Welcome to IBM Employee News and Links

“News and links for IBM employees, retirees, ex-employees, and persons interested in pension, retirement, off-shoring and corporate governance issues”—The news you won't see on W3!

Our Friends:

Watching IBM Watching IBM Facebook

Quick Links:

Get involved! Insider trading After IBM Lenovo Employee Discount

Previous highlights:

April 2, 2016 March 26, 2016 March 12, 2016 March 5, 2016 February 27, 2016 February 20, 2016 February 13, 2016 February 6, 2016 January 30, 2016 January 16, 2016 December 26, 2015 December 19, 2015 December 12, 2015 December 5, 2015 November 28, 2015 November 21, 2015 November 14, 2015 November 7, 2015 October 31, 2015 October 24, 2015 October 17, 2015 October 10, 2015 October 3, 2015 September 26, 2015 September 19, 2015 September 12, 2015 August 29, 2015 August 22, 2015 August 15, 2015 August 8, 2015 July 25, 2015 July 25, 2015 July 18, 2015 July 4, 2015 June 27, 2015 June 20, 2015 June 13, 2015 June 6, 2015 May 30, 2015 May 23, 2015 May 16, 2015 May 9, 2015 May 2, 2015 April 25, 2015 April 18, 2015 April 11, 2015 April 4, 2015 March 28, 2015 March 21, 2015 March 14, 2015 March 7, 2015 February 28, 2015 February 21, 2015 February 14, 2015 February 7, 2015 January 31, 2015 January 24, 2015 January 17, 2015 January 10, 2015 January 3, 2015 December 27, 2014 December 20, 2014 December 13, 2014 December 6, 2014 November 29, 2014 November 22, 2014 November 15, 2014 November 8, 2014 November 1, 2014 October 25, 2014 October 18, 2014 October 11, 2014 October 4, 2014 September 27, 2014 September 13, 2014 September 6, 2014 August 30, 2014 August 23, 2014 August 16, 2014 August 9, 2014 August 2, 2014 July 26, 2014 July 19, 2014 July 12, 2014 July 5, 2014 June 28, 2014 June 21, 2014 June 14, 2014 June 7, 2014 May 31, 2014 May 24, 2014 May 17, 2014 May 10, 2014 May 3, 2014 April 26, 2014 April 19, 2014 April 12, 2014 April 5, 2014 March 29, 2014 March 22, 2014 March 15, 2014 March 8, 2014 March 1, 2014 February 22, 2014 February 15, 2014 February 8, 2014 February 1, 2014 January 25, 2014 January 18, 2014 January 11, 2014 January 4, 2014 December 28, 2013 December 21, 2013 December 14, 2013 December 7, 2013 November 30, 2013 November 23, 2013 November 16, 2013 November 9, 2013 November 2, 2013 October 26, 2013 October 19, 2013 October 12, 2013 October 5, 2013 September 28, 2013 September 21, 2013 September 14, 2013 September 7, 2013 August 31, 2013 August 24, 2013 August 17, 2013 August 10, 2013 August 3, 2013 July 27, 2013 July 20, 2013 July 13, 2013 July 6, 2013 June 29, 2013 June 22, 2013 June 15, 2013 June 8, 2013 June 1, 2013 May 25, 2013 May 18, 2013 May 11, 2013 May 4, 2013 April 27, 2013 April 20, 2013 April 13, 2013 April 6, 2013 March 30, 2013 March 23, 2013 March 16, 2013 March 9, 2013 March 2, 2013 February 23, 2013 February 16, 2013 February 9, 2013 February 2, 2013 January 26, 2013 January 19, 2013 January 12, 2013 January 5, 2013 December 29, 2012 December 22, 2012 December 15, 2012 December 8, 2012 December 1, 2012 November 24, 2012 November 17, 2012 November 10, 2012 November 3, 2012 October 27, 2012 October 20, 2012 October 13, 2012 October 6, 2012 September 29, 2012 September 22, 2012 September 15, 2012 September 8, 2012 September 1, 2012 August 25, 2012 August 18, 2012 August 11, 2012 August 4, 2012 July 28, 2012 July 21, 2012 July 14, 2012 July 7, 2012 June 30, 2012 June 23, 2012 June 16, 2012 June 9, 2012 June 2, 2012 May 26, 2012 May 19, 2012 May 12, 2012 May 5, 2012 April 28, 2012 April 21, 2012 April 14, 2012 April 7, 2012 March 31, 2012 March 24, 2012 March 17, 2012 March 10, 2012 March 3, 2012 February 25, 2012 February 18, 2012 February 11, 2012 February 4, 2012 January 28, 2012 January 21, 2012 January 14, 2012 January 7, 2012 December 31, 2011 December 24, 2011 December 17, 2011 December 10, 2011 December 3, 2011 November 26, 2011 November 19, 2011 November 12, 2011 November 5, 2011 October 29, 2011 October 22, 2011 October 15, 2011 October 8, 2011 October 1, 2011 September 24, 2011 September 17, 2011 September 10, 2011 September 3, 2011 August 27, 2011 August 20, 2011 August 13, 2011 August 6, 2011 July 30, 2011 July 23, 2011 July 16, 2011 July 9, 2011 July 2, 2011 June 25, 2011 June 18, 2011 June 11, 2011 June 4, 2011 May 28, 2011 May 21, 2011 May 14, 2011 May 7, 2011 April 30, 2011 April 23, 2011 April 16, 2011 April 9, 2011 April 2, 2011 March 26, 2011 March 19, 2011 March 12, 2011 March 5, 2011 February 26, 2011 February 19, 2011 February 12, 2011 February 5, 2011 January 29, 2011 January 22, 2011 January 15, 2011 January 8, 2011 January 1, 2011 December 25, 2010 December 18, 2010 December 11, 2010 December 4, 2010 November 27, 2010 November 20, 2010 November 13, 2010 November 6, 2010 October 30, 2010 October 23, 2010 October 16, 2010 October 9, 2010 October 2, 2010 September 25, 2010 September 18, 2010 September 11, 2010 September 4, 2010 August 28, 2010 August 21, 2010 August 14, 2010 August 7, 2010 July 31, 2010 July 24, 2010 July 17, 2010 July 10, 2010 July 3, 2010 June 26, 2010 June 19, 2010 June 12, 2010 June 5, 2010 May 29, 2010 May 22, 2010 May 15, 2010 May 8, 2010 May 1, 2010 April 24, 2010 April 17, 2010 April 10, 2010 April 3, 2010 March 27, 2010 March 20, 2010 March 13, 2010 March 6, 2010 February 27, 2010 February 20, 2010 February 13, 2010 February 6, 2010 January 30, 2010 January 23, 2010 January 16, 2010 January 9, 2010 January 2, 2010 December 26, 2009 December 19, 2009 December 12, 2009 December 5, 2009 November 28, 2009 November 21, 2009 November 14, 2009 November 7, 2009 October 31, 2009 October 24, 2009 October 17, 2009 October 10, 2009 October 3, 2009 September 26, 2009 September 19, 2009 September 12, 2009 September 5, 2009 August 29, 2009 August 22, 2009 August 15, 2009 August 8, 2009 August 1, 2009 July 25, 2009 July 18, 2009 July 11, 2009 July 4, 2009 June 27, 2009 June 20, 2009 June 13, 2009 June 6, 2009 May 30, 2009 May 23, 2009 May 16, 2009 May 9, 2009 May 2, 2009 April 25, 2009 April 18, 2009 April 11, 2009 April 4, 2009 March 28, 2009 March 21, 2009 March 14, 2009 March 7, 2009 February 28, 2009 February 21, 2009 February 14, 2009 February 7, 2009 January 31, 2009 January 24, 2009 January 17, 2009 January 10, 2009 January 03, 2009 December 27, 2008 December 20, 2008 December 13, 2008 December 6, 2008 November 29, 2008 November 22, 2008 November 15, 2008 November 8, 2008 November 1, 2008 October 25, 2008 October 18, 2008 October 11, 2008 October 4, 2008 September 27, 2008 September 20, 2008 September 13, 2008 September 6, 2008 August 30, 2008 August 23, 2008 August 16, 2008 August 9, 2008 August 2, 2008 July 26, 2008 July 19, 2008 July 12, 2008 July 5, 2008 June 28, 2008 June 21, 2008 June 14, 2008 June 7, 2008 May 31, 2008 May 24, 2008 May 17, 2008 May 10, 2008 2008 Stock Meeting April 26, 2008 April 19, 2008 April 12, 2008 April 5, 2008 March 29, 2008 March 22, 2008 March 15, 2008 March 8, 2008 March 1, 2008 February 16, 2008 February 9, 2008 February 2, 2008 January 26, 2008 January 19, 2008 January 12, 2008 January 5, 2008 December 29, 2007 December 22, 2007 December 15, 2007 December 8, 2007 December 1, 2007 November 24, 2007 November 17, 2007 November 10, 2007 November 3, 2007 October 27, 2007 October 20, 2007 October 13, 2007 October 6, 2007 September 29, 2007 September 22, 2007 September 15, 2007 September 8, 2007 September 1, 2007 August 25, 2007 August 18, 2007 August 11, 2007 August 4, 2007 July 28, 2007 July 21, 2007 July 14, 2007 July 7, 2007 June 30, 2007 June 23, 2007 June 16, 2007 June 9, 2007 June 2, 2007 May 26, 2007 May 19, 2007 May 12, 2007 May 5, 2007 2007 Stock Meeting April 21, 2007 April 14, 2007 April 7, 2007 March 31, 2007 March 24, 2007 March 17, 2007 March 10, 2007 March 3, 2007 February 24, 2007 February 17, 2007 February 10, 2007 February 3, 2007 January 27, 2007 January 20, 2007 January 13, 2007 January 6, 2007 December 30, 2006 December 23, 2006 December 16, 2006 December 9, 2006 December 2, 2006 November 25, 2006 November 18, 2006 November 11, 2006 November 4, 2006 October 28, 2006 October 21, 2006 October 14, 2006 October 7, 2006 September 30, 2006 September 23, 2006 September 16, 2006 September 9, 2006 September 2, 2006 August 26, 2006 August 19, 2006 August 12, 2006 August 5, 2006 July 29, 2006 July 22, 2006 July 15, 2006 July 8, 2006 July 1, 2006 June 24, 2006 June 17, 2006 June 10, 2006 June 3, 2006 May 27, 2006 May 20, 2006 May 13, 2006 May 6, 2006 2006 Stock Meeting April 22, 2006 April 15, 2006 April 8, 2006 April 1, 2006 March 25, 2006 March 18, 2006 March 11, 2006 March 4, 2006 February 25, 2006 February 18, 2006 February 11, 2006 February 4, 2006 January 28, 2006 January 21, 2006 January 14, 2006 January 7, 2006 December 31, 2005 December 24, 2005 December 17, 2005 December 10, 2005 December 03, 2005 November 26, 2005 November 19, 2005 November 12, 2005 November 5, 2005 October 29, 2005 October 22, 2005 October 15, 2005 October 8, 2005 October 1, 2005 September 24, 2005 September 17, 2005 September 10, 2005 September 3, 2005 August 27, 2005 August 20, 2005 August 13, 2005 August 6, 2005 July 30, 2005 July 23, 2005 July 16, 2005 July 9, 2005 July 2, 2005 June 25, 2005 June 18, 2005 June 11, 2005 June 4, 2005 May 28, 2005 May 21, 2005 May 14, 2005 May 7, 2005 April 30, 2005 April 23, 2005 April 16, 2005 April 9, 2005 April 2, 2005 March 26, 2005 March 19, 2005 March 12, 2005 March 5, 2005 February 26, 2005 February 19, 2005 February 12, 2005 February 5, 2005 January 29, 2005 January 22, 2005 January 15, 2005 January 8, 2005 January 1, 2005 December 25, 2004 December 18, 2004 December 11, 2004 December 4, 2004 November 27, 2004 November 20, 2004 November 13, 2004 November 6, 2004 October 30, 2004 October 23, 2004 October 16, 2004 October 9, 2004 October 2, 2004 September 25, 2004 September 18, 2004 September 11, 2004 September 4, 2004 August 28, 2004 August 21, 2004 August 14, 2004 August 7, 2004 July 31, 2004 July 24, 2004 July 17, 2004 July 10, 2004 July 3, 2004 June 26, 2004 June 19, 2004 June 5, 2004 May 29, 2004 May 22, 2004 May 15, 2004 May 8, 2004 2004 Stock Meeting April 24, 2004 April 10, 2004 April 3, 2004 March 27, 2004 March 20, 2004 March 13, 2004 March 6, 2004 February 28, 2004 February 21, 2004 February 14, 2004 February 7, 2004 February 1, 2004 January 18, 2004 December 27, 2003 December 20, 2003 December 13, 2003 December 6, 2003 November 29, 2003 November 22, 2003 November 15, 2003 November 8, 2003 November 1, 2003 October 25, 2003 October 18, 2003 October 11, 2003 October 4, 2003 September 27, 2003 September 20, 2003 September 13, 2003 September 6, 2003 August 30, 2003 August 23, 2003 August 16, 2003 August 9, 2003 Pension Lawsuit Win July 26, 2003 July 19, 2003 July 12, 2003 July 5, 2003 June 28, 2003 June 21, 2003 June 14, 2003 June 7, 2003 May 31, 2003 May 24, 2003 May 17, 2003 May 10, 2003 2003 Stock Meeting April 26, 2003 April 19, 2003 April 12, 2003 April 5, 2003 March 29, 2003 March 22, 2003 March 15, 2003 March 8, 2003 March 1, 2003 February 22, 2003 February 15, 2003 February 8, 2003 February 1, 2003 January 25, 2003 January 18, 2003 January 11, 2003 January 4, 2003 December 28, 2002 December 21, 2002 December 14, 2002 December 7, 2002 November 30, 2002 November 23, 2002 November 16, 2002 November 9, 2002 November 2, 2002 October 26, 2002 October 19, 2002 October 12, 2002 October 5, 2002 September 28, 2002 September 21, 2002 September 14, 2002 September 7, 2002 August 31, 2002 August 24, 2002 August 17, 2002 August 10, 2002 August 3, 2002 July 27, 2002 July 20, 2002 July 13, 2002 July 6, 2002 June 29, 2002 June 22, 2002 June 15, 2002 June 8, 2002 June 1, 2002 May 25, 2002 May 18, 2002 May 11, 2002 2002 Stock Meeting April 27, 2002 April 20, 2002 April 13, 2002 April 6, 2002 March 30, 2002 March 23, 2002 March 16, 2002 March 9, 2002 March 2, 2002 February 23, 2002 February 16, 2002 February 9, 2002 February 2, 2002 January 26, 2002 January 19, 2002 January 12, 2002 January 5, 2002 December 29, 2001 December 22, 2001 December 15, 2001 December 8, 2001 December 1, 2001 November 24, 2001 November 17, 2001 November 10, 2001 November 3, 2001 October 27, 2001 October 20, 2001 October 13, 2001 October 6, 2001 September 29, 2001 September 22, 2001 September 15, 2001 September 8, 2001 September 1, 2001 August 25, 2001 August 18, 2001 August 11, 2001 August 4, 2001 July 28, 2001 July 21, 2001 July 14, 2001 July 7, 2001 June 30, 2001 June 23, 2001 June 16, 2001 June 9, 2001 June 2, 2001 May 26, 2001 May 19, 2001 May 12, 2001 May 5, 2001 2001 Stock Meeting April 21, 2001 April 14, 2001 April 7, 2001 March 31, 2001 March 24, 2001 March 17, 2001 March 10, 2001 March 3, 2001 February 24, 2001 February 17, 2001 February 10, 2001 February 3, 2001 January 27, 2001 January 20, 2001 January 13, 2001 January 6, 2001 December 30, 2000 December 23, 2000 December 16, 2000 December 9, 2000 December 2, 2000 November 24, 2000 November 17, 2000 November 10, 2000 November 4, 2000 October 28, 2000 October 21, 2000 October 14, 2000 October 7, 2000 September 30, 2000 September 23, 2000 September 16, 2000 September 9, 2000 September 2, 2000 August 26, 2000 August 19, 2000 August 12, 2000 July 29, 2000 July 22, 2000 July 15, 2000 July 1, 2000 June 24, 2000 June 17, 2000 June 10, 2000 June 3, 2000 May 27, 2000 May 20, 2000 May 13, 2000 May 6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—December 29, 2007

  • Public Broadcasting System's I, Cringely: Leaner and Meaner Still: IBM's U.S. operations continue to shrivel. By Robert X. Cringely. Excerpts: Last May I wrote a column titled "Lean and Mean" (it's in this week's links) that was all about the deteriorating situation at IBM Global Services where contracts were being lost for poor performance, jobs were being stupidly underbid, the workforce was demoralized, and huge layoffs were imminent. I wrote that up to 150,000 workers might lose their jobs in the coming year. That column caused a frenzy so great among IBM workers and the local press in IBM towns like Rochester, Minnesota, that Big Blue actually issued a press release denying it was true. My column was wrong, they said. IBM doesn't even have 150,000 U.S. workers to lose. Life was still good in the world of IBM.

    Really?

    I don't take any satisfaction in forcing companies to come clean or to go underground, but IBM did the latter. They simply stopped issuing press releases concerning U.S. layoffs or force reductions. It's not that the company didn't continue to lose U.S. workers, just that they stopped talking about it. ...

    First let's look at the layoff and force-reduction picture. Too many readers are fixated on that 150,000 number and on next week being the start of 2008. I get no joy from predicting large numbers of lost jobs, and reading the old column I'm not sure it wouldn't be just as correct to put the end date in May, a year after I wrote the original piece. But no matter. It would appear from my research that IBM is well on track to meet that job loss estimate if we include U.S. contractors in the number. ...

    IBM has been adding jobs like crazy this year in Argentina, Brazil, China, India and Russia -- all low-cost, low-benefit operations. In India alone, for example, the company says it has hired 20,000 additional employees in the last year, bringing IBM's Indian employment to 73,000 workers.

    Curiously, IBM seems incapable, however, of producing a number for either its current U.S. employees or total world employment. How is it the company can know how many workers it employs in India yet not know how many it employs in the United States?

    An old boss of mine once explained that it is always cheaper to get people to quit than to lay them off. Layoffs involve severance payments, retraining, and placement assistance, while quitting requires only accepting an ID badge and locking the door behind the departing employee. More employees have quit IBM this year than have been laid off. And it is not hard to see why. The work conditions are poor and the benefit situation is deteriorating to the extent that for many workers it may not be worth sticking around. IBM's pension plan dies next week, for example, to be replaced by a 401K plan.

    One supposed IBM employee who wrote to me this week claimed his pension was untouched, yet all it takes is a Google search to give public details of the pension conversion that has been in the works for more than a year and not at all a secret. A possible answer to this paradox is that the IBM employee in question is from Europe, where local laws make it difficult to fire employees for cause, much less strip them of their retirement benefits. Or maybe he's lucky enough to participate in a second IBM pension plan that isn't being converted, a plan the company doesn't like to talk about because it implies that some IBMers are better than other IBMers. ...

    There is one more aspect of IBM's medical insurance that is worth mentioning. IBM is not a good negotiator of its major business contracts. IBM does not get its various services at especially good prices. Many of IBM's contracts are usually part of a business exchange -- IBM provides hardware, software, and/or services in exchange for services from a company. On the surface it looks like a good deal. However, if you look at what IBM is actually getting and its price, it is usually not such a good deal. I suspect IBM's retirees are not getting the best possible price for their medical insurance.

    And changing retirement health benefits is a good way to encourage older employees to leave the company. Why stay?

    So IBM is getting rid of tens of thousands of U.S. jobs yet escapes public attention. Since most of these are experienced IT workers, one would assume they can get good jobs. WRONG! Thanks to the H1B visa program they can't. Or if they can, it is with terrible pay. The USA has more than enough IT workers for its needs. H1B shuts them out of those jobs. ...

    But IBM is the poster child for bad management. IBM's leadership appears transfixed on two things -- selling and cutting costs. They are pushing their sales force very hard and squeezing commissions at the same time. They are cutting everyone and everything. What IBM does not understand is how to run a business well. Everything and everyone in the company should be generating income for the corporation. The leadership should be coaching and facilitating this effort. Every line of business should be constantly monitored and there should be constant adjustments to ensure its short- and long-term success. IBM really doesn't do this. All decisions come from the top. There is no delegation of authority. Business units can flounder for years from neglect. When their financials begin to fail, they then get lots of help from the top -- the wrong type of help.

    Sadly there are many IBMers in Europe, Asia, and South America who think they are the future of the company. They see the big USA job cuts as proof THEY are better. But they aren't better, just cheaper -- and with the dollar falling maybe not cheaper for long. IBM management isn't going to listen to them either. In the end it is the CUSTOMER who pays IBM's bills and everyone's paychecks. It is not IBM or Wall Street. Business is about keeping customers happy, a trick the guys in Armonk seem to have forgotten. Or maybe they never knew.

  • New York Times: Labor Board Restricts Union Use of E-Mail. By Steven Greenhouse. Excerpts: The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that employers have the right to prohibit workers from using the company’s e-mail system to send out union-related messages, a decision that could hamper communications between labor unions and their membership. ...

    The ruling is a significant setback to the nation’s labor unions, which argued that e-mail systems have become a modern-day gathering place where employees should be able to communicate freely with co-workers to discuss work-related matters of mutual concern. ...

    “Anyone with e-mail knows that this is how employees communicate with each other in today’s workplace,” said Jonathan Hiatt, general counsel for the A.F.L.-C.I.O. “Outrageously in allowing employers to ban such communications for union purposes, the Bush labor board has again struck at the heart of what the nation’s labor laws were intended to protect — the right of employees to discuss working conditions and other matters of mutual concern.”

  • Forbes: The 400 Best Big Companies. Excerpt: This is our 10th year of selecting the 400 Best Big Companies in America. Our methodology for choosing the winners is so stringent that 165 companies from last year's 400 did not make the cut for 2008. Not only must companies pass our benchmarks for financial growth rates and returns, they must also meet our approval for their corporate governance, accounting standards and background checks. (Editor's note: IBM did not make Forbes list.)
  • Workforce Management: An Ever-Changing Workforce. Management Landscape Evolving trends such as greater consumerism in health care, tighter labor markets and calls for smarter investment in training and HR technology will keep workforce managers busy in 2007. By Leslie Gross Klaff. Excerpts: Companies today are dealing with all sorts of challenges that are shaping how they do business—a tighter labor force, the start of baby boomer retirement, talent shortages in certain professions and escalating health care costs.

    These challenges will shape how employers tackle an array of workforce demands, from recruiting to relocating employees to designing health care benefits. Here is a review of the most influential workforce management trends that companies will need to address in the coming year: ...

    Retirement benefits: The retirement benefits landscape will likely see a resurgence of cash-balance pension plans in the next few years, now that any legal uncertainty has been put to rest with the recent passage of the Pension Protection Act. Over the past few years, many companies froze or terminated their cash-balance plans because of a 2003 U.S. District Court ruling that said IBM’s cash-balance plan violated age-discrimination laws.

    As employers continue to move away from traditional pension plans, they find that cash-balance plans are more cost-effective, Glickstein says.

  • CNN/Money: Health Problems Hit India's Tech Workers. India's Outsourcing Industry Faces Growing Health Problems, From Obesity to Depression. Excerpts: The job came with a good salary, and good perks. But, 26-year-old Vaibhav Vats will tell you, it was doing him no good. His weight had grown to 265 pounds and he was missing out on social life as he worked long overnight hours at a call center. Eventually, he quit. "You are making nice money. But the tradeoff is also big," said Vats, who spent nearly two years at IBM Corp.'s call center arm in India, answering customer calls from the United States.

    Call centers and other outsourced businesses such as software writing, medical transcription and back-office work employ more than 1.6 million young men and women in India, mostly in their 20s and 30s, who make much more than their contemporaries in most other professions. They are, however, facing sleep disorders, heart disease, depression and family discord, according to doctors and several industry surveys.

  • Yahoo!'s IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "It's a Wonderful Life" by "ibmmike2006". Full excerpt: I just watched It's A Wonderful Life with Jimmie Stewart. A Frank Capra film from the 40's.

    My eyes well up every time I watch it. I hate that. However, the gist of the story is "doing the right thing". When it comes down to making a decision, when you do the right thing, you cannot regret that decision. When I look at IBM, the IBM executives in particular, and the board of directors like Chenault of American Express, who prey on the misfortunes of vulnerable people in the name of profit, I think they are pretty much, the character of Henry Potter in the film of Frank Capra. Only driven by profit, greed, and heh heh, the woes of those going through unfortunate circumstances.

    I meet people all the time of different financial well being. There for the grace of God go I. What do they have in common? Many times, it is illness, loss of job because of illness, and just bad luck. To not have empathy for those who have bad luck is a Sin.

    To not have empathy for those who have bad luck is a Sin. I also meet with people who have been blessed, they do not know anyone who has lost their job, or been disabled with an illness that prevents them from working. They have had a steady stream of income that increased annually. They sometimes, categorize those who rent, live at a low income level, as lazy, unintelligent, or someone without ambition. WRONG. I suggest those of you, like Nick Donofrio, Sam Palmisano, or Randy McDonald, son of Mr McDonald, go to a mission or a food pantry and see who walks through those doors looking for support and help.

    This is my Christmas Message to the IBM executives. Merry Christmas.

  • Economic Policy Institute: Retirement Security. By Ross Eisenbrey. Excerpts: The financial well-being of average Americans is under assault. Rising economic inequality and increasing economic pressure on the middle class from globalization, the decline in unionization, and bad public policies are threatening the financial security of average Americans in ways we haven't seen in more than 60 years.

    The Agenda for Shared Prosperity is examining every aspect of the American economy to understand its strengths and weaknesses, and to develop policies that will deliver a better result for the greatest number of our fellow citizens. Our guiding principle is that policies have to be at the scale of the problems they address.

    As part of the Agenda, we have examined retirement security, and as our new Briefing Papers in this area show, the problems are enormous. Retirement security has been a key part of the American dream, and bad public policy is now playing a huge role in undermining it.

    Thanks largely to Social Security, most Americans since the Second World War could expect to retire, to stop working before they die, and to enjoy several years of leisure at the end of their life. Increasingly, they could expect enough income from Social Security, pensions and other savings to maintain the standard of living they had while they worked, or at least something close to it. In fact, the average age of retirement fell dramatically from 1950 to 1970, from about 68 years of age to about 62.5 years, before leveling off. With growing unionization came shared prosperity and increasing pension coverage. Americans lived longer but were able to retire earlier.

    But those golden years are disappearing. The conservative "you're on your own" philosophy—what we call "yo-yo economics"—has accelerated the decline of traditional pension plans, the disappearance of employer-provided healthcare, and, ironically, an erosion of personal savings. Today fewer than 20% of private-sector workers are covered by a traditional pension, and the national savings rate is near zero.

    With fewer financial resources and fearful of losing health insurance, more and more of the elderly are remaining in the workforce. A quarter of those 65 and older worked in 1950, and by 1985 their employment rate had fallen to about 10%. Today it's 15% and rising. If we don't change federal policy, the dream of a decent retirement will be denied to more and more of our citizens, even as the productivity and wealth of the nation continue to increase. ...

    The second big policy problem has been that Congress has encouraged employers to replace traditional pension plans with individual account plans, shifting both the risk of investment loss and the cost of saving for retirement from the employer to the individual worker. A real pension guarantees a steady stream of income to retired workers—it does not shift risk onto individuals who may not be able to adequately manage it.

    A 401(k) plan or IRA guarantees nothing. They are, however, cheaper for employers, and they generate tremendous fees and profits for Wall Street and financial firms. They also particularly benefit the well-off. So it's easy to see how they have achieved a measure of political success. But 401(k)s do precious little for the average worker. After 20 years of experience we can say with confidence that 401(k) plans have not built broadly shared retirement security, but instead eroded it. The nation is richer than it was 20 years ago, yet Americans nearing retirement are less prepared than they were a generation ago, and the future looks even dimmer.

  • Forbes: More Baby Boomers Head to Mountain West. By Mead Gruver. Excerpts: YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. - John Kerr wasn't dreaming of palm trees and balmy winters when he retired from WGBH, the Boston public TV station known for producing such hits as "Antiques Roadshow." His thoughts had gone West. The 69-year-old put on a green uniform and Smokey Bear hat and became a seasonal ranger in Yellowstone National Park, where snow can fall every month of the year, including July. ...

    Demographers say thousands of people like Kerr are heading to the Rocky Mountain West in their later years. Forget the warmth of Florida and Arizona. Baby boomers, in particular, are gravitating toward the peaks and sagebrush basins of Wyoming and Montana, promising to turn these states from relatively young into two of the nation's oldest. ...

    Working was what Lee and Beth Dix had in mind in 1999 when they began thinking about leaving Washington, D.C., where he was a systems analyst for IBM Corp. and she was a corporate planner for Fairchild Corp.

    Lee Dix, 62, said the couple researched dozens of communities in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, then flew to Denver and started driving. The couple ended up in Cheyenne, the first overnight stop on their trip.

  • New York Times: U.S. Ruling Backs Benefit Cut at 65 in Retiree Plans. By Robert Pear. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Wednesday that employers could reduce or eliminate health benefits for retirees when they turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare.

    The policy, set forth in a new regulation, allows employers to establish two classes of retirees, with more comprehensive benefits for those under 65 and more limited benefits — or none at all — for those older.

    More than 10 million retirees rely on employer-sponsored health plans as a primary source of coverage or as a supplement to Medicare, and Naomi C. Earp, the commission’s chairwoman, said, “This rule will help employers continue to voluntarily provide and maintain these critically important health benefits.” ...

    But AARP and other advocates for older Americans attacked the rule. “This rule gives employers free rein to use age as a basis for reducing or eliminating health care benefits for retirees 65 and older,” said Christopher G. Mackaronis, a lawyer for AARP, which represents millions of people age 50 or above and which had sued in an effort to block issuance of the final regulation. “Ten million people could be affected — adversely affected — by the rule.”

  • Watson-Wyatt: New law on phased retirement approved. Excerpt: Workers who choose to phase in their retirement will be eligible to receive pension payments and continue to accrue benefits under broader budget legislation approved by the Canadian government on December 14, 2007. The new law, effective immediately, could provide a valuable financial tool to help employers compete in a tight labor market and retain skilled workers.

    The law gives workers in defined benefit registered pension plans the right to receive bridging benefits on a stand-alone basis or up to 60 percent of their accrued pension while they continue to accrue additional benefits. The 60 percent limit will be based on the amount of lifetime pension benefits (and bridging benefits) that the employee would receive if he or she was taking full retirement.

  • New York Times: AOL to End Support of Netscape Navigator. Excerpt: Netscape Navigator, the world’s first commercial Web browser and the starting point of the Internet boom, will be pulled off life support Feb. 1 after a 13-year run.
News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
Minimize
  • New York Times: Medicare Private Plan Abuses. Excerpts: Heavily subsidized private Medicare plans are continuing to prey on elderly Americans despite state, federal and industry efforts to stop them. It is yet another reason to rein in these operations by eliminating their unjustified subsidies.

    These plans are a financial drag on Medicare as the government pays them about 12 percent more, on average, than the same services would cost in the traditional Medicare program. All too often, the private plans are an ethical horror as well.

    As Robert Pear reported in The Times last week, unscrupulous insurance agents have tricked people into dropping traditional Medicare coverage and enrolling instead in private plans that do not meet their needs. Agents typically receive $350 to $600 for each patient they enroll in a private plan. Some try to boost sales by pretending to be Medicare officials, forging signatures or hiding the fact that a patient’s doctor will not be part of the private plan. Others barge into homes and use high-pressure tactics to push poor, semiliterate people into a private plan.

  • Boston Globe: Firms find ways around state health law. By Alice Dembner. Excerpts: To comply with the new state insurance law, a Burger King franchisee in Boston expanded coverage from just his salaried staff to all full-timers. To control his costs, he halved the share he pays. Only three of the 27 newly eligible employees took the insurance; others say they can't afford it.

    A large human service provider toughened eligibility for coverage in response to the new law, requiring employees to work 30 hours a week to qualify. That took away the option of work-based coverage for nearly 100 low-wage workers, but made them eligible for cheaper, state-subsidized insurance. It could reduce the company's costs while increasing the state's.

    Another employer split his firm into separate corporations, each with fewer than 11 full-time employees, according to his insurance broker. That way he does not have to offer insurance, nor pay a fine.

    Businesses from Boston to the Berkshires are responding to the state's landmark health insurance initiative in ways that could help it succeed - or stumble. Policy makers are watching and waiting, but said they will act if many employers dodge their obligations.

  • New York Times: States’ Widening of Health Care Hits Roadblocks. By Kevin Sack. Excerpts: SACRAMENTO — A year that began with great ambition for major expansions of health insurance here and in other state capitals is ending with considerable uncertainty, as a second wave of change runs headlong into a darkening economy and political divisions over how to apportion the cost.

    Though the governors of three big states — California, Illinois and Pennsylvania — proposed sweeping plans to restructure health care this year, none will finish 2007 with bills passed and signed. In each state, the initiatives confronted entrenched opposition from insurance and other business lobbies that made it far more difficult to build a consensus for change than in the smaller New England states that acted in recent years.

  • Washington Post: Health Care Pushed to Fore By Calif. Vote. Senate to Debate House-Passed Bill As the Feb. 5 Primaries Draw Near. By Karl Vick. Excerpts: The universal health insurance package that one chamber of California's legislature passed this week looks a lot like the one Massachusetts not only passed but put in place a year earlier: Every resident will be required to have insurance, every employer must pitch in, and no one can be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. ...

    Still, the issue of health care has the ability to create the kind of stories that force reactions from candidates. Just this week, news organizations focused on a 17-year-old girl who died on Thursday hours after her insurance company reversed its decision to deny her request for a liver transplant.

    Nataline Sarkisyan had leukemia and received a bone marrow transplant from her brother. But she developed complications that caused her liver to fail. Cigna HealthCare, her insurer, turned down a request earlier this month to pay for a transplant, saying the procedure was experimental. Though Cigna reversed itself in the face of protests, including a rally of 150 teenagers and nurses outside its offices, Sarkisyan died several hours later at the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center. On Friday, her parents said they will sue Cigna.

  • The Commonwealth Fund: Health of Previously Uninsured Adults After Acquiring Medicare Coverage. By J. Michael McWilliams, M.D., Ellen Meara, Ph.D., Alan M. Zaslavsky, Ph.D., John Z. Ayanian, M.D., M.P.P. Excerpts: Health care coverage leads to dramatic improvement in health trends for previously uninsured older individuals, particularly those with cardiovascular disease or diabetes, according to a Commonwealth Fund-supported study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    A team of Harvard Medical School researchers assessed the effect of acquiring Medicare coverage on the health of previously uninsured adults. In the article, "Health of Previously Uninsured Adults After Acquiring Medicare Coverage" (Journal of the American Medical Association, Dec. 26, 2007), J. Michael McWilliams, M.D., and his colleagues present the strongest evidence to date that health improves significantly when people gain health insurance. For example, for every 100 uninsured adults with heart disease or diabetes before age 65, the researchers found that with Medicare coverage they had 10 fewer major cardiac complications, such as heart attack or heart failure, than would be expected by age 72. ...

    "Our findings have important policy implications," the authors note in their JAMA article. "Proposals to extend insurance coverage to uninsured near-elderly adults have been introduced in the U.S. Congress and endorsed by the American College of Physicians. Providing earlier health insurance coverage for uninsured adults, particularly those with cardiovascular disease or diabetes, may have considerable social and economic value for the United States by improving health outcomes."

New on the Alliance@IBM Site:
Minimize
  • From the Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comment 12/23/07: I am sure there are trolls out here like any site but I am not one of them. I was on this site for years, getting my co workers to join Alliance. IBM needs a Union in a bad bad way with the way they treat people. Unfortunately in my 8 years of fighting it didn't happen. I did everything I could to convince people to join up, while at the same time was constantly stressed out, on call all the time, paged out during holidays and 2am, weekends, holidays, etc. I didn't think it was a good thing when I was RA'd but now when I see how you can be treated by a good company I would never consider working for Big Blow ever again. IBM was a bad experience in my career but I can move on now. Good luck to all who are still there and Happy Holidays. I wish the best for all of you. -So happy I'm gone-
    • Comment 12/24/07: HoHoHo from IBM to NS employees caught up in the AT&T deal.. Word is that 1/2/08 is the day letter should go about on the IBM/AT&T scam... What a way to start the year@! -HoHoHoNSIBM-
    • Comment 12/26/07: Now that GTS Sales and Delivery units are organized by SPLs, they can be sold off easily. Server SPL is the first to go. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 12/26/07: I'm beginning to hear rumors that the wipro/igs deal is going to be announced 1/15. Anyone hear anything else? -miss understanding-
    • Comment 12/27/07: Thanks Anon. In india also IBM started firing people(ELTPs). We started working on Saturdays. 2008 we are expecting more job cuts here as 4500 employees in bench -Banga-
    • Comment 12/27/07: I am an In-Scope IBM NSD employee who will be going to AT&T. I just received a phone call from my manager saying that the contract with IBM and AT&T was signed today 12/27/2007 and that AT&T job offer letters will be forthcoming via e-mail. The final date to accept the AT&T job offer is 14 days from now on 1/10/2008. -In Scope Employee-
    • Comment 12/28/07: I am still surprised by the reaction and gullibility of many IBMers. Can't they read the title of the department IBM management has designated as THEIR advocates? It's called "Human Resources" not"Human Assets". You are a resource, a tool and disposable item, not an asset to grow, nurture or keep. -Disposable-
    • Comment 12/28/07: People who joined on or after the month of feb 2007 as a fresher have been asked by IBM to write a 2 hr exam (aptitude and tech).Many of these people in projects but asked to write exams with intention of firing 20% of employees(ELTPS). Big joke is if the person is in java competency he has to write cobol, cics vis versa. Many of the contract employees already fired(80%). -banga-
    • Comment 12/29/07: at&t job offers are out, I just got mine. They emailed them around midnight Friday (nice touch). Same salary. They include a spreadsheet that shows our "total compensation package". They assume a 12% bonus... I think I heard the same B.S. during the IBM orientations. 401k match is in stock, of which you're not vested in till 3 years down the road. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 12/29/07: I have not seen any posts about this one yet. I was part of the group RA'd from the 300MM engineering groups on Oct 1. Like many of the folks dumped I had 25+ years. In mid November IBM started running adds for new hires with 2-3 years experience to become Process and Equipment Engineers in the sectors the older engineers were dumped from. Isn't' this blatant age discrimination ? Or is this just the new American way? Sure didn't see anything in the papers. All you non exempt IBM folks are foolish for not going Union. -Hummbee-
  • General Visitor's Comment page:
    • Comment 12/26/07: TO NEW YORK FISHKILL SCREWED EMPLOYEE OF THE HOLIDAYS- IBM doesn't give a rat's ass about you or your family. They only throw us a bone every now and then to keep us producing and running on that hamster wheel until they decide to lay us off. It sounds like you are really annoyed (and I don't blame you). Quit complaining and do something. Either join the union and work to get the other sheep to join, or leave the company and start someplace else. -Annoyed in NY-
    • Comment 12/27/07: Annoyed in NY is correct. IBM does not give a damn about your family or YOU for that matter. Last January my girlfriend's son was killed in a car accident. My manager knew exactly what we were going through yet that didn't stop him from putting me on the RA list in May. That young man may have not been my son but he and my girlfriend are family to me. My manager knew I was doing all I could do to take care of business all the while taking care of my grieving girlfriend. I know this is a business but this really put into perspective the evils of this company. IBM execs can go to HELL. AND if I ever run across any of you low life scum in public, I will make it a point to shame you and embarrass you in front of your friends and family like you did to me. -Anon-
    • Comment 12/30/07: To Anon: I am really sorry to hear about your loss. I am appalled that IBM management treated you with a RA when they should have had at least an ounce of compassion for your situation. It would be something to hear what Mr. Palmisano would reply to you about this at the next IBM Stockholder's meeting, if you are a stockholder that is. Supposedly he still makes it clear that he does "care" about stockholders. Well that might be a rumor now though. -Anonymous-
  • Pension Comments page
    • Comment 12/27/07: This post is neither an attempt to malign IBM's upcoming actions with regard to the employee's Pension Plan, nor is it to defend IBM's actions. I'm simply posting what should not come as a surprise to anyone. In today's America, with regard to corporate pension plans, the traditional meaning of retirement has vanished. Retirement as we once knew it has ended. By shifting away from defined benefit plans, American corporations have placed the burden of a lifetime of work on their employee's shoulders. The average American is not prepared to be an investment expert. Corporate employee's are not saving enough money so as to be able to retire and maintain the standard of living they enjoyed at the time of their retirement. Like IBM, many large corporations have stepped back from the pension promises made to their employee's, except of course, if you are the CEO. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 12/28/07: America has had recessions and inflationary periods and economic down periods where business bottom line profits suffered but the companies that offered pensions didn't change pension plans, freeze pension plans, or terminate/abandon too many of the employee pensions. Why now are we seeing that pensions are no longer being offered? Perhaps companies know American workers are largely weak and naive and cannot even be compared to sheep (since sheep do know how to flock together to protect themselves the best they can). So if the average American worker doesn't flock together to protect what benefits, like a pension, that are offered by an employer these benefits will surely vanish.

      Does anyone ever think hard about this: Why did any company or corporation decide to offer any regular employee a pension in the first place?

      Does anyone wish to answer this now? The average American worker will have no pensions and probably no retirement security unless they know the real value of what a pension provides. You can bet all CEOs and corporate executives will continue to have a pension so they can retire! Yes, they are very different than the average American worker: they demand a sure thing. They still get a sure thing. They demand retirement and retirement security without living with the fear of having their retirement income be at the mercy and whims of the bets placed in the ca$ino stock market . Why can't the average American worker WAKE UP and demand and get the same treatment??? -Anonymous-

    • Comment 12/28/07: Why did any corporation decide to offer employees a pension in the first place? The concept was to reward long-time employment and loyalty, but the workforce dynamic has changed since the time of our parents generation. Modern corporations don't want long term employees, and today's younger generation of workers are naively willing to assume the risk of managing their pension funds themselves. They also want portability, meaning they want to take their pension money with them when they accommodate their latest employers wishes by leaving. However the idea of expecting everyone to be an investment expert is crazy. -Anonymous-

      Alliance Reply: To answer your first question: just for the record, many companies that offered a pension to their employees, during the 1950's-1970's; were trying to head off any union organizing. IBM, supposedly modeled their employee benefits and amenities after many of the major unionized workforces in the industrialized USA, for that very reason. There was a shoe company (Endicott-Johnson) in upstate NY that also offered a generous benefits package previous to IBM's model during the 1930's and 1940's. That company fought unionization as well. Ironically, even with that model, IBM Europe still had to accept trade unions and works councils within their shops in France, Germany, Italy and even Japan, that still exist today.

  • Raise and Salary Comments
    • Comment 12/26/07: Salary = 13000; Band Level = 6d; Job Title = sr system engineer; Years Service = 3; Hours/Week = 42.5; Div Name = india; Location = bangalore; Message = Having 6 years exp. salary 13000$per annum -test-
    • Comment 12/27/07: Salary = 170000 AUD ($149,000 US) ; Band Level = 9; Job Title = Consultant; Years Service = 0; Hours/Week = 50; Div Name = GBS; Location = Sydney; Message = 1 -jon-
    • Comment 12/30/07: Did anyone at least get a fruitcake from IBM management for the holidays as a holiday gift or bonus? -blue_blue_holidays -
  • PBC Comments
  • International Comments
    • Comment 12/27/07: Country = Ireland; Union Affiliate = server; Job Title = engineer dept; . IBM Division = server; Message = Hi guys, this is an unreal time in dublin...warehouse full with cancel's and no orders, HE is dead and I would say the end is here...no way it can continue.........IBM is a joke....well guys happy new year as it may be the last in IBM, ANYONE AGREE -Anonymous-
    • Comment 12/28/07: Country = ireland; Union Affiliate = ireland; Job Title = server; IBM Division = server; Message = yep 100% spot on.this place is gone gone gone the ring of fire the ring of fire. bring on 2008 new job no more ibm heh heh -Cisco101-
Vault Message Board Posts:
Minimize

Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC.

Modern-Day Robber Baron Corner:
Minimize

noneToday'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!

  • Wall Street Journal: For Sale: Estate in Hamptons, $65 Million. By Christina S.N. Lewis. Excerpts: A Southampton, N.Y., estate formerly owned by Martin "Marty" Richards, who produced the Oscar-winning 2002 film "Chicago" and many Broadway plays, has just gone on the market for $65 million. The current owner, a European businessman, paid Mr. Richards $23 million for the estate in 2003, records show, and spent more than $25 million overhauling the property with the help of interior designer Robert Couturier, says Sotheby's Beate Moore, the listing broker.

    The six-acre oceanfront estate on Gin Lane includes a 13,000-square-foot, eight-bedroom main house and a 7,500-square-foot "guest house" with three bedroom suites, staff quarters and a four-car garage. With more than 400 feet on the ocean, the grounds include a pool and spa, a self-watering clay tennis court and a lily pond.

If you hire good people and treat them well, they will try to do a good job. They will stimulate one another by their vigor and example. They will set a fast pace for themselves. Then if they are well led and occasionally inspired, if they understand what the company is trying to do and know they will share in its sucess, they will contribute in a major way. The customer will get the superior service he is looking for. The result is profit to customers, employees, and to stcckholders. —Thomas J. Watson, Jr., from A Business and Its Beliefs: The Ideas That Helped Build IBM.

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.