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    Highlights—August 5 , 2006

  • Reuters: House passes pension reform bill. House passes pension reform bill. Excerpts: The House approved a bill Friday to overhaul the creaking U.S. private pension system and prevent more spectacular airline pension defaults, and sent the measure to the Senate for possible action next week. Republican leaders want to finish the pension overhaul that has been months in the making, while pushing through a contentious estate tax cut ahead of November congressional elections in a bid to blunt Democratic electoral gains. [...]
    It gives legal status going forward to cash balance plans, a hybrid kind of pension which gained notoriety in 2003 when a federal court said IBM's plan was age discriminatory. There is a provision making it easier for hedge funds to handle pension money without being subject to legal safeguards.
  • New York Times editorial: Fooling the Voters. Excerpts: The two bills passed by the House last Friday and Saturday reflect a single Republican electoral strategy. Representatives want to appear to have accomplished something when they face voters during their five-week summer break, which starts today, and at the same time keep campaign donations flowing from special-interest constituents who are well aware that a great deal was left to do. [...]
    As for the House’s pension bill, it is not the overhaul that Congress has long been promising. The promised bill would have meshed House and Senate versions of pension reform into a single bill that would have almost certainly passed each chamber. But the conference was fatally derailed last Thursday when House Republican negotiators, including the majority leader, John Boehner, refused to attend a meeting called by Senate Republicans to settle a few remaining differences. Mr. Boehner and his followers avoided having to vote — and lose — on items that other negotiators wanted in the final bill.
    Once they had scuttled the talks, House leaders acted unilaterally, presenting a new pension bill on Friday. They said the new bill contained the provisions that had previously been agreed upon. But that remains to be seen, since the 900-page tome was passed within hours. It will be up to the senators to vet the bill. If they see fit to amend it, the negotiations will have to start all over again.
  • Reuters: Frist: Pension bill must pass unchanged. Excerpts: A bill to shore up the U.S. private pension system must pass the Senate without amendments this week so it can be signed into law by President George W. Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said on Tuesday. The Tennessee Republican said lawmakers who want to change some of the bill's provisions affecting airlines would have to find some other way to do that rather than amend the bill now.
  • New York Times editorial: Keep the World Safe for Lawmaking. Excerpts: Elected officials presume that voters will judge them by their voting records, not on the behind-the-scenes dealing that actually creates legislation. But lately in Congress things have become so unhinged and outrageous that attention must be paid. At the center of recent evildoing was a conference committee in which House and Senate negotiators were supposed to create a final version of their differing pension reform bills. But by the time the House left for summer break last week, there was no final version, and the process was in a shambles.
    First, Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader, wanted to tack a drastic reduction in the estate tax onto the pension bill. The estate tax has been an obsession with Republican leaders this year — particularly ones like Mr. Frist who fancy themselves future presidential candidates. Protecting the pensions of working Americans, of course, has nothing in common with slicing the taxes of ultra-rich American families. But that never stopped anyone in an election year. [...[
    Meanwhile, back at the pension discussions, John Boehner, the House majority leader, emboldened by Mr. Frist’s disregard of his negotiators, decided to boycott the talks altogether and urged other House Republicans to do the same. Mr. Boehner had long complicated the negotiations with his stubborn promotion of special-interest causes. Once the negotiations were derailed, the House came up with a new pension bill and sent it to the Senate with take-it-or-leave-it disdain. [...[
    ...Mr. Frist is said to be toying with the idea of blocking any attempts by fellow senators to amend the pension bill, in that way playing the enabler in the House’s plan to force its unilateral version of the pension bill on the Senate. The end result is a two-for-one bad deal for America: poor policy poorly produced and the legislative process undermined.
  • Yahoo! message board post by Kathi Cooper: "Oh Dear - Frist sez Senate will pass pension bill 'as is'". Full excerpt: Well, Frist says the Senate will pass the House pension bill 'as is'. This is a worse case scenerio that we never wanted to happen. How about everyone calling Frist's office and telling him (or staff) what YOU want. The Senate bill gives you MUCH MORE protection than the House bill. It is time for the Senate to amend the House bill with greater PROTECTIONS for employees. Make it happen or we vote you out! In fact, call both your State Senators and tell them the same.
  • Yahoo! message board post by Mike Germano. Full excerpt: And as long as the vast majority of voters are more concerned with what's on TV, sports, and celebrity gossip, there's no immediate danger of any significant revolutions to challenge the people in power in government. There's a good reason the White House had the American Idol contestants visit as guests other than Bush maybe being a fan. Mass public fascination with shows like American Idol and others continue to keep most American non-political and that's great for the people in power. People can't focus on everything, and as long as most of the current news is on fluff instead of substance, the White House wins. Coincidence?
  • Yahoo! message board post by "sby_willie". IBM "performance team" letters and quarterly scorecard letters. Full excerpt: I don't know about you but are you tired of every quarter hearing how we have to do better to "take market share" (ok, well what are these executives helping us to do about it?), "be more productive" (do we all need to work 168 hours a week since 70+ hours a week still means we are not productive or billable enough?..) ,"simplify internal processes (gee, this one is so OLD..when are these IBM executives actually going to make meaningful action plans to enable us to make it happen?!), "help IBMers aggressively pursue key growth opportunities (gee whiz, does this mean I can actually get that job I have been working towards on my IDP for all these years now even though I keep hearing from my management that "due to business needs it is not possible at this time"...?), "close and bring in the deals" (well give us more specifics rather than generalities on what needs to be done to accomplish this "performance team"!).
    Palmisano and Zeitler have been saying now how we are doing financially well as a company but we still hear we are missing on key objectives. Sure we can always do better as a company: continual improvement is always the right thing for growth and results.If IBM business units continually fail on attaining key objectives shouldn't the "IBM performance team" be held responsible? It seems the individual, common, non-executive employees are always being held more responsible than the executives have been. Why is it always the common, average "Joe and Jane" IBMer that are outsourced, laid off, and managed out because of it?
    The overall tone of the performance team and scorecard letters continually misses a key point. Namely the following: WHAT IS IN IT FOR ME (the average, common, rank and file IBMers) IF IBM MAKES and possibly EXCEEDS THE OBJECTIVES mentioned in this memo or letter?
    We all know what IBM will get here and we have a good idea how the executives will be rewarded but, hey, what about ME and US? Maybe if we (the average, common IBMer) are told we would get, e.g. "an X% average raise for each IBMer", "the best variable payout in years", "employee stock options (for those lucky enough to have them) that can be exercised". and "know that if you are a PBC 2 performer or above you will not be managed out" then maybe these words from the performance team executives might really be heeded by all? Any thoughts about this? Why can't IBM take this approach? Why can't IBM say things like this or are the beyond making implied promises and contracts to their employees based on business results?
    • "screwedbyibm" comments. Full excerpt: Gee, where have you been? I hate to be so negative, but in response to your lovely rant, the answer is "they simply DO NOT care". It's become class warfare, the have's and the have nots. More for them, less for us. Least we forget,the beatings will continue until morale improves. If you don't like it, then leave.
  • In a Yahoo! message board post, Kathi Cooper (of Cooper v. IBM) answers the following question: If the bill the house recently passed is approved by the Senate, does this mean IBM can go back and convert our recently frozen pension into a cash balance using the same punitive methodology they used the first time? Any guesses on whether this is likely to happen?
    Ms. Cooper replies: Assuming you are in the PCF: I'm positivly sure they can because there is nothing to stop them now. The legal walls protecting us, prospectively, has been wiped out in the House bill, shoved through by the majority members. The Senate bill had some protections for us, but it is all messed up right now because of the House's shenanigans. In my opinion, IBM will do it because the PCF plan is a modest pension plan and they have to raid it, to equalize it with the rest of the poor CB'rs.
    When IBM does convert your PCF accrual, all retirement subsidies that you earned will be disregarded which means you will probably receive a starting cash balance of 30k - 45k. (my guess - i was offered 17k when they cb'd me in 1999)
    If IBM is going to do this to you, they have to do it this year because your plan is not frozen until 2007. Once it is frozen, I'm not sure how to read the tea leaves, but I'm sure IBM has their legal team working those teas leaves even now. It is headed up by Donald Rosenberg. (He's been a mainstay character in the lawsuit since 1999 and has now advanced to Senior Vice President and Counselor)
  • Pension Rights Center press release (Wednesday, August 2, 2006): Pension Bill Falls Short for Workers. Excerpts: The Pension Rights Center called on the U.S. Senate today to amend the House-passed pension bill, the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (H.R. 4), to strengthen protections for workers. The Center is the nation's only consumer organization dedicated solely to protecting and promoting the retirement security of American workers, retirees, and their families. The Pension Rights Center called on the U.S. Senate today to amend the House-passed pension bill, the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (H.R. 4), to strengthen protections for workers. [...]
    "The House passed a 907-page bill late Friday night that few Members had time to skim, let alone read and understand," said Karen Ferguson, Director of the Pension Rights Center. "While H.R. 4 has a handful of positive provisions relating to disclosure and 'vesting' requirements -- as well as protections for certain women and incentives for individual savers -- it also contains harmful provisions that could result in broken pension promises and conflicts of interest."
    The Center is also concerned that the bill would give unnecessary and costly tax breaks to higher-paid employees at the expense of others, and that the bill's overarching goal to improve pension plan funding could be undercut if employers, daunted by what they perceive as onerous requirements, exit the system. Finally, the bill misses two of the biggest issues of the day by doing nothing to stop plan freezes or prevent companies such as United Airlines from using bankruptcy courts to renege on promises to workers.
    The Pension Rights Center urges the Senate to amend the bill to:
    • Strengthen the cash balance language: H.R. 4 legalizes cash balance plans without providing sufficient protections for older employees. While the Pension Rights Center applauds the elimination of the practice of "wearaway," (a particularly egregious practice that allows companies to freeze the benefits of older employees) and the addition of 3-year "vesting," the Senate should include the transition protections contained in its original bill to ensure that pension promises made to older employees are protected when companies switch from traditional defined benefit plans to cash balance plans.
    • Strike the "Red Zone" multiemployer cut-back provisions: H.R. 4 includes a provision that could wipe out earned "early out" pensions of tens of thousands of truck drivers, construction workers, and other rank-and-file workers. Cutting already-earned benefits is not only unfair, but unprecedented and unnecessary. The original Senate bill did not contain this provision and the Senate should act to remove it from the bill.
  • Washington Post, courtesy of Daytona Beach News-Journal: Pension act won't hold water. By Marie Cocco. Excerpts: The Pension Protection Act would not pass a truth-in-advertising test. It's not that the big pension bill Congress is poised to enact -- it's more than 900 pages long -- doesn't protect any pensions. The airline industry, in particular, got most of what it wanted. Some other ailing pensions may get a temporary reprieve. It's just that millions of Americans, with all good reason, are worrying that the pension they've earned through years of loyal work won't be there when they retire. [...]
    Instead, the measure likely will have a topsy-turvy effect. It will entice more corporations to drop their healthy pension plans, while simultaneously bolstering the save-for-yourself version of retirement. Congress has now become a powerful booster in corporate America's relentless drive to shift the financial risk and responsibility of old age onto workers themselves. [...]
    The bill gives a few -- but not enough -- protections to workers, especially older workers, who've been short-changed when their corporations switched from traditional defined-benefit pensions to less generous cash-balance plans. It changes age-discrimination rules so that older workers who are hurt by conversions to cash-balance plans cannot sue. But the new age-discrimination rules may be so broad that some pension experts believe they could create fresh loopholes, allowing reduced benefits for older workers in other types of pensions as well. [...]
    So the Pension Protection Act is likely to shrink traditional pension coverage, hasten the shift of the retirement burden to workers and undermine the government's future ability to shore up Social Security and Medicare. It is a remarkable feat of legislative engineering, with all the strength of a New Orleans levee.
  • Washington Post: Senate Approves Pension Overhaul Measure Seeks Better Company Funding, Stronger Insuring Agency. By Amy Goldstein. Excerpt: The bill would give legal protections to companies that move into so-called hybrid retirement systems that combine pensions with savings plans. Under the legislation, employers that switch to such systems would be protected -- in the future but not retroactively -- from age-discrimination lawsuits alleging that such a switch is especially harmful to older workers, who do not have enough years for their savings to accumulate.
  • Yahoo! message board post by "mr_quarkwrench". Full excerpt: What the hell happened? Over 90% vote "Yea" on the HR-4. Twenty minutes was allowed for debate, ten minutes to each side, and the distinguished Senators spent the entire time either praising the other side for cooperation or thanking their staff. I've seen better performances on Oscar night.
  • Wall Street Journal: The Pension Era, R.I.P. Excerpts: Put aside for a moment the details of the 907-page pension reform bill the Senate will vote on as early as today. The real importance of this exercise is that it signals the end of the old, defined-benefit pension era.
    As usual, private business got there well before the politicians. Most companies long ago moved to defined-contribution plans -- 401(k)s, SEP IRAs and the like -- as a supplement to, or replacement for, a pension system in which workers were guaranteed a company-paid retirement income for the rest of their natural days. The current bill is an attempt to speed this new era of individual responsibility along, as well as clean up the mess that Congress has made "guaranteeing" private pensions.
  • Marketwatch: Senate Passes Flawed Pension Bill, Allows Cuts In Vested Benefits, Undermines Pension Plans, According to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Excerpt: The U.S. Senate today passed the so-called Pension Protection Act, H.R. 4, by a 93 to 5 vote. The bill, passed by the House of Representatives last week, will now go to President Bush for his signature into law. This bad pension legislation allows vested benefits to be cut essentially undermining the sanctity of the nation's private pension system. Tens of thousands of Teamsters mobilized against the bill in an attempt to stop this attack on their retirement security. "Congress has failed the American worker," said James P. Hoffa, Teamsters General President. "We now know who stands with workers and who stands for corporate greed. I am proud of every Teamster member who joined the International Union in this fight. We will continue our fight to protect pensions and the integrity of the pension system."
  • Yahoo! message board post by Kathi Cooper. Full excerpt: That is correct. CB is now legal. Taking away all your earned early retirment subsidy is legal. You do know that, right? We have been telling everyone that since 1999, that congress was trying legalize CB plans.
    Or, is it the word 'immediate' that is upsetting?
    IBM can do what they want with hybrid conversions now. My guess is that they will do it prior to 1/1/2008, at which time their pension plans will be frozen. I'm of the opinion that they must strip you of what they can get and then freeze the remaining balance.
    Just my opinion. They may not do anything.
  • Yahoo! message board post by Janet Krueger. Full excerpt: Congress just changed ERISA to make cash balance conversions fully legal. Congress also made it legal to eliminate early retirement subsidies.
    Republicans in the House masterminded the bill late last week, and then received a bipartisan endorsement from the senate late last night.
    The only reason second choicers were given the option to select staying on the plan was because the senate held hearings in September 1999 and it became obvious that IBM had violated the age discrimination rules in ERISA. IBM was hoping to avoid a lawsuit by granting a choice to those over 40 with more than 10 years of service.
    If the president signs HR 4, which passed last week by the house and this week by the senate, then that barrier will gone. There are no age protections in the bill that was passed, and IBM will be able to legally convert 2nd choicers to a cash balance.
    Will they do so? Hard to say. Perhaps they are tired of being the poster child for screwing older workers' pensions. Perhaps the pending freeze IBM already announced will be enough to satisfy the greedy executives. Perhaps not. Who knows?
    One cautionary note, though, for those thinking of quitting in fear -- IBM is still required by law to announce any pension changes before implementing them. If you are enjoying your job and not ready to leave, then don't leave because of this; wait and see what happens. If you hate your job, but needed an excuse to quit, then go ahead and start looking elsewhere. Just remember that few employers are friendly to older job applicants; make sure your finances are in good enough shape to support an early retirement or a lenghty job search, even if IBM breaks all remaining promises. (ie don't count on IBM for health care!)
  • Yahoo! message board post by "blue1bot". Excerpts: OK, I can understand how easy it is to be cynical about the potential ramifications of this new law (assuming the President signs it). But, even with all the nasty things IBM has done to take pension value away from employees over the years, this sounds like something which is too abhorrant for even IBM to do. [...]
    I'm not naive about this. I just have a hard time believing that IBM would force me to convert to a cash balance plan at the last instant before I retire. I know how much the company has taken away from my pension, and it's substantial. And I know how much of a hatchet man Randy MacDonald is, and Sam isn't any better. But, still....
  • Associated Press, courtesy of Tampa Bay Online: Pension Bill Boosts Taxpayers, Wall St. By Jim Abrams. Excerpts: Young workers, Wall Street, a couple of airlines and U.S. taxpayers could come out as winners in the pension changes made by Congress. Some older employees, as well as truck drivers and construction workers hoping to retire early, might not fare as well. [...]
    The AARP said workers get shortchanged in a provision that adds legal certainty to cash balance plans, "hybrids" currently in legal limbo because of a lawsuit against IBM filed by employees claiming age discrimination. The bill, said the AARP's David Sloane, "may lead to discriminatory plan designs that stop or reduce benefits for older workers."
  • MarketWatch via NewsEdge Corporation: A new loophole in the Roth IRA. Excerpts: If only there were a way for high-income earners to get around the caps that prevent them from contributing to a Roth IRA, one of the handiest retirement savings tools. But, wait. Congress just provided you with a giant loophole, and you'd better get moving. Roth IRAs allow you to contribute after-tax income to an account where it grows tax-free until you need it in retirement. Under current rules, individuals who earn more than $110,000 a year and married couples earning more than $160,000 cannot contribute to a Roth. That hasn't changed. But starting in 2010, anyone -- -regardless of income -- will be able to convert a traditional IRA into a Roth. That means if you start making the maximum nondeductible contributions to a regular IRA right now ($4,000 this year and going up in the future), you will be able to turn a chunk of change into a Roth in just four years. If this sounds like an end-run around current rules, it is, says John W. Roth, a senior analyst with tax-preparation publisher CCH.
  • Yahoo! ibmunion message board post by Rick White: "Trichloroethylene (TCE) and Cancer". Excerpts: I belong to Alliance@IBM, as an organizer; however, one of my duties is also related to worker safety and health. I'm also a member of a community organization (RAGE),in Endicott NY, that is trying to deal with the impact and health effects of between 70,000 and 80,000 gallons of spilled chemicals at the former IBM Endicott Site (IBM sold the site to a group of investors in 2002). This occurred over the course of 25 to 30 years, at the IBM Endicott facility. TCE is a major component of this outrageous spill content. [...]
    I happen to know by my experience at IBM (28.5 years) that some production control people (product move), used those elevators between 20 and 30 times per day! Coupled with fumes from propane powered mini-trucks (that used these elevators daily); the exposure that these employees and any elevator user suffered is UNTOLD. If you would like to see the test results for yourself, go to this web site: http://huroncampus.com/Reports.html and click on any building for the full results (basement and subs lab).
  • Yahoo! ibmunion message board post by "shobuz99". Excerpts: I was a Test Engineering Technician; working with optical and electrical test equipment for 20 years of my 28.5 year tenure. I also began my IBM service at the bottom.. working in manufacturing with a multitude of chemicals. I know from personal experience that IBM made several mistakes along the way, when it came to environmental controls and the disposal of some of these chemicals. These malpractices had to have affected some of the employees that worked, daily, in those areas.
    Which brings me to a related topic. Alliance@IBM has been trying to collect some health data from employees, ex-employees, retirees, contractors, and anyone else that worked among these chemcials. We put a form on our web site that can be filled out on-line or printed out and filled in and then sent to us. It's called the "Health Focus Survey". Our goal has been to collect as much information from people that were exposed to these chemicals and believe that they have adverse health affects because of their exposure. You can view both versions of the Health Focus Survey form here: http://www.allianceibm.org/ultimatetakeaway.htm [...]
    We have received forms and are planning to present them to health and/or government authorities for review. Participation needs to grow. The more we get, the more we can push toward investigators and authorities for their review as well. Please pass this on to as many IBM'ers as you can.
  • Communications Workers of America (CWA): WashTech Institutes E-Mail Campaign to Stop H1-B Visa Program Abuse. Full excerpt: WashTech/CWA Local 37083 has instituted an e-mail campaign to stop Barclays Global Investors from abusing the H1-B visa program to bring foreign workers into the United States for jobs as technology analysts, research analysts and even managers holding Master of Business Administration degrees. Letters of objection will be sent to Barclay's management with copies to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sens. Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), lawmakers who are supporting legislation to restrict the use of H1-B visas. The H1-B program was designed only to allow companies to import workers to fill positions where there is a shortage of American workers. To participate, visit the website at www.unionvoice.org/campaign/barclaysh1b.
  • The Tyee (British Columbia, Canada): U.S. Outsourcing Millions of Jobs. Even the former Wal-Mart CEO frets about a nation of hamburger slingers. Second in a series. By Charles Campbell. Excerpt: (Simon Frasier University) SFU associate professor Andy Hira, co-author with his brother Ron of the book Outsourcing America, sees global outsourcing as the most troubling issue for the North American economy. Business leaders, too, see huge implications. Bernstein Investment Research, a highly respected U.S. firm, says the trend is as significant as the industrial revolution, and calls it "profoundly destabilizing."
    The Hira brothers' book cites a University of California Study that estimates 14 million U.S. white collar jobs - one in nine - are at risk. A 2004 report by Forrester Research suggests that a total of 3.4 million U.S. white collar jobs will move overseas by 2015, with 830,000 jobs leaving by the end of 2005. A Progressive Policy Institute report claims 12 million jobs are vulnerable, with most paying more than the U.S. median wage. Yet another report stated that 2.3 million banking and securities jobs are at risk. And another that 700,000 customer service and corporate back-office jobs will move overseas by 2008.
    What's more, these figures don't take into account jobs that might otherwise be created in the U.S. And then there is the ripple effect. Last year in the Wall Street Journal, one analyst predicted that 17 percent of U.S. office space will be vacated within 12 years as a result of offshoring. The jobs leaving the U.S. are not just IT and call centre work. The Reuters news agency is hiring 1,500 staff in Bangalore - 10 percent of its workforce - at the expense of American jobs. The U.S. health care industry is sending X-rays and MRIs to be read by Indian radiologists. One analyst expects that in 2005, 400,000 U.S. tax returns will be produced in India. [...]
    Outsourcing America argues the trend's ancillary benefits to the economy are hardly moving in the U.S. labour force's direction. "From the end of the recession in 2001 to the first quarter of 2004, corporate profits grew 62.2 percent while labor compensation grew only 2.8 percent," the book notes, citing a study by the Economic Policy Institute. In other post-WWII economic recoveries, corporations averaged 13.9 percent to workers' 9.9 percent. [...]
    Some of the counterpoint in Friedman's book comes from an unlikely source: former Wal-Mart CEO David Glass: "One of my concerns is that, with the manufacturing out of this country, one day we'll all be selling hamburgers to each other." BC Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair, who sees outsourcing as a key issue in the economic future of our province, asks the same question. "Twenty years ago, the biggest employer in North America was GM," he says. "Today the biggest employer is Wal-Mart. Their employees buy at Wal-Mart because they're making $8 an hour, no benefits, no pension. They can't afford to buy anything anywhere else. What are we going to do with a million employees who make $8 an hour? This is a big problem for us." [...]
    Yeah, it's complicated. However, for Sinclair, one thing seems very clear. "Contracting out and outsourcing is a cancer in the workplace. It is the thing that employers are using to destroy the labour movement. That's how we feel."
  • America Public Radio's Marketplace: Congress sticking head in sand on pension reform. Excerpts: KAI RYSSDAL: The House of Representatives worked late into the night Friday to wrap things up before vacation. Lawmakers passed a pension overhaul bill, among other things. If the Senate passes it this week. it would be the first in more than 30 years. There's a government agency that guarantees pensions gone bust, but commentator and economist Jeremy Bulow says Congress is sticking its head in the sand with this bill. [...]
    Now, the Bush Administration isn't exactly a leader in the battle for openness. But it quite reasonably proposed that workers should get this information about their own pension plans. Congress responded, but to heavy lobbying from business interests. The House originally added enough loopholes so that only 40 of the current 429 companies would have to report. In the bill passed Friday night there is still a large, unannounced cut in disclosure by big deficit plans.
  • US Newswire: Fast Facts from EBRI: How Many Americans Could Be Affected by Pension Bill? Excerpts: How many Americans could be affected by the pension legislation currently being considered by Congress? Many different numbers have been used in recent days. The nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) was asked by Senate committee staff to "check the numbers." EBRI's estimate showed six categories of individuals could be affected. The breakdown:
    • 55.4 million: Those in any type of retirement plan from their current job.
    • 44.7 million: Those who own an individual retirement account (IRA).
    • 1.5 million: Those who own a Keogh plan (for the self- employed).
    • 9.0 million: Those who have earned rights to benefits at a previous employer.
    • 21.9 million: Those currently receiving benefits from a retirement plan.
    • 12.1 million: Those eligible to participate in a 401(k) (private-sector) or 403(b) (nonprofit) retirement plan who are not now doing so.
  • Orange Country Register: Looming rip-off of cosmic proportions. Government agency to guarantee pensions is short by hundreds of billions. By Gary Jason. Excerpts: I couldn't help being struck by two recent news stories. First, Ken Lay, the former Enron mogul awaiting sentencing on his conviction in the massive fraud that brought down his company, died of a heart attack, we may conjecture brought on by the stress of contemplating spending the rest of his life in jail. Second, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. (PBGC), which was created to take over paying worker pensions when corporations go bankrupt, has now racked up a new record deficit.
  • Pension Rights Center: Senate Passes Pension Bill. Excerpts: In a late-night session, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 4, the Pension Protection Act of 2006, by a vote of 93-5. The Pension Rights Center’s press release on the Senate’s passage of H.R. 4 addresses several of the bill’s key provisions and the missed opportunity to protect the retirement security of millions of Americans.
    Though H.R. 4 eliminates the practice of wearaway in cash balance plans, it does not provide transition protections to the older employees who are most often hurt in cash balance conversions. The bill also includes provisions that would allow certain multiemployer plans to reduce the already-earned subsidized early retirement benefits that have been earned by truck drivers, construction workers and others.
  • CNET News: Google hit with age discrimination suit. Excerpts: A former Google executive has filed an age discrimination suit against the Internet search engine, claiming that he was fired because he did not fit its youthful corporate culture. In the lawsuit, filed last week in California Superior Court in Santa Clara County, Brian Reid charges that Google routinely discriminates against employees over the age of 40 in its recruiting, hiring and employment practices. Reid, who is 54, contends that he was terminated from his position as director of operations based on his age and ongoing health issues related to diabetes.
News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
  • Communications Workers of Ameria (CWA): CWA Backs Comprehensive Health Care Reform Based on the Success of Medicare. Excerpts: The Communications Workers of America supports and commends Rep. Pete Stark for his efforts to address the failings of the nation's health care system by building on the success of the Medicare program and expanding health care coverage for all who need it. "The AmeriCare Health Care Act is a good step toward the goal of major, comprehensive reform of the nation's health care system, reform that truly provides health care for all. CWA shares Rep. Stark's conviction that the Medicare program – one of our nation's most successful public policy initiatives – should be the basis of a health care system that will be universal, affordable and efficient," said CWA President Larry Cohen. The Medicare program has guaranteed health care for older Americans for more than 40 years and CWA strongly supports the concept of "Medicare for All." The Stark bill would provide health care coverage for every American, effective 2010.
  • Washington Post: Kerry Proposes Universal Coverage by 2012. By Glen Johnson. Excerpts: Sen. John Kerry on Monday proposed requiring all Americans to have health insurance by 2012, "with the federal government guaranteeing that they have the means to afford it." The Massachusetts Democrat, whose name is figuring prominently in 2008 White House speculation, repeated his 2004 presidential campaign call for expanding the federal Medicaid program to cover children. He also proposed creating a program to cover catastrophic cases so an employer providing insurance doesn't have to pass the cost to his other workers, and; offering Americans the ability to buy into the same insurance program used by federal workers such as members of Congress.
    Kerry proposes to pay for the program by repealing tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration that benefit those earning over $200,000 annually. He did not immediately elaborate on how he would enact his insurance mandate, but one aid said he would do so with a requirement written into the legislation spelling out that the government covers anyone who is uninsured.
  • Bloomberg News: Bush's Health Savings Accounts Are Badly Flawed. By John M. Berry. Excerpts: Health savings accounts, the centerpiece of President George W. Bush's efforts to slow increases in health-care costs, have a serious flaw that makes them largely ineffective. Another Bush proposal, the creation of an electronic health record for individuals, perversely appears to be leading to bigger, not smaller, bills for patients and higher costs for providers. Those are the conclusions of academic researchers detailed in peer-reviewed work in the July/August issue of the journal Health Affairs.
  • New York Times commentary by Paul Krugman: "Centrism Is for Suckers". Excerpts: If you want to understand the state of America today, a good place to start is with the contrast between the political strategies of conservative business advocacy groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and those of more or less liberal advocacy groups like the Sierra Club.
    The chamber recently got into trouble because of ads it ran praising Republican members of Congress who, it said, voted for the Medicare prescription drug program. It turned out that one of the congressmen praised in the ads actually voted against the program, while two others weren’t even in Congress when the vote took place.
    Oops. But the bigger question is, aren’t business groups supposed to favor fiscal responsibility and reducing the size of government? So why is the chamber praising a program that substantially increases the size of government and has no visible means of financial support?
    The answer is obvious: the Bush administration hopes to win some votes in the midterm elections from older Americans now receiving drug benefits, and the chamber, like many conservative organizations these days, believes that its interests are best served by helping Republicans win elections. If the administration and its allies in Congress want the chamber’s support on an issue, they get it, never mind the details.
  • Los Angeles Times: U.S. Employers Look Offshore for Healthcare. As costs rise, workers are being sent abroad to get operations that cost tens of thousands more in the U.S. By Daniel Yi. Excerpts: After going overseas to outsource everything from manufacturing to customer services, American businesses — pressed by rising healthcare costs — are looking offshore for medical benefits as well. A growing number of employers that fund their own health insurance plans are looking into sending ailing employees abroad for surgeries that in the U.S. cost tens of thousands of dollars more.
    Carl Garrett of Leicester, N.C., will fly to a state-of-the-art New Delhi hospital in September for surgeries to remove gallstones and to fix an overworn rotator cuff. His employer, Blue Ridge Paper Products Inc. of Canton, N.C., will pay for it all, including airfare for Garrett and his fiancee. The company also will give Garrett a share of the expected savings, up to $10,000, when he returns. Garrett chose to go abroad rather than have the operations locally, where he would have paid thousands of dollars in deductibles and co-pays.


New on the Alliance@IBM Site:
  • ThinkTwice for Summer 2006 [PDF]. Articles in this edition include:
    • Employees fight force-outs due to medical conditions
    • IBM to invest $6 billion in India. Where is your job going?
    • Study Reveals “Jobless Recovery” in Tech Labor Market, Despite Industry’s Contrary Claims
    • SSR’s Sold Out to Qualxserv
  • AFL-CIO: Bush Denies AFL-CIO China Trade Petition: A ‘Slap in the Face’ to Workers. Excerpts: The Bush administration’s decision today to reject the AFL-CIO petition demanding China’s government stop denying workers their rights is “a slap in the face to Chinese and American workers who expect our government to uphold the law,” AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka says:
    In rejecting this petition, President Bush has shown once again that he is beholden to corporate interests at the expense of working families. It’s a travesty that after five years of failed trade policy that have contributed to the loss of almost three million U.S. manufacturing jobs and a record trade deficit of $726 billion, the Administration continues to take no meaningful action to support America’s workers or stop the abuse of workers in China.
    The AFL-CIO, along with Reps. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Chris Smith (R- N.J.), filed a petition June 8 with the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) charging China’s government systematically denies workers’ basic rights and prevents them from exercising internationally recognized workers’ rights, such as the freedom to form unions. Further, the petition documents how China’s failure to protect workers’ rights is an unfair trade practice that costs U.S. jobs.
  • From the Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comment 7/28/06: I've spoken to counterparts across the labs, including Austin, Poughkeepsie and Rochester, and the cuts have come down really hard. Contractors and supplementals seem to be the most affected. Engineers, as another poster wrote, are being directed out to the field. I spoke with a manager off the record and this looks like a senseless cut that will aggrevate future revenue. Projects are being moved out to a later date and the engineers with the skills to complete the projects are being moved out to the field to produce billable hours. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 7/28/06: STG in RTP and Rochester terminated contractors this week, effective immediately. Supplementals were given 2-weeks notice. I overheard someone making calls to contractors all day. How absurd is it that one contractor got a voicemail to tell him he no longer had a job. -Anonymous in RTP-
    • Comment 7/29/06: Had a team conference call with our 4th liner the other day. he made a couple interesting comments - he mentioned that we shouldn't be too concerned cause they are only targeting fifty percent of our jobs to move to India and Brazil. During q and a someone asked if ibm management was concerned about recent bombings and terrorism in india. His response was ibm has solid processes and procedures in place to ensure the safety of it's employees, but of course we won't be moving hardware over since it's too volitile. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 7/30/06: More than 100 contractors were let go in RTP on july 2006, and will be more on august 2006. the cut could effects IBMers too lately on august. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 7/30/06: Resource Actions in Tucson, AZ have begun. Friday, 28 July 2006. I know that 47 contractors were let go on the spot. That is just the beginning. My department, which is under head count, will get cut. A suit mentioned in a presentation a reduction 500 or 600 but did not say exactly where that would happen in STG. The contractors mentioned above were in STG. We are doomed. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 7/30/06: IBM Tucson let 47 contractors in one lab go last Friday. More to come and IBMers to be let go in August. My dept is under head count but we will still lose people to layoffs. Band 9 and 10s are asked to work in the field and with customers for a 2-year assignment. STG is being cut big time. Duck and run, people. I polished up my resume and am looking to jump ship. -Yellow-
    • Comment 7/30/06: Disgusted! Especially when we'll ride through the storm in two weeks: The Systems and Technology Group will have another series of layoffs. They want to finish up this by October, so the affected employees get 30 days to find job elsewhere within the company....so the layoff announcement will be made very soon. I wouldn't want to identify myself, but I'm from Poughkeepsie and was confirmed by reliable sources. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 8/02/06: As a member of the latest resource action, I am appalled by Sam's comment in the recent webcast to employees. To quote him, “We’ve been here before," said Sam. "Today's market is reminiscent of 2001-2002. You remember what a lot of our competitors did then — they hunkered down. We know that is not the course for a mature company like IBM. This is the time you go for it. This is the time to take risk. Given our strong financial position, our record cash flow and our overall efficiency, now is the time to invest in the future. Now is the time for us to get focused and get aggressive.” Aggressive as in getting rid of the people (contractors and supplementals) who do the work! How about gettting rid of a coouple of layers of overhead that does not contribute to productivity. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 8/02/06: After seeing this quarter's results, and hearing Sam's comments here in Austin, I have to say that I am also disgusted and disappointed with IBM. Sam's speech was nothing more than a ham-handed attempt to shift blame for this quarter's STG results from himself and to others, namely those much farther down the chain of command. Any CEO worth his salt owns up to his part in failures of the company. His idea for turning STG around? "Get aggressive." I second the previous commentor in that this should be told to the execs. Get aggressive and take some risks. Another thing, how can he expect us to be innovative (which he talked about repeatedly in his talk) when we are constantly expecting the axe to drop?-Austin Employee-
    • Comment 8/02/06: The 500 Complex in RTP is within days of being sold. Seeing that the main RTP complex has less free seating than the 500 complex has total seats, the excess employees who can not find a seat on the main complex will be resource actioned. All SWG contractors and supplementals in RTP will be let go on August 4, 2006 with a 30% layoff of IBM regulars occoring on 8/11/2006. IBM plans to entirely outsource SWG in RTP to India, China, and Brazil by 12/31/2006. Get out while you can. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 8/02/06: When I first learned I was being "resourced" I angry. Then I decided it was IBM's loss and I owed it to myself and my family to work for an honorable company run by people who value their employees. It took me a while but I got a great job working with people who like one another and treat one another with care and respect. I look forward to going to work every day and no longer have health issues brought on by 60-65 hour work weeks and the stress of working for piteous marionette managers who carelessly dissolve jobs, discard people as if they were luncheon left overs and damage families of dedicated, skilled employees in order to "make the numbers" for amoral, greedy execs. -Anonymous-
  • From the General Visitor's Comment page:
    • Comment 8/03/06: I have just completed the UK IBM Global exit survey as follows (enjoy) : I have been very dissappointed in the way IBM treats their people. We on the front line effectively producing the massive profits that IBM makes consistently year in year out and I have been among the top 5% performers consistently in the last 8 years with no reward worth mentioning and no SIP at all in the last 4 years. If this is the way IBM 'supports' their people then they have a very bleak future. IBM thinks more about profits than their employees happiness. I have never had so many managers in my career as I have here and the red tape that blocks career progress and decision making is laughable. You couldn't pay me enough to work with IBM again. -Beachwalker-
  • Pension Comments page
  • IBM employees on employee raises
    • Comment 7/28/06: IBM is experiencing the pain from the dotCom boom years when they handed out raises like candy. Many of us who survived the dotCom bust have the skills IBM needs but the salaries IBM does not want to pay. When they have driven us out with long work hours, no raises, and shrinking pensions they will not have the skills to compete. Shame on you, IBM. Our customers valued our conservative business ideals and you have sold them and us out. -IBMersDozen-
    • Comment 7/29/06: Ancient history, but . . . Back in the 1970s, inflation was running rampant. When employees would ask for a cost-of-living increase, IBM would say "we only give increases for merit". At the same time, however, prices for IBM hardware were raised because of "the increased cost of doing business". -Anonymous-
    • Comment 7/31/06: I have had no raise for 3 years and my pay was reduced by 15% in 2004. I am now paid 30% less than my peers in a comparable position in any of a number of companies that compete with IBM. I have had a PBC 2 or better for last 5 years. Shareholders haven't had a raise either (when you net the share price loss for buybacks and dividend increases) Quite frankly, this is the worst place I have ever worked and the worst investment and career move I ever made. Managers have utter contempt for employees and are generally unqualified and untrained in management. And yes, I'm in the process of leaving - hallelujah. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 8/03/06: Tired of getting a 0% raise for all your hard and dedicated work? Complaining and venting about no raises or paltry raises will do little if anything since IBM just does not care. We can actually do something about it. Take the first step to work towards negotiating a fair contract where raises are put in writing by taking collective action by joining the Alliance! -Anonymous-
    • Comment 8/03/06: Dropped from a band 7 to a band 4 and no raise in three years. Told I was lucky to have a job. All this with a PBC rating of 2. Some "Strong Performer" rating that is. I can't wait for a vote to Unionize the workplace. Bring it on. Am fed up with all the disrespect from management. Lets raise the bar on Sam P and see how he likes it. I feel so badly for him really. How will he survive with only a 29% raise? -Angry in VT-

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:
  • "Public Sector - Fairfax" by "tim_2". Full excerpt: I have received an offer from IBM within the public sector in Fairfax as Senior IT specialist. Can someone comment on how this business unit is to work in. Also, do they have project work local to Fairfax, or travel within DC metro area or nation-wide travel?
  • "Update" by "MoonShiner". Full excerpt: At the request of ancient blue consultant, and probably everyone else, I am going to continue with a description of my experience so far with GBS/BCS whatever you want to call it. Dose has already written me off as an HR mole, along with some others on this board which I am very flattered by- a pathetic rebuttal to my statements, nonetheless! Dose and ey_ore, that’s great guys, keep thinking that.
    I don’t know what practice you guys all work, or worked in, but I have yet to meet a band 10 or above that isn’t a former PwCC. If you all worked there like you say you did, then maybe you can take a good guess at what practice I am in, because it sure seems like they all know each other here. Upper management has been very supportive of me, including my BP manager, and I am very satisfied with the position that I am in right now. My RDM was worthless and I got myself where I am right now with the support my network. So the bottom line is, to the rest of new hires, be proactive. All RDMs care about is getting you billable, even if it’s a PMA position.
    The accommodations have been good- marriotts and hiltons, midsize rental cars, so-so meal allowances, nothing fancy but comparable from I hear from my friends.
    Dose’s description of the of the IBM culture is skewed towards his bias, but I agree with a lot of what he describes. IBM is definitely not an “up or out” culture. What I’ve observed is a lot of people in 35-45 year of age who are stuck at band 8 with no desire to progress, most were hired in the last 1-2 years just to fill a spot on a project. At the same time, there are a lot of smart and motivated people who take the initiative and have the desire to move up (or build skills and resume to leave for something better) and they are very easy to notice and learn from. The younger band 7’s and 8’s who have been doing this since fresh out of college are the ones I prefer to associate with.
    Dose never goes into the details of how bonuses and raises are computed so I’ve determined the fundamental flaw in the BCS/GBS career growth model. Bonuses and raises are first determined by sector (ind, dist, comms, etc) and then by practice (crm, scm, etc). Then by rating (1, 2+, 2, etc.). The BP manager meets with the other partners in the sector and they decide your rating. If the sector doesn’t do well, no matter how good your practice did or your rating was, you may not get a raise or bonus, even with a 1. This drives top performers who get 1’s in a crappy year for a sector to jump ship. I know what the 1’s and 2+’s got in my sector/practice this year, and I would be satisfied with it (although it was the first raise in 3 years). If I’m not satisfied after 2-3 years, I will still have no problem jumping ship, making a lateral transition, and getting a 20-40% in base. Actually, I am planning on doing it because I predict GBS wont be able to meet my competing offers! So I guess my mentality is a good example of how IBM drives high performers to jump ship eventually.
    But I still refuse to buy into all of this apocalypse, end of days mind set that you guys all have with GBS. Its still a good place to build up skills, in my humble opinion. Cheers
  • "Is it me or..." by "deep_eye". Full excerpt: does this read like a recruiting brochure from HR? Yes by all means, get "some feedback from other persons who've had positive experiences at IBM, etc.," Yes, find those three insanely happy rascals wherever they are and get them to spill the beans about IBM BCS.
  • "Hmmm. This positive stuff sounds fishy" by "civilliberty". Full excerpt: I've worked at 8 organisations during my time now - 3 of them consultancies- IBM is the worst place I have worked at for the all the reasons everybody else here has stated. I wish I could say something good about the company - oh, just a thought - at least you get 4 weeks to hang around when they make you redundant rather than kicking you out straight away - not much of an incentive to join the company though.
  • "Life at IBM" by "ghmgim". Full excerpt: Hi. From the messages on this board, it appears Big Blue is not valuing its employees very much. Is there a consensus on this statement? What is life like at IBM? Is it run-of-the-mill zoombie with rare opportunity for creativity? Is it a good place to grow a career? What about IBM Consulting?
  • "Opportunity" by "ancientblueconsultant". Full excerpt: Beware of the difference between the myth created by a powerful brand and the reality of an organizationally psychotic corporate environment. A close relative of mine was a POW in Hanoi during the Vietnam War. He proved that even in captivity, with no freedom, abused daily one can exercise creativity and personal growth.
    If you are strong, willing to learn a little (not much) in exchange for a lot of personal pain, then it could be a place for you. Otherwise, I'd say stay clear, caveat emptor. If you join, plan on leaving at any moment and be fully aware of the temptation of the employee retention addiction which destroys careers. It's a free country, and some of us could enjoy career masochism.
  • "Death at IBM" by "Dose of reality". Full excerpt: Yes - it is "run of the mill Zombie with rare opportunity for creativity". It is also deceptive and exploitative compensation policies, coerced project roles regardless of career fit, geography or interest, heavy offshore babysitting, technology slams in lieu of consulting work, and a promotion track that has as its one objective the stifling of advancement to ensure that you work like a dog for nothing. Any more questions?
  • "Good Place to Be" by "wrknhrd4damoney". Full excerpt: Overall, IBM Business Consulting Services is a good place to be. I was with PwC as well, so I was a part of the acquisition by IBM. During my time there, I worked on several challenging business process improvement projects. I had fantastic leadership and most often good working relationships with my team members.
    I was afforded the opportunity to lead small teams with little oversight from the partner. Because of this, I was able to be creative at my discretion and take ownership of my project.
    Also during my tenure, I worked on a commercial project that gave me the opportunity to do weekly travel to the midwest. That was a great experience. I worked for DoD for a stint and was able to travel extensively in the states as well.
    At what stage of your career are you? Just starting out or an experienced hire. There are more opportunities to grow when you come in at a lower level, because the promotion process for a person coming in at a higher level is tough. All in all, you should get some feedback from other persons who've had positive experiences at IBM to balance all the negativity that's displayed about the company on this board. Good luck!
  • "The worst hovel from an employee perspective..." by "deep_eye". Full excerpt: ...that I have ever encountered. Not only are employees not valued, the mindset seems to be to eliminate the more highly paid talent and replace them with clueless naifs right out of college - US or foreign (read Indian), doesn't seem to matter. IBM consulting??!??! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, you slay me, that's rich, you should be writing for Letterman. IBM is to consulting what Hizbullah is to world peace.
  • "Bad experiences within IBM are common" by "civilliberty". FUll excerpt: I can relate to most of what the americans on here have to say about IBM , but I'm australian. This just shows me how pervasive and sinister IBM's management style and agenda is. For you own sake , review what others have written here about their experiences.
  • "Band D" by "MythAndMeaning". Full excerpt: In the US, the Band D pay scales are not a huge bump over Band 10. My recent experience has been that a number of new "partners" have been shocked and disappointed by their pay adjustments. One data point is a Band D now making 180K salary, which was a 20 - 30K raise from his Band 10 base. The benefits for executives are, however, quite a bit better than for non-exec's. M&M
  • "Bingo!...Today's Winner" by "deep_eye". Full excerpt: What does BCS (or whatever the hell the name is this week), make? Don't furrow your brow - I'll handle it - nothing. Yes, nothing tangible - not TVs, DVDs, aircraft parts, nothing, nada, zip, zilch. They are at best, "knowledge brokers and crafters." They examine systems, determine gaps, performance inequities and suggest, coax, wheedle or otherwise influence the client base to adopt some change in how they operate in the future.
    How can we shave costs in such a system? Well in TV or DVD or aircraft part manufacturing, you contain costs through more efficient manufacturing systems, concessions from subsystem suppliers (who has the cheapest parts?), offshoring, outsourcing, etc. Hard to accomplish these when the nucleus of your system is human capital. Wait! I got it!!! - promise new recruits high bonuses, fantastic wages, peace of earth, yada, yada. Once you have them, renege on all of your promises. Set goals and standards that are mathematically (and physically) impossible to meet, and then hand out 1-2% token bonuses and raises. It doesn't matter whether the employees stay or not - that was never in your plan anyway - you'll be outsourcing most of these positions anyway - what do you care? The beautiful part? You continue to charge your clients filet mignon prices while force feeding them tripe. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful!
  • "Thank You - It's Just Ethics and Decency" by "ancientblueconsultant". Full excerpt: It's the least I can do for people who have been misguided with brand image blindness and bamboozled by fine print. People are a human asset, not a human resource. The longer I'm away from the blue pig the more I realize it's not a cancer on American business, since by definition a cancer would eventually destroy its host. It is not near destruction or capitulation.
    The pig is more of a terrible genetic aberration which lives on, consuming and hurting those who come in contact with it by choice or not. It is the supreme manifestation of the multinational amoral corporate profit engine for a few at the top, not its shareholders. Other than those who THINK they've profited from their relationship with the pig many realize too late that their personal balance sheets have been robbed or scammed.
    The pig, in its entirety is essentially a financial borg that eats into the fabric of its employee souls but never kills them off or compromises itself. The supreme mechanical greed bred in IBM leadership dictates that a human is not an asset, but a tool to be used. Hence the application of supply chain technique to human souls. Once a person is "consumed" and doesn't deliver the expected ROE (Return on Expense) then the human is cast off with the minimum of loss. An amoeba is more caring of people than the pig.
    The blue pig is a good study on how executive greed and the financial desperation of commoditization makes a psychotic organization focus strictly on short term gratification, push the ethics envelope, and abandon its human assets while covering itself with a blanket of good will and slogans. It's almost like an antichrist of an investment and values based organization.
  • "There is nothing..." by "mogrits". Full excerpt: ...special about adding IBM to your resume these days. The word has been out among customers, etc. for some time. In two cases I know of, it actually was held against me coming from IBM. Feedback was they didn't want a long term ex-IBMer in the company since IBM is now considered a den of liars and pompous executives who have no clue about real solutions for customers. I think its a big mistake but if you must experience the PIG, make it a short stay.
  • "Congrats and a few comments" by "Regional Player". Full except: I left about 4 weeks ago and have been thrilled. It took me about 8 weeks to pick from several job offers. I was a top performing Band 10 in BCS that was passed over for Partner for two years. All promotions went to legacy PWC folks with substantially lower performance than me. That is a different topic though. I am making $225K with up to 100% bonus with a leading competitor. By the way I am amazed at the talent level of the folks I am working with. They blow away IBM folks. Also, they totally have their shit together on thought leadership and go to market strategy.
    I have said it before. There is no reason to be at IBM unless you are at the end of your career and want to coast. Please do yourself a favor and leave. YOu will be happy you did. You will have companies thrilled to hire you and they will pay you more. Don't wait.
    As a special note to those hoping to make partner in BCS. It is a sham. It is all about who you know and not about performance. Please believe me when I say this. So, if you are new to the company or new to BCS you will not make it for many years. My results were off the chart compared to Partners and APs for three years and I could not make it. Disregard this advice at your own peril and ongoing frustration.
  • "Looking a little deeper" by "wonderaboutibm". Excerpt: We are suffering a sclerotic decline. As we stiffen, personnel mobility suffers. Employees become costed resources rather than valuable assets. Internal transfer opportunities decline as management fears of "excess headcount" grow, and as silly and unrealistic expectations build on an untrained and neglected staff. Promotions die off in part because there isn't much being worth promoted to. Upper management churns on the marketing machine -- or should we say the apple pie and motherhood machine -- to hide the decline. But that decline has started, and it will pick up steam over the next few quarters.

"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have too much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." — Franklin D. Roosevelt
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