The plaintiffs will press forward with litigation "based on these very disappointing developments, especially in light of the more than three years we had spent meeting with IBM in what we always assumed was good faith bargaining," the letter states. ....
Lawyers representing plaintiffs began talks with IBM in 2004 with the expectation of reaching a settlement. According to the Nov. 27 letter, IBM's $3 million offer did not include personal injury claims, which IBM believes are without merit. But the offer would require a provision that would release the company from those claims, anyway. "We're disappointed," said Stephen G. Schwarz, a lawyer with the Rochester firm of Faraci & Lange, part of the legal team. "We are surprised it went as long as it did," considering the sides were never close to an agreement.
IBM's final offer was given after changes in the company's management created "a new attitude ... concerning claims arising from chemical contamination, and the type of litigation through which contamination claims are asserted and resolved," according to the letter. It was signed by attorney Philip Johnson, writing on behalf of a legal team including five firms from New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
After 4 calls to the help line I finally realized my wife and daughter were covered under the Aetna Open Choice PPO and not the Aetna Medicare Open Choice Plan (PFFS). But the real hooker is that the Guide to IBM Benefits Enrollment (Blue cover page) for IBM Retirees gives no detail on the Open Choice PPO even though page 10 tells you to consult your 'Health Plan Detail Sheet' for specific coverage information. So how do you make a choice?? It turns out they never sent that sheet to us according to the retiree help line.
NEEDLESS TO SAY IBM NO LONGER MEANS ANYN OF THE BASIC BELIEFS I LEARNED IN 1965 WHEN I JOINED.
One steamed retiree after 5 hours of useless work, Jay.
The real root cause is that IBM did not assigned any knowledgeable professional (I guess they all left or retired) who would be capable of developing and implementing an effective quality plan for this so complex endeavor and then verifying and auditing it's execution.
We are lucky that we are not getting free food rations from IBM yet. They could pack in the cans all that discarded dog food plus some lead to spice things up... Milan Miklos.
Another thing. Aetna mailed a packet out with a disk explaining their coverage. I haven't looked at it as yet.
I also talked to someone at the IBM Retiree Hotline. He said that one gotcha of the Aetna Open plan is that you have to spend about $1100 before the plan goes into 80/20 mode.
He also said that under that plan, each doctor accepts or rejects the plan on a visit by visit basis. That simply means more uncertainty when you seed medical services. Doc says Yes today and No tomorrow.
There is also an appeal process for denied claims that rivals anything the US Gov throws at you.
The cost to me is about $110/mon. over what I would pay for IBM Medicare Supplement. Then add the $1100 and that's the increase to me if I choose Aetna.
The reason I'm looking at Aetna is because my wife is not eligible for Medicare yet and there is a $3500 cap on drugs under the IBM plan. To eliminate the cap would cost me an extra $350/mon.
Should she have a serious illness like cancer, the cost of chemotherapy drugs would exceed that cap in a heart beat. So far, we are both in good health and have a good family history. Still, that doesn't rule out catching something because of what someone put in the water or the nearby landfill over the years. You place your bet and spin the wheel.
We haven't yet exceeded the $3500 per person drug coverage - the exposure was reduced when they increased the copay to 35% a couple of years ago. We will come close this year, tho.
AARP will always pay what they promise, and also promise to not drop you or increase because of your experience. So far this year they have paid about $3,000 for each of us - that's equivalent to $6K total out of pocket, substantially more than the premiums we pay. Not enough to qualify for any IBM payments ($4K/$7K).
UHC will not pay anything if they know you have other coverage. Last year my wife had OOP of $5,000 but UHC paid zero.
Minor inconvenience - most providers will bill you as soon as a secondary refuses to pay. This means that if UHC notifies them before AARP, you will get a bill. If AARP pays first you hear nothing. Ignore the bill.
The net is that IBM has good drug coverage but zilch for medical. Still a reasonable price that.
As a pure FYI - you can see all your Medicare payments online, as well as AARP and UHC payments. As a sorta born clerk I like this. You will be surprised at how much Medicare pays for lab work that never appears anywhere else.
But just 20 feet from the Senate chamber is a young man who knows those problems all too well from personal experience. The man, Sergio A. Olaya, runs the Capitol elevators on which the senators ride. Whenever the Senate is in session, he is on duty.
Mr. Olaya, 21, is struggling with $255,000 of medical bills incurred by his mother before she died in April from an aggressive form of brain cancer.
A local hospital and its collection agency have been hounding him in an effort to collect from his mother’s estate, Mr. Olaya said. To pay the bills, he is selling the Maryland home where he lived with his mother, Clara Ines Olaya, 61.
His experience highlights the problems of the uninsured, from which members of Congress are usually insulated. The leading Democratic presidential candidates say all Americans should have coverage as good as what Congress has.
As a government employee, Mr. Olaya has health insurance. But his mother, like 47 million other Americans, was uninsured.
Today, the former New York mayor joins two other cancer survivors in seeking the Republican presidential nomination: Arizona Sen. John McCain has been treated for melanoma, the most serious type of skin malignancy, and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson had lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system.
All three have offered proposals with the stated aim of helping the 47 million people in the U.S. who have no health insurance, including those with preexisting medical conditions.
But under the plans all three have put forward, cancer survivors such as themselves could not be sure of getting coverage -- especially if they were not already covered by a government or job-related plan and had to seek insurance as individuals.
"Unless it's in a state that has very strong consumer protections, they would likely be denied coverage," said economist Paul Fronstin of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, who has reviewed the candidates' proposals. "People with preexisting conditions would not be able to get coverage or would not be able to afford it."
If you listen to what each party says about the other, you would get a very different impression. To hear the Democrats tell it, the Republicans are happy with the health-care system we have: all they do is stand in the way of Democratic improvements.
But the truth is that it's the Republicans who make more radical proposals. They want to make a break with more than six decades of government policy. During World War II, employers started giving workers health benefits to get around wartime wage controls. Since then, the government has continued to give a tax break for employer-provided health insurance; it isn't taxed, the way wages are.
If they are satisfied with the care they are receiving, why would they want radical change? Because they don’t feel secure that they will be able to keep what they have: “There’s a precariousness to Americans’ contentment with their own health insurance coverage,” the Kaiser Family Foundation reported after looking at a number of polls at the end of last year. “Among the insured, six in ten are at least somewhat worried about being able to afford the cost of their health insurance over the next few years, and nearly as many (56 percent) said they worry that by losing a job, they or their family might be left without coverage.”
This, then, is why so many Americans want universal health care: it would guarantee that they and their families would always be covered.
Avastin is one of Genentech’s blockbuster cancer drugs. It treats patients with colon and lung cancer and is being studied worldwide in about 300 clinical trials for more than 20 tumor types. But Avastin is also in the offices of eye doctors across the country, where it is being used to treat a major cause of vision loss, called neovascular age-related macular degeneration, or AMD.
The company’s superstar drug is going head-to-head with a drug called Lucentis that was approved last year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for AMD. Lucentis is also owned by Genentech. The quandary is more than just two drugs that could potentially be used to fight the same eye disease. Lucentis costs about $2,000 per monthly dosage; Avastin could cost about $40.
I was laid off last year during the first "redeployment" layoff. We were initially told that we were being "redeployed" and needed to find a new position within 30 days. There was no answer to my "Or else what?" question. At the end of those 30 days we were told that we were now part of a “resource action”. We had to find a new position within IBM within the next 30 days (a total “grace period” of 60 days) or be laid off.
The resource action paperwork specified my separation date. All of the paperwork, benefits, etc. involved with my “IBM divorce” were based on my official separation date. The dates that I was notified of the redeployment and later of the resource action had no significance. -Divorced From IBM-
Alliance reply: There was a point, in the early days (2002) of the new company (EIT), that many were interested in forming a union to protect the EI workers jobs; after the first layoff of EI workers, two weeks after the ink was dry on the contracts between IBM and EIT. That interest waned quickly, because of fear, intimidation and continued layoffs over the next 3 years. The pro-union workers gave up. IBM'ers that are still employed there (for IBM) have seen a dramatic change occur right before their eyes. It is proof that if you don't do anything, it doesn't help.
Alliance Reply: Here's a better idea...YOU should send the comment sections' to Sam and Randy, et al. Get others to do the same. Since they are not legally allowed to 'spy' on this web site; sending them the comments would be the best thing to do. Seems like some of the visitors to this board should have their email address, right?
A lot at IBM depends on your first and second line managers. Inspired managers make all the difference in the world. Most of the first line managers however are out for themselves trying to prove they can be second line or higher. The unfortunate part of being a first line is they are under intense pressure to perform - both with their people and master the corporate horse crap at the same time.
What surprises me is that at this time of intense layoffs and blacklisting of selected employees; is that IBM is actually extending offers to outsiders. That should set of warning bells for an hires because it exposes the disingenuous nature of the IBM culture. Why would they extend outside offers when they just told 1300 IBM'ers last week they will not have jobs. On top of that, they block them from getting offers from managers with jobs. It is easier for an outsider to get the job rather than an experienced IBM'er.
My comments are not sour grapes and I understand your interest in accepting the offer. When IBM offered me a job years ago, I had just watched a 20% layoff happen when I was a contract employee. I questioned to take the offer, but at the time it was the best thing for me and my family. The time I spent with IBM gave me an income when there was a severe downturn in the IT industry. I did however spend a few years at IBM longer than I wanted and watched as I felt the jobs I had were too narrow and focused to really be marketable outside. You are aware from your comments that IBM is not a bed of roses. You need a job - take the IBM offer. But remember - make sure you keep your skills sharp and be ready to move when a better opportunity presents itself. -RA'd bear-
Jack Welch was hated by his GE employees - Neutron Jack, they called him. The problem with that Welch strategy is that it's not sustainable over the long term. The same is true for Sam's strategy - it is not sustainable over the long term - you can't cut and gut the company to profitability and you can't treat your employees like crap and expect them to perform well, particularly in a service business. Of course, the goal is not to maximize the long term strength of the company - the strategy is to boost the short term stock price and Sam's performance bonus. Greed, indeed. -Scum buster-
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:
raise, promotion...yes not competitive i would say. However, i think top management is thinking of eliminating some of these drawbacks and putin new and competitive processes in place.....and that's why i believe the deal this year is quite competitive. hope for the better...
Oh well. A new strategy and more money from a group that can't even let is people order printer ink cartridges because the revenue is falling like a stone unless they use accounting games. Unless, of course, the poster is an HR or corporate communications contractor.
IBM should sell GBS at scrap value. There are no employees to boast of (the PWC heritage is long gone), no incisive thought leadership and a complete lack of value-addition on client engagements. Calling this empty corpse shell a consulting organization is an insult to the consulting industry.
For any self-respecting individual looking at making a career in the consulting industry, the only reasons why you should join IBM GBS are as follows:
I hope this message goes out to all the prospective employees and HR trolls. Be warned - the end is near.
The secret's getting out. It takes decades to destroy but the brand is on its way to the bottom of the heap.
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