The district, which has a $293 million budget but faces lower revenues because of declining enrollment, says its annual obligation to IBM could cover the salaries of 20 teachers or its entire library program.
In pleading to IBM, the California lawmakers contended the computers that Richmond bought were obsolete even at the time. It's unclear whether that complaint was ever aired back then; a 1991 article in Computer Reseller News said the district had gotten Model 30 PCs, which were released in the late 1980s.
IBM's effort to cut its services costs accelerated last fall when the company launched a business-refinement practice known as Lean. Pioneered at Toyota Motor Corp., Lean is all about eliminating waste by analyzing whether every step adds value to the end product. Toyota has even determined an optimum method for how bolts are tightened.
Only recently has this manufacturing regimen begun to be applied to services. IBM started slowly, testing it on 22 customers' accounts initially and recently expanding it to 600. Several managers in the first wave found their underlings skeptical.
"When we told the teams, `We're going to do what we've always done with half the people, and you're going to like it,' they shook their heads," said Eric Wolfe, a technical manager in Arizona. Ultimately, however, "it's actually gone really, really well," he said. [...]
Another shift is that IBM is sticking more closely to the letter of its customer-service contracts as it prioritizes work. For example, DeFazio noted that when technicians were pledged to particular machines, they might solve some problem in 30 minutes even though the customer's contract gave IBM 24 hours to fix it. Now the tech can attend to something else first that is of higher importance to his team as a whole.
In the 80s, IBM's Fab 60 was the largest chip manufacturing plant in the world. It had a huge impact on the local economy and paved the way for Austin's high-tech industry. [...]
Demolition of the IBM Fab 60 building is scheduled for this year. A new residential rental property in the Domain will take its place. And it will all be constructed according to the U.S. Green Building Council's LEEDS certification program.
Building 25, on a former IBM research campus in San Jose, Calif., is the location of the work behind the revolutionary "flying head disc drive," a precursor to the modern hard drive. The modern building, notable for its contemporary look when it was constructed in 1957, was designed by architect John Bolles.
The Programmers Guild, a professional organization in Summit, N.J., has posted a video (see below) on YouTube LLC's Web site featuring excerpts from a series of videos that had been posted previously by Pittsburgh-based law firm Cohen & Grigsby PC. The law firm's videos were recorded May 15 during a seminar and apparently were intended to provide free legal tips to hiring managers and other viewers.
But the video put together by the Programmers Guild is providing explosive material for H1-B critics.
In the video, a person identified as Lawrence Lebowitz, an attorney at Cohen & Grigsby, explains a method that can be used for hiring foreign workers under the U.S. government's Program Electronic Review Management process. PERM stipulates requirements for placing help wanted ads to fill job vacancies, with the intent of either hiring U.S. workers or showing that no qualified Americans are available.
However, Lebowitz focuses only on the latter in the video. "Our goal is clearly not to find a qualified and interested U.S. worker," he said. "And that, in a sense, sounds funny, but it's what we are trying to do here."
He added that while "complying with the law fully," the objective is to get a prospective foreign worker a green card "and to get through the labor certification process." He and other panelists go on to explain the ways in which employers can legally reject applicants to meet that goal.
"Supporters claim the goal of the H-1B program is to help the American economy by allowing companies to hire needed foreign workers," Durbin said in a statement. "The reality is that too many H-1B visas are being used to facilitate the outsourcing of American jobs to other countries."
Over a year ago, WashTech reported that legislation was proposed to expand TAA to allow service workers like computer programmers, testers, technical writers, system administrators, call center workers, and other workers in the service sector to have access to TAA benefits. Unfortunately, this hasn't occurred yet - and Congress is debating whether or not to even continue the TAA program at all.
James Fusco worked for thirteen years as a mainframe applications developer with AT&T. In 1999, his job was outsourced to Canada. As a member of WashTech, Fusco was introduced to Michael Smith, a lawyer working pro bono on TAA cases.
India may be booming, but not for those who occupy the lowest rung of society here. The Dalits, once known as untouchables, continue to live in grinding poverty and suffer discrimination in education, jobs and health care. For them, status and often occupation are still predetermined in the womb.
While some Indians had been hopeful that urbanization and growth would crumble ideas about caste, observers say tradition and prejudice have ultimately prevailed
"There's talk of a modern India. But the truth is India can't truly move ahead with caste in place," said Chandra Bhan Prasad, a Dalit writer and expert on India's caste system. "In all ways, it's worse than the Jim Crow laws were in the American South because it's completely sanctioned by religion. Despite so many reforms, the idea of untouchability is still very much a part of Indian life."
By far the biggest spenders in the 2006 judicial elections were business interests. They contributed $15 million to the 88 state supreme court candidates who raised funds in the latest election cycle, about 44 percent of all contributions, and far more than the roughly $7 million that lawyers gave.
The average cost of providing group benefits to retirees is $1,543 Canadian ($1,454) per year, and employers are looking for ways to curtail these costs in light of changes to accounting rules that have increased the liabilities created by postretirement benefits, according to the study released by Toronto-based Aon Consulting Canada.
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.
Here's the story I have a friend who retired from American Express and we both have United Healthcare PPO 80/20 (figures have been rounded).
Yearly Out of Pocket
IBM is pretty good at hiding exactly what they pay vs what they collect from employees and retirees so they could even be making a profit on our medical care. Why would they want to give better rates?
First, India is sorely lacking when it comes to infrastructure, particularly energy. The Economic Times estimates that it will take a $200 billion investment to meet the country's energy needs over just the next five years. Next, several professional investors have said that real estate prices need to go undergo a painful correction. They've gotten at least 30% ahead of themselves.
Third, I've been told that India's celebrated business process outsourcing (BPO) industry won't be the long-term solution for economic growth. The country's top graduates don't find the jobs rewarding, turnover is high, and if the rupee continues to appreciate against the dollar, the outsourcing industry in India will lose its global advantage.
Designed before microprocessors were available, the logic consisted of small and medium scale integrated circuits mounted on one printed circuit board. MOS shift registers implemented the serial memory. Switches keyed the input and lights displayed the output. The memory contained 256 bytes and the computer executed several hundred instructions per second.
In addition, those who are in consumer-directed health plans often report lower satisfaction and confusion about how the plans are supposed to work. The general idea is for patients to conserve money in their savings accounts, which are meant to pay for care until they reach their high insurance deductible. In theory, patients who shop carefully could have money left over, which they can keep and let build into savings for bigger health-care costs down the line. [...]
A growing number of industry experts believe that for consumer-directed plans to succeed, they have to offer coverage that is at least as rich as traditional plans. That means providing upfront coverage of most preventive services and treatments and a generous contribution to employees' accounts. "If you're just trying to cost shift, and you only get 10% of your employees in, they are the youngest and healthiest, and you haven't accomplished anything in terms of health-care costs," says Bill Sharon, a senior vice president at Aon Consulting, the human-resources consulting arm of insurance broker Aon Corp.
In “Sicko,” however, he refrains from hunting down the C.E.O.’s of insurance companies, or from hinting at dark conspiracies against the sick. Concentrating on Americans who have insurance (after a witty, troubling acknowledgment of the millions who don’t), Mr. Moore talks to people who have been ensnared, sometimes fatally, in a for-profit bureaucracy and also to people who have made their livings within the system. The testimony is poignant and also infuriating, and none of it is likely to be surprising to anyone, Republican or Democrat, who has tried to see an out-of-plan specialist or dispute a payment.
If you listen to what the leaders of both political parties are saying, it seems unlikely that the diagnosis offered by “Sicko” will be contested. I haven’t heard many speeches lately boasting about how well our health care system works. In this sense “Sicko” is the least controversial and most broadly appealing of Mr. Moore’s movies. (It is also, perhaps improbably, the funniest and the most tightly edited.) The argument it inspires will mainly be about the nature of the cure, and it is here that Mr. Moore’s contribution will be most provocative and also, therefore, most useful. [...]
With evident glee (and a bit of theatrical faux-naïveté) Mr. Moore sets out to challenge some widely held American notions about socialized medicine. He finds that British doctors are happy and well paid, that Canadians don’t have to wait very long in emergency rooms, and that the French are not taxed into penury. “What’s your biggest expense after the house and the car?” he asks an upper-middle-class French couple. “Ze feesh,” replies the wife. “Also vegetables.”
This is not a situation one associates with a so-called advanced country. That you can have sick children wasting away in the United States, the wealthiest nation on the planet, because medical treatment that could relieve their suffering is withheld by men and women with dollar signs instead of compassion in their eyes is beyond unconscionable.
Ms. Edelman is the president of the Children’s Defense Fund, and Dr. Redlener is president of the Children’s Health Fund.
Both are appalled at the embarrassing fact that nine million American children have no health coverage at all. Among them are children with diabetes, chronic asthma, heart conditions, life-threatening allergies and so on. In many instances they are left untreated until it is too late.
One reason is the power of various medical industry lobbies. Americans spend as much on healthcare today as the entire gross domestic product of France and Spain combined, notes one economist. If health-related costs continue to rise rapidly, spending could soon equal the entire GDP (that is, the output of goods and services) of Germany.
The $2.1 trillion the US spends per year on healthcare creates “strong interest groups,” notes Mr. Aaron. These include a host of politically powerful private health insurance companies and for-profit hospitals. [...]
Faced with globalization and severe competition from abroad, American companies are moving to reduce their health insurance costs. They are raising deductibles, requiring bigger copayments, and trimming the medical services covered. As these trends hit the middle class, the political result will be a “big storm,” Dr. Woolhandler predicts.
As it is, the US devotes about twice as much to healthcare as a proportion of GDP than do other rich nations with nationalized health systems.
Economists at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said last February that, if current trends continue, $1 of every $5 spent in 2016 will go toward healthcare. Today, healthcare takes close to $1 of every $6, or about 16 percent of GDP. “We must do something large and serious and soon,” says Alain Enthoven, a healthcare expert at Stanford University in California. [...]
So far, such Democratic presidential candidates as John Edwards and Barack Obama are advocating plans that keep the private health insurance industry intact. “Different flavors of the same plan,” complains a PNHP spokesman. Insurance companies would still strive to insure the healthy and exclude the sick, he says, noting this process adds to administrative and other overhead costs.
A study by Woolhandler and others published in 2003 calculated that, in 1999, health administration costs in the US amounted to at least $294 billion. That’s $1,059 per capita, compared with $307 per capita in Canada. By now, administrative costs are probably about $350 billion, a sum big enough to provide insurance coverage for uninsured Americans, reckons a PNHP spokesman.
"People are working two jobs. They are not sleeping as much. They're experiencing more job insecurity. They have less time to take care of themselves. They are more socially isolated," said Lisa Berkman of the Harvard School of Public Health. "This all could add up to a huge crisis and really calls for us to examine the things that perhaps we're not doing so well." [...]
The findings are consistent with a number of studies, including one last year that found American adults have poorer health than their British counterparts, and a preliminary analysis of data collected between 1972 and 2003 for the National Health Interview Survey, a nationally representative survey of more than 100,000 Americans.
The first action (or inaction) that I observed was at NHD in RTP back in the late 90's where a blind writer (who was, by all co workers accounts was doing quite well at his job), was let go due to performance issues. During the discussion of things with his 2nd line manager, Don Davis, it was revealed that the new incoming systems (Lotus Notes and Framemaker) were not yet endowed with the ability for screen readers (as were the legacy mainframe systems). This writer was essentially let go due to the software's inability to interface with 'on hand' screen readers. Don Davis's management chain (our third line and the writer's first line) up held this decision.
I ASSUME that there was some type of package which allowed the writer to leave without too much hardship on his part, as he did not pursue the issue. Several of us (regular employees) looked into 'open dooring' this issue, but were told by our managers to let it drop unless we wanted to be next in line for layoffs. That was the first example of discrimination against handicapped workers that I observed.
Of course, I've also observed 4th line managers at 'all hands' meetings stating that they seek to change the mix of employees from 60% 'seasoned' and 40% 'fresh' to a mix of 40% 'seasoned' and 60% 'fresh'. This was at a meeting held by Helene Armitage at Austin AIX development. She never recanted her statement. The first instance was reported to local newspapers and the last one reported to 'The Alliance', but not enough outrage ensued to force management's hand to do the 'right' thing. I would like to see others post instances such as these so that we can 'air' some dirty laundry and let other see what has been really going on. -TexasBound, but not by IBM-
Only US data points are included in the above; due to exchange rate fluctuations, I decided not to take into account non-US respondents. The spread (reported min & max) within a band is surprising, at least to me. If you're paid way below the average for your band, and if you can find a better salary elsewhere, look seriously into jumping ship. Raises at IBM have been, and probably will be, anemic. -Anonymous-
Inflation in US is now running about 2.5%, so it is only a 2.5% pay cut this year. Inflation has been closer to 3.5% for past two years, so my net pay cut is slightly less this year. Factoring inflation since I was acquired, I would need a 16% increase today just to break even -- that will never happen.
It is almost as if IBM WANTS ME TO LEAVE -- they try to treat us so bad that we will just leave. Some genius recently figured out that Payroll is their number one expense, so they need to cut payroll and cut heads. Meanwhile, the executives continue to get richer and richer.
If I wasn't on such a great local assignment and so well taken care of by the people I work for (no thanks to my IBM organization), I would have been gone long ago (like right after the acquisition with the rest of firm). It's pretty hard not to be angry and harbor resentments -- I do not drink the Blue IBM cool aid they are constantly forcing upon me -- I see IBM for the bastards that they are. I have no relationship with them -- I am a services whore and they are my pimp for now. -Used N Abused-
Started with IBM and worked like a dog to get ahead. However, IBM's catch is that with each promotion you're expected to do more and give up even more of your personal life. By the time I left the company, I had been asking for a demotion, decrease in salary, just so I would not spend weekends mandated working from home, would not be told to give up vacation for the 'all important hot project', not have to start my day with 4:30 am conf calls overseas and be allowed (without being bullied) to take a day off for a family member's birthday.
Whereas I can see that I was NEEDED, I was NOT APPRECIATED and given the consideration of a normal human being. I believe that those of us who were/are making larger salaries should be given the consideration that should be afforded to any worker. Simply stating that those of us who maker bigger salaries (and yes, I worked to put myself through undergrad, grad and phd programs) deserve the higher salary, but also consideration as a human being. Don't be focused / jealous of money matters, I was happy to leave and find a job that decreased my salary by 15% just to have weekends off and real vacation time. -Anonymous-
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:
In the meantime either tell them you can't travel, or push back on each opportunity on the grounds of career fit, or some other reason.
If on the other hand you really want to continue to work here at all costs, you might as well surrender on the travel issue. They do have ways to chip away at your situation if you take a hard line. It WILL become unpleasant - screwing over recalcitrant employees (or any employees for that matter)is a core competency of IBM HR
Bottom line is you can stay on their terms, or leave on your terms (with separation payments). The last thing you should think about doing is resigning, unless you find another job that you want to take and can't wait for this to play out. Good luck!
I made a copy of the original posting on JOBS for my position, on a PDF. I also stated the no travel requirement on my first PBC, which the then practice leader approved.
I sent the PDF to my manager today after getting the travel notice and he was in shock. I talked to a relative who is an attorney and she says I have a good case for a full severance rather than the smaller performance related severance and she also believes I can't be fired for insubordination with no severance. She added that this is a blatant attempt to fire employees without severance to reduce layoff expense.
They can't create policy that changes the terms of your employment and fire you with cause if you don't comply. That makes you subject to the stated severance policy. While that policy can be changed at will, it cannot be applied arbitrarily. Hold your ground, again unless you are committed to continuing employment here. If so, then God help you.
On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile. The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat.
A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action. Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing.
Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager.
They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the Rowing Team Quality First Program, with meetings, dinners and free pens and a certificate of completion for the rower.
The next year the Japanese won by two miles.
Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower (a reduction in force) for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment.
The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next year's racing team was "outsourced" to India...
Here's something else to think about:
Ford has spent the last thirty years moving factories out of the US, claiming they can't make money paying American wages.
Toyota has spent the last thirty years building more than a dozen plants inside the US
The last quarter's results: Toyota makes 4 billion in profits while Ford racked up 9 billion in losses. Ford folks are still scratching their heads.
The following year, the offshore team put 30 rowers in the boat with one onshore supervisor. Their paddles got hopelessly tangled, they spent the entire race blaming each other as well as the manufacturer of the canoe, the size of the paddles, and the onshore supervisor, who didn’t understand a word they were saying. They stopped rowing in the middle of the race in order to wait for better instructions, and a signed confirmation of what they needed to do. After they received them, they claimed that it would be impossible to complete the race as instructed and demanded an additional 40% in payment, because they needed to upgrade the skills of the team and add more resources.
At the end of the day, they lost by over 3 miles and the boat sank, but it only cost the company a third of what it cost last year to lose by 2 miles. Management was ecstatic, and were again able to arrange for huge bonuses for themselves.
As far as the Ford allusion goes, in addition to their obvious design and cost structure issues, they have some series PR issues that they are dealing with due to a suicidal refusal to address the cultural concerns of their core customer group. At the risk of riling up the censors, that’s all I’ll say about that, but if you want to know more just do a search on Ford boycott.
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