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Highlights—February 2, 2008

  • InformationWeek: IBM Workers Launch Petition To Stop Pay Cuts. Employee group seeks to prevent a 15% salary reduction for IT specialists and support workers. By Paul McDougall. Excerpts: A group representing IBM employees has launched a petition drive that aims to get the computer maker to reverse plans to impose a 15% pay cut on more than 7,500 employees. The petition, organized by Alliance At IBM and addressed to "IBM management," asks that "the salary of all employees affected by the announced pay cut ... be immediately restored."

    The petition drive comes in the wake of reports that IBM plans to cut by 15% the salaries of IT specialists and support workers, starting in February. According to an internal IBM document viewed by InformationWeek, the plan was drawn up in response to several lawsuits filed against the company alleging that it failed to pay overtime to groups of workers who were legally entitled to the extra pay. ...

    IBM has said it won't save any money as a result of the plan because the pay cuts will be offset by increased overtime costs. But some IBM workers are crying foul. "We have had record profits and seen our benefits and base pay erode at record levels," wrote one poster on a message board operated by Alliance At IBM.

  • BusinessWeek: Jobs Are Going, Chemicals Linger. A suit in an old factory town against IBM over a once widely used solvent could spur cases elsewhere. By Steve Hamm. Excerpts: Deron Every, son of Kevin and Tiah Every, has heart defects which his family blames on pollution in Endicott. Chris Casaburi In Endicott, N.Y., an arch extending over East Main Street reads: "Home of the Square Deal." The sign harks back to the early 20th century when this Susquehanna River town was dominated by two paternalistic employers, Endicott Johnson Shoe, which is out of business, and IBM.

    Big Blue is still there, but just barely. Its head count dwindled from a peak of 12,500 in 1984 to about 1,200 today. In this played-out factory town, IBM's legacy is growing more stained by the day. After contaminants leaked from an IBM plant decades ago and spread in groundwater beneath more than 400 homes, locals no longer felt they were getting a square deal from Big Blue.

    It's a measure of their dissatisfaction that on Jan. 3 a group of seven law firms filed suits against IBM on behalf of 94 residents and business owners. As many as 900 more lawsuits are expected to follow. The plaintiffs claim to have suffered health or financial injuries as a result of odorless vapors from industrial solvents collecting in their homes, including the carcinogen trichloroethylene, commonly called TCE. A state study in 2006 showed higher-than-normal incidences of cancer and birth defects in houses above the polluted groundwater, but it didn't prove causation. In interviews with BusinessWeek, IBM denies culpability. The suits have "no basis in science or law," says a spokesperson.

  • TradingMarkets.com: IBM to Expand Operations in Viet Nam: HANOI, Jan 15, 2008 (AsiaPulse via COMTEX). Excerpts: Steve Mills, Vice President of the IBM group, has revealed his group's plans to expand operations in Viet Nam and Asia. Mills, who is in Viet Nam for a seminar on Career Education in IBM Software (CEIS) co-organised by the Hanoi University of Technologies and DTT-Ha Noi CTT company, had a talk with Hanoi information technology students on January 14.

    According to him, IBM is in need of 30,000 programmers for its worldwide expansion. He said he expected to welcome more Vietnamese students to work for his group. He also spoke of his group's CEIS programme, which will take Viet Nam as the first country in Southeast Asia and the second in Asia after India for its launch.

  • SMB Time: IBM Retaliates for Wage and Hour Lawsuits by Cutting Employee Pay. Excerpts: It seems like a case of “be careful what you ask for.” In response to several wage and hour lawsuits, IBM has agreed to grant “non exempt” status to about 8,000 technical services and IT specialists so they can collect overtime pay. However, at the same time they’re cutting these employees’ pay by 15%.

    The company claims they won’t save any money because workers will gain back lost salary through overtime pay — even though about a third of the affected workers are not currently working overtime. The company also claims maintaining the workers’ current salary levels while also paying overtime would result in “costs that exceed competitive levels.”

    In the humble opinion of this author, that’s a load of hogwash. I’ve said this before in relationship to small businesses, but it’s just as true (if not more so) for major corporations like IBM. If your company’s profitability only comes from forcing people to work unpaid overtime, you need to clean house in the executive suite and bring in a new (competent) management team (Note: emphasis is from the original article) — not launch into petty retaliation against the employees who complained. ...

    As it happens, IBM’s financial results in 2007 exceeded analysts’ expectations. And according to one IBM employee quoted in the article, their CEO Sam Palmisano has reportedly “promised Wall Street a good 2008 — that will come at the expense of more U.S. workers.”

    Hmmm. If it’s necessary for the rank and file to take a 15% cut in pay to maintain competitive cost structure, just imagine how much better the company could do if senior executives and board members subjected themselves to the same standards and likewise took 15% cuts in their total compensation. I mean, it was their “leadership” that got the company into this situation in the first place. Wonder what the chances are of that happening?

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: Who is screaming for a pension increase ????" by Janet Krueger. The next formal IBM 'bitch' session is on April 29th in Charlotte, NC. If a thousand IBM retirees showed up at the annual meeting and told their stories to both the IBM shareholders and the press, the execs might have to listen. It is clear that the execs have absolutely no inclination to listen to complaints that come in one at a time. So, is anyone interested in organizing a large IBM retiree protest for the end of April??? You could probably get some support from the Alliance people (see www.allianceibm.org) but their focus is (as it should be) on organizing current employees and protesting the latest round of job reclassifications and resulting wage cuts...
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: [IBM Pension] Who is screaming for a pension increase ????" by "ranheimchas". Full excerpt: I certainly have to agree that IBM had written the retirees off a long time ago. It began whey they put the Fidelity Firewall in place. People I associate with can't believe I have no way of speaking with any IBM employee after working for them for 40 years. They planned this very carefully. Once the firewall was in place, they could treat us as badly as they wanted to without hearing any comments or cries for help.

    This increased level of pressure will certainly shorten the life of a retiree which saves IBM thousands of dollars in pension costs as we die away. I know very well if I were to pass away, my wife would never be able to contact anyone for help about the retirement she is entitled to, along with any medical plans that may still be available. Even her friends would not be able to help her with all the telephone codes to pass in order to get to any live person.

    This is a well engineered plan to save the company money. It makes me sad every time I think how things have changed. It was a complete turnaround from respect to disrespect for us old fogies.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Cigna Dental Plan Problem" by "ranheimchas". Full excerpt: I have been on the Cigna DHMO plan for years with the same experienced dentist. In January of this year, the dentist decided to drop out of the plan because they would not pay him enough to meet his increase in expenses. I received a letter from Cigna informing me I no longer had my dentist. When I looked at their provider list, I found most of the dentists were new, with little experience. The few that were left with any experience were not taking on new patients.

    I was told by more than one source the experienced dentists were leaving the plan because they feel they should be paid more than the minimum a new dentist may get. This put me in a real bind. I have to accept going to one of two dentists that just got out of school. IBM, via the Fidelity Wall, will not let me change plans. I am stuck for the rest of the year having to go to inexperienced dentists just looking for someone to practice on.

    IBM is certainly determined to kill off the retirees one way or another. It makes me sick just thinking of what they do to us, without blinking an eye. They know there is no path back to them for any complaints or cries for help. What a system.

  • CNN: Dobbs: Our leaders have squandered our wealth. By Lou Dobbs. President Bush's assurances that we'll all be "just fine" if he and Congress can work out an economic stimulus package seem a little hollow this morning. Much like Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke's assurances last May that the subprime mortgage meltdown would be contained and not affect the broader economy. And it seems Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has spent most of the past year trying to influence Chinese economic policy rather than setting the direction of U.S. economic policy. ...

    Bush, Pelosi, Reid and the presidential candidates of both parties have an opportunity now, and I believe an obligation, to adjust the public policy mistakes of the past quarter-century that have led to this crisis. And only through courageous policy decisions will we be able to steer this nation's economy away from the brink of outright disaster.

    We all have to acknowledge that our problems were in part brought on by the failure of our government to regulate the institutions and markets that are now in crisis. The irresponsible fiscal policies of the past decade have led to a national debt that amounts to $9 trillion. The irresponsible so-called free trade policies of Democratic and Republican administrations over the past three decades have produced a trade debt that now amounts to more than $6 trillion, and that debt is rising faster than our national debt. All of which is contributing to the plunge in the value of the U.S. dollar. ...

    Just what would you have us spend it on? The truth is that consumers spend most of their money on foreign imports, and any stimulus package probably would be stimulating foreign economies rather than our own. Imports, for example, account for 92 percent of our non-athletic footwear, 92 percent of audio video equipment, 89 percent of our luggage and 73 percent of power tools. In fact, between 1997 and 2006, only five of the 114 industries examined in a U.S. Business and Industry Council report gained market share against import competition.

  • Los Angeles Times: High anxiety for 401(k) investors. Nest eggs shrink and grow amid stock market gyrations, giving those nearest retirement particular reason to worry. Excerpts: Like many Americans, Steve Kriegsfeld has been watching his life savings bounce up and down each time the stock market takes a dramatic turn. Lately, it's the drops that have grabbed his attention. In just one day last week, the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 465 points before partially recovering. It is down nearly 6% since Jan. 1. ...

    The result is a historic linkage between the fortunes of the public and Wall Street, just as older baby boomers -- now past 60 -- focus more seriously on the living standards that await in their post-work years. "You've been saving all these years," said Pamela Hess, director of retirement research at Hewitt Associates. "You've got quite a big nest egg, potentially. The stakes are just so much higher when you're that much closer to retirement." ...

    Just before the stock market tanked in 2000, Nancy Haynes was anticipating a future free of financial worry. On a canoe ride in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, she and her husband counted up all their assets, including their home, and concluded that they might be worth $1 million. But the sharp decline of technology and other stocks slashed about one-third of their nest egg's value, and Haynes began to worry. At 65, the retired human resources professional went back to work. ...

    "Without a doubt -- comparing where we are today with 401(k) plans as the primary form of retirement savings for many baby boomers -- the impact of a down equity market has a much bigger impact on society than when traditional pensions were the primary form of retirement income," VanDerhei said.

  • USA Today: Managing your retirement fund can be tricky. By Kathy Chu. Excerpts: Foster, of Gillette, Wyo., is part of the steam-rolling generation of 79 million baby boomers, the eldest of whom turn 62 this year, who must decide what to do with retirement payouts that will usually come in one big chunk. Their parents and grandparents mostly relied on traditional pensions that paid them a lifetime stream of income. Boomers, by contrast, are the first generation whose principal retirement assets will come in lump sums from 401(k)-type plans.

    Few have managed such enormous sums before. Yet, they'll have to make investment decisions that will determine their financial security in a retirement that could stretch for decades, the longest retirements any generation has yet experienced. The risks are high. They could succumb to unwise investments. Worse, they could fall prey to unscrupulous advisers who exploit financial naïveté. ...

    For some, receiving retirement money in one big pile can lull them into thinking they'll never run out. "It's this whole money illusion game," says Jack VanDerhei, a business professor at Temple University. "Having $500,000 looks much bigger than somebody promising to pay you $50,000 (a year) for the rest of your life. You feel rich going into retirement."

    Unwise spending and health care needs can devastate even the healthiest nest eggs, says VanDerhei, also a fellow at the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Danny Null, 60, of Greenville, S.C., fears that rising health costs could derail years of disciplined retirement planning. These expenses "will continue to go up," he says. "That's a concern."

  • New York Times: Should Bankers Pay for Their Mismanagement? By Eduardo Porter. Excerpts: What is to be done with the bankers? From the savings and loan meltdown in the 1980s to the current housing-led seizure, financial institutions have proved unable to curb their appetite for risky assets — blowing up the bank and spreading economic mayhem.

    After every crisis, regulators say they will cure the financial system of the recent folly, reassuring the public that the caustic asset du jour — Latin American debt, Internet stocks, mortgages in Florida — will never again be allowed to bring the banks down. Yet the recurrence of disasters suggests that the risky cravings of the masters of the universe are uncurbed. All that happens is that the next crisis takes a somewhat different form from the last, using some newly noxious financial product that used to be considered safe as, um, houses. ...

    There’s nothing like a smart banker motivated by an otherworldly bonus to get around the most carefully written regulatory limits on his or her ability to make money. Say regulators demand that banks maintain a big cushion of capital as a share of their loans, as a form of insurance in case the bets go bad. All a wily banker has to do is move the risky investment to a “structured investment vehicle” and claim it is not on the balance sheet. And there are other tricks. ..,

    Regulation certainly needs tightening to mitigate the worst kind of irresponsible, often predatory lending that led to our current mess. But there is a part of the problem that regulators do not touch: bankers have an incentive to bet the bank every time around. That’s because of how they are paid

    In a good year, top bankers’ pay would shame Croesus. But they don’t have to return past bonuses when the year is bad. Merrill fired its chief, Stanley O’Neal, and Citigroup dispensed with Charles Prince. But Morgan Stanley’s John Mack is hanging on. None have returned the untold millions they made in all those years when their banks were stuffing themselves with subprime loans.

  • Washington Post obituary: Robert M. Ball; 'Spiritual Leader' of Social Security. By Patricia Sullivan. Robert M. Ball, 93, commissioner of Social Security under three presidents who was a major player in virtually every development of the old-age and disability insurance field for the past 60 years, died of congestive heart failure Jan. 29 at Collington Episcopal Life Care Community in Mitchellville.

    Mr. Ball joined Social Security just four years after President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the program in 1935, then ran it from 1962 to 1973. He was one of the chief architects of Medicare and administered it for its first seven years. He oversaw the increase of Social Security benefits and the introduction of automatic cost-of-living adjustments. He drafted the Kennedy-Mills bill, which proposed universal health insurance, and three times in the past 25 years helped reform and save the old-age insurance program.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Bands/Levels" by "galineau". Full excerpt: Caveat to the following statements: this reflects what I have seen in most countries. Some of it may not apply in those countries where the work rules have completely changed the way salary is set and job family determined.

    Job families are not necessarily tied to bands. A job family 09B is not necessarily associated with a band 9 employee. For example, the recent change of job family 24A from exempt to non-exempt was associated with bands 6, 7, 8. You can actually see what the job families are using the Jobs tool on the internal W3 job-site.

    As for band 10s, the kickers are all but gone for most band 10s unless you are in a management position (job code) or a commissionable position (job code). It depends on what business unit you are in and what sector. The distinctions that used to exist have been dramatically softened or eliminated. After the number bands you move to the letter bands A, B, C, and D with the highest (Sam) being an A. It's in these bands that the executive compensation and benefits program kicks in and changes the game completely.

    In the technical career tract band 9 is often, but not always, associated with a certified professional, band 10 is almost always associated with a senior certified professional or an STSM. A DE (Distinguished Engineer) is always a 'D'. I suspect an IBM Fellow is above a 'D' but I don't know where (C?).

    The job family is used to establish the salary range that an employee's job will fall into and will be divided up by band. A higher band will have a higher (sometimes wider salary band). In most cases these bands overlap to some degree.

    As an employee working to maximize your salary you will want to find that job family with the best salary ranges in the bands. HR will tell you that these ranges are market driven and market set. Generally, the more market desireable the skill, the better the opportunity in terms of range. But beware, these ranges can invert. For example, as late as 5 years ago the project management ranges were higher than the IT architect ranges. That has since changed and the IT architect ranges seem to be higher. BUT, as long as you have head room (you are not in the top quartile of your job family-band range) you can do the job you enjoy doing and still grow salary-wise if you are performing well.

    If you hit the top of your job-family-band's range and you want to grow your income, it's time to push for a new band or change job families. Moving up a band is an automatic improvement in your salary opportunity range usually. Crossing job families requires knowledge about the salary ranges in that family and the band ranges. For example, moving from a high band 6 IT specialist to a band 6 IT architect might improve your ranges as architects currently have a higher range for the same band. That may not be true for a move to another job family such as project management. That may be a latter move salary-wise.

    At one point I found myself at the top of the top band in my job family. I was stuck. I had to make a shift of some sort to effect a change in the range of salary I could make. As long as I was stuck in the position I was blocked from any raises unless there was a market range change as perceived by HR. That didn't happen fast enough for me. I found a good career mentor, tough but visible assignments, and eventually made a change into a path that has enough head room for now.

    Another possible variable is whether you are on commission or a sales plan. Generally, if you are in a role with these types of earnings you will have a different job code than non-commissionable folks doing the same sort of work.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: Bands/Levels" by "bits_bytes_and_bugs". galineau - I think your post is accurate except for the part above. That is most certainly NOT true in IBM Global Services.
    • Many good employees have not gotten raises in years.
    • When raises are given they're a miserable 2 percent tops and that's for high achievers.
    • No one in my department has had a promotion in the last three years. Most of us realize that we will never see a promotion for the rest of our careers.
    • Some have been rebanded downward and haven't seen a raise in 7 years.
    • Due to insanely unreachable bonus objectives, bonus payouts have dropped precipitously. A large minority of employees are making less now than they did 5 years ago. This year we may actually see a decent bonus.
    • Due to IBM LEAN and offshoring, I have lost at least 7 co-workers in the last eighteen months.

    IBM is trying to starve the services business - it's become a sweatshop due to escalating job demands and resource actions.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: Bands/Levels" by "madinpok". Full excerpt: I've had many talks with my manager about this. He has said that once you reach the midpoint of the pay scale (i.e. the market average salary for your job code), it becomes very difficult to get a raise above that point. This doesn't mean that no one is paid above the market average. But the reality is that only very few are. You have to be rated a 1 or a 2+ on your appraisal to get a raise above this point. And even then, the raises will tend to be smaller than if you were below the midpoint. It is extremely unusual to find anyone in the top 25% of the pay scale for their job code.

    The bottom line is that IBM's goal is to pay most employees below the average wage for their job. And then they expect that these same employees will make IBM an above average company.

News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
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  • Washington Post: Health-Care Ideas Had Few Allies in Congress. By Christopher Lee. Excerpts: The most favorable reception that President Bush's proposed tax deduction for health insurance got on Capitol Hill last year was the GOP applause that followed the line about it in the State of the Union speech. It was all downhill from there, with administration officials falling short in their efforts to sell the idea to key lawmakers, failing even to get a committee hearing.

    The idea -- replacing a tax break for employer-provided health coverage with a new $15,000 tax deduction for families and $7,500 for individuals, regardless of where they buy insurance -- would have been a major change in both the tax code and the health-care system, difficult to achieve under the best of political circumstances. And last year was hardly that.

  • Washington Post: More Hitting Cost Limit on Health Benefits Consumers Forced To Explore Options. By Christopher Lee. Excerpts: A small but growing number of American families beset by major medical problems are learning the hard way that simply having health insurance is sometimes not enough. Those who need organ transplants or who have hemophilia, Gaucher disease or other costly chronic illnesses can easily rack up medical bills that blow through the lifetime benefits cap of $1 million or more that is a standard part of many insurance policies.

    That has left some very sick people facing health-care tabs of hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, prompting their families to seek help from the government, or to scramble to change jobs or even divorce for no other reason than to qualify for new health insurance. And it has led some advocates for the chronically ill to plan a new lobbying effort in hopes of persuading Congress to require that insurers increase lifetime caps to as high as $10 million. ...

    The predicament of those who burst through lifetime insurance caps is largely ignored in the debate about overhauling the U.S. health-care system, which focuses mainly on improving access to insurance at a time when a record 47 million people lack coverage. But the new political appetite for reform is one reason the National Hemophilia Foundation has decided to revive a lobbying effort, previously pursued in the 1990s, to significantly increase the caps, said Glenn Mones, the group's vice president for public policy.

  • Kaiser Family Foundation: Wall Street Journal Examines Democratic Presidential Candidates' Plans and the 'Ghost' of Single-Payer. Excerpt: "The sad state of health care is one of the leading issues in the presidential campaigns," because the U.S. health system "is a national disgrace," Thomas Preston, a physician, writes in a Seattle Post-Intelligencer opinion piece. "The owners, investors and employees of Big Pharma and device or instrument suppliers reap billions in profits through the present form of insurance," so "transformation ... will never come from within the industry," according to Preston. He adds, "The electorate must insist on change through the political process." Preston adds, "To succeed, politicians must begin with consensus to eliminate financial self-interest from health care decision-making, guarantee health insurance for everyone and restore independence in evaluation of treatments" (Preston, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1/22).
  • Associated Press, courtesy of BusinessWeek: Big business backs health insurance. Excerpt: As presidential candidates push their plans to makeover the nation's health-care system, some of America's largest employers presented their own suggested fix Wednesday. Every adult American should be required to purchase health insurance coverage for themselves and their children on a tax-advantaged basis, but it shouldn't be incumbent on business owners to offer or pay for it, according to the National Business Group on Health, or NBGH, a non-profit association of nearly 300 large employers, including General Motors and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
  • Kaiser Family Foundation: Large Business Association Releases Plan To Overhaul U.S. Health Care System. The National Business Group on Health, a not-for-profit association of nearly 300 large employers, on Wednesday released a set of 20 conditions that would need to be met to establish a universal health coverage system in the U.S., Dow Jones reports. According to NBGH, all U.S. residents should be required to purchase insurance for themselves and their children on a tax-advantaged basis. Under the plan, individuals who purchase insurance from the market would receive the same tax advantage as employees who purchase insurance through their employer, allowing individuals to write off their insurance benefits for tax purposes and the money spent not counting as taxable income.

    However, businesses should not be required to offer health coverage to workers or to help workers pay for coverage, according to NBGH. Employer mandates are "very harmful to working families and our economy because it will only force employers to eliminate jobs, move more jobs offshore, stunt future job growth or raise consumer prices," NBGH President Helen Darling said.

  • Kaiser Family Foundation: Employer Coalition Launching Initiative To Provide Physicians Bonuses for Improving Patient Care. Excerpts: A coalition of large employers, including General Electric, IBM and Verizon Communications, is launching a program to give physicians bonuses for adopting a "more integrated approach to coordinating" employees' care, the Wall Street Journal reports. The program is part of Bridges to Excellence, which last year distributed about $10 million in bonuses to doctors for providing quality care and meeting other measures.

    Under the new program, physicians would receive incentives for activities such as following up with patients who have been referred to other physicians, tracking laboratory tests and flagging unusual results, and following medical guidelines to treat different health conditions, according to the Journal. Participating doctors could receive about $125 per patient and a maximum of $100,000 in annual bonus payments. Part of the purpose behind the bonuses is to help physicians cover the cost associated with improving care, such as setting up an electronic health record system, according to the Journal.

  • The New Republic, courtesy of Physicians for a National Health Program: Health Care In South Africa: Medical Error. By David Adler. Full excerpt: Conservative lawmakers and many business leaders are touting health savings accounts as the silver bullet to fix America’s dysfunctional health care system.. But, while widespread use of health savings accounts is untested here, there is a country with a decade’s worth of experience with similar consumer-driven health plans: South Africa. The experience there should serve as a cautionary tale for anyone who thinks these accounts will solve America’s health care crisis. In South Africa, consumer-driven health care has had some decidedly unhealthy effects. ...

    In the frenzied atmosphere following deregulation, schemes began to offer something new: a medical savings account not tied to any particular employer and coupled with a high deductible insurance plan. But, at first, not everybody could join. Those with a high risk of claiming benefits—generally, people over 55—were barred from participating. The result was an unprecedented restructuring of the insurance market. The young and healthy migrated to the new consumer-driven plans and away from traditional employer-based schemes. Meanwhile, the old and infirm were left in traditional insurance schemes. Discovery Health, the pioneer of consumer-driven plans, grew to become the largest medical-scheme administrator in the country. (Through a subsidiary called Destiny Health, the company is now active in the United States.)

    In at least one way, the plans have been a success: They are enormously popular, a phenomenon the insurance industry attributes to people’s preference for managing their own day-to-day medical expenses. Additionally, the costs for visits to general practitioners, which are typically paid out of medical savings accounts, have been held somewhat in check. These two factors have led conservative and libertarian groups in the United States, such as the Texas-based National Center for Policy Analysis, to write glowingly about the South African experience.

    At a macroeconomic level, however, there is less cause for celebration. Private health care costs have hardly been contained. In fact, the opposite is the case. Between 1996 and 2001, the cost of specialty care increased 43 percent, and the cost of hospital care rose 65 percent. This represents a marked increase from the inflation rates for the five years prior. There have also been substantial increases in plans’ administrative costs (which include profits). Meanwhile, the number of South Africans lacking health insurance—which is the bulk of the population—has continued to grow rapidly. Consumer-driven health plans have also done too little to address South Africa’s most pressing health problem: HIV. Before this year, many medical schemes covered only badly needed antiretroviral treatments as part of their medical savings accounts, and they stopped providing the treatments when funds dried up. (In January, the government mandated minimum coverage for HIV.) ...

    The South African story, then, is a move from a noncompetitive insurance environment to a competitive one, but the competition wasn’t by hospitals to provide the best or cheapest care, but rather among insurers to get the healthiest patients. Consumer-driven plans are central to this process, because they are ideal for “risk-selecting” the young and fit, who have flocked to the new plans. Not in need of expensive medical care, the healthy could watch their account balances grow, leaving the truly sick behind in traditional plans.

    This particular type of competition—to attract the healthy—in turn led to price increases, because insurers had little incentive to control the prices medical providers charged. After all, it was no longer their problem. It was up to the patient to worry about costs, and the patient hardly had the same bargaining power as the insurers once did. According to a key South African regulator, Alex van den Heever of the Council for Medical Schemes, “Competition based on the shifting of risk and cost to members only reduced the incentives of health insurers to directly manage health care service providers.” ...

    South Africa’s experiment with consumer-driven health plans raises important questions for policymakers in the United States currently contemplating widespread implementation of health savings accounts. It suggests that such accounts can indeed foster greater competition and transform a health system—but not in the ways their proponents intend. Partly in response to the troubling health care trends brought about by the dominance of consumer-driven medical schemes, South Africa is now in the process of re regulating the health care industry and moving away from medical savings accounts. South Africa gives us a chance to look before we leap—and hopefully step back from the edge.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site:
Minimize
  • Alert: Be aware that IBM is blocking e-mail from the endicottalliance address to IBM internal e-mail and filtering from employee to employee with the term Alliance@IBM
  • Spotlight: IBM to cut pay and reband job family 24A! Are you next? Join the fight back! Send us your name, home e-mail and location to: endicottalliance@stny.rr.com. Be sure to Join The Alliance! Say NO to pay cuts and job cuts!
  • Sign the Petition to IBM Management NO PAY CUTs!
  • From the Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comment 1/25/08: This cut goes hand in hand with the forced attrition effort that ibm has pushed for several years. We have had record profits and seen our benefits and pay erode at record levels. Is any content or feel secure? RA's are common place. Rumors and sales of divisions are common. They want North American workers to leave. They are NOT back filling the positions lost with new folks in the USA.. is all going to BRICV. Look for more divisions to be sold off in the next few quarters. This push the past few years has been to get FTE's to leave so they don't have to pay severance. They want the FTE costs low and profits high, to hell with the customer sat, so they can get top dollar on a sale to an Indian company. Global services days are numbered. FACT. Either get out the vaseline or polish up the resume and get prepared. I am NOT saying to leave, but be prepared to leave on YOUR terms when a RA comes around next. RA's will continue to be a regular process for the foreseeable future. -inside-
    • Comment 1/25/08: I'd like to welcome the 24A folks to the ranks of the non-exempt. We're really happy here, and have found that it's a simple matter to drive your earnings or life to whatever level you desire. I think you will find a change in your management structure now. Rather than requiring overtime, you will be castigated, browbeat, and scrutinized for working overtime. I think the change should be refreshing for most of you. My advice would be to tell your manager that you will be happy to comply with his overtime budget by promptly leaving at quitting time. That should send a message to him that you are a true team player. Once again, congratulations on your demotions to the ranks of the hourly. Perhaps now, we can all seriously consider putting our minds and voices together to bring the union dream to a reality. -gadfly-
    • Comment 1/25/08: So let's understand this pay cut deal completely. Are you all saying that some employees in the same group get the 15% pay cut with the ability to collect overtime pay and some other employees in the same group (at the same level and job function) remain exempt and do not collect overtime, but keep their current salaries? If this is indeed the case then it will most likely mean that the remaining exempt employees will be required to work more free time (ie. increase the 60 hour work week to 70 or 80 hours). So I wonder who is really getting shafted here, those that get the 15% cut or those that don't. How in the world can IBM justify doing this in a court of law? BOTTOM LINE: IBM wants to motivate most of its employee workforce to quit so they can save money on severance packages when they jettison you later this year. Such a sad state of affairs for honest, decent, loyal and hardworking employees. -married_to_ibm-
    • Comment 1/26/08: Can someone explain to me how things work in Global Services and the financing of our work? I am in a tech support team and we support many clients and we claim hours to various 'steady state' and project 'claim' codes? Is the department benefiting when we record more hours on 'claim'? or does the dept manager get a budget from each client account and that is the maximum the department gets? Apologies if this makes no sense to anyone. -Danger Mouse-
    • Comment 1/27/08: To Danger Mouse: Departments interlock with the account teams. In other words, they get a budget from each client, and that is the maximum. Actually, through out the year most accounts go through cost reduction exercises, so the interlock they agreed to in Jan can actually be 25% lower come 4Q, if that's what it take to make their numbers. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 1/27/08: Listen to Sam's all employee broadcast from last week. IBM made its money through buying small software companies and overseas contracts. Sam says "we have $16B in cash", good for them. How about treating its employees fair and paying them a fair wage. Sam says our people are what make IBM the best, I guess if you live in the United States your not a person because were treated like crap. Maybe Sam needs to go live in a BRIC country for a few years. He loves them so much.... -IBM Blews-
    • Comment 1/28/08: To JustOutDone: Thanks for responding to my question and please know that we are all disgusted. I can't imagine that anyone can be "ok" with a cut of any kind since we all have mortgages and others that depend on us. I am certainly not ok with any of this and am just hoping to find another job before more cuts are handed out. -No.longer.curious-
    • Comment 1/30/08: To all on this board: A 15% pay "cut" is nothing! Be proud to still have a job with one of America's premier organizations. Stop the whining and work on refining your skills so that YOU have something to bring to the table! Stop looking to place blame, but look in the mirror instead. Remember that this company is a reflection of all of us. To steal from JFK, ask not what the company can do for you, but rather ask what you can do for the company. -Proud to be Blue- Alliance reply: America looks and works best when they say UNION Yes! Proud to be a Union member.
    • Comment 1/31/08: I read a post here stating that there will be additional pay cuts coming that are in the 25% to 35% range. Can someone please shed some light on this as to when it will be happening? Will this be on top of the 15% pay cut or is it being slated for those who did not receive a cut this time around? Thanks! -more pay cuts?-
    • Comment 1/31/08: Proud to be Blue: I loved you in "Monty Python's Holy Grail". My favorite lines of yours: "It's just a flesh wound! I've had worse!" Ha ha! You cracked me up! I always wondered what happened to you when King Arthur left you armless and legless on the field of battle. Shoulda known! Vice President in Charge of Morale at IBM! Aka, The Blue Knight. -irRational-
  • General Visitor's Comment page:
    • Comment 1/28/08: I'm a little shocked to read that IBM did not even make top 100 best companies: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/bestcompanies/2008/full_list/index.html. Now that brings me to the question, when was the last time IBM made the top 5 best companies?! -IBM Not Among The Best Company- Alliance Reply: You shouldn't be shocked at all. Here's a question you should be asking: When are the employees going to organize and work toward a union contract? Why not help to make IBM 'best company' to work for?
    • Comment 1/29/08: To "IBM Not Among The Best Company" - Where have you been for the last ten years? Its been about that long since IBM made the top 100. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 1/29/08: Gadfly - "We get no standby during the week, but are told that it's part of our job to answer after hour calls and go to work." That's why you need a union contract. There is no reason to work (or be on call/standby) for no pay. Count the standby hours as regular working time & then once you hit 40 hours, just go home. It's management's job to ensure there are enough personnel to fulfill client's needs. So if the whole department has put in their hours by Wednesday then he's going to have to answer to someone why the customers aren't being taken care of the rest of the week. Let them deal with it.! -Tulsa_member-
    • Comment 1/30/08: Does anyone know how we claim on-call time? We have a very restrictive on call policy. For example, we are expected to reply within 15 minutes and be on-call 24x7x365. I am sure there is some compensation now for this kind of work. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 1/30/08: If you are on call you must code your time card as "stand by time". The rate of standby is .25 hrs pay for each hour that you are on standby during the week and .375 hrs for each hour during the weekend. if you are required to answer call so quickly it sounds more like time worked than standby time. Make sure that you account for every hour on standby time, i.e. if you work 8 hrs on Monday and then are "on call" or standby until Tues Am you would code the standby time from, lets say, 1700 monday to 0800 Tues. Once the managers get the payroll report, the on call time will drop when they see how costly it becomes. -Toner Guy- Alliance reply: Out of pure curiosity, who set the rules for coding (i.e. rate) your 'standby time'.. IBM? If so, then those rules can change anytime without notice to suit IBM, not you.. With a collectively bargained contract, those rules would be agreed to by BOTH IBM and the union members... think about that.
    • Comment 1/30/08: In addition to coding time as standby, once you are called you need to code your time card as emergency call out for the amount of time you spend with a customer on phone, traveling to and being onsite Example if you are on Standby from 1700 Monday to 0800 Tuesday, code time card as standby for the total amount of time, Then should you get called out at 0100 and spend time with customer on phone for 2 hours until 0300, you would code time card as emergency call out on Tues from 0100 to 0300. this way you will get standby pay from 1700 to 0800 (15hrs standby x rate of .25 = 3.75 hours pay), then you will get 2 hours emergency call out pay from 0100 to 0300 ( 2hrs pay at OT rate of 1.5- 3hrs pay), Then in addition; you would get the minimum 4 hrs straight time for the emergency call out, an additional . 5hrs pay, since you already rec'd equivalent of 3.5 hrs straight pay for the call out. Total extra pay for 2 hrs work will be 7.75 hours pay which comes in mini check the following week. --Toner Guy--
    • Comment 1/30/08: Is there a law for anyone who works too many hours? Many exempt people at my location have been working as many as 70-80 hours/week every week. Talking to them, the only time we have a good break from work is to take vacation. We have Child Labor law; we have Workers' Compensation Law...what about protecting us from working way too many overtime hours without a pay? -From IBM poughkeepsie-
    • Comment 1/30/08: I wrote an email to the NYS Dept of Labor asking them if the 15% pay cut is legal. They responded within 48 hours. This is the response: "The employer has the right to change an employee's rate of pay as long as the employee is notified and the rate of pay does not drop below minimum wage." -Beat Up- Alliance reply: They should have added that if a union contract was in place, it would have to be negotiated and agreed to by the union members.
    • Comment 1/31/08: In Zeitler's all hands call the other day, he mentioned that executive bonuses are based upon the IBM stock price. So now we know why IBM spend $15 billion dollars buying back its own stock for executive bonuses. At the same time, they froze the employee pensions, told employees to make it up on their own savings and cut a significant number of employees' salaries by 15%. If that isn't management against employees, I don't know what is. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 1/31/08: I'm an IGS employee that was identified as being able to participate in the OT class action lawsuit, and I did so. I received two checks for a substantial sum of money. Fortunately for me, I was not re-classified and therefore did not take a 15% pay cut. None the less, I'm still very disturbed by it. This story grows more legs everyday!

      Executive management has clearly blown this. Think about it. They had to have known there would be a negative backlash on the part of the employee's. But what they clearly did not foresee was the extent or size of the backlash. (Just as they failed to foresee size/scope of the negative reaction to the cash balance pension plan conversion of 1999) If Sam's business acumen was so poor as to not be able to foresee how big the backlash might be, then just how much confidence should we employees have in his ability to use sound reasoning for ANY decision he might make? -Anonymous-

    • Comment 1/31/08: When I started working full time (about 20 years ago) I was under the impression that Unions were no longer needed because there was plenty of legislation on the books to protect workers. I have since changed my mind and realize that the legislation was only there because of the Unions and as the union membership declined the laws began to change to accommodate business to the detriment of the working class. My best advise to anyone is sign up for the Alliance "union=strength in numbers". -Unionize = a fighting chance-
    • Comment 1/31/08: Wasn't notified today, but spoke to two colleagues who had been. Sad really when you think about the weekends sacrificed so that deadlines could be made and the rescheduled vacations. And now this is your reward. Funny thing about the overtime was that we were told we had to put in the time to meet the account's financial goals. What going to happen now when the same message comes down but, sorry, overtime is not authorized but the deadlines still have to be met? Really, how much more do those at the top want? -Anonymous
  • Pension Comments page
  • Raise and Salary Comments
    • Comment 1/26/08: Salary = 78000; Band Level = 7; Job Title = TECHNICAL SERVICES PROF - ADV; Years Service = 4; Hours/Week = 60+; Div Name = 07; Message = The whole idea of IBM stating that the re-banding is due to‘misclassification’ of employees is ridiculous. I’ve only been with IBM for 5 years but each year I got from my first line manager a salary review that was based on IBM research and industry reports that showed comparable salaries for my job and geographical location. Now all of a sudden they determined I was misclassified?? I also don’t understand how “mis-classified”could be a valid excuse either if there are 10 people on my team, all with the same duties, same band, same job family, same job title and only 2 were affected, wouldn’t everyone have been mis-classified?

      This is nothing more than the first step in a pay cut. Previously I’ve seen the same action taken against another teams at the site I worked. They were given the ‘reclassification’ speech, how this would really benefit them and help contribute to a work life balance. Then after 3 months they were told overtime was frozen and could no longer work OT to supplement their paycheck and the work that they were doing was now being down by overseas workers. This is just IBM long term strategy to implement pay cut and motivate people to move out of the company. Additionally when my first line manager said it would not be a net reduction in pay if I worked my 10% overtime. I challenge him with this past history and he told me that “it’s a possibility”

      Oh last though, even if IBM sticks to the story that OT will not be frozen it’s still a pay cut as you can’t claim overtime or time and a half for weeks where you take vacation or that have a holiday. So for example in a week where a holiday is observed I would work 32 hours (8 per day) if four day, and if I claim my 4-5 hours extra they would be paid at straight time now instead of OT because I didn’t work more that 40 hours. This is a net pay reduction of $100 dollars for me, multiply that by the 10 IBM holiday and you vacation days and personal choice days and it adds up. -Going_going_gone-

    • Comment 1/26/08: Years Service = 20+; Message = This is the tip of the iceberg. In other divisions, its being looked at as a way of reducing employee expense. In one group, there is discussion of rebanding people downward. These folks if down leveled,either will get a pay reduction, or never see a pay increase again. Once you go down this slippery slope, its hard to stop. Management is encouraged to find ways to cut costs and improve profit margins. They are compensated on results. Its much easier, and much more expedient for a management team to cut expenses than grow top line revenue which they should be doing -Been Here Before-
    • Comment 1/26/08: Message = IBM is a piece of sh** company pure and simple. If I were I customer I'd leave. I'm enslaved here through an outsourcing deal and I personally hope my old company cancels the contract, but I don't think they are smart enough to see how little IBM added in value to the work we did pre outsource. The 15% cut was the last straw. With any luck I'll find new employment soon and leave this outfit. -Fed Up-
    • Comment 1/27/08: Salary = 74000, now 64000. Thanks Sam! ; Band Level = 7; Job Title = IT spec; Years Service = 13; Hours/Week = 55; Div Name = CICA; Location = Atlanta; Message = check out this article: http://www.smbtime.com/2008/01/ibm-pay-cut.php?referer=sphere_related_content -anon-
    • Comment 1/27/08: My husband also had his pay cut and as I read all of your stories I wondered if any of you have tried to get newspaper and tv coverage in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles etc. Big companies can come down from the inside. -Ibm Employee Wife-
    • Comment 1/27/08: I'm affected. I'm getting a pay cut. When I asked my manager about this Alliance@IBM website I was told this site is a place where people just vent and complain. SPOKEN LIKE a person who isn't affected, right!? I hope she gets a pay cut next!. -the little guy- Alliance Reply: It sounds like she's challenging you to join us, by dismissing what we're trying to do here. The point is, if the people that visit this site DON'T organize, then her evaluation of it may turn out to be true. It's up to you to prove her wrong. Take Action. Join the Alliance and then get your co-workers to join.
    • Comment 1/27/08: Salary = 61,400 Minus 15% (9,210) = $52,190; Band Level = 7; Job Title = IT Specialist; Years Service = 1; Hours/Week = 40; Div Name = 16; Location = VA; Message = Exactly one year ago I joined IBM directly out of college and this is the anniversary present I receive. I am absolutely sick to my stomach with this news. Rent, student loans, auto finances...which one don't I pay this month? -W-
    • Comment 1/27/08: I left India Business Machines 1 year ago. I DID join the lawsuit and got a nice check...I now feel bad because I have friends behind that are getting their salaries cut. That being said..I have told them to get out!! I have also joined a new company and have influence over purchases. The first thing I did was when our IBM Shark Storage went off lease...I IMMEDIATELY called EMC and put them on the floor. Our mid-range servers come off lease this year and I will be bringing in HP or SUN to replace those. IBM does not seem to realize that these former employees are leaving PISSED and some of them will have influence over purchases in their new positions. I predict over the next 5 years, you will see a decline in sales and market share. THEN tell them to SUCK IT...sell you crap to the Indians other foreigners you sold AMERICA out for. What?...they can\'t afford it...hmm...well...board up the windows and hang out a for sale sign. -Former IBM'er-
    • Comment 1/27/08: Salary = 55k; Band Level = 7; Job Title = IT Specialist; Years Service = 7; Hours/Week = 60+; Div Name = 07; Location = BS; Message = In February 07 I took a job that took me to band 7. I was previously band 3 and made what I make now, with overtime. Not sure if it was the timing or what but I never knew about the lawsuit till a couple days ago. I never got a chance to be part of the lawsuit. I thought I was getting a promotion not a demotion. When was the lawsuit settled? Doesn\'t seem lawful if they knew this was going to happen and still promote people, not giving them a raise, then dock their pay by 15%. Because I was never given the chance to be part of the lawsuit can I still sue for the $42,000 of overtime I should have been paid last year? -Ticked off-
    • Comment 1/27/08: Salary = 0; Band Level = was 7; Job Title = na; Years Service = 2; Hours/Week = 70; Location = Orlando; Message = I was RA'd in May - I am so happy I am making 20 percent more money and only working around 40-43 hours per week. No stress either. Just quit IBM. If you can. We all need to be more active politically. Elect John Edward to piss off all corporations. I don't like lawyers but they are the only ones who can take on corporations. Good luck to all ! -Bill-
    • Comment 1/27/08: Actual wording from the lawsuit form that folks signed and sent in,"Class Members are ENCOURAGED to participate in this settlement. The law prohibits retaliation against current or former employees who participate in settlements.” If this is not retaliation then what is this? If you signed the form and sent it in, I believe you have waived your right to sue IBM for this anymore, but the lawyers representing IBM employees should have warned us of these risks. We should unionize and sue the law firms that represented the employees. The lawyers failed to inform the employees what IBM could do under the law. -Concerned-
    • Comment 1/27/08: I have spent a good chunk of the weekend trying to remove 15% from my family budget. No success. We all know that overtime will be capped. Not sure what we're going to do, may have to sell the house. Thanks Sam. -Bankruptcy Here I Come-
    • Comment 1/28/08: Don’t bother trying to get escalate your 15 percent pay cut. My manager told me the managers can’t change anything because IBM compensation and hr made all the decisions. She was surprised by this latest screw move. She said the only way to get a copy of why compensation made me nonexempt is to go through the hr appeals process and demand the information. I figure I will need the documentation for the new lawsuit over the 15% or to give to the papers. -need documentation!-
    • Comment 1/28/08: Salary = 64000; Band Level = 7; Job Title = 24a adv; Years Service = 4; Hours/Week = 40; Div Name = Rational; Location = Lexington MA; Message = 15% less now -Anonymous-
    • Comment 1/28/08: Salary = 45000; Band Level = 6; Job Title = Sys Admin Years; Service = 1; Hours/Week = 40; Location = tx; Message = I started working for IBM after they lost the law suit. I came on exempt and have now been reclassified as non-exempt. Seems to me, that IBM had continued ignoring the law since they lost the suit as, according to them, I was improperly classified after the suit was lost.. Where is the SEC and Congress? Why isn't something being done by the government to protect us. Because the government agency that is supposed to protect (National Labor Relations Board) us has been bought off by big business. Wonder how much IBM paid them to look the other way. -Not Happy-
    • Comment 1/28/08: Management told us this would be "revenue neutral" to IBM after the pay cut. What a laugh! 1) I can guarantee you they will come back in a few months and say no OT is allowed. Heck, my account team tells us no OT half the time even when we were exempt. Result: +15% for IBM revenue. 2) Any merit increase you were due to receive will be based on your LOWER salary. Hard to gauge actual results since I don't have access to what merit increases would have been. Why do you think they did this now instead of July? Result: +xx% for IBM revenue. 3) You don't get OT for vacation weeks and holidays. Result: +more% for IBM revenue 4) Variable pay will be based on lower salary. Will we even be eligible for variable pay next year? Result: +more% for IBM revenue 5) For every employee they piss off and leaves the company, they will not be back filled (at least not by an American). Result: +more revenue for IBM Over the past 18 months or so, IBM has embarked on a strategic plan to get rid of all American (Canada too?) employees. If you haven't quit or lost your job yet, you will. Be prepared. -cutdowntosize-
    • Comment 1/28/08: Salary = 50,000; Band Level = band 07; Job Title = IT support; Years Service = 2; Hours/Week = 50-52; Div Name = Div.07; Location = Boulder; Message = Was making 50 now drop to 10k less but I was promised 5 extra hours a week OT to make the difference, what about vacation, I just get screwed again? -Ben Dover-
    • Comment 1/28/08: I definitely think the commercial accounts should DEMAND a 15% cut in service fees, because you KNOW IBM isn't planning on passing that"savings" along to their customer. And they will fire me before I work OT off the books.. -Dan-
    • Comment 1/28/08: Hours/Week = 50; Div Name = 07; Location = USA; Message = The message is clear to me... When IBM needs you they talk team, sacrifice and going the extra mile for the customer. Once they have what they want, you become meaningless tripe, garbage, cannon fodder. The new rule of thumb should be that you do not care any more about your customers, than IBM cares about you. Put your personal life, family, even your dog first . Use the additional time on your hands to look for work elsewhere.

      Fact is, the writing is on the wall. Unless you are at the top - nothing and nobody matters in IBM. I honestly wish that Sam's parents were alive to see what a disappointment he has become. He has put aside everything they probably ever taught him for the dollar. Too bad he spends so much time trying to impress the folks he surrounds himself with (and Lord knows this is the most isolated person within the entire IBM company), instead of putting his talents to work to make our overall IBM world a better place.

      He has and will always live in Gerstner's shadow. Not that Gerstner was a great man by any standard. At best he was a cold hearted heathen that gave the word "self" an entirely new meaning. Damn shame Sam. Rather than leaving a legacy of the things you could have done, you took the easy road and turned your back on your company, your country, your values. With the Almighty as my witness, I would not trade places with you for anything in the world. Unlike you, I stand for something other than self. -It is just this simple-

    • Comment 1/28/08: Salary = 68,000; Band Level = 7; Job Title = Tech services; Years Service = 8; Hours/Week = 55; Location = Denver; Message = about the 15%. I don't think they thought about your vacation time. Now that we took a pay cut our vacation time is based off of your base pay. You don't get over time when you go on vacation! -Wayne-
    • Comment 1/28/08: Salary = $120K/YR; Band Level = 8; Job Title = Advisory Programmer; Years Service = 18; Hours/Week = 40+; Div Name = SWG; Location = Dallas; Message = Rated 1 ,2+ ,2 in the last 5 years and have not seen a raise during that time. Explanation is that my salary is already at top of bracket and can only get raise if promoted to band 9, which despite sometimes rating a 1 will not happen since projects fizzle before management can process it. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 1/28/08: Band Level = Band 7; Years Service = 8; Message = The truth is that in a week or 2 all this talk will end and I will be 15% short. It is a sad time for me just knowing that IBM really doesn't care about it's employees, those days are over. I guess they didn't make quite enough money last year.. -Missy- Alliance reply: It will only die if employees let it. The 15% pay cut will be a constant reminder every pay day. All of us need to keep the pressure on IBM to halt the pay cut. If you have not done so already, please sign the petition and join the Alliance.
    • Comment 1/28/08: Salary = 15% less; Message = Who's to say there won't be retaliation against those who sign the petition? I am pissed as hell, but I can not afford to lose the 15% much less my job. -chicken_little- Alliance reply: At what point do you say enough is enough? If a thief comes into your house and steals your money, do you call the police and take action, or do you just accept it? Each IBMer must decide when to draw the line. And who is to say you won't lose your job due to management actions; even if you do not sign the petition? What kind of company retaliates against its victims? Shouldn't that company then be reformed from within? We think so.
    • Comment 1/28/08: Salary = 93,500; Band Level = Band 7; Years Service = 5 years; Hours/Week = 40+; Message = Haven't received a raise in the 5 years I have been here even though I receive ratings of 2+ for PBCs. Actually making less and less every year. IBM, Thanks for the lawn chair and pen set that will really help with my kids college tuition. -nick-
    • Comment 1/28/08: Salary = 80000; Band Level = 8; Job Title = Engineer, job family 03A; Years Service = 8; Hours/Week = 40; Div Name = 29; Location = Hopewell Junction; Message = Just adding my info for better statistics -Anonymous-
    • Comment 1/28/08: The I/T, Sys Admin, and Technical Services exempt to non-exempt action is not a pay cut? Hogwash. For instance, if you find a new position or job in IBM that is still non-exempt within your band and take the career opportunity if you are affected by this action you do not get the 15% base pay cut back when taking the new assignment within IBM after 2/1/2008.. It is supposedly up to the new hiring manager to set a new salary plan for the employee. No guarantee to get the 15% back. Who in IBM gets a +15% base pay adjustment now? So this exempt to non-exempt "reclassification" and "pay remix" action is not a PAY CUT? THINK AGAIN. It can only be a PAY CUT! THINK TWICE. Time to get guarantees, IBMers. Get a contract! Go Union! -Anonymous-
    • Comment 1/28/08: Unaffected at the moment but important enough to weigh in on the subject. It is a absolute shame what the Armonk Executives have done to the employees of a once fine company. What IBM has been allowed to do, is today an issue within the US but no one should be fooled IBM will proceed to do this in any part of the world that allows this when the time is right and of their choosing.. Americans need to vote this conscience this November and vote for a candidate that believes in assisting in the protection of a US workforce so that it is not only the executives of IBM and other companies that can someday enjoy a retirement.. Ultimately, we as individuals need to supply for ourselves however, we don't need to be stabbed in the back by an employee in the process of trying to do this. I'm sad to say this but I am utterly ashamed by the actions of IBM as a Corporation. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 1/29/08: I spoke to my 2nd line manager yesterday. She was at least honest in that there was no guarantee that I could code enough OT hours each week to make up the 15% cut. She acknowledged that there could be a time when mgmt says no OT. -PJ-
    • Comment 1/29/08: Everyone - Sign the petition if you are in disagreement with this latest move by IBM of reclassifying and pay reductions. To J.D. - you are obviously unaffected, oblivious or willing to bend over for whatever comes your way. Believe me, those of us who have left Big (Black & ) Blue realize what it's "supposed" to be like to have a company that cares about it's most valuable assets - the employees. During, my 5 years with IBM I was a 1 & 2+ performer and was rewarded by my management at the time for it.

      My last year at IBM saw me under different management and LEAN. That was definitely a HUGE wakeup call for anyone involved. My management was hideously ignorant and in denial. Learning how to read the tea leaves on my own signaled me to get out before it went sour. Boy - did it ever and I'm glad I'm out. I wasn't part of the lawsuit at the time because I didn't think it applied to me - in retrospect, I should have been. If you adopt the "don't rock the boat" or "serve without question" attitude like J.D. below, you might as well be reclassified as Big Blue Sheep. Stand up for what's right and make a difference rather than just come here and vent. Venting is good - but put it to work. SIGN THE PETITION! -Not Surprised-

    • Comment 1/29/08: As a long term African American ibm employee who has just been deeply affected financially by the 15% pay cut. I would like to know where is the diversity that is preached throughout ibm. Understanding that this is an "exempt" vs. "non-exempt" issue - Why aren't Managers subjected to some type of "other" pay cut to even the playing field. After all we are one big ibm family! mr. palmisano - Why don't you "walk the walk"? Funny how your immediate staff does not include any persons of color. So much for diversity. Oh! Forgot to mention you have Ms Rometty on your staff, guess that covers the diversity issue. What a sad time this is for ibm - A company that was made great by the brilliant working minds of the United States of America. The Global World BS will soon not be able to hold water when greedy corporations like ibm and their selfish executives destroys the US economy! -diversity_smersity?-
    • Comment 1/29/08: Salary = 54K pre-cut; Band Level = 6; Job Title = Systems Integration Specialist; Years Service = 7; Div Name = 7; Location = CT; Message = Everyone should sign this petition if you haven't' done so. I'm one of the first 50 and would sign again if I could. I have also sent an email to the NY Times asking why it is that I see nothing in their paper about the pay cut? I've done a few searches now and I can't find anything! Could be IBM has the paper bought and paid for? Who knows, IBM would do anything to keep this thing under wraps. I have to call back about a job on Thursday and if they like me then I'm out of this s**t hole. Once I am gone I am going to evangelize distrust against IBM and will have supreme satisfaction when I am able to tell them I am leaving. -IBM-
    • Comment 1/29/08: Salary = 66420 after 15% base pay cut; Band Level = 08; Job Title = Senior I/T Specialist; Years Service = almost 24; Div Name = 07; Location = Southbury; Message = After the 15% base pay cut will be making over $2,000 LESS THAN the MINIMUM market pay range for band based on job position, job family for geographical region despite PBC "2+" for as long as I remember. Weren't we told you had to be paid at least the minimum within the competitive market base pay range? -sby_willie-
    • Comment 1/29/08: My manager has stated that we are expected to continue to work like we did before the pay cut. Can you believe this crap. At a minimum IBM deserves 15% less effort on our part for our initial 40 hours each week. I say, if this impacts the customer so what. Maybe a few ticked off customers might have an impact. I'm inclined to not work any OT and let the work pile up and see what follows. -Fed UP-
    • Comment 1/30/08: Div Name = 07' Location = US; Message = J.D, I have been with IBM since God created dirt. I suspect many of the folks on this website -and- in IBM today are relatively new. Suffice it to say that this is the 4th time that I know of personally, where IBM has been called-on-the-carpet for breaking this same law. To blame the employees is ridiculous if not outright absurd. The fact is that IBM will continue to milk this cow until it falls over dead. Under the laws in place today, it is more profitable to break the law - and pay the penalty if you get caught - than to abide by the law. IBM knows that. -Since God created dirt-
    • Comment 1/30/08: Salary = $49k - for now; Band Level = 6; Job Title = accountant; Years Service = 2; Hours/Week = 40 only; Div Name = IMBPD; Location = Tulsa (obvious?); Message = Fed-Up - "I'm inclined to not work any OT and let the work pile up and see what follows" - Do it. Especially if they aren't going to approve OT and hint that you shouldn't book your OT. Do your 40, clock out & go home, even if that 40 comes by Thursday or before. Management will continue to demand more & more from you until either you stand up individually or collectively (Alliance). IBM, it seems, has been used to treating employees like this for quite some time & many employees have been taking it. Push back against management - you won't work anything additional without compensation.. -Tulsa_member-
    • Comment 1/30/08: Band Level = 07; Job Title = Advisory IT Specialist; Years Service = 27.6; Hours/Week = 24 (regular part-time since 1993); Div Name = MD; Location = BTV; Message = I am affected by the 15% pay cut. As a part-time employee, I work 24 hours per week. I am not eligible for 'time & 1/2' OT pay unless I work over 40 hours (that is a federal definition of OT, I believe). So I cannot make up the 15% easily - would have to work, on average, 4.24 extra hours per week to make up for the pay cut. That might not sound like much, but I choose to work part-time for several good reasons. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 1/30/08: Salary = 15% less starting in Feb.; Band Level = 8; Job Title = IT Specialist; Years Service = 10+; Hours/Week = 45+; Location = Phoenix area; Message = I have been silent too long and it is time to throw in my 2 cents (for all it worth). Since my IT organization was outsource to IBM back in 2002, we were all told by our management that we had to work a mandatory 4 hours a week for the account. Now that management has developed a strange sense of amnesia and will disavow any knowledge of stating this. But we remember.

      I worked for an Aerospace company for over 14 years before getting involved with this IBM mess. That aerospace company back in 1979 that hired me knew how to classify people correctly (salary exempt) and when you had to work OT it was paid out to you as time-in-a-half or double-time. I don’t know where IBM missed the boat but now we are those sacrificial lambs. am sure it was not from the lack of examples out there.

      When I was outsourced to IBM 5 years ago we were all told that it was mandatory for us to work 4 hours of overtime. If we did not it was reflected in your PBCs. Now IBM wants to cut our pay by 15% and tell us now that we were never told OT was mandatory.

      We see IBM with record profits last year and billions of dollars in cash and I can say now we are seeing‘Unadulterated Greed’ on IBM’s part. We as employees are an expendable resource to IBM now and just a means to a goal to keep those profits rolling in for the shareholders. Wonder what rabbit they will pull out of the hat next year after we are all gone? IBM executives just hammer on us all the time about ethics and code of conducts, I wonder if the same ethics applies to them? I am sure this is illegal what they are doing and we are not stupid IBM! -rael-

    • Comment 1/30/08: Salary = 15% Lower now; Band Level = 8; Job Title = IT Specialist; Years Service = 10+; Hours/Week = 45+; Location = Phoenix Area; Message = I forgot to mention in my previous posting that in late 2002 Ted Childs, Vice President of IBM’s Global Workforce Diversity came out to speak with us in small groups. We informed him at that time about the mandatory overtime and he told us that was not right and would get back to us on that topic. Well, we are still waiting for a response from him. Guess in a way we got it! -rael-
    • Comment 1/30/08: Salary = 75K; Band Level = 07; Job Title = Sr IT Specialist; Years Service = 22; Hours/Week = 40+; Div Name = Research; Location = Yorktown; Message = ADIOS IBM I Wont miss you at all. -Frank-
    • Comment 1/30/08: Salary = 46K Post-Cut; Band Level = 6; Job Title = Systems Integration Specialist; Years Service = 7; Hours/Week = 40; Div Name = 7; Location = CT; Message = Cuts Start this week! Just got the email on how to use the new eTools website. Apparently you need to have at least two Non-Scheduled work days (AKA weekends) a week. Also, customer wanted change done this weekend. I asked if OT was approved for it. SDM turned around and said that Monday will be fine for change. I said that my sched would need to be flexed then. He said he would discuss with my manager. As you can see, IBM had NO intention of letting us keep the 15% in OT. Bail people! Get out of this sinking ship known as IBM. This company owes you nothing... They sure aren't getting any free work out of me. -IBM-
    • Comment 1/31/08: When I came to IBM 7 years ago I was told that 12% OT was expected. For all the cr@p in the official Blue line, IBM was well aware they were not FLSA compliant. By no means were they abused by the vagueness of the legislation, they actively and deliberately violated federal and state laws, which is why they chose not to litigate Rosenburg. They are passing the penalty on to the employees, just like they pass on the cost of the legacy pension, health insurance etc. I'm a consistent 2+ performer because I step up and do the jobs no one else want, but despite record profits/promotions, bonuses and raises shrink every year or disappear altogether. Like many of you I am the traction between the customer and IBM. I will continue to put in my best effort, but what happens when schedules slip because my OT isn't approved? What happens when I turn away projects and work or have to cut corners to shoehorn 50 hours of work into a 44 hour week? -Mr. Tool-
    • Comment 1/31/08: Salary = 49,000; Band Level = 7; Years Service = 9; Message = Not only is IBM going to save money by ripping off the 7.500 people affected by the pay cuts, they have an unspoken underlying objective as well. The want people to quit. When people quit they don't have to give them a layoff package which, again, saves them money. It doesn't matter that they are affecting the lives of their employees. -anonymous-
    • Comment 1/31/08: Dear Sam, I'm a 30+ year IBM'er with a lot on my mind these days. So I thought I'd write an open letter to you to not only express my concerns to you, but also those of of my IBM colleagues. But fear not! There will be no obscenity filled attacks upon your person in this letter. So, if you would please, keep reading.

      Sam, people are furious. The mood among my peers is very ugly. With the possible exception of two kooks out in the Poughkeepsie warehouse, nobody gives a flyin' flip about anything.

      You wouldn't believe the comments I've heard come out of the mouths of longtime employees that at one time in their careers would give their all for IBM. I've heard things like" Oh, I'll get my money, one way or the other. It'll either be the easy way or the hard way, but I'll have my money!" Sam, if you knew these folks like I do, you'd be shocked to hear THEM say such a thing.

      Like me, they have absolutely no intention of following your lead. It's all about ME now. Ask yourself this: Why would they or why should they have any confidence in your leadership when you clearly blew it by making the decision to go ahead and cut pay by 15%?

      So Sam, be smart. Own up to the fact that IBM made some basic mistakes in the past, but those mistakes aren't the people's fault, and they should not pay the price for them. Cutting pay just compounds IBM's initial mistake! Don't do that!

      People respect someone who has the courage to admit they made a mistake. Admit IBM was wrong, and that it was a poor decision to cut pay, and reverse it! You'll be glad you did. If you can't or won't, do everybody a favor and resign. We'll be glad you did! ;-) -Anonymous-

    • Comment 1/31/08: Salary = 56k now 47k; Band Level = 6; Years Service = 7; Hours/Week = 50 (now 40 + Begging ); Message = Now there will be mail comes out No travel, and NO OT till further notice (which we never seen) so 100% screwed.. -screwed-
    • Comment 2/1/08: I would encourage everyone angry about this pay cut to go to their political representatives web site (from local to Senator) and let them know what IBM is doing to our jobs and our pay. Here's a link to get started: http://www.cwa-legislative.org/activist-tools/write.html -Alliance-
    • Comment 2/1/08: IBM is intentionally mis-categorizing Application Development Staff in Global Services as nonexempt as a mechanism for reducing their salaries. When you scrutinize IBM’s own samples of “nonexempt” and “exempt” type job functions, it becomes obvious that Application Designers and Developers fall into the “exempt” side of their chart. First Step is to cut salary by 15% but allow overtime. Next Step is reducing overtime. In a year, Band 8s will either be pushed into Band 7 (where they no doubt will be above the market range so it will effectively freeze their salary at the reduced rate) or, IBM will wave their magic wand again and suddenly make them exempt (only this time their exempt and 15% lighter in the wallet). Either way, we lose. -I'm Goona Need Some Vaseline-
  • PBC Comments
    • Comment 1/18/08: Prior Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr PBC = 2; Message = PBC's are a hill of beans! Where else do you have to write in a nut shell what you did during the whole year? I utilized all allotted 8,000 characters in my PBC results. Had the biggest work scope ever! Worked my ass off!! Obtained a 4 Year college degree and was rated by a new manager that has never been in the field with year end rating of only a 2. What a slap in the face and still a band 4 for the last 22 years.. Second line manager mentioned that I should be happy were I am as if I were promoted I could be considered for resource action! A true story!! All you new guys ... Bands 9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2, 1 Wake up and smell the coffee !! There are no set standards at IBM, Business Policies vary from department to department. Site to site ... Need union unity -PBC IS A JOKE-
    • Comment 1/23/08: Prior Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr PBC = 2; This Yr Bonus = ?; Prior Yr Bonus = $3500; Message = Hard work at IBM does not pay-off period… Management only looks after the ones that Kisses their behind or who they like. PBC is the biggest waste of time any employee can spend with his/her manager, I worked twice as hard as the prior year due to new projects at the customer, the customer spent $7.5M in 2007 on System x servers compare to the $4.5M the previous year and I was told by my manager that the customer was not happy with me because I refuse to worked the 60 hours weeks (Days/ Nights/ Weekends) anymore. Instead of IBM trying to sell the customer another x resource as I recommended I was insulted by management… Well No more loyalty from me IBM, work to rule from now… -Underrated-
    • Comment 1/23/08: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr Bonus = 0; Prior Yr Bonus = 0; Message = PBC is just for fun. Managers are misusing this policy. They never rate as per his/her performance. They just rate by face. IBM Pune is big example. If you are good in buttering then you will got rate 1 without fail. That's it the policy is. If managers are reading this scrap then plz think on this. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 1/24/08: Prior Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr PBC = 1; This Yr Bonus = ?; Prior Yr Bonus = $4000; Message = Here's what you get for a "1" appraisal from IBM, after 50-60 hour weeks all year, supporting a company that raked in $10.4 billion in profits in 2007: A 15% pay cut. Way to go Sam. There's a very special place awaiting you and your band of cronies. I just wish I was there to watch you burn. -Shafted again-
    • Comment 1/24/08: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2; This Yr Bonus = ????; Prior Yr Bonus = 2400; Message = You know the PBC is a useless piece of junk. The old PBC 360 made more sense. My manager doesn't even know what it is I do on a daily basis, hell I meet with her once a week just to tell her what I've done and what I have planned and she can't even keep that straight half the time. So how can she tell me I'm a 2 (and need some improvement to avoid being a 3 next year) when I've got positive customer feedback, cross teaming feedback and even executive feedback documented and on file? She doesn't consider that to be "note worthy" with regard to my job performance. Typical IBM management. Feedback from people that actually know what you do means less than the opinion of an untried manager who's got no idea what you do. -Anon-
    • Comment 1/24/08: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2; Message = another 2 rating this year. I am very interested in hearing from others who have gotten a 2 rating and whether reducing your work effort changed your rating the following year. not far to drop, is it. And given no raises nor bonuses for a 2, and the possibility of severance (HA) for a 3, why bother? -another 2 rating-
    • Comment 1/25/08: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 3; This Yr Bonus = haha; Prior Yr Bonus = minim; Message = Nine years straight 2's. This year a 3 out of the blue (pun intended)! Not a clue it was coming either... -Needs Improvement ?-
    • Comment 1/25/08: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2; This Yr Bonus = ?; Prior Yr Bonus = 0; Message = Was told that my client work merited a 1 or 2+ but received a 2 due to the fact that some in our practice apparently have no lives and spend the weekend working and have >100% utilization and many "outside" contributions. I thought the most important thing was how you did on your actual job? Seems a tad off to me. Demotivating. -Eh
    • Comment 1/25/08: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2; This Yr Bonus = lol; Prior Yr Bonus = nada; Message = to answer "another 2 rating" - same here. Worked 60+ hours for what? big fat 2. overall not surprised because I live in the usa. It is easy to level the ranks this way. pbc = a useless morale-killing-soul-crushing-fools errand. -just a number-
    • Comment 1/25/08: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = ?; This Yr Bonus = 0; Prior Yr Bonus = 0; Message = Glad to be resourced in June. I was a manager with both hands tied behind my back. Don't blame your PDM (oops I guess there are no more of those left), he/she is only following orders. -former manager-
    • Comment 1/26/08: The problem is the statement "relative contribution" which is a ranking of the people in same job codes within the department. As everyone knows but can't imagine them being on the low end there is a ranking from top to bottom employee. That usually supports the so called "distribution" that everyone believes. So if you ever did a"lifeboat" exercise you will need to make difficult decisions on who stays and who goes. We all like to believe that we are 1 performers but it ain't so. Also now days just because you are a 1 today it doesn't mean you will be a 1 tomorrow. So even if you got rid of the PBC scale you would still need to determine who is the best and who is the bottom. Unfortunate fact of life. You rank your fellow co-workers every day so if you want to do an exercise make a list of your department and rank the people. Now if costs only allow you to have 15 people in the department and you have 18 then the bottom 3 get RA'd. I saw my managers ranking one day and was surprised. -John-
    • Comment 1/26/08: Message = To -Eh- IBM must have some way meeting the executive-level mandate for Diversity quotas. That's where "outside" contribution often comes in to play. The code word I often heard was 'networking' events which add no value to the job at hand (ie Spirit Committees). When you hear the word "networking events" or "outside activities", rest assured that while they are off networking on company time, folks like you will be left absorbing their work. And also rest assured that they will CLAIM the time they spent out networking, hence driving up their utilization.

      The following may sound like sour grapes, but so be it. It's true. In my former department, we had two people who carried the place. They sacrificed for the team, even to the point of loosing shift differential and OT pay in order to take a leadership role. It was well known to everyone. We also had a young lady whose relative contribution would at best be middle of the road. She 'hid out' on night shift, missed work frequently, regularly came in late/left early, abandoned her team on day shift, where she was most needed, in order to draw night shift differential, and worked the least challenging accounts even though she had more tenure than the majority of her team mates.

      Come PBC time, her manager overlooked the two who were carrying the place, and gave the 1-PBC rating (she was allotted one PBC-1 rating) to the night shift operator. Her relative contribution? She helped drive up the diversity numbers. Disgusting as this may sound, it's a true story and a way of life at IBM. -Anonymous-

    • Comment 1/26/08: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 3; This Yr Bonus = n/A; Prior Yr Bonus = 2000; Message = Promoted to band 4 last year. given all kinds of thank you awards, video games, play station 3 etc.. rated a 2 last pbc. Left the DEPT and was rated a 3 this year. Said I took too much personal time off yet every email I sent to manager asking I received a reply of "OK" and "No problem" what a joke.... -screwed-
    • Comment 1/28/08: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2; This Yr Bonus = 1200; Prior Yr Bonus = ?; Message = Well, I just got out of my PBC review. I got a 2 as I was anticipating. Now we'll see if a 2 is deserving of a bonus since the"...company's employee bonus pool is being increased." as Sam said in his 4th quarter email. But my manager stated in my PBC feedback that my contribution beyond a 40 hour work week was significantly less than my peers thus the reason for my 2. Hmmmm, in 2006 I work 50-60 hours, took on a lead position in a special project and I got a 2. In 2007, I worked ONLY 40 hours a week and I got a 2. Where's the incentive to work extra hours? Like to moderator keeps saying - join the Alliance so that united we can stand up to IBM and require them to deal with us on a reasonable level. -tulsa_member-
    • Comment 1/28/08: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2; Message = So I just got my results. Great job this year love how ya have take leadership in activities, good teaming based on input from others; however overall relative contribution ( BS way of saying you don't kiss ass ) your a solid 2. Than the usual why this is a good appraisal etc. Just a way to save some dollar out of that great big pool of money that Sammie says has been set aside for bonus payouts. I am sure all the execs are getting 1's and the people sucking up to them as well. -Its that time of year-
    • Comment 1/29/08: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2; This Yr Bonus = ?; Prior Yr Bonus = 2100; Message = Totally agree with John. PBC planning starts in 1Q and it changes little by year end. The changes are mostly folks in the 2 and 2+ range. If you were a 3 performer you should have had a interim review (HR rule). HR mandates a certain percentage for each rating. WIth most folks ending up with a 2 performance. Can't our overpaid HR personnel come up with a better system than PBCs. Maybe when McDonald gets ousted or retires it will change. Didn't he bring this whole dumb process on board? -innovation station-
    • Comment 1/29/08: Prior Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr PBC = 2; Message = I was told my a IBM second line manger that not to take a two rating personally because upper management has directed a 30% increase related to a two rating from last year. Replacing your former 2+ rating. Three ratings are up 10% compared to last And a one rating is almost unheard of unless you are a good butt kisser or your first Name is Sam. What a slimy way to reduce US labor head count and be managed out! Welcome to the two or Three get out club !! -twos-
    • Comment 1/30/08: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2+; Prior Yr Bonus = 3.5%; Message = Somehow managed a 2+ this year, and was told they weren't giving many out. Of course, the last two times I got a high evaluation, the stock tanked (the first was around the time they made Sam CEO), and I got piddling variable pay and almost RA'd as well. (Time to short-sell? ) Only times I received a 3 was when I first started, and when I upset (I think their term is "concerned") a manager. Another colleague recently got RA'd with a 3, despite several 100+ hour weeks because he also didn't tell management things they wanted to hear. Go figure. -anon-
    • Comment 1/30/08: Alliance: Yep I remember getting a copy from my manager back when it was pitched. It was interesting about "managing out the 2's" part and I suspect that this would be the case when there needed to be another cost cutting layoff. So once again the ranking is the thing that determines who goes and who stays. That presentation was back in 06 and nothing has changed since so they are still using the ranking as the basis for layoffs. I'll give you that once they pair down the 3's they will attack the 2's but I bet they will be PBC 3's first and then out the door. This looks like the old GE model. Time will tell. -John-
  • International Comments
    • Comment 1/23/08: Country = UK; Union Affiliate = n/a; Job Title = 3rd level network; IBM Division = NSD; Message = Whilst I sympathize with some of those that are upset about the move from NSD into AT&T, I for one cannot wait. I have been with IBM 5 years from a previous TUPE into IBM, and IBM has been the worst large corporation I have ever worked for. If you have been with IBM many years, I understand the concern, as you are on far better packages than I and other younger members of staff. However the detail that I have seen from AT&T has convinced me that its the best move for me, and ta ta IBM. Good luck to all those affected, but in time I think like others I know, IBM is not the be all and end all, and there are better opportunities to be had elsewhere. -ANON UK-
    • Comment 1/23/08: Country = Canada; Union Affiliate = CEP 525G; Job Title = Exec Asst; IBM Division = Don't work for IBM; Message = I wish you luck in your endeavors. Mismanagement of IBM has cost all of us, including former users of OS/2 like myself a lot of money and effort. Best wishes from Canada -Anonymous
    • Comment 1/26/08: Country = USA; Union Affiliate = CWA Local 1701; Job Title = I/T Specialist; IBM Division = 07; Message = I remember hearing in the USA this: "... Ireland is a growing economy, business friendly, and is attracting big business due to a vibrant and skilled workforce..." . So IBM goes over and expands it's Irish operations which makes good business sense. It ultimately is like IBM uses/used Ireland as an interim place to start growing in the global economy until the BRIC's were ready to be infiltrated. Now that the BRIC's are "ready" then they are totally sold on India, China, Brazil, Russia, and now Vietnam. So where does that put Ireland now? So Ireland gets treated quite similar to the USA. Like in the USA now IBM is outsourcing IBM Ireland. Shame on IBM. Not good business sense IBM. Also it makes all your investment in Ireland a real sham.. -Anonymous-
Vault Message Board Posts:
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Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC.

  • "Well Said" by "ancientblueconsultant". Full excerpt: At the Blue Pig, you are a called a resource, not an asset. Even the military calls you assets as they send you to death in battle. They know the value of a human being and its potential. The management (not leadership) and bean counters in this immoral nest called a company have no interest in the employee aside from usurping the last life of those damned souls for propaganda purposes.
  • "are they going to be big(ger)?" by "carebear1234". Full excerpt: Anyone have any idea what the upcoming bonuses look like? I know Sam said they are going to be much better but does anyone know if that means we are getting a real bonus or just higher than the 1-2% we are used to?
  • "It depends" by "Frank_Reality". Full excerpt: if you're an executive, you can expect a big bonus. if you're a non-executive, no one knows until they are actually received. Sam's employee letter said they'd increase funding the bonus funding, but don't believe it until you have the cold hard cash in your bank account. He wouldn't lie to you, would he???
  • "History would tend to suggest no." by "civilliberty". Full excerpt: Your best bet is to get another job. You'd be surprised at how much more you can make outside of IBM.
  • "Those that forget history..." by "Dose of reality". Full excerpt: Remember what happened last time the economy was tanking - right after the PwC acquisition? Across the board salary cuts driven by the McKinsey study-inspired philosophy of "they got no place else to go". What possible reason would they have to pay you for the work that you have already done?
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.

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