Welcome to IBM Employee News and Links

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

Our Friends:

Watching IBM Watching IBM Facebook

Quick Links:

Get involved! Insider trading After IBM Lenovo Employee Discount

Previous highlights:

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

Highlights—March 15, 2008

  • In a Yahoo! IBM Retiree Information Exchange message board post, Janet Krueger responds to this question: Has anyone considered getting together a retiree qtr. century group in their area. If so did you just do it by word of mouth or did you have some data base to work from. Part of the problem I am having is people move away and you can't catch up with them.

    Ms Krueger's full response: The old IBM published retiree notebooks with names and addresses and pictures of all the IBM retirees in the area. They gave out annual updates that could be inserted in the notebooks. They issued invitations once a quarter to a quarter-century club function, such as a dinner or a bus trip to somewhere.

    My dad's retirement address book looks like the last update was done in 1992 -- he retired in 1988. He doesn't remember exactly when the last quarter century club event was; it was quite some time ago.

    He used to spend a couple of hours once a month volunteering in the retirement office in the Rochester plant. All the area retirees had badges that still worked in the doors to the plant. Now they are no longer welcome there.

    The whole retiree support infrastructure is gone now, and retirees who want to stay in contact with one another have to try to keep track on their own. They aren't notified when new folks join their ranks.

    I wonder why things changed... Do you think IBM doesn't want retirees actively talking to one another and sharing stories as their health care and other benefits vanish??? Or is IBM just too cheap to help them communicate with one another??? Either way, it is a sad sign of shifting values.

    The changes aren't done. Check out the most recent annual report at: http://www.ibm.com/annualreport/2007/higher_value.shtml. Scroll down to Item 6.

    This gives us confidence that we can achieve our long-term financial objectives. Key drivers:

    1. Revenue growth
    2. Margin expansion
    3. Share repurchases
    4. Growth initiatives and future acquisitions
    5. Retirement-related savings: We expect to achieve retirement-related cost savings over the next several years, driven in part by Plan redesigns.

    Gosh, I wonder how many of those savings will come out of the pockets of current retirees? Or can IBM save enough by making further cuts to those who haven't left yet? Lots to ponder... Janet Krueger Rochester, MN.

  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree Information Exchange message board: Yeah it is pretty funny ... in the "old school" IBM it was explained to employees and managers alike that IBM was a "3-legged stool" and would only continue to perform if it focused on ALL THREE critical elements of the business:
    • Customers
    • Shareholders
    • Employees

    It appears to me (the comedian) that it has become a company that cares most about executive compensation, and to the extent that things done to enhance executive compensation are beneficial to shareholders then so be it. The customers and employees are being marginalized.

    A stock buy back, since it has a positive impact on earnings per share which in turn helps determine executive compensation certainly falls into that category. In the short run that could also good for share holders since it reduced P/E ratio and potentially helps support the share price. But there are other ways to spend the money that I would wager will provide better long term results even it the only thing you were concerned about was indeed was shareholder value.

    R&D spending, anything among a myriad of ways that would improve customer satisfaction and help insure repeat business.... etc. etc. Of course those things are not likely to have significant pay value to executives in the short term so why bother.

    Hey don't get me wrong. I'm not in charge and I know it I can vote with my two feet and walk thru the door and time I want to do so. But adjustments of this magnitude take time. Let me use an example shared with me: You get home early from work one day and find the spouse in the sack with someone else. Now this is a person that for many years you had believed to be a full "partner" -- loyal, dedicated, and exclusively devoted to their relationship with you.

    They explain that ... gosh honey... I'm sorry but things have changed, it's better for them to have an "open" marriage. You are welcome to take it or leave it. Up until this moment.... you had not considered even the possibility of being forced to "take it or leave it". Now ... you can ... either take it or leave it, but I don't think that you would expect it to be an easy decision/transition.

    That, my friend, is where many employees (let me qualify that ... "old school" employees) sit in their relationship with IBM -- stunned by the sudden changes for the worst in their relationship with a previously benevolent employer and career partner. Companies (and people) have the right to change their behavior anytime they like (so long as they don't break the law) but it is arrogant to think in either case that the impacted "innocent" parties will continue on without any disruption in their lives.

    But ... I really don't worry about it, and you shouldn't either. It will all shake out eventually. The old-schoolers will quit, retire, or die. The new crop already understands how the new game is played -- they play by the same rules the executives -- "What's in it for me TODAY?". I'm VERY, VERY proud of the new-school IBMers - Internationally just check the turnover rates that will give you a good picture of loyalty and customer continuity issue.

    Within the USA I've had the EXTREME pleasure of watching the "youngsters" in action. I've watched them demand a "1" appraisal and tell mgmt. flat out that if they did not get it they would quit. (She got the "1"). I saw another demand RSUs (that's what they call stock options for the grunts these days) or he was gone ... he got them.

    I saw another guy upon being converted to hourly and then being denied any overtime hours turn in his resignation without any attempts at prior negotiation. IBM desperately needed him to finish a critical project they COUNTEROFFERED -- more than making up the 15% loss of base pay. He walked out anyway, said he didn't want to be associated with a company like IBM at any price.

    So in short... don't worry it will all shake out ... and the last of my IBM stock has been sold. You feel free to put your money and your loyalty wherever you like. Indeed, IBM may be a good investment I do not mean to imply that it will not be one. Most other big companies are now run in a similar way, so it is a "level playing field" in that regard. As for myself I just have a rule against picking up again in a relationship with a girl I've already caught cheating on me. The "comedian" is signing off this thread. TK.

  • New York Times: Chiefs’ Pay Under Fire at Capitol. By Jenny Anderson. Excerpts: In pointed exchanges with Congressional lawmakers Friday, three prominent financial executives defended the multimillion-dollar pay packages they received even as their companies were brought to their knees by the spreading credit crisis. The executives, Charles O. Prince III, the former chief executive of Citigroup; E. Stanley O’Neal, the former chief executive of Merrill Lynch; and Angelo Mozilo, the founder and chief executive of Countrywide Financial, dismissed suggestions that they had reaped lavish compensation while fostering the spread of risky subprime lending.

    The tone was captured in a testy exchange between Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, and Mr. Mozilo. Mr. Cummings asked why the executive had urged Countrywide to pay taxes on his wife’s travel on the company’s private jet. “I have some constituents who are losing their houses; you are upset about your wife,” Mr. Cummings said.

    Mr. Mozilo responded, “It sounds out of whack today because it is out of whack, but in 2006, the company was doing great.” Mr. Mozilo said he would not have made such a request today and apologized for complaining about his compensation in an internal e-mail message. “It was an emotional time,” he said. “I apologize for that memo.”

    The questioning mainly fell along party lines, with Republicans apologizing for bringing distinguished corporate officials before the panel, and Democrats questioning everything from the income gap in America to the particular bonuses, stock sales and compensation the executives were awarded.

  • Money/CNN: IBM's Palmisano made $20.9M in 2007. Excerpts: IBM Corp.'s chairman and chief executive, Samuel J. Palmisano, enjoyed an 11 percent raise in compensation to $20.9 million in 2007, a year in which the technology company increased its profits and stock price. In a regulatory filing Monday, IBM said Palmisano, 56, was paid $1.8 million in salary and $5.8 million in a bonus-like payout under IBM's incentive plan. He also got options and stock equivalents worth $12.3 million when they were issued.

    Another $988,479 came to Palmisano through various perks, including $406,235 worth of travel on IBM aircraft, $364,162 in dividend equivalents on his restricted stock and $152,460 in contributions to his retirement plan. (Editor's note: Mr. Palmisano apparently didn't get the e-mail outlining IBM's travel policy which requires booking the lowest-cost fare on its Online Travel Reservation system.) ...

    Palmisano's total of $20.9 million was up from $18.8 million the prior year. The increase came as Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM posted a 10 percent gain in net profit, to $10.4 billion.

  • CNN/Money: IBM Launches the IBM Institute for Business Value. Adds a New Dimension to Its Services Capabilities in India. Excerpt: IBM today announced the launch of the IBM India Institute for Business Value (IBV) to address the growing demand for high value services by clients in India, and for those seeking to break into the market. The IBV, which is IBM's "business think tank," will create fact-based, industry and service area-specific thought leadership materials that will enable clients to realize business value. Today's announcement represents another significant investment IBM is making in India.
  • CNN/Money: IBM Opens Global Supply Chain Innovation Center in China. Center Will Collaborate With Companies Worldwide to Deliver Groundbreaking Solutions. Excerpts: IBM today announced the opening of the first supply chain innovation center dedicated to helping companies worldwide integrate and transform their global supply chain capabilities. IBM's new Supply Chain Innovation Center located in Beijing, China will leverage the company's expertise in supply chain research, business consulting services, software capabilities and its own Integrated Supply Chain experience to create new solutions for companies around the world. ...

    The IBM Supply Chain Innovation Center is available immediately and can be leveraged by any IBM client worldwide. Companies should contact their IBM representative if they are interested in the services provided by the Innovation Center.

  • CBS-5 (San Francisco Bay Area): 3-Alarm Fire Destroys Historic SJ Building. Excerpts: A 3-alarm fire destroyed a Silicon Valley building caught up in a court fight over whether the one-time IBM lab where engineers invented a forerunner of the modern hard drive should be preserved as a landmark, authorities said. About 85 San Jose firefighters spent more than eight hours battling the blaze at the vacant structure, known as IBM Building 25, before bringing the flames under control at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday. "The entire structure is a total loss," said Capt. Anthony Pianto of the San Jose Fire Department. ...

    Researchers working at the building invented the flying head disk drive, which improved a computer's ability to search its memory and helped make computers smaller.

    A report prepared for the city's historic landmarks commission described Building 25 as one of the earliest architectural examples of the high-tech corporate campuses now scattered throughout Silicon Valley and beyond. Modern architect John Bolles collaborated with landscape architect Douglas Baylis as well as several prominent artists in designing the building and the IBM campus, said Brandt-Hawley, who specializes in environmental and preservation law. In 1956, construction started on the 190-acre Cottle Road Campus. Building 25 was the fourth to be built. A year after construction started, the modernistic single-story building became home to the San Jose Research and Development Laboratories, according to IBM's Web site.

  • BusinessWeek: Multinationals: Are They Good for America? They're productive, innovative, and loaded with cash. But that doesn't mean they'll bail out the U.S. economy. By Michael Mandel. Excerpts: High in the hills overlooking Corning, N.Y., the company named after the town has recently broken ground on a $300 million expansion of its research laboratories. Flush with cash from booming overseas sales, the glass giant is amping up its product development efforts at home. "It's important for the functioning of our innovation machine that we be in one location," says Corning Inc. President Peter F. Volanakis.

    That's good news for the residents of Steuben County, where Corning is the largest employer. Since 2005 they have watched their unemployment rate drop faster than that of neighboring counties, in part because of Corning's commitment to the area and its ability to sell around the world.

    Americans are going to need quite a few more Cornings—global companies willing to invest in the U.S.—to ease the pain of the economic slowdown. The big multinationals are the go-to guys right now: They've got plenty of cash and soaring profits from overseas operations. They're highly productive and innovative, more so than domestic companies. And unlike consumers, banks, and smaller companies, the multinationals aren't constrained by the credit crunch. ...

    But will the globe-spanning giants come to the rescue of the U.S. economy? Recent history is not encouraging. Figures collected by the Bureau of Economic Analysis suggest the multinational sector has in some ways been a drag on the U.S. economy since 2000. From 2000 to 2005, the last year for which full data are available, U.S. multinationals cut more than 2 million jobs at home, even as employment in the rest of the private sector grew—and there's no sign the trend has significantly reversed. The U.S. operations of foreign multinationals also shrank over the five-year stretch, dropping 500,000 jobs as foreign investors cut costs and sold off U.S. companies. Toyota, perhaps the most successful foreign company in the U.S., added all of 9,000 jobs in the states between 2000 and 2007. ...

    Multinationals have been the wild card in the economic deck for a decade. Back in 1997, four years after the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the economists at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington put out their biennial projections of job growth over the next 10 years. With a touching note of optimism, they assumed that exports, adjusted for inflation, would double over the next decade—a boom that would have produced a sizable number of good-paying American jobs.

  • CNET News: Bill Gates to Congress: Let us hire more foreigners. By Anne Broache. Excerpts: For the second year in a row, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates ventured to Capitol Hill and urged Congress to let more foreign-born engineers work in the United States and to direct larger numbers of tax dollars to research and education. Just as he did around the same time last year before a U.S. Senate committee, Gates on Wednesday contended America's competitiveness in the global economy is "at risk." He said Congress, the administration, and the next president must commit to overhauling immigration policy and encouraging both public and private research investment. ...

    One notable exception to the friendly reception, however, came when Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) used his five allotted minutes to grill Gates on the merits of visa cap increases. "Will it not hurt those countries and will it also not depress wages for people in our own country?" the congressman asked. "No," the Microsoft chairman responded sharply. "These top people are going to be hired. It's just a question of where."

    Rohrabacher said he's not talking about "top" students. He's concerned about the B and C American students who "fought for our country and kept it free." There's no excuse, he argued, for displacing those people with "A students from India."

    An audibly irritated Gates replied that when companies like Microsoft hire top foreign engineers, they create jobs for B and C American students around them. If Microsoft weren't able to hire those top engineers in the United States, it'd be doing so in other countries and surrounding them with native B and C students, he said.

    Rohrabacher argued that if companies like Microsoft simply raised wages, they'd find plenty of Americans lining up for those jobs. "No, it's not an issue of raising wages," Gates retorted. "These jobs are very, very high paying jobs." ...

    Ron Hira, a public policy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology and author of the book Outsourcing America, told CNET News.com on Wednesday that it's wrong for Gates to imply that most H-1Bs are going to the brightest foreigners with advanced degrees and earning them big bucks. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the typical H-1B holder holds a bachelor's degree and is making a median salary of $50,000. And the same NSF report referenced by Gates says less than 1 percent of H-1B recipients in computer-related professions even hold doctoral degrees, and about 44 percent hold master's degrees.

  • BusinessWeek: Guess Who's Getting the Most Work Visas. Indian outsourcers top the list of companies bringing foreign workers to the U.S. on the H-1B program. By Moira Herbst. Excerpts: The controversy over visas for high-skilled workers from abroad looks like it's about to get even hotter. The program for what are known as H-1B visas was originally set up to allow companies in the U.S. to import the best and brightest in technology, engineering, and other fields when such workers are in short supply in America. But data just released by the federal government show that offshore outsourcing firms, particularly from India, dominate the list of companies awarded H-1B visas in 2007. Indian outsourcers accounted for nearly 80% of the visa petitions approved last year for the top 10 participants in the program. The new data are sure to fuel criticism of the visa program from detractors such as Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.). "These numbers should send a red flag to every lawmaker that the H-1B visa program is not working as it was intended," said Grassley in an e-mail. ...

    Critics such as Grassley and Durbin charge that the outsourcers are abusing the U.S. program. The work visas, they say, are supposed to be used to bolster the U.S. economy. The idea is that companies like Microsoft, Google, or IBM can use them to hire software programmers or computer scientists with rare skills, fostering innovation and improving competitiveness. Instead, critics say, companies such as Infosys and Wipro are undermining the American economy by wiping out jobs. The companies bring low-cost workers to the U.S., train them in the offices of U.S. clients, and then rotate them back home after a year or two so they can provide tech support and other services from abroad. "Valuable high-tech jobs are on a one-way superhighway overseas," said Durbin in an e-mail. ...

    Many U.S. workers oppose any expansion of the program. They say H-1Bs let companies hire cheap workers from abroad, rather than Americans. They say the timing for expansion couldn't be worse, with the economy faltering. "Foreign workers are coming into the U.S., even though Americans need jobs," says Kim Berry, president of the worker advocacy group Programmers Guild. "It turns the intent of the H-1B program upside down."

  • Tech Republic: Bill Gates to discuss the need for H-1B visa increase. By Tricia Liebert. Excerpt: If the goal of the H-1B visa is to provide access to permanent candidates with specific skill sets, why is a contract house leading the list of visa grants? Or is the intent that while the H-1B worker is in place, the company is intended to be growing a candidate already in house to take over the work by the end of the H-1B’s time? If that is the case, why would Microsoft or Intel be on the list of grants? To put it simply, is the program intended to provide a skilled worker for a short period, or is it intended to permanently fill a role? These are questions that Senators Chuck Grassley and Richard Durbin would like answered.
  • eWeek Careers: Google Says Layoffs Are Coming. By Deb Perelman. Excerpts: Layoffs are expected to take place in the United States but "possibly in other regions as well." Google expects to spend the next few weeks matching and aligning DoubleClick's employees with its own. It expects to have the process completed by early April. From the tone of the blog entry, it appears that Google expects to have an easier time laying off U.S. employees than foreign ones, something that may expedite the reductions.

    "Outside the U.S., the steps we will propose are subject to consultation with employee representatives where applicable, and of course any decisions will be made in accordance with local law. The exact timing of the process outside the U.S. will vary based on the needs and requirements of each region," wrote Schmidt.

  • Baseline Magazine; Is There Really an IT Labor Shortage? By Ericka Chickowski. Excerpts: Despite what you've been told about the IT skills shortage, there's a multitude of evidence that suggests that line of reasoning is a self-serving myth. Baseline cuts in to the belly of the IT shortage debate. ...

    But there is a growing resistance to this “common knowledge” of IT labor shortages—a number of economists, academics and industry experts refute these claims, stating that there simply isn’t any hard evidence to support the idea that there is or soon will be an IT skills shortage.

    “It seems like every three years you've got one group or another saying, the world is going to come to an end there is going to be a shortage and so on,” said Vivek Wadhwa, a professor for Duke University’s Master of Engineering Management Program and a former technology CEO himself. “This whole concept of shortages is bogus, it shows a lack of understanding of the labor pool in the USA.”

    Wadhwa has been studying the IT labor market since his transition to the academic world, when he began hearing student anxiety over the availability of jobs in the wake of increased offshore outsourcing and onshore hiring of foreign guest workers. He’d heard all of the business claims of skills shortages to justify these practices, but these assertions didn’t jibe with students’ perception of diminished job prospects in technology. His findings have so far shown no indication of skills shortage.

    For example, in one study Wadhwa illustrated the disconnect between industry leadership’s opinions about skills shortfalls and the quantitative facts that contradict these opinions. He and his students at Duke went straight to the hiring source, the human resource department, at a number of top companies employing IT workers.

    They asked HR professionals a number of questions that would speak to the availability of qualified workers, about topics such as the number of applicants received for IT jobs, the speed with which these positions are filled and the overall satisfaction with the employees eventually hired. The portrait painted by the question’s answers were very different from their executive’s opinions on skills shortages, Wadhwa says, explaining that each indicator showed there was no lack of qualified applicants. ...

    Dr. Ron Hira agrees there is no shortage of skilled IT workers. In his capacity as a professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, a fellow at the Economic Policy Institute and co-author of the book Outsourcing America, he has pored through Bureau of Labor Statistics data and university graduation rates and found that the United States has consistently graduated more than enough computer scientists and engineers to fill the IT jobs available in the country. Similarly, there he has seen no in unemployment rates to indicate any kind of IT worker shortage. ...

    Hira believes the most telling pieces of evidence are the IT wage statistics, which haven’t risen dramatically in years. “Wages have been basically pretty flat,” he said, “and that’s where we would see numbers spike if there was any kind of shortage. You would see signing bonuses and so forth.” Wadhwa echoes his sentiments. “It doesn’t add up,” Wadhwa said. “We live in a free economy. If we were sitting in a government controlled economy it would be one thing, but in a free economy what happens is that when shortages begin to develop is that prices rise and the money compensates for the shortage.”

  • CNET News: House politicians propose 'emergency' H-1B hike. By Anne Broache. Excerpts: Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates clearly got through to some politicians with his plea for more H-1B visas on Capitol Hill earlier this week. Late Thursday, a U.S. House of Representatives Democrat on the Science and Technology Committee, which Gates addressed, introduced a bill that would double the number of H-1B visas and remove other restrictions from 2008 onward. Then, on Friday, a key House Republican followed with his own proposal for "emergency" relief. His plan: tripling the visa cap. ...

    Gates and other technology company executives have long said they need the ability to hire more foreigners--both on temporary visas and permanent green cards--to fill gaps for which they can't find qualified Americans. Gates maintained that H-1B visa holders at his company receive high wages, prevent jobs from being moved offshore, and even lead to creation of more jobs for Americans around those senior engineers.

  • Associated Press, courtesy of the New York Times: Chile Boosts Public Pensions for Poor. Excerpt: Once a model for privatized social security in dozens of countries from Peru to the U.S., Chile is undertaking the largest-ever overhaul of its pioneer private system, adding sweeping public payouts for low-income seniors. The new $2 billion-a-year program will expand public pensions to groups left out by private pensions -- the poor and self-employed, housewives, street vendors and farmers who saved little for retirement -- granting about a quarter of the nation's work force public pensions by 2012.
  • Financial Week: The 401(k) effect: Employees who won’t retire. Poor performing, unpredictable DC plans keep employees hanging on, bedeviling bosses’ attempts to reshape their workforces. By Mark Bruno. Excerpts: While shifting workers from traditional defined-benefit plans into 401(k) plans may allow corporations to lower their retirement plan expenses, many of these companies may wind up dealing with an unexpected problem. “Because there’s no guaranteed retirement income with a 401(k), employees will work longer than they would have if they were in a traditional pension,” said Alan Glickstein, senior investment consultant at Watson Wyatt. “And this will curtail an employer’s ability to efficiently manage their workforces.”

    Mr. Glickstein pointed to a new Watson Wyatt study revealing that workers whose non-Social Security retirement incomes are primarily derived from 401(k)s are significantly less likely to retire than workers who are covered by a defined-benefit plan.

    Employees with defined-benefit plans know exactly what their pension payout will be—making planning for retirement easier—unlike those with defined-contribution plans like 401(k)s. What’s more, it makes little financial sense for employees with DB plans to keep on working once they are eligible to receive the pension. Typically, the payout from a DB plan won't increase beyond what the company has promised even if employees continue to work after they become eligible for a full pension.

  • Dallas Morning News: Broker system costs you years of retirement savings. Excerpt: The legacy system, of course, will continue to claim that it has brilliant managers who will overcome their costs. Unfortunately, there is not a shred of evidence to support this claim. There wasn't in the late '60s. There wasn't in the '70s, '80s or '90s, either. And there is no evidence today. In a future with no corporate pensions and with worry about Social Security benefits, using the legacy system is one of the more self-destructive things a young person can do. It doesn't help retirees, either.
  • Colorado Springs Gazette: 438 million vacation days went unused by U.S. workers in '07. Excerpts: Psychologists, demographers and others say we pass over time off for many reasons - an entrenched Puritan work ethic, fear of being seen as reckless slackers relaxing while the economy burns, squirreling away time for days we're stuck at home awaiting a repair call. The figure for time left behind comes from Harris Interactive, a polling and research group, which for seven years has examined trends in unused vacation days for Expedia.com, the Internet travel booker. ...

    Others also keep an eye on unused vacation. It's an issue for human resources managers, responsible for overseeing employee time off - especially in companies where workers can roll over days to a new year or bank them for a windfall on leaving the firm. (Editor's note: This problem is not an issue for IBM, which forbid employees from banking vacation several years ago.) ...

    Not only do we regularly give up days we've often bargained hard to get, we also get few compared with the rest of the industrialized world. In fact, the United States is singular when it comes to vacation days: We are the only advanced economy in the world without a minute of government-mandated time off.

    To be a member of the European Union, a nation's employers must offer workers a minimum of 20 days off a year. Several mandate more. According to "No-Vacation Nation," a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research about the United States' unique place in the balance between work and lifestyle, France requires the most vacation: 30 days, plus a paid holiday. Overall, though, the French are beaten by Austria and Portugal, which require employers to give 22 vacation days off, plus 13 holidays, for a total of 35 days off - amounting to seven weeks a year.

  • Wall Street Journal: U.S. Shrugs While Dollar Sinks. Rare Tumble Below 100-Yen Benchmark Fails to Trip Alarms. By Dan Molinski. Excerpts: Those who think the administration should change its stance of apparent benign neglect argue that further steep declines could lead to a global loss of confidence in the dollar, pushing interest rates higher as foreigners demand better returns to hold U.S. assets.

    Overnight, the euro hit yet another record high at $1.5609. The U.S. dollar was also at a record low against the Singapore dollar, at S$1.3791, and a 10-year low against Malaysia's ringgit at 3.1586 ringgit. It also fell to a record low against China's yuan at 7.0904 yuan.

  • American Association of Independent Investors: Retirement Planning: Myths and Misconceptions About Life in Retirement. By Michael E. Leonetti. Excerpts: "Some people spend more time planning a two-week vacation than they do retirement planning." ~ Anonymous

    Retirement is a passage from one lifestyle to another. One way to think of the term "retire" is by placing a hyphen between the 'e' and the 't' and creating a new term—re-tire: To put on new treads. Those who take the voyage seriously and do the right kind of retirement planning usually have a smoother trip and more fun. Discussions with seasoned retirees indicate that there are many myths and misconceptions about retirement. Often you will hear these myths stated as fact. Here are some of the most common ones.

News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
  • Galen Institute: What They Agree On. Excerpts: Now that it appears the Democratic presidential contest will keep going for some time, health care will continue to be a major topic of debate. While most of the disagreement between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has focused on universal coverage -- and particularly an individual mandate -- that dispute is actually overshadowing how many similarities there are between their two health policy proposals. The sooner that voters focus on the larger picture, the better informed their decisions can be. There are a number of provisions in both of their plans which are not controversial, such as a greater emphasis on using health information technologies, offering a choice of health plans, better prevention and chronic care management, etc.

    But here is a partial list of what Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama are proposing that reveals their visions of a much larger role for government in our health sector. They both would create new health care purchasing arrangements and propose...

    Most of the Republican presidential candidates' plans were organized around the idea of moving more power and control over health insurance and health care decisions to patients, as I described in my recent Wall Street Journal article. Because there was little debate in the GOP contest over health care, the issue received little attention. But to prepare for the general election, Sen. McCain must do more work to refine and develop his plan.

  • Wall Street Journal: Insurers Pressed To Pay More For Prostheses. By Vanessa Fuhrmans. Excerpts: Big advances in technology have raised the costs of prosthetic limbs, and that has made them a target for cutbacks in health-care coverage. Many private health plans cap prosthesis coverage at $2,500 or $5,000 a year, or pay for just one device per limb in a lifetime, sometimes even for a growing child. The most basic devices can cost between $3,000 and $15,000, while mechanically advanced or computer-assisted models can cost up to $40,000.

    Now, amputees and prosthetic-device makers are pushing state legislatures around the country to pass laws that mandate prosthesis coverage. The goal is to force private health plans to offer coverage comparable to that provided by Medicare, which pays at least 80% of the cost of prostheses and allows regular replacement of artificial limbs. Health insurers oppose such mandates, saying they reduce consumer choice and drive up costs.

    Prosthetic devices are among the biggest-ticket items affected by the growing effort of insurers and employers to curb rising health costs by asking patients to pay a bigger percentage of their medical bills. For people who need artificial limbs, the receding coverage can mean paying tens of thousands of dollars to fill the gap. ...

    "You'd think that there isn't anything more basic than making sure someone has an arm and leg," says Keith Molinari, who found his private health insurance covered only a fraction of a basic prosthesis when his 10-year-old son, Chase, lost his leg to cancer as an infant. The Molinaris, in Roscoe, N.Y., made what they say was an emotionally difficult decision to have their son, who outgrows his artificial legs nearly every year, declared disabled so he would qualify for Medicaid, the joint state/federal program for the poor. Mr. Molinari has since changed jobs and now is enrolled in a plan that provides adequate coverage for prostheses.

  • The Commonwealth Fund: Health Policy Reform in the 2008 Election Season. Excerpts: With the 2008 presidential election dominating headlines, health policy reform—and the candidates' health plans—are also making news. The Commonwealth Fund has published a number of pieces, available below, that explain and analyze the candidates' proposals, as well as the issues at stake in the campaign and beyond.

    Also check out Commonwealth Fund staff discussing the candidates' plans in the media. Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis appeared on ABC's "World News Tonight" in a two-part series on health care in the presidential election. Watch the December 12, 2007 video clip. Karen Davis also appeared on the CUNY TV show, "One to One" on February 20, 2008. Watch the interview with Sheryl McCarthy of Newsday. Sara Collins, assistant vice president for the Program on the Future of Health Insurance at Commonwealth Fund, reviewed the candidates' plans on the March 3, 2008 episode of "The Bob Edwards Show."

  • The State (South Carolina): Parental umbrella would cover young S.C. adults. Bill would extend health care protection for dependents years longer. By Roddie A. Burris. Excerpts: South Carolina would be taking one of the most aggressive stands in the nation in extending health insurance to its young adults under a proposal lawmakers will discuss today. A bill proposed by Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Richland, would require insurance companies to insure adult dependents up to age 25. Full-time college or trade school students could remain on their parents’ coverage until age 30. Military veterans — those who join the service for a few years then return home to attend college or trade school —could be covered under a parental health insurance policy up to age 33.

    Access to health insurance is one of the greatest challenges facing the United States today, Lourie said, and with fewer employers offering insurance in a troubled economy, young people are struggling to afford coverage.

  • Physicians for a National Health Program: Do health benefits reduce wages? The Mandate Wars, In California And Beyond. By Rick Kronick. Excerpt: There are many reasons that most moderate-income workers are covered by insurance, while hardly any moderate-income who are not covered by employer-sponsored insurance choose to purchase coverage on their own. These reasons include: the fact that non-group insurance is a much less good buy than group coverage; the fact that people with health problems often cannot buy non-group coverage at any price; differences in tax treatment (although premiums are fully deductible for the self-employed, and relatively few self-employed purchase coverage, so tax treatment is far from the whole story); and the possibility of self-selection in which people who most value insurance manage to find jobs that offer coverage.

    Part of the difference is no doubt due to confusion about who is really paying the bill — although most economists would swear that employer contributions to insurance are really paid for by workers in the form of foregone wages, the very high coverage rates for moderate income workers suggests that many economists swear too much. Regardless of the reasons for the difference, the very high coverage rates for moderate-income workers and the very low purchase rates among moderate-income workers who do not have employer sponsored insurance provide diametrically opposed views of affordability, and complicate the discussion about the level of income at which a person can fully afford insurance.

  • BusinessWeek: Outsourcing the Patients. More U.S. health insurers are slashing costs by sending policyholders overseas for pricey procedures. By Bruce Einhorn. Excerpts: For years, Americans have been traveling abroad to save money on elective procedures or dental work. David Boucher, 49, doesn't fit the usual profile for such medical tourists. An assistant vice-president of health-care services at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of South Carolina, he has ample health benefits. But Boucher recently chose to have a colonoscopy at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, mainly to make a point about the expanding options available to Blue Cross customers. And his company happily picked up the $640 tab—a bargain by U.S. standards.

    Blue Cross and other insurers would like to see more policyholders traveling abroad for medical care. Since the start of the year, Boucher has signed alliances with seven overseas hospitals and hopes to add five more by yearend, including them all in coverage for his company's 1.5 million members. As health-care costs continue to rise in the U.S., "medical travel is going to be part of the solution," he says. ...

    Blue Cross took the lead in medical offshoring when it formed its first partnership, with Bumrungrad Hospital, in February. Since then the insurer has signed similar pacts with the Parkway Group Healthcare, owner of three hospitals in Singapore, and hospitals in Turkey, Ireland, and Costa Rica. Three members of India's Apollo Hospitals Group are also joining the network. And another large Indian chain, Wockhardt Hospitals, is talking with U.S. insurers as well. "Americans haven't come to grips with having their heart surgery in Thailand," says Curtis Schroeder, the American CEO of Bumrungrad. "But that will change."

    The shift is sure to leave some policyholders disgruntled, of course. Offering international coverage might make it easier for employers to limit benefits at home, for instance, by raising the deductibles on U.S.-based procedures. It's also extremely difficult for patients to sue for malpractice in most Asian countries. Bumrungrad has offices for marketing and promotion in 20 countries, but not the U.S.—in part because having a U.S. office would open the door to potential liability, hospital officials say. So it will take a while for the trickle of insured U.S. patients in Asia to become a torrent. But over time, for policyholders and payers alike, the price may be hard to resist.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site:
  • 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
  • A view of the pay cut. By a Poughkeepsie IBM employee. Excerpt: Executives shamelessly claim “we feel your pain” when cutting pay but the company can’t afford to pay overtime because we won’t be able to compete. We’re only talking about 7600 people out of 125,000, or 6% of its U.S. workforce. Boy, that’ll scare away the shareholders – we’re paying the help too much! Speaking of pandering to Wall St. – IBM just announced another $15 Billion in stock buybacks ($94 Billion since 1995) – more for the executives! In fact CEO Palmisano received an 11% raise in compensation for 2007 of $20 million. Consider, too IBM made $10 Billion profit last year, the 7th straight year of profits greater than $5 Billion - which you’ve helped earn. So IBM can easily afford to pay OT. The pay-cut is about revenge.
  • Tell IBM to rescind employee pay cuts. Effective February 1st, IBM unilaterally reclassified 7600 employees from exempt from overtime to non-exempt AND cut their pay 15%. IBM is also rebanding employees to lower bands which will also affect future wages. IBM Executives are meeting with employees around the country who are getting their salary cut. Is this simply damage control?

    Keep the Pressure on! Take a stand! SAY NO to Pay Cuts! Tell me more...

  • Plan Now! Make your voice heard at the IBM Stockholder meeting April 29th in Charlotte, North Carolina. Details to follow...
  • From the Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comment 3/07/08: I know someone hit by an RA today. This person does software support in IT Delivery. His job is being outsourced to China. He has been given 30 days notice.. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 3/09/08: Its been confirmed that there will be another huge layoff in May. Expect the same approach as last May with two rounds. Initial numbers are somewhere in the 400 to mid 500's in each round. GBS and ITD will be the target. Focus will be on the 06A and a smaller percentage in the 08A families They are working the numbers for the following month / quarter as well. This will be the norm until the vast majority of the higher paying jobs are COTS over to BRIC -insider-
    • Comment 3/10/08: insider: How are the May job cuts any different than what we see EVERY quarter? Heck, there were job cuts just last week!. -member-
    • Comment 3/10/08: Anyone know any info about upcoming cuts in Canada? My usual 'contacts' know nothing but I have seen H.R. and LEAN Managers meeting in our building for the last few weeks. -DM-
    • Comment 3/11/08: To Nobody: Try adding whatis@us.ibm.com to your IBM buddy list. It shows up like a person but it's a bot you can query for all those crazy acronyms. If you type in "what is bric", just as if you were having a conversation with someone, it returns: "(Buzz) Definitions Found (1) Brazil Russia India China." Long address: WhatIs Bot/Southbury/Contr/IBM@IBMUS -NotNobody-
    • Comment 3/15/08: Open your eyes mrmx. The only reason Gates wants what he wants has nothing to do with hiring all their employees from the same 'culture.' Companies want to hire labor at lower cost. If there is a problem with the gene pool then it is at the level of CEO management that puts short term profit ahead of long term vision. -OpenYourEyes-
  • General Visitor's Comment page:
    • Comment 3/06/08: This came out Tuesday: "Each year we are challenged to improve upon our business performance to drive continued positive growth in the AIS Service Line. In order to meet our 2008 business objectives, we have aggressive utilization targets that require that we drive at or above 10% every week as an organization. This equates to an average of 4 hours of billable overtime per person each week.

      I do recognize that many of you spend time travelling that is not considered billable. You should continue to log that time as nonbillable for the actual time worked. However, to achieve our growth objectives, our model requires that each practitioner average a minimum of 44 billable hours per week. For those of you who are currently exceeding this run rate, I thank you and encourage you to keep up the great work. For those practitioners averaging less than 44 hours per week, please work with your project management to structure your workload to accommodate the minimum of 10% overtime. Exceptions, including contracts capped at 40 hours, should be brought to your Practice Leader or RDM's attention for escalation. Billable utilization has a major impact on our financial results, so your efforts do make a difference. I sincerely appreciate the value, innovation, hard work and commitment each of you deliver on a daily basis!

      Donna D. Satterfield AIS Americas Cross-Sector Leader Global Business Services" -Leaving-

    • Comment 3/08/08: I have been part of IBM/Tivoli for 10 years and in that time I have seen it go from innovative, help the customer company to a process and spreadsheet driven organization. If you try to think 'outside' the box it is not well received. It has worn me down to the point I have decided to leave. I guess it is just the nature of business here at IBM, but there are many other opportunities out there and I found one. If you wonder what it is like outside of IBM there is opportunity as others have said, see for yourself. I refuse to stay and turn bitter...... -DJ-
    • Comment 3/08/08: To "Leaving". This has been IBM's scummy tactics for years. You are forced to work overtime so they can bill the customers extra, although you won't get any of that for your efforts. They finally got caught with that lawsuit but did not learn their lesson. I'm sure there are more lawsuits to come. I'm amazed they sent a letter saying you have to work more hours. They never in the past would admit that they told us we had to work ot or else. -Anon-
    • Comment 3/08/08: Nice to know that come next year I will move down a band from 08 to 07 as a Senior I/T Specialist which I have been for 12 years and 25 years in IBM total. This statement is on w3 about the reclassification action:: IBM says they have to do this because 'it's a government regulation and does not reflect less of the value to IBM of the job'. So why am I effectively going to be demoted? Nice to know that I thought staying strong technically and constantly up with the skills for hardware, software, middleware skills for all these years (effectively a career) to offer a value to IBM was really valued in IBM.

      If the value of a Senior I/T Specialist is the same to IBM then why a deband/demotion? Maybe if I decided to just push paper, did Powerpoints, and asked people for their task and project due dates to fill out my Excel or PM tool, then I would be easily band 09 by now or even higher. That is obviously still valued in IBM. -Anonymous-

    • Comment 3/09/08: Does everyone know what "Sitting in The Catbird seat" means? I'm sure you've heard that expression before. It's an idiomatic phrase used to describe someone an enviable position, often in terms of having the upper hand or greater advantage in all types of dealings among various parties. At IBM, I'm sitting in the Catbird seat, and if you could see me, you'd know you'd be looking at one cackling assed Catbird! I'm loving it!

      See, I've got 32 years of service, and I'm watching the effect things like LEAN, Resource Actions, and Global Resoursing are having on the "Virtual IBM's" business. You know the "Virtual IBM" don't you? You know, everybody is phoning it in from everywhere and can do any job from anywhere. That alone has had a very large detrimental effect on IBM's business , but when that's combined with all three things I listed previously, well let's just say IBM's death knell has been sounded. It isn't pretty, but it sure is FUN sitting here in The Catbird seat watching this three ring circus!

      My accounts are in a shambles, complete and total paralysis has set in. The customers are starting to see things they haven't ever seen from IBM before. And they don't like it. But I don't care! Let the chips fall where they may! From my Catbird vantage point, I'm just sitting back and I cant wait to see what tomorrow's fiasco will be! Oh... I forgot something... I'm NOT leaving voluntarily. No sir!! It'll cost IBM six months salary for me to walk out the door. -Catbird-

    • Comment 3/09/08: Catbird - I don't have quite as many years as you, but I agree with you. Nobody up the management chain is willing to report how poorly this "globally integrated enterprise" bunk is not working and no one is willing to report the poor quality and productivity of most of the globalized functions. Nobody cares that LEAN has reduced us to the point where we aren't able to meet contracted customer agreements and customers are complaining. Yet no one in the executive ranks (that's you Joanne Collins Smee) gives a rat's ass about the problems because of their myopic focus on cost reductions.

      My coworkers and I have done as best we can to prevent the coming disaster, but there is nothing more we can say or do to prevent the inevitable implosion of the IBM services organization. It's time to hang on as long as possible and await the natural consequences of executive stupidity occur. If you can't prevent it, you might as well sit back and watch the disaster unfold. -Frank-

    • Comment 3/09/08: Catbird, Frank, Thanks for the chuckle. I spent almost 9 years at IBM when I was thrown under the bus on the May1st RA's. I was a 08A Family PM who was asked to go over and help a team that was desperate for the skills I had, hands on technical and PM skills, data center moves, transitions.. the fun stuff. Two months after I was asked to come over to help, they whacked a ton of folks in the department, including myself.

      I have watched this company spin out of control for the past 6 years. We use to be drive by customer sat.. that's now laughable. IF you customer sat is anywhere near good, you are way over staffed. If the client is engaging legal for a contract review and penalties assessment, you are about staffed properly. All of the top notch folks have left because, after 3 years with no raise, why stay? Moral is in the crapper and folks are tired of the fire drills. Staffing has been cut past the muscle and bone, they are loping off limbs at this point. Add to this the demotion on the 24A family.

      The funny thing is that the blue pig loved the OT from the salary folks.. it was pure profit. Now that those worker bees have to claim / total the exact hours, the blue pig is going to lose yet another stream of income.

      The total lack of a moral compass has been the worst to see.. I have seen folks close to retirement or in my case, partial disability, get canned with no concern what so ever. I called in to the folks when I was RA'd and tried to plea about the need for me to work at home due to my spinal injury.. the man on the other end told me "Its not our problem" and hung up on me! No kidding. They RA'd me in May.. but kept extending me.. I found a job and told them I no longer wanted to be a pawn and I would not want to be extended anymore. I was released in August. I took 2 weeks off for another surgery and joined my new employer. More money less stress no bullsh&t.

      IBM is dead.. its over. Its a big ponzi scheme for the upper management stock option folks.. I also hear that the last of the big gerstner era options are up soon? JCS is the one who coined the phrase of pound the square peg in the round hole.. keep pounding until it fits.. In my 8 years as well as all of the veterans I have talked to, IBM has never reached the moral lows they have at this point. Please notice that no one from management is attempting to repair credibility and worker morale anymore.. THEY DONT CARE.

      I feel for everyone left.. I really do, but in a perverse way, I am enjoying the show from the outside. Its like a slow motion car wreck. Everything folks have said would happen, has. There will be a LOT more layoffs and more global resourcing. Divisions will be spun off soon as well. Get your experience, but do not plan on staying to retirement.. look after yourself for once.. the camaraderie and ibm'er spirit is dead -exibm'er-

    • Comment 3/12/08: Someone asked this question a while back. Is there a law that protects employees from working too many hours? Or is it what this union is all about? -A Band 9 Employee in Tucson- Alliance reply: The law only states that if you are non-exempt you get paid overtime. Theoretically IBM can make you work (and pay you) 24 hours a day. There is no law on the number of hours you can be made to work. Also there is no law that says IBM must offer vacation or sick leave. There is no law that requires IBM to pay holiday pay. There is no law that says IBM must give you severance pay.

      This union is about many things. First and foremost it is about giving employees a legal voice in the workplace. A union contract, negotiated between employees, the union and the company is a legal document and spells out the terms and conditions of employment. Each contract is different. (we have examples on our web site). If the employees want limits on working hours in the contract, then that gets negotiated.

    • Comment 3/12/08: Gee, whatever happened to that IBM Spirit group or program? Remember the barbeques, the fun and games, etc. sponsored by IBM at some larger IBM sites (Fishkill, Poughkeepsie, Southbury, Somers, etc.) Haven't heard a peep from them this year. I guess it was another thing IBM cut to save costs considering morale in the company is looking more unsalvageable with each job cut, with each base pay cut, with each offshored job, etc. IBM is no longer Big Blue: it is big blew, the blue pig, or pale blue. Maybe if the IBM Spirit sponsors are still around they should conduct a contest to pick the most appropriate IBM moniker for the times! -IBM-spirit-is-a-ghost-
    • Comment 3/12/08: Message to = No sir!! It'll cost IBM six months salary for me to walk out the door. -Catbird- Do not count on a package. The game is now that IBM offers you a job (100 % travel is in our job descriptions now), and if you do not take it, you are in effect resigning. No package and no unemployment. Sitting waiting for a package is a fool's game now. -Anonymous-
  • Pension Comments page
  • Raise and Salary Comments
    • Comment 3/08/08: If any of you were expecting a reasonable salary plan this year, you won't see it. IBM will find any excuse to gut it and the slowdown in the US economy is going to be the excuse. They're counting on the lack of jobs due to the downturn to force people to stay in their miserably underpaid IBM jobs. -Renege-
    • Comment 3/09/08: Salary = 76500; Band Level = 6; Job Title = Technical Services Professional; Years Service = 4; Hours/Week = 50; Div Name = 7; Location = Chicago Message; = No raises ever. Was maxed out in my band. I put in work every weekend and over 30 OT hours per month. Managers can't even be bothered with passing on the appeals requests over on the Bank of America account. These same managers supposedly also neglected to change the job band of their employees when IBM initially got the contract. Unlike some of their peers in other ares of the same account who looked out for folks. (Yes, those people did not receive cuts). -IBM=thesuxorz-
    • Comment 3/11/08: My team consists of four non-exempts, a contractor, and the team lead (who is exempt). We have a weekly on call rotation. Is it legal (ethical? moral? absolutely NOT!) for the exempt team lead to take his share of the rotation? This was mentioned to our manager and the manager says that HR told him that it's perfectly fine. I disagree...he's taking standby and overtime hours (and thus, compensation) away from the rest of us in my opinion. In fact, one of the nonexempts had a family emergency during his rotation...and the team lead took it upon himself to take that week, even though some of the rest of us volunteered!! -nohope-
    • Comment 3/13/08: Salary = 36000; Band Level = 3; Job Title = ssr; Years Service = 25; Hours/Week = 40; Div Name = 48; Location = nj; Message = how do i compare -Anonymous-
    • Comment 3/15/08: My last three MERIT increases wiped out with pay remix and reclassification. I wonder if McDonald, Moffatt, Palmisano and the rest of the thieving bastards would like to have their pay remixed this way? -No merit IBM-
  • PBC Comments
    • Comment 3/11/08: Prior Yr PBC = na This Yr PBC = na This Yr Bonus = a life Prior Yr Bonus = retired Message = The PBC system is working perfectly. You are all scrambling like mad to gain an extra crumb that falls from Sammy's mouth. You mostly know to the minute what hours you are putting in and yet you have no idea what your compensation for it will be either in bonus money or raises. Then when its lower than even you imagined you look for something or someone to blame. The butt kisser must have gotten my bonus or my raise. etc. etc. The real problem is you are working without a contract and IBM management is playing you for a fool by pitting you against each other to pretend your competing for a pool of money that never existed in the first place.

      You can bust your butt, go from a 3 to a 1 and only get a 300 dollar bonus if the boss does not like you and there is nothing you can do about it because you do not have a say in anything. There is a reason you see auto workers standing in the snow in Detroit on a picket line. Because when its done they know exactly what they will be paid and exactly what their benefits will cost and that for the length of the contract they have a say in creating they will have job security . All they have to worry about is getting to work and just doing their job. Then getting home and enjoying their time off with friends and family. Unionize now while IBM is making record profits and carve out your piece of the pie. -Exodus 2007 -

  • International Comments
    • Comment 3/12/08: Country = Ireland; Union Affiliate = n/a; Job Title = Ireland; IBM Division = SERVER; Message = Well boys and girls; 2 co-workers fired in the space of a few days. One appealed and was re-instated .Is this all falling in with (lean) we see the damage it has done in the USA and as you know this has now been introduced into server in dublin, so how long have we left!? It looks like they will get rid of the weak and layoff the rest. If any of you guys have contact with our fallen friend tell HIM/HER to appeal immediately even if nothing happens at least fight. 8 years down the drain!and for what! well done IBM! -Cisco101-
Vault Message Board Posts:

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

Modern-Day Robber Baron Corner:

noneToday's highly compensated executives face many difficulties, including figuring out how they can possibly spend all of the rich rewards they've earned on the backs of ordinary workers. Take a look at the insider trading of many of our IBM executives—spending the cash from all that stock "acquired at $0 per share" must be a real challenge! Or, imagine the difficulty IBM CEO Sam Palmisano will face spending his $10,000 to $20,000 a day pension when he retires!

As a way of helping out our beleaguered, modern-day robber barons this site will periodically feature "spending opportunities" that the "upper crust" of our society may want to take advantage of!

  • The Telegraph (United Kingdom): Homes of the really super rich. By Harry Wallop. Excerpts: With a starting price of £40 million, these five properties are considered the most sumptuous on the market in the world. They include a Parisian mansion, complete with library and ballroom, for £75 million and an eight-bedroom estate in upstate New York, which is a relative snip at £48 million (US$ 97 million).

    The list, compiled by Country Life magazine, comes as figures show while the credit crunch may be squeezing the housing market as a whole, it is having little effect on homes at the very top end. ... Mark Hedges, editor of Country Life, said: "For the super-rich, price is not an issue. The appeal is privacy, accessibility and rarity value in architecture, design and location. They probably own four or five homes around the world and may only visit the properties briefly, but when they do, the house has to deliver perfection."

  • Wall Street Journal: Hamptons by the Bay. By Christina S.N. Lewis. Excerpts: What: Bayfront compound on 10 acres with 16,000-square-foot main house with nine bedrooms and nine full baths. Where: Westhampton Beach, N.Y., about 75 miles east of Manhattan. Amenities: Greenhouse, pool house, three-bedroom staff house with two garages, four-car garage, boat house, dock with room for 50-foot boat, ocean view, 1,000 feet fronting bay, one mile from ocean beach. Due Diligence: Property on the bay is less valuable than on the ocean, where a house on one acre recently sold for $10 million. Asking price: $39 million.
  • Wall Street Journal, The Wealth Report: How the New Rich Are Changing the Oldest Profession. Excerpts: The complaint filed in the Emperors Club escort bust, which apparently nabbed Eliot Spitzer, casts a rare spotlight on the dealings between the wealthy and high-priced escort services. (See the Journal’s article on Mr. Spitzer.) For one, the complaint makes clear that the wealth boom — and the explosion in the number of multi-millionaires — has created entirely new pricing levels for escorts. According to the complaint, the Emperors Club escorts charged between $1,000 and $5,000 an hour, depending on their “rankings.” Clients could also pay between $25,000 and $50,000 for a three-day visit. It may be the world’s oldest profession: but the prices reflect the new realities of wealth.

    The escorts were well-versed in the lucrative potential of this new market. In the complaint, a prospective escort in London turns down the job based on price, saying that £500 an hour for starting escorts — close to $1,000 an hour — was chump change, especially since it didn’t include dinner. “This is the kind of money I make very easily on photoshoots,” the woman said. ...

    According to a survey by Russ Alan Prince, president of Connecticut-based wealth-research firm Prince & Associates, in his book “The Sky’s The Limit,” a sizable percentage of the super wealthy use escorts. He surveyed 661 people who owned private jets. It found that 34% of males and 20% of females had paid for sex. The most popular reason was “unique experiences” (71%), followed by “higher quality experiences” (57%). Conventional wisdom says that the rich visit escorts to avoid messy break-ups or extra demands for cash. But the study shows otherwise: “No strings attached,” ranked last as a reason. “With the wealthy,” Mr. Prince says “it’s all about power and control and new experiences.”

  • New York Times: New Hope for the Rich. Excerpts: Americans are getting poorer. In 2007, home equity fell below 50 percent for the first time on record since 1945. Total equity also fell for three straight quarters through last December. Adjusted for inflation, the annual income of the typical working household is still below its peak before the last recession, in 2001. That means the Bush-era expansion is on track to be the first since the government began keeping records in the 1960s in which household income fails to hit a new high.

    And yet, in the Senate, Republicans are ready to do battle on behalf of America’s wealthiest families.

    Starting in 2009, the estate tax will apply to Americans with property at death worth more than $7 million per couple, or $3.5 million for individuals — a whopping 0.3 percent of people who die each year. As part of the 2009 budget resolution, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana and chairman of the Finance Committee, has proposed to keep the tax at those levels, with annual adjustments for inflation. The proposal is expected to pass, as early as Thursday.

    Everyone knows that the Baucus proposal is better than the status quo: under current law, the estate tax will be eliminated in 2010 then revert in 2011 to the far higher levels that applied in 2001, before the Bush tax cuts. Republicans, however, think that Mr. Baucus’s more-than-generous fix does not do enough to shield the wealthy. After it passes, Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, is expected to propose further cutting the estate taxes of those still covered by the 2009 rules.

    That would give the wealthiest Americans an additional $200 billion in tax cuts over 10 years, with most of that largess going to estates valued at more than $10 million per person, the top 0.1 percent. The government would have to borrow to make up for the $200 billion giveaway to rich heirs, worsening the deficit and adding about $100 billion in interest to the nation’s tab.

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

This site is designed to allow IBM Employees to communicate and share methods of protecting their rights through the establishment of an IBM Employees Labor Union. Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act states it is a violation for Employers to spy on union gatherings, or pretend to spy. For the purpose of the National Labor Relations Act, notice is given that this site and all of its content, messages, communications, or other content is considered to be a union gathering.