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    Highlights—March 11, 2006

  • Yahoo! message board post by Janet Krueger: Conferees Set for Pension Reform Bill; Conference Negotiations Ready to Begin. Full excerpt: Corporate lobbyists have been working night and day since 1999 to get as many loopholes as they can into this bill to allow corporate pension theft.
    That said, our side has not been silent; we managed to get a fair number of protections for older workers into the senate version of the bill. Below is a complete list of the conferees sorted by state. Note that the number of senate conferees outnumber the house conferees by almost 2 to 1 -- that is good for us, and took a LOT of finagling by the senators with Senator Frist!
    We need to lobby as hard as we can with the conferees if we expect our voice to be heard. Word is that the corporate lobbyists have convinced Boehner and company to put retroactive legalization of cash balance plans back into the bill, which would gut Cooper v IBM. We need to let them know just how egregious this would be!!!
    If you live in one of the states in the listed below, PLEASE call the listed senators and/or representatives. Then ask your friends, neighbors and colleagues to do the same. A list of talking points is included below the list of conferees.
    If you have relatives and friends in those states, forward this to them and ask them to call. We probably have less than a week to make ourselves heard over the voices of the corporate lobbyists camped on their doorsteps.
    Conferees, sorted by state:
    • Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA)
    • Rep. George Miller (D-CA)
    • Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA)
    • Sen. Johnny Iaskson (R-GA)
    • Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)
    • Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
    • Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
    • Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
    • Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
    • Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)
    • Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND)
    • Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH)
    • Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ)
    • Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
    • Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY)
    • Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)
    • Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH)
    • Rep. Rob Portman (R-OH)
    • Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH)
    • Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)
    • Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX)
    • Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
    • Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV)
    • Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY)
    Pension Reform Talking Points:
    • We are concerned about upcoming pension legislation in both houses of Congress as it could seriously hurt workers. We want Congress to strengthen ERISA pension protections, not weaken them.
    • Early retirement subsidies, once vested, and especially once being collected, need to be fully protected.
    • Plans that are underfunded need to be fixed by forcing companies to increase their contributions to those plans, NOT by forcing them to cut benefits to current and future retirees.
    • Do not reduce the size of a lump sum distribution that can be offered in place of a promised annuity and make sure the promised annuity stays an option.
    • Strengthen plan termination rules so that excess funds have to be used for the sole benefit of plan participants and cannot be returned to the company or to the corporate executives.
    • Currently, neither the house nor the senate bill retroactively legalizes cash balance conversions. We will be outraged if we lose a large share of the Cooper settlement because Congress retroactively legalized what IBM did. If Congress must legalize cash balance conversions, they should include all of the protections for older employees that are in the senate bill.
  • Yahoo! message board post by Janet Krueger. Excerpt: My claim that corporate lobbyists have been working night and day since 1999 to get as many loopholes as they can into this bill to allow corporate pension theft is not exaggerated. They claim the only way to 'preserve' the American pension system and 'protect' workers' retirement benefits is to give corporations the 'freedom' to adjust promises to match the available funding... IBM now spends millions each year on lobbying and they are not alone.
    • "fhawontcutit" comments. Full excerpt: Lobbying report: http://sopr.senate.gov/cgi-win/opr_gifviewer.exe?/2005/01/000/361/000361100|2 See page 2:
      Registrant Name: Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti Inc.
      15. General issue area code RET -retirement
      16. Specific lobbying issues Pensions
      17. House(s) of Congress and federal agencies contacted: House of Representatives, United States Senate, Executive Office of the President
      EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT Got it? Does the name "Mehlman" ring a bell? Bruce Mehlman is Ken Mehlman's brother. Ken is the current chairman of the Republican National Committee. http://www.hillnews.com/thehill/export/TheHill/Business/042705_topguns.html
      Bruce Mehlman, Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti Mehlman, a former Bush administration official and brother of current Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, has attracted a number of high-profile clients with partners Alex Vogel and David Castagnetti.
  • Yahoo! message board post by Janet Krueger. Excerpts: Please do not waste your time with e-mail... Pick up your phone and CALL Washington. Either leave a short message with the receptionist or ask to be transferred to the staff person who deals with pension issues. If that staff person gives you their email address, you can send a detailed e-mail, but otherwise follow up with a letter.
    Most lists don't include e-mail because most representatives and senators either don't deal with e-mail at all or completely discount messages they receive from it. Phone calls are at least a thousand times more effective than e-mails! Letters to the Editor of local papers within the person's district are also effective.
    Also, phone calls from constituents (people who can vote the person out) are at least a hundred times more effective than phone calls from non-constituents. If you are a constituent, say so. If you have friends or relatives or coworkers who are constituents, send them an email and convince them to call.
  • Information Week: "IBM To Move All Solutions Development Operations To India. IBM will spend $200 million to launch the center, which will handle the bulk of solutions development work for IBM worldwide." By Paul McDougall. Excerpts: In a stunning example of how India has progressed from a country to which businesses farmed out routine programming and back-office work into a center for leading-edge innovation, IBM disclosed Wednesday that it is moving all of the design and development of its vaunted business consulting offerings to the fast-growing country.
    "Until this, we depended on any number of solution development centers across the globe. We're moving all of that development to India," says Jeby Cherian, head of IBM's new Global Solutions Delivery Center in Bangalore. IBM says it will spend $200 million this year to launch the center. The center will handle the bulk of solutions development work for IBM worldwide, with two existing development centers in India playing a supporting role.
    Staffers at the center will look for ways in which IBM's vast array of hardware, software, and services products can be combined into prepackaged offerings that consultants can sell to specific industries. One example: Teams are designing a system that uses telemetry devices, embedded processors, and mathematical algorithms to help automakers better predict and manage costs from warranty claims. To the extent possible, the teams will create systems that can work in so-called service-oriented architectures. SOAs feature reusable software components and applications that can be combined and recombined in numerous ways. This sort of work is currently done at IBM locations in the U.S. and around the world.
    IBM says existing delivery centers outside India would not be closed. Instead, they will be "remapped" into demo centers. "They will become more customer facing," says Cherian. Still, IBM's decision to offshore virtually all of the design and development of its consulting offerings is sure to draw heat from critics who say American corporations should keep jobs—especially ones at this level—in America.
    IBM is on a hiring spree in India. The company currently employs about 39,000 workers in the country, up from 23,000 a year ago. That rate of growth should continue "for quite some time," says Amitabh Ray, who runs IBM's global delivery operations in India. If it does, IBM would have more than 60,000 workers, or about 20% of its worldwide workforce, in India by next year. The company employs about 150,000 workers in the U.S. but has been quietly eliminating a number of domestic positions in recent months.
  • Computerworld: IBM sets up SOA hub in India. By John Ribeiro. Excerpts: IBM has set up a global hub in Bangalore, India, for the management and creation of replicable components based on a service-oriented architecture (SOA), according to a company executive. These replicable components will help increase the speed of delivery of services and lower the cost for customers who would otherwise have to buy custom-built components, said Matt Porta, head of the Global Business Solution Program at IBM's Business Consulting Services. The Global Business Solutions Center will be in charge of enhancing IBM's portfolio of replicable components across 17 industries; IBM already has about 50 such components across those industries. The company plans to invest $200 million a year to develop and market replicable components. [...]
    The center will work with about 60,000 IBM consultants and other resources worldwide on the conceptualization, development, maintenance and enhancement of the components, said Jeby Cherian, head of the center. For example, the center is working on enhancing a dynamic inventory optimization tool that uses analytical modeling for better supply chain management. This tool is applicable to several industries, Cherian said. [...]
    India is the largest of three IBM hubs for services to customers worldwide. The other two are in Brazil and China. IBM employed 38,500 in India at the end of 2005, up from 24,000 at the end of 2004.
  • MarketWatch: IBM CEO Palmisano got $5.2M bonus for 2005. Excerpts: IBM Corp. (IBM) disclosed Thursday that Chief Executive S.J. Palmisano got a $5.2 million bonus for 2005, which is unchanged from the bonus he got the previous year. The company also said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Palmisano's 2005 salary rose slightly, to $1.68 million, from his $1.66 million salary in 2004. According to IBM, Palmisano's perquisites and personal benefits in 2005, which included use of company aircraft, fell to $103,032 from $104,406 in 2004. [...] The company also said that Palmisano got a $4.2 million long-term incentive program payout in 2005, up from the $1.7 million he got in 2004. IBM said Palmisano in 2005 realized $9.45 million from the exercise of stock options to acquire 193,634 shares.
  • Yahoo! IBM finance board message post: "IBM Employee's Here's Sam's Pay" by "notassmartasyou". Excerpt: As most IBM employees are painfully aware, 2005 business metrics "achievement" was so dismal in most of our businesses that the Performance Bonus pool was very lightly funded compared to last year, meaning bonus payments to employees were spartan (to be kind). In fact, I can't remember the last time "achievement" was so bad, especially in our IGS business.
    So the notion that Sammy gets a fat paycheck for his 2005 efforts, and that Ginny Rometty is still driving our EBS business into the ground is very disconcerting. Oh well, I'll have to see if I can make a bigger difference. I suspect Sam doesn't feel he really earned that pay.
  • Yahoo! message board post: 2006 IBM Proxy - 11 shareholder proposals. By "ibmmike2006". Excerpt: Tuesday, April 25th, 2006, 10AM in Tulsa, OK there will be 11 IBM Shareholder proposals: http://www.ibm.com/annualreport/2005/proxy.shtml. Proxy pdf: ftp://ftp.software.ibm.com/annualreport/2005/2006_ibm_proxy.pdf
    See Page 21 of Proxy for the SERP Executive pension - Sam could have a $8,125,000 a year pension for life. But don't worry, only $165,000 a year will come out of the IBM Pension Trust fund, the rest will come out of the IBM bottom line from assets like the IBM Pension Trust fund surplus, presently more than $2.0 Billion.
  • MarketWatch: Class action on American Express retirement plan filed. Excerpt: American Express Co. disclosed Monday that a purported class action was filed in a New York district court over its retirement plan. The financial services company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the purported class action was filed by Paula Kritzman on behalf of herself and all others "similarly situated." According to the company, the plaintiff alleges that when the American Express Retirement Plan was amended in July 1995 to convert to a cash balance formula from a final average pay formula for the calculation of benefits, the amended terms violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
  • AARP Bulletin: The Big Freeze As companies end their traditional pensions, workers are left out in the cold. By Daniel Gross. Excerpts: Margo Bryerton, 56, a Verizon network service manager based in Syracuse, N.Y., had a rude awakening when she came to work on Dec. 5. That day, Verizon announced it was freezing its pension plan. As part of a move expected to save the company $3 billion over 10 years, the telecommunications giant announced that managerial workers would no longer earn pension benefits after June 30 this year.
    Because of the way such traditional defined benefit pensions are calculated—generally as a percentage of the salary earned during the last several years of service—the freeze will take a big bite out of Bryerton's anticipated pension. The 17-year veteran says that if she retires at 65, she'll have about $300,000 less than she expected. "I have a job I love and make pretty good money," she says. "But I no longer have financial security." [...]
    The changes are primarily cost-cutting. IBM will save $3 billion over the next few years by freezing its pension—savings that will come out of the pockets of employees. Linda Guyer, a 51-year-old software project manager at Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM, has just seen her anticipated pension chopped by about 25 percent. Guyer, a 24-year veteran, says if she works until age 65, she would have received an annual pension of about $37,000. With the plan frozen and benefits ceasing to accrue, "it's going to be about $28,000 a year," she says. "I almost think it's a way to encourage older people to leave the company."
  • The News Journal (Wilmington, DE): Boomers can't count on pension plans. Traditional retirement plans give way to 401(k)s as companies cut their costs. Excerpts: When DuPont retiree Jim Riggleman entered the work force in 1964 with a Ph.D. in horticulture and plant physiology from the University of Maryland, each of the companies he considered joining had one thing in common: a pension. "I looked at a pension plan as a basic," said Riggleman, now 73. He went on to spend 29 years with DuPont, working for the crop protection division, most recently as manager for licenses and technology transfers, until taking an early retirement offer in 1993. [...]
    Golden age gone. Workers in their 60s, who are now approaching retirement, may be the last to enjoy the heady days of pensions, said Olivia Mitchell, who directs the Pension Research Council at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business. "The golden age is not coming back," she said.
    Mitchell said the baby boomers and those who followed them into the work force face an uncertain future, socked with the double whammy of the demise of traditional pensions and an overburdened Social Security system that some say eventually will collapse. "The bottom line is, we're all going to have to work longer," Mitchell said. Or retire with a much lower standard of living, she said. [...]
    In place of defined benefit pensions, companies have steadily turned to so-called defined contribution plans, more commonly known as 401(k)s. In a 401(k) plan, employees set aside part of their salary to save for retirement. These plans are cheaper for companies to fund than a pension plan. In a 401(k), some companies match a portion of the employee's contribution, usually in the form of company stock. It is called a defined contribution plan because the company makes a set contribution per employee, without any promise of what that will yield upon retirement. What started 20 years ago as a supplement to traditional pensions has come to usurp them, said Alicia Munnell, executive director of Boston College's Center for Retirement Research. "These plans were never meant to be people's primary source of income in retirement," she said.
  • New York Times: Feeling No Pain. By Paul Krugman. Excerpts: Why doesn't Mr. Bush get any economic respect? I think it's because most Americans sense, correctly, that he doesn't care about people like them. We're living in a time when many Americans are feeling economically insecure, but a tiny elite has been growing incredibly rich. And Mr. Bush's problem is that he identifies so totally with the lucky, wealthy few that in unscripted settings he can't manage even a few sentences of empathy with ordinary Americans. He doesn't feel your pain, and it shows.
    Here's what Mr. Bush said in India, when someone raised the question of the political backlash against outsourcing: "Losing jobs is painful, so let's make sure people are educated so they can find — fill the jobs of the 21st century. And let's make sure that there's pro-growth economic policies in place. What does that mean? That means low taxes; it means less regulation; it means fewer lawsuits; it means wise energy policy."
    O.K., so you're a 50-year-old worker whose job has just been outsourced, and Mr. Bush tells you that you should go get a 21st-century education and rejoice in the joys of a lawsuit-free economy. Uh-huh.
    Actually, Mr. Bush's remarks were even more off-key than they seem, coming during a visit to India. India's surge into world markets hasn't followed the pattern set by other developing nations, which started their export drive in low-tech industries like clothing. Instead, India has moved directly into industries that advanced countries like the United States thought were their exclusive turf. When Business Week put together a list of areas "where India has made an impact ... and where it's going next," that list consisted almost entirely of high-technology activities like software and chip design.
    What this means is that American workers whose jobs are threatened by Indian competition are, in many cases, people who thought they already had acquired the skills to "fill the jobs of the 21st century" — but have just discovered that Indians, who are paid about a tenth as much, also have those skills. [...]
    And those fortunate few are the only people Mr. Bush seems to care about. Look at what he had to offer after asserting, in effect, that workers get outsourced because they don't have the right education: lower taxes, deregulation and fewer lawsuits. Funny, that doesn't sound like "pro-growth" policy to me. Instead, it sounds like a wish list for wealthy individuals and big corporations. Mr. Bush once joked that his base consisted of the "haves and the have-mores." But it wasn't much of a joke. His remarks in India show that he really can't imagine what it's like not to be a member of a privileged economic elite.
  • Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP: Ballard Spahr Attorneys Convince District Court Judge To Uphold Cash Balance Plans. Excerpts: In one of the most important ERISA decisions of 2005, Ballard Spahr lawyers recently convinced Judge Legrome Davis of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to dismiss in its entirety a class action challenging an employer’s conversion of its traditional defined benefit pension plan to a so-called cash balance plan. In a thorough and well-reasoned opinion, Judge Davis held that cash balance plans are not inherently illegal under ERISA, a controversial issue currently facing judges, lawyers and plan administrators. [...]
    A number of cases have been filed nationally in the last few years challenging both the conversion to and operation of cash balance plans under ERISA. One of the most common allegations in these cases is that, due to the effect of compounding interest credits, younger participants accrue benefits under a cash balance formula at a greater rate than older participants, in violation of ERISA’s age discrimination provision. At least one district court judge has found this argument compelling and condemned as unlawfully discriminatory all cash balance plans. See Cooper v. IBM Pers. Pension Plan, 274 F. Supp. 2d 1010 (S.D. Ill. 2003).
  • Washington Post: Riding the Retirement Wave. By Michelle Singletary. Excerpts: Thankfully, I've found a book for this month's Color of Money Book Club that will guide you through the many questions you have to answer before you retire. For March I'm recommending "How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire" (McGraw Hill, $16.95) by Stan Hinden. [...]
    "How to Retire Happy" was first released in 2001, but Hinden has revised and updated this edition with new information on Medicare's prescription drug plan. John Bogle, the founder of the Vanguard Group, wrote the foreword. Here's what Bogle had to say: "This is a great book because it fills a major gap in the investment literature. There are countless books about accumulating financial assets for retirement, but few about what to do when you get there."
  • Managed Care Magazine: Consumer-Directed Health Pains. Two studies suggest that this design may not be a long-term method for controlling costs. By Lola Butcher. Excerpts: The debate over consumer-directed health care (CDHC) — the next great hope or mostly hype — got a little louder recently when two organizations checked in on the early adopters of CDHC and came away frowning. A report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a not-for-profit research organization, compared the experience of people in consumer-directed plans with their peers in health plans that do not have high deductibles. Meanwhile, the Zitter Group, a consulting company that works with health insurers, interviewed benefit design consultants and managed care executives who either have consumer-directed plans in the market or are preparing to launch one. [...]
    Not all of the executives Sheehan interviewed were pessimistic about CDHC's long-term prospects, but Sheehan's report points out that two of the big drivers of increasing costs — health technology and hospitalization — are largely unaffected by benefit designs. "There is at present little evidence that CDHPs will fundamentally change utilization patterns in health care, and considerable evidence that higher out-of-pocket costs serve to create financial disincentives for seeking necessary and appropriate care," his report says.
  • New York Times: George the Unready. By Paul Krugman. Excerpts: Now for one you may not have heard about. The new Medicare drug program got off to a disastrous start: "Low-income Medicare beneficiaries around the country were often overcharged, and some were turned away from pharmacies without getting their medications, in the first week of Medicare's new drug benefit," The New York Times reported.
    How did this happen? The same way the other disasters happened: experts who warned of trouble ahead were told to shut up.
    We can get a sense of what went on by looking at a 2005 report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office on potential problems with the drug program. Included with the report is a letter from Mark McClellan, the Medicare administrator. Rather than taking the concerns of the G.A.O. seriously, he tried to bully it into changing its conclusions. He demanded that the report say that the administration had "established effective contingency plans" — which it hadn't — and that it drop the assertion that some people would encounter difficulties obtaining necessary drugs, which is exactly what happened.
    Experts within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services must have faced similar bullying. And unlike experts at the independent G.A.O., they were not in a position to stand up for what they knew to be true. In short, our country is being run by people who assume that things will turn out the way they want. And if someone warns of problems, they shoot the messenger.
  • Los Angeles Times: That Good Education Might Not Be Enough. American workers at all levels are vulnerable to outsourcing, experts say, posing a challenge to the assumption that more schooling is the answer. By Peter G. Gosselin. Excerpts: When President Bush met with a group of business school students in the Indian city of Hyderabad last week, he came face to face with the very people whose first-rate educations, rising aspirations and readiness to work for a fraction of U.S. wages were tugging jobs overseas, away from even well-educated Americans. Bush used the occasion to offer some pointed advice to workers back home: Get more training. "Let's make sure people are educated so they can fill the jobs of the 21st century," he said.
    But the president's assertion that the answer to foreign outsourcing is education, a mantra embraced by Democrats as well as Republicans, is being challenged by a growing body of research and analysis from economists and other scholars. Education — at least as delivered by most of the nation's colleges, universities and technical schools — is no longer quite the economic cure-all it once was, nor the guarantee of financial security Americans have come to expect from college and graduate degrees. [...]
    Most studies suggest that beyond the manufacturing sector, the "offshoring" of jobs has been comparatively modest. But some analysts say the ground has been laid for a substantial pickup. In a recent paper, Blinder offered a rough estimate that suggested that as many as 42 million jobs, or nearly one-third of the nation's total, were susceptible to offshoring. These analysts warn that more education alone will do little to stop the flow of jobs to other countries.
    But Bush may face a bigger challenge than defending the dollar amounts his administration directs to higher education. He could soon find himself having to defend what until recently has been almost universally accepted as fact — that going to college or graduate school is a nearly certain route to higher pay, and a sure protection against the dislocation spawned by global competition.
    "Many people blithely assume that the critical labor-market distinction is, and will remain, between highly educated (or highly-skilled) people and less-educated (or less-skilled) people, doctors versus call-center operators, for example," Blinder wrote in a recent article in the magazine Foreign Affairs. The assumption is that those with higher education are either better shielded from global competition or better able to adapt to it, he said. And this leads many policymakers to call for "more education and a general 'upskilling' of the workforce."
    But, Blinder wrote, the crucial distinction in the future may not be between the more-educated and less-educated, but between "those types of work that are easily deliverable through a wire … and those that are not." Some education-heavy jobs such as computer programming are proving easily deliverable by wire and many programming jobs have been shifted overseas, an irony in an era when many had thought that tech-savvy workers would be among the economy's big winners.
    • "ctman1452" comments. Full excerpt: Is education an issue with Doctors in India and Israel interpreting US X-rays? Is education an issue with airline mechanics in Central America and Hong Kong working on US airliners. Is education an issue for the guy cutting your lawn with an unknown citizenship? A totally bogus and diversionary tactic to what is the real issue of differential wage rates in various countries/citizens to do the same piece of work and the lack of any protection of US labor from it to the benefit of a few who in effect "buy" market share in foreign countries with US jobs as a "bribe" or lined their pockets with other people's ill gotten wealth. I don't think the history books will have kind monikers for people who used such words or tactics...
  • Investor's Business Daily: Tech Firms Say H-1B Visa Caps Create Shortage Of Skilled Staff. By Laura Mandaro. Excerpts: Meanwhile, U.S. employers say they're struggling to fill their growing tech work forces. The ranks of visa holders are small. Example: 0.5% of Hewlett Packard's 53,000 U.S. workers have H-1Bs. Tech companies fear the U.S. will lose its competitive edge if skilled foreign workers stop putting down roots here. "The way our immigration system is acting, it's almost becoming a disincentive for these best and brightest individuals to come to the U.S.," said Leslie Nicolett, a staff manager in immigration policy at Hewlett-Packard Americas.
  • Sunday Times (United Kingdom): From Mark Twain to family values, Buffett's guide to success in business. By Warren Buffet. Excerpts: On executive excess: *undefined It’s difficult to overpay the truly extraordinary CEO of a giant enterprise. But this species is rare. Too often, executive compensation in the US is ridiculously out of line with performance. That won’t change, moreover, because the deck is stacked against investors when it comes to CEO pay. A mediocre-or-worse CEO — aided by his handpicked vice- president of human relations and a consultant from the ever-accommodating firm of Ratchet, Ratchet and Bingo — all too often receives gobs of money from an ill-designed compensation arrangement.
    Getting fired can produce a particularly bountiful payday for a CEO. He can “earn” more that day, while cleaning out his desk, than an American worker earns in a lifetime of cleaning toilets. Today, in the executive suite, the all too prevalent rule is that nothing succeeds like failure.
    Huge severance payments, lavish perks and outsized payments for ho-hum performance often occur because compensation committees become slaves to comparative data. Three or so directors are bombarded before a board meeting with pay statistics that perpetually ratchet upwards. Additionally, the committee is told about new perks that other managers are receiving. In this manner, outlandish “goodies” are showered upon CEOs simply because of a corporate version of the argument: “But, Mom, all the other kids have one.”
  • Washington Post: GM Retirees Protest Health Care Cuts. By Dee-Ann Durbin. Excerpts: Under the proposed change, GM's hourly retirees would pay up to $752 annually for families and $370 for individuals for their health care. The agreement requires active GM hourly workers to contribute $1 per hour in future pay increases to a new fund to help pay for retirees' coverage. GM would contribute $3 billion to that fund through 2011.
    UAW attorney William Payne said the agreement would cost retirees around $1 a day in premiums, deductibles and co-payments that they don't currently pay. He said GM's nonunion salaried retirees currently pay eight times that amount for their health care.
  • New York Times: Airline Pilots Still Flying, but No Longer Quite So High. By Matthew L. Wald. Excerpts: Within the world of aviation, airline pilots used to be one step down from astronauts. Now they feel one step up from bus drivers. With half the seats in the nation's airliners run by companies either in bankruptcy or limping out of it, even the pilots at the top — the ones who are within a few years of mandatory retirement at 60, flying the big planes and earning top dollar — are facing a new world. Their pay and pensions have been cut, and they work more hours to earn them. In another concession to the airlines, their days are interrupted more than ever by long hours of unpaid idleness. [...]
    One veteran United Airlines captain, who laments that when he retires in a few years his pension will be about one-fourth what he expected, said he had to shut it out of his mind to prevent the distraction from affecting his work. After a recent takeoff from California for the long flight across the Pacific, that was all his first officer wanted to talk about. The captain said he snapped back: "You know what, can we not talk about United Airlines? All it does is cause me frustration and anger and there's nothing I can do about it. It churns my stomach." So the two, flying in one of the world's most automated, advanced airplanes, talked about a hobby they had in common: flying single-engine planes on their days off.
  • Physicians for a National Health Program book review: The Health Care Crisis and What to Do About It, by Paul Krugman, Robin Wells. Excerpts: The good news is that we know more about the economics of health care than we did when Clinton tried and failed to remake the system. There’s now a large body of evidence on what works and what doesn’t work in health care, and it’s not hard to see how to make dramatic improvements in US practice. The bad news is that Washington currently seems incapable of accepting what the evidence on health care says.
    1. Is health care spending a problem?
    2. The unraveling of employer-based insurance
    3. Medicaid and Medicare
    4. The “consumer-directed” diversion
    5. Single-payer and beyond
    6. Beyond reform: How much health care should we have?
    7. Can we fix health care? [...]
    We believe that the compromise plans being proposed by the cautious reformers would run into the same political problems, and that it would be politically smarter as well as economically superior to go for broke: to propose a straightforward single-payer system, and try to sell voters on the huge advantages such a system would bring. But this would mean taking on the drug and insurance companies rather than trying to co-opt them, and even progressive policy wonks, let alone Democratic politicians, still seem too timid to do that.
  • Yahoo! finance board post by "idoubtitagain": Comments on Palmisano Paycut? Excerpts: Compensation should always be based on Performance.
    It's a good start, now what they need to do is eliminate Sam's option grants at 0 dollars, set executive contractor compensation, from the director level all the way up to the Executive VP level at a maximum of 1 million and eliminate option grants in executive compensation packages. No more option grants at 0 dollars cost.
    Require full transparency to shareholders between internal reporting on w3.ibm.com and external reporting as to divisional target status as well indicate to the shareholders the executive that manages the division, as indicated at the end of each quarter on w3.ibm.com and release to the public, the divisional results as indicated on w3.ibm.com as to divisional target status.
    If the executives do not meet internal divisional targets as indicated on w3.ibm.com then reduce their compensation by 50% and pay them no bonus.
    Also require executive contractors to buy with 25 % of their yearly compensation, quarterly, shares of IBM on the open market and hold them for at least three years, and then require them to sell those shares regardless of what the open market price is. Cant live on 750k a year, then tough. If executive contractors underperform for two years straight, based on their not meeting divisional targets, then indicate them as being under a status of a 3 performer, and then terminate them.
  • Yahoo! finance board post by "idoubtitagain": Comments on Palmisano Paycut? Excerpts: One thing I have never understood is why executives are evaluated differently than employees. If a employee does not meet expectations, that employee gets a 3 rating. Two of those 3's and termination. If a executive does not meet expectations as to divisional results, then apparently they get at least 1 million in base level salary and tons of stock options at no cost.
    You see this executive retention quarterly and year to year on w3.ibm.com as the same executives, that are over divisions, report missing targets and they are there year after year with the same sorry missing division target results.
    Sometimes the "executive deck chairs" are rearranged and the same sorry executive shows up in a different area, however still as a executive of IBM.
    Then when reviewing the same executives, as to insider transactions, the same ones that are indicated as their divisions missing targets, are out there exercising 0 cost option grants of shareholder/owner compensation, sometimes at the level of 1-2 million dollars.
  • Business Week: HP shareholders sue over Fiorina package. By Michael Liedtke, AP Business Writer. Excerpts: A group of Hewlett Packard Co. shareholders are suing the company, alleging its board broke its own rules by awarding more than $42 million in cash, stock and other benefits to Carleton "Carly" Fiorina after she was dumped as CEO last year. The complaint, filed late Monday in U.S. District Court in San Jose, depicts the payments to Fiorina as a blatant violation of a board policy adopted in 2003 so the company's severance payments would be limited to 2.99 times an executive's combined salary and annual bonus. [...]
    Michael Barry, a Wilmington, Del. attorney representing shareholder interests in the case, described Fiorina's severance package as a prime example of corporate America's penchant for overindulging top executives at its owners' expense. "We are trying to make the point that HP and other major companies have got to get some control on these outrageous compensation practices," said Barry, a partner at Grant & Eisenhofer. The same law firm filed a 2002 lawsuit that prompted another Silicon Valley company, Siebel Systems Inc., to reform its executive compensation practices before its recent sale to Oracle Corp.
  • New York Times: Lawsuit Contests Pay Package Hewlett Gave to Former Chief. By Damon Darlin. Excerpts: The suit says Ms. Fiorina's severance pay exceeded a limit shareholders approved in 2003 that restricted such compensation to 2.99 times an executive's base pay plus bonus. The lawsuit seeks to recover the money paid to Ms. Fiorina, who was forced to resign in February 2005. A Hewlett-Packard spokesman said the company "believes the suit is without merit" and declined to comment further. A spokesman for Ms. Fiorina said she had not seen the suit and would not comment. [...]
    The lawsuit notes that Ms. Fiorina's severance package of $21.4 million was 3.75 times her $5.6 million salary and bonus. The suit contends that her severance package could be worth as much as $42 million when the potential value of her stock and options and her pension are factored in. Under the company policy, any award that exceeds the limit must be approved by shareholders.
  • Wall Street Journal: U.S. Trade Gap Hits $68.51 Billion. Excerpts: The U.S. trade deficit hit another record in January amid increasing political jitters in Congress over rising imports from China and America's increasing reliance on foreign capital. The deficit came in at $68.51 billion, expanding 5.3% beyond the December shortfall, the Commerce Department reported. [...] The U.S. trade deficit last year was a record $723 billion, and this year's deficit could widen further. The January gap was $10.24 billion wider than a year earlier.
  • Washtech: Rising Frustration with Microsoft’s Compensation and Review System. By Jeff Nachtigal. Excerpts: Defections by high-level engineers have stung Microsoft in recent months, prompting questions about a rush of creative minds for the door. One explanation is the Redmond software giant has grown too big and cumbersome to keep its top engineers happy and productive. But the star engineers who are jumping to younger technology companies, such as Google and Yahoo, aren’t the only employees who are disgruntled with day-to-day operations. [...]
    What is causing considerably more ire than pay levels, however, is a performance review ranking system that uses a bell-curve model to decide who gets high scores and who takes the low ones. Microsoft Corp. has over 60,000 employees, and like almost all large corporations, it uses a performance review process to rate them. The idea behind any corporate performance review system is to provide an accurate and fair assessment of employee contributions, but some employees say Microsoft’s system promotes politics over fair reviews.
  • Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Union says Microsoft salaries lag. By Todd Bishop. Excerpt: A Seattle-based technology labor union says Microsoft Corp.'s employee compensation isn't keeping up with the rise in the cost of living, citing what it describes as previously confidential company documents. The Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, which hopes to unionize the Microsoft work force, says it plans to release data today from two documents delivered anonymously to its offices late last year. The documents, which the union made available to the Seattle P-I and other media, show "compensation guidelines" for fiscal 2004 and 2006.
  • Todd Bishop's Microsoft Blog: Union gets special delivery: Microsoft pay guidelines. Excerpt: he Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, the Seattle-based labor union known as WashTech, has been the past beneficiary of anonymous deliveries containing details of Microsoft's outsourcing in India, and other confidential information from inside the company. Now, the union says it has received another round of internal Microsoft documents, this time detailing the company's compensation guidelines in the United States for 2004 and 2006. Here's an image of one of the documents the union says it received, entitled "Microsoft Corporation FY06 Compensation Guidelines," with figures across a range of salary categories.
  • Seattle Times: Union trying again to organize Microsoft. By Brier Dudley. Excerpt: Hoping to capitalize on Microsoft employees' angst over compensation issues, a Seattle labor group is making another attempt at unionizing the software company. Marcus Courtney, president of the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, or WashTech, acknowledged it may take a long time, given unions' lack of traction in the software industry as a whole. The new focus on Microsoft follows WashTech's success organizing a group of Cingular Wireless employees in November. That was its first victory in eight years of trying to unionize employees at Microsoft and other Seattle-area tech companies.
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 sample posts follow:
  • "Sucker or Suckee?" by "Dose of reality". Excerpts: Let's go to microeconomics class and talk about marginal utility functions, shall we?
    Employee 1 works their @$$ off, charging at 100%, working at 120% on projects, adding another few hundred hours on admin, proposal, practice development, mentoring, maybe some CBT courses etc. He is in the 2+ or 1 category and gets a 2% bonus at the end of the year.
    Employee 2 manages to work in some downtime, rarely works more than an 8 hour project day, avoids proposal work like the plague, and doesn't do any non-client work or non-essential administrative work. His real and charged utilization are both 80%. He gets a 2, borderline 3 rating, but is so valuable on the project he has job security. He gets a zero bonus.
    Let's say for argument's sake they are both band 8's and make 100,000 in base salary. Employee 1 receives $1,200 after tax. For that, he has to work an additional 800 hours. Now the mathematically inclined out there can easily see that the effective after-tax pay rate for that extra effort is $1.50 per hour. Get a job moonlighting as a waiter at a nice restaurant and you can make 50 times that. You'll find that your consulting skills translate very well into that kind of work. [...]
    Which employee is acting rationally? IBM encourages mediocrity with its compensation policies. Anyone that behaves as the soft non-financial motivations steer them (pride, management/peer pressure, unattainable promotion objectives, fear of termination etc.) in the face of this is irrational.
    The only way to achieve equitable treatment from IBM while you are here is to suck more out of them than they suck out of you. That means limiting how much they can get, and maximizing how much you get in skills and resume development. If you leave one of those objectives out, you will never reach parity vis a vis other career options.
  • "All sellers?" by "wonderaboutibm". Full excerpt: The 2/18 posting on www.ibmemployee.com listed all the 2/1 stock sales of the IBM executives, due I think to their restricted-stock grants. Looking down the list, it appears that virtually all of those listed sold approximately one-third the number of shares they were issued on the same day. My guess is that 1/3 of their holdings was the maximum they could unload under the grant restrictions.
    Am I correct in assuming that our esteemed Mafia is selling all the stock they can, as quickly as they can? Not a good sign if true, but consistent with what is being said on this board.
  • "Dose - absolutely right.." by "howard stern". Full excerpt: IBM's comp strategy is like a socialist mecca - there is little incentive to work hard and be a number 1 performer. IBM is a great place to be if you have no desire to work hard, achieve anything etc. If someone is motivated and has desires, goals they expect to be rewarded for their efforts! If IBM won't pay - then talented people will go elsewhere. This isn't hard to understand. UNLESS the goal is to piss everyone off and replace them with Sridhar from Bangalore on the H1 Visa plan...
  • "A New Plateau for B5" by "Dose of reality". Excerpts: Again, your quote: "The fair comparison would be your current salary compared to someone who has recently joined IBM, or joined close to when you left"
    First of all, the fundamental and relevant question implicit in Midwestman's post is pay equity - both base and incentive. No one that works here cares how much we are offering new hires. His point about his increase was that his contributions were not being recognized here. If in fact new hires are coming in at comparable rates to those that he realized in his move (and that is a big “if”), it is no consolation to him, and obviously would have no influence on his decision process or assessment of our policies.
    Second, failure to recognize internal candidates worth at the same level as new hires is sheer stupidity, and fundamental to the asinine brinkmanship compensation policy we have, where we rely on inertia to keep people in the ranks, and fail to incentivize performance in the short term. If we would be willing to make quantum increases in offer salary versus prior year, we should spend those financial resources on internal, proven resources, and not give free agency bonuses to applicants with no job history.
    So much for the theory….now onto reality
    Third, IBM does not regrade and reband new offer salaries for positions in major increments every year. They are grounded in the overall salary structure of current staff. To suggest that there is a possibility that the change in offer salary versus several years ago will be significantly greater than the composite average salary increases that staff have received over the same period is ludicrous. If staff have not been rewarded in a manner that enables them to keep pace with their market value, then external candidate offers wouldn’t either. They move in virtual lock step. The common denominator to both of them is comp studies, which are not really studies here, they are ex post facto rationalizations that fit our overall budget requirements.
  • "Better year for former 1's" by "midwestman". Full excerpt: Last year IBM BCS I was a 1. Received a whopping 7% bonus for the 100's of extra hours of leadership requirements, selling deals, marketing and etc. So I left. New employer's bonus was 25% for my effort in 2005. This was after a significant pay raise for leaving. No comparison. Also I like my new employer. All the theories around "pay-normalizing" the PwC acquisition have proven out over the last 3 years. IBM does not recognize high performers. Don't be surprised when you don't get your reward for extra effort.
  • "The inside secrets" by "Dose of reality". Full excerpt: Outside of the normal advice you would get in any interview guide, if you want to increase your chances of getting an offer, here is the formula:
    1. Effusively praise any of the IBM-based toolsets that you can work into your interview
    2. Leave the impression that you are willing to wait a long time for the offer to come through
    3. Leave the impression that you don't care about a competitive salary, and your post-acceptance compensation expectations are really low.
    4. If you are in a technical interview, don't leave the impression that you understand business processes. Your interviewer will either feel threatened, or not understand anything that you say - both recipes for rejection.
    5. Show that you understand project planning, execution, risk mitigation, etc.
    We need project managers/leads that can fix project execution problems, slam in technology, favor IBM tools that we can peddle and make more profit from, will wait a while for a project to open up before getting an offer, and come cheap. Our recruiting slogan: "The many, the meek, the IBM geeks". Not quite up there with "The Few, The Proud, The marines" now is it
  • "Sorry B5" by "Dose of reality". Excerpts: I’ve already explained the economics on this from a staff point of view in the “sucker or suckee” post in the “Bonus Amounts” thread. I’ve also explained it from the company’s perspective several times in the past. An extra 25% in utilization yields approximately $125,000 in profit for a solid band 8 resource. I’m happy to pay 20% of that increment to the staff to give him a real annual incentive to achieve it, or any pro-rated variation of that. That’s a 400% return on investment. There is a bonus payout contract zone that will optimize performance, and it is not 10% bonus for the top 2% of performers! At the latter level, it’s like a game of musical chairs with 50 players and 1 chair, with the prizes being a fraction of what you could get playing another game, and the opportunity to play again next year.
    As far as promotion to band 9, what exactly did you get for that except more responsibility and a higher billing rate??
  • "A prediction" by "Dose of reality". Excerpts: There are three factors at play here (concerning variable pay)- all of them as soft as a baby's behind, and as arbitrary as OPEC production quotas.
    1. The bonus target - inflated to begin with, non-contractual, and subject to change with or without notice.
    2. The bonus pool - always a fraction of 100%, and frequently less than 50%. You’ll never know how it is formulated every year.
    3. Annual evaluation - which you appear to have done well with due to an extraordinary amount of work, but never a guarantee.
    At the end of the day, all you have to rely on is the goodwill of IBM and their need to maintain yours. If you don't yet understand after two years of working here, and with the information that has been provided on this forum, that the former is nonexistent, then you have a handicap in your skill set that no amount of training, practice, or client kudos will ever overcome.
    With regard to the latter, the only possible way that you will get any relief from your unmet expectations is if you are truly an irreplaceable leader in an ongoing project, and we believe that you are an imminent flight risk. You may get one of those rare retention bonuses. But then, you will be in the same position next year, no longer a favored son, and much less irreplaceable. If you are a top performer, why not go someplace where you will be rewarded like one without having to plead for it or jump through silly administrative hoops?!
  • "BCS Bonus Issues and PDF/Promotion" by "Joe Dirt". Full excerpt: In the previous posts, B5GovCon said that he/she got a 1 with 90% utilization. Unless he/she closed some really big deals (~$4M), he/she should not have gotten a 1 on the PBC with only 90% utilization. I sat in a board and this type of stuff is the root of the problem with BCS. Retention is more the focus rather than rewarding performance. In the old days (BIS), a 1 performer was the .005% but now we give 1s to 20% of our band 6s to "keep them happy". This dilutes the rewards for the people that actually do the heavy lifting rather than the average lifting.
    I had a utilization of 120% last year, supported many “management efforts”, and closed deals but I was a 2+. Why?..Who knows but I suspect because I was leaving BCS for another part of IBM. Why give me $ when they can use my share for the overall retention plan? My old manager has not communicated my “reward” yet but I don’t have high hopes. I am now in an organization within IBM that actually does reward by tying performance to bonus.
    I too did the math a long time ago and even asked my old manager “why should I bust my hump as the rewards/metrics are not aligned to drive performance.” I did not really get an answer but rather an invite for a conference call to discuss the point I was trying to make. To me it was obvious and I think it was to my old boss as well but they have to push the party line. One of my other partners (good friend) always used to give me one of those looks when I used to bring these subjects up. As to say, “Yes we know but we have mortgages, wives, children, responsibilities, etc. so we have to stay in line.”
    All I can say is I am so happy since I left BCS and any person that stays is either caught in the position, too stupid to leave or too lazy as many other options exist. In regards to promotion, I too kept trying to get promoted as a L4 only to be told that I had to take the class first (which only certifies you to a L3). For two years I tried to get into the class only to be told that I had to cancel the class due to limited training $. I took the class last year only because I signed up for the final class of the year (as they made me move it from the beginning once again due to $). Management called me 25 days out of the class and told me to cancel it but I told them that after 30 days (per Global Campus Policy) you can cancel but you do not get the $ back so they had to let me go.
    I am now a L5 and certified but as you can see from above I got out since the logic was too strong. I think the whole PDF process is just a game to see how you handle paperwork, changing rules/requirements, and BS. This appears to be the strongest driver and sign if you are ready for promotion within BCS. Do you want to know the real kicker…we sold the PDF process to the US Air Force as a best practice….In concept, the PDF process does make logical sense and allows for growth management of personnel but only when it is implemented/managed correctly. I hope the AF implements the PDF process the correct way and not the way that we use it!
  • "Old habits die hard" by "Dose of reality". Excerpts: When the money dried up four years ago, salaries came back down to earth, yet lemming-like job seekers continue to clamor to get in the door. In the meantime, firms like IBM no longer pay premium salaries or incentive compensation, have raised targets, and are still trying to get premium billing rates. The only way we can continue this is to lie to clients and job seekers alike. We tell the former that we have an elite work force, and we tell the latter that they will get 8% raises and 15% bonuses. Anyone with talent that continues to sign up for this is an ignorant fool. Any client that signs a contract has obviously not done an adequate EVC analysis. There are dozens of firms that have lower rates AND better quality resources. Here, they are paying for a Lexus and getting a Hyundai. The entire system is set up to perpetuate the Band C+ income and retirement plan. Everyone else is a loser.
    There are many industry IT/Process jobs that pay more than BCS. Companies are happy to take some of that 300% markup that they pay to BCS and give it to you. You don’t have to travel, you have career paths to C-Level jobs, and can work for a company that really believes that it is in their best interest to keep you happy. What are you waiting for?!
  • "Dose, as requested" by "ey_ore". Excerpts: In response to your request of 3/7: "I was thinking that you would be the perfect man to come up with the top 10 list of ways that a BCS staff person could earn the equivalent of a 2% bonus outside of IBM."
    1. Perform at a 1 level at CapGemini. Life, of course, is not without risk. While roughly equivalent to BCS, there is a chance you’ll be RIF’d in Q4 in order to make the year so that CG can payout 4% to suckups they really like regardless of their performance.
    2. Buy a KrazyEights scratch-off lotto ticket per week for a year (higher risk adjusted EV than working you’re a$$ off over the same timeframe and betting on the firm taking care of you).
    3. Rent your attic to 12 H1-B’s from your local office…dependable cash flow after small investment in ventilation
    4. Mow lawns on the weekend. Of course, this requires that you actually be home long enough on the weekends to fire up the Lawn Boy and do the neighbor (I’m talking about the yard here. Which brings me to a more practical option …
    5. Gather up anything associated with recreation or leisure pursuits: skis, tennis gear, bikes, Frisbees, chaise lounges and hammocks, crochet mallets and balls, woodworking or fine arts equipment, jigsaw puzzles, weird colored Hawaiian shirts, children etc. Sell on eBay. Look, you leave on Monday, return on Friday, recover from jet lag and general work-related malaise all Saturday. Sunday you’re packing again for Monday. For a consultant, these trappings of normality are just unutilized assets that can be liquidated with no impact on your current quality of no life.
    6. Sell your blood. This would provide an incremental revenue stream as you're having the lifeblood sucked out of you right now for free. I was going to go with the escort service concept, but I thought the analogy to be too obvious.
    7. Buy my self-study course, “Making a Ton of Money at Home Accomplishing Nothing on the Internet.” The beauty of my program is that you can still accomplish absolutely nothing meaningful without the inconveniences of constant travel. Please follow the link to my website: www.deloittestush.fat
    8. Start your own undifferentiated, commodity technology consulting firm. Entry barriers are non-existent. And the performance requirements? A joke. You guys work for BCS, so I’m preaching to the choir here. Let’s not quibble about entry strategy, size of the market opportunity, blah blah blah. Do we need to know the diameter of Uranus to know it’s big? Bottom line: all you have to do is know how to do something better than Charlie-client and be willing to do it for him while he cultivates an aura of self-importance and works on his tan. Really, think about. Following that definition, you’re already about as differentiated as the Big X firms. Another upside is you’ll never need a watch again as Charlie will be giving you his anyways (make a note to sell your Breitling with the recreational stuff).
    9. Sell the treatment of that screenplay you’ve been working on the plane…”Broke Code Mumbai”. The story of two H1-B codeherders trapped in a world where Perl source matters but their CGI back-end can never be revealed .
    10. Marry someone who works for M/B/B. Retire.
  • "Thanks - That certainly puts it in perspective" by "Dose of reality". Excerpts: What they all have in common:
    1. A fraction of the effort you have to put in vying for a 1 rating
    2. Needed variety in your schedule - an opportunity to become well-rounded as a person
    3. All have a much higher payoff than $1,200 after tax, and higher odds of success
    4. Many have upside - look at all the Ebay millionaires out there! You could build an empire to service the H1B housing market. Cash flow and Real estate appreciation. H1REIT.com - here we come!
    5. Some are absolutely risk free
    6. Many enable you to get in touch with that creative side that has been beaten down and suppressed for years

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.
  • To IBM Canada employees: Concerned about pension changes, declining benefits and working conditions? Please contact the e-mail below to find out how to get involved in working for a better future for IBM Canada employees. allianceibm@tngcanada.org
  • This just in: 400 SSR's outsourced to Qualxserve. IBM says "Take it or leave it."
    • By April 10
    • No Severance
    • Employees can't look for another job in IBM
    • Employees can't talk to Media
    IBM's Announcement to employees: "QualxServ will assume field service delivery responsibility for primarily next day, high volume service products in the continental U.S., now performed by IBM Technical Support, such as IBM/Lenovo Mobile, Workstations, MPM Desktop, exchange printers, IBM Workgroup Printers and selected end user services (Service Code 44). Approximately 300 regular and 100 supplemental IBM employees who service these products will become employees of QualxServ under an arranged employment agreement. The selected employees have already been advised of the changes."
  • Attorney Investigating Claim that IBM Targets Workers Who Take FMLA or Maternity Leave, or Women With Small Children, for Low Ratings and Layoff: Richard T. Seymour, a workers' rights attorney in Washington, D.C., is looking for information on whether IBM is getting rid of workers with families, by giving them PBC ratings of "3" if they take FMLA or maternity leave, or are women with small children. If you have information and are not a manager, please contact him by e-mail at rick@rickseymourlaw.net, or on his web site, www.rickseymourlaw.com.
  • From the Job Cuts Status & Comments page:
    • Comment 3/10/06: So now SSR's get outsourced with no notice. And then told not to talk to the media! I think it is time ALL ssr's around the country went on a 1 day sick out. Screw Sam. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 3/10/06: I was one of the SSR's resourced yesterday. The reason? Because I took more of a percentage of laptop/pc calls than the rest of the group. Here's the kicker, I was the team lead for the group. I accepted this role to help further my career. One of the expectations was that I would help clean up intel calls that other SSR's were having trouble fixing. So, long hours and good technical skills qualify for a resource action?? I hope this is an eye opener for all. Don't give all your time to IBM, it doesn't count for anything! -Anonymous-
  • From the General Visitor's Comment page:
    • Comment 3/6/06: We were told at the IBM East Fishkill Plant that there is no additional overtime allowed. And no pay raise in sight. Hearing that this will continue until the pension freeze is over as the final pension monthly payout is based on ones yearly gross salary during their last 5 years of productive employment service. There is a method to their madness and its not to benefit the IBM worker! -Anonymous-
    • Comment 3/9/06: In all my years in the I.T. industry i have never seen such inefficiency as i have under IBM. They split our workforce into their tower groups and now the people who were technically qualified to perform many tasks have been strictly limited to performing just a few tasks. This is a gross misuse of talents and abilities. It's so easy to see why IBM will no longer be competitive in the upcoming years. They are top heavy with do nothing managers who have no clues how to run a clients business. The word is out: IBM= idiots become managers. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 3/9/06: I spent eight years at Big Blue and had gone everywhere and did everything they wanted me to. Unfortunately, a job reduction in 2003 forced me out of Blue. Needless to say, they continue to churn people faster than the cell phone companies as they are pushing for lower wage US workers, college hires and outsource projects to India and cheap vendor contractors that spell disaster projects! Be careful. Thanks Mike
    • Comment 3/11/06: Working at Big Blue sucks. IBM managers forgot what Tom Watson created for a well managed company. IBM needs a well organized union with employee support and then clean up the mess Sam Palmisano created with corrupt, arrogant, and evil managers. IBM has become a smelly polluted cesspool sewer for crap incompetent managers. Be smart and support the Alliance and fight for a union. It is your only hope to turn Big Blue around to the great company it was under Tom Watson. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 3/11/06: I saw the headline on money.cnn.com that links into a WashTech.org article and says "Microsoft employees feel maligned: Microsofties allege that Redmond's performance review system is rigged." It sounds like Microsoft has been using IBM's Compensation and Review System. -Anonymous-
  • Pension Comments page

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