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Highlights—May 24, 2008

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues: IBM Pension Adjustment, by "ranheimchas:. Full excerpt: I received a letter from Randy MacDonald today addressing the possibility some of us retirees will receive a pension increase. Here is the text of the message:

    "I am writing to let you know that IBM will adjust pensions this year for approximately 42,000 U. S. IBMers – those IBMers (or their surviving beneficiaries) who have been retired the longest, with the lowest pensions. This adjustment will increase pensions for about half of those who qualified for the last pension adjustment in 2001.

    As you know, pension increases are not part of IBM's pension formulas. Following a periodic evaluation of pension levels, IBM determined that an adjustment to existing pensions was warranted at this time for a portion of the retiree population who retired before January 1, 1997. The change will increase IBM's pension liabilities by about $220 million.

    The majority of those who qualify for an adjustment will begin receiving their adjusted pensions with their September pension checks.

    This is the second time since 2000 that IBM has adjusted existing pension levels. Before 2001, IBM had not increased pension levels for existing retirees since 1990.

    We will be working to finalize details as quickly as possible. If you qualify, you'll hear more directly from IBM toward the end of the summer."

    Randy MacDonald

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues: "Re: Love letter from Randy" by "albanyblue2000". Full excerpt: Rumadum, let me explain this particular brainfart of MacDonald to you. IBM is going to increase the annual income of some 25,000 retirees by a total of $30 million per year. That's about $100 per month each. Randy estimates that the one-time "addition" to the Trust Fund (sitting at over $50 billion) necessary to support the annual cash out of $30 mil - will be $220 mil. All this is paper transfers.

    Since IBM sucks out about $1,250 mil each year from the Trust Fund and puts it directly into "corporate earnings", the $30 mil is peanuts. It's especially peanuts when you realize that the Trust Fund continues to grow, as the cohort of IBM retirees (cut off in ~2002) continues to die, - and thanks to (1) C/B and (2) the end of the plan, through conversion to 401K - nobody can be added.

    Some time after 2020, ALL the Trust Fund will revert back to IBM, as all the beneficiaries will be dead. Got it, - Rumadum? Or, do you think we're stupid? Mike.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues: "Re: IBM Pension Adjustment" by "albanyblue2000". Full excerpt: Penny, I also received that rambling, disjointed letter from Randy MacDonald. I retired in 1990. Let me speculate:

    The decision to make the adjustment was a quick one, and poorly staffed. MacDonald had no details, except for the estimated annual cost to the Trust Fund (which, at $30 mil per year, - is much lower than the $1250 mil that the Corporation takes out and into net income.

    IBM's economists must have announced to the executives that the US is now at the knee of an inflation curve. This means that - if the decision to adjust takes place now, another 5 to 10 years can pass by until social pressure will force IBM to make the next change. So, a hasty decision was made to announce, and to devil with the details.

    The alternative, - waiting until the decision could be staffed, - might have taken so long that the small increase (relative to the 2008 experience with inflation) would have been ridiculed by Wall Street. Mike.

  • Yahoo! IBM Issues message board: "Re: Recent RA's" by Bob Rodriguez. Full excerpt: Luckily, a few of us got jobs in steadier parts of SSO, like ZLinux, so I'm ok for now. I agree about training the replacements, though I don't want to hold out too much in case they decide to hold up the transfer. I plan on just giving them the bare essentials to do the job, and not enough to excel. There isn't enough time to do a thorough transfer, and management is insisting that we use the web conferencing software to get started.

    The annoying thing is, that it's very GUI-intensive, and as a legally blind employee with enough usable vision to handle Linux, etc. but difficulty with graphics, I have a hard time with this training method, especially since I've never done it before. Likewise, most of the "hot jobs" in the new search tool involve GUI-intensive stuff or project management, and I want to stay technical, so the opportunities weren't readily available, but luckily I was able to get the Linux job.

    In the past, IBM was usually pretty good about a situation like this, but despite all the emphasis on diversity, visually impaired employees are getting squeezed out as part of the LEAN process. It's a shame, because back in the 80s and early 90s, we had a great culture of sharing tools and techniques across the company, but with the outsourcing this has largely been lost. People are hesitant to give away tools only to see them handed off to a global resource, and there's less time for creative efforts in general.

  • Yahoo IBM Issues message board: "Re: Recent RA's" by "weeboo0104". Full excerpt: I had always thought this sort of thing was just a rumor, but I witnessed it firsthand during the last round of layoffs. There was a coworker who got his notice and applied for a position on another account a couple of months ago. The hiring manager approved, our manager approved, but the request was denied somewhere above our 3rd line manager. The reason for the rejection according to our management was that the employee was trying to transfer within our group(where he already worked) and he (the actual word my manager used was "the resource") was already targeted for reduction by the LEAN bean counters.

    So there you have it. If you find a job you are qualified for because you are already doing that work on another account, you will get turned down if the hiring manager is in the same group you are already in.

  • Yahoo! IBM Issues message board: "Re: Recent RA's" by Bob Sutton. Full excerpt: No rumor. This policy started in the 5/2002 mass action that put in place a special review board to give final approval to any internal job approval of personal targeted by that RA that included 16,000 IBMers and included the sale of over 30k IBMers to Hitachi. It was assumed you were not approved unless you "walked on water" and there were no other IBM staffing alternative available.

    Prior to this RA there was too much of the "old boy" lifeline that did not yield the headcount reduction the execs needed to make "their bonus" and overall metrics.

    There might not be the same special review board anymore but the policy remains in effect to this day...that is until the number of US IBMers is reduced to the bare essential number to provide face-to-face Sales and Service support to US customers.

  • Yahoo! IBM Issues message board: "Re: Recent RA's" by "makeyourignorancework4u". Full excerpt: Here's how it works: Months before the RA, headcount bogies are allocated per function. These are handed down until they get to 1st line management...these are derived by the 2nd level through the ranking process. Usually takes about a month or more to derive the names of those selected. These names then get run through the function "gurus"...IBM Fellows, DE's and 3rd level managers...who can challenge any name on the list.

    They then get run through HR to check for obvious omissions... such as "the person was just promoted last month, but not all persons in that skill group were also selected"...etc. After all the challenges have been resolved, the list is finalized.

    During this process, the management of those selected work actively with management in other sites with similar skills to make sure that they update all internal job opening postings. This is usually a sham, since if there are such jobs, the people in those sites will naturally fill them with their own people...those jobs usually have already been essentially filled. Nevertheless offsite job postings usually magically show up simultaneously with the "Redeployment Notice" given to each selected employee. This requires him to start his "job search". Naturally all on-site managers have been told not to hire anyone in the local group.

    All of this ensures that 98% of those selected will never find a job within IBM. The 2% that do find a job, started the job search before any of the others even got the Redeployment Notice. They basically started early...picking up vibes from the rumour mill etc. About a month or so later the RA notices go out. Just about all those on the original Redeployment Notice will be gone in another month or so.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues: "Can someone answer this question for me?" by "clifton_garland". Full excerpt: Why is it that only those (at least in IGS) that fail seem to get promoted? The last 2 managers of certain support desks were given promotions after the accounts left. Maybe I'm just not seeing the purpose of giving those managers a promotion for losing business.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues: "Re: Can someone answer this question for me?" by "bits_bytes_and_bugs". Full excerpt: Two possibilities - They are protected by the good old boys club in IGS. They did exactly what the execs wanted them to do - cut costs, cut US headcount. You would think that customer satisfaction and account retention are more important than cutting US headcount and costs, but you would be wrong.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues: "Re: Help to find new job" by "tommy63alice". Full excerpt: Unfortunately, "rock solid" networking is not much help any more either, except in some very rare cases.

    My wife works in one of the corporate areas and said that each business area has a quarterly "performance attrition" target that the managers must meet or else. This was set last year for the entire 2008 year. So if that target is on your back nothing will help. Each area is affected to some degree. Some more than others obviously. This is in addition to the "regular" RAs.

    Speaking of RAs, she also told me of the high level execs who would be leaving but would be staying on to help with the transition of some major reorg. June seems to be a risky month and December. There are also targets of the number of college graduates they must hire and place in positions from India alone (she didn't see the numbers from any other countries). For India it was in the neighborhood of 5K for all of 2008. So where will those who now have those jobs go? Not all will affect the U.S. but you can bet most will.

    Everything you read and hear about IBM wanting low cost and not caring about quality is very true.

    All we are hoping is that one or both of us make it through a few more years and that we both don't get laid off at the same time. This is only for the sake of our kids. Beyond that we are not counting on IBM for anything. It is very sad to see the company go down in ruins like this.

  • CNN/Money: IBM spent almost $1.9M lobbying in first quarter. IBM spent nearly $1.9 million in first quarter to lobby on patent reform, health technology. Excerpt: International Business Machines Corp. spent about $1.9 million in the first quarter to lobby on patent reform, health technology and numerous other issues, according to a disclosure report. IBM, which provides technology services, software and server computers, lobbied the federal government on matters related to electronic health records, Internet, digital television, energy efficiency and renewable energy bills, hardware recycling and tax and trade issues.

    The company was in the government hot seat in late March when the Environmental Protection Agency imposed a weeklong government-wide ban that prevented IBM from getting new federal contracts. The action that stemmed from an alleged ethical violation in connection with IBM's protest of an $84 million contract that it lost last year.

  • Poughkeepsie Journal: We're here to stay, IBM says Key executives stress ties with region at event. By Craig Wolf. Excerpts: The Hudson Valley and New York state will remain important parts of IBM Corp.'s global network of people and plants, top executives told a gathering of local leaders Wednesday. The meeting, luncheon and tour event, called "Made in New York … with Pride" brought more than 100 people to the Poughkeepsie plant, home of IBM's largest computer systems, to hear William Zeitler, senior vice president of IBM's Systems and Technology Group. The unit accounts for most of the 11,600 IBMers working in Dutchess County. Also speaking was Steven Mills, senior vice president in charge of the Software Group, which also has a large contingent in Dutchess. ...

    Questioning turned to educating the future skilled work force Zeitler said the company values, but conceded is becoming more challenging to find. "The availability ... isn't strong," he said. "It is a very, very critical element of what we're going to need," Zeitler said. Donna Johnson, a Fishkill business coach and trainer, asked if IBM might extend its outreach work with students down to the elementary level. "They also could use some nurturing," she said.

  • Poughkeepsie Journal: Selected reader comments concerning the "We're here to stay, IBM says" article:
    • Finding skilled workers? How about all the ones IBM fired!! Who would want to even try to get hired by IBM knowing that they maybe laid off within a year without notice. I know a few very skilled and hard working IBMers that were laid off and should not have been. I'm sure the layoff's are not over! Then they will say the quarter was up!
    • HA. Thanks for the laughable article, Pojo. A good way to start the morning...HA HA HA. But all in attendance got a warm Big Blue fuzzy. Sweet.
    • This front-page story is nothing more than a public relations ploy by IBM to dispel rumors that they are routinely laying people off. I work at IBM as a contractor and could be next to go. Most of my colleagues are gone and there are very few of us left from Manpower. The latest is American IBM secretarial jobs are going to Malaysia. They call this Globalization. Yeah right. When you hear that, you know what it means. Your next to go! The press needs to write about what's really going on at IBM and not write stories about the false perception IBM wants to give the public.
    • Of course IBM isn't going anywhere...... They get to lay off whoever they want and continue to keep tax incentives, why would you leave that?
    • I think what bothers people most is the moral issue here and bringing awareness to these important issues; the lack of respect for the individual, which was one of IBM's founding principals towards the people who cared about their jobs, gave their loyalty and years of service to a company, they loved. They become almost like a family you love. People want to bring awareness and have the truth told and not lies about a talent shortage. It's the decent thing to do.
  • CNN/Money: Take this 401(k) and shove it Last week, West Virginia teachers got to vote on whether to remain in 401(k)-style retirement plans or return to generous state pensions. But you won't be so lucky. By Janice Revell. Excerpts: Last week's West Virginia election should frighten you. No, I'm not talking about Hillary Rodham Clinton's steamrolling of Barack Obama in that state's Democratic presidential primary contest. I'm referring to a far more obscure contest, one that virtually no one outside that state noticed - but one that illustrates perfectly why so many Americans are headed for a retirement crisis.

    Here's the lowdown: The election in question involves nearly 20,000 West Virginia school teachers who are currently attempting to gain coverage under the state-run traditional pension plan.

    These so-called "defined-benefit" pension plans give workers a guaranteed annual payment upon retirement - $2,500 a month, say, for an employee with 30 years of service and an average salary of $50,000. The employer puts up all or most of the money and workers gain real retirement security

    But for employers, these plans are an expensive proposition. That's because by law, retirees must receive their predetermined pension benefit each and every month, even if the pension plan's investments perform poorly.

    For that reason, corporate America has taken an ax to these pensions in recent years: The proportion of private sector workers who participate in a traditional pension plan has dwindled almost 40% at the beginning of 1980 to only about 17% now. Scores of big companies, including IBM, Sears, and Verizon, have closed off the plans to workers.

    The story is very different in the public sector, though, where traditional pension plans have continued to flourish. About 90% of all state and local government workers are currently covered by a defined-benefit plan. The main reason is that a much larger proportion of teachers and other public sector workers are unionized, and elected officials are often loath to take on those powerful unions, whose members can both vote and strike. Moreover, funding for public-sector pensions is backed by the full faith and credit of the taxpayer. ...

    So in 1991, West Virginia took a page out of corporate America's playbook. In order to stem the financial bleeding, the state closed the defined-benefit plan to new teachers and created a 401(k)-style plan for them. These types of plans are cheaper - an employer's financial commitment to a 401(k) plan is pretty much limited to offering a matching contribution to the employee's account (and even that's optional.) And in this case, it limited the future outlays required by West Virginia taxpayers.

    Fast forward to today. It turns out that for a very large segment of West Virginia teachers, the 401(k)-type plan hasn't panned out too well. According to a study done by West Virginia's Consolidated Public Retirement Board, the average account balance is just $33,944 and only a handful of teachers age 60 or older have amassed more than $100,000 in their accounts - a fraction of what the pension plan would've paid. ...

    So the West Virginia teachers now want a do-over. Essentially, they want to treat the past 17 years under the 401(k)-style system as though it never happened. They are asking to be put back - retroactively - into the traditional defined-benefit pension plan. Like a bad dream, their paltry 401(k) balances will disappear, to be replaced by the more generous pensions they would have racked up had they been in the traditional plan all along.

    Of course, millions of private-sector workers would also like a second chance. According to an analysis of 20 million 401(k) participants conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the Investment Company Institute, the median account balance of a worker in his or her 60's, making between $40,000 and $60,000 a year (in the same ballpark as a retiring West Virginia teacher) was $97,588 at the end of 2006. To put that amount in perspective, it would generate only about $8,000 a year in retirement income if it were invested in an immediate annuity.

  • Plan Sponsor: Most of Fortune 100 Continues to Back DB. The pace of retirement plan changes among FORTUNE 100 companies is stabilizing, and most still offer defined benefit plans to their new employees, according to an analysis by Watson Wyatt Worldwide. Excerpt: The analysis of retirement plan sponsorship among FORTUNE 100 companies found that more than half — 54 firms — offer a defined benefit (DB) pension plan to newly hired salaried workers. The report notes that, following an 11% decline between 2004 and 2005, the number of FORTUNE 100 companies sponsoring pension plans decreased by 5% in 2006 and 4% in 2007.
  • CNN/Money: IBM Honors Elite Technical Employees. Company Salutes 515 of Its Best and Brightest Innovators in the World. Excerpt: IBM has elevated nine employees to the title of IBM Fellow -- its most prestigious technical honor. The company also presented more than $3.5 million in cash awards to corporate and patent portfolio awardees in addition to awards given to more than 500 IBM technical leaders from around the world directly responsible for collaborating to deliver true innovation and business value. IBM conferred the accolades and awards at its 2008 Corporate Technical Recognition Event (CTRE) in Phoenix, Ariz. CTRE is a 45-year tradition at IBM, established to recognize exceptional technical employees and reward them for extraordinary achievements and contributions to the company's technology leadership.
  • Wall Street Journal: Older Staffers Get Uneasy Embrace. Excerpts: Americans are going to have to retire later, we're often told. They live longer than their ancestors. Neither their retirement savings nor the taxes of younger generations can support ever-longer retirements. Americans are, in fact, working longer, reversing a long trend toward earlier retirement. The nation's typical worker now retires at age 62, up from 60 a decade ago, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. About 60% of men between 60 and 64 are in the labor force, and 20% of men over 65, up from 55% and 17%, respectively, a decade ago, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The pattern is similar for women.

    But will employers want more older workers?

    "There's a lot of happy talk around that we're going to have slowing in the rate of growth in young workers and, therefore, employers are going to want to hire older workers just at the time that older workers are going to want to work," says Boston College economist Alicia Munnell, co-author of "Working Longer," a book to be published this month by the Brookings Institution. "We think it's much less clear than that." ...

    Surveys by Boston College's Center for Retirement Research found that employers expect about a quarter of employees currently in their 50s will want to work two to four years longer than past workers. Then employers were asked if they would accommodate half those who wanted to work later. "On a scale of 1 (unlikely) to 10 (likely), the median response was a lukewarm 6," the researchers say. ...

    The image of companies loyally retaining scarce, seasoned workers is at odds with reality. Among male workers between 58 and 62, only 44% still work for the outfit that employed them at 50, down from 70% two decades ago. And even if labor shortages emerge, they argue, many employers will hire younger immigrants, shift work overseas or deploy labor-saving technology (like the cashier-less grocery-store checkout) instead of hiring older workers.

  • Jim Hightower: JP Morgan’s “Cheats & Tricks”. Excerpts: To understand today's current mortgage crisis and spreading recession, look to an internal memo from Wall Street banking giant, JPMorgan Chase. For something that ended up so badly, the memo begins with a fun title: "Zippy Cheats & Tricks.”

    However, many of the homebuyers being hustled to take those sub-prime loans had low incomes, no assets, and little prospect of being able to keep up their payments. Normally, the Zippy approval system would reject their applications – unless cheats & tricks were brought into play. The memo tells brokers to falsify the income numbers on the borrower’s application: "Inch it up $500 [per month] to see if you can get the findings you want,” the memo gaily urges. Since it was bank policy not to bother verifying the income and asset information, these bad loans zipped right through Zippy, brokers collected their fees, Morgan made millions in sub-prime profits, and all was right with the world – until financially-strapped borrowers began to default in droves.

  • Jim Hightower: Keeping Up with the Rich. Excerpts: Time for another peek into the ‘Lifestyles of the Rich… and Cranky.” Few of us hoi polloi realize that it’s not easy being one of the hoity toity. Yes, they do have all that money, but there’s also constant pressure on them to live up to expectations. For example, let's talk bathtubs.

    To us carefree regular folks, the tub is … well, a place to take a bath. For the superwealthy, however, one’s bathtub has to make a statement. It's not a bathing receptacle, but art – an expression both of one’s inner self and external wealth.

    Let me ask you this: do you name your bathtub? Of course not, but the rich do. Take the “Papillon.” It is 1,800-pounds of stunning modernist sculpture, created from an enormous piece of white Carrara marble from Italy. The Papillon costs $23,000 – but really, my dears, if you’re going to be looking at price tags, you probably should be shopping at Sears.

    There’s also the Madera Ovales M4, which sounds as though it might be a rare Spanish wine, but it’s actually a hand-made tub created with various pricey woods, from walnut to teak. In truth, it looks very much like an oversized salad bowl – but, what’s a bathing center for if not to exude a certain insouciant playfulness? Who knows – maybe the rich bathe in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. And if it’s playfulness you want, play with the M4’s $40,000 price range.

News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
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  • Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report: Report Cites 15 New York State HMOs for Setting Consumer Restrictions on Prescription Drugs To Boost Profits. Excerpts: Some HMOs in New York state are restricting patients' access to so-called single-source drugs, brand-name medications for specific ailments that do not have lower-cost generic versions, according to a report released on Sunday, the New York Daily News reports. The report, released by state Sen. Jeffrey Klein (D), involved a survey of the 15 HMOs with drug plans in the state -- including Aetna, Oxford Health Plans, Cigna, Health Insurance Plan of New York, Group Health Associates and HealthNet of New York. Klein surveyed the HMOs to determine how and whether the companies restrict prescriptions to 20 common single-source drugs.

    The survey found several restrictions had been placed on consumers, such as a "medical exception," meaning that a patient and physician had to obtain prior permission from the insurer for coverage of a drug, which could be granted at the discretion of the company. Other insurers set quantity limits on certain drugs or implemented a "step therapy" rule, under which patients had to try one or more other medications before seeking approval for a prescribed drug.

    Klein said, "It's a dangerous situation. Clearly when a doctor prescribes a specific medication for a patient, and they know that drugs works for a patient, they shouldn't be forced to use a generic drug or cheaper alternative that may not work.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site:
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  • From the Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • To readers of the Alliance comment sections: Please read the front page of the Alliance web site for important news on our membership drive. Many of you read and participate in the comment sections and find them a valuable resource for what is going on inside IBM. But in order to keep this resource we need growth in our dues paying membership. Please click the links above and join the Alliance. Your only source for the real news inside IBM.
    • Comment 05/20/08: To Frank: In my last 30 days I applied for 6 positions that I was well qualified for. Not only could I not get my manager to even budge to help me one bit, but I only got one rejection. The other 5 didn't even bother to respond to my application in 30 days. My manager and second line would not even respond to my emails in that last 30 days. It was a total joke. When I confronted my manager on my exit interview about this, he just shrugged his shoulders when asked why didn't he answer my emails for 30 days. It was a complete joke. On my way out the door I said, thanks for nothin! -I_had_30_days_too-
    • Comment 05/20/08: IBM east fishkill is going to have a large layoff at the end of june i hear. 400 to 500 people. They just laid off a lot of manpower employees and after they lay off the ibm employees they are going to rehire the manpower people. They had to lay off manpower first before ibm employees. They are holding off raises until the end of june. Manpower employees get no benefits and a lousy 4 vacation days a year. Record profits, increased stock dividends and they keep playing games with hard working employees life. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 05/21/08: Looks like more job cuts are on the way. Are you going to sit there and wait for it to happen or are you going to get off your butts and do something about it? If you are not yet an Alliance Member, then sign up right now. If you don’t sign up, then you deserve to get what ever IBM throws at you next (and I’m willing to bet it ain’t going to be a substantial raise). -Wake Up And Smell The Coffee-
    • Comment 05/24/08: Jobs cuts huh? Dudes, life does go on ... I really hope they lay me off because this place really is a prison. It's hell man, lay me off. I'll have access to my retirement and have a chance to make a move and better myself, it's just a job man, I cant stay here forever. I'd like to contribute to the alliance, but how can i with a 20 cent an hr raise in the most expensive places to live in the country? ??! You tell me, I'm not gonna be choked to death here. So, I do hope they lay me off so I can move on to the next step in life. I know there is better out there, and I'm sick of IBM being jerks and rip offs to everyone. -james-
    • Comment 05/25/08: My manager informed me last week I have 30 days to find another job in IBM or I will be released. I did not get any hint from my manager how to look for another job. I have been trying to search on ibm.com but trying to get anything useful from that site is impossible. Any help would be appreciated. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 05/26/08: To: My manager informed me last week I have 30 days: -- Let me give you the best advice you can get... Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, Dice.com. Looking inside IBM is a waste of time. You have been marked for termination and nobody will touch you. Just remember, there is live after IBM.. -I_had_30_days_too-
  • General Visitor's Comment page:
    • Comment 05/18/08: Ask yourself why you are visiting the Alliance website: Do you feel that IBM has treated you unfairly? Has IBM slashed your pension and medical benefits? Has IBM off shored and eliminated jobs of your co-workers? Has IBM shown any concern for the welfare of you and your family? Has IBM cut your salary? Are you tired of hearing that there is no bonus or raise money available when Sam and company receives millions every year? Do you think IBM will change the way they treat you on their own? Have you signed up with the Alliance yet? Why not? Do you think the Alliance can help you, without your help? -Questions Than Need Answering-

      Alliance reply: Many thanks for your list of questions. We hope that visitors to this web site and these comments sections will honestly answer them in a comment. Hope you are a member, too!

    • Comment 05/22/08: Well, I am one of the Network Services employees and I am off to AT&T. I can't wait to get out of here. Over there more money and better benefits are waiting for me. Next mission: find a job within AT&T as far away from Sam Inc as possible. -Wohoo-
  • Pension Comments page
  • Raise and Salary Comments
    • Comment 05/19/08: Anyone hear about how the salary plan is for this June? Can PBC 2 get a raise? Anyone hear which job positions and skill groups will get the TCA's (top contributor adjustments) this June if their pay is below midpoint and were at least a PBC 2? Or has IBM just done away with this just like they did away with 15% of the pay for the I/T Specialists who were eligible for the TCA's last year? -anonymous-
    • Comment 05/22/08: Does anyone know of any people that were impacted by the 15% cut that were non-exempt in their previous position that were given additional money? I was a non-exempt employee, took a new job as an exempt employee in the beginning of '07, now with this change, I am non exempt again and making less money per hour than before I took my promotion to the exempt position. Someone in HR had said they would be looking in to this, but no information has ever been posted on the internal site. -Scrwed@IBM-
    • Comment 05/22/08: Salary = 15% less; Band Level = 7; Years Service = 12; Hours/Week = 20; Message = FYI... Just told by my manager that if you are in the 6A job family you will NOT get a raise. Apparently IBM is not "investing in certain job families this year". Another blow to the actual workers. I haven't heard from the other job families that had a 15% pay cut, but it is certain for 6A. You will only get a raise if you had a 2+ or above, and my manager specified that it won't be much. -Anonymous-
  • PBC Comments
    • Comment 5/19/08: My entire mgmt chain consists of PhD's with H1B visas. I had a big project I had support for, was developing, then, they said the project was "canceled". When asked why it was because it "was not good enough".. Got a PBC rating of 3. Contested the PBC - and officially lost. However, one of the committee members said they felt very sorry and thought I was treated unfairly.

      My entire H1B management chain lied and supported each other.. eventually though, I was able to fully document their lies. My managers claimed to have submitted my main project; but, instead buried it and lied about it's submission. I was the only American in the group. Any relevant work was shared with the other H1B visa's and the Americans were isolated and sabotaged. Nobody talks about this - but there is a caste system at IBM, especially in Research. In some groups, if you are an American, you are caste out.

      Alliance reply: We are very glad that YOU are talking about this. These kinds of incidents would not occur with a union contract. If you had a union contract, you would have had the right to address the unfair PBC with the help of a grievance committee, made up of your union co-workers. You also would have had help investigating the company's actions, in regard to the 'canceled' project.

      Contact your political representatives and let them know about the management chain of H1b visas. Politicians need to know that this is just one of the many negatives of raising the H1b visa limit. Whatever you have documented, hang on to it.

      In the meantime, make every effort to organize your co-workers. We realize that this may seem insurmountable; however, if you don't fight back by organizing, IBM will get away with this in EVERY USA location. Join us and let us help you and your co-workers to fight back. This is a prime example of why Alliance@IBM needs to continue and needs funding to continue.

  • International Comments
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. Some sample posts follow:

  • "Raises - the white elephant in the room" by "dilbertlives". Full excerpt: What is the deal with raises this year? Don't they go into effect in June. I have not heard ANYTHING. I guess management thinks that if they don't say anything, people will forget. Ya right!Cheap b@st@rds
  • "Don't want to get caught in the stampede to the door" by " BlueIBMConsultant". Full excerpt: If this year is similar to last the traffic out will be heavy. At this point COL would be a nice gesture, but don't see that happening. I guess 4% bonus was supposed to keep us fat and happy.
  • "New TEA Policy In Effect For Southeastern US" by "GBS_BC". Full excerpt: The Problem: Excessive Project Expenses Make IBM Less Competitive: In the difficult economic environment of 2002, we find ourselves constantly under pressure to reduce project-related expenses and their impact on our customers. As most IBM engagements will usually involve some degree of travel and on-site client work, Travel Expense Accounts (TEAs) have been targeted as one of many factors which threaten to make IBM less competitive in the near future.

    IBM Atlanta's Breakthrough: Given these pressing business issues and the fact that customer travel is more essential now than ever before, the greatest minds in IGS worldwide have been developing strategies for decreasing project cost, particularly TEAs. The most striking success has been achieved by the IBM Realtime Events practice out of Atlanta, Georgia. With their aggressive strategy to eliminate the burden of TEAs on their projects, they have cut project costs on average by 56.4 percent. In addition, more opportunities continue to come their way as they have consistently under-bid the competition to win each of their last twelve proposals. So what is this remarkable new strategy?

    Have Gun Will Travel: Simply put, IBM Atlanta has eliminated the per-diem from their TEA guidelines. Each employee is now required to travel to the customer site with his own hunting rifle and fishing tackle. With their "Live Off The Land" strategy -- as they prefer to call it -- Atlanta has virtually eliminated the need for meal-related expenses. As an additional boost, IBM Learning Services in Atlanta has seen a great increase in registration for their online angling, archery, marksmanship and other outdoor classes. In the efforts to reorganize the Atlanta team's structure, the standard Client for e-Business load for all Thinkpads now includes utilities for generating turkey and hog calls, and future versions are expected to cover many other types of wild game.

    But the Atlanta leadership is not content with their substantial progress in expense control. They are already in the planning phases of implementing a strategy to eliminate hotel lodging cost with army surplus tents and sleeping bags.

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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