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    Highlights—March 3, 2007

  • 24/7 Wall Street: Cramer Says IBM's Palmisano Needs To Go. Excerpt: On CNBC's Mad Money, Cramer went over his Sell Block where he reviews stocks that are usually supposed to be sold.
    He is singling out one name. IBM's Palmisano is one CEO that would take his stock up if he would just resign. Cramer is replacing Palmisano on his 5 CEO's that need to go, and putting him there instead of Andrea Junjg of Avon. On March 1, 2002 when he took over IBM was north of $102 and despite the stock coming up 25% off lows the stock is still under after a 40% gain in S&P 500 after dividends. He thinks the CEO is overpaid. Cramer said that Google Apps at $49 is not as good as Microsoft's or IBM's but it is cheap enough and getting some corporate accounts. Cramer thinks that IBM is a SELL while its current CEO is at the helm. Infosys has gained more than 200% during the same time. IBM fell 0.5% on this after-hours.
  • Yahoo! message board post by "sby_willie". Full excerpt: In IBM the problems still start at the top. Cramer could have elaborated some more on what really ills IBM.
    IBM continues to rely on continued additional cost cutting measures. When it can't cut any more operational expenses (including employee salaries, raises, benefits, offshoring to cheaper labor), selling business units (PC company, printer company (again)), capital budgets, expense allocations, education budget, etc., it just goes after what is left and cutting more people. They have cut into the bone: they are cutting into the bone. Once they cut through most of the bone, the company will surely collapse: you can't stand up without skeletal support. If they keep this practice up IBM will be a fossil.
    They always try to find the "easy" way of continuing to make profit. But no matter how they spin the news for quarterly reports (whose 90 days rule lock the plans and operations of the company) they can't drive sustained revenue over any stretch of time. They are totally driven by the quarterly result which is very myopic indeed.
    They also have no niche product or offering, EXCEPT, and you know IBM needs to heavily rely on it still, the mainframe. It's funny how IBM still has not come up with any other hardware, software, or middleware to take over and become their main niche. A niche in the market IS NOT or can never be I/T computing services: in regards to services you can always go to another vendor or competitor and get the like solution: nothing special or essentially unique about it. The services are just done at a different cost with perhaps different products done by a different set of people for the customer.
    The IBM converting to a services company seemed like a fresh idea in the 1990's but they desperately need something else to transform themselves in this century. All the wordspeak by our CEO saying to the affect that IBM is a globally transformed and positioned company doesn't really say or mean to much when it comes to real solid business footing that the market wants to see sustained. The stock is essentially close to flat in performance during Palmisano's tenure.
    So no wonder Cramer feels the way he does.
    Now the company is pushing the word: innovation. But the top of this company sure seems to have no clues for innovation. In fact they are coming off as desperate. For instance, the CTO was widely quoted as saying "...there is no next big thing (in I/T technology)..". How narrow-minded and coming off as naive is that?? He might claim this was taken out of context but it is what it is.
    If the top of the company is truly innovative they can easily come up with other and better way of doing business, but they are stultified. It's always BAU with IBM operations and that certainly is not innovative.
    You want some innovation? Give some other folks in IBM a chance to get to the top and you'll get fresh ideas and with these ideas will come some real innovation! You need these people to be around for a few years and have something called a career. Don't just keep them in the trenches or the boiler rooms and demand innovations where they have no chance to get to the top. Give them more than a prayer of a chance to be the real movers and shakers of a transformation that will lead to sustained and continual growth.
    And that transformation will not be as painful as the BAU IBM of today.
  • Forbes: IBM's India Hiring Binge Continues. Excerpts: The work force at International Business Machines Corp. grew 8 percent in 2006, with most of the rise coming in India, where the technology company has been on a hiring binge in recent years. The figures were disclosed Tuesday in IBM's annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission. IBM noted that at the end of 2006 it employed 355,766 people, up from 329,373 one year earlier.
    Its base in India was 52,000 people - up from 36,000 one year earlier. Three years earlier, IBM had just 9,000 people there, before the company dramatically stepped up its efforts to lower costs by doing more software development, services work and customer support from India.
  • Reuters, courtesy of CNN News: Lenovo may be cutting 1,000 jobs. Excerpts: Lenovo has approved a preliminary plan to slash more than 1,000 jobs to cut costs as price competition in the PC market remains intense, a source close to the company said Tuesday. The job cuts would fall mostly in the United States--the majority would be layoffs, while some workers would be redeployed. But some of the restructuring would also take place in China, the source said. A representative. [...]
    Lenovo has competed aggressively on price with rivals, but any gains in market share have been eroded by falling unit prices, say analysts. Lenovo had hoped the purchase of the struggling IBM unit would bring in the notebook computer technology it needed to compete in the highly competitive sector. However, the company has not been able to convince enough corporate clients that the new Thinkpad notebooks were still IBM computers and not just Lenovos with a new logo attached, the source said.
  • CNN/Money: What's killing pension plans? Maybe you. Traditional pension plans are disappearing. Here's why, plus some ways you might make a difference at your own workplace. By Liz Pulliam Weston. Excerpt: After watching the ups and downs of the stock market take a toll on our 401(k)s, the idea of a traditional pension might sound pretty good. These old-school retirement plans offer a guaranteed paycheck in retirement. Your payoff isn't determined by how much you contribute, how well you invest or what happens to the Dow. When you have a pension, it's up to your employer to make sure you get the money, and the federal government stands by as a backup in case your company screws up.
  • Yahoo! message board post by "ibmmike2006". Full excerpt: I knew that IBM was stealing from employees a decade ago as they pushed older employees out the door before their Defined Benefit Pension plans maximized in their late 50's and early 60's. I saw good people, above average in intelligence, being worked with a formal plan that originated in the halls of the Human Resources at IBM in Armonk, NY.
    It was like "boiling a frog", not putting a frog in boiling water that will cause the frog to jump out but putting the frog in luke warm water and then slowly turning up the heat until the frog is boiled and dies.
    Not only did they apply pressures on employees but they lobbied Congress and found long term Congressmen to sponsor their bills and pass laws that took away rights of the common man of America. They did it with "perks" and "bringing home the bacon" with contributions to their districts as to get re-elected.
    Supporting Congressmen who "placed" Corporate Federal Judges on the benches to support Corporate Goals. Not to mention, US Presidents who "identify themselves with the Haves and Have Mores."
    The theft of the defined benefit pensions was a Fortune 500 coordinated effort with a plan to influence Congress, the Courts, and the US President.
    Our way of life has changed and those who are reaping the rewards from the Defined Benefit Pensions are the CEO's and those who share in the wealth of the Executive Top Hat pensions. As the defined benefit pensions were discontinued, those funds with the magic of accounting were transferred primarily with stock options and Top Hat Programs.
    The average recipient of defined pensions had not a clue on what was going on. Most of the time they were working so hard and had no time nor were given education to understand how their Company leadership was stealing from them.
    The net result was "the rich (Fortune 500 Executives) all got richer at the expense of the "working (un-executive of the Fortune 500). Driven by Greed and the likes of the McKinsey group, the Defined Benefit Pensions will be history in a decade or so.
    The only hope is the American Worker to organize but unfortunately, they are not hungry enough even though they are headed to being poor and will work until they die. Keeping in mind that 45 per cent of Americans have a handicap that prevents them from working full time past age 65.
    The Defined Benefit Pension did not have their roots in being "Conservative" but came as a result of being a "Liberal" practicing generosity and recognizing that the purpose of America was to help people succeed and better their way of life unlike Europe's caste system and the banana Republics where most people are poor.
    Most of who fought in WWII to keep America safe are now dying by the thousands daily, and dying along with them is the defined benefit Pension plans.
    The main heirs are the CEO's and their Executive club members.
    Our kids, grandkids, and great grandkids will not enjoy the same benefits as the WWII generation with the Baby Boomers leading the way.
  • Yahoo! message board post by "mr_quarkwrench". Full excerpt: While looking over my latest pension statement which arrived in today's mail and confirming that the medical premium was after tax dollars, my phone rang. It was my pulmonologist's office informing me the pulmonary function test I had schedule was canceled because UHC informed the hospital my coverage was terminated January 23rd.
    Of course, to add to the difficulty, my pulmonologist is not in network -- in fact there are no in network pulmonologists with 100 miles anymore so I have to get special permission to go out of network when I need one. I have a letter from UHC authorizing this doctor to treat me from January 1st through April 30th. It has a signature and reference number and a phone number on it. For every visit I've had to this doctor since the first, UHC has denied payment. The we phone the number and a different person says to send copies of the letter and EOB and they will handle it.
    I think the only handling it gets the first time is to the round file. On the second try the finally pay the pulmonologist. This doctor was in network in 2004 but his accounting people told him to quit accepting UHC since they were so hard to collect from. Still better than FHA, I guess.
  • Yahoo! message board post by Kathi Cooper (of Cooper v. IBM). Full excerpt: No Don, anything is better than the deal they have dealt you. We know how you got your cancer. (IBM) It is sinful how they treat you. (leper, please die) I'm so ashamed of IBM.
  • Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP: Plaintiffs' Counsel Announces IBM Tech Workers File Nationwide Overtime Pay Class Action Lawsuit in Federal Court. (January 24, 2006). Suit by Current and Former Employees is One of the Largest Class Actions Ever Filed For Failure To Pay Overtime Wages. Excerpts: Current and former employees of International Business Machine Corporation (IBM) today filed a nationwide class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco charging the computer giant with failure to pay overtime wages in violation of federal and state labor laws. [...]
    "IBM’s employees, including tens of thousands of technical support workers, work hard to build the company’s annual sales of more than $90 billion," stated a Lieff Cabraser partner. "These technical workers deserve to get compensated for the long hours they put in to make IBM successful." Lieff Cabraser attorneys noted that this case constitutes one of the largest class action lawsuits, both in numbers of employees and total damages, ever filed against a corporation for failure to pay overtime wages.
    The complaint charges that IBM unlawfully characterizes its employees who install and maintain computer software and equipment as “exempt” under state and federal labor laws in order to deprive them of overtime pay. The proposed classes consist of current and former IBM technical support workers with the primary duties of installing and/or maintaining computer software and hardware for IBM who were wrongly classified by the company as exempt from the overtime provisions of federal law and/or applicable state wage and hour laws.
  • Huliq.com: IBM Agrees to Resolve Claims of Rosenburg, et al. v. IBM. Excerpts: IBM announced today that it has agreed to resolve all claims in Rosenburg, et al. v. IBM, Case No. C-06-0430, an overtime pay class action lawsuit filed in federal district court in the Northern District of California in January 2006.
    This case focused on certain current and former IBM employees within IBM’s Technical Services Professional and Information Technology Specialist job categories, alleging, among other things, that those employees were classified as exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act and certain state laws, and that they should have been classified as non-exempt and paid overtime compensation. Under the terms of the settlement, still subject to final approval by the Court, each qualified individual in these two job categories will be entitled to apply for a payment, in accordance with an agreed formula, in full and complete settlement of all claims in the case.
  • Business Insurance: Cash balance plans not age discriminatory: Judge. By Jerry Geisel. Excerpts: Cash balance pension plans do not discriminate against older employees, a federal judge has ruled. Judge E. Richard Webber of the U. S. District Court of the Eastern District of Missouri last week dismissed age discrimination charges against U.S. Bancorp of Minneapolis, noting that the benefit and interest credits provided to plan participants did not discriminate on the basis of age. [...]
    The ruling is the first since a second circuit court—the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals—ruled last month that the plans are not age discriminatory. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a widely publicized decision, ruled last year that cash balance plans in general and IBM Corp.’s in particular, are not age discriminatory. Of the seven lower court rulings since the IBM decision, five have rejected age discrimination charges, while two courts have said the plans violate age discrimination law.
  • Employee Benefit News: Latest cash balance ruling bad news for existing plans. By Lynn Gresham. Excerpts: In a setback for employers, a U.S. district court judge ruled that Citigroup's cash balance plan discriminates against older workers. The decision goes against last year's finding by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that IBM's cash balance plan is not age-discriminatory and sets the stage for new lawsuits against hybrid plans. [...]
    There have been numerous lawsuits against hybrid pensions. In the 2nd Circuit alone, five cases have been decided, with three courts upholding the plaintiffs' positions that such plans are illegal. One of the cases - Hirt v. Equitable - has gone to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals and should be heard soon. That decision, says Pauk, "will make or break most cash balance plans in the district," which includes New York, Connecticut and Vermont.
    The much-publicized decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cooper v. IBM Personal Pension Plan and IBM Corporation said cash balance plans do not discriminate, but it did not address these other facets. "Far from settling things, several courts said that the decision in Cooper was a poor one because it was based on policy," says Pauk.
  • Bloomberg: Goodyear Ends Pensions, Raises Retirees' Health Costs. By Mike Ramsey. Excerpts: Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., North America's biggest tiremaker, will scrap its pension program for current workers and raise retiree health-care payments to save as much as $90 million annually. In 2009, Goodyear will replace defined-benefit pension plans with 401(k) programs with matching contributions. Corporate salaried and retail store retirees will pay more for health-care benefits beginning next year, and some insurance benefits will be canceled, Akron, Ohio-based Goodyear said in a statement today.
    The moves are part of Goodyear efforts to cut $1 billion in costs by the end of 2008. They cover 14,000 active employees and 17,000 retirees. "It's a positive that it has happened sooner rather than later," said Kirk Ludtke, an analyst with CRT Capital Management in Stamford, Connecticut. "The savings appear to be pretty substantial."
  • Pegasus News Service: American Airlines outsources HR duties to IBM for $217 million. Excerpts: IBM today announced a $217 million, 7½-year agreement with American Airlines to transform and manage many of the airline's human resource functions. American Airlines is the world's largest airline, with more than 88,000 AMR employees across the United States and Canada.
    As part of the agreement, IBM will provide American Airlines support for training, recruitment and staffing and HR-related information technology and call center support. Mercer will also deliver health and benefit, pension plan, and compensation administration.
  • CNN/Money: Are you paid enough? PayScale shows curious workers how their salary stacks up. Business 2.0 Magazine reveals how it works. Excerpts: Joe Giordano and a buddy were hanging around the watercooler in a Silicon Valley office park back in the halcyon days of the Internet bubble, doing what buddies did around watercoolers back then - speculating enviously about how much jack friends who'd jumped to hot startups were raking in.
    "Everyone seemed to be making gazillions of dollars and getting Ferraris, but no one would divulge details," recalls Giordano, who himself had just left Microsoft and joined an e-commerce firm. "The lightbulb went on, and we thought, 'Wouldn't it be cool if you could use the Internet to anonymously post your salary and compare it with what others make?'"
    Thus was born PayScale, a Web-based pay comparison service. Though Giordano launched the business in 2000, the site took years to build and began to get serious traction only last year, thanks in part to the national jobs recovery and the Web 2.0-driven return of startup sensations, Google-size pay packages, and YouTube-like overnight fortunes.
  • New York Times: Using the Web to Get the Boss to Pay More. By Damon Darlin. Excerpts: If information is power, then most employees who enter salary negotiations are holding pea shooters while the boss is encased in a Kevlar vest.
    Unless someone left a spreadsheet of the company’s salaries on the copier (funny how often that does happen), most employees have precious little ammunition going into a meeting to talk about their pay.
    A few Web sites try to level the playing field by providing more detailed information about salaries. Salary.com began revealing the results of salary surveys on its site in 1999. PayScale.com is now challenging it by gathering information directly from the people who search for data. (A third site, Payscroll.com, is testing a method of trolling job listings for salary information. It will be opened to the public this month or next.)
  • Guardian Unlimited: IBM's innovation boss gets ready to bow out. Interview with Irving Wladawsky-Berger by Glyn Moody. Excerpt: After 37 years, it is time for the Cuban-born vice-president for technical strategy and innovation to retire - but not before he looks back at his career
News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
  • The Commonwealth Fund: Uninsured in America: Problems and Possible Solutions. Excerpt: The deficiencies in the U.S. health care system are well documented: patients harmed by avoidable medical errors, fragmentation and inefficiency that result in poor-quality care and lost value, consumers forced into debt and bankruptcy to pay for medical bills, and above all, increasing numbers of Americans who go without the security of health insurance coverage. A new article by Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis, Ph.D., proposes strategies—and examines efforts already under way at the state level—to achieve a health care system that provides affordable, accessible care for every American.
  • Physicians for a National Health Program: Private Health Insurance Is Not the Answer. Excerpts: Healthcare reform is in the air. Ideas for dealing with the 46 million Americans without medical insurance seem to be popping up faster than new cases of the winter flu. President Bush proposes to use tax deductions to help people buy individual plans. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to make it mandatory for everyone in his state to obtain insurance and would force employers who don’t provide coverage to pay into a fund.
    Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards would raise taxes on the affluent to pay for subsidies to help those with low incomes obtain policies. Some members of Congress are promoting insurance purchasing pools for small businesses. An odd bedfellows coalition including the Business Roundtable, AARP, the Service Employees International Union and Wal-Mart is pushing for some kind of expansion of coverage but is not saying what form it should take.
    What these varied plans have in common is the assumption that, at least for the foreseeable future, most of the working population (and their dependents) will continue to receive coverage through private insurance carriers. Public officials across the political spectrum are, in effect, seeking to expand the customer base for a highly profitable industry.
    Surely, it is a good thing to provide coverage to the uninsured, but it is remarkable that almost everyone assumes that coverage has to come from for-profit (or, in some cases, private non-profit) providers. Despite the overwhelming evidence from other industrial countries — and even domestic programs such as Medicare — that government-run health plans are much more efficient, the U.S. political class seems to be on a mission to save private insurance.
  • New York Times commentary by Paul Krugman: Substance Over Image. Excerpts: Enough already. Let’s make this election about the issues. Let’s demand that presidential candidates explain what they propose doing about the real problems facing the nation, and judge them by how they respond. [...]
    I know the counterargument: you can’t tell in advance what challenges a president may face, so you should vote for the person, not the policy details. But how do you judge the person? Public images can be deeply misleading: remember when Dick Cheney had gravitas? The best way to judge politicians is by how they respond to hard policy questions. So here are some questions for the Democratic hopefuls. (I’ll talk about the Republicans another time.)
    First, what do they propose doing about the health care crisis? All the leading Democratic candidates say they’re for universal care, but only John Edwards has come out with a specific proposal. The others have offered only vague generalities — wonderfully uplifting generalities, in Mr. Obama’s case — with no real substance.
  • TomPaine.commonsense: Profit For Some Or Care For All. By Diane Archer. Excerpts: The health insurance industry is full of surprises, but history and experience show that insurers will never surprise us with a good, affordable health care system for America. No cocktail of regulations, subsidies and tax credits will provide health security to the uninsured, underinsured and anxiously insured—virtually all Americans.
    Two dirty little secrets about the insurance industry reveal why offering Americans a publicly administered alternative like Medicare is the only way to guarantee Americans good, affordable health care:
    • Dirty Little Secret #1: If for-profit insurers were forced to provide good health care coverage to all Americans, they would still try as hard as possible to avoid insuring the people with the costliest conditions and charge premiums even higher than they currently charge. That’s why Medicare was established. The health insurance industry was either unwilling or unable to offer affordable coverage to half of America’s seniors. It’s too costly for them. So, to rein in costs and ensure every older adult had coverage, the federal government offered the coverage directly.
    • Dirty Little Secret #2: Eliminating insurance industry waste in our health care system—administrative waste and excessive prices—would cut our health care costs substantially. Check out the health insurance systems in France, Germany and Japan. They spend half as much as we on health care and deliver better results by relying on a publicly administered integrated health care system that pools risk and negotiates rates on behalf of their entire citizenry.
  • Physicians for a National Health Care Plan: In Health Care Reform Debate, Single-Payer System is Labor's Only Clear Choice. By Rose Ann DeMoro. Excerpts: Union members have a huge stake in the present debate on health care reform. At a time when employers routinely slash or eliminate health benefits for workers and their families or force union members on strike to preserve those benefits, when insurance plans routinely restrict workers’ choice of doctors and prescription drugs, and when more working families declare bankruptcy due to medical debt, only one reform can provide the health care security working people need: single-payer. [...]
    Under single-payer, you don’t face the loss of health benefits if you lose your job or are forced out on strike. You don’t face employers constantly shifting costs onto your back. You don’t have to worry about retiree health care if you are able to retire before age 65. And you are no longer at the mercy of the insurance industry predators who routinely deny care.
  • Washington Post: Most Support U.S. Guarantee of Health Care. By Robin Toner and Janet Elder. Excerpts: A majority of Americans say the federal government should guarantee health insurance to every American, especially children, and are willing to pay higher taxes to do it, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
    While the war in Iraq remains the overarching issue in the early stages of the 2008 campaign, access to affordable health care is at the top of the public’s domestic agenda, ranked far more important than immigration, cutting taxes or promoting traditional values. [...]
    Americans showed a striking willingness in the poll to make tradeoffs to guarantee health insurance for all, including paying as much as $500 more in taxes a year and forgoing future tax cuts.
  • USA Today, courtesy of California Nurses Association: Some insurers raise drug prices after enrollment. By Julie Appleby. Excerpts: More than a fourth of insurers in the new Medicare drug benefit raised enrollees' annual costs in 2006, often after members were locked in for the year, says Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports. [...]
    After tracking total costs to enrollees for five drugs among 225 insurers in five states, Consumers Union said 62 raised costs to members by at least 5% last year, a trend that appears to be continuing in 2007. "We found costs going up just one month after beneficiaries locked into a plan for
  • Families USA: The Great Divide: When Kids Get Sick, Insurance Matters. Excerpts: Extensive research has documented the positive effects that health insurance has on a child’s physical, developmental, social, and emotional health. Children who have health insurance are more likely to have a relationship with the same doctor over time, receive regular well-child checkups, and have their medical, dental, vision, and other health care needs met. But what happens when an uninsured child is seriously injured or develops a condition that requires hospitalization? Does health insurance make a difference in the child’s treatment and health outcomes? The answer is an emphatic “yes.”

New on the Alliance@IBM Site:

  • IBM Brazil Ex-Employees In Pension Fight. Excerpt: Pioneer of the technology industry, the American giant IBM was famous also for launching innovations in the human resources area. An example recognized for job stability and for its advanced labor policies, the company surprised the market in middle of the decade of 1980 when it launched in Brazil a wave of voluntary resignation programs. At the time, it seemed like a revolution, an advantageous solution for the Big Blue as well for the employees who adhered to the idea of quitting the company in exchange for financial compensation. The plan was nicknamed “Sopão”, a play on the English acronym for Special Opportunity Programs, and offered a benefit from 0.5 up to 2.5 monthly wages for each year worked in the corporation. However, 15 years later, the first Brazilian PDV (voluntary layoff program) became rocks in the shoes of the main executives of the company: about 500 former employees looked to the courts to receive benefits of the Employment Foundation of IBM, that they hadn’t received when they left the company. Nothing less than 144 law suits are running in Labor Courts of Rio de Janeiro, and all of these total indemnities that could surpass the amount of R$ 75 million (N.T. 25 million dollars).
  • From the Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comments 2/24/07: Regarding the UK "voluntary" redundancies, we all know they are the tip of the iceberg! Every voluntary redundancy package in IBM is always followed by "involuntary". Gordon Crawford, a hatchet man bought over from the US to reduce UK labour costs to nothing, is doing his job well. In his words, we are not meeting targets. Continued growth in the business, and we're not meeting targets. Continued off-shoring of roles from the UK, and we're not meeting targets! Well guess what Gordon, your targets are just too damn high and not achievable, and never will be. Hatchet man Crawford won't be happy till all UK ITD resource is off to cheaper countries, so he can meet his precious targets! What a ****! -Anonymous-
    • Comments 2/25/07: Yup. More job cuts in Southbury. Less people to do more work. The unspoken secret is do NOT put in OT even though you are told to do so. If you DO put it in OT as they tell you to do, you will eventually be told by management that you cannot handle your workload because you do not know how to delegate and have poor teaming skills. And believe me, it will carry over on your PBC for next year. No one in their right minds puts in OT. Union - here I come! -Anonymous-
    • Comments 2/26/07: As for the posting that putting in OT flags you as being inefficient, this is the opposite of what employees in Global Services in the Northeast (ie, POK mgmt) were always told. 10% was the expected *NORM*, and if you weren't putting that in you were often asked why not. We were also told that while OT numbers would not be used against us, a person putting in 48-50 hrs per week was obviously contributing more to the organization than a person putting in just 40 hours. And that perception could make or break you at layoff time. What you're saying is that after getting people conditioned to one set of OT rules, mgmt changed the rules without telling anyone and are using your hard work and sacrifice of personal time against you. By the way, who are most people supposed to delegate to anyway, since they're already at the bottom of the ladder? -Anonymous-
    • Comments 2/28/07: I spoke with a contact in Armonk today that told me once the pension process is closed at the end of 2007 look for a BIG squeeze on employees that have 25 years or more in company. If you can't read the writing on the wall you may be doomed. -Not Blue for long-
  • From the General Visitor's Comment page:
    • Comment 02/27/07: I understand CFO Mark Loughridge had a Town Hall Meeting last week. He expressed the same snake oil enthusiasm he gives investors and stockholders. Namely, the company is in the best position it has been since 1992. Interesting. On the other hand, our manager told us the bucket for the Variable Pay Program is down 15% year to year. Something doesn't add up. -Disgruntled-
    • Comment 02/27/07: Came to iBM 5 years ago in an outsourcing in Canada. What a wonderful company - not! So far: overtime reduced from time and a half to single time. On-call pay reduced from $25 per 8 hour shift to $30 per 24 hours. Bonus this year at 50% of 2 years ago. Raises, what raises? IBM no longer contributes to DC pension plan on OT and on-call. And now no post retirement benefits after age 65. Is this what's happening to all IBM in the world? What is the status of the Alliance in Canada? -Sam Insideofhandano- Alliance Reply: Please contact the Alliance in Canada at email: allianceibm@tngcanada.org
    • Comment 02/28/07: Its time to get Sam out of office. Its time to get a cost effective CEO from India. Look at what can be saved by off shoring his position. IBM can pay a good Indian 100,000.00 rather then millions to Sam. Its time to take back IBM and make it what it use to be! A company were proud to say we work for!!! Problem is how???? -Had Enough-
    • Comment 02/28/07: Received my big 2.8% variable pay bonus as a "2" in Software Group. What percent did Sam get for his 5m bonus? Very disgusted with the two-tiered IBM. Rot in hell forever Sam Palmisano -SammylovesMeNot-
    • Comment 03/01/07: Did anyone receive the settlement information regarding the class action lawsuit against IBM for not paying overtime to exempt IGS IT Specialists in bands 6 through 8? If we submit the form, how certain can we be that IBM will not retaliate? Our names are a matter of public record, right? Also, there's a clause that says you forfeit your rights to sue IBM in the future, but I think this is only in regards to events occurring in the timeframe listed, which is around 5 years, between 2002 and 2007. So, anyone submitting the form? -Anonymous-
  • Pension Comments page
    • Comment 02/23/07: Part of the reason why IBM was successful in bygone years was that employees were treated with respect. They then worked very hard because they were motivated properly. Now all the motivation (little that there is) comes from external forces such as $$$. Many people I know have stopped voluntarily giving of their time on weekends and nights because there is no point anymore, it makes you feel stupid to give so much and get so demotivated in other ways on a daily basis. Those who are still standing have given up. The ones who are new to IBM do not know enough yet, they will as they get older. As long as people are treated as disposable and replaceable assets, the organization continues to weaken. Customers be aware you are paying big bucks and getting shoddy work. -cramerisright-
    • Comment 02/25/07: cramerisright! Yes, there is about zero motivation in IBM these days. They make it quite clear that $$$ should not be used as a motivating factor for employees. Don't believe me? It's on 3.ibm.com! So what else is there in IBM? Just a dreary job and not much else unless you are in the inner circle or "club". -Anonymous-
  • Raise and Salary Comments
    • Comment 02/25/07: Salary = $58000; Band Level = 6; Job Title = System Software Test; Years Service = 29; Hours/Week = 40; Div Name = STD; Location = Endicott; Message = I got laid off and a Package in November. After putting in 11 months in 2006 I expected I would still receive the portion of the Bonus money do me for 11 months, but after emailing my old manager in STD, he claims that is not so. He claims by me taking the package I forfeited that right to the bonus for 2006. Does anyone know for sure if this is or isn't true? and if it isn't who do I contact to find out how to get this money that I would think would be do me. Thanks for any help. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/25/07: Salary = 62k; Band Level = 6; Job Title = Software Developer; Years Service = 2; Hours/Week = 44; Div Name = SWG; Message = -Joe-
    • Comment 02/26/07: Salary = 64K +OT; Band Level = 5; Job Title = Sr. Tech; Years Service = 26; Hours/Week = 40-45; Div Name = stg; Message = Doing same work as local band 8 -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/07: Once more, FWIW here is the summary of the salary info from all the posts to-date: Band 6: 15 respondents, average: $62K, std deviation: $7K; Band 7: 24 respondents, avg: $73K, std dvt: $13K; Band 8: 25 respondents, avg: $96K, std dvt: $16K; Band 9: 15 respondents, avg: $117K, std dvt: $19K; Band 10: only 7 respondents, avg: $135K, std dvt: $20K (range is from $107K to $169K, unclear if some of the numbers include a bonus or not). Hope it helps shed some light on the salary situation. -Anonymous-
  • PBC Comments
    • Comment 02/27/07: Prior Yr PBC = 3; This Yr PBC = 3; Message = I am being pushed out after receiving 2 3's in a row. I can't believe this is happening to me.-Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/27/07: Prior Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr PBC = 3; Message = The whole PBC process is a joke. I've consistently worked hard over the year, worked on some high profile projects and delivered on time in addition to being flexible on callout. Yet due to a complaint over a team leader we had at the start of the year who wasn't performing, I'm classed as not being a team player and given a 3. My PDM claims its not the reason, however the feedback elicited all spoke highly of my work yet still the 3 remains. The PDM has been promoted after a short time in the job. I hope he can sleep at night. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/28/07: To the poster below: Why do you hope HE can sleep at night? You should be hoping that YOU can sleep at night. You should worry about you. You should have considered that other people have suffered these kind of injustices, as well. You should have considered that as a group of employees, you could organize and begin the process to move toward a contract and an agreement by your co-workers; whether the PBC process should be rewritten or eliminated altogether. Why is it taking you so long to realize that IBM's policies are not friendly to you?? Why does it take an incident like this to make you see? The playing field will never be level and the rules will never be even handed and fair; until you work to make them that way. I joined Alliance@IBM and I'm glad that I did. I sleep a solid 6 hours every night. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/28/07: Prior Yr PBC = 2 This Yr PBC = 2 Message = "I am being pushed out after receiving 2 3's in a row. I can't believe this is happening to me." This can happen to any IBMer. I was pushed out after receiving 2-2's in a row. As I collected my things and walked out the door one of the managers got one last jab at me and smiled. It was very degrading and humiliating. With a Union at least you have a fighting chance to save your job. I advise you and all IBMers to join and support the Alliance and fight for a Union. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/01/07: To alliance re: "Alliance reply: We are sorry this is happening to you, but we have been warning people about this for 2 years. To all others if you want to change all this help us organize and get to the critical mass we need to get a contract." It's far too late. With 6 BILLION spent in India it's over. I got many people into Alliance and they have either been fired by now or were lucky enough to find another job and leave. It's not that people are not trying, it's that too many of us have been canned. Once they are gone they don't give a hoot about IBM anymore. Morale is gone. It's over. -gettinpushedout-

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:
  • "bonus...for auld time sake" by "thats_all_folks". Full excerpt: It is that time of year, when PBCs have been submitted, reviewed and we await our rewards (well you know what I mean if you have been in IBM for more than 1 cycle). I think it is time to discuss bonus payouts here or as will likely be the case the lack of same. I have resigned recently from IBM. I have 18 days of notice left to serve. After 7 years in consulting between PwC and IBM, I am done with this industry and in particular this company. I want to thank all of the contributors for keeping me sane for the last few years and realising it not just me, it really is this company. I am asking this question for auld times sake, my exit present if you will. That’s all folks, Tanks & Goodbye
  • "utilization is all that matters" by "thinkingaboutleaving". Full excerpt: bonus = corp profitability + UTILIZATION + UTILIZATION + division profitability + UTILIZATION + UTILIZATION + UTILIZATION + practice profitability + UTILIZATION + UTILIZATION + UTILIZATION +UTILIZATION + UTILIZATION + UTILIZATION + project performance + UTILIZATION + UTILIZATION + UTILIZATION +UTILIZATION + UTILIZATION + UTILIZATION + + UTILIZATION + UTILIZATION + UTILIZATION +UTILIZATION + UTILIZATION + UTILIZATION
    Body shop mentality reigns supreme. The workers with highest utes are rewarded (as well as the management that keeps them utilized). Quality products, teamwork, innovation, high project ratings and client satisfaction are not important. I'll begin my job search immediately.
  • "Got the math wrong" by "jeeee4". Full excerpt: Three factors are multiplied by each other, not added. So if one of the three = zero, the bonus = zero. One year my utilization was in another country and counted as zero in the US measurement scheme - so much for the "global" company theory. I notice quality of customer service is not a factor. If you take a long time to get things done but work long hours to make up for that then you are a high-utilization hero.
  • "You're so right - what's a quality performer to do?" by "thinkingaboutleaving". Full excerpt: I guess the true nature of the beast is rearing its ugly head. On one end you are encouraged to be a high quality performer (aka. delivery excellence awards) but at the other you are supposed to milk the client for as much quantity as possible. And if you are not immediately placed on a project or one falls through the cracks you were waiting on, you are screwed. I wonder if all consulting companies are like this?
  • "That's what I do!" by "Hey Mac!". Full excerpt: I'm now outside -- have been for over 2 years -- and a good portion of my business involves "troubled projects," some of which are IBM's. Much more fun that working with the folks who regularly CAUSED projects to go south and much more rewarding. You CAN make a living -- and a nice career -- fixing troubled IBM projects, but it has to be done OUTSIDE of IBM.


   
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