Welcome to IBM Employee News and Links
"News and links for IBM employees, retirees, ex-employees, and persons interested in pension, retirement, off-shoring and corporate governance issues."
Web This Site

Quick Links:
  Get involved!
  Press articles
  Important Links
  Insider trading
  Lou's Contract
  Total Compensation
  Add or delete ID
  Change ID
  Contact site owner
Previous Highlights:
  April 21, 2007
  April 14, 2007
  April 7, 2007
  March 31, 2007
  March 24, 2007
  March 17, 2007
  March 10, 2007
  March 3, 2007
  February 24, 2007
  February 17, 2007
  February 10, 2007
  February 3, 2007
  January 27, 2007
  January 20, 2007
  January 13, 2007
  January 6, 2007
  December 30, 2006
  December 23, 2006
  December 16, 2006
  December 9, 2006
  December 2, 2006
  November 25, 2006
  November 18, 2006
  November 11, 2006
  November 4, 2006
  October 28, 2006
  October 21, 2006
  October 14, 2006
  October 7, 2006
  September 30, 2006
  September 23, 2006
  September 16, 2006
  September 9, 2006
  September 2, 2006
  August 26, 2006
  August 19, 2006
  August 12, 2006
  August 5, 2006
  July 29, 2006
  July 22, 2006
  July 15, 2006
  July 8, 2006
  July 1, 2006
  June 24, 2006
  June 17, 2006
  June 10, 2006
  June 3, 2006
  May 27, 2006
  May 20, 2006
  May 13, 2006
  May 6, 2006
  2006 Stock Meeting
  April 22, 2006
  April 15, 2006
  April 8, 2006
  April 1, 2006
  March 25, 2006
  March 18, 2006
  March 11, 2006
  March 4, 2006
  February 25, 2006
  February 18, 2006
  February 11, 2006
  February 4, 2006
  January 28, 2006
  January 21, 2006
  January 14, 2006
  January 7, 2006
  December 31, 2005
  December 24, 2005
  December 17, 2005
  December 10, 2005
  December 03, 2005
  November 26, 2005
  November 19, 2005
  November 12, 2005
  November 5, 2005
  October 29, 2005
  October 22, 2005
  October 15, 2005
  October 8, 2005
  October 1, 2005
  September 24, 2005
  September 17, 2005
  September 10, 2005
  September 3, 2005
  August 27, 2005
  August 20, 2005
  August 13, 2005
  August 6, 2005
  July 30, 2005
  July 23, 2005
  July 16, 2005
  July 9, 2005
  July 2, 2005
  June 25, 2005
  June 18, 2005
  June 11, 2005
  June 4, 2005
  May 28, 2005
  May 21, 2005
  May 14, 2005
  May 7, 2005
  April 30, 2005
  April 23, 2005
  April 16, 2005
  April 9, 2005
  April 2, 2005
  March 26, 2005
  March 19, 2005
  March 12, 2005
  March 5, 2005
  February 26, 2005
  February 19, 2005
  February 12, 2005
  February 5, 2005
  January 29, 2005
  January 22, 2005
  January 15, 2005
  January 8, 2005
  January 1, 2005
  December 25, 2004
  December 18, 2004
  December 11, 2004
  December 4, 2004
  November 27, 2004
  November 20, 2004
  November 13, 2004
  November 6, 2004
  October 30, 2004
  October 23, 2004
  October 16, 2004
  October 9, 2004
  October 2, 2004
  September 25, 2004
  September 18, 2004
  September 11, 2004
  September 4, 2004
  August 28, 2004
  August 21, 2004
  August 14, 2004
  August 7, 2004
  July 31, 2004
  July 24, 2004
  July 17, 2004
  July 10, 2004
  July 3, 2004
  June 26, 2004
  June 19, 2004
  June 5, 2004
  May 29, 2004
  May 22, 2004
  May 15, 2004
  May 8, 2004
  2004 Stock Meeting
  April 24, 2004
  April 10, 2004
  April 3, 2004
  March 27, 2004
  March 20, 2004
  March 13, 2004
  March 6, 2004
  February 28, 2004
  February 21, 2004
  February 14, 2004
  February 7, 2004
  February 1, 2004
  January 18, 2004
  December 27, 2003
  December 20, 2003
  December 13, 2003
  December 6, 2003
  November 29, 2003
  November 22, 2003
  November 15, 2003
  November 8, 2003
  November 1, 2003
  October 25, 2003
  October 18, 2003
  October 11, 2003
  October 4, 2003
  September 27, 2003
  September 20, 2003
  September 13, 2003
  September 6, 2003
  August 30, 2003
  August 23, 2003
  August 16, 2003
  August 9, 2003
  Pension Lawsuit Win
  July 26, 2003
  July 19, 2003
  July 12, 2003
  July 5, 2003
  June 28, 2003
  June 21, 2003
  June 14, 2003
  June 7, 2003
  May 31, 2003
  May 24, 2003
  May 17, 2003
  May 10, 2003
  2003 Stock Meeting
  April 26, 2003
  April 19, 2003
  April 12, 2003
  April 5, 2003
  March 29, 2003
  March 22, 2003
  March 15, 2003
  March 8, 2003
  March 1, 2003
  February 22, 2003
  February 15, 2003
  February 8, 2003
  February 1, 2003
  January 25, 2003
  January 18, 2003
  January 11, 2003
  January 4, 2003
  December 28, 2002
  December 21, 2002
  December 14, 2002
  December 7, 2002
  November 30, 2002
  November 23, 2002
  November 16, 2002
  November 9, 2002
  November 2, 2002
  October 26, 2002
  October 19, 2002
  October 12, 2002
  October 5, 2002
  September 28, 2002
  September 21, 2002
  September 14, 2002
  September 7, 2002
  August 31, 2002
  August 24, 2002
  August 17, 2002
  August 10, 2002
  August 3, 2002
  July 27, 2002
  July 20, 2002
  July 13, 2002
  July 6, 2002
  June 29, 2002
  June 22, 2002
  June 15, 2002
  June 8, 2002
  June 1, 2002
  May 25, 2002
  May 18, 2002
  May 11, 2002
  2002 Stock Meeting
  April 27, 2002
  April 20, 2002
  April 13, 2002
  April 6, 2002
  March 30, 2002
  March 23, 2002
  March 16, 2002
  March 9, 2002
  March 2, 2002
  February 23, 2002
  February 16, 2002
  February 9, 2002
  February 2, 2002
  January 26, 2002
  January 19, 2002
  January 12, 2002
  January 5, 2002
  December 29, 2001
  December 22, 2001
  December 15, 2001
  December 8, 2001
  December 1, 2001
  November 24, 2001
  November 17, 2001
  November 10, 2001
  November 3, 2001
  October 27, 2001
  October 20, 2001
  October 13, 2001
  October 6, 2001
  September 29, 2001
  September 22, 2001
  September 15, 2001
  September 8, 2001
  September 1, 2001
  August 25, 2001
  August 18, 2001
  August 11, 2001
  August 4, 2001
  July 28, 2001
  July 21, 2001
  July 14, 2001
  July 7, 2001
  June 30, 2001
  June 23, 2001
  June 16, 2001
  June 9, 2001
  June 2, 2001
  May 26, 2001
  May 19, 2001
  May 12, 2001
  May 5, 2001
  2001 Stock Meeting
  April 21, 2001
  April 14, 2001
  April 7, 2001
  March 31, 2001
  March 24, 2001
  March 17, 2001
  March 10, 2001
  March 3, 2001
  February 24, 2001
  February 17, 2001
  February 10, 2001
  February 3, 2001
  January 27, 2001
  January 20, 2001
  January 13, 2001
  January 6, 2001
  December 30, 2000
  December 23, 2000
  December 16, 2000
  December 9, 2000
  December 2, 2000
  November 24, 2000
  November 17, 2000
  November 10, 2000
  November 4, 2000
  October 28, 2000
  October 21, 2000
  October 14, 2000
  October 7, 2000
  September 30, 2000
  September 23, 2000
  September 16, 2000
  September 9, 2000
  September 2, 2000
  August 26, 2000
  August 19, 2000
  August 12, 2000
  July 29, 2000
  July 22, 2000
  July 15, 2000
  July 1, 2000
  June 24, 2000
  June 17, 2000
  June 10, 2000
  June 3, 2000
  May 27, 2000
  May 20, 2000
  May 13, 2000
  May 6, 2000
  April, 2000

Join your fellow employees who are fighting for your benefits - Join the Alliance!

Retirees, Vendors, Contractors, Temps, and Active Employees are all eligible to become members of the Alliance.

    Highlights—March 10, 2007

  • Discounts for IBMers Web site. Excerpt: Welcome to "Discounts for IBMers". "Discounts for IBMers" is an independent gateway for IBM employees and retirees to voluntary benefits, discounts and special services offered by IBM's clients, vendors and other companies. Individuals are encouraged to review the privacy and security policies and the practices of the various vendors and make sure they are comfortable with them prior to entering into any transactions. "Discounts for IBMers" is not an IBM-sponsored benefit program. IBM does not promote or endorse and is not responsible for any of the products, services or practices promoted on this Web site. Access to "Discounts for IBMers" Web site is provided at no cost to you, and IBM does not benefit from your participation. There are no commissions or incentives paid to IBM as a result of the products or services you may choose to purchase. IBM will not be monitoring individual usage of the Web site. However, general Web site traffic will be monitored in the aggregate only, for the purpose of understanding the extent to which IBM as a group is visiting the "Discounts for IBMers" Web site.
  • Los Angeles Times, courtesy of Chicago Tribune: U.S. looking for ways to retain older workers. Coming wave of retiring Baby Boomers threatens to drain labor pool, expertise. By Jonathan Peterson. Excerpts: Javon Bea values the older workers employed at his network of medical facilities in Wisconsin and Illinois. To keep them on the job, he has championed a program called "Work to Retire" that allows employees over 50 to work reduced hours, pool jobs or work from home. "I think the mature workers can actually relate to the patients better than our more impatient younger workers," Bea, president of Mercy Health System in Janesville, Wis., said last week at a Senate hearing. "As a business, we really think that we benefit, as well as the older workers benefit."
    More employers need to follow Bea's example, according to testimony at the hearing of the Senate's special committee on aging. A wave of retiring workers will weigh down U.S. economic growth in the coming years, unless Americans save more and employers take steps to hang on to more older employees, experts said. How the nation responds is a "critical question," said Donald L. Kohn, vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, warning that costs could "fall entirely on future generations."
  • Center for Retirement Research: Will People Be Healthy Enough to Work Longer? by Alicia H. Munnell and Jerilyn Libby. Excerpts; As recently as the mid-1960s, the median retirement age for men — the age at which half of all men are no longer in the labor force — was 66. Today, it is 63. But given the scheduled decline in Social Security replacement rates, increased longevity, and the relatively low balances in 401(k) accounts, Americans risk serious income shortfalls, especially at older ages, if they continue to retire at age 63. A rational response is to move the average retirement age back to 66 or even older. A key consideration is whether people will be healthy enough to work longer. This brief compares the health status of older people today with those forty years ago and explores what happens to people’s health as they age.
    The bottom line is that the health of older people (those 65 and older), as opposed to older workers (those 50 to 64), showed little improvement in the 1970s, mixed results in the 1980s, and marked improvement since the 1990s. The marked improvement for older workers most likely began earlier, in the 1980s. Today, the health of older workers appears to be at least as good as it was forty years ago. Thus, if half of the male population were then healthy enough to work until age 66, the same percentage should be able to do so today. Two important issues not addressed in this brief are whether the jobs will be there for older workers and the challenge presented by the 15 to 20 percent of the older population for whom work will be impossible.
  • New York Times: The Right to Organize. Excerpts: There are many reasons for the long decline in the membership rolls for private sector unions, including powerful changes in the economy and the unions’ past corruption scandals. And there is little doubt that federal rules and regulations for union organizing have also become increasingly hostile to labor, helping to drive unions’ share of the work force down from a peak of 35 percent in the 1950s to a mere 7.4 percent today.
    The House of Representatives passed a bill last week that would strengthen the rights of employees to form unions, and it drew an immediate veto threat from President Bush. But if Mr. Bush were, as he claims, truly concerned about rising income inequality and truly committed to improving the lives of America’s middle class, he would support the legislation and urge the Senate to approve it. [...]
    Labor unions have a role to play in helping to fix today’s economic ills — most notably, worsening income inequality, a problem that’s caused in part by unions’ decline and the workers’ resulting lack of bargaining power. What’s needed is a Congressional drive to help Mr. Bush see this obvious connection. The Senate should take up the House bill promptly and send it to the president for his signature.
  • CNN/Money: Top 20 Most Admired Companies. Excerpt: To create the top 20 for our 25th annual rankings, Fortune and its survey partners at Hay Group asked 3,322 executives, directors, and securities analysts to select the 10 companies they admire most. Having fresh ideas and being green are among the qualities that distinguish this year's winners.
  • In a Yahoo! message board post, in response to another participant's question about why IBM no longer appears on the most admired companies list, "flatsflyer" responds. Full excerpt: You're looking at the wrong survey. You need to look at "The least Admired Companies" I'll just list the Top 5. 1) IBM; 2) Jacks Portable Toilet Service; 3) Big Willey's Tree Service; 4) Enron; 5) World Comm
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board post: "treatment of employees" by "sby_willie". Full excerpt: You would figure IBM wants it's employees to be at least happy and not miserable but from what I surmise IBM could care less about happy employees. They certainly don't want contentment either. One wonders whether IBM has any bit of overall respect for it's present employees and they seem like the employees are treated like business machines.
    How can a company still remain competitive and continue to satisfy the customer if their employees are generally not happy, increasingly cautious, are constantly on edge, and fearing for their very jobs and existence in the company? It has to take it's toll.
    It seems IBM doesn't mind naive employees the least bit though.
    Most folks don't want to take any steps to try to improve their work lives in IBM. They mention "..I just want to make waves: I want to stay under the radar, I am scared of losing my job..what can I do?.." and similar comments. Well let me tell you something: if you have that mindset you will lose your job and it will eventually happen quicker than you think. This is not a threat; this is reality in IBM with that mindset.
  • Yahoo IBM Employee Issues message board post "Re: treatment of employees" by "teamb562". Full excerpt: IBM is purposely treating US employees in such a way as to disenfranchise them. They want you to be fed up and quit. There is no concern for quality so they don't need happy/content employees. What they do need is to offshore more employees without the negative public view of layoffs and associated cost. The company is barely competitive and many customers have departed. Expense cuts have now become a necessity to achieve numbers. Creativity has been silenced by constant fear. I hear morale achieves news lows by the month. Successful companies do not survive long in such an environment.
  • Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WashTech): Gates to Senate: "Guaranteed jobs" for Tech professionals; 300,000 H-1B Visas would be. By Marcus Courtney. Excerpts: Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates told U.S. Senators today that the country is facing an "acute crisis" in its shortage of engineering professionals and those professionals with the right skills will be guaranteed a good paying job. Gates declared, "The demand worldwide will guarantee them all jobs. Anyone in the United States, not only will they have a high paying job; they will create many around them. We are increasing our employment." [...]
    From Gate's perspective, the majority of engineering professionals at Microsoft earn six figures a year or more, and he believes this is also true for guest worker employees under the H-1B visa program. For Gates, a $100,000 a year salary for a guest worker computer professional means "we should welcome as many as we can get."
    One Senator asked Gates about what is a good number above 65,000 that the Senate should consider. "300,000 would be a fantastic improvement," was his reply.
    Despite all of the outsourcing of high-tech jobs overseas the U.S. will still have a strong IT industry said Gates. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) cited a figure of 600,000 jobs lost in the high-tech sector.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues bulletin board post: "Illness versus Personal Time for medical testing" by "real_goose". Full excerpt: I got a call from my PDM. I have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and have been taking tests to find out if it has spread. My PDM tells me I should be coding time away for medical testing as personal time rather than illness. I can't find any official IBM definitions of illness. Is it documented anywhere?
    The background is that I am in Global Services and have 30 years with IBM. I make my billable target every year. My last 2 ratings were 2+ and 1. So I don't think this is planned to set me up, but illness would make it easier to explain missing a utilization target.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues bulletin board post: "Re: Illness versus Personal Time for medical testing" by "ibmoptioneer". Full excerpt: I'd make sure you have the PDM send you a written communication outlining why you should use personal time and not illness. The PDM should also make a written commitment to not dock you on your time off (Holidays and Vacation) or hurt your utilization for this.
    Sounds fishy. Make sure they aren't setting you up for the boot now that you've become for a little while a less than perfect slave. As you know, GTS/ITS is having an "interesting" quarter. These guys, especially in GTS Americas, are a bunch of greedy, uncaring bastards. Now that are shocked to see the fruits of their work, when they see the dramatic difference between the old IBMers who thought of the business as theirs to keep going as compared to many of the short term hires who won't do anything beyond the minimum, as they rightly should after being treated like dirt on a regular basis.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues bulletin board post: "Annual Report of Pension Status" by "ibmmike2006". Full excerpt: I looked through this briefly and see there is losses entered in the pension values. I also notice the Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan (SERP) has changed to Supplemental Retention Plan (SRP). I guess not everyone in the plan are Executives. Maybe IBM has done away with the "Executive Title". IBM might have to be reminded that "If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it must be a duck".
    The SRP (old SERP) is a non-qualified plan(Not subject to limited contributions and withdrawals like 401K's and IRA's). Those who are members of the SRP club are only allowed to take $165,000 a year from the Qualified defined benefit plan (the regular DB pension fund) so the SRP supplements the regular DB plan.
    For example, according to the 2006 Proxy, if Sam makes $12,500,000 as his last year earnings average, he will get sixty (60%) of that or $8,125,000 a year for life or $22,000 a day. Only $452 a day will come from the qualified DB Pension trust fund and the rest, $21,548 a day will come from IBM's assets. It has never been disclosed how or where the $21,548 will come from for Sam from IBM Assets, but I guess they will print IBM shares, about 1.2 million in the morning of his retirement and then cash them in the afternoon for twenty dollar bills and deposit $128,000,000 in a joint annuity for Sam and his wife to create the lifetime income of $22,000 a day for 25 years or so. Because Sam's lifetime annuity would be funded from after tax dollars, eighty (80) per cent about $17,600 of Sam's Pension would be tax free.
    I hope this year's financial report explains how the SERP(SRP) is funded.
    Last year the meeting was closed with a question of whether Sam would be able to get by on his $10,000 a day pension based on his $5,000,000 annual earnings in 2005. Sam's answer was not exactly crisp and he closed the Shareholder meeting twenty (20) minutes early.
    I know there are some actuaries that view this site, that may shed some light on the "losses" in the pension entries and how the SERP (SRP) is funded.
  • Canada.com: IBM to spend US$50 million for employees' financial education and planning. By Ellen Simon. Excerpts: International Business Machines Corp. said Wednesday that it is introducing a US$50 million (euro38 million) five-year initiative aimed at improving its workers' financial education and planning. Employees, as well as their spouses or domestic partners, will be offered a series of live and web-based investment seminars starting this month. Beginning in April, employees will be able to get unlimited one-on-one personal financial planning and counseling by phone through Fidelity Investments and The Ayco Co. LP, a division of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Financial planners from Fidelity and Ayco are trained in all of IBM's benefits programs and will receive no additional pay or commissions for selling their companies' products, IBM said.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues bulletin board post: "Re: AP: IBM to spend US$50 million for employees' financial education and planning" by "teamb562". Full excerpt: Another IBM blunder. How can people "plan" when the pension calculator does not work past December 31, 2007. What a joke. The pissing on employees never stops.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues bulletin board post: "Re: AP: IBM to spend US$50 million for employees' financial education and planning" by "retired_in_89". Full excerpt: It might very well help recent retirees, especially those well under 65 yrs of age. However the retirees of my generation AND salary levels could only use such help IF we had received the promised COLAs this past almost two decades. Thank you Mr. Gerstner and Mr. Palmisano for your concern for our general welfare! It is nice to know just how much you appreciate our past devotion to the IBM Corporation.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues bulletin board post: "Re: AP: IBM to spend US$50 million for employees' financial education and planning" by "sby_willie". Full excerpt: With all the benefits we lost, reckon IBM feels they owe us financial planning services considering how financially screwed most of us will be come retirement since they keep changing whatever their benefit offerings are to the detriment of the employee.
  • Jim Hightower: The "Burden" on Corporate Crooks. Excerpts: Sure enough, George W really is a compassionate conservative! For the past several months, the Bushites have been working behind the scenes to comfort a group of citizens who feel severely put upon: corrupt corporate executives.
    Yes, the people who brought you the culture of corruption that allowed Enron and so many others to rip-off workers and shareholders now whine that they are frustrated with the "burden" of having to comply with audits of their corporate manipulations, as well as having to face investigations, prosecutions, and lawsuits involving corporate wrongdoing. So, two committees of top-level executives from the likes of DuPont, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and Office Depot have drafted a sweeping series of regulatory changes to make it much more difficult to catch corporate crooks and hold them accountable. [...]
    Also, Bush has just named Robert Steel to be the senior official in the treasury department to approve or disapprove the changes proposed by the two corporate committees. Who's he? A Wall Street banker who was chairman of one of the committees... so Steel will be ruling on his own proposals.
  • BusinessWeek: The Trouble With India. Crumbling roads, jammed airports, and power blackouts could hobble growth. Excerpts: When foreigners say Bangalore is India's version of Silicon Valley, the high-tech office park called Electronics City is what they're often thinking of. But however much Californians might hate traffic-clogged Route 101, the main drag though the Valley, it has nothing on Hosur Road. This potholed, four-lane stretch of gritty pavement—the primary access to Electronics City—is pure chaos. Cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, taxis, rickshaws, cows, donkeys, and dogs jostle for every inch of the roadway as horns blare and brakes squeal. Drivers run red lights and jam their vehicles into any available space, paying no mind to pedestrians clustered desperately on median strips like shipwrecked sailors.
    Pass through the six-foot-high concrete walls into Electronics City, though, and the loudest sounds you hear are the chirping of birds and the whirr of electric carts that whisk visitors from one steel-and-glass building to the next. Young men and women stroll the manicured pathways that wend their way through the leafy 80-acre spread or coast quietly on bicycles along the smooth asphalt roads.
News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
  • New York Times: Without Health Benefits, a Good Life Turns Fragile. By Robert Pear. Excerpts: Vicki H. Readling vividly remembers the start of 2006. “Everybody was saying, ‘Happy new year,’ ” Ms. Readling recalled. “But I remember going straight to bed and lying down scared to death because I knew that at that very minute, after midnight, I was without insurance. I was kissing away a bad year of cancer. But I was getting ready to open up to a door of hell.”
    Ms. Readling, a 50-year-old real estate agent, is one of nearly 47 million people in America with no health insurance.
    Increasingly, the problem affects middle-class people like Ms. Readling, who said she made about $60,000 last year. As an independent contractor, like many real estate agents, Ms. Readling does not receive health benefits from an employer. She tried to buy a policy in the individual insurance market, but — having had cancer — could not obtain coverage, except at a price exceeding $27,000 a year, which was more than she could pay. [...]
    It is well known that the ranks of the uninsured have been swelling; federal figures show an increase of 6.8 million since 2000.
    But the surprise is that the uninsured are not necessarily the poor, the unemployed and the undocumented. Solidly middle-class people like Ms. Readling are one of the fastest growing subgroups.
  • Washington Post: Health Care Already a Key Issue in 2008 Race. By Christopher Lee. Excerpts: Former senator John Edwards (D-N.C.) says providing health coverage to the 47 million Americans who lack it is so important that he is willing to raise taxes to do it. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) says he is determined to enact universal health care by the end of his first presidential term.
  • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: AARP: Drug prices zoom. Numbers disputed: Industry organization says figures don't reflect slowing of growth. By Larry Lipman. Excerpt: twice the rate of inflation, according to a report released Tuesday. The annual report by AARP, the nation's largest organization of Americans aged 50 and older, found that prices for the 193 drugs most commonly used by that age group increased an average of 6.2 percent in 2006, while the Consumer Price Index rose 3.2 percent. The pharmaceutical industry called the study "inaccurate and misleading."
  • Physicians for a National Health Program: Universal Health for Insurance Companies. By DrSteveB. Excerpts: Last week I outlined the generic components of so-called mandated or mandatory plans. This week we will, with the help of Professor Len Rodberg briefly outline some of specific national proposals that have been in the news lately:
    • America’s Health Insurance Plans
    • Better Health Care Together Campaign
    • Health Coverage Coalition for the Uninsured
    • Sen. Ron Wyden with SEIU & Safeway
    • Federation of American Hospitals
    • John Edwards
    What they share is the goal to keep the insurance companies healthy… lets see how that works. [...[
    So what about those plans…
    • The Good News: “Universal health care” is accepted as the goal.
    • The Bad News: This is defined to mean using tax dollars to help the uninsured buy private insurance from the existing high-overhead middlemen of the for-profit insurance companies.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site:

  • From the Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comments 3/04/07: At a recent services event that was billed as "educational", a senior executive was forced to admit that major segments of IGS haven't been making their numbers for almost 6 years. In response, the answer is more aggressive offshoring, even of a temporary nature and "near shore staging" where H1B's could be housed for quick travel into high wage countries for services work. The other strategy is to move all sales in IGS to telesales as much as possible. Once this is "optimized", then they'll move it to a BRIC country. Everyone was talking about the big layoffs scheduled for Q3, a la 1992-1993 for IGS, especially GTS/ITS.BTW, I also heard that they were surreptiously tracking attendees with RFID and reports of their whereabouts given daily to management. Big Brother is here folks...and it's sponsored by IBM Management. -Anonymous-
    • Comments 3/04/07: Job cuts you say? I CANNOT BELIEVE THE ADMINS ARE NOT SAYING ANYTHING HERE! Please, let's hear from the admin assistants. Maybe they never post because they are the most intimidated, unappreciated group of all the IBMers. Half of them don't even reply to the yearly manager surveys anymore because managers are known to gather their teams and harass them if they get bad reviews. No lie. You wouldn't believe the veiled threats the admins live with and accept as just another normal working day at IBM. Some of them are now supporting 10 to 20 managers per person and are so overwhelmed they will either get sick or bail. Which is fine with IBM because they want to fire us anyway. Come on admins, speak up. You know what they are doing to us! Tell it like it is and support your peers. Tell them about all the great perks we get, like overtime. NOT. Tell everyone what they are doing to us! FIGHT THEM! We are the ones who make the execs look good. We are the ones who smooth out the wrinkles in their day. We are the ones who get their coffee and lunch so that they can rise higher and make more money. We deserve to be heard. SPEAK!!! -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/07/07: "Resource Action in IT Delivery. 200 Jobs cut effective March 6, 2007. Also Redeployment action in Accounts Payable." Do you have more specific information on this? I am in IT Delivery and I have not heard this...so it's news to me! -Anonymous- Alliance reply: We received a copy of the resource action. Generally, if you are not cut you won't be notified. IBM makes small cuts at different locations in order to keep things quiet. The only way to break the silence is for employees to spread the word and also contact the Alliance.
    • Comment 03/07/07: 20 Global Admin staff employees have been given a resource package, with a date of March 26th. See cuts for contractors by month's end. GA is a snake pit that reports into the most dysfunctional group in IBM: HR -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/08/07: Don't you people realize that anyone getting cut deserves to be cut.............if you're not keeping up with your skills, you're no good to IBM nor will you be any good to any other company. You can't expect to just sit around for years at a time, a glide by, at this company.....everyone wants a union..it's unions that will kill this country. Y'all should move out of the US. -Joe IBM-
    • Comment 03/08/07: To Joe IBM: I've known other people who expressed the same sentiments as you, but when their area moved all the work to India and Brazil, they found out that hard work and good skills still don't cut it when the move is a cost measure and nobody in IBM will even interview you for a position if there are any. I've seen some really talented top notch people let go with everyone else. Sometimes cuts are based on merit. sometimes it's totally arbitrary, and other times it's the whole area that's on the chopping block.
      I don't know if a union could have stopped the cuts, but it may have made a difference with people with just a year or two to get full retirement. I was a 1 or 2 performer for 27 years and received several awards and recognition right up to the end. I was the only expert in my product area. I was making a decent salary, but I was working long and hard hours too.
      My only fault was being within a couple years of being able to bridge to retirement. I know that's why I was picked. They never said it, but it was obvious that older employees were being targeted. They had a target to offshore a minimum number of jobs and if your job could be done offshore, then you made the first list. If you were close to retirement, that's all they needed to make the final decision. -anonymous x-ibmer-
    • Comment 03/08/07: Joe, you are a conceited, self-righteous prig. Moreover, you are wrong. I was cut in Nov. I moved to a small company, doing much the same thing as I did at IBM on a new software project. I am doing great, my work is appreciated, I am very productive, useful and am highly regarded. Our project and company are doing great, kicking our competitors butts. It may well be that I (and others) were not productive at IBM, but it has little (or nothing) to do with me. I was horribly managed, as was my entire 3rd-line organization. I should also say that I saw many people be laid off over the last 6 years who absolutely didn't deserve it: their co-workers, customers and team leads thought highly of them. They were just marked by management for any of several reasons unrelated to their performance and out they went. -Glad to be gone-
    • Comment 03/08/07: Joe IBM - Your message sounds typical of the arrogant old-school IBMer from whence people outside the company learned to despise. You sound like an overpaid, insensitive, self-righteous exec who has gotten by via the political machinery of IBM for too long. I would love for you to go try your own skill set on the outside and see how far YOU manage to get. How dare you speak for the thousands of qualified, exploited IBMers who have been continuing their educations and keeping up their skills only to be told they are being outsourced. You need to get down in the trenches with the real workers and see what is truly happening. It doesn't appear that you have been keeping up your own skills - you are certainly lacking in the soft skills arena especially emotional intelligence. Maybe you can take some on-line classes on diversity. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/09/07: In response to Joe IBM: my skills and my level of education were generally higher than many of my managers, including some of the executives. The only skill in which I was lacking but possibly the one that gets the most promotions these days is the one that you are most obviously good at--kissing ass! And by the way, pretty soon it will be YOU who needs to move out of the US. If you want to stay with IBM, you ought to start checking out real estate prices in Bangalore or Beijing! -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/09/07: The Incentives and Commissions Organization has been notified that jobs are going to be redeployed to Brazil this year. At least one hundred or more people impacted. The CSO organization have been notified that their jobs are going to be redeployed to Brazil this year. They have not given us a time-table as to how much time we have to look for a job or if we will get packages. -Anonymous-
  • From the General Visitor's Comment page:
    • Comment 03/02/07: I received the settlement letter as well for the OT lawsuit. I am not qualified though because I already received a settlement back in 2003 from the OT lawsuit at that time and was rebanded below band 6. If you qualify for this settlement I suggest you fill out the form and send it in. IBM was already required to provide your name and information... that's how you got the letter to begin with. The 65 million is a set amount of money IBM is paying to whoever claims it whether there are 5 or 5000 claims sent in. Just make sure you meet all the criteria and collect what is yours! It's against the law for them to retaliate....but then again...IBM is not shy about breaking the law. Good luck! -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/03/07: In talking with my former co-workers in the service division everyone has their resumes out, they have no confidence in having jobs at IBM in the next year. One is leaving this week for another firm and three 30+ year veterans have taken their retirement while they still can. Who's going to handle mainframe and server problems, $8.00/Hr contractors from India? Will the last person leaving IBM please turn out the lights?!!? Sam, do you have your resume out? You should, maybe Burger King needs a fryer chef. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/06/07: It used to be that if you identified yourself as an IBM lifer, the message sent was that you expect to work for IBM for around 20-30 more years. Today, it means you work for IBM and you don't expect to be alive much longer. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/07/07: Also as a white woman at IBM, I experienced male leads or team mates who refused to recognize my contributions to the team. I found myself cleaning up their messes from their incompetencies and being the first on the team to come up with practices. All of my achievements and contributions were ignored. I found my male manager lying about my accomplishments and protecting the incompetencies of my male teammates. If this is NOT discrimination then what is discrimination.
      IBM has not made one shining star company list (Top 100 companies in US, Top 20 companies in New York, etc.) IBM NEEDS a union. A union will put IBM back in order and clean up the bad management. There is only so much IBM execs can do to cover up IBM's failures with sales man talk. IBM can boost its own horn in magazines, but if the employees and other companies and Wall Street are not speaking IBM's praises, then IBM's perspective of itself is worthless. IBM may think it is hot shit, but if no one else does, then what good is it?
      IBM is NOT the only US computer based company, and HP and EMC are better. Do you hear their employees ranting and raving on websites about layoffs and poor management? IBM needs a union; this is the only thing that will save the company. IBM management scares its employees to not registering with the union; it uses tactics to remain private. Management does NOT know best..bring in the union! -Can relate to the white woman-
    • Comment 03/07/07: I don't mean to be negative but I think we are not connecting with the majority of current employees. Recently IBM was bragging about how new its workforce in America is. 45% have less than 5 years service, another 26% have less than 10 years. So 71% are new or short timers. They are mostly young, often unmarried or childless, don't yet own homes, and many are recent immigrants. They are not attached to homes or families yet, expect to move jobs and cities, and are not motivated to think long term in that they have no expectation of staying with one employer for more than a few years. So we are not reaching them.
      Ironically IBM is always worrying about how to retain them since there is such a high turnover rate. So how do we reach these people. The reason we got the old pension plan back some years ago was that there was enough outrage that management was scared of a union movement. Now they can get away with the freeze because there just aren't enough of us left to have any leverage. Unless we come up with a message that appeals to these newer and younger employees we will never make progress towards having a union. -Ironman-
      Alliance reply: Your statistics and comments are thought provoking. Maybe some IBM'ers out there have some ideas? If so, they need to share them with their co-workers and with us. You could share the knowledge of these comments with your co-workers too. The only way we can reach anyone is to start dialogue with them.
    • Comment 03/08/07: To white female: Perhaps it's the area you work in or the location that factors in....I'm a white woman who has been working in RTP for 25 years and have been fortunate to have not ever felt disadvantaged by being female. The teams I have worked on, have usually had a strong mix of male and female. We've had multiple levels of female management. So it's not all bad news. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/08/07: Just wondering if any IGS deskside support has read the articles on the new pension. If you are in same boat as me and have gone from a band 7 to a 3 in the last 5 years...this is just another smack in the face. If I read it correctly the amount IBM will put in your 401k is based on your salary...well don't know about all you other DSR's but I haven't seen a raise in 5 years! Needless to say I'm posting for every job out of IGS I can find -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/08/07: So IBM is offering financial services to it's employees as a"benefit". Hah! This is just so IBM can say they are offering help to those employees who have had their pension plan slashed from 1999, to all employees that have a pension will have to make do with a frozen pension in 2008, to all employees that have increasing medical and prescription plan co-pays and deductibles, to most employees who will have no retirement medical or will have to try to make due with the measly Future Health Account, to those who get measly less than cost of living, if any, raises as well as lower yearly bonus payouts, and to some employees even pay cuts. Yes, IBM knows full well we are getting financially screwed by them and will continue to get screwed unless we speak up and take action and do something about it!. How is this financial planning a real added "benefit" to us? -sby_willie-
    • Comment 03/08/07: Guess again. I'm a band 8 engineer with 26 years at IBM. I actually enjoy working at IBM, even in the current working environment. The pay and benefits are not an issue for me. -IBM Lifer-
    • Comment 03/08/07: The real deal with IBM's new, "manager your own retirement scheme" is, pass the problem of fund management to employees, shed the expense of managing a pension fund and pass the savings and bonus money onto the few elite execs, that hatched the raw deal... Who has the time to put in the hours wants, the time to educate yourself more for IBM's sake, for the same or less pay, family and now to be a stock market fund manager... Which is very time consuming! IBM invests $50 million for employees to learn how to manage their own funds and bows out... If it is so easy, why can't iBM hire a few people to manage a traditional retirement fund, rather than have 1000's of US iBM give it a try? Doesn't iBM have faith in the market? Maybe iBM wants to bail out, because they don't have faith in the market... something to wonder about. -RealDeal-
    • Comment 03/08/07: I just read another article about that "emerging superpower" India and it made me angry as usual. Until recently India's most well-known feature was its immense poverty. Now they are the fourth largest economy in the World, poised to surpass the US around 2050. China will become the largest economy within years. All this is brought to you by greedy corporations and a corrupt American government. China is increasing its military expenditures again, US worried and all. If they are worried, why are they propping them up? Both emerging superpowers, our future rivals, were made by US money. Can you imagine what all that money could do in the United States? Can you imagine millions of well paying jobs coming back? This country could have it all. Instead, it’s collapsing. Globalization is a tool to steal America’s massive wealth and impoverish the American people. If corporations are not stopped, the US won’t be a superpower much longer. What we are witnessing here is a school book example of corruption and treason. -globalised-
    • Comment 03/09/07: I was laid off 3.5 years ago as a Tech in engineering at Burlington Vermont at age 42 with 17 years of service. I just missed at age 39 staying with the traditional plan and they forced us to go on the cash balance plan. Well when I was laid off in 2004 the cash balance plan was basically 1 year of pay to rollover. With 17 years of service IBM gave us the wet noodle. What kind of pension was that after 17 years. My salary at the time was $42K. I wasn't a band 8 or 9 making 5 figures. A person is better off maxing out their 401K deduction rather than counting on a lousy retirement plan such as the cash balance plan. What a screw job! -ron-
    • Comment 03/09/07: So IBM is going to put away 50Mil to help us all learn to manage our pensions. First, why wont they go back to giving us money to work with our current financial planners. Also did it cost so much to manage the plan that 50Mil wont cover it? Must be Randy and Sam skimming the top again -just have to wonder-
  • Pension Comments page
    • Comment 03/07/07: Hearing that a pension buy out will occur by year end 2007. It won't affect current retirees. Anyone hearing similar? -screwedbyIBM- . -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/08/07: RE: -And I thought I lost out- 03/05/2007 --- You are assuming incorrectly. If you read up on Netbenefits, you will see that although the retirement plan benefits are frozen on 12/31/2007 that you can continue to count additional time to make 30 years. That would make you eligible for whatever "medical" benefits are available at that time; if that was your retirement date. Remember that RETIREMENT DATE is the date you officially LEAVE IBM, NOT the date you start to collect your retirement check. -NO-KY-
    • Comment 03/09/07: I'm an old planner. All I see when I review the 'new plan' after Jan 2008 is that I lose on my retirement by about $750 per month. -I'veBeenMugged-
  • Raise and Salary Comments
    • Comment 03/02/07: Anyone willing to disclose their latest IBM bonus pay %'s here? -Anonymous- Alliance reply: We have installed fields for that in the PBC comments section, where you requested it.
    • Comment 03/02/07: this week, i was in a team room and i overheard a mgr. conducting a phone eval and he went on to say what a great job, good project skills, people skills ...etc. and then you could hear the big sucking sound ... but ...our group did not make our profit outlook ... and so we can only give you a ham sandwich ... are you kidding me ... IBM was all about profit in 2006 ... and this poor guy on the phone had swallowed the whole cup of kool aid !!! some honesty would help the morale meter and so would some scratch for the working class ... -justlistening-
    • Comment 03/03/07: If you make at or above your midpoint pay for band in IBM then consider yourself quite fortunate. Those that are at the low end of the pay scale for band, and way below midpoint, even with consistently getting PBC "1" or "2+" appraisals, are stratified and have no chance to catch up with their peers! Particularly with the lousy raises now given out for those that might even get one those lowest paid have no chance. That article in this website and in ThinkTwice is absolutely correct in IBM treatment of pay for many of it's employees! Everyone visiting this site or seeing this post should give it a read. IBM is unfair in pay practice. Can we get a wage and labor lawyer to start a case against this cheap and unfair corporation??? -low_paid_IBM_grunt-
    • Comment 03/04/07: Salary = 61K; Band Level = 7; Job Title = Sr. IT Specialist; Years Service = 7; Hours/Week = 55-60; Div Name = STG; Location = East Coast; Message = Have never had below a 2+ rating. Have been rated 1 the past two years. Yet IBM continues to hire new people that work under me and are trained by me but make more money than I do. While I do work a ton of hours now, I am done, its just not worth it to me anymore. Time to be with my family. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/05/07: Salary = 190,000; Band Level = 10; Job Title = Consultant; Years Service = 25; Hours/Week = 50; Div Name = Software; Location = mobile; Message = Last week IBM took all the software div consultants off the commission plan. That's a huge pay cut. They gave band 6-9 a one time increase of 6% and band 10 a 10% but it doesn't come close to making up the cuts. BTW.. there are multiple pay scales for the bands. In band 10 there is an A and a B scale. A scale is for lab people (higher pay) and B for field people. Top pay for Band 10B was 218,000 as of two years ago. I don't think its moved
    • Comment 03/06/07: Wow, unbelievable! You're concerned about this? 'In band 10 there is an A and a B scale. A scale is for lab people (higher pay) and B for field people. Top pay for Band 10B was 218,000 as of two years ago. I don't think its moved much' -wow-
    • Comment 03/07/07: I'm concerned about any pay cut. I know the pay sounds high, but I travel 75% to 80% of the time. I live in hotels and am lucky to get home 2-5 days a month. The pay partly compensates for that. My pension has been cut by around 30% due to many changes over the years. I lost my retirement medical benefits with the rest of you. I can't go back in time and save more now due to what are really retroactive pay cuts. I put the salary info in the comment since one guy here was collecting data. BTW.. IBM expects a LOT in exchange for that salary. -ironman-
    • Comment 03/07/07: Salary = 65K; Band Level = 7; Job Title = 1st Line Manage; Years Service = 40; Message = $2200 performance bonus to be paid out next week. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/08/07: Salary = $84k + bonus; Band Level = 8; Job Title = Advisory Software Engineer; Years Service = 8; Hours/Week = 40; Div Name = Lenovo; Location = RTP; Message = recent raises have barely kept pace with inflation -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/09/07: Salary = 9.50 hourly; Job Title = Security Officer; Years Service = 1 and half years; Hours/Week = 40 hours weekly; Div Name = Allied-Barton; Location = Stamford, Ct. Message = Are companies mandated to give raises after a year of employment? -Can u help me understand- Alliance reply: There is no law that mandates a raise after a year. The only things that could come into play are the company handbook and written policies or a union contract that stipulates a raise.
  • PBC Comments
    • Comment 03/05/07: Why "2 plus"? Isn't that absurd? Are we to think that 2+ is a half-step above a 2? Quarter step? Looks like the intended perception is to be "almost like a 2", but the employee impact is very different. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/05/07: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2; This Yr Bonus = 2190; Prior Yr Bonus = 3450; Message = 50-60 hours a week for this pittance. -PO'd-
    • Comment 03/05/07: Prior Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr PBC = 2; This Yr Bonus = 3.1%; Prior Yr Bonus = 6%; Message = Lower rating despite putting in more effort than last year. Guess I'll go back to doing less :-) -Abdullah
    • Comment 03/06/07: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr Bonus = 5.5%; Prior Yr Bonus = 3%; Message = Salary has been significantly behind after 9 years with the company. No sign of improvement on the horizon.-Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/06/07: Prior Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr PBC = 1; This Yr Bonus = 8%; Prior Yr Bonus = 6%; Message = Worked my butt off to get a 1 and a whopping 2% higher bonus. The extra time I put in to get the 1 isn't worth it. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/06/07: My bonus was in the three percent range this year, and last year. That's against the stated (or imaginary) twelve percent target for bands up to nine. And then, the target is twenty-four percent for band ten. Yes, my business unit did meet their objectives for the year. I'll look forward to reading about the executive bonus schedule, this time next year. I'm also interested to see other posts here, with a higher bonus. Good news! -clearly not an executive-
    • Comment 03/07/07: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2; This Yr Bonus = 4.5%; Prior Yr Bonus = 3%; Message = I try to work hard but no appreciation shown for years. Worked for a manager last year from an acquisition. Impossible job and no appreciation. Bus unit met all their goals in 2006. Pitiful. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/07/07: Prior Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr PBC = 1; This Yr Bonus = 5.1%; Prior Yr Bonus = 4.12%; Message = The pay-for-performance is a joke. Need I say more -whyamihere-
    • Comment 03/07/07: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2; This Yr Bonus = 3.3% Prior Yr Bonus = 1.7 % Message = for PBC 1 5.7 % for PBC 2+ 3.9 % For PBC 2 3.3 % Big Joke -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/07/07: Prior Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr PBC = 2; This Yr Bonus = 2200; Prior Yr Bonus = ?; Message = can't recall what last years PB was - think it was $3500. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 03/09/07: Prior Yr PBC = 1; This Yr PBC = 1; This Yr Bonus = 4000; Prior Yr Bonus = 4000; Message = As management puts it, another bad year. Worse than last year actually. -Anonymous-

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.

"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
This site is designed to allow IBM Employees to communicate and share methods of protecting their rights through the establishment of an IBM Employees Labor Union. Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act states it is a violation for Employers to spy on union gatherings, or pretend to spy. For the purpose of the National Labor Relations Act, notice is given that this site and all of its content, messages, communications, or other content is considered to be a union gathering.