Then there's Big Blue's Electronic Marketplace for Identifying, Assessing, Reserving and Engaging Knowledge-Workers for an Assignment Using Trade-Off Analysis, which provides a handy-dandy IBM calculator that drives home the point that you'll pay less for IGS India workers, whether onshore or offshore.
And with its System and Method of Using Speech Recognition at Call Centers to Improve Their Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction, IBM describes how to operate in 'low cost foreign countries' with 'support people not having good English language skills, or having an accent that makes it difficult to understand them' by exploiting technology developed for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as other accent reduction techniques."
As befits a Big Blue executive, Perrera is a do-it-yourself technologist when it comes to travel. As much as he can, he avoids the 800-numbers, travel agents and airport employees, and instead relies on the modern tools of mobility: his trusted BlackBerry World Phone 8830, IBM ThinkPad, an iPod Nano, airport kiosks and a GPS system. [...]
To improve bargaining power, IBM (as do many large companies) requires employees to use a designated agent or website for booking travel. Perrera is not a fan of IBM's system, which was developed by an outside travel services vendor. "I hate the system. They only give a few choices based on cost rather than convenience," he says. "I've used it long enough that I can sit there and manipulate it. But it can often take up to an hour to find the right flight, and I don't have an hour." [...]
Unable to find an ideal return flight that wouldn't make him wait too long at the airport, he gives up and calls an agent for IBM's travel vendor. The agent finds an early-morning departure flight from Burlington, Vt., on United, and a return flight on Northwest from Minneapolis. [...]
Perrera likes United.com for its ease of use, particularly a function that allows him to upgrade his seat to business class using frequent-flier miles. He waits until the night before to upgrade so he can get an instant confirmation. "If I did it three or four days before the trip, it wouldn't confirm the upgrade," he says. "Often, it just tells you you're wait-listed" behind passengers with more mileage credits. [...]
With 10 minutes until boarding, Perrera sits at the gate and taps his BlackBerry's Internet browser to download directions from his hotel in Rochester to a nearby restaurant. He's scheduled to meet a client there that evening. The wireless data network, provided by Verizon Wireless, is an indispensable tool, he says. For about $100 a month for voice and data service, he uses it often to perform small tasks, such as looking up maps and addresses.
"It has a very fast downloading speed," he says. Another bonus: For an extra $15 a month, using a service called Verizon Wireless BroadbandAccess, he can connect his BlackBerry to his laptop and use the phone as a modem for Verizon's wireless network. "I wouldn't do it for huge files," he says. [...]
The rental car facility at Minneapolis-St. Paul International is within walking distance from the terminals. Since he's a member of Hertz Gold, he can find his name and the car location on the company's electronic display board located adjacent to the rows of cars. "My name is in lights." A full-size car with a Global Positioning System called Hertz NeverLost awaits him.
Editor's note: Perhaps as an IBM executive, Mr. Perrera is exempt from the travel reimbursement policies that IBM's other lesser road warriors must adhere to. Or, perhaps, he is picking up the costs of the following non-reimbursable expenses himself:
IBM did not officially react to our protest so far. However, they did shut down parts of their Business Centre to visitors (or really, protesters). A number of participants managed to crash an IBM staff meeting during the afternoon - where they were immediately asked to leave and to "protest outside". Instead, they demanded to speak to Management. But the staff meeting, which seemed to be about the new IBM website functionalities, was called to an end.
The media coverage for this event was impressive. The news about the protest was covered by blogs, radio and TV stations, newspapers and podcasts in numerous countries. Italy's national TV station highlighted the event in the evening news during 5 minutes, showing screen shots from Second Life and its almost 2’000 protesters.
They were discussing the corporate website's new functionalities, it seems. So since I managed to get in, why not call some of my protester friends?
Minutes later, some 20 participants and staff teleported to literally crash the meeting. We had people saying slogans, some beeping sounds, horns and again, the jumping up and down with our banners and flying fish...It was the most disrupting event I've witnessed so far...! The poor IBM staff were quite confused and asked us to go protest outside. We, in return, demanded to speak to IBM management to put forward our requests. They ended up canceling their meeting.
Editor's note: A couple of images captured from the Second Life union protest are available at the link above.
IBM Canada's Mark Wilson, who led the computer company's negotiations with Scotiabank, said a lot of work went into creating a "whole new global framework" for the relationship to the bank's growth. In addition, IBM is bringing to the bank a new range of capabilities, including a centre in Brazil that will deliver select services to Scotiabank over time.
While IBM officials refused to say how much the system will cost, they were quick to say it would be boon to the city. "Cities are faced with ever-increasing threats such as routine crime or terrorist activity and the only way to preventively protect citizens is through a truly sophisticated security surveillance system," IBM vice president Mike Daniels said.
On Thursday, the city and IBM Corp. are announcing the initial phase of what officials say could be the most advanced video security network in any U.S. city. The City of Broad Shoulders is getting eyes in the back of its head. "Chicago is really light years ahead of any metropolitan area in the U.S. now," said Sam Docknevich, who heads video-surveillance consulting for IBM.
Many of them are recent American college graduates, and some have even turned down job offers from coveted employers like Google. Instead, they accepted a novel assignment from Infosys, the Indian technology giant: fly here for six months of training, then return home to work in the company’s American back offices. India is outsourcing outsourcing.
Outdated tax laws from 1969 that are inconsistent with accounting standards are the reason most companies award executives large stock options, Mr. Levin said. “It makes no sense to have two sets of rules for expensing stock options for accounting and tax purposes, and it makes no sense for taxpayers to be subsidizing stock option pay for corporate executives,” he said in a statement.
Circle those calendars, folks. On Oct. 10, Ms. Thomsen participates in a discussion panel on those 10b5-1 plans at the annual conference of the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals in San Francisco. All eyes will be on her because some lawyers believe that apparent manipulations of the trading plans could expose hundreds if not thousands of executives to potential insider trading liability—triggering an enforcement response from the SEC that could rival its moves on stock option backdating.
And as GM goes ... so, too, is it notable that such programs are commonly unavailable to most workers in the private sector, regardless of employer size. There will be exceptions by companies in some industries that are unionized, or still seek to use benefits to retain workers for full careers. Some companies may still seek to facilitate retirement with adequate life income with health protection, and some smaller organizations may take advantage of the more generous tax deferral available when funding a defined-benefit plan, particularly at later ages.
But the new rule or most common practice for most employers today is, clearly, defined-contribution retirement plans, with either no retiree health, or limited retiree health.
But the former first lady and current U.S. senator's plan won't be without losers among large employers who could end up paying more in the long run, given her pledge to provide choice, choice and more choice, analysts and employers said.
The reason: Her plan, like those of some of her rivals, builds on the existing employer-based system that for years has been unable to rein in medical-care costs, which have annually soared more than double the rate of overall inflation as companies shed restrictive HMOs for more access to providers.
This Central American nation touts U.S.-trained doctors, high-tech hospitals and costs far below U.S. rates to attract Americans for services from dental implants to hip replacements. It also promotes its location near U.S. shores. [...]
With roughly 47 million Americans lacking health insurance, millions more underinsured and U.S. health care costs skyrocketing, many can no longer afford medical care in the United States.
So far, Panama attracts only hundreds of U.S. patients a year, doctors estimate, but the potential for growth is huge. With roughly 47 million Americans lacking health insurance, millions more underinsured and U.S. health care costs skyrocketing, many can no longer afford medical care in the United States. About half a million Americans traveled overseas for more affordable health care in 2006. And that number is rising at double-digit rates, spurred by easier travel, Internet communications and a growing support network from health travel agencies to blogs, according to the recently formed Medical Tourism Association in West Palm Beach.
The company’s in the “denial management” business, which sounds like a kind of therapy — and in a way it is. It’s an emerging field devoted to helping doctors get more money out of insurance companies. (If you want to know why this is like therapy, ask a few doctors about the depth of their issues with insurers.)
The strong open for Athenahealth’s stock is a testament to how hot the field is. Some 30% of physician claims are denied on the first go-round, the WSJ reported earlier this year, prompting many docs to buy software and services to fight back. Hundreds of small companies are rushing into space, and big players are getting in, too. [...]
Bonus Bush: Athenahealth’s co-founder and CEO is Jonathan Bush, a cousin of the president.
Are retirees at GM and other companies that have set up minipension funds to pay for retiree health coverage more likely to continue receiving health benefits? And, will the funds keep retirees' share of benefit costs from rising substantially?
The quick answer is that most employers aren't setting up so-called voluntary employees' beneficiary associations, or VEBAs, to make life easier for their retirees. They are doing it because it makes financial sense for the companies themselves. Under pension accounting rules, company-run VEBAs can improve a company's bottom line.
Whether a VEBA leads to more affordable health coverage for retirees is anything but certain. Here are the basics:
For a great rundown of the historic attitude towards employee benefits at Wal-Mart, take a look at this memo. It's a confidential memo that was leaked out from a board meeting in 2005, when a VP of Benefits gave a "state of the state" address on benefit costs to the Wal-Mart board. If you haven't read this before, it's a must-read. Among the brainstorming to keep health care costs down in 2005? To discourage unhealthy job applicants, the VP of Benefits suggests that Wal-Mart arrange for "all jobs to include some physical activity" (e.g., all cashiers do some cart-gathering). Seeing that in print makes me say, "yikes"...
Inflationary premium rates have increased more than 70 percent in just the past six years. Even as we pay more for coverage, we experience less access and denial of free choice of providers and hospitals.
Abandoning the principle of shared risk, private insurers maximize profits by insuring the healthy and excluding everyone else with pre-existing conditions, denying or delaying provider reimbursements and peddling high-deductible policies with Health Savings Accounts that shift greater out-of-pocket expenses to individuals. [...]
Commercial insurances carry high overhead costs — 20 percent of health care dollars go to administration, marketing and profits — compared to 1.8 percent overhead cost for Medicare. Another 12 percent administrative cost is imposed on providers and hospitals, due to different paperwork, medication formularies and requirements of multiple insurers. Add to that the cost of resubmitting denied claims, and the annual ritual of provider re-credentialing by each insurer.
No one has the nerve to brand this country’s purest systems of “socialized medicine” — the military and veterans hospitals — for what they are. In both systems, care is not only paid for by the government but delivered in government facilities by doctors who are government employees. Even so, a parade of Washington’s political dignitaries, including President Bush, has turned to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., for checkups and treatment, without ideological complaint. Politicians who deplore government-run health care for average Americans are only too happy to use it themselves.
Nor are they eager to tar the vast array of government hospitals and clinics that serve our nation’s veterans. For one thing, the veterans’ hospitals, once considered a second-rate backwater, now lead their private sector competitors in adopting electronic medical records and score well for delivering high quality care at relatively low cost. Even when the veterans’ hospitals were rightly criticized this year for their part in the disgraceful failure to care adequately for soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, there was no clamor to junk or privatize the system, only demands to make it better. [...]
The country’s vast Medicare program is one step less socialized — a “single-payer” program in which the government pays for the care and sets reimbursement rates, but the actual care is delivered by private doctors and hospitals. When Medicare was launched in 1965 it was routinely denounced as socialized medicine, but it has become so popular that politicians deem it the third rail of American politics, sure to electrocute anyone who tries to cut it or privatize it. No politician is eager to brand 43 million beneficiaries as socialists at heart. [...]
The take-home message for voters is this: Look behind the labels to judge health care proposals on their merits. Whenever you hear a candidate denounce something as a step toward socialized medicine, it probably isn’t. More likely the politician is demagoguing the issue or is abysmally ignorant of the inner workings — and real, not ideological, failings — of the country’s multifaceted health care system.
Just as Mineer's day was planned for him at work, his retirement -- and that of 270,000 other retired GM workers -- had been set in stone for half a century: a lifetime, gold-plated health-care package that included full benefits not only for retired workers but also their families, with minimal payments for prescriptions and doctor visits.
Now, that security is being rattled. Yesterday, union leaders approved a new labor contract and sent it to the UAW's rank-and-file for ratification, which is expected by Oct. 10. The contract for the first time would shift the management of retiree health benefits from the company to the union.
The predicament of Fort Worth, Texas-based Pier 1, which reported losses that widened to $56.4 million in the first quarter from $23.2 million a year earlier, reflects the quandary of employer-sponsored health care for service businesses whose low-wage employees are the face of the company to customers.
Analysts see reducing health care costs as a short-term savings that would likely harm employee morale, increase attrition rates and lead to deteriorating customer service.
“When you actively reduce costs at a company where the selling environment is such a big part of the brand, you have to be careful that you don’t damage the brand,” says Bryan Gildenberg, chief knowledge officer at retail research and consulting firm Management Ventures. “There’s a much greater risk in the high-touch, high-service model of retail of disenfranchised employees hurting business performance.”
Part of what Pier 1 CEO Alex Smith is calling a “cost-efficiency mission” is to cut employees’ hours in some stores to disqualify them from health benefits.
The shift also may lead to increased use of “health, wealth and value coaches” who will help consumers buy health coverage, manage health savings accounts, and shop for health care and wellness services, the analysts write.
How is it that ordinary working Americans; sit by quietly and allow their representatives to continue to 'buy in' to this crap? Am I wrong, or did several thousand qualified and seasoned IT workers, i.e. IBMers, lose their jobs because of COST cutting... NOT lack of skill? Is it not clear enough for these governor morons to see that this corporate lie continues to frustrate perfectly qualified individuals right out of their jobs? To paraphrase Bush: Is our American working people learning? WTF!!?? Someone out there must be able to specifically argue this crap, point for point..no? Please ANYONE! -Someone-
I got thrown off this project and then they canceled these weeks of training I was supposed to have to learn the software package I couldn't do. The following week my service area leader sends me an ISAP offer? If I take this pitiful excuse does this mean I am ineligible for unemployment compensation should they officially lay me off? Is there anyway I can go up the management chain and file some kind of official complain to not lose my job? -wasteoftimeposition-
On a positive note, after you get through the initial few months after leaving and find something else, I think that most of you will find yourself much happier. I went into education--along with a lot of other IBMers, some who were RA'd and others who just quit (even executives) because they couldn't take it. My salary is now only slightly lower than what I made at IBM and there is nothing like getting home at 2:45 and having time to spend with your families, friends, do errands, etc. And having summers off is wonderful!!! Just an idea because they do need more teachers in NY state and you WILL retire with a pension and health benefits!! Also, since we're unionized, you get pretty decent raised yearly and also when you complete a certain number of courses your salary automatically is increased. Being in a union gives you a much better sense of security! -Anonymous-
Last year, when Randy McD. came around for Q&A's about the announced freeze, he said that the exception to the freeze would be that there would still be a bump to the otherwise frozen benefit for second-choice employees who stayed until age 55 or 30 years. This was confirmed in the online Q&A...subject to change based on needs of the business, I'm sure. Janet K. or Kathi C. might contradict this (they'd know better than me), but I don't think this "bump" is considered to be earned at the time of the program change, so it may not be legally mandated in any way. -alreadyGone-
Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC.
As an employee with a FS company, I like the fact that I do not have to travel and I have been able to make my job interesting. The amazing part is that today, I am making 3 times more (no exaggeration!!) than I was at IBM. I love it!! So if there are any Oldco PW or Oldco C&L people left (which I doubt), unless you are already Partner or VP, you should quit ASAP and try life on the other side. It is worth it.
Do you hear anything you like in this? As Richard Pryor says in "That N----r Is Crazy" about conditions in the New Mexico Penitentiary, they will f$ck you blind just to see the funny look in your eyes. What else do you need to know?
The reality of course is that it is an appalling company to work for. Consider it as the archetypal workplace that you would never=e in your wildest dreams want to spend time at, and one you wouldn't even foist on your enemies, then you'll have a standard by which you can judge how a good company should function and treat employees by merely being the opposite of what IBM is.
Now as for IBM HR ... well, it's their their job to make you-know-what shine. You may have great rapport with hiring managers, etc. in the interview process, but remember this: in the last few years,IBM has shown itself to be ruthlessly capable of cramming centralized policy down everybody's throat. Nobody can take, or even wants to take, any initiative here. And, of course, these from-the-top, rigidly centralized HR policies have been anti-employee. This approach is already boomeranging on IBM, but that is another story.
Three weeks is 1912 (91.92%). Four is 1872 (90%). And then there are the six "optional" holidays to bring it to 1824 (87.69%). We won't go into what happens if you do something "bad" like get sick, take a class or (heaven forbid!) spend any time on the bench.
Of course, most of the folk I met who regularly worked 60 hours a week were either incompetent or on incompetently managed projects. Ticking in 45 or 50 hours a week on a regular basis isn't a problem, but anything more than that and the quality starts to degrade.
I once took over for a guy who was clocking 80 hours a week. He really hadn't accomplished much and a lot of what he had done was wrong. I think he made a lifelong enemy of that client too. But I suppose IBM would have considered him "successful".
IBM HR is to be laughed at. IBM HR is really Fidelity. It's only function is to process IBM HR polices. At that they don't really do anything for you. They don't advocate for IBM employees. They only advocate for IBM Corp Policy.
Bottom line. If you have two competing offers and your name doesn't end will a vowel, don't work at IBM.
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!
Cathy is just one of a handful of America's most wealthy with itches only the most unusual toy can scratch. For these guys, money actually isn't everything: It's about saying you have something that no one else does.
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.