Under new Chief Justice John Roberts, the justices limited when employers can be sued for pay disparities based on a worker's sex or race, prevented states from regulating mortgage-lending subsidiaries of national banks and curtailed the avenues for class-action claims in the antitrust and securities areas. [...]
"The Roberts Court has now shown a greater willingness to grant review in cases of importance to business and less willingness to read discrimination statutes broadly," says Washington attorney Maureen Mahoney, adding that Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement and replacement by Samuel Alito in 2006 has contributed to the trend.
To compete, companies like I.B.M. have to move up the economic ladder to do more complicated work, as do entire Western economies and individual workers. “Once you start moving up the occupational chains, the work is not as rules-based,” said Frank Levy, a labor economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “People are doing more custom work that varies case by case.”
In the field of technology services, Mr. Levy said, the essential skill is “often a lot more about business knowledge than it is about software technology — and it’s a lot harder to ship that kind of work overseas.” [...]
So I.B.M. has moved aggressively to tap the global labor pool, and it is increasingly using software to automate as much traditional services work as possible. Today, I.B.M. employs 53,000 people in India, up from 3,000 in 2002; in India, the salaries for computer programmers are still about a third of those in the United States. Over the same span, the company’s work force in the United States declined slightly, to 127,000 at the end of last year.
I.B.M. is also one of the world’s largest software companies. And its software development work, bolstered by dozens of acquisitions in the last few years, is more and more being done with an eye for use in its services business — to substitute software automation for labor. Smarter, more customized software can automatically handle some programming chores. I.B.M. employs 200,000 people worldwide in its services business, and if growth means constantly having to add more people, the business is in trouble.
The report, ''Low Salaries for Low Skills: Wages and Skill Levels for H-1B Computer Workers, 2005,'' was released by John Miano and the Center for Immigration Studies May 22 and set out to correct what the center saw as misconceptions about the U.S. high-tech visa program.
The report showed that 87 percent of the job openings that were filled under this program were for entry-level positions that require only a "good understanding of the occupation." It also argued that applicants whom employers defined as possessing entry-level skills filled 56 percent of the 2005 H-1B job openings.
"Technology firms are propagating the myth that citizens from abroad are 'the best and the brightest' in science and technology, encouraging Americans to conclude that the U.S. work force is incompetent and incapable," said Conroy. "This is self-loathing talk at its worst! It hides that fact that these same employers can legally bypass the U.S. work force for these job openings."
"Companies are very focused on profitability. There used to be a pretty good tie between that and doing something for the country. … (Now) the things they're trying to do are not good for the country," he said in a recent interview. [...]
Indeed, the trade liberalization policies that the U.S. has pursued for a generation encouraged corporations to seek the lowest-cost locations for their operations. As labor-intensive textile mills departed, trade fans argued that the U.S. would thrive with more advanced industries. Now, even more sophisticated operations often end up in other lands. Case in point: the 1,200-worker semiconductor plant Intel is erecting in Vietnam.
Living standards here will inevitably decline unless something is done to encourage U.S. corporations to invest at home instead of abroad, he says. Gomory wants to use the corporate income tax to reward companies that invest in "high-value-added" jobs here and penalize those that move such facilities overseas. "Where companies go is affected by self-interest. We need to make it in the self-interest of companies to invest in America," he said.
"Receiving this award is a moment of immense pride for IBM India and we thank the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce for the recognition," said Shanker Annaswamy, Managing Director, IBM India. "IBM has been regarded as an icon for corporate excellence and governance around the world and we are committed to bring in the same exemplary levels of corporate excellence to India. This award reiterates the maturity of IBM in India and our leadership in the dynamically growing market of India."
"Our goal is clearly not to find a qualified US worker," says the attorney in the video, an immigration lawyer at Cohen & Grigsby, a firm in Pittsburgh. "In a sense, that sounds funny, but it's what we're trying to do here."
To Norm Matloff, a professor of computer science at the University of California at Davis, such efforts to use loopholes in immigration laws that were supposed to give Americans and legal residents first crack at high-tech and other jobs is "absolutely outrageous."
The real goal is to hire "cheap labor," charges Dr. Matloff. High-tech executives had backed a provision in the comprehensive immigration bill that failed in the Senate last Thursday to boost the number of H-1B or other temporary visas for highly educated foreign workers. Now, the focus will shift to "stand-alone" bills already before Congress that would accomplish the same goal, notes a spokesman for the Software & Information Industry Association. [...]
"There is nothing new in this video," he (Matloff) says. He recalls getting a document years ago in which a proponent of H-1B visas referred to the arsenal of tools companies can use to legally reject any American applicant for a job in favor of a foreign worker. But now that those tactics are on video, "everything changes," Matloff says. Viewers can see and hear with their own eyes and ears the words of this immigration lawyer and "his utter lack of scruples."
‘‘Goldman says I can make lots of money,’’ says Zhang, 24, a native of Harbin, China, who wears bright purple glasses and spent last summer writing video game software for Electronic Arts Inc.
The history of making workplaces more bearable started long ago, but only recently have companies started coming up with creative ways to entice employees to keep coming to work. From catered lunches in the company cafeteria to free massages if you bike to work, this trend is showing up in every type of industry. Only one thing is for sure that it a trend that isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
The drug companies ply doctors with a wide range of gifts, everything from free lunches for busy doctors and their staffs while sales representatives extol the virtues of their latest drugs to subsidized trips to vacation spots for conferences billed as educational events. The companies also pay large sums to doctors for consulting or for conducting research. These payments, which can mount into the hundreds of thousands of dollars over a period of years, look suspiciously like inducements to promote or prescribe the companies’ drugs.
At first, I thought the post was a hoax, especially given the blog has only two posts and is not well put together. Why would Google want to take sides with the U.S. healthcare industry, which is ruled by a profit motive. Moore’s film zeros in what is evident to millions of Americans–the profit motive can tend to get in the way of what is in the best interest of patients.
But, Lauren Turner turns up on LinkedIn as a 2004 Princeton University graduate who has worked at Google since January this year. In addition, the blog is linked to from a Google Health Advertising page. [...]
Perhaps Ms. Turner’s blog post is the product of an overzealous, new ad salesperson who is telling the client what they want to hear–”Sicko” picks on the poor U.S. healthcare giants with sensationalist footage and doesn’t talk about all their good deeds.
When Medicare came I was a new medical school graduate. I witnessed first hand the transformation of the public, crowded wards into decent spaces. I heard all the claims of impending disaster by established medical practitioners and witnessed very few of the problems that concerned them. Healthcare flourished and became the most popular social program in Canada’s history.
Over the ensuing 40 years I have been privileged to serve in a number of roles in academic medicine, orthopedic practice and government. I continue to practice.
There has never been an occasion in those decades that I or any of my colleagues have had to get permission to deliver care. Decisions to treat or not to treat have always been between us and our patients. My colleagues and I would have it no other way.
Care is delivered based on need not ability to pay. [...]
It is not surprising to me that studies demonstrate that healthcare and health outcomes in Canada compare favourably to those in the U.S.
Like any complex human system, Canada’s Medicare is not without its problems. Wait times in our system have drawn a lot of attention and frankly some outlandish claims made in the media. Statistics Canada’s latest figures demonstrate that median wait times for Canadians to receive elective surgical care are just 3 weeks, and specialty care within 4 weeks.
An even higher percentage of Canadians support Medicare. While such numbers are encouraging we can and are doing better every year.
The publicly funded single payer system works. It is high quality, efficient and equitable.
Lost in the recent flurry of attacks on Canada and other nations with publicly funded healthcare systems, spurred by the popularity of Michael Moore’s “SiCKO,” is the reality of the huge hurdles faced by many American patients, said the Physicians for a National Health Program and the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.
“As the cost and service failures of the U.S. health system become unbearable, those who profit from the system - the private health insurance giants and big drug companies - are bringing out the propaganda attacks on the experience in the many countries which have chosen a public insurance plan. As always, half truths and lies are the scare tactics of these profiteers,” said Quentin Young, MD national coordinator of PNHP.
“There’s been a lot of clamor lately about delays in care in some other countries. But if you want to see some really unsightly waiting times, look at U.S. medical facilities,” said Deborah Burger, RN, president of the 75,000-member CNA/NNOC.
While the problem has been largely overlooked by the major media, it was quietly exposed by the chief medical officer of Aetna, Inc. late in Aetna’s Investor Conference 2007 in March.
In his talk, Troy Brennan conceded that “the (U.S.) healthcare system is not timely.” He cited “recent statistics from the Institution of Healthcare Improvementâ€¦ that people are waiting an average of about 70 days to try to see a provider. And in many circumstances people initially diagnosed with cancer are waiting over a month, which is intolerable,” Brennan said. [...]
A Commonwealth Fund study of six highly industrialized countries, the U.S., and five nations with national health systems, Britain, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, found waiting times were worse in the U.S. than in all the other countries except Canada.
And, most of the Canadian data so widely reported by the U.S. media is out of date, and misleading, according to PNHP and CNA/NNOC. In Canada, there are no waits for emergency surgeries, and the median time for non-emergency elective surgery has been dropping as a result of public pressure and increased funding so that it is now equal to or better than the U.S. in most areas, the organizations say. Statistics Canada’s latest figures show that median wait times for elective surgery in Canada is now three weeks.
“There are significant differences between the U.S. and Canada, too,” said Burger. “In Canada, no one is denied care because of cost, because their treatment or test was not ‘pre-approved’ or because they have a pre-existing condition.”
In Italy, this was a regular parlor game when friends came to visit. Inevitably, after a few days of taking in our new world — a village public school for the kids, neighbors who opened the doors of their ancient homes to us, a lengthy siesta every afternoon — our houseguests would side with the Italians. I would counter for the U.S.A., to keep the argument alive.
The Italians won on health, family and food. The United States was better on race and opportunity.
With health care, the anecdotal often carried the argument. One day, a tenant farmer named Sergio, our neighbor, woke with a terrible eye infection. He was full of pain, unable to see. Sergio got world-class care in Florence. After three days of attentive fussing in the hospital, he came home entirely well and without a bill.
Had he showed up at any American hospital — poor, no insurance — well, good luck. Especially in a place like Texas, where 30 percent of adults lack health insurance and what can pass for medical care is a get-in-line form of triage.
But even with insurance, Americans are stuck with what may be the worst of all systems: one that lets a handful of corporations make life-and-death decisions, with incentive to dump and deny.
Little wonder that the United States ranks 37th in effectiveness of health care. Italy ranks 2nd. This is a country that can’t form a government to last longer than the soccer season, and yet, they make our medical system look barbaric.
If our system doesn’t kill you — see the infant mortality and life expectancy rates, bringing up the rear — it can put you in the poorhouse. Medical catastrophes are the leading cause of bankruptcy, and most of those are people who have some insurance, clinging to the frayed edge of the middle class.
O.K., so what about leisure? Americans spend nearly a third of their disposable income on good times, baby. But we can’t relax. Sorry — no time. Lunch averages 31 minutes. And the U.S. ranks dead last among 21 of the world’s richest countries when it comes to guaranteed days off, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
Most Americans don’t even use their allotted days of leisure. The Italians take 42 vacation days a year — No. 1 in the world. The average American takes 13.
A quarter of Americans receive no vacation at all. And it’s not like we don’t need it: one in three are chronically overworked. We even work 100 hours a year more than the Japanese.
President Bush has it figured out, with his month off at the ranch. But for a profile in clueless, Bush set the mark when he lauded as truly American some citizen who told him she had to work three jobs. Ain’t that something?
Ah, but what about taxes? Europeans pay more than we do, to fund that free health care. Take that, Euro-trash, while lying on the beach. And yet, our tax system is approaching Gilded Age disparity. Listen to Warren Buffett, the third richest man in the world. Last year, he was taxed at 17 percent of his taxable income, he said last month. His receptionist paid nearly twice that, at 30 percent.
Where America shines is with our multiracial society and the easy access to opportunity. It was jarring to listen to otherwise thoughtful Tuscans denigrate Ethiopian immigrants or even their Sicilian countrymen.
You would have to be dead to be unaffected by Moore's movie, he is an effective storyteller. In Sicko Moore presents a collage of injustices by selecting stories, no matter how exceptional to the norm, that present the health insurance industry as a set of organizations and people dedicated to denying claims in the name of profit. Denial for treatments that are considered "experimental" is a common story, along with denial for previous conditions, and denial for application errors or omissions. Individual employees from Humana and other insurers are interviewed who claim to have actively pursued claim denial as an institutionalized goal in the name of profit.
Their approaches are very different, reflecting longstanding divisions between the parties on the role of government versus the private market in addressing the affordability and availability of health insurance. Republicans, by and large, promise to expand coverage by using a variety of tax incentives to empower consumers to buy it themselves, from private insurers. Conservatives warn, repeatedly, of Democrats edging toward the slippery slope of “government-controlled health insurance,” as former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York puts it, and promote the innovation and choice offered by private insurers.
The major Democratic candidates propose strengthening the private-employer-based system, through which most working families get their coverage. But many Democrats also see a strong role for government, including, in some plans, new requirements that individuals obtain insurance and that employers provide it, along with substantial new government spending to subsidize coverage for people who cannot afford it.
I kept my distance, as we all finished and exited at the same time. Outside the restroom doors… the theater was in chaos. The entire Sicko audience had somehow formed an impromptu town hall meeting in front of the ladies room. I’ve never seen anything like it. This is Texas goddammit, not France or some liberal college campus. But here these people were, complete strangers from every walk of life talking excitedly about the movie. It was as if they simply couldn’t go home without doing something drastic about what they’d just seen. My redneck compadre and his new friend found their wives at the center of the group, while I lingered in the background waiting for my spouse to emerge.
The execs are experienced at buying their own stock back and they are well-practiced in financial engineering to make the results appear better than they are in reality. Normal people call that "securities fraud". They must of course, optimize and showcase the 3Q results; which means employee job and benefit cuts. The execs are very experienced in this matter. One observer notes that the 'THINK' motto has been replaced by 'CHEAT'. Quite simply. employees stand in the way of the executives' bonuses.
As a stockholder, I need an explanation of why we are retaining executives that can't grow the business and our revenue. Why are these people getting bonuses, raises and stock when it is clear that they aren't doing their jobs. Why aren't the execs getting pink slips like my coworkers have? -Frank-
The ultimate irony is for some fat cat Exec earning mid-6-figures to have the audacity to say WE earn too much! I've seen Exec's fly home every weekend, and back on job sites every Monday, for an entire year. Yet I couldn\'t even travel for business approved on-site training! And the current stock price? Inflated by buy backs so the Exec's can cash in their options.
This is the beginning of the new IBM: India Be Mine! We should pass a law that any US based company that employs more than 60% of its workers outside the US should be required to have the top 100 officers live in the country with the majority of their overseas workers, or suffer prohibitive tax penalties. Then they'd realize what they've got over here, and how this is really their country too. The only problem with cashing out all the assets of IBM and pocketing it, is that you'll find yourself rich with no infrastructure. Time to re-watch Soylent Green fellas! -4s2Retire-
What is going on now is that there may be another office consolidation again, just like what happened a few months ago, only this time, on site personnel will either remain in the B-building or the C-building. If anyone would like to discuss this further please make initial contact to my front email at firstname.lastname@example.org'. Put in the subject header 'the Big Blew'. I will answer all sincere inquiries. -Anonymous-
Now IBM is not making markets, they are not driving markets, they are reacting and responding to the Wipros and InfoSys' of the world. IBM is now on the defensive, and as an employee it scares me. I know we had to do something to beat the international outsourcers, but it sure looks like we are running scared, not leading anymore.
It pains me to know that yesterday I had a career at a company that was a world leader, but today I just have a job at a big corporation. If the corporate leaders read this board (which it is illegal for them to do) I plead with them to turn this company around again and to create a market like IBM has done countless times before. -still_blue-
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:
Seriously Mr. Oz, after having countless hours of your life stolen by the company with ridiculous travel policies, impossible utilization targets, unrequited extra work, benefits reduced arbitrarily, and yes lost vacation time, are you really telling me that you feel guilty taking a measure back if given the chance?
How about an eye for an eye - a little quid pro quo, or in this case it is a hair for an eye and pence pro quo.
So let's see. The Indo American Chambers of Commerce (IACC) is representative of all the employees in the country, right?
Any country that got a 6 Billion US$ gift would be happy to have an assembly of its Chamber of Commerce and announce that the giver was wonderful.
The real answer will be a net return of 60 Billion US$ in the next 3 years. If not, Sam's sunk his shareholder's hard earned money into a losing venture.
It's the weak and the afraid they prey and abuse.
As for leaving IBM? I've had employees in my tenure day leave in as short as 48 hours. In 2004, I recall that about 7% of all departures were of employees with less than 60 days in the company, so it's not something that uncommon.
As I said before, the quicker, the better it looks for you.
When your confidence in the company goes, you really need to look at making an exit sooner rather than later to mitigate any long term performance issues - in my opinion. I waited because I was very picky about my next job (now having worked for such a shocking employer I was determined to make a good choice this time) and I wanted it to be permanent. Faced with a similar situation next times around I'd pick up the first reasonable contract ASAP (instead of waiting another 18 months) and re-build my reputation ASAP. As it turned out, I got re-trenched (one of the happiest days of my entire employment actually - more than one person remarked on how happy I appeared).
Today's highly compensated executives face many difficulties, including figuring out how they can possibly spend all of the rich rewards they've earned on the backs of ordinary workers. Take a look at the insider trading of many of our IBM executives—spending the cash from all that stock "acquired at $0 per share" must be a real challenge! Or, imagine the difficulty IBM CEO Sam Palmisano will face spending his $10,000 to $20,000 a day pension when he retires!
As a way of helping out our beleaguered, modern-day robber barons this site will periodically feature "spending opportunities" that the "upper crust" of our society may want to take advantage of!
This site is designed to allow IBM Employees to communicate and share methods of protecting their rights through the establishment of an IBM Employees Labor Union. Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act states it is a violation for Employers to spy on union gatherings, or pretend to spy. For the purpose of the National Labor Relations Act, notice is given that this site and all of its content, messages, communications, or other content is considered to be a union gathering.