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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—May 12, 2007

  • Yahoo! message board post by Lee Conrad, President of the Alliance@IBM. Full excerpt: (Referring to Robert Cringeley's column Lean and Mean: 150,000 U.S. layoffs for IBM? discussed extensively in last week's highlights). A couple things on this article. First the cuts were well reported around the world due to the fact that the Alliance got a resource action package and alerted all the media. Second, 150,000 cut in the US is absurd, expect at max 12,000 this year. Not a good year for IBM employees. I think Sam should be very careful. There is a hornets nest being stirred inside IBM and he could get stung.
  • Yahoo! message board post: "Re: PBS Article" by "bits_bytes_and_bugs". Excerpts: While a 150,000 person cut in the US is absurd, IBM's long term strategy is to eliminate 100,000 USA jobs. The 100,000 would include all divisions within IBM, not just services. Note that no timeline has been mentioned for the 100,000 cuts.

    I don't believe this is a joke - it's for real. Whether IBM will survive such a plan is doubtful, simply because greedy IBM executives will cut too deeply, far too fast and will offshore work before the low cost countries can effectively handle the work. We are actually seeing this now with India and IT support, but the execs won't admit the problems.

    From my vantage point, IBM execs are offshoring everything they think can be offshored - that INCLUDES ALL FUNCTIONS of the business, EXCEPT executives and their staff.

    Granted, while the low cost countries' do not have people with skills, people with experience or even the stable infrastructure to do the more sophisticated and higher skill jobs, IBM is counting on them to develop those skills over time to do the higher skill work. In my opinion, the 100,000 cuts will be over a five year timeframe.

  • The Register (United Kingdom): America is under siege. Do we blame IBM or Cringely? By Ashlee Vance. Excerpts: If Cringely is correct, then the Wall Street Journal and New York Times had better find some reporters with investigative instincts and start digging into this situation. IBM firing 150,000 US workers would devastate the current, rather optimistic business climate. Worse than that it would leave IBM without a single worker in the US. Perhaps CEO Sam Palmisano has already purchased an estate in Shanghai. [...]

    "Maybe the number WAS too high," Cringely writes. "Instead of 150,000, maybe the true number is only 100,000 or 75,000 or even 50,000. Would 50,000 layoffs from IBM Global Services be significantly less catastrophic for the workforce than 150,000? "And while the number of layoffs to come may indeed be less than 150,000, I'd prefer to stick with that larger number, which I feel is not far off. . ." [...]

    Much of Cringely's criticism for IBM centers around a program dubbed "LEAN." The reporter makes it sound like he met with IBMers in a dark alley to obtain this acronym, which portends great change at Big Blue. [...]

    The IBM I'm experiencing does not seem like a company ready to collapse its US workforce. Rather, it seems like a company making gradual cuts to deal with a changing business while at the same time researching ways to pursue services in a more sophisticated fashion. No major vendor can afford the reputation of being a cash cancer on its clients. IBM seems to know this and appears to be trying to fix its past ways.

    Cringely argues that IBM's public face is all show. He urges readers to delve into the 1,000+ comments left in response to his first story as proof of IBM's woes.

  • Yahoo! message board post "Re: America is under siege. Do we blame IBM or Cringely?" by "eastcoast_emp". Full excerpt: I take serious exception to and am insulted by the UK Register article. "Which brings us to part two: there is a serious problem with work ethic in the technology sector."

    I joined IBM as part of a large outsourcing contract. In my year and a half at IBM I have been given more responsibility, more work and was told our salaries might be cut. After a year of wondering what might happen with our salaries we were told they wouldn't get cut, but no increases. Also we were told that our bonuses would be equivalent to what we received with our former employer, but turned out to ¼ the amount. After a year of struggling to get our numbers into the green IBM decided to cut the staff.

    IBM has completely destroyed, in the most efficient manner, the work ethic of the employees they obtained in this contract.

    The message I get from IBM is "Work harder for less money." "The harder you work, the more work you'll get and the more we'll cut the staff."

  • Yahoo message board post "Back from LEAN - first impressions" by "sandy12533". Full excerpt: I came back from LEAN training yesterday. The first 2 days were wasted by lack of organization. It was nice to meet folks I have been working with over the years. The last 3 days of the week were a bit more organized. As a whole, we began to understand more of the lean process. It was still unorganized, but the workers began to take it upon themselves to start cross-training with each other, and work on problems together. There were a few accounts which were run by people who were layed off and unavailable. The folks taking over those accounts had to scramble most of the day to figure out the environment and work on getting ids in order to fix the problems. Again--lack of organization and poor planning on the part of management.

    Management changed the original LEAN model that was implemented in prior weeks. They realized that the original model would not work. There will now be 4 groups instead of the original 1 group. Each group will be organized into 3 skill levels: excellence, blues and rhythm. The work is supposed to flow from basic requests up thru highly complex problems.

    Also, they are working on automating as many of the tasks as possible.

    My opinion of the basic LEAN model is that it would work well when implemented. However, right now, since no one is cross-trained on the other accounts, people are just working on the accounts they know best.

    The LEAN model has also taken away all project work from our group.

    Our project work probably compromised about 60% of our workload prior to lean. It is VERY apparent that there is not enough work to go around. Mgmt has reported that they will be reviewing metrics regarding the number of tickets vs employees. I can only assume that this will occur within the month, and then the hatchet will begin to fall once again. The cross training will enable mgmt to further thin down the ranks. It's only a matter of time before we're all axed. The remainder of the work is destined for off-shore.

  • WRAL (Raleigh-Durham): Time for IBM Workers to Wake Up and Smell the Darjeeling? By Rick Smith. Excerpts: (Note to readers: We want to hear from you about IBM's pending layoffs and the offshoring jobs issues. Send comments to rsmith@wral.com). The growing media buzz about looming layoffs and massive restructuring at IBM isn’t igniting much sympathy for U.S. workers in India where many IBM jobs apparently will be shipped. “Wake up and smell the … Darjeeling,” the Times of India quoted one blogger as writing about Big Blue’s U.S. workforce. Darjeeling is an exquisite black tea – from India. [...]

    IBM certainly is doing the hiring overseas, especially in India. Indian media reported on Tuesday that IBM now employs 53,000 people in that huge country. That’s one sixth of IBM’s workforce and the largest concentration of Big Blue workers outside of the 125,000 or so in the U.S.

    Don’t forget, either, that the largest concentration of IBM employees in the U.S., is right here in the Triangle – some 11,000. But that number could take a hit later this month. Rumors circulating inside IBM have pegged May 29 as the day on which the company will launch a new round of layoffs. Alliance@IBM, a fledgling union seeking to represent IBM workers, is predicting 12,000 layoffs with most coming in May and June. Those cuts will follow 1,300 announced last week. [...]

    The question many IBM workers in the U.S. and Europe (which are said to be on the job chopping block, too) are asking: “Is my job among those being offshored to the land of Darjeeling?”

  • Ethisphere Magazine: 2007 World's Most Ethical Companies. Excerpts: The winners of the World’s Most Ethical Companies are the standouts. Each forces other companies to follow its leadership or fall behind. Each uses ethical leadership as a profit driver. (Editor's note: IBM does not appear on the list of most ethical companies.)
  • Yahoo! message board post: Another missed list for IBM - 2007 World's Most Ethical Companies. By Skip Bogard. Excerpt: Amazingly, Tata India makes the list. The story in Armonk is that as an entourage from Tata visited Palmisano's office, an Administrative Assistant for one of the Tata Execs fished the copy of "A Business and It's Beliefs" out of Sam's trash can.
  • New York Times: A Contrarian on Retirement Says Wait. By Damon Darlin. Excerpts: Come retirement, it will finally be time to get back the money that has been extracted from your paycheck your entire working life.

    Indeed, requesting your Social Security benefits might seem like the first order of business as soon as the going-away party is over. But you might be a lot better off waiting a bit longer, until age 66 or even 70 before tapping into the government retirement fund. Relying at first on other savings like individual retirement accounts or the 401(k) from work could raise your living standard in retirement as much as 10 percent, according to calculations made by Laurence J. Kotlikoff, an economics professor at Boston University.

  • BusinessWeek: Undergrads' 25 Most Wanted. Employers Organizations that do good and companies that are doing well both rank high with students, according to Universum's latest findings. Excerpts: Public service or stock price: These were the two features undergraduates overwhelmingly gravitated toward in naming their ideal entry-level employer, according to newly released results of Universum's 2007 Most Desirable Undergraduate Employer ranking. The top five include two government agencies, the U.S. State Dept. (No. 4) and the Peace Corps (No. 5); two profit- and buzz-generating innovators, Google at No. 1 and Apple at No. 3; and a media conglomerate, Walt Disney at No. 2. (Editor's note: IBM is not in the 25 most wanted list.)
  • Plan Sponsor: Many Employers Lukewarm about Graying Workforce. Excerpt: Despite all the recent attention to the upcoming retirement of a raft of Baby Boomers and discussions about phased retirement programs, a new study indicates some employers aren’t jumping for joy about the prospect of keeping older workers on the job, That was a key finding from two surveys of 400 nationally representative employers conducted by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College and researchers Andrew Eschtruth, Steven Sass and Jean-Pierre Aubry. Researchers conducted the polls to gauge employers' willingness to employ older workers despite concerns about whether they will prove to be more costly to keep on the payroll and whether they can adapt to new workplace technology.
  • Wired News: A Decade After Kasparov's Defeat, Deep Blue Coder Relives Victory. By Robert Andrews. Excerpts: On this day 10 years ago, the human race got an inferiority complex. A computer, Deep Blue, beat Russian Garry Kasparov, the greatest chess player on the planet, and mankind’s place in the order of things was reshuffled.

    Blame IBM. Deep Blue was just the latest in a line of three supercomputers developed by Big Blue’s research scientists over the decade before its triumph in New York on May 11, 1997.

  • New York Times: The Millions Left Out. By Bob Herbert. Excerpts: The number of poor people in America has increased by five million over the past six years, and the gap between rich and poor has grown to historic proportions. The richest one percent of Americans got nearly 20 percent of the nation’s income in 2005, while the poorest 20 percent could collectively garner only a measly 3.4 percent. [...]

    Peter Edelman, a Georgetown law professor who was a co-chairman of the task force, said, “An astonishing number of people are working as hard as they possibly can but are still in poverty or have incomes that are not much above the poverty line.”

  • Newsweek: Exporting—and Reimporting—the News. By Andrew Murr. Excerpt: Offshoring work to India is hardly new. But PasadenaNow.com, until this week an obscure California online community magazine, has made news by taking the concept a step further. Editor and publisher James Macpherson has announced that he’d hired two reporters to cover Pasadena city government—from Mumbai and Bangalore. Starting Tuesday, the pair, including a University of California, Berkeley, journalism grad, will begin cranking out more than 28 stories a week between them. In exchange, one reporter will make $12,000 a year, the other $7,200, for covering budget battles and zoning meetings in a city of 146,000 best known for the Rose Bowl and Caltech.
  • Poughkeepsie Journal: IBM offshoring protested. Group wants jobs to stay in U.S. By Craig Wolfe. Excerpt: Picketers stood on a corner of Route 9 Thursday with posters opposing IBM Corp. job cuts and the sending of work to other countries. Would it make a difference? In their view, it may, though they're not saying they can prove it. But they're game. "We've got to take some kind of action. Public visibility is one," said Tom Midgley, a Town of Poughkeepsie man who has worked for 23 years for IBM.
News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
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  • Kaiser Network: Physician Survey Ranks Health Insurer Reimbursement Practices. Excerpt: UnitedHealth was ranked last among the seven largest national health insurers in an Athena health survey of 8,500 doctors examining how quickly and accurately insurers reimburse for physician services, the Wall Street Journal reports. UnitedHealth took an average of 38.3 days to reimburse doctors for services. The company said 95% of claims are paid within 10 days and are in accordance with state "prompt-pay" laws.
  • Washington Post: A Bipartisan Push on Healthcare. By Stuart Butler and Henry Aaron. Excerpts: Washington remains deadlocked over healthcare reform, but a solution to this long-term problem may be close. The lack of federal action has spurred many states to act on their own to reform their healthcare systems.

    And here, ironically, is where Congress can help. A bipartisan group of federal lawmakers are capitalizing on this trend by supporting and encouraging state innovation. One unlikely pair, Sens. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have joined together to introduce the State-Based Health Reform Act.

  • The Commonwealth Fund: Multinational Comparisons of Health Systems Data, 2006. Excerpt: International data allow policymakers to compare the performance of their own health care system to other countries. In this chartbook, we use data collected by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to compare the health care systems and performance in nine industrialized countries—Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Whenever possible, we also present the value for the median value of all 30 members of the OECD.
  • The Huffington Post: Tearing the Mask Off the Massachusetts Healthcare Scam. Excerpts: So much for the overblown rhetoric about shared responsibility in healthcare reform. Apparently the Massachusetts officials who enacted the law that has been hyped from coast to coast as the model for other state and national plans believe that only low and middle income individuals and families should carry the financial burden for resolving the healthcare crisis.

    Having already relaxed requirements on the insurance giants who stand to gain tens of millions in additional profits under the plan, now we learn that the obligations on employers have been effectively eliminated in Massachusetts.

  • MarketPlace Radio, courtesy of The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights: The Market's the Problem With Health Care. Excerpts: There are two things you can mention to almost any CEO in this country that will provoke an immediate response, one is global warming and how to balance protecting the environment with protecting the economy. The other is health care and how companies can protect their bottom lines. Safeway CEO Steve Burd launched a health care reform effort this week. Burd and three-dozen other Fortune 500 CEOs are calling for a market solution. Commentator and consumer advocate Jamie Court says that's great, but the market is the problem.

    Some of the biggest names on the Fortune 500 say they want market forces to fix the problem of high health care costs. So they support the government making every American buy health insurance. The irony is that if insurers had made health insurance affordable and available, we wouldn't need the heavy hand of government to force individuals to buy policies. The likes of Safeway, PepsiCo, General Mills and Pacific Gas and Electric don't have a plan to effectively rein in health care costs. They don't do anything about the inefficiency and profiteering of drug makers or health insurers whose premiums have risen 250 percent more quickly than the rate of medical inflation.

    That's probably because insurers Aetna, Cigna, Healthcare, PacifiCare and drug maker Eli Lilly are part of the Safeway coalition, too. If the employers don't wanna pay premiums, fine. They should just admit the market doesn't work and turn the job over to the government by expanding Medicare. That's how it's done in the rest of the industrialized world, where there's far more efficiency. The World Health Organization ranked the USA 37th of 191 countries for overall health system performance, 72nd for level of health, and first for health expenditures per capita.

    And there's no way that mandatory health insurance is gonna help those numbers. Real universal health care means getting every patient access to doctors, hospitals and prescription drugs whenever they need it, so that sick patients don't get sicker. And that saves money. Instead, these companies back turning government into a collections agent for private insurers. That leaves American citizens bearing the burden of big costs and high-deductible insurance policies that discourage early treatment. That's not reform. It's a bailout for insurers and drug companies that refuse to be accountable for the high prices they charge and the paltry health care they provide.

  • Washington Post: U.S. Health Care Deemed 'Dysfunctional'. By Carla K. Johnson. Excerpts: The U.S. health care system is "a dysfunctional mess" and politicians who insist otherwise look ignorant, according to a medical journal essay by a prominent ethicist at the National Institutes of Health.

    "If a politician declares that the United States has the best health care system in the world today, he or she looks clueless rather than patriotic or authoritative," Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel wrote in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.

    Emanuel, who supports sweeping health care reform, said the U.S. spends $6,000 per person per year on health care, an amount that is more than 16 percent of the nation's gross domestic product and more than any other country.

    He also said Americans' average life expectancy of 78 ranks 45th in the world, behind Bosnia and Jordan. And the U.S. infant death rate is 6.37 per 1,000 live births, higher than that of most developed nations.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site:
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  • From the Job Cuts Status & Comments page (Note: There were a massive number of posts to this page during the last week. The following is a sampling of the large list of posts received by the Alliance@IBM.)
    • Comment 05/7/07: In Manufacturing, I have also been hearing about the end in the end of May. The LEAN crackdown has begun. Any excuse to chop heads is on the table. Jealousy is beginning to run rampant The backstabbing of one another is already going on . It is sad to see this behavior starting. There will be sweatshop conditions before too long I'm sure. Most of us will be out, and the contractors will be in! They are hiring more every week! All job post applications are "taken down" when applied to. There is no escape. Are they monitoring this web site? Can anyone else not get on the thanks award program all of a sudden? - johndoe-
    • Comment 05/7/07: I work at the Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield commercial account in Newark, NJ. The contract calls for 50% of the hours to be offshore. I wonder if there will be any cuts here. I am being forced to take a band reduction from band 9 to band 8 because I was told that the account has no work for a band 9 Project Manager; even though I am certified. I was also told that if I don't agree to the band reduction I can be let go without any severance. I hope there will be cuts here, I would volunteer to go. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 05/7/07: Cringely is right. IBM is on a death spiral going down fast. Incompetent management that is abusive and disrespectful of employees is to blame. Sammy Palmisano has his head up his ass with his management style. Long live the Alliance. I've Been B-f***ed by IBM. Best of Luck to All. -Leaned on IBMer-
    • Comment 05/7/07: It doesn't really matter whether Cringely got the 150K, 100K number right or whether it is 50K. (BTW - a press story I saw a year ago in the India Times mentioned the 100,000 USA jobs moving offshore). What matters is the IBM strategy of moving everything from the US to low cost countries that can be moved regardless of quality of the work, customer requirements and the resultant impact upon long term US employees and their communities

      What also matters is that the executives are doing this to "cut costs" (actually to increase their compensation) without make any sacrifices themselves. There are no Lee Iacoccas ("equality of sacrifice") within IBM. What also matters is that the executives are doing this through the misuse and misapplication of LEAN. What matters is that this cost cutting strategy indicates the total failure of IBM executive leadership to grow the company.

      While Cringely implies 100K+ cuts in a year, we all know that the USA cuts have been occurring for at least two years and that the "cut USA jobs" strategy will continue for the foreseeable future. We also know that the services business has become a hellhole to work in and that working conditions continue to deteriorate in the services business.None of this can be denied. Demand regime change - now! -FrankReality-

    • Comment 05/8/07: Can anyone tell me how many Human Factors (usability) people have been laid off since the beginning of this year? I would like information on any skill specific layoffs with respect to the usability field. Thanks -Anonymous-
    • Comment 05/8/07: Cringley's numbers are not the issue! You idiots don't get what he's saying.. The IBM US employees will lose their jobs over the next 6 months to a year.. 15,000 or 150,000.. it doesn't matter.. what the phuck is wrong you morons? The Chinese and Indian IBM'ers are laughing their ass off at you idiots.. Capitalism has reached it's level of incompetence. The conservative corporatists in the US have literally sold us to India and China, to 'balance' the world economy for their own pocketbooks.. What the phuck is wrong with you people? Don't you see that? geez.. Alliance is wasting their time on you.. you'll never fight back. You are 'afraid' to stand up for yourself and your country... -Thinker-
    • Comment 05/8/07: I received my package today! My job was moved to Argentina. IBM is probably hiring more Finance people to insure they get their numbers right. The books will look great and then one day they will wake up an smell the roses. People do the work not the finance teams. Adois Amigo's -MAC-
    • Comment 05/10/07: I got the hatchet May 1st. Was told by my manager not 2 weeks ago that my job was safe until at least the end of the year. She didn't really have a good answer for me as to why she told me that. Basically gave me the corporate standard lines. I support 6 commercial customers who have NO idea that their support is being sent offshore, and of course we've been warned about telling them. The Delivery Project Execs responsible for the accounts were not consulted as management likes to claim. This was forced on them and they have no choice. I've worked with offshore support on a daily basis for 2 years now, and not only is it not getting better, it's getting worse. I, as do my colleagues, spend most of our time fixing problems that the offshore support has caused. Now that they are eliminating the remaining layers of US employees, it's only a matter of time before these customers start to experience long and painful outages. It is painfully obvious that Sam and Co's only interest is in how much money they can make before the bottom drops out. Of course they'll walk away unscathed with more money than the company will probably be worth. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 05/10/07: Someone on our team asked our mgr today during a meeting about the next round of layoffs scheduled on or around june 1st. I was quite impressed, the mgr actually told us "I have to be very careful how I word this because I can be fired over this...IBM has a policy not to comment on rumors. however with that said, I cannot deny the rumors that you are hearing'. There are some honest mgrs left in the company. I'm sure IBM is working their way thru them and will let them go the first chance they get. -confirmedrumors-
    • Comment 05/10/07: Within the past few weeks in global services in Poughkeepsie a manager resourced approximately five contractors and five regular IBM employees. That manager was also then resourced out. This seems analogous to the mafia's practice of hiring a hit man to get rid of some people and then hiring another hit man to get rid of the original hit man. So it appears that IBM is following the mafia’s business model. Of course there is more loyalty within the mafia and the workers are treated with more respect than IBM employees. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 05/10/07: I have to work with several globally resourced groups on a daily basis - some in South America and others in India. From personal experience, the global resources are woefully inadequate. Poor skills, no experience, poor work habits and lackadaisical ownership. If it weren't for US-based employees backing the GRs up, service level attainment would not only be unacceptable, it would be so bad that clients would sue for breach of contract. This of course would be picked up by the trade press.

      The result would likely be the death of the services business. You would think that executives would retain US employees to assist until the GRs can actually provide adequate support, but no. This situation can't be fixed - because telling the truth to the executives who ordered this global resourcing disaster is a career ending event. It's difficult for the technical staff to be told to "shut up and make it work". Funny, that's also how the execs are handling LEAN. Executives neither want to hear the truth, nor do they care about what it is doing to the services business, thus the service quality from the GRs will continue to suck. When the execs choose to cut the remaining US services staff to the point where they can no longer cover for the incompetence of global resources, things will break and they break badly - very badly. That is not a threat, that is reality and that's the course the services business is heading. -Global Headache-

    • Comment 05/10/07: I have been informed by my team lead that management has asked for additional names for LEAN from our group. I work in Global Services in the Server Services Operations division. We are shorthanded now. Our manager and 2nd level have both been laid off. This will cause all projects to lag for months and most likely cause loss of the account. They don\'t care what rating you got or what experience you bring. The greed and lust for cutting has management acting like cannibals in a frenzy! Stop the fear and join Alliance@IBM so we can finally end this crap and provide for our families. Please! -SpillingTheBeans-
  • From the General Visitor's Comment page:
    • Comment 05/4/07: IGS is just plain unethical. The majority of those of us < Band 9 are working our butts off to make up for IGS cheating their customers by grossly understaffing. IGS prices based on a headcount (and those salary figures are inflated) and then only deploys half the staff required. Transitions are underfunded so new projects are broken to start with. Then, with people moving around and process changing every other day, my head is spinning. I took the McKinsey survey and it was lame - only 1/2-dozen very general questions. I was afraid to answer it honestly. Right before Lean and the last lay-offs, IGS did fire several big-time execs in different industries. Maybe those guys had a heart and spoke up and will speak up! This company needs to be investigated for fraud for cheating its customers. I don't know what the next few months will be like with half the staff but I will no longer work overtime. I may pretend to but I am not GOING TO DO IT ANYMORE! -the solution-
    • Comment 05/5/07: I have 14 yrs 4months with IBM. I am losing over $44,052 in my Future Health Account because of the 15 yrs requirement to get it. Is there anyone else having this problem and did anyone get the contents of their FHA without having the 15 yrs. I was selected for the permanent layoff to end my employment 31 May 2007. I am 63 yrs old. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 05/7/07: Dear Employees, Let me take this opportunity to thank you for all your hard work in posting year to year growth in the IBM revenue statement. This takes tough work and dedication to success to make this happen in an obese, overweight bureacracy like IBM. Let me assure you that this growth is good, but unfortunately, not good enough. We simply must have double digit growth, regardless of the cost. The reason for this requirement is that those of us who have un-redeemed stock options need the highest selling price in order to make the biggest profit when we cash out. And let me assure you, we will be cashing out.

      There is a misconception among you working class people in IBM. I need to correct this at this time. Some of you erroneously believe that a long term, healthy corporation is in your best interest. It would allow you to work a complete, challenging, and satisfying career with IBM and retire with a modest amount of security in you twilight years. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is in the best interest of IBM for the stock price to be as high as possible so that those of us in the "C" suite can cash out and live happily ever after, perhaps in the South of France. It is really irrelevant if IBM even continues to exist since we will have secured enough money to fund the next 5 generations of our family. So, I would greatly appreciate it if you would quit your whining and get back to work. I am working on my plans to acquire a yacht that will have Monte Carlo as my port of call. Kindest regards, Sammy

    • Comment 05/8/07: On w3 if you look at the page that describes FHA, it clearly indicates that it's not a portable or guaranteed acct like the PPA. To qualify to use the funds you must meet either leave IBM with age 55+ and 15 years service or have been 40 in 1999 and have 30 years service. And even then you can only use that money to pay premiums on the IBM provided retiree med coverage. Pick a plan outside of IBM, the FHA can't be used. -Anonymous- Alliance reply: All the more reason to have a union contract.
    • Comment 05/9/07: My advice to all IBMers: work smarter. Take care of #1. #1 is not IBM. It is yourself! Don't go over and above, work no O/T, don't volunteer to take on any work, take your sweet time doing any task, work less if being pressured in your job. The only way IBM management will get the message if hits them in their pocketbooks! If IBM is threatened with a bad quarterly result let's see what might happen it. Heck can it get any worse for us now who are working in IBM other than losing our job to offshore operations? -work smarter_not harder-
    • Comment 05/9/07: Management beating up and abusing employees once again at Essex Junction Vermont plant. What is wrong with this crazy company? I've never worked for a company that is so disrespectful and abusive of their employees. I have little hope that the IBM company will survive another 10 years. Sammy Palmisano has set a course for self destruction with his management style. I'm getting out of this nut house the first change I get. -Had enough of IBM-
    • Comment 05/9/07: Wow.......so we're told how poorly our division did 1st quarter (yet we reported to Wall Street otherwise)..that we must do better, raises will be slim, PBC ratings will be low..but heck, management must be doing an awesome job! They've actually created an award to award themselves for excellence! How about an award for those of us in the trenches, working countless hours, making up for cut co-workers, dealing with our counterparts in India, KL and Korea, trying to pay off our bills (while our manager buys new cars each year). Here's an snippet out of the email we keep receiving:

      Have you voted for an outstanding SWG Manager yet? Now is your chance to nominate SWG's best managers for recognition. The software Group Management Excellence Award program recognizes excellence in all aspects of management, with an emphasis on people leadership. No one is better suited than you to identify the best SWG managers, whose efforts truly make a difference in people's work life, and our business results. IBM demands outstanding leadership from its managers and executives, and so do its employees. This nomination is your chance to have an outstanding leader considered for recognition. I'll nominate my manager for quite a few things, but it sure as heck won't be for excellence. -Anonymous-

    • Comment 0510/07: Can someone please tell me HOW IBM gets away with forcing employees to claim 10% overtime, whether they worked it or not, and then billing it to it's customers ?? We've received notes from management that clearly states that WE WILL claim this OT, regardless of whether it's actually worked or not. I just don't see how they get away with this !! -Anonymous-
    • Comment 0510/07: I find the discussion on mandatory overtime pretty humorous. In our IGS (ITS) division, we are mostly non-exempt employees and are regularly (weekly) castigated about keeping overtime to a minimum or preferably, ZERO! So, overtime is purely a function of your pay status. If it's free to the company, you are required to work it; if it costs the company, you are required to "not work it." Our effective field head count is based on a simple formula: the minimum number of people to staff the area divided by two. A sweet spot of about 15% overtime means that we are sufficiently understaffed. Since we run higher percentages than that, we demonstrate regularly that we are poorly trained, slow, lazy, ineffective, and probably dishonest because we should be able to get the job done with the available resources. If there was 10 cents worth of integrity in IBM management, the exempt and non-exempt management teams would swap roles. -gadfly-
    • Comment 0512/07: When I started with IBM, information hoarding was a way to boost your status and power in your organization. Then that gave way to the golden era of information sharing and more open teamwork. That was a great period in my career. Now, we're regressing back to information silos out of fear -- which is understandable since such sharing can now cost you your job. I have little incentive to help anyone else out in my area, and I'm not interested in taking classes in "chinese culture" or "learning spanish". Thank goodness I got all my promotions in before the Sammy era - I wouldn't want to have to "perform" as a new entrant into the next band -- that could cost me my job by leaving me a vulnerable 2 or 3 ranking. I used to volunteer to do extra stuff like mentoring or helping with public relations, but no more -- I can't even recommend working here anymore! -sammysguttingthecompany-
  • Pension Comments page
    • Comment 05/9/07: For all those people who are complaining about how little the pension settlement is to them: you should THANK Kathi Cooper (and others behind the scenes like Janet Krueger too) that she stood up for YOU and fought to get you SOMETHING that IBM was able to legally STEAL and TAKE AWAY away from you!!!! Almost all of you who complain are spineless morons. Why not complain to the real ENEMY which is IBM!?!? Keep reminding those bastards how unfair it still is to you! You folks who are complaining or are being factitious about the settlement make me puke. -Thanks_Kathi-
    • Comment 05/10/07: So its now almost June and the new pension program goes in affect at the end of this year. We as IBMrs STILL do not have a tool for doing any sort of planning for a retirement date after 1/1/2008. Its absurd that the announcement of the new program came over a year ago and we still don't have a way to do a accurate forecast of what retirement looks like. Well actually I do it looks bad since I wasn't old enough or in service at IBM long enough to not be royally screwed by the new plan. -still wondering-
    • Comment 05/16/07: Any comments on the recently announced DCPP change to fund selection for Canadian IBMers? Usually when a change is made to the benefits, there is a "screw you" to the employees in there somewhere...just want to know what the gotcha is this time (i.e. where it will cost us) -Anonymous-
    • Comment 05/12/07: > My Cooper settlement is supposedly $35/month but they assume my wife is my same age. When they get the papers with her actual age, I expect this will be cut but I don't know how to do this projection myself. -Auld Phart- If the projection will impact your decision about which option to take, call Cooper Settlement Claims Administration at 1-866-716-4098 and tell them you need an estimate based on your wife's birth date. You might have to do some arguing and insist on talking to a manager to get the information you want, as the phone operators won't find it in their database and someone will have to do some work to figure it out. If it won't change your decision, since it probably won't change your benefit by more than a dollar or two a month, then send back the paperwork now. -Janet Krueger Rochester, MN-
    • Comment 05/12/07: > So its now almost June and the new pension program goes in affect at the end of this year. We as IBMrs STILL do not have a tool for doing any sort of planning for a retirement date after /1/2008. Its absurd that the announcement of the new program came over a year ago and we still don't have a way to do a accurate forecast of what retirement looks like. Well actually I do it looks bad since I wasn't old enough or in service at IBM long enough to not be royally screwed by the new plan. -still wondering- IBM can legally reduce your future pension benefit accruals to nothing at any time, which is basically what they have announced with the planned freeze on 1/1/2008. If you do a retirement forecast with a planned retirement date of 1/1/2008, that is probably a fairly accurate projection of what you would get by staying at IBM and retiring later. The only way to earn any substantial retirement benefits after that, in a form that can be relied on for retirement planning, would be to lock them into a negotiated union contract -- perhaps you should start explaining this to your coworkers, as over 50% of you would need to be on the same page to make this happen! -Janet Krueger Rochester, MN-
    • Comment 05/12/07: > Question for Janet Krueger: I got my Cooper v IBM paperwork. It tells me that I can either select "Single Annuity" or "50% Joint Option" payout. I only have a vested rights pension; because I missed full pension on account of being sold to another company. When I elected to take what I could, I chose the "100% joint restore" option which pays my wife the full payment after I'm dead; However, this settlement document doesn't seem to offer a lump payout or a 100% restore option payout in my case. Did I read this wrong? Will IBM oblige me or not? -thinker- IBM will only provide the payout options that were provided in the settlement agreement; please be assured that the 100% selection option you took on your base pension will not be changed by the option you take for the Cooper settlement. If you did not keep a copy of your base pension paperwork, you may want to call Fidelity and get a copy now, so you can file it for your spouse along with a copy of your Cooper settlement papers, so that your spouse will know exactly how much to expect if you die first. Hopefully whoever is handling IBM's pension trust fund at that time will do the calculations correctly, but it can't hurt to leave your spouse with the paperwork they would need if the amounts end up wrong. -Janet Krueger Rochester, MN-
  • Raise and Salary Comments
    • Comment 05/5/07: Salary = 74000; Band Level = 7; Job Title = software developer; Years Service = 5; Hours/Week = 40; Location = Canada; Message = Canada -software developer-
    • Comment 05/5/07: Salary = 63000; Band Level = 6; Job Title = Engineer; Years Service = 4; Hours/Week = 40-50; Div Name = STG; Location = AUS; Message = Market based adjustment will only be some percentage towards your band/job family's midpoint, if you made a 1, 2+, or 2. Manager discretionary pay raise is only for 1 or 2+, but the 1's will get the lion's share. I was also told all promotions are out of cycle this year, so I'm unsure if the promotion will come with a pay raise or not ... -LostInAUS-
    • Comment 05/7/07: Salary = 65k; Band Level = 7; Job Title = IT Specialist; Years Service = 4; Hours/Week = 55+; Location = US; Message = i have got 2+ the past 3 years but yet i am making the amount of money as i was 4 years ago (give or take a couple thousand). pretty sad but not much else out there in the US anymore for technical workers. time to go to law school i guess -FEDup-
    • Comment 05/7/07: Salary = 69700; Band Level = 7; Job Title = IT Specialist ; Years Service = 6; Hours/Week = 45+; Div Name = IGS; Location = RTP; Message = been a consistent 2 performer but any raise and bonus seem to be scarce. other jobs in the market are definitely paying more...but most i've seen require 75% or more travel. -ur_guess_good_as_mine-
    • Comment 05/8/07: Salary = way too little; Band Level = does it matter?; Job Title = IBM grunt; Years Service = at least one day; Hours/Week = more and more; Div Name = it keeps changing; Location = not in USA for long; Message = I've heard no further word on MBA's and raises..typical.. guess that no word means no MBA's and 0% raises. Has anyone heard a thing about it? June 1st is not that far away. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 05/9/07: Salary = 139; Band Level = 9; Years Service = 23; Hours/Week = 48; Div Name = 6c; Location = northeast; Message = none -Anonymous-
    • Comment 05/9/07: Salary = 135K; Band Level = 9; Job Title = Senior Software Engineer; Years Service = 11; Hours/Week = 50+; Div Name = SWG; Location = MA; Message = Most recent ratings present-pass: 2+, 2+, 1, 1. Manager indicates that 1s and a few 2+ get pay increase. In addition, people who are underpaid for their band get pay increase. Big change this year is that this is US-wide per band level with no consideration of cost of living for area of the country. To me, this policy is a way to get older workers out -- freezing pay, lowering ratings, giving that money to newer hires, also giving them the 1s. -WorriedIBMer-
    • Comment 05/9/07: Time to start drinking ... I'm getting royally screwed; Sal - 56; Band 7 (as of last year); PBC 1 and 2+ performer ** still shocked at what I'm seeing ** -Getting Screwed-
    • Comment 05/9/07: Salary = 25,000; Band Level = 3; Job Title = Specialist; Years Service = 7; Hours/Week = 44; Div Name = 29; Location = E.Fishkill; Message = If you are all done bragging, don't forget us on the bottom. Try living on this in New York. -slave-
    • Comment 05/13/07: Salary = 130k; Band Level = 9; Job Title = Technical Consultant; Years Service = 13; Hours/Week = 50-55; Div Name = IGS; Location = N.E.; Message = Oi Slave...so you are a 'specialist' in what exactly?..Please clarify..I don't think people are bragging here but merely sharing information....how the hell can you be a 'specialist' in any half decent/skilled field and get paid $25k? (unless you are in a 2nd/3rd world country) -Danger Mouse-
    • Comment 05/15/07: Anyone heard from their manager yet or have a meeting scheduled to discuss their pay?I hope management doesn't allow employees to "find out" when they get their 6/15/07 pay stub what the story is like quite many experienced last year. -What raise or MBA?-
    • Comment 05/15/07: Here's the monthly salary survey update:
      • Band 4: 10 respondents, avg: $44K, standard deviation: $10K, range (min/max): $32K to $60K
      • Band 6: 20 respondents, avg: $63K, std dev: $7K, range: $53K to $78.5K
      • Band 7: 45 respondents, avg: $72K, std dev: $13K, range: $52K to $110K
      • Band 8: 38 respondents, avg: $98K, std dev: $16K, range: $60K to $130K
      • Band 9: 23 respondents, avg: $119K, std dev: $17K, range: $90K to $152K
      • Band 10: 11 respondents, avg: $146K, std dev: $26K, range: $107K to $190K
  • PBC Comments
    • Comment 05/05/07: Prior Yr PBC = 2 ; This Yr PBC = 2; This Yr Bonus = 1800; Prior Yr Bonus = 1900; Message = The PBC system is badly in need of reform. Part of the problem is that there's so much variability on how managers view your performance. I had a manager for the first half of the year that indicated I had a good shot at a 2+ if I focused on standardizing some of the various tools we use for backup monitoring, After working on a team effort to develop the new standard tools, there was a reorg, and a new manager came in that didn't have much knowledge of our work, he was from the Microsoft Exchange team and we were all doing Domino support

      While we got along fine, and he never indicated that there was a problem with my performance, at PBC time I still only got a 2, under the rationale that I needed to be a team lead of a process group outside of my normal job. No one ever mentioned such a rule before, to give me time to prepare or look at opportunities in that area.

      Since then, we've had yet another reorg with a new boss, and the current manager is focusing on "innovation". With rapidly changing managers and corporate directions, it's difficult to get an idea what the company is really looking for in a top performer.

      You're also at a disadvantage if you happen to work on a team with mostly very solid people, as ratings get skewed downward for some if they're not in a leadership role. If on the other hand, you're on a team with lots of inexperienced people, you can look really good, even though you might not be as skilled as the lowest person in a really solid department of mostly veteran employees. My complaint was not so much with the 2 as with the fact the the rules changed midstream, so what I first agreed to was no longer in effect. -Anonymous-

    • Comment 05/07/07: Prior Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr PBC = 3; This Yr Bonus = ZERO; Prior Yr Bonus = 4200; Message = Being 29 years with IBM, I never got a 3. I know from the bottom of my heart I did *NOT* deserve a 3. After talking with some people and managers around, I found it interesting a number of them got a 3 too. A Band 10 manager friend outside my organization confirmed "someone has to get a 3 if everyone in the dept already got a 3 in the past." -Disappointed in Pok-
    • Comment 05/08/07: Wow this is so gloomy... remember folks that there is a big world outside of IBM. Network Appliance is slowly adding more American jobs in RTP with the intention of making it their secondary headquarters in the USA and Fidelity just moved here and will be hiring more. If Big Blue thinks it can do better elsewhere, let it. In the meantime there are other companies that still have faith in our skills. Netapp, btw, is ranked one of the top 10 best places to work in the US and their stock has blown away IBM in the past few years. -BTDT-
    • Comment 05/09/07: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr Bonus = 2600; Prior Yr Bonus = 2000; Message = I took on a lot new responsibilities in 2006, yet still could not get the elusive 1 rating. -disgruntled-
    • Comment 05/09/07: This Yr PBC = 3; This Yr Bonus = 0; Message = Anyone in IBM that is a PBC "3" needs to join the Alliance if they are still working in IBM! Don't wait to be fired. I can understand you might be looking for a job outside of IBM since IBM is just plain crap now. I hope that if you are looking for a new job it works out great for you! You deserve better. But join the Alliance now! -Anonymous-
    • Comment 05/09/07: To everyone that was a PBC "2+" just before they received a PBC "3": Did you manager give you ample or any warning before you got your PBC rating? Why your management can just drop you from a "2+" to a "3" without warning or coaching is ludicrous!!! Has anyone who was a PBC "1" previously dropped to a PBC "3" in the next year? By the way, IBM has no grievance process. They say they have a review process and an "open door" but it is a sham. The "open door" process will just slam in your face or hit you on the way out if you try it. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 05/10/07: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2; This Yr Bonus = $800; Prior Yr Bonus = $1000; Message = PBC is such a crock of bull. They already decide what your rating is before you even have a chance to write a book about yourself. It should be thrown away as far as I am concerned. I know someone that got a 1 rating and their bonus wasn't anything to talk about. So there is no motive to be a 1 really. And now they have this top performer thing, so really a 1 is a 2 and a 2 is a 3 and then there is now the top performer which is only for I guess people that walk on water or something. I know for a fact that managers have to have so many 1s, 2s, 3s and they have to make someone a 3 so they can lay people off. -Audit Slave-
    • Comment 05/12/07: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr Bonus = 1000; Prior Yr Bonus = 800; Message = no one got a " 1 " this year on my shift , the PBC system does not work well but it keeps people working , if we did not have it no one would do anything . Most of the people that are bitching about it sit on there ass all day . i work my ass off and get nothing -Anonymous-
    • Comment 05/12/07: Has anyone who has submitted their 2007 pbc goals actually had them approved yet? Here it is in mid may, and we still don't have a finalized pbc....what a joke. -none-
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