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    Highlights—October 7, 2006

  • IBM Yahoo! message board post "Pension calculation delay, errors" by "ibmaccountant". Excerpts: An old friend of mine with over 31 years in IBM told me he went to HR with a request to review his date of hire. He'd been a student engineering co-op and had heard he could add to his service time with the appropriate documentation.
    He went to HR in RTP and was told that IBM had destroyed all his records and that the company had no proof of his employment as a student and any of his early years of service full time (1971-1977). He remarked about the smug smile of the HR rep as they told him they couldn't help him. They even hinted they might review his start date and move it up to less than 30 years!
    Well, he got them good! He had copies of all his time cards, his TEAs and his payroll checks, as well as other legal documents. The HR folks were stunned when he came in with his lawyer into the RTP facility and presented them with boxes of documents, all originals or certified (signed by an IBM manager) first copies.
    The HR folks asked him to hand over the documents for copying and verification and that they'd need to keep them for a while, but he calmly refused their request because he didn't trust them (he's naturally not trusted management ever since I knew him) and told the HR folks he'd brought his attorney and a notary public along to make notarized copies for just that possible request. They all went to the copiers together and got the notarized copies done.
    When asked by an HR executive why he wouldn't hand over the docs, he answered "well if you lost them the first time what guarantee do I have you won't lose them again? I have lost confidence in HR with you losing all my original documents!" The HR folks then tried the IBM confidentiality thing with them but his lawyer intervened and that was the end of that fishing expedition....
    He then went home with the originals and got an extra 6 months added to his service date, which boosted his pension calculations. He called HR every week and followed up with a letter, pestering them until he got what he rightfully deserved.
    When challenged about an ILC CLAIM entry from 2003 last year, he calmly produced a pdf copy of the entry and stunned management. He has kept every document in his attic and the bank and intends to keep it until well after his retirement. He even has copies of the old green sheets from the beginning and engagement records on CD, scanned and neatly organized.
    He trusts no one and has no confidence in IBM management. I guess someone tried to fire him for cheating on the mileage to a client in 1975 and instead he got the manager fired for falsifying his records.
    Now there's a guy who we should have listened to many years ago. He calls the current management a spineless bunch of cowards.
News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform


New on the Alliance@IBM Site:
  • IBM Pension Lawsuit FAQ about Cooper v IBM (Updated 8/8/06)
  • From the Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comments 09/25/06: To Anon, commenting on the fact that it's safer to hire in KL. Frankly, the turnover here in IBM Malaysia is very very high, the rate is probably in the range of 40-50%. The local management here turns a blind eye to this, as it's very cheap (in USD dollar terms) to hire another person here. Just to give all of you an idea, it costs USD8,000 a year to hire a fully qualified CPA, USD 10,000 a year to hire a fully competent programmer/IT worker (and this is considered to be on the higher end of the pay scale here !!)
      So while all the work is being outsourced, please do spare a thought for the peons that are working in IBM offices in these developing countries, as we have no outlet to vent our frustrations to management (other than quitting), as joining a union, in Malaysia at least, is illegal.
      I quit IBM due to the fact I was handling the work of 3 persons, but my manager didn't want to give me the appropriate compensation for this, and she even had the cheek to deny me a raise !! I am all in support of US IBMers fighting for their rights, as this is a heartless company who only cares about short-term profits.
      P.S. The dept I was in was the Asia-Pacific Accounting Centre in KL, Malaysia. The turnover rate there is around 40%, it's so high that work can't get done, and this is caused by penny-pinching by IBM management. -ex-Malaysian IBMer-
    • Comments 09/25/06: I got the redeployment on 9/12, don't want to say what group I am from at this time. I only found out about this board a few days ago. Printed all your comments and over the last two days tried to let it soak in. Looks like with the redeployment you get some time to look for another job. Now the timeframe seems to vary from group to group. From comments I have read, some are given the RA package with in a few weeks/days where others had more time up to 30-60 days. Now the question I have is if you don't find another job (highly likely) and are put on the RA are you given a fair severance package? Anyone notice when you’re applying for a job and interview that you get this weird silence on the other end of the phone when you mention you’re being redeployed. I have managers not answer me when requesting info about the job to being given a hard time that I need the exact skills they are looking for or don’t bother applying. -Anonymous-
    • Comments 09/26/06: Update from Poughkeepsie: STG held a "virtual job fair" last week. HR reps from other divisions (HQ, Sales, SWG, IGS) talked about jobs they had open. Most (if not all) required 100% travel (leave Sunday afternoon, back home Friday evening), and offered no relocation assistance. HR claimed that redeployed employees get first dibs on all open requisitions in the JOBS database, and that training would be provided to "fill skills gaps". Baloney! I've applied for dozens of jobs and haven't landed one yet. Some were filled before the requisition went out. Others are waiting for the perfectly skilled person. HR claims most redeployed employees will find new jobs within IBM. My manager refuses to give me an official separation date or discuss severance. This game we're playing is inhuman! -Anonymous-
    • Comments 09/26/06: After 38 1/2 yrs in Feb this yr I was asked if I wanted a staff position and was told it would guarantee me being employed for another 18mo. I was not told the full requirements of the job and quickly realized I did not have the skills for it. From stress I took a 1 month medical leave and when I came back I was told I was not performing well and there were questions about my ability to do the job. There were openings in our dept but I was not offered one of them. I had no choice but to retire effective 8/31. -Anonymous-
    • Comments 09/27/06: Was forced into retirement with 23 years of service at the age of 59 1/2...Laid off pretty much...I was stabbed in the back,,,but guess what...I was offered a job at 2X the pay and expenses...The best job I have ever had...The new company's comment was,,,IBM doesn't pay well or respect you...why waste your time -Happier Than Ever-
    • Comments 09/27/06: for the person who wrote 9/12, yes, you get two weeks for every year of service. HOWEVER, if they slap you with "performance" resource (they will quickly slide that past you without you catching onto it, so pay attention when you are told), if you are separated for performance, it's a flat 13 weeks of severance. I would tell you to fight to stay at IBM, however, I was given the package a couple months back and am prepping to start a career change and would not want to work for IBM ever again, it's a legal slave shop these days, the good old days are gone and they are not coming back, unless you are in another country,why work for a company that doesn't want you anymore. Take the money and RUN. -Anonymous-
    • Comments 09/29/06: A bit late adding my comments but here they are. I became a member of the "Notified Redeployment" club earlier this month along with others. In an earlier post some warned not to feel safe because you are a 2 or a 2+. I can confirm that because my last three ratings were 2+, 2+, and 2. The 2 was back before they implemented the 2+.
      I asked my manager and his to explain how I could consistently be in the the top 15% or so for my band but when they are reducing head count 5% - 10% be included in that group. I was told it was unrelated to performance but I pointed out that they still needed people with my skills and still had many people with my skills and that they must have done some sort of ranking to determine who would be redeployed or not. I never received a satisfactory answer but then again I had no real expectations that I would get an honest answer.
      I was told not to worry because there were going to be lots of ASIC design jobs opening up. That was true, there were about 72 such jobs posted shortly after the redeployment announcement. I found only 1 that was based in Austin. After reading through all of them I managed to find 4 that were "location flexible." I applied and interviewed for these. I learned from my manager and also from another hiring manager that I had been chosen for one of the positions I applied for. Offers had gone out but I had not heard anything so I contacted the hiring manager and asked if the position was filled or if an offer had been made but I was assured it had not been filled and no offers been made and that I was still a front runner.
      Earlier this week I learned one of the jobs I interviewed for was revoked. Another was filled. Today I learned the job I thought I had, was also being revoked. I got a call from the hiring manager of the 4th job. She started to tell me that I did not get the job but said she heard I had been offered another position anyway so it was no big deal. I told her I had received no such offer and she said the offer must not have gone out yet. I then told her I think I know the position she was talking about but that the requisition had been pulled.
      I appreciate the words of encouragement from others who have already been down this road. It sure seems to be that leaving IBM turns out to be a a good thing. Getting through it and on to the next job will not be easy but I hope I will look back on this and be able to say it was a very good thing to happen! After 17+ years with the company, it has become something that does not even resemble the company I hired on with. -anon_in_austin-
    • Comments 09/29/06: After reading all the bad stuff in here, I feel the need to interject a positive remark. In my last employment experience with IBM, which ended recently during the STG layoffs, I had for a sensitive, kind human being as a first line manager. I still felt some bitterness with the job loss, but I didn't feel like a discarded piece of meat. -There's Hope-
    • Comments 09/29/06: I'm 457 days from having my 30 years in and already they're trying to manage me out the door. What a sorry collection of losers we have in management. Years ago, most of the managers I worked for at least had some dignity and intelligence. Now they're like watching trained monkeys. A truly pathetic bunch. -Looking up from under the bus-
  • From the General Visitor's Comment page:
    • Comment 9/25/06: Again Working Mother Magazine lists IBM in it's top ten. I knew one new mother who took her FMLA and asked for two weeks more on un-paid time off and was told to get back to work! On her return the manager started riding her poor butt. As a single father, I can say IBM is NOT the company to work for! I was given no special anything and in fact an open door on the subject said in did not apply to me. IBM HR claims a new mother can take 144 weeks off! Working Mother Magazine interviews HR, not the workers. How can we tell this magazine to stop spreading such crap? (See below) -Anonymous-
    • Comment 9/25/06: Taking a page from George Orwell and 1984's "ministry if truth" ibm now has a vice president of trust! How ridiculous is the company becoming in the in opinion of it’s workers and the public that it has to put someone in charge of trust???, or as the Colbert Report would call it, trustiness!
      A company that has already lost hundreds of millions in settlements with hundreds more potentially to be paid out for pension theft, which is still busy robbing widows, widowers and the rest of the retirees of their retirement they were promised, now rubs salt in the wound with a VP of trustiness, yeah that makes it all better!!
      They face a class action lawsuit on overtime rip offs and age discrimination suits and they continue to lay off older workers even as immigrant visa employees arrive weekly to replace long time employees.
      High level corporate insiders continue to dump millions of dollars of stocks acquired at below market prices. Some of the biggest share dumps have happened just weeks before major price dives in recent years on top of all their other morally reprehensible actions, benefit cuts, and pension thefts, and job cuts while recording just under $50 billion in net profits the last 7 years.
      Yeah, the minister of trustiness is a fine band aid to cover up years of morally corrupt anti American corporate behavior, maybe they can hire a whole department full of corporate trustiness officers, as long as they’re making a joke out of moral behavior, the more the merrier! If they hadn’t actually come up with such a ridiculous concept no one would believe it, in fact, only a fool will believe the executive’s of ibm can be trusted with or without a minister of trustiness!!! -riptied-
    • Comment 9/27/06: I had a family emergency one morning that turned into a hospital visit for a loved one. Though I kept in touch with my manager each day updating him on the status, trying to figure out when I'd be back to work, I was hastled by my manger. I was pushed for a date to return to work. It;s not enough that I have stress from the illness of loved one. When I got back to work a few days later, luckily the loved on recovered.
      I was questioned as to whether or not I was indeed spending my time at the hospital. After I proved that I was, I was told that I had to take vacation time to cover the emergency. What did HR tell me about this? Managers can do whatever they want. So much for taking care of the employee! All my manager wanted to know is if I was going to make the deadline.
      There's no time to be sick at this company. If you are, then while you are sick, you are pressured for a date to get back to work. How does this help in the recovery? Can the magazines stop printing that crap about how what a great company IBM is to work for? I'd like to know just how pampered the Execs are when they get sick; they probably get a month on the company. -Family Emergency..Who Cares-
    • Comment 9/27/06: Did the person commenting on IBM's new Vice President of Trust happen to notice that the new Trust VP is a *lawyer*. Trust me...but talk to my lawyer. I got a big chuckle out of that. No offense to all the hardworking ethical lawyers out there, but it does sound a bit like the setup to a joke, doesn't it? I think it ranks up there with the fact that HP is currently sponsoring a "Privacy Award". With any luck, they'll still have some execs who aren't in jail for ID theft by the time the ceremony rolls around. Priceless timing. -I stay for the entertainment-
    • Comment 9/27/06: Great site. Was an IBM employee until last week, when I decided that it was impossible to return from a FMLA leave. Your forums have been enlightening. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 9/28/06: To the person who wrote that it is impossible to return from an FMLA is bullcrap. Wow! What manager told you that? If you translate that, it means we don't want you. It is definitely possible to return from an FMLA. As HR says, a first line can DO ANYTHING. This also means a first line can HAVE you return from an FMLA. Where there is a will there is a way. Now that you know they don't want you, don't look back. There's bigger and better out there waiting for you. It is your mission to find it. -FMLA-
    • Comment 9/28/06: My manager insists that standby pay for SSR's is going to go away. Any SSR who does not contribute his "fair share" to the workload will be "separated" and replaced with someone who will. What this means is that SSR's will remain under "house arrest" voluntarily, rather than the current mandatory system. This is to improve the profit statement for a division which is "pushing" 7X24 coverage to insure minimum customer down time. How about get the corporate "trustiness" officer to look into this situation and the practices of other major computer service vendors? -Anonymous-
    • Comment 9/28/06: Management keeps asking for updated documentation. Everything we know and do must be recorded, stored where they (and our replacements) can get to it. It's easy to "document" your work without actually giving out any information. Things management doesn't know about can be left out, other things can be documented poorly. It's possible to train others for your job poorly too. When the time comes, my replacement will think he knows everything. After I am gone, bad things will happen and he won't be able to do squat about it, I will make sure of that. Come on guys, let's have a little fun with good old IBM! If they want cheap labor, they can have it. -LoveIndianBusinessMachines-
    • Comment 9/28/06: IBM Exec Nick Donofrio just dumped $16 million worth of stock and exercised another $7 million worth of options on August 28th. Sam Palmisano dumped a similar amount in May of 2005. Source: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/it?s=IBM-Stock Stalker-
  • Pension Comments page
  • IBM employees on employee raises

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. A sample post follows:
  • "Hitting the nail on the head" by "wonderaboutibm". Full excerpt: As you note, this is a people business. I remember thinking about the possibilities of failure when the PwCC merger was announced: PwCC was really, as GBS is now, "just" a collection of people. Also known as "at will" employees free to walk out the door. As you have noted in other posts, at least IBM recouped its initial investment, but in driving away as large a proportion of PwCC in comers as it did, the merger has to be considered not successful.
    We have lost the people touch. Not the Finance ever really had it, but the mgmt believes with foreign labor arbitrage and "asset" reuse, they can ignore the environmental sterility. On such foundations are delusions built.
    And, you're right, successor organizations can arise from the ashes, but many with be snuffed out by the personnel chaos before regrouping.


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