"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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
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.