The tort lawsuit claims that the plant released hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxic and hazardous chemicals, including trichloroethylene (TCE), into the air, soil, and groundwater of Endicott, the birthplace of IBM, and the nearby town of Union over several decades.
A "toxic plume" continues to expose residents to hazardous vapors, according to the lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court for the State of New York in Broome County. More lawsuits, alleging wrongful death and personal injury, among other claims, are expected to be filed in coming months, the lawyers said a statement.
Ms. Krueger's response: IBM specifically designed the old pension plan to do that. This design was specifically found to be age discriminatory in Cooper v IBM, partly because we located a speech given by an IBM vice president to the Society of Actuaries in 1994 explaining the plan was designed to motivate older employees to quit without the expense of creating golden parachutes.
While there is still a fair amount of legal controversy over the question of whether cash balance plans are age discriminatory according to the age discrimination tests in ERISA, IBM never contested that the 1995 plan was age discriminatory -- that is why they were willing to settle part of the Cooper lawsuit without an appeal. The settlement added a small amount to each pension calculated with the 1995 formula, with more being added to employees who were older and more impacted by the discriminatory aspects of the formula. It did not adjust the base formula or eliminate the inherent discrimination.
The reason more employees didn't notice the discriminatory behavior, besides their belief that the company Watson founded would never do such a thing, is that the default ESTIMATR assumption included a yearly raise, which offset the pension decrease making it less noticeable.
I would be interested in hearing how the IBM plan administrator responds to your letter; technically, you are entitled to the highest possible pension amount, even if you decide to work past the age when the pension starts declining, because federal ERISA law says your vested pension amount can never be reduced. Unfortunately, fighting for that to happen might get expensive... )-;
But I have never seen any explanation of how the monthly pension benefit for a specific employee could decline as they worked additional years.
The PCF formula for the annual benefit is: 5-year-avg-salary x points / conversion factor / 100.
Since your (highest) 5 year average salary will not decrease the more years you work, that can't be the cause of a reduction. Since the points cannot decrease, that can't cause a reduction.
And the conversion factor gets smaller for each year you increase in age, until it reaches 10.918 at age 60. That can only cause the pension amount to increase, not decrease.
While it is possible that the pension estimator program is giving erroneous results, I have never seen that in my own calculations, and I always run a worst case set using 0% salary increase.
So can you explain how the PCF plan is designed to decrease our pension benefit the longer we work? I can't see how this can be based on my own estimator results and my own hand calculations using the plan formula.
Do you have anything that shows a worse conversion factor than what is given in the tables in the Sept 1, 2007 USHR113 SPD document?
The payments are disclosed in a Cognos statement to shareholders who vote on the deal Jan.14. Mr. Ashe, who led the campaign to sell the software champion of the Ottawa and Canadian technology industry, gets a severance package of $1.98 million to stay through the first year followed by a $5.7-million retention bonus over three years. He also gets $23 million in stock options and restricted stock units buyouts. He plans to convert some of the options into new IBM options. Next in line is chief operating officer Les Rechan who gets $15 million in benefits, including $4.75 million to stick with IBM, a company that he once worked at. The other top executives to get retention deals are Peter Griffiths, senior vice-president of products, and marketing vice-president David Laverty. Chief financial officer Tom Manley and chief legal officer John Jussup won't be staying with IBM. They will get severance packages once they complete a six-month transition period with IBM. Mr. Ashe and two other executives will also get $7.6 million as Cognos pension plans are wound up and as a tax assistance for non-Canadian residents.
But that number obscures an important fact: The real total of visas issued to highly skilled workers is closer to 400,000 annually, according to the federal Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) agency. And that, say some critics, may mean that the law is being abused
There are two reasons the number is so large.
First, the H1-B visa cap has a built-in exemption that allows an additional 20,000 workers who have graduated from U.S. universities with an advanced degree (master’s or higher) to enter every year.
Second — and the biggest reason — is the use of L-1 visas, which are granted to executives and workers with specialized skills employed by multinational companies. Because there is no cap on L-1 visas issued each year, the numbers have soared. In the last three years, an average of 315,000 L-1 visas have been issued each year. ...
But the vast number of workers admitted with L-1 visas has critics suspecting that companies — Indian outsourcing firms in particular —are using them as a back door to bring in lower-paid workers to do jobs that could be performed by Americans, rather than for the intended purposes of staff rotation.
"It's clear that foreign outsourcing firms are abusing the system, and we can't let that continue," Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) said earlier this year as Congress debated immigration reform. Here’s what upset him: According to immigration records, 14 of 20 companies whose employees were granted the most L-1 visas were offshore outsourcing firms, including Tata Consultancy, Satyam Computer Services, Wipro, and Infosys Technologies.
We need to open our eyes to the flip side of this coin before it's too late.
In the 1990s, we were told not to worry, that globalization was only affecting low-paying jobs Americans did not want, and that they would be getting the plum jobs in information technology. That worked for a while, but now we are outsourcing - thus lying off American workers - at an ever increasing pace, in an ever-increasing variety of jobs.
Microsoft not long ago fired 300 workers in Silicon Valley, while hiring 3,000 workers in Bangalore, India, and investing $1.7 billion there. Somebody please wake up Bill Gates and explain those jobs are jobs Americans don't want - don't want to lose!
Now, we are told that in this "new economy" education and technological development are the keys to competing globally, and that Americans will get the good-paying jobs yet to be created. These "yet to be created" jobs are never defined, and neither are we told when they will be available. Apparently the "experts" have forgotten that India alone graduates more engineers that the U.S., United Kingdom, Germany and France combined. And they, and China, are ready, willing and able to fill available jobs, anywhere. ...
Capitalism made the United States great. We used to import raw materials and sell finished products to the rest of the world. Now, we're exporting our raw materials - technology and capital - and by setting up manufacturing plants, mostly in China, and then importing practically every finished product they produce, we have created the so-called Chinese economic "miracle," while the U.S. is becoming an economic Third World country. Our American workers are being forgotten. ...
We cannot compete with countries like China that have the economic advantage of very low wages, currency manipulation, one-way free trade, no tariffs, a disregard for intellectual property rights, and a disregard for workers' safety, health and retirement. Every foreign investment in China must be a joint venture with the Chinese government as a majority partner. Furthermore, we give China, and others, our latest technology and provide them with venture capital. China must respect market-economy rules, and the playing field must be leveled for a global economy to find its balance and function properly.
The enormous and out-of-control trade deficit is reaching crisis proportions. Thanks to the huge imbalance of trade, China is amassing enormous amounts of U.S. dollar reserves. Both China and India are using these dollar reserves to expand into highly sophisticated technology, and they plan on being innovators, not just reproducers. ,,,
The U.S. is now in economic hibernation, living off its fat - the real wealth created in the past, plus the artificial wealth produced by creative finances.
How can "globalization," this unique situation in which one or two countries will be producing almost all the goods for the rest of the world, be the right prescription for a healthy world economy?
In reporting its second-quarter earnings on July 26 of this year, Embarq said it would eliminate medical coverage and Medicare premium subsidies for Medicare-eligible retirees and dependents, effective Jan. 1.
It also capped life insurance benefits through company-sponsored plans for qualified retirees to $10,000, effective Jan. 1, and eliminated life insurance coverage for retirees receiving benefits through a subsidiary company plan, effective Sept. 1.
The company said the changes would reduce post-retirement benefit expenses by $20 million for the rest of the year and save the company $30 million a year beginning in 2008.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argue that the company violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, by unlawfully revoking the long-standing benefit plan.
They also claimed that company officials told employees their benefits were protected for life and encouraged some of them to retire before changes to the plan occurred in 2001.
The decision, it turns out, is complicated by both gender and marital status. Your timing can have a major bearing on your finances in retirement.
Then on June 30, 1948, they held a press conference in New York City. They showed the world not only a big model of a transistor but also a TV and a radio with transistors in place of the tubes. Nobody was talking about anything like computers yet, but it was a first look at the future we all live in. The world's response? The New York Times ran an item at the bottom of its "News of Radio" column on page 46.
They also took an extra premium out of my pension after I had switched to the retiree plan. It took a long time to get it right. In looking at the retiree dental plan I see that I'll only be covered for one crown every 5 years.
As for plan summaries, I found the pension summary to be less than useful. I received significantly less in my check so I questioned it. I asked for the ESC's calculations and did one based on the plan summary example.
I was told the calculation for service points was not as shown in the summary example but that the previous ESC calculation was not correct either. Eventually (6 mos) I received what was in my original estimate document, but it was never explained to my satisfaction. I am very wary of IBM's benefits administration contractors.
Business leaders stir nervously when talk turns to undoing ERISA, a type of health plan that shields businesses from state and local regulation. Courts have struck down state efforts to mandate employer health care benefits in Maryland, New York and, in a ruling Wednesday, San Francisco.
"The No. 1 fear among business, when it comes to health care reform, is that they'll lose their ERISA protections," said Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health.
The Dept. of Managed Health Care on two occasions asked Health Net officials whether they offered incentives to employees to cancel policies and was told incorrectly that there were no such programs, department spokeswoman Lynne Randolph said. California law does not allow insurance companies to compensate claims reviewers for decisions they make on claims. ...
Commentary by Don McCanne, MD: UnitedHealth spokesman Tyler Mason’s statement that they are helping consumers by holding down health insurance inflation applies only to healthy consumers who clear their underwriting standards. What about the consumers who really count, those who need health care? The private insurers not only leave them exposed to actual health care inflation, but they also add the impact of adverse selection, having siphoned off the healthy who are needed to dilute the costs of the sick.
Medical underwriting is not only perverse in its impact, it is also an expensive, wasteful administrative service found only in the private sector. It is a concept that does not even exist in a public insurance program since the mission of a public program is to prevent financial barriers to health care - for everyone, not just the healthy.
One study by researchers at Harvard Medical School, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that uninsured near-elderly people got sicker at a faster rate than comparable people with insurance. Those disparities were sharply reduced when people turned 65 and became eligible for Medicare. Those who previously had insurance reported no significant change in their health as they transitioned to Medicare, but those with little or no prior coverage reported a substantial slowing of the decline of their health. It was strong proof of the value of Medicare’s universal coverage for elderly Americans.
The restrictions mirror those the administration placed on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program in August after states tried to broaden eligibility for it as well
Until now, states had generally been free to set their own Medicaid eligibility criteria, and the Bush administration had not openly declared that it would apply the August directive to Medicaid. State officials in Louisiana, Ohio and Oklahoma said they had discovered the administration’s intent in negotiations with the federal government over the last few weeks.
In late December, acting in accord with a favorable appeals court decision, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that employers could drop coverage of older retirees or offer them plans that would supplement Medicare or comparable state insurance programs while providing better benefits to younger retirees. The age-discrimination issues may still have to be adjudicated by the Supreme Court but as a matter of sound public policy the new regulation makes sense. ...
The regulation is clearly unfair to people who were willing to accept lower wages while working in return for lifetime health benefits that may now evaporate. Their spouses and dependents could also suffer if they are not eligible for Medicare when the retiree turns 65. Such dependents may well inflate the ranks of the uninsured, making it all the more imperative that the nation move toward universal health coverage.
I suggest you borrow from the library or buy a copy of Paul Krugman's latest book, "The Conscience of a Liberal"...even if you don't consider yourself to be a liberal. He explains in very clear terms how the screwing of the American middle class by the filthy rich has been in the works for decades. It's a real eye opener for people that haven't been paying attention, which is 99% of the population. -Anonymous-
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:
They said they will review the bands in the next few months. I don't know what that really means. My questions to you folks:
As for the travel ... well if you didn't travel before IBM, maybe you will just continue as is. But everyone is on notice, and the management is very clear about this, that travel is a condition of the job, and refusal to travel is grounds for dismissal.
It is rare that IBM allows a transfer from an outsourced IT org to the consulting side of the business - that's not to say it can't be done. Maybe someone on the consulting side of the business will comment.
Reviewing bands is called rebanding - almost always that means dropping people to a lower band, which can means your pay is frozen for an extended length of time until your pay fits back within the new band you're placed in. Bands are ranges of pay which map to various skill levels. Example band 8 is a range of pay which is for more highly skilled work than a band 6 range of pay.
You will find that IBM is an abysmal place to work - it's worth paying the subscription fee here to see the variety of comments. If you're not in management, stop over at http://www.allianceibm.org/ and navigate the left side to the "Your comments" link and read through the comments to see what you're getting into. Good luck.
However, BobTO99, you are sounding a little naive. IBM employee relations are at a low now, and you just cannot assume that there is any real interest in you or what you can do for IBM beyond the IBM Finance bean counters' simplistic view of the world. Do get a job search going, just don't be frantic about it. I hate to say this, and it is a general comment beyond just IBM: straight tech jobs in the US, be they infrastructure or development, are being devalued. I don't see that changing anytime soon. You would probably be better off as an independent.
What is happing at IBM with rebadged employees is exactly what DOR says. Their skills are being used to train Ravi or Antonio if possible. They will then be LEAN'd to the ex IBM'er junk yard. The only relationship I would ever have with IBM again is as a contract employee. I know I am just a cog. But at least I will get paid for the extra hours.
Then they got into Second Life based on our advice:
Then they gave GBS and GTS the keys to all of their infrastructure and their IT operations:
So with all this expertise from the key personnel, methods and thought leadership from the retail practices, we get... "Wage Management", a losing strategy so far:
We'll see what the results of millions of dollars of IBM Consulting expertise in the last 4 years will bring to Circuit City.
On the POS side, growth is beginning to stagnate now that IBM has given up its signature OS to a VAR/VAD out of South Carolina. The loss of C development to Lenovo and the now rising competition from Fujitsu and Dell will eventually force the services businesses out of their cozy spot there. The only potential bright spot is data mining, but that's the realm of Software Group and the STG crowd.
Don't take my word for it. Check the facts. Ask your retail client executives today what they think of IBM and whether they think the retail practices can be their strategic trusted advisor.
and the circus plays on, and on, and etc., etc. while IBM collects more money. I still don't understand why more of IBM's customers haven't run the other way when they see IBM coming. Why would anyone who has industry contacts of any kind actually believe that IBM is capable of delivering on any project? Not to say that there aren't still pockets of success for IBM but the overall picture is SO dismal. Just like IBM advertising.... if you saw any of the newer ads over the holidays you would like complete morons are in charge of spending IBM marketing dollars. Could these TV and print ads be any worse?
Several new open source companies are being led by recent IBM Websphere Distinguished Engineers, like WSO2.
IMH, I believe the "wave" won't be visible, I think until late January or early February, when teams start getting back together from the holidays and the last of the folks leaving announce their departures. About 60-70% appear to not even announce their departure and gave only 2 week notices. I have been told that many of the oldsters that made many runs of the pension estimator showed it would take a few more months for the pension freeze to take hold.
I also believe the company really wants to get rid of its Americas based B9-B10 older technical skills. That's part of the cost containment strategy. It was very interesting that Cringely, in his latest article, has noticed that IBM Communications has been reticent, if not flat out refused to talk about its Americas headcount numbers.
Maybe since you are closer to the IBM Communications team than I am you could get them to announce that there hasn't been any "significant" loss of people leaving in late 2007?
Does this sound to you like GBS has more headcount at the skilled high end levels in GBS North America? Doesn't sound like a headcount growth strategy to me!
I have found this to only be true in groups that are suppose to do “management/ strategy consulting.” S&C, parts of HC, parts of FM, etc. The technology services focused groups do not seem to have this same problem.
In fact, since most of the so contracts are vaguely worded, ambiguous in their "definitions," and sometimes self-contradictory, it's no wonder that the customer (and IBM) can interpret what is meant any damn way they choose. It's a pox on everyone's house: I can't blame the customer for feeling ripped off, and I can't blame IBM Delivery for trying to salvage what profitability they can.
Of course, the customer and IBM can be blamed in contract negotiation for slipping in junk that they KNOW will cause disputes down the road, and for lacking the guts and the fortitude to produce clean, readable, and transparent documents.
As we continue to evolve into a Globally Integrated Enterprise, the quality of our GBS team will prove to be our greatest asset. Therefore, it's incumbent upon each of us to continue to seek out opportunities to develop new skills and stretch ourselves. Please spend some time thinking about how you can personally continue to up your game. Collectively achieving this next level of performance will enable us to truly pull ahead of the competition.
The only hard detail is the number of focus accounts, which is cut by more than a half. Is this a growth strategy? IMWO, I think it's more like an admission of the lack of resources due to problems in retention and hiring to the extent that they can't cover in 2008 what they covered in 2007.
GBS appears to be constricting and handing over the consulting business to business partners and the competition. Looks like the growth and fun in this business segment is rapidly moving to being a services professional and consultant inside a business partner.
In other words, we're cash cowing that Line Of Business.
Another way to look at it is that senior management has realized that more than half their existing client base are so unlikely to buy anything more from IBM that it isn't worth the expense of aggressively marketing to them.
I think they've pretty much squeezed all the juice out of the perform staff, and the only short term cost optimizations left is to chop the sales staff, which will make this years numbers materially better ... but it won't do great things for next year, and more so the year after.
Does senior management have one last wave of LG granted options to cash in on this year, followed by significantly smaller grants for next year ? That would be an alternative explanation for the behavior.
You appear to be placing the blame for anti-success and underground sub-cultures on past bad IBM management. I have experienced some good and bad managers at IBM as well as at two other large corporations and I know that bad management decisions cause long-lasting negative effects. That is unfortunate but I know it happens. My experience is that the bad IBM senior managers are no worse than the bad senior managers at other large companies. I think that anyone that wants to shop around for Utopia in the world of big business is welcome to try it. I think that anyone who cannot live with some bad senior managers and believes they can do better and wants to start their own firm is welcome to try it. I think that if anyone wants to retire on the job or sabotage the company and can still look themselves in the mirror and have a clear conscience then I think they are doing themselves and the company a big disservice.
I think there are enough good senior managers left at IBM that the effects of the saboteurs will be less and less over time. If I did not believe that I would already be gone from here.
Now you are using the typical MBA brainwashed excuse for bad leadership. The blame cannot be management since not all managers are not bad, some are good. You are starting with the premise that a company cannot be inherently bad, just be maligned because of a few bad managers. Don't forget that the legal purpose of a corporation is to deflect legal liability from individuals and to legally avoid taxes. According to you, a company can be redeemed if only you work the system. You have "humanized" the brand into a good, comfortable emotional crutch.
Just like communism, a company like IBM cannot be redeemed. The only way to fix it is to force its brand failure in the market place which will institute revolutionary change that will eventually decapitate and dishonor the ingrained, self adulated leadership.
First of all, IBM is very hierarchically controlled. This came about way before your time and just after I arrived, when there was an attempt at corporate directional change and innovation which was considered by the then senior leadership an act of insubordination. In one Friday night, every leader of the company above a certain level and below a certain level (let's call it around the director level) was canned. What that famous action did was force every manager into submission. So now, every manager must follow the directive and be part of the collective or they are canned very quickly. In essence, fear of reprisal oils the wheels of progress of the company. Even the "Extreme Blue" program has a way to instill that fear....in the "Staying Extreme" document they say "we will always be watching you"....so toe the line. You must lead, but always team. Give up your individuality. Where do you think the old IBM term "You can be a wild duck as long as you stay in formation" comes from? They just re-packaged it for Gen Y and Z consumption with the new words of innovate and team!
In my 30+ years in the pig, I met many good senior executives. However, I met not one morally driven and unafraid leader. When you go from middle management to senior leadership you surrender your conscience and your morality for the good of the team (formation). Some can do it readily (and acquire a taste for greed and meanness) and some need drink, sex or other "assistance" to keep going.
IBM has good managers. The problem is that in a hierarchical big business there is no room for good, just subservience without conscience, always following the orders from above while you scheme to get a better position. In a hierarchical multi-national big business, you truly sell your soul to the devil of financial greed.
You are right, there is no utopia in big business. There is only cruel, heartless leadership, desperate workers eager to leave and ignorant adulation from those who don't know which camp they are in yet.
Don't worry. You will eventually realize it. The only question is a matter of when. Maybe very late, when the new young "Hitler Youth" and management begin to exclude you and you start sensing you are on the wrong side of the tracks, but with only burned bridges behind you.
There is a cumbersome and complicated software tool for compiling the many costs of services and h/w and s/w products that go into an SO deal. Its output goes into the Pricing Tool we all love so much.
The first tool has long equations calculating costs in code that only a Fortran coder could love. Those equations are editable without traceability if one knows how. Thus the input can look perfect: truly aggressive cost reduction percentages and pitiful staffing levels with Band 2 workers can be shown on the input lines, which is all the boneheads in Sales and Pricing look at. But the outputs that feed the pricing model were truly extraordinary and biased high.
During our last 24 months together, no deal was won that we touched. To this day no one ever caught on either. Eating the dust of the IBM degrading management: pitiful but necessary. Exulting while spitting in Sam's soup: priceless.
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