He cited the global research and manufacturing collaboration based at the East Fishkill chip complex, including Sony and Toshiba, who teamed in developing the Cell Broadband Engine chip that debuted in Sony's PlayStation 3 game console.
He did not refer to news reports out Tuesday, including from Reuters, that Sony is pulling out of research with IBM and Toshiba to develop the manufacturing technology for producing microchips with circuitry at 32 nanometers or less. The report said Sony will stay involved at the level of design work on chips. ...
Donofrio's remarks were well-received by the business group, about 200 strong, at the Sierra Suites motel here. ...
Rob Doyle, of United Country Absolute Auction & Realty, Pleasant Valley, was inspired by Donofrio. "It's like a talk that I would pay a couple hundred dollars to hear," he said.
If you are a participant in the IBM Savings Plan and are concerned about the fees, expenses or performance of the investments in your Plan, you may contact paralegal Jennifer Tuato'o or attorneys Karin Swope or Derek Loeser toll free at 800/776-6044, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corporations are looking after their own interests: as 2008 nears, law firms and HR consultants are hard at work giving advice and holding seminars on how to best deal with the new law and HR staffs are drafting new contracts and policies. For workers it’s a different story. At a meeting here in the US last week a visiting Chinese scholar called the current situation “a-symmetrical”. Citing the example of one firm that has laid off workers to avoid provisions of the new law he asked, “Who is looking out for the interests of the employees?” Who indeed! Against the power of the employers, workers have been left to their own devices.
A story that is currently receiving a great deal of attention in China involves the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei which has joint ventures, partnerships, or other legal ties with IBM, Siemens, Motorola, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, and HP among many others. Recently thousands of Huawei employees have quit their jobs. Well sort of…
The IBM France workers describe themselves as "pawns of in a game in a dehumanized world". According to one union member "We do not even know about the timing of these transfers, or all of the staff concerned."
After the announcement of forced transfers, the trade unions have stated that they will oppose by all means these transfers. Unions involved CFDT, CFE CGC, CGT, FO, SNA, UNSA.
A student playing Innov8 enters the game as a character named Logan, who gets an assignment to solve a business problem from her company's chief executive officer. The first scenario involves improving operations at a call center, where workers are taking too long to solve problems and have poor documentation.
The letter is shaking up the placid world of local pension boards. If they were being overcharged or if the pension fund were somehow skimmed by consultants, that would leave less money for retirees. Eventually, taxpayers could be forced to bail out a pension plan that came up short. ...
Critics say public pension consultants can hide the true costs and their profits from the volunteer board members and from regulators. For example, a consultant might pick a money manager and then insist that the manager do all the fund's stock trading through the consulting firm's own brokerage unit.
So much, by the way, for pundits who claim that Americans don’t care about economic inequality. ...
But the Democracy Corps memo warns that “Democrats have not yet found their voice as agents of change.” Indeed. What the memo doesn’t say, but is all too obvious, is that one big reason the Democrats are having trouble finding their voice is the influence of big money.
The most conspicuous example of this influence right now is the way Senate Democrats are dithering over whether to close the hedge fund tax loophole — which allows executives at private equity firms and hedge funds to pay a tax rate of only 15 percent on most of their income.
Only a handful of very wealthy people benefit from this loophole, while closing the loophole would yield billions of dollars each year in revenue. Retrieving this revenue is a key ingredient in legislation approved by the House Ways and Means Committee to reform the alternative minimum tax, something that must be done to avoid a de facto tax increase for millions of middle-class Americans.
A handful of superwealthy hedge fund managers versus millions of middle-class Americans — it sounds like a no-brainer.
But as The Financial Times reports, “Key votes have been delayed and time bought after the investment industry hired some of Washington’s most prominent lobbyists to influence lawmakers and spread largesse through campaign donations.” It goes on to describe how Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, was “toasted by industry lobbyists” (and serenaded by Barry Manilow) at a money-raising party for his special fund to help Democrats get elected next year.
Lirette says he trusted the advice because it came from an investment broker used by other Chevron workers. That's why he turned over his retirement savings — $335,000 — to the broker to manage, bought a camper and truck, then borrowed against a nearly paid-off mortgage to pay off credit card bills and auto loans.
"He showed me this projection that I'd have $1.3 million in 10 years," Lirette, 63, said as the sun glinted off the 28-foot camper parked on his lawn. "I thought, 'I guess we can retire.' "
Retirement didn't last long. Lirette says his nest egg shrank to $43,000 over eight years as his portfolio — concentrated in fairly risky stocks — plunged. The broker, he says, still guaranteed returns of 15% and said the market would rebound. About five years ago, Lirette and his wife were forced back to work, into jobs paying a fraction of what they used to earn.
The Carlyle Group is one of the investment firms to be questioned by investigators in an inquiry into the New York State pension fund. Mr. Levitt alluded to that inquiry, which has focused on whether associates of New York State’s most recent former comptroller, Alan G. Hevesi, improperly benefited from his sole direction of the $156 billion fund, the nation’s second largest. (Editor's note: Former IBM CEO and Chairman Louis Gerstner is the current Chairman of the Carlyle Group).
Mr. Prince will leave with vested stock holdings valued at $94 million on top of the roughly $53.1 million in pay he took home in the last four years, according to James F. Reda & Associates, a compensation consulting firm, and Equilar, a data provider. Included is a pension worth $1.74 million and another one million stock options, which have no current market value because of the stock’s sharp decline. They have a potential estimated value of about $4 million based on current estimated values — and possibly more if the stock rises. Severance would have to be negotiated; Mr. Prince has no employment contract.
IBM EPO - Empire Santa Clara County, CA
+28% +37% +40%
2008 150/1 690/2 933/3+ (3 or more)
2007 117/1 503/2 667/3+
What is it? For each year closer to 65, they add on an extra 25% for aging up? Our premium went up an astounding 40%! What gives? We do.
If the total premium was $7K (ibm) + $8K (mine) for 2007, then an 8% increase would change total premium to $16.2K. Taking out ibm's 7K, leaves $9.2K for us, or $767/mo (vs $933 being billed for 2008).
Could it be the pool of those with the local IBM EPO plan is so small, that one persons extraordinary 2007 expense will drive up this group's rate?
Yet, unsubsidized dental and vision premiums have been essentially flat the last several years. Duh, are they trying to get us to cancel before 65?
It won't be long before we catch up with those who already spend their whole pension on the basic health premium. Before you tell us Kaiser is a viable option, I keep hearing from patients their care is best for the healthy young -- not those that could demand specialized care with age (unless you have a close relative to someone who works for the place). I hear its hard to get the referrals to specialists quickly when you need; with multiple delays, you are done. B.S.
However, the real rub surfaced when I gave the rep and example of where I would stand getting Lipitor. I was told it was a Tier 3 drug with Step-Up requirements. What this means is that I can no longer even get Lipitor until I try several other similar (cheaper) drugs to see if any of them work. Only after I go through this drug list, and have it verified by a doctor that they are not working well enough, will I be allowed to go back to Lipitor.
When the price came up, I was told a 90 day supply would cost me $160, as a Tier 3 drug. I now pay $70 for the same drug with my present IBM Medical/Drug plan. My wife takes Fosomax. The same rules apply to that. This was a show stopper for me. Give them a call and ask about this drug plan. They were very nice and open, about how it works.
That seems like an apt metaphor for the deal United Airlines' parent UAL (Nasdaq: UAUA) made with the government's Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) in defaulting on its employee pensions.
Apparently, I was too exuberant in suggesting the government give back to United the pension obligation it foisted on the PBGC. As part of its agreement with the airline, the PBGC imposed an extraordinary waiver of its powers and agreed not to seek to restore it to United -- ever.
It's a curious move by the pension agency. While only once before has it returned a pension plan to a company that defaulted on its pension obligations, I'm sure today's situation might be the only time a company has been sitting on a host of valuable assets it now wants to spin off and reap billions of dollars in profits from. ...
Employees were the ones who lost their souls after having worked for decades for the airline to see their benefits slashed. Pilots, for example, who are required by law to retire at age 60, found out that not only would their benefits be cut nearly in half because the maximum the PBGC pays is about $47,000 for someone who retires at 65 -- they were penalized again because the PBGC discounts benefits further for those who retire before 65! Talk about being caught between the flames and the fire!
Contrast that with the sweet deal chairman, president, and CEO Glenn Tilton carved out for himself.
Yet employees lost out on retirement benefits when the airline defaulted on its pension obligations, and creditors and shareholders were also denied a full return on their investment from the bankruptcy. Taxpayers are on the hook for more than $6 billion in pension benefits to United's employees. Meanwhile, United now holds a competitive advantage over other airlines, since it no longer has to worry about paying its retirees. And executives who were festooned with large stock option grants when United emerged from bankruptcy might just enjoy a huge boost in their shares' value from any spin off or merger. ...
Perhaps the biggest coup -- for executives, anyway -- would be a merger with another airline. Tilton received more than half a million United shares in stock options and restricted shares when the airline emerged from bankruptcy. This windfall was valued at more than $20 million, vesting over five years; Tilton has already exercised seven figures' worth of his holdings.
Upon a change of control in the airline, however, United's latest proxy statement says that Tilton's stock options would immediately vest, entitling Tilton to $24 million in compensation. If he was forced out of the executive suite within two years of the merger's completion, he'd also receive an additional $12 million. That wouldn't be a bad payoff for a boss who oversaw the decimation of his workers' and retirees' pensions and benefits. At least one person would get a comfortable retirement.
The airline industry is undoubtedly tough -- one reason Warren Buffett has never liked investing in it. And management should be trying to increase shareholder value. Yet the abundance of loftily valued options available to this once-bankrupt company makes me suspect that its previous excuses for scuttling its employees' pension obligations may have been more fantasy than reality.
Many beneficiaries of the tax break are campaign contributors to the lawmaker, Representative Charles B. Rangel, Democrat of New York, according to data collected by CQ MoneyLine, which tracks political contributions. ...
The Virgin Islands tax break — an effective federal tax rate of only 3.5 percent on income earned in the islands — is tied to a program to encourage economic development there. It has existed since the 1960s, but it gained momentum over the last decade as the Virgin Islands government opened the program to services companies in an effort to attract educated, affluent workers.
Financial services companies and their executives began flocking to the islands, taking steps like contributing to local charities as ways of establishing residency, which was required to capitalize on the program’s tax benefits. The I.R.S. became suspicious that many were spending more time running their businesses on the mainland than in the islands, and in 2003 it undertook enforcement efforts that, lawyers in the islands say, have ensnared some 100 taxpayers, not all wealthy.
IBM never committed to spend that much. If you attempt to parse out how much they spend per retiree from the annual report, it is clear they spend much less.
But, because of the way Congress wrote the bill that created Medicare part D, IBM gets a huge kickback from the federal government each year because they still provide SOME prescription coverage per retiree. And no, they don't have to return any of the kickback to the retirees.
The number of employers offering health insurance has fallen nationally in recent years due to rising premiums and the diminishing bargaining power of the average worker. Companies have responded to the pressure by requiring employees to pick up a larger portion of the tab, through higher co-payments and monthly contributions, and reducing benefits and coverage for spouses and children. ...
While low-wage workers had the lowest level of coverage, middle-wage employees in California saw the steepest decline in those offered insurance during the past five years. And more than 600,000 fewer children in California were covered by their parents' insurance last year than in 2000.
"California is a large bellwether, and it's an important microcosm of the rest of the country," said Jared Bernstein, senior economist with the Economic Policy Institute. "Everything that's going on in the nation is going on in California in a big way - immigration, economic inequities, large employers, small employers. You have highly profitable companies and a lot who are just scrambling to get by."
"With productivity up and profits through the roof, employers are shedding coverage," he said. "The private sector, even under positive economic conditions, is failing to provide this vital part of our lives."
Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), companies that bear the full costs of their health benefits, as opposed to purchasing an insurance package for their workers, are exempt from state regulations of health insurance. Most large companies offer ERISA-regulated health plans because, among other reasons, this approach permits the companies to offer uniform benefit packages to employees in all 50 states. Otherwise, the firms would have to comply with varying insurance requirements, such as mandates that certain services be covered, from state to state. ...
Comment: By Don McCanne, MD. Excerpts: What is going on here? Big Business is being strangled with escalating health care costs. General Motors, a member of this coalition, is in the process of dumping its health benefits program into a union controlled VEBA (voluntary employees’ beneficiary association). ...
An old rule is that when something doesn’t seem right, start by looking at the money involved.
Obviously, adoption of a national health insurance program would shift the financing of health care to the tax system. But what about an individual mandate to purchase private plans? Private health insurance that provides adequate financial protection is now so expensive that average-income individuals can no longer afford it. An individual mandate would require a massive infusion of taxpayer funds in the form of vouchers or tax credits. No matter the model, any program that is truly universal and is effective in preventing financial barriers to care will require a massive infusion of tax funds.
Who will pay those taxes? Moderate- and low-income individuals can no longer pay their share. Small businesses are also finding it very difficult to fund health benefits. Innovative tax policies such as taxes on tobacco or on casino gambling can’t even make a dent in the amount needed. Obviously Big Business is looking at this, and what is their perception? ...
But there’s a much greater issue. Who are the employers insuring? Their own healthy workforce and their young healthy families. They are paying for a large sector of our population that happens to have the least expensive health care needs. Imagine shifting Big Business to a universal program, whether public insurance or mandated private plans, that includes the higher-cost sectors of our population. They do have the legacy costs of their retirees, but that still doesn’t approach the costs of introducing all high-risk individuals into the universal risk pool. ...
Single payer advocates may claim that we’ll save Big Business money, but if you were a corporate health benefits manager, would you believe it? “I think that we’ll just stick with our self-funded program, thank you.”
You might think that these facts would make the case for major reform of America’s health care system — reform that would involve, among other things, learning from other countries’ experience — irrefutable. Instead, however, apologists for the status quo offer a barrage of excuses for our system’s miserable performance.
So I thought it would be useful to offer a catalog of the most commonly heard apologies for American health care, and the reasons they won’t wash.
The new study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, estimated that in 2004 nearly 1.8 million veterans were uninsured and unable to get care in veterans’ facilities. An additional 3.8 million members of their households faced the same predicament. All told, this group made up roughly 12 percent of the huge population of uninsured Americans.
The first step of a solution is to recognize the need to provide adequate health coverage to all residents of all counties. Almost all health reformers, interest groups, and politicians agree that everyone should have health insurance. If people do not have health insurance, they do not get preventive care, they delay seeking treatment for illnesses, they use the emergency rooms more frequently than those with insurance,and counties end up paying in different ways for the unpaid and higher bills. The cost of the health forgone because of uninsurance has been estimated at $65 to $130 billion. ...
Private insurers add enormous costs to our already skyrocketing medical expenditures. These include both insurers’ administrative costs—the salaries of their highly-paid executives and armies of employees, their marketing expenses, and (in the case of for-profit insurers) their profits—and the billing related costs imposed on providers. In California, billing and insurance-related functions for insurers and providers represent 20-22 percent of privately insured spending in California acute care settings. In the US, we spent in 2001 $351 per capita on administrative costs, while the Canadians spent only $54 and the French only $48. ...
Private health insurers must, according to the logic of the free market,contribute to uninsurance and underinsurance. As long as health insurance is a market commodity, private insurers must promise prospective enrollees as much as possible, but also reduce costs as much as possible, i.e., must spend as little as possible of their premiums on actual health care. Even if individual medical directors and other employees are virtuous and well meaning, they must avoid sick patients and deny care if their companies are to survive in the market.
In this second installment, I elaborate on the difference between universal single payer health care and the Clinton/Obama/Edwards universal insurance mandate plans and argue that universal mandates are bad social policy.
But overall, a universal insurance mandate is bad public policy compared to universal single payer health care. Some of the reasons:
Monthly premiums below $100 are certainly cause for celebration, but deductibles of $7,500 are rather ... steep. That translates to $625 per month. Still, that's not too far off from what many folks are paying on their own for their health-insurance plans. If it's the best deal you can find, it might be worth considering, at least to carry you to age 65 and the open arms of Medicare.
In the case of the PPO plan, the benefits and copays associated with the plan are negotiated to match the premium, which is 100% paid by IBM. This PPO premium amount is not set by the negotiated benefits. Rather, it is set by IBM as the same amount as last year. The benefits and copays associated with the PPO plan are then negotiated to match the premium. Because of this, those on the PPO plan will notice their co-pays (especially for prescription drugs), deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums go up substantially.
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The new agreement, which still needs to be approved by the IBM Italy workforce, reinstates the performance bonus that was cut unilaterally by IBM Italy management.
The agreement signed by IBM Italy and the trade union Rappresentanze Sindacali Unitarie (R.S.U.) not only includes the performance bonuses from 2007 up until 2010 but also payments by IBM into a national health insurance fund and also states that negotiations will continue with respect to IBM industrial and business strategies in Italy and the improvement of internal communication policies.
The situation abruptly improved and negotiation resumed after the former country manager left IBM in the mid of October, who had signed responsible for the pay cuts in the first place. His departure cleared the air and facilitated constructive negotiations between social partners as this could be expected from a professional management of a high-tech company.
The virtual demonstration organized on 27 September for a whole day has certainly had an impact on the positive development. Almost 2'000 virtual protestors from 30 countries populating IBM premises in Second Life solicited an unprecedented media echo from all over the world, including TV and radio stations, daily news papers, computer and business magazines. The virtual protest had been supported by global unions such as the International and European Metalworkers Federations (IMF and EMF) and UNI Global Union.
The threat of strike action in the "real world" by the Italian unions after the virtual protest has certainly also helped to break the deadlock. Yet, the impact of this historical action in Second Life must not be underestimated.
So what has totally replaced "respect for the individual"? It's "client is #1, IBM and all it's ways is #2, and you the employee and your not even #3".
To resist: if you have vacation days left take them NOW! When you are on vacation forget the client. That way your manager has to find a way to handle the client when you are out. If your manager says you can't take vacation days now, take sick days instead. You have good reason to with dealing mentally with this manager. Also be vocal to your colleagues and tell them you situation.
Keep passing word of this around IBM. Tell your media about your situation. I hope you get another IBM opportunity in this time period. It's real hard now we hear but not impossible. If not, I pray for you that you get another job in a better company that respects you real soon! -Anonymous-
You were dragged into the same illusion along with thousands of other IBM'ers . I'm sorry that happened to you. Looking out for number 1 leaves little time to discover how to survive with a group with the same interests as you. You should have done some soul searching and some home work. I think that you might have been a good organizer, if you had stopped to look around during the good times and said to yourself "This can't last forever". That's why many of us Alliance members started this union. We saw the future coming, and we didn't like what we saw. Take that anyway you wish.. -FYImiss-
Note - Employers cannot require employees to agree not to disclose their wages in 2002 Vermont adopted an equal pay wage non-disclosure agreement law, the Equal Pay Act. IBM cannot make employees agree not to disclose their wages, as a condition of employment.
Employees are protected and must be paid equal pay for equal work. Employers must pay equal wages to all. What To Do If You Suspect you are not being paid the same as other employees for the same Job? File a complaint with the Vermont state attorney (see address and phone number below) also request the state equal pay brochure
What does it mean? It is illegal to pay wages to employees, regardless of their sex, who are performing equal work under similar working paid to employees Were you offered a lower starting wage for a job that requires the same or equal skill, effort, and responsibility the job may be substantially equal, but not identical, in skill, effort, did you get a lower starting salary, or did you discover that you are under similar working conditions. and are paid less.
Were you disciplined or discharged because you disclosed your wage to another employee Decide Whether to File A Charge with the Vermont Attorney General , who has the authority to investigate;
Employees have the right to equal pay, and to seek civil damages penalties and damages from employers who violate equal work. The equal pay law. Damages are usually double the amount in question. As of July 1, 2005 If you are not paid equal pay for equal work file a complaint with the Vermont state Attorney,(toll free Vermont only) or (802) 828-3657. The office is located in the Pavilion Building, 109 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05609 -Vermont rights on equal pay-
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:
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