 2005" by "midwestman". Full excerpt: Loved the time at PwC; blood pressure and health suffered during 2+ years of IBM stint. 1 Year (approx.) later and I am mellow, loving my family-time, working in a Senior management position in Fortune 100, Paid 35% more in base (excluding options and bonuses that new employer pays), work about 43 hours a week, like my new executives, believe in the company integrity,..etc. There is life out there after IBM. Stick to your guns and selectively choose your exit strategy,...do it on YOUR timetable. It will pay off. Like to hear of other's experiences that departed in 2005.
  • "Earlier posts had indicated measurable project deliverables" by "ExIBMpeon". Full excerpt: The earlier posts suggested that the contracted deliverables (for IBM's Sprint engagement) would be hard to achieve. This contract may have been given as example of why separating responsibility for selling and delivery, is a bad idea. What are the predictions of when the fur will fly? What are the predictions as to whether it will reach the media or reach the courts? Did the earlier posts rate mention in the summaries that go on high? Did any corrective action occur?
  • "Pretty soon the s**t will hit the fan!!" by "poster999". Full excerpt: When ex-PwC snake oil guys made the sale to "exceed" quota and get promotions, they automatically assumed that the delivery will be someone else's responsibility. Also, this is what you get when a partner flys in their cronies & a$$ kissers (First Class mind you...) from the West Coast to work on a project in Kansas. Work week is Monday afternoon to Thursday afternoon. Supposedly from home on Friday's for these guys. Why so many people flying in from far away and working 3 days a week at client site ? Apparently there is no one with "appropriate" telecom skills available in the entire Mid-West... Unfortunately, the client is catching on to the fun and games. Like they always do... after a year or two... :)
  • "Some additional info" by "DM Bingham". Full excerpt: A Happy New Year to all legitimate posters on this Board. Regarding Sprint in Kansas City: The customer's merger with Nextel succeeded in muddying the contract baselines just lovely.
    We have laid off the planned number of former Sprint employees so that we've burned the in-source option Sprint might have had. We learned from the JP Morgon deal not to leave enough former employees around to allow a counterattack.
    The Industry side of IBM has larded the payroll more than 3 x the original business case. It seems the failure to win more deals this year has left a lot of PEs, etc without a place to bill out their lives to. The SO Delivery side has produced the IT infrastructure cut over. Now the real fun will begin in the BP transformation to achieve the contractual Call Center Excellence guarantees. Stay tuned.

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.
  • "Who's On Our Side" Campaign Will Hold Members of Congress Accountable for Their Votes. Excerpt: The AFL-CIO has launched a "Who's On Our Side" campaign to hold members of Congress accountable for the votes they cast for or against the priorities of working families. "The mission of the AFL-CIO is to fight for America's working families and that means serving as a watchdog and holding politicians accountable when they stand on the wrong side of workers," said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka in announcing the campaign Dec. 13. "Working families - with the facts in hand - have the power to take back the country and make sure we are represented by leaders who are fighting for our best interests, and not the special interests, every day."
  • From the Visitor's comment page and the Job Cuts Status & Comments page.
    • Comment 12/22/05: I mentioned this comment a long time ago, but it was never posted. I was told that there would continue to be resource actions at the end of 2005/early 2006 and most would be in marketing--MBAs, etc. Well, I guess my 'source' wasn't far off considering the recent announcements regarding marketing. No longer is only I/T unsafe, but anyone who thinks they are because they are in corporate are probably in worse shape since there are more cuts to come--Finance is one. HR could be next, or Legal--I heard corporate is being given thorough scrutiny since so many of the overhead employees in these areas can be outsourced at a much cheaper rate. From what I heard, corporate groups are now looking at one another to decide where to make the most profitable cuts. Glad I left a few months ago; it sounds like a lousy environment to me! However, since my post of a few months ago regarding marketing never made it to this board, this might not either but I do hope someone warns corporate that they are not immune even though many have the opportunity to kiss butt up in Armonk since at this point that is about the only way they can justify their own worth. (However, butt-kissing goes down the tubes if Sam doesn't make his numbers!) -Anonymous-
    • Comment 12/24/05: Things will only get better when the company finally flushes out a few levels of management. Our division has more project managers and team leads than you can shake a stick at. It sickened me to sit on a 45 minute conference call Friday to listen to all layers of upper management being given huge cash awards for their focus and dedication throughout the year. What about the lower folks on the pole? Don't they pay team leads and project managers more already? It's the hard working "peon" that deserves those cash awards. These are the same team leads that make comments such as "I'm not sure if my computer is case sensitive" during planning meetings. If IBM can hire competent staff in India for $10K/Yr (per the post below), compared to spending $90K+/year on incompetent employees, I can't blame them. Things won't improve until all this back scratching in upper management stops and competent employees are brought in, not just people management is hiring to do a favor for. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 12/30/05: Former IBM employee's who were HR partners or managers would be the best people to spread the word of the Alliance. HR partners have unique training unlike most, and they understand the Summary Plan documents, policies and practices that most IBM folks have never read. Many current IBM folks seldom believe HR or managers are targeted for resource actions. We need those HR and managers to come forward and become tools for union growth. Unfortunately, so many IBM employees who are severed have any role with the Alliance. Get involved for the children of your neighbors. Corporations who think globally, need employees who react globally and are prepared to march on Armonk. I am looking for employees to meet me in Armonk! -Steve-

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