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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—June 16, 2007

  • Yahoo! message board post: "This is getting ridiculous" by "nutella_nu_year". Full excerpt: In the last 2 months I have been forced to let 8 members of my department go. Where will this stop? The people that are left cannot even come close to getting the job done. I worry that I may be let go in the next wave.
  • Yahoo! message board post: "Re: This is getting ridiculous" by "oonaganga". Full excerpt: Sounds very familiar. Everyone in a group adjacent to mine in IBM Research were abruptly put on 30-day notice last week (including the manager), these people had 20+ years in IBM and their skills are not replaceable. Assume that your whole department is in jeopardy and begin looking for another job immediately.

    Meanwhile I attended a recent all-hands with the division VP, he stated that we desperately need to be able to hire foreign talent via H1B so we can remain competitive. An amendment was introduced into the immigration bill that might help put the brakes on this.

    "US companies that lay off large numbers of workers shouldn't be allowed to hire workers with H1B visas if they're planning a large layoff that will reduce their total number of US workers." http://tinyurl.com/ynu4db

  • "Question for a manager...nutella_nu_year?" by "Adrian Rice". Excerpts: I have been on medical leave for two years and will be able to return to work in a couple of months. I do not have a career manager -- at least not that I know of. I called the IBM employee services center to ask what my options will be. Apparently I will have 30 days to find a job with IBM or be separated. When my medical leave ends I will be less than a year away from being retirement eligible. Do any managers know if I could possibly get a "bridge to retirement" leave of absence even if I am not actively employed? I sincerely doubt that I will be able to find a job within IBM in 30 days, given the current environment. Thanks for any info you guys can give me!
  • "Re: Question for a manager...nutella_nu_year?" by "thekanck". Full excerpt: Adrian: I agree, finding a job within 30 days will be almost impossible. In theory at least, you SHOULD have an assigned manager. Did you ask the employee service center to look that up for you? Can you ask the folks in your old dept. or old chain of command who's in charge? If your medical leave is up, I would think that the "safest" thing to do would be to somehow "report for work" so that your employment is re-activated from the LOA and then apply for the retirement bridge LOA.
  • In a Yahoo! message board post, Janet Krueger responds to another participant who said "...laid off from IBM in late 2006. My age 41. Do I qualify for age discrimination?" Full excerpt: Have you been discriminated against because of your age? Probably.

    Can you sue IBM for age discrimination and win enough in damages to pay for the lawsuit? Maybe...

    Did you sign the covenant not to sue in order to collect severence pay? If so, then you could be liable for IBM's attorneys' fees as well as your own if you attempt to sue IBM -- while IBM's waiver was held to be unenforceable in a federal court in May, 2005, IBM revised it shortly after that, so you were offered a more iron-clad agreement.

    Are you prepared to have your name and reputation dragged through the mud? IBM's attorneys are masters at the art of portraying any employees who sue IBM as pond scum -- to win a discrimination suit, all they have to do is demonstrate that there was at least one non-discriminatory business reason for laying you off, and one of their favored ways of doing that is to find every speck you have on your employment record and embelish it. Needless to say, it is not a pleasant experience. )-;

    Are you prepared to spend years waiting for the outcome while your case progresses through federal court? Mike Saville, an IBMer in Utah, filed an age discrimination lawsuit against IBM back in 1998; IBM just won the final appeal this year, so it took 9 years to go through the courts before Mike's final loss. IBM has spare cash to invest in legal expenses, so they will not be in any hurry to settle. Be aware that information about current lawsuits is public information -- any employer you apply to for a new job will be able to find out that you are in the process of suing your former IBM, and that could factor into their decision of whether or not to hire you. As a policy, IBM does not give references, good or bad, for former employees, but they will let anyone who calls to verify that you were an employee know about a lawsuit, so factor that into your decision...

    One on-going lawsuit you may have heard of is Syverson v IBM; it is a collective action age discrimination lawsuit that was filed against IBM several years ago. Anyone who IBM laid off between July 7, 2001 and May 4, 2005 is eligible to join if they were over 40 at the time. The attorneys in this case are footing the bill (in hopes of getting 25% of any settlement) and there are enough class members that each individual member is relatively anonymous. More information is available at: http://www.ibm-age-discrimination-litigation.com/

    If you do want to proceed with an age discrimination lawsuit, your first step should be filing a charge against IBM with the EEOC. There is a relatively short time frame for doing that -- you lose your right to sue if you don't file within 90 to 365 days of the discriminatory action (the time varies by state, but whereever you are, the clock is ticking!) There is no legal fee for doing that, and the form is relatively easy to fill out. Use class language in the charge (I, and 'others similarly situated', was released from IBM because of my age...) so that if you do file a lawsuit, or if the EEOC decides to do so on your behalf, others can join you even if they didn't file their own EEOC charges -- the attorney fees become more affordable if you can spread them over mulitple plaintiffs! Information on how to file an EEOC charge and locate the office nearest you for filing is available at: http://www.eeoc.gov/

    Next, you should find a lawyer in your state who specializes in employment law. Some states have much stronger discrimination laws than the federal ADEA law, so it is important to find someone familiar with your state laws. The first exploratory visit should be free, but make sure of that when you set up the office visit -- otherwise, you risk getting billed for a discussion before you decided what you wanted to do. A good place to start locating an attorney in your state is: http://www.findlaw.com/

    By the way, if someone reading this thinks they are being discriminated against in the current or next round of lay-offs, the two steps I just listed should be done BEFORE you sign the covenant not to sue to collect your severance pay -- your chances of winning a lawsuit will be much higher if you leave the severence pay on the table, so you need to visit with an attorney to fully explore your rights and your chances fairly quickly; you risk getting nothing in exchange for a possibly higher payout far down the road...

    Hope that helps! Janet Krueger, Rochester, MN

    Note: Legal information provided over the web without details about individual circumstances is worth exactly what you are paying for it. I am a licensed attorney, but I specialize in criminal defense work, NOT employment law!

  • New York Times: Economic Life After College. Commencement is a time for idealism. But economic reality is lurking everywhere, and new college graduates are vulnerable to ambush. They have been told repeatedly that a college degree is an open sesame to the global economy. But that’s not necessarily so, according to new research by two economists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Frank Levy and Peter Temin.

    It is true that people with college degrees make more money than people without degrees. The gap has narrowed somewhat in recent years, which is disturbing. But the earning power of college graduates still far outpaces that of less-educated workers.

    The bad news, though, is that a college degree does not ensure a bigger share of the economic pie for many graduates. In recent decades, Mr. Levy and Mr. Temin show, only college-educated women have seen their compensation grow in line with economywide gains in productivity. The earnings of male college graduates have failed to keep pace with productivity gains.

    Instead, an outsized share of productivity growth, which expands the nation’s total income, is going to Americans at the top of the income scale. In 2005, the latest year with available data, the top 1 percent of Americans — whose average annual income was $1.1 million — took in 21.8 percent of the nation’s income, their largest share since 1929.

  • Workforce Management: Early Dialogue May Get Retirees to Stick Around. By the time companies initiate conversations with older workers about what they can do to get those employees them to stay, it's often too late. Excerpts: Employers and HR consultants for years have pondered ways to retain aging workers as the retirement wave nears. But as companies start to tackle the issue, many are realizing that the solution is not just about coming up with new ways of working; it’s about creating a culture where employees close to retirement age feel comfortable discussing their plans with their managers.

    By the time companies initiate conversations with older workers about what they can do to get those employees to stay, it’s often too late, said Bruce Monte, director of retirement plans at PepsiCo, during a presentation at the WorldatWork Total Rewards Conference this month in Orlando, Florida.

    These employees already have a date in mind and have discussed their plans with friends and family, he said.

  • Workforce Management: H-1B Charges, Social Unrest Test India-Based Outsourcers. Excerpts: One day it was a political bombshell; the next day, it was a bomb. The fallout over H-1B visas and a terrorist bombing and subsequent riot here in Hyderabad, India, were unrelated, but they illustrate the disruptive potential such incidents can impose on this booming city of 8 million people that leans so heavily on companies outsourcing their work.

    A May 17 report in the local press that two U.S. senators posted letters on their Web sites questioning nine India-based IT outsourcing firms about their heavy and possibly illegal use of H-1B visas riled numerous Indian executives. The letters suggest that India-based companies are skirting U.S. immigration laws while facilitating the outsourcing of American jobs to other countries

  • Workforce Management: IBM's People Chief: A Leader in Leadership. IBM's HR chief Randy MacDonald strives to cement Big Blue's perfromance culture by shaking up its leadership development and equipping all 350,000 of the computer giant's employees with the skills they'll need for the future. By Ed Frauenheim. Excerpts: Big Blue is making big moves on the leadership front. For years, IBM has been lauded for smart leadership planning and development. But instead of resting on that reputation, the computer giant recently decided to restructure key executive teams in part to focus more on financial performance. IBM also has shifted away from classroom learning, placing a greater emphasis on experiential training for execs. And it is pushing to spot rising stars early.

    Key to these efforts is Randy MacDonald, IBM’s senior vice president of human resources. MacDonald came to IBM in 2000 after a 17-year stint at telecommunications company GTE (now Verizon Communications). Under MacDonald’s leadership, Big Blue has continued its tradition of establishing HR standards. Aside from the leadership steps, IBM has done such things as experiment with training in virtual world Second Life and set up a database of tech consultants’ skills, availability and billing rates.

    Some of IBM’s workforce decisions in recent years have been controversial, especially cutting thousands of jobs in the U.S. and Europe while expanding offshore. And last year, IBM announced it was freezing its pension plans for U.S. workers, offering a generous 401(k) plan instead.

    MacDonald, 58, defends IBM’s shift away from lifelong employment and defined-benefit pensions for U.S. workers with the hard-nosed language of a businessperson. "Sometimes taking tough action is ultimately in the best interests of the country," he says. Yet this son of a union local president is keenly aware of the importance of honesty and integrity in relations with employees and the broader public. [...]

    But MacDonald, who reports directly to IBM chief executive Sam Palmisano, doesn’t have much time to bask in praise or worry about criticism. Among other duties, MacDonald is in the midst of a $100 million project dubbed the Workforce Management Initiative. Announced in late 2006, the multiyear project is designed to catalog the talents of all 350,000 IBMers and help them upgrade their skills for the future.

    MacDonald says he sleeps "like a baby" at night. But he’s putting in 75-hour workweeks. "I want to deliver," MacDonald says. "This is a competitive company with a competitive culture. We like to win. And we like to do things right." [...]

    MacDonald: We have seen marked improvement in our employee satisfaction index, which measures three or four specific things. Job challenge and job opportunity are two examples. In both cases, our index in the last couple of years has gone up by an amount that is statistically significant.

  • Jim Hightower: Bush's Corporate Court. Full excerpt: George W has struck another blow against America's working stiffs. This time, he didn't do it directly – he did his part when he appointed John Roberts and Sam Alito to the Supreme Court. And now, these two black-robed corporate hirelings are pummeling workers from the bench.

    They just issued an absurd opinion that totally convolutes common sense in cases of pay discrimination against women. Lilly Ledbetter had worked for Goodyear Tire for 20 years. Late in her career, she learned that men doing the same work she did had been getting far higher pay raises over the years, leaving her salary some 40 percent lower than theirs.

    Her 1998 lawsuit was backed by the government's anti-discrimination agency... until Bush came along. Last year, when Ledbetter's case reached the Supremes, the Bushites disavowed the agency and filed a brief on the side of the corporate discriminator. And now, Bush's two corporate-biased judges have – Big Surprise – embraced his and Goodyear's view of the case.

    Alito wrote in the 5-4 opinion that the discrimination was irrelevant because, technically, employees must file a pay complaint within 180 days of having their salaries set. This bit of judicial activism completely overturns decades of federal policy and precedent.

    More importantly, it's a ridiculous atttempt by Alito, Roberts, and gang to overturn reality. The corporate workplace is shrouded in secrecy and is hostile to anyone asking questions – so no one's going to know within 180 days that discrimination is afoot. What Bush's judges have done – on behalf of powerful corporations – is effectively to negate the federal law prohibiting workplace discrimination.

    This is why it is essential to begin evaluating judicial appointees not merely on social issues, but especially on how they'll treat workers, consumers, the environment, and others abused by corporate power.

  • eWeek: Luring the Other 68% Through the IT Door. By Deborah Perelman. Excerpts: Could women be the answer to IT's dwindling work force? Penn State researchers argue the fairer sex is under-represented in the industry, and taking steps to increase their numbers would serve to swell the ranks of the overall work force and promote diversity.

    While women accounted for almost 60 percent of the U.S. labor force in 2004, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the same period they accounted for 32 percent of the IT work force. Furthermore, according to a 2005 ITAA (Information Technology Association of America) study, women who leave the IT workplace are less likely than their male counterparts to return.

  • South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Perks round out Exec Pay Packages. By Ellen Simon, Associated Press. Excerpts: Free beer! Free boat outings! Free taxes! Even as CEO pay has increased, their perquisites, from personal flights on the corporate jet or yacht, to cars and drivers, to country-club fees and home alarm systems, have persisted.

    The perks mean free stuff for a crowd that could afford to pay its own way. After all, the median 2006 total pay for the CEOs at 386 Standard & Poor's 500 companies analyzed by The Associated Press was $8.3 million.

    In 2006, the group's total amount of "other compensation" was $169.2 million. Besides all the cushy perks - which are considered taxable income by the government - many companies picked up the tab for those costs, too.

  • Yahoo! message board post "Re: Below payscale band..." by "madinpok". Full excerpt: The way our department manager explained it is that if you are below the market average salary for your job, you will get an MBA adjustment. However, the adjustment will probably not bring you up to the market average in one shot (especially if you are quite a bit below it). Instead, expect to see roughly 3% MBA raises over a number of years. So if you are 20% below the average, it will take you 6 years or more to get up to the average.

    Bottom line: IBM pays below average salaries and wants to keep it that way for as long as they can.

    Someone I know who works in HR says that the general attitude is that IBM pays a fair salary and if you think you can get more money somewhere else, you are welcome to leave. Everyone can be replaced with someone who will work for less.

  • 9News Colorado: Don't be fooled by $1 salaries. By Dan Boniface. Excerpts: "Salary has become such a minuscule component of CEO compensation that it is now largely irrelevant," said J. Richard Finlay, founder of the Centre for Corporate & Public Governance.

    Of the 386 Standard & Poor's 500 CEOs whose companies reported under the Securities and Exchange Commission's expanded disclosure requirements this year, salary accounted for only 9.5 percent of total pay. For the 11 CEOs in the group who earned more than $30 million, salary was just 2.7 percent of total pay.

  • Yahoo! message board post: "Question for the Pension Board" by "starwarsbeemer". Excerpts: I am an IBMer with 30+ years of continuous service. I have been eligible for retirement for some years now. I don't know why I haven't been RA'ed yet, maybe because I have some critical skills, maybe because I have jumped a lot around jobs in my personal pursuit of learning a lot of different skills, maybe because of my work ethic or maybe because I've been lucky. It's probably a little of all of the above, who the hell knows. It's been close sometimes, but I've managed to miss the knife from what I think is an aggressive and vindictive HR that has grown in power and arrogance through my time in the company. I have been a supporter of the Alliance in the past and was pretty active behind the scenes during the pension heist of 1999. I also have extensive documentation of some interesting HR situations that have happened to me over the years (and have duly reported them as required in the BCG nowadays) so I have a lot of unique data about my career with this company. Personally, I have no confidence in the leadership of the company and consider it basically an unethical operation covered up by slick propaganda and good marketing. I stayed on because in the 80's I realized I had invested too much personally to leave at the time.

    After all the resource actions of late, the increased workload, the loss of innovative drive among my colleagues, the lack of good leadership and certainly the freezing of the pension after December, I've decided to retire at the end of November, assuming I don't get RA'ed before then. I certainly don't trust the leadership and figure they've got or found a way to screw those of us who stay beyond 2007 of our DB plan benefits. I am a second choicer and already know about the massive theft of benefits we 2nd choicers suffered in 1999. [...]

    If I am not RA'ed, and the time comes (which is very shortly although I just read the old 6 month advance notice for retirement is now 60 days) to retire, why can't I just give notice, hand in my badge, only sign the Fidelity related papers and just walk away? I went through the steps to retirement recently and they are now asking us to sign "Covenants Not To Sue" and "Statement of Understanding" as well as other documents unrelated to the disbursement of my pension. Why sign them? Is there anything the company can do to stop my retirement payments or otherwise penalize me if I refuse to sign? Could they force my retirement payments to be held back until age 65? Why do I need to sign any of my rights away if I'm not going to be given any severance package, retirement bridge, etc.?

  • "Re: Question for the Pension Board" by Janet Krueger. Excerpts: Unless your manager offers you a severance package, there is absolutely no reason to sign the "covenenant not to sue" or other documents unrelated to retirement benefits. Those papers are purely for IBM's protection, not yours, and unless they are offering a severance package or other retraining or job search payments as an incentive, do NOT sign them.

    Your pension and the FHA are protected be federal ERISA law (even though the FHA never vests, and can be eliminated by IBM at any time, it CANNOT be withheld from specific employees for reasons not covered in the summary plan document filed with the DOL).

    There is also absolutely no reason you have to give IBM a full 60 days notice before leaving, although it might be 60 days or more before your pension kicks in.

    You *DO* have to fill out the pension paperwork and turn that in, unless you're willing to wait until you turn age 65 to collect benefits.

  • USA Today: Proposal would change health, pension coverage. By Julie Appleby. Excerpts: Workers would no longer get their health and retirement benefits directly from employers, but would shop through regional "benefit administrators," under a proposal being released Wednesday by a group representing more than 100 of the nation's largest employers, including IBM, Tyco, DuPont and General Motors.

    If adopted, the proposal could fundamentally alter how more than 160 million Americans get their health and retirement coverage, allowing employers a more arms-length approach to offering benefits. [...]

    "This is middle ground between a total individualized system, which we don't think works, and single payer, which we also don't think works," says Mark Ugoretz, president of the ERISA Industry Committee, which drew up the proposal. "It retains the employer commitment and influence and offers universal coverage for all Americans." About 115 large employers are members of the committee named for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

    But some consumer advocates see the proposal as an acknowledgment that employers want out. "This is the final death knell for employer-based health insurance, when big employers say they don't want to manage the benefits," says Jamie Court of the Los Angeles-based Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. "If they don't want to manage the benefits, we should expand Medicare to cover everyone."

  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree message board: "IBM Supplemental Opportunities for Retirees" posted by "eldred_white". Excerpts: May 30, 2007. Dear IBM Retiree,

    We hope you are enjoying your well deserved retirement from IBM. We are reaching out to you again to continue our focus on recruiting retired IBM employees who may have an interest in working as a temporary/supplemental employee. We are interested in learning more about you and your interest in returning to IBM.

    There are three types of opportunities that we are recruiting for; on-call (maximum 999 hours per year), part-time (20-32 hours per week) and full-time.

    On-call supplemental positions provide a great deal of flexibility based on the needs of the business as well as the amount of time you desire to work. Hours can vary from none to 40 hours in a week as well as from week to week. Flexibility also exists to only work during specific months of the year should that be desirable. There are a variety of positions currently available and employment is not guaranteed and hiring decisions are made on a competitive basis. There are many types of positions we are currently hiring for nationwide:

    • Desktop Support: Various locations throughout US
    • Remote Support Specialist: Various locations throughout US
    • Systems Services Rep.: Various locations throughout US
    • Gateway Server Support: Atlanta, GA
    • Hardware Tape Support: Atlanta, GA
    • Sys Admin/Unix Windows Supp: Atlanta, GA
    • RAID Dasd Support Rep.: Atlanta, GA
    • Remote Technical Support: Dallas, TX and Boulder, CO

    If you are interested in being considered for one of these supplemental positions, please apply via the IBM external employment website a http://www.ibm.com/employment/us Select the option to "submit your resume". When submitting your resume, on the second screen (or step), there will be a section that asks "How did you hear about us?" Please select "Other", then "Other [Please Explain Below]" and then type "Current IBM Retiree" in the box provided. On the Search IBM Jobs page, under Job Type, please select Full Time Temporary/Supplemental and Part Time Temporary/Supplemental.

  • Computerworld: Execs list hurdles to offshore development. Developer skills, limiting risk vital to outsourced projects. Excerpts: Companies face significant challenges when outsourcing development work offshore. For example, they must ensure that the offshore workers possess adequate technical skills, that outsourcing firms retain qualified workers and that projects sent overseas present minimal risk to the organization, according to a panel of experts yesterday at the IBM Rational Software Development Conference 2007 here.

    Cisco Systems Inc. has struggled with the attrition of workers at outsourcing firms in India, Israel and China that develop software for the firm, said Jan Roberts, Cisco's senior director of its central engineering tools & services group.

    Cisco first used outsourcing firms to supplement teams in the U.S., she said, but found that the attrition rate was "terrible." After that, she said, Cisco sent core projects overseas, so that developers at outsourcing firms "don't feel like we are giving them work we don't want to do." Since then, she said the attrition rate has been cut significantly.

    The company now is struggling to ensure that its intellectual property is protected in projects sent to outsourcing firms in China, Roberts added. Cisco is working to create an automated process of separating key pieces to ensure it is not sent overseas, she said.

  • InfoWorld: Experts: Offshoring-displaced workers need more benefits. U.S. government offers 'disgracefully little help' for workers who are displaced, one economist testified to a House committee Tuesday. By Grant Gross, IDG News Service. Excerpts: The U.S. government needs to do a better job of supporting and training IT and other workers who have lost jobs to offshore outsourcing, two economists on the opposite side of the offshoring debate said Tuesday. Many other countries have better benefits and retraining programs, Alan Blinder, an economist from Princeton University, told the U.S. House of Representatives Science and Technology Committee.
  • Time: Where Retirement Works. By Justin Fox. Excerpts: In early June, the Organization For Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)--the club of the world's wealthy and almost wealthy nations--released a 208-page document perversely titled Pensions at a Glance. Inside is a rundown of how generous OECD members are to their burgeoning ranks of retirees.

    The U.S. is near the bottom, with the average wage earner able to count on a government-mandated pension for just 52.4% of what he got (after taxes) in his working days--and higher-income workers even less. But the picture at the other end of the scale (dominated by Continental Europe) is misleading. Most of these governments haven't put aside money for pensions. As the ranks of retirees grow and workforces do not, countries will have to either renege on commitments or tax the hides off future workers. [...]

    In the Netherlands--"the globe's No. 1 pensions country," says influential retirement-plan consultant Keith Ambachtsheer--the average retiree can count on a pension equal to 96.8% of his working income. Ample money is set aside to fund pensions, and it is invested prudently but not timidly. Companies contribute to employees' accounts but aren't stuck with profit-killing obligations if their business shrinks or the stock market tanks.

News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
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  • New York Times: The Divide in Caring for Our Kids. By Bob Herbert. Excerpts: A few weeks ago, Teri Hatcher, one of the stars of the television series “Desperate Housewives,” was on David Letterman’s show, talking very animatedly about a time when her daughter needed emergency dental care.

    “It was causing her some pain,” Ms. Hatcher said. “And then, of course, it was a Friday night. Overnight the whole thing blew up and it turned out to be an abscess.”

    Where to get a dentist on a Saturday?

    Luckily, Ms. Hatcher’s best friend is married to a dentist who was more than happy to open up his office that Saturday. But he needed an assistant. Ms. Hatcher volunteered.

    She digressed: “I hate the dentist... . Just my whole life, you know. It’s the worst. I would do anything to get out of going to the dentist. Really. Anything.”

    But Ms. Hatcher stood there like a trouper as the dentist examined her daughter’s tooth. “He sees it is an abscess, and he has to do surgery,” she said. “So you, I’m trying to — I hate it. I’m squeamish. I’m going to throw up, and then I’m trying to pull it together...

    “So he does the Novocaine and gives her a little of the gas. She is perfectly fine, because she’s going, ‘I love the dentist. I want to come here every day.’ And then, of course, I’m thinking, ‘Can I take a tank of that home? Because that is really what I need.’ ”

    And so on. The story, of course, had a happy ending. Ms. Hatcher’s daughter was fine. Mr. Letterman got to tell a raunchy dentist joke. The audience was amused, and Ms. Hatcher eventually exited to a robust round of applause.

    I was particularly interested in the segment because just a few hours earlier I had filed a column for the next day’s paper about health care for children. The column included the story of Deamonte Driver, a homeless 12-year-old from Prince George’s County, Md., who also had an abscessed tooth.

    Now, if I had been in Ms. Hatcher’s position, I would have done exactly as she did. I would have knocked down doors if necessary to get help for a child in distress. So this is no criticism of her. It’s an illustration of the kind of stunning differences in fortune that can face youngsters living at opposite ends of America’s vast economic divide.

    Deamonte needed his tooth pulled, a procedure that was estimated to cost $80. But his mother, Alyce Driver, had no health insurance for her children. She believes their Medicaid coverage lapsed early this year because of a bureaucratic foul-up, perhaps because paperwork was mailed to a homeless shelter after they had left. In any event, it would have been difficult for Ms. Driver to find an oral surgeon willing to treat a Medicaid patient.

    Untreated, the pain in Deamonte’s tooth grew worse. He was taken to a hospital emergency room, where he was given medication for pain and sinusitis and sent home.

    What started as a toothache now became a nightmare. Bacteria from the abscess had spread to Deamonte’s brain. The child was in agony, and on Feb. 25 he died.

    There’s a presidential election under way, but this sort of thing is not a big part of the campaign. American children are dying because of a lack of access to health care, and we’re worried about Mitt Romney’s religion and asking candidates to raise their hands to show whether they believe in evolution. I’m starting to believe in time travel because there’s no doubt this nation is moving backward.

  • Springfield News-Leader, courtesy of Physicians for a National Health Program: National health insurance makes sense for work force. By Roger Ray. Excerpts: In the mid 1970s, the then-largest insurance company in the world, Prudential, added auto and homeowners insurance to its product offerings. The reason given for this move was, are you ready?.… because there was about to be a national health program in the United States that would end the need for health insurance! Prudential wanted to give its agents another product to sell to make up for what they would lose in commissions on health insurance. However, the Carter administration failed to overcome the objections of health care providers and insurance companies and abandoned health care reform.

    Twenty years later, the newly installed Clinton administration made health care reform a priority. Insurance premiums had risen by more than 3,000 percent since the Carter administration; clearly, something had to be done before health care bankrupted the American economy. But a multimillion dollar campaign, including shamefully deceptive TV ads, was launched by the insurance industry, and the Clinton reform initiative not only failed but was replaced by a reform that not only further empowered insurance companies but reduced medical services and physician salaries while increasing out of pocket expenses to the insured!

    Now, as the presidential election season is heating up, candidates are presenting their plans for how to fix a health care delivery system that is so sick there is a reasonable question as whether to take the patient into the emergency room or just head straight to the graveyard. Interestingly, in 2007, no one seems willing to talk about a universal health care program that cuts insurance companies out of the system. Insurance and pharmaceutical companies have become so powerful that no politician who has even the slightest hope for winning an election will dare to challenge them. Our democracy is not “for sale” because it has already been purchased, and the owners are the for-profit corporations in the health care field. There are three lobbyists for every elected official in Washington, D.C. representing the pharmaceutical companies, which is why any legislation addressing medical services or prescription meds is written by and for insurance and pharmaceutical companies, not the elderly, the ill or the poor. [...]

    From a perspective of sheer greed, we should provide universal health care so that we can export products rather than jobs. It makes no sense to just demonize the insurance industry because for-profit companies have no motivation for self-regulation. For them, the sky is not the limit. They are interested in patients in the same way that fleas are interested in dogs; that’s just the way capitalism works. For the sake of our country’s economic future and for the sake of our very souls, we must make basic health care available to everyone and at a cost that allows people to still earn a living wage. We must regulate the insurance industry until such time that we can do what every other developed nation in the world has already done: make it unnecessary.

  • Mother Jones: Health Care and the Horse Race. With Americans pegging health care reform as the top domestic priority, the candidates are unveiling their plans. Some are better than others, but none include the changes necessary to take on the twin scourges of the health care system: insurance providers and Big Pharma. By James Ridgeway. Excerpts: "Universal health care" has become the grand Democratic mantra, found on every campaign web site and repeated in every stump speech and debate. But the phrase itself is misleading—most often, it actually means "universal health insurance." While the plans do outline some modest and not altogether meaningless reforms, especially when it comes to care for children, most are designed to preserve—and even benefit—the twin scourges of the U.S. health care system: the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry. With the exception of the acknowledged mavericks Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Mike Gravel, no one has suggested anything resembling a single-payer national health care system (that is, one that is managed and administered by the federal government), which would boot out the rapacious middlemen of the insurance industry and reign in Big Pharma—the primary obstacles to quality, affordable health care in this country.

    On the Democratic side, many of the candidates are proposing to subsidize private insurance purchases for the uninsured. Most likely, this would actually wind up bringing the insurance companies billions in new income, while in some cases failing to serve the neediest individuals. As Steffie Woolhandler, the Harvard doctor who has compiled voluminous data on the structure of the industry points out, tax credits, medical savings plans, and other subsidies are next to meaningless to people without jobs or money. What good is an income tax credit if you don't have an income? And why, for that matter, is universal health insurance presented as such a bright shining promise, when, more and more, people who do have insurance continually have to jump through hoops to get the coverage they pay for?

  • Wall Street Journal: Health Savings Plans Start to Falter. Despite Employer Enthusiasm for Consumer-Directed Approach, Patients Express Dissatisfaction With How the Accounts Work. By Vanessa Fuhrmans. Excerpts: President Bush and many big employers have hailed "consumer-directed" health plans and savings accounts as an effective weapon in the battle against runaway medical costs. But several years after the plans got off to a fast start, the approach appears to be stumbling -- largely because of consumers' unease in using them. [...]

    The numbers of U.S. workers enrolled in such plans through their jobs (excluding dependents and those in firms with fewer than three workers) grew only slightly, to 2.7 million in 2006 from 2.4 million in 2005, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Most do it because either their companies give them no choice or the premiums are the cheapest. Enrollment is growing faster on the individual market and among sole proprietors, but that may be because the plans are often the only affordable option. [...]

    One reason for the frustration is the uphill battle many consumers describe in trying to shop for their health care. Six years ago, Howard Katz, an industrial-design research consultant in rural eastern Pennsylvania, bought a family health plan with a savings account and a deductible that is now $5,650. But getting specific price information on which to base purchase decisions for MRIs, doctor visits and blood work has been difficult, he says. And the money in the health savings account gets spent; only once has enough remained to roll over to the next year. Now, he says, he has rejoined a company as an employee after working on his own, and one of the perks is regaining traditional health coverage. "Now I don't have to act like a medical examiner anymore," he says.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site:
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  • From the Yahoo! IBM Union message board: "IBM Global Union Meeting" by Lee Conrad. Alliance@IBM CWA Local 1701 and Global IBM Unions to Hold Emergency Meeting in Paris June 26- June 28.

    Endicott, N.Y. -- In response to job cuts, job shifting to low cost countries and declining working conditions at IBM Corp., employee representatives, IBM union officials, IBM Works Council representatives and members of the International Labor Federations will hold an emergency meeting in Paris.

    This historic meeting will be attended by IBM employee representatives from 12 countries. The meeting is being sponsored by IBM Workers International Solidarity (IWIS), the CFDT -- Confederation Francaise Democratique du Travail -- and the CGT -- Confederation Generale du Travail..

    Lee Conrad, National Coordinator of the Alliance@IBM, a local of the Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, said, "IBM workers in many countries are facing a serious decline in working conditions, job security and salary. IBM Corporate management is aggressively reshaping the company to the detriment of employees and customers. There is also a serious concern for employees with collective bargaining agreements that IBM will use job shifting to low cost countries as a hammer to demand concessions. If that happens all employees suffer."

    IWIS Coordinator Jean-Claude Vilespy said, "This meeting is a unique opportunity for IBM unionists to get together to discuss how we can best meet this crisis and develop action plans to protect the interests of our members and employees at IBM."

    Other issues of concern that will be discussed are:

    • Human impact of work overload
    • The LEAN process
    • IBM new salary plan
    • The PBC evaluation system
    • Benefit reductions
    • Professional mobility and other concerns
    • IBM's anti-union philosophy

  • 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 06/11/07: I am part of the 6/29 RA group and just got notified today that my boss put in paperwork to have me re-hired. In the event that it gets approved, I lose my severance package. So much for this being a permanent layoff. I didn't ask to get re-hired, and now I feel like I'm being screwed again. I only hope that someone rejects the form. -They Treat Me Like YoYo-
    • Comment 06/12/07: New stealth round of layoffs at GBS. Mostly AMS, some HCM. Some Raleigh folks will be affected, according to the docs I was given. Not related to the 5/30-6/3 layoffs since they have until 8/1 to find a new job. Total of about 227 tagged this time. -New GBS Victim-
    • Comment 06/13/07: Dear Manager, As the LEAN initiative spirals down the black abyss, I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. And that bright light is an oncoming train. RA actions at the same time have left us terribly "LEAN" (bare bones). It is apparent to everyone that the workload is backing up. Cross training, as the facilitators refer to it, ususally consists of a one hour NetMeeting or Power Point presentation, and then we are considered fair to dump on. As we struggle to do the new work, more and more new work is piled upon us, along with more cross training.

      In the weekly LEAN status meetings, upper management is advised that yes there are problems, but we are overcoming them and that LEAN is working. You know, as well as the rest of us, that LEAN is NOT WORKING at ALL, execept to the point of its true intent! I know that you are in the same boat [yes, the sinking ship!] and that your future depends on the successfull implementation of LEAN. I can tell in my conversations with you, that you know this, but there is nothing you can do. Your solution to this back log is to work more overtime.

      I feel like a sheep, herded into the corral and slowly being proded to the slaughter house gate. Why would I or anyone else work more overtime? I/we should work 60/70 hours weeks, just so you can justify to upper management that, yes LEAN is working. What's in it for me? A little more time on the job? I don't get paid for any overtime hours! IBM bills the customer for my overtime. What does the customer get in return? Nothing! But, as usual, IBM turns a profit.

      Whatever happened to the IBM Values we used to live and respect? Where are truth and integrity today? You tell us we can not miss target dates, change them if you must. Do whatever it takes to get the work done and on time. As long as line management continues to white wash LEAN to upper management, the LEAN initiative will continue on. Therefore my days are truly numbered. It is just a matter of time.

      Why would you expect me/us to sacrifice our families and our health in a frutile attempt to bail you out of this neverending mess, that we had now part in creating? I for one do not intend to work one more minute of overtime, than I did pre-LEAN, except in an emergency "outage" condition. I guess I still feel I owe that to my customers (not sure why though?). Again, I ask, "where are the IBM Values of yesterday? Where is the Truth? Where is the Integrity? Where are the Ethics?" Gone with yesterday's employees? Sincerely, -BOHICA-

    • Comment 06/13/07: Check out the Dilbert strip for June 13th and see if he wasn't writing about life at IBM. CEO tells the workers "my passion involves working you like rented mules so that I can afford to purchase luxury items". Archives can be found at http://www.dilbert.com/comics/dilbert/archive/ -Anonymous-
    • Comment 06/13/07: If your thinking about working for IBM - do yourself a favor and don't. I was canned yesterday (6/12) illegally by a vindictive manager who knew nothing about management or people (knew a lot about things though). And, yes, there will be a federal law suit pending on my case because they violated the federal labor law. Now I have a job making $97,000 a year a day later. My advice - steer clear. This organization employs illegal business practices on a regular and repeated basis (read the public record) as a normal course of business and treats their employees and shareholders like garbage. Sam Palmisano should have been fired years ago. He has not added any shareholder value since he started. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 06/13/07: I left IBM 3 years ago with a package. I did so because I finally realized that there was no stopping the train wreck. I was a Sales Executive, Band 10, with 22 years in the company. I am very sympathetic to everyones plight posting here, but, your only hope at this point is to do a mass join with the CWA Alliance, unionize and start slugging. You can pray, hope, wish, work harder, etc., etc. and it will NOT make any difference. The great company we all knew, and loved, is gone forever. You MUST organize or resign yourself to the fate chosen for you by the executive team. They do not care if you die in the gutter, penniless. WAKE UP, because its already too late to change IBM but you might be able, if you ORGANIZE, to get your fair and equitable piece of the pie. -mogrits-
    • Comment 06/14/07: The time to unionize was a couple years back. The threat to jobs was real and was understood by a large number of workers and the writing was on the wall that mass firing were in the works. The really skilled people polished up their resumes and left. The rest of us made the best of what we could. I did join the alliance as a dues paying member to help them defray the costs and the information shared here has been more than worth the money paid. Eventually, IBM let me go and with no union to help, I had to take the package they offered or nothing. I'm not saying that joining now can't still have some effect, so do join and pay you dues if you haven't already. It's just unfortunate that we didn't have enough numbers a year or so back to be able to negotiate some better terms with IBM on the current outsourcing, severance deals, and pension changes. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 06/14/07: To All US Console Operators in Boulder, Lexington, POK, Rochester, and RTP: This is urgent. We must ORGANIZE now!! It's the only way to protect our families and ourselves. Jeff Miller, Owen Cropper, Diane Diggleman, or Larry Longseth are far more concerned with towing the line set by palmisano, mcdonald, and smee than they are with the welfare of your family. In effect, they could give a damn about you or your family!

      Organization and unionization at a minimum puts some resistance and accountability in their path and will slow the train down. Publicity on this web site has already caused them to slow the process of elimination. In the mean time, cease and desist in providing adequate knowledge transfer. Do not train your replacements. Let them sink or swim on their own merit. The exec's will make it a condition of employment to prop these folks up, so play the game. But don't pass the requisite knowledge. It's time to push back.

      Only by uniting can we make a stand and interject a little sanity into our current situation. Third Level support, you should join us too!! Without us, the evil empire will suffer a serious setback. Despite the little spirit initiatives orchestrated by a bunch of mindless (or clueless) minions, Miller, Cropper, and Diggleman do not care about you! Loyalty is a two-way street. -Organizer-

    • Comment 06/15/07: Right on just1waiting... I figure it's really only a matter of time before big corporate America totally eliminates health care coverage as a "benefit". I honestly hope they do stop paying for employee coverage, because it will be the final move that makes health care totally unaffordable for everybody and finally force our government to do something about it. People shouldn't have to work for a big corporation to get affordable coverage anyway. That's ridiculous. -US health care crisis-
    • Comment 06/15/07: To the mediator... I have been reading these comments for several weeks. I recognize that this blog is for IBM employees and I have read a few entries from management and ex-management. I am curious though, if you know if IBMs customers are monitoring this site. If they are, I have not seen any comments posted by them. Would you allow them to post here or would you filter them out? It would be very interesting to me to see how much they know and what direct effects the layoffs are having on their services. Thank you, -just_wondering-

      Alliance reply: There is no way for us to know whether IBM's customers are monitoring our comments sections, unless they tell us. Most posts we receive, are "anonymous", or without email addresses. We get plenty of flames, suggested violence, vulgarity, etc. that we will not post, for obvious reasons. If any of IBM's customers identified themselves as such; we would post their comments under the same scrutiny we use for everyone else. We do not advocate disparagement of IBM's business. Our advocacy is about organizing toward a union contract to represent non-management employees. We believe a union contract can only make IBM a better company.

  • From the General Visitor's Comment page:
    • Comment 06/09/07: Check out this video on youtube called "Outsourcing Blues" -tpb-
    • Comment 06/12/07: Treated like an expense? Act like an expense. -ExpenseDriven-
    • Comment 06/12/07: I have spent half my career in IBM in Accounting and Finance. I have formally reported multiple violations over an 8 year time span where cost and revenue were skewed, or publicly misrepresented. My formal reports were brushed aside and disregarded despite having a Masters in Economics & Finance and solid knowledge of SOX and GAAP principles. I have also filed multiple formal reports where Public Sector Guidelines were violated in regards to inappropriately trying to gain City & County Business instead of going through the formal competitive bid process, and all my reports were once again brushed aside. IBM will continue to skew their figures, mislead the public and continue to drive unethically in the marketplace, the phrase "the devil is in the details" seems to be ever so popular in IBM and it all just gets covered up. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 06/14/07: Service date July 1, 1985 - June 30, 2005; Yes it 20 years. My last day on the job was my 42nd birthday. It has not been a bowl of cherries since leaving IBM; but I thank GOD for the ability to stand and move forward. To all who are leaving now there is alot of unknowns; but through it all just keep moving forward and you will make it. -Happy After IBM-
    • Comment 06/15/07: If any of you want to strike a real blow to Sam and his band of "smart guys" you must go to your local congresspersons and Senators and demand an investigation as to why the Treasury department arbitrarily gave a date on that tax loophole that helped IBM and hurt other companies. This smells pretty bad. Have the treasury officials who made that decision testify on the hill. Why did they let IBM go scott-free and not other companies? Why could they npot make it retroactive? Why are we letting billions escape this country. The money that IBM got via this now established scam would is 6 times the expected tax revenue that the IRS claims it would be able to recover in 5 years through a new increased audit program. Why does the middle class and the average taxpayer have to suffer through increased audits when they can easily reach those targets with just making IBM pay the right taxes for keeping money away from this country? Call and write a letter to your local politicians. Ask for an investigation! -IBM Accountant-
  • Pension Comments page
  • Raise and Salary Comments
    • Comment 06/09/07: Hours/Week = 60+: Div Name = IGS; Location = Poughkeepsie; Message = No MBA (market-based adjustment to pay) in our organizations job skill. I am a 1 performer. Lucky to get an increase of 2.1%. I am told by my manager to be lucky to have my job. -Still Here-
    • Comment 06/09/07: Salary = 114K; Band Level = 8; Job Title = engineer; Years Service = 7; Hours/Week = 40; Div Name = SWG; Location = RTP; Message = PBC=1 three years in row raise=4% -high performancer?-
    • Comment 06/10/07: Salary = $124K (after MBA); Band Level = 9; Job Title = Consultant; Years Service = 29 years, 11 months, 20 days; Hours/Week = 44 plus travel; Div Name = GBS; Location = always on the road; Message = I used the "pension estimator" method discussed below to get my new salary. It was a 5.5% increase, the largest in years. I live in Boulder...a "mid tier" cost of living area. I'm debating now whether I should retire from IBM or stick it out for a few more years or months. -alwaysontheroad4bigblue-
    • Comment 06/11/07: Salary = ~$106k; Band Level = 8; Job Title = Advisory SW Engineer (01A); Years Service = 12; Hours/Week = 40-50; Div Name = STG; Location = POK; Message = Below MR mid point, got 3.5% for MBA, less than .1% for TCR (2+) so total between 3.5 and 3.6%. -Annoyed in Po-town-
    • Comment 06/11/07: Salary = 65K; Band Level = 7; Job Title = 1st Line Manager; Years Service = 24; Hours/Week = 40; Message = No raise. 110% of market reference point. 2 performer. -Anon-
    • Comment 06/11/07: Salary = 112k; Band Level = 8; Job Title = advisory; Years Service = 20+; Hours/Week = 40; Div Name = stg; Message = 2+ pbc, 2.2% raise, at 111% of midpoint. -losing ground to inflation-
    • Comment 06/12/07: Salary = $103K before raise; Band Level = 9; Job Title = IT Specialist; Years Service = 23; Hours/Week = 58+; Div Name = BGS; Location = work@home; Message = I am well within the market range, a \'1\' performer and received a 6% raise. I have no idea why and almost feel guilty about it. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 06/12/07: Salary = 128K Band Level = 9 Job Title = Senior IT Architect Years Service = 30 Hours/Week = 60 Div Name = GTS Location = Charlotte Message = I just got called by my boss who told me I get no raise. He is now not a PDM or experienced manager but another techie who is completely clueless about management and was just told 24 hours ago they are now management. No training or any preparation.

      I responded to his statement very nicely and politely by giving him my verbal notice of retirement on July 30, when I take a position with a competitor. After overcoming the shock of my statement, he asked me if I was upset, I responded that I was feeling ill and going home for the rest of the week to recuperate. Maybe I'll see the doctor on Friday if I feel like it so he can say I'm better and fit to go back to work on Monday. I'm going to love playing hooky and taking it easy for the next 45 days.

      Second line called my house and my wife answered, telling him I was ill and sleeping. He asked about my leaving IBM, she told him she was very happy with my decision. When asked what I plan to do next after retirement by the second line, my wife said she had no idea what it would be, but it would certainly something that is better than IBM. "1" performance rating, 93% utilization and just starting a mega buck engagement that now is in jeopardy with lots of contract penalty clauses. Screw them. -Making it Painful for the Boss-

    • Comment 06/12/07: Salary = 67k; Band Level = 7; Years Service = 3; Hours/Week = 55; Div Name = ISG; Location = RMT; Message = 1 performer promised good increase whopping 2.5%. Next train out I'm taking. -Broke-
    • Comment 06/14/07: Salary = 83k 10%; Band Level = 7; Message = Promoted w/raise less than 1yr. service -nottoshabby-
    • Comment 06/14/07: Salary = 63k; Band Level = 7; Job Title = PM; Years Service = 8+; Hours/Week = 48+; Div Name = 07; Location = W@H; Message = I was one of the chosen that was "selected" for separation on 5/30 with my last day being 6/29 and guess what? I was given an increase! Only makes my severance pay sweeter and screws over those that remain even more! Also tells me that I was completely UNDERPAID. I continue to implore you all to wake up and find other jobs outside of this snake pit... -Screwed Over-
    • Comment 06/14/07: Salary = 167500; Band Level = 10; Job Title = Senior Consulting Sales Specialist; Years Service = 33; Hours/Week = 65; Div Name = 23; Location = RTP; Message = Never got a call from my manager about my raise. Found out I had no raise from my 6/15 payroll stub on-line. They completely forgot me and don't even care. Now that's what I call top quality management and leadership! -StarWarsBeemer-
    • Comment 06/14/07: Salary = 102k; Band Level = 7; Years Service = 2nd year; Hours/Week = 50; Div Name = GBS; Message = rated 2+ 0% raise, didn't have false hope to begin with. negotiated my salary before joining. welcome to ibm! -boysclub-
    • Comment 06/15/07: Salary = ~80K USA; Band Level = 08; Job Title = IT Specialist/Architect; Years Service = 23.5; Hours/Week = at least 40; Div Name = IGS; Message = I get a market based adjustment (MBA) but it was a measily 2%: this is an adjustment IBM? Like why bother. Insult me more. This just inches me just a smidgen closer to the midpoint for band since I am still a whole $23,000 away from it. I have been a solid PBC "2" or "2+" for the whole 10 years I have been in the band and skill set! At this pathetic pace and if I am lucky to get more MBA's or some TCA's ("top contributor award".,by the way, I hear they suck just like the MBA this year as well) I would need to get them for the next 10 years at this 2% rate to maybe finally get to the midpoint.

      So what are folks that are PBC "1", "2+" and "2" performers who are grossly and obscenely underpaid to do? I say unionize and get fairness!!! If not, then I guess they should all quit this cornhole that calls itself an American corporation cause IBM isn't fair in regards to pay practices. The person that wrote that article on "pay, performance, merit, retention" on this website (if you haven't read it: READ IT NOW): You are 1000% correct in your observations! Even with this IBM so called change in pay philosophy, guess what? it isn't any change at all! By and large: IBM UNDERPAYS and PRACTICES PAY DISCRIMINATION TECHNIQUES to most of it's employees. -MBA and TCA @#$%-

    • Comment 06/15/07: Band Level = 7; Job Title = ITS; Years Service = 7 ; Div Name = GBS; Location = UK; Message = above midpoint - so 0% again. But no payrise, is effectively a paycut (a one off is not so bad, but every year is a bit demotivating). Band 7 and below are not strategic - our work is cheaper offshore - I guess we are lucky to still have a job. Perhaps I should jump through the hoops, sign the mobility clause and go for band 8 (20+years in IT -so it should be possible). Don't know why I work so hard - self respect? I just wish once in a while my BM would actually have something positive to say (especially as my utilization is 100%, I have had good project reports, I work hard and get the job done.) -demotivated-
  • PBC Comments
    • Comment 06/07/07: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 3/2; Message = To Appealed and Lost and others interested in the Appeal Process. I know of another friend who also appealed a 3 rating and had it changed to a 2. And that was his second 3. I created a 30 page document to present before the Review Panel. I had 3 witnesses to also present and 6 reference letters. The Panel Review consists of 2 managers and 3 employees randomly picked. You and your manager present to them. They keep you separated from your manager so you are not presenting in front of them. I just noticed that access to the Appeal site has been denied. ...good luck...take advantage of a process that is in place to help you. HR came thru for me in this instance. -Skeetum-
Vault Message Board Posts:
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Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC. A few sample posts follow:

  • "Timing" by "Dose of Reality". Full excerpt: I maintain that the inflection point between value and cost (referring to outsourcing IT work to India) was actually passed several years ago. Most of the gains of the past few years have been driven by slick marketing - both by the pimps like IBM and the local service providers.

    There was client resistance due to suspect service levels when wages were 25 cents on the dollar. Service quality will experience a significant drag to begin with as the swarm of new recruits has moved left in the talent distribution curve. The hope is that a rise in the composite experience levels of the country's workforce will rise to more than compensate for the increase in wages, but over the last ten years of this, I haven't seen it. There are certain skill and profile gaps that are intractable and insurmountable. From the article:

    "Smaller time zone differences, strong language skills and a sharper understanding of their clients needs, have added to the appeal of Romania, the Czech Republic and Hungary". Hmmn….where have I heard that before?!

    If they want to continue on to the next level, they will need to wipe out the residue of many centuries of having a rigid and inflexible approach to human interaction, make English the official language, and change their vaunted engineering schools to teach business, philosophy, and the social sciences. Of these three requirements, the latter is the only one that has a chance, but that just won’t be enough to get the job done.

  • "Check Again" by "Tweetie_Bird". Full excerpt: The departure documents are different and the anticipated last day of employment is 8/31. This is definitely a new layoff. In addition, affected employees have been told they can't talk about it to their colleagues or their severance check is voided. Other posts about the layoff talk of a 227 count in this round.
If you hire good people and treat them well, they will try to do a good job. They will stimulate one another by their vigor and example. They will set a fast pace for themselves. Then if they are well led and occasionally inspired, if they understand what the company is trying to do and know they will share in its sucess, they will contribute in a major way. The customer will get the superior service he is looking for. The result is profit to customers, employees, and to stcckholders. —Thomas J. Watson, Jr., from A Business and Its Beliefs: The Ideas That Helped Build IBM.

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