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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—August 9, 2008

  • Hudson Valley Times Herald-Record: IBM: Pay cuts in Hudson Valley vital to stay competitive. Alliance@IBM: News is a warning sign for employees. By George Spohr. Excerpts: One month after signing a job retention deal with New York, IBM said today it will cut the pay of 3,500 workers at their East Fishkill, Poughkeepsie and Vermont operations. “This action and the investment announcement in New York are not linked,” IBM spokesman Jeff Couture said. “We are making this change to improve our competitiveness and to ensure our pay practices and cost structure are competitive with other companies in our industry.” Big Blue said the 10 percent cut for assembly line workers would occur at its semiconductor manufacturing plants there, and that — come January — it would discontinue premiums for shift employees who work seven 12-hour days over a two-week period. Those workers have been earning a 20 percent premium over their wage, plus overtime pay. ...

    The news comes just one month after IBM sealed a deal with New York to retain more than 1,000 semiconductor jobs in East Fishkill — the very jobs that will now see pay cuts. “It is unacceptable that IBM slashes the pay of employees while IBM posts record profits and gives the executives double-digit pay raises,” said Lee Conrad, national coordinator of Alliance@IBM. “IBM is able to do this because there is no union contract with employees that would negotiate such a drastic move as a pay cut.” As part of its deal with New York, IBM agreed to job retention goals that were not tied to salaries. It also said it would provide “significant resources” to upgrade the site with state-of-the-art technology.

  • Burlington Free-Press: IBM to reduce pay for some shift workers. By Joel Banner Baird. Excerpts: Some shift workers at IBM’s semiconductor plant in Essex Junction will see their paychecks trimmed up to 10 percent in early 2009, the company confirmed Tuesday. Jeff Couture, IBM’s Vermont-based spokesman, said IBM would discontinue premiums for assembly line employees who work seven 12-hour days over a two-week period.
  • Selected reader comments from readers of the Burlington Free-Press article:
    • Fab employees were told that the pay cuts were necessary for the business to survive. Why doesn’t IBM management then lead by example and take the pay cuts too? This is nothing more than a scam by IBM management to steal wages from their lowest paid workers so they can fatten their own wallets come bonus time.
    • I'm an IBM employee who works in the FAB. A lot of the information that the newspaper got from our figureheads have it wrong. What they didn't mention is that the "little boost" that they were promising come January, isn't a definite. In the meetings we had when the news was broken to us, we were told that our management was going to give us papers regarding each employees wage statement. At the bottom of that statement is some fine print stating that the"little boosts" are at the discretion of IBM when it was to take place. In layman's terms, if they don't want to give it, they wont. So, not only are we losing money, and being lied to about getting a little help, I foresee them just not giving it to us, and hurting our pockets even more. I also am appreciative that they are hitting right in the middle of winter when we are already feeling the gas pinch as well. Thanks IBM. 8/6/2008 6:51:55 PM
    • As someone who works at Big Blue and has for going on ten years, I'd just like to say that the ship is sinking and I recommend any one who works there now to jump ship.
    • IBM was very selective about who got the pay cuts, not all the 12 hour workers who got it make fantastic wages, times have changed, if you have less then 15 years, starting pay was less and pay raises were much less and not very often. At this time you are required to do four times the work you were required to do when times were good at IBM. Much more work and thousands of dollars in pay cuts, sounds good right!!! Not everyone who is part of the manufacturing process is owning their share of the pain, 1st level managers will loose 120 dollars every two weeks, when your making the money they are making you can afford it. Anyone above that management level has no skin in the game, nothing changes. Mr Ditoro is loosing nothing and he is running the show. Most of the people who take the pay cut are the people who can least afford it and have no say about how the cuts are handed out. Look at all ends of the story before you believe what is in the paper.
    • Since most of the shift workers in Vermont are on the 12 hour schedule, the article should have indicated "most" shift workers instead of "some". Workers at IBM also understood that the January adjustment would be a one time thing on top of the zero to 2% increases given this year. As has become typical, their pay is falling further behind the cost of living. The Manufacturing employees at IBM Essex Jct should be asking themselves if yet another cut in pay and benefits would have happened if they had organized themselves into a bargaining unit. They should also ask themselves why the lowest paid employees have to assume the burden for a highly paid management's inability to create new product and attract new business to keep their division profitable. I realize that the first line managers are receiving an average $120 per month pay cut too. But, come on. To them that's small change.
    • Hundred's of Essex Junction's hardest working employees, who work the LONGEST hours, have lost thousands of dollar's each for what was called a "competitive" move. GARBAGE!!! If IBM really wanted to make a competitive move they would have had a 1% or 2% pay slash across the board.(which would have impacted thousands = saving them more money) Instead they chose to target the lowest paid and probably have caused irreversible morale damage. "Work the same, even harder because of the reduced body count, for less money." This isn't going to work. People who work there are fed up and sick of it. Good move IBM! I hope the fat cats are enjoying the record profits they made last year!
  • The Register (United Kingdom): IBM hacks into chip peoples' pay. By Ashlee Vance. Excerpts: IBM has confirmed reports that it will cut the pay of 3,500 assembly line workers at New York factories in East Fishkill and Poughkeepsie and another factory in Vermont. The workers will see their wages drop 10 per cent. Next year, shift employees will also lose out on 20 per cent premiums earned for working seven 12-hour days over the course of two weeks.

    "We are making this change to improve our competitiveness and to ensure our pay practices and cost structure are competitive with other companies in our industry," an IBM spokesman told the Times Herald-Record.

    News of the revamped pay structure was not received well by Alliance@IBM worker representatives, who pointed to IBM's stunning second quarter results issued last month.

    "It is unacceptable that IBM slashes the pay of employees while IBM posts record profits and gives the executives double-digit pay raises," Lee Conrad, national coordinator of Alliance@IBM, told the paper. "IBM is able to do this because there is no union contract with employees that would negotiate such a drastic move as a pay cut."

  • Selected reader comments from on the ‘IBM hacks into chip peoples' pay’ article:
    • It doesn't matter now if the company is making more than ever before, they want workers to accept the same levels of pay as in India or China. The more they outsource the easier it is for them to achieve this as they just say if you won't work for x amount of $/£/€ then we shut down, move away and you don't work. This just increases the gap between the haves and have-nots leading to more crime, social unrest and the economy of the nation goes downhill. But hey, that doesn't matter as the CEOs, shareholders etc won't be affected as they will all be raking enough money in to stay in the nicest, safest areas with guards if necessary, or even emigrate with everything they want available to them while being completely oblivious to the problems that the people who put them in that position are suffering. Without the workforce, they would not be where they are now yet it is always the workforce that gets shafted.
    • Every socialist reading this must feel his heart warm; every Thatcherite like myself feels a bit sick. This sort of behaviour is precisely why trade unions were originally founded. The evil deeds of the 70's TUC robber barons fouled the whole movement, and caused it to become disreputable. But there is a reason why unions were founded; that a handful of wealthy people really will treat their low-paid serfs with contempt, if they can.
    • Multinational executive pulling in grotesque bonuses on obscene pay at the expense of employees and stock holders is nothing new in this Brave New corporate America.
    • if they really wanted to maximize savings and shareholder equity, they'd start slashing entire levels of the varying layers of executive management. How many divisional VP's do one company need anyway? Keeping in mind that all of these bozo's also have executive staff's, and layers of management whose only purposes in life are to insulate the upper management from the assembly line workers. That's corporate waste and taking money out of the share holders pockets, if you ask me. If the upper echelon of IBM were to collectively take a 15% across the board pay cut, it would probably save the company hundreds of millions of dollars a year. If they're going to start dicking around with pay cuts, make it across the board and have it impact EVERYBODY, instead of targeting the hourly folks. Hell, it's probably have a more positive effect than moving several plants to SE Asia.
  • Wall Street Journal: Companies Tap Pension Plans To Fund Executive Benefits. Little-Known Move Uses Tax Break Meant For Rank and File. By Ellen E. Schultz and Theo Francis. Excerpts: At a time when scores of companies are freezing pensions for their workers, some are quietly converting their pension plans into resources to finance their executives' retirement benefits and pay. In recent years, companies from Intel Corp. to CenturyTel Inc. collectively have moved hundreds of millions of dollars of obligations for executive benefits into rank-and-file pension plans. This lets companies capture tax breaks intended for pensions of regular workers and use them to pay for executives' supplemental benefits and compensation.

    The practice has drawn scant notice. A close examination by The Wall Street Journal shows how it works and reveals that the maneuver, besides being a dubious use of tax law, risks harming regular workers. It can drain assets from pension plans and make them more likely to fail. Now, with the current bear market in stocks weakening many pension plans, this practice could put more in jeopardy. ...

    The background: Federal law encourages employers to offer pensions by giving companies a tax deduction when they contribute cash to a pension plan, and by letting the money in the plan grow tax free. Executives, like anyone else, can participate in these plans.

    But their benefits can't be disproportionately large. IRS rules say pension plans must not "discriminate in favor of highly compensated employees." If a company wants to give its executives larger pensions -- as most do -- it must provide "supplemental" executive pensions, which don't carry any tax advantages.

    The trick is to find a way to move some of the obligations for supplemental pensions into the plan that qualifies for tax breaks. Benefits consultants market sophisticated techniques to help companies do just that, without running afoul of IRS rules against favoring the highly paid. ...

    The result, though, is that a majority of the tax-advantaged assets in Intel's pension plan are dedicated not to providing pensions for the rank and file but to paying deferred compensation of the company's most highly paid employees, roughly 4% of the work force. ...

    And taxpayers are on the hook in other ways. When deferred executive salaries and bonuses are part of a pension plan, they can be rolled over into an Individual Retirement Account -- another tax-advantaged vehicle. Intel believes that its practices "feel consistent" with both the spirit and letter of the law that gives tax benefits for providing pensions. Intel may be a model for what's to come. Many companies are phasing out their pension plans, typically by "freezing" them, i.e., ending workers' buildup of new benefits. This leaves more pension assets available to cover executives' compensation and supplemental benefits. A number of companies have shifted executive benefits into frozen pension plans. ...

    So how can companies boost regular pension benefits for select executives while still passing the IRS's nondiscrimination tests? Benefits consultants help them figure out how. To prove they don't discriminate, companies are supposed to compare what low-paid and high-paid employees receive from the pension plan. They don't have to compare actual individuals; they can compare ratios of the benefits received by groups of highly paid vs. groups of lower-paid employees. Such a measure creates the potential for gerrymandering -- carefully moving employees about, in various theoretical groupings, to achieve a desired outcome.

    Another technique: Count Social Security as part of the pension. This effectively raises low-paid employees' overall retirement benefits by a greater percentage than it raises those of the highly paid -- enabling companies to then increase the pensions of higher-paid people ...

    Generally, only the executives are aware this is being done. Benefits consultants have advised companies to keep quiet to avoid an employee backlash. In material prepared for employers, Robert Schmidt, a consulting actuary with Milliman Inc., said that to "minimize this problem" of employee relations, companies should draw up a memo describing the transfer of supplemental executive benefits to the pension plan and give it "only to employees who are eligible." ...

    Companies don't explicitly tell the IRS that an amendment is intended to shift supplements executive benefits obligations into the regular pension plan. "They hide it," a Treasury official said. "They include the amendment with other amendments, and don't make it obvious." With too little staffing to check the dozens of pages of actuaries' calculations, the IRS generally accepts the companies' assurances that their pension plans pass the discrimination tests, the official said. ...

    Sometimes, the only tip off that a firm is moving executive benefits into the regular pension is that it provides small increases to some lower-paid groups in the plan, in order to pass the nondiscrimination tests. If link is broken, view Adobe Acrobat version (PDF).

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: WSJ article: Companies tap pension plans to fund executive benefits" by "ibm_slave". Full excerpt: According to the article: "Sometimes, the only tip off that a firm is moving executive benefits into the regular pension is that it provides small increases to some lower-paid groups in the plan, in order to pass the nondiscrimination tests." I recall that IBM slightly increased the pensions received by some retirees several weeks ago. Could this be the tip off that IBM is moving executive benefits into it's defined benefit pension plan?
  • Wall Street Journal: When 401(k) Investing Goes Bad. Teachers in West Virginia offer a valuable lesson for what not to do. By Jennifer Levitz. Excerpts: Seventeen years ago, West Virginia school employees joined millions of workers nationwide in a shift from a pension plan that guaranteed a monthly check, to a retirement-savings plan that would make the teachers, bus drivers, custodians and other staff responsible for their own investment accounts."It was horrible," says Judy Hale, president of the West Virginia Federation of Teachers union. Most felt poorly informed, and they invested too conservatively, putting the largest sums of money into a fixed-rate annuity, a safe but low-yielding option that typically is inadequate for building a nest egg.

    As employees began to retire, most balances were pitifully small. So on July 1, after a vote authorized by the state legislature, 14,871 school employees, or 78%, switched to the old-fashioned pension plan. After the vote, teachers were "jumping up and down and crying in the halls," Ms. Hale says. ...

    Around the country, a few big employers have ditched retirement-savings plans and returned to traditional pensions. The pace of big companies abandoning pension plans appears to be slowing as well. In 2007, 54 of the 100 largest U.S. employers offered an old-fashioned pension plan to new workers, down from 58 in 2006, according to Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a management-consulting firm in Arlington, Va. That 7% decline compares with a 14% drop as recently as 2005. ...

    But studies are starting to document that traditional pension plans, which typically are overseen by professional money managers, outperform programs in which workers control an investment account, like 401(k)s. Between 1995 and 2006, "defined benefit" pension plans, so-named because they give retirees a specified monthly benefit, outperformed defined-contribution plans, in which the employer makes a specified contribution to the worker's account, by about one percentage point a year, for a cumulative dollar difference of nearly 14%, according to a June report by Watson Wyatt. ...

    The United Methodist Church last year moved its 36,000 clergy and lay employees back to a traditional pension, realizing that "with ministers, really their talents are in creative areas, and often not in investment areas," says Ron Gebhardtsbauer, an actuary in University Park, Pa., and a former trustee with the church's pension board. Barbara Boigegrain, general secretary of the church's Evanston, Ill.-based pension board, adds that the church didn't believe it was fair that its employees "were at the whim of the markets." Those who retired in the bull market of 1999, for instance, generally had a better nest egg than those who retired as a three-year bear market ended in 2002. "We care desperately that they have an adequate income in retirement -- and income that they cannot outlive," she says. ...

    Teachers returning to the pension plan will receive reduced benefits to reflect that they've contributed less than other state workers over the years. But they will have the option to make catch-up contributions to "buy back" the full benefits. Ms. Elmore, 46, says she realized her disappointment in the defined-contribution plan when she received a letter from the state's retirement board in April projecting that, at age 60, she would have a big-enough nest egg to provide her with $1,571 per month for her life. By contrast, the letter projected, if she voted to go back to the defined-benefit plan, she would receive a projected monthly payment between $2,656 and as much as $3,050. "I jumped on it," she says. "I was just worried."

  • New York Times: At Freddie Mac, Chief Discarded Warning Signs. By Charles Duhigg. Excerpts: The chief executive of the mortgage giant Freddie Mac rejected internal warnings that could have protected the company from some of the financial crises now engulfing it, according to more than two dozen current and former high-ranking executives and others. That chief executive, Richard F. Syron, in 2004 received a memo from Freddie Mac’s chief risk officer warning him that the firm was financing questionable loans that threatened its financial health.

    Today, Freddie Mac and the nation’s other major mortgage finance company, Fannie Mae, are in such perilous condition that the federal government has readied a taxpayer-financed bailout that could cost billions. Though the current housing crisis would have undoubtedly caused problems at both companies, Freddie Mac insiders say Mr. Syron heightened those perils by ignoring repeated recommendations. ...

    Mr. Mudd was promoted to chief executive of Fannie Mae the following year, after that company was also accused of accounting errors totaling $6.3 billion. His compensation has totaled more than $42 million. ...

    “The thinking was that if something really bad happened to the housing market, then the government would need Freddie and Fannie more than ever, and would have to rescue them,” Mr. Andrukonis said. “Everybody understood that at some level the company was putting taxpayers at risk.”

  • SlashDot: California Can't Perform Pay Cut Because of COBOL. Full excerpt: beezzie writes "Last week, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered a pay cut, to minimum wage of $6.55/hr, for 200,000 state workers — because a state budget hadn't been approved yet. The state controller, who has opposed the pay cut on principle and legal grounds, now says the pay cut isn't even feasible because the state's payroll systems are so antiquated. He says it would take six months to go to minimum wage, and nine months more to restore salaries once a budget is passed. The system is based on COBOL, according to the Sacramento Bee, and the state hasn't yet found the funds or resources, in ten years of trying, to upgrade it."

    The article quotes a consultant on how hard it is to find COBOL programmers; he says you usually have to draw them out of retirement. Problem is, if there were any such folks on the employment rolls in California, Gov. Schwarzenegger fired them all last week, too.

  • Detroit Free-Press: GM set to offer pension to younger workers. Full benefits could come at 58, salaried workers told. By Katie Merz. Excerpts: General Motors Corp. is looking to offer full retirement benefits to U.S. salaried workers as young as 58 in its effort to reduce its salaried workforce by almost 5,000 by Nov. 1 under a sweeping effort announced earlier this month to bridge it to better times in 2010. Although the company says details of early retirement packages have not been finalized, executive managers in the United States started meeting this week with longtime salaried employees to share the general structure of the deals they expect GM to offer to U.S. salaried employees in August. ...

    Salaried employees who have been briefed said GM appears to be planning to offer full pension payments and six months of separation pay to workers 58 and older with at least 10 years of service. Typically, workers must reach age 62 to qualify for 100% of their pensions. Those same employees said their managers expect workers aged 55 to 57 to be offered enhanced pensions and six months of separation pay. Some salaried employees who already have reached retirement age are expected to be encouraged to take their pensions and six months of separation pay.

  • Brasscheck TV: Everyday slave wages at Wal-Mart. And don't you dare complain. Excerpts: According to Fortune Magazine, Wal-Mart is now the world's biggest private employer dwarfing other US mega-employers like the US Postal Service, McDonald's, and IBM. Although it's practically a state secret within the much-propagandized US, Wal-Mart is known worldwide for its brutal labor practices. Not bad if your frame of reference is digging coal in a Chinese coal mine, but certainly not what one would expect from a successful First World company.

    Wal-Mart's treatment of its employees is so egregious that many countries, including China, would not let Wal-Mart do business within their borders unless the company permitted its in-country labor force to be unionized.

    Slaves on the Chinese side making the stuff and slaves on the US side stocking the shelves and running the cash registers. The perfect New World Order enterprise. It's reported that when Sam Walton founder of the company died, his good friend, George H.W. Bush, the president's father, openly wept. I believe it.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retiree Issues message board: "Whatcha gonna do when you retire?" by Kevin Wallace. Full excerpt: This is directed towards those within a few years of retirement. Seeing that the pension plan was frozen Jan 1 this year I was wondering what others have thought about doing when they hit the big 30. It's nice that the TDSP plan has been enhanced but when many of us can retire with 30 years and still be under the age of 55 there is some logic to retiring, immediately drawing the pension and going to work for a business partner, competitor or even changing careers and saying to heck with technology.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retiree Issues message board: "Re: Whatcha gonna do when you retire?" by "aintgonnatakeit". Full excerpt: I went through this decision process a few months back. I had already reached 30 years, but was planning on working about 5 more years before I retire. I was able to find a job at another company that offered a higher salary than I was making at IBM. With my IBM pension frozen, there was little reason to stay at IBM. I found I would be significantly better off from a financial point of view by leaving IBM and collecting both a salary from my new job and my IBM pension.

    To top it all off, I enjoy the work I am doing a lot more in my new job. And I don't have to look over my shoulder for the next IBM layoff.

    If you haven't reached retirement eligibility yet, it may be worth waiting to hit that milestone before leaving IBM in order to get the higher pension benefit.

    One decision I had to make was whether to start collecting my pension right away, or wait until I stop working and really retire. I found that my pension would increase by only around 2% for each year I waited. I decided I would be better off starting to collect immediately. 2% per year puts the break even point too far out to make it worth waiting.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retiree Issues message board: "Re: Whatcha gonna do when you retire?" by Kevin Wallace. Full excerpt: Back in the mid 90's I started thinking companies like IBM would love/need/want/desire a way to get out of the pension programs. Like Social Security its expensive. Part of my thought process was if I got out at 30 and started taking it immediately, sure it would be less than if I took it years later but there is no guarantee on if it will still be there, if social security will be there or even if I will be alive. Basically there are no guarantees. Personally I would only want a 'cash out balance' if it were high enough but I've not heard what a typical cash out would be. I do have a friend who retired a couple of years ago and has not come back and is allowed to keep his pension flowing. I don't think he is listed as a contractor which is an option but it's something in between.

    As for retiring and not taking on another yoke/collar or whatever from another poster. Until I'm pleasantly wealthy that isn't an option. If I had kicked my kids out early and were not supporting multiple generations of family I might be able to do that. Since I'm not I'll end up changing one yoke for another. Being so young (relatively speaking) I could work for another 10 years with someone else and continue to build my 401K savings and develop my skills in something other than computers as I am pretty tired of them now.

    My first preference would be to simply get out of technology all together but I have not found a job that will pay as well as IBM outside the field of technology that I can develop skills inside of the next two years. I could win the lottery, find a suitcase full of drug money, be in the right place at the right time and have some rich person give me money.

    I could also move to a country (not my first choice) where the standard of living is very much lower than the US and live off my 401K and Pension pretty decently. Could learn the language, offer myself as an english teacher and supplement my income. Places like Guatemala, Indonesia, China and such my existing supply of money would stretch a long way. Medical care would be a bit complicated but one could always fly to the US, drop in on a hospital as indigent, they have to care for you and then fly back out. Sorry some of these ideas are silly, some are half baked, but they are ideas, outside of the box and potential options.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retiree Issues message board: "Re: Whatcha gonna do when you retire?" by "ibmexecretired". Full excerpt: I retired this February after 40 years with IBM. I have chosen to volunteer my time on 10 non-profit boards. I am vice chairman of 5 boards and national chairman of one. I will log over 1,000 hours of volunteerism on the IBM On Demand Community web site this year. My pension and 401K account make it possible to volunteer my time without worrying about a job. I'm grateful for the income and benefits IBM provides me, and for the tools the ODC web site provides to leverage my efforts and contributions..
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retiree Issues message board: "Re: Whatcha gonna do when you retire?" by "dogbreath127k". Full excerpt: > I retired this February after 40 years with IBM. I have chosen to volunteer my time on 10 non-profit boards. That is nice that you can help out your community. I just took a look at my frozen former plan grunt retirement monthly payout and combined with less than stellar 401K results and savings it looks like I will be working till I drop dead, just like my great grandparents did in the early 1900's.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retiree Issues message board: "Re: Whatcha gonna do when you retire?" by "retired_in_89". Full excerpt: I retired this February after 40 years with IBM. I have chosen to volunteer my time on 10 non-profit boards. I am vice chairman of 5 boards and national chairman of one. I will log over 1,000 hours of volunteerism on the IBM On Demand Community web site this year. My pension and 401K account make it possible to volunteer my time without worrying about a job. I'm grateful for the income and benefits IBM provides me, and for the tools the ODC web site provides to leverage my efforts and contributions.

    Hey, Enjoy! I was more than happy to contribute what might have been my COLAs to your desperately needed SERP. Any pension over 15 hundred a month for 37 plus years is wasted on booze and broads anyway. Oh, and thanks for the $0.99 (it could have been less) that my once free health plan contributed to my late spouses last 15 hours of hospital bills which was a piddling $61K.

    People like you are truly an inspiration to we grunts. BTW, I, too have managed without a job since retiring in 89 and we also managed to save a goodly portion of our combined pension and SS. Thus I volunteered in a worthy cause as well and even paid my own expenses for uniforms, travel costs, etc. Only gas for the boat (not mine) and meals for the crew and myself were ever reimbursed.

    Yep! With a good attitude life CAN be pleasant. But somehow I seem to feel that integrity and respect from IBM would have definitely added to my joy. But IBM got Gerstnerized, which is now a national pastime for other CEOs, and, thus, my fellow IBMers who had hoped to be as lucky as both you and I are now, on the average, up sh*t creek.

    Would you please join me in supplying a crying towel or two for those whiners?

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retiree Issues message board: "Re: Whatcha gonna do when you retire?" by "ibmresearch". Full excerpt: The day I hit 30 years, I started slowing down and got a "Silent Resource Action" package and happily went out the door in early 2007. Just like Gerstner, I took with me anything that wasn't nailed down regardless of whether I would have a use for it or not.

    I went into public sector as a CIO and have done very well since. I got even with IBM when I booted IGS out of my jurisdiction and brought in boutique shops which have really improved things. Then I replaced all my IBM equipment with HP and Apple. I got even to the tune of 47 million dollars lost revenue for IBM and got kudos for making the IT operation run faster, smoother and cheaper than ever before.

    Our friend who works as a board member for a large number of non-profits may notice if he's working in one of the largest international non-profits that has a lot of red in its logo that all IT is now moving away from IBM to HP. It was a glorious decision for me as their IT advisor!

    I donate time doing some teaching of business at my local community college and love it when I can have the opportunity to show young people the way to a successful career by avoiding IBM as a place of work and opportunity. By using IBM as the case for bad executive talent and exploitation, I show many how to look past the corporate propaganda in search of the truth. It's really gratifying to hear your students come to me and telling me that they've decided to forgo IBM as a place for opportunity and work.

    My blood pressure came down 22 points the day I left the blue pig and it's been wonderful ever since. I am enjoying my retirement by giving back love and appreciation to my community, my family and screwing the blue pig in every way I can on behalf of my poor colleagues who never had a chance to make it at the pig.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retiree Issues message board: "Retirement gifts..." by "Adrian Rice". Full excerpt: I thought some of you who retired 20 years ago would get a kick out of knowing the kinds of career milestone gifts that IBM employees are getting these days. My father, who retired nearly 20 years ago, was given a choice of really nice gifts which were worth about $1000. For his Quarter Century Club gift he got a Rolex watch and a check for $1000.

    I just retired at 55 and got to choose both my QCC gift and my retirement gift at the same time. The QCC gifts are really pretty decent, and can be bought on Amazon for around $900. I chose a 32" Sharp Aquos HD LCDTV, and had lots of other cool choices in jewelry, house wares and electronics.

    However, the retirement gifts were pretty chintzy -- and I was so underwhelmed with the first gift I chose that I sent it back and chose a different one. All the gifts can be bought on Amazon for $200 or less, and I had a hard time finding anything I even wanted. (The jewelry choices include tiny little freshwater pearl necklaces or rings set in birthstone gems like garnets and blue quartz, and department store watches. House ware items are things like small Waterford lamps and beverage sets.)

    But the thing that nearly killed my father when I told him was that my retirement letter from Sam P misspelled my first name. He said both of the Watsons must be spinning like tops in their graves!

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retiree Issues message board: "Re: Retirement gifts..." by Kathi Cooper. Full excerpt: They misspelled my name too, and it arrived in a broken frame. Sammie, it's K-a-t-h-i C-o-o-p-e-r. (retired 2005, and still watching you like a hawk)
  • BusinessWeek: Now Wall Street Wants Your Pension, Too. JPMorganChase, Citi, Cerberus, and Morgan Stanley are among the firms lobbying Washington to let them take over and run corporate pension funds. By Matthew Goldstein. Excerpts: The folks who brought you the mortgage mess and the ensuing hedge fund blowups, busted buyouts, and credit market gridlock have another bold idea: buying up and running troubled corporate pension plans. And despite the subprime fiasco, some regulators may soon embrace Wall Street's latest scheme. ...

    In preparation for that moment, the world's biggest big investment banks, insurers, hedge funds, and private equity shops have been quietly laying the groundwork for such deals over the past year. They would be a big prize for Wall Street. The $2.3 trillion pension honey pot has $500 billion in "frozen plans" that are closed to new employees and whose benefits are capped, including those at IBM, Hewlett Packard, Verizon, and Alcoa.. And that figure could triple by 2012, according to consulting firm McKinsey. By managing those troubled plans, Wall Street also gains entrée to an appealing set of customers to whom it can sell a broad array of fee-generating products. "We have identified several clients who would be willing to be first to sell a plan," says Scott Macey, a senior vice-president at Aon Consulting. "But the question is, when is a good time for this?" ...

    But the gambit to turn pensions into for-profit enterprises raises troubling questions. Critics, including some on Capitol Hill, worry that financial firms don't have workers' best interest at heart, which would put some 44 million current and future retirees at risk. "We think it's just a terrible idea," says Karen Friedman, policy director for advocacy group Pensions Rights Center. "In the wake of the subprime crisis, it would be crazy to allow financial institutions to manage these plans." ...

    Wall Street's Dumping Ground Historically, pension funds have been managed conservatively, in keeping with the broad goals of long-term wealth accumulation. Alternative investments such as hedge funds, derivatives, and asset-backed securities represent less than 25% of pension assets. If financial firms get involved, exotic investments could swell to 50% of pensions assets by 2012, predicts McKinsey. The biggest fear is that Wall Street could use retirement portfolios as a dumping ground for its most toxic and troublesome investments. It's not unlike what regulators allege UBS officials did with its stockpile of risky auction-rate securities by trying to off-load them to wealthy clients.

    If Wall Street gambles with those pension assets and loses, U.S. taxpayers would probably foot the bill. When a company with a pension goes belly up today, the PBGC, under federal law, has to take on the fund's obligations and dole out money to its beneficiaries. It's a costly burden: The PBGC currently runs a $14.1 billion deficit.

  • BloggingStocks: Does John McCain want to help Wall Street wipe out your pension? By Peter Cohan. Excerpts: BusinessWeek reports that Wall Street has its eye on a new pot of cash -- your pension. And it's a mighty big pot -- $2.3 trillion. But Wall Street is not looking at the entire pension industry, just a $500 billion portion known as "frozen plans" that are closed to new employees and whose benefits are capped. McKinsey forecasts that frozen plans will triple to a hefty $1.5 trillion by 2013.

    As usual, Wall Street's plan to buy these frozen pensions will line its own pockets and it will help companies as well. For example, if Wall Street charged a 2% management fee, that alone would generate $30 billion in revenues by 2013 if it bought all the frozen plans, but that fee income is probably the tip of the iceberg. ...

    The nice thing about keeping a pension plan under the control of the company that employs you is that it needs its workers to continue functioning. So it has an incentive to preserve their pensions. But that's no longer true once the pension plan is in the hands of Wall Street. If you like this plan of putting your pension at risk while further engorging the profits of Wall Street and corporations, you can have it by electing John McCain. BusinessWeek reports that a former senior advisor to McCain and former Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. (PBGC) Chairman, Bradley Belt, is a big supporter of this plan.

  • The Economic Times (India): IT's advantage women as hiring tide turns. Excerpts: HYDERABAD: It is ‘advantage women’ in the Indian IT sector. The fairer sex may find it easier to land up with a job in the sector, with leading companies such as IBM and Microsoft going on a recruitment binge to hire women employees. These companies are also organising exclusive technology conferences for women.

    The IT industry body Nasscom will soon unveil a report along with the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) to improve gender diversity. “The report is part of our efforts to encourage women to take up IT/ITeS career. These measures will also help the industry expand the talent-pool base,” Nasscom president Som Mittal said. ...

    “Only 16% women enrol for engineering as a lot of girl students shy away from maths and science. They may find the male-dominated IT industry tough to break into. The long work hours often expected in the booming high-tech industry are difficult to balance with family responsibilities. Thus many of them keep away from taking up technical careers. We have taken efforts to improve the scenario,” said Ms Margabandhu. At present, IBM has over 53,000 employees, of which 26% are women. To create interest among women students to pursue a broad range of careers in research, business and technology, IBM conducted an exclusive technology day for women in Hyderabad recently.

News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
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  • New York Times: Millions With Chronic Disease Get Little to No Treatment. By Reed Abelson. Excerpts: Millions of Americans with chronic disease like diabetes or high blood pressure are not getting adequate treatment because they are among the nation’s growing ranks of uninsured. That is the central finding of a new study to be published Tuesday in the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine. ...

    The study, the first detailed look at the health of the uninsured, estimates that about one of every three working-age adults without insurance in the United States has received a diagnosis of a chronic illness. Many of these people are forgoing doctors’ visits or relying on emergency rooms for their medical care, the study said. ...

    The study’s authors say that their findings cast doubt on the common assumption that many of the uninsured tend to be young and healthy, requiring little in the way of medical care. Because so many actually have chronic conditions that may be expensive to treat, the cost of covering the uninsured is often underestimated, said Dr. Woolhandler, who advocates a nationalized system of health care.

  • Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report: Increased Popularity of Medical Tourism Affects Health Care Provider Revenue. Excerpt: More U.S. patients have begun to travel abroad or visit retail clinics for medical services, practices that could reduce expenses for consumers and health insurers but also could cost physicians and hospitals billions of dollars in revenue annually, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports. According to a report recently released by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, the number of U.S. patients who travel abroad for medical procedures -- such as cosmetic or joint surgeries or knee or hip replacements -- could increase by about 10 times over the next 10 years to nearly 16 million. About 750,000 patients traveled abroad for medical procedures in 2007, and an estimated 1.5 million patients will travel abroad for services in 2008, the report found.
  • Seattle Post-Intelligencer guest column: Make original Medicare the foundation for health care reform. By John Geyman and Malinda Markowitz. Excerpts: As Medicare celebrates its 43rd birthday this week, it's time to take stock of one of the most popular government programs of all time that guarantees all Americans 65 years of age and older universal coverage of comprehensive health care benefits. At the time of its passage, American seniors were having great difficulty affording health care, especially the costs of hospitalization. They were paying 15 percent of their annual income on health care. Many millions were unable to afford either insurance or their medical bills. Enactment of Medicare gave them access to a set of benefits defined by law, as an earned right for which they contributed, without regard to their health status or income.

    Medicare today covers about 43 million American seniors and the disabled, paying about one-half of their health care expenses. Amidst an increasingly unaffordable health care market, Medicare recipients have a solid rock of coverage. The program is administered with an overhead of about 3 percent, less than one-fifth the overhead of competing private programs, while offering defined benefits with free choice of physician and hospital.

    A survey by the Commonwealth Fund in 2002 found that Medicare beneficiaries rate the program much higher than private health insurance in terms of quality, help with access to care and payment of their medical bills. A binding social contract has been established and kept with eligible beneficiaries that they can trust and depend on. Even at that, seniors are paying much more out of pocket now than they were in 1965 for health care – 22 percent of their annual income.

    Despite its many successes, Medicare has been under relentless attack by conservatives, market stakeholders and their lobbyists pushing to "save" Medicare by killing it. Their agenda is to siphon off more affluent seniors to private plans and shrink Medicare to a much smaller program. There is no ambiguity in this goal. As then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said at the time, this kind of "reform" could "solve the Medicare problem" and cause the program to "wither on the vine."

New on the Alliance@IBM Site:
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  • Is IBM offshoring the IBM Payroll Help Desk to Manila, Philippines? If you have documentation please send to: Allianceibmunion@gmail.com
  • Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comment 08/03/08: More cuts planned at Wellpoint, offshoring in full swing, 14 Indians coming on board, 8 US will be cut. -A Nony Mouse-
    • Comment 08/04/08: Amex relation with IBM are declining since they've been outsourcing work to Infosys and others. Dev work went there a while ago and more will in turn. -JM-
    • Comment 08/05/08: Just about last week I learned several IBM employees from STG in Poughkeepsie were RA'ed and they received a 6-month "buy out". This type of RA is not publicly known to us and media because it is known as "Silent Resource Actions" (SRA). SRA has been ongoing for the past few years; that is, they eliminated a small number of employees from time to time. Is this union aware of it? -Shocked in Pok-
    • Comment 08/06/08: WellPoint SA's are told to basically hand over your jobs to indians. I will not. let them figure it out like we did. it would be interesting to see how the customer reacts to a sev1 not being addresses...the NOC cannot locate benjisjalsy alajsuashy in bangalore on his cell...and when they finally reach someone...who can understand what the heck he is talking about? -Indian_Giver-
    • Comment 08/07/08: Silent Resource Actions (SRAs) are happening all over the place in IGS. They've been happening since February in GTS on a weekly basis.Too many senior people they first threaten a performance based MIS then they "turn nice" and give an SRA "if you just leave quietly". -SRA Nab-
  • General Visitor's Comment page:
    • Comment 08/03/08: It amazes me that anyone in this day and age would believe that IBM's Human Resources Department could do anything BUT back IBM's position. This is no longer a company where respect for the individual is part of its motto; where an IBM club exists and is funded to plan fun family events to make employees and their families happy to be part of the big blue family. There is no protection within IBM anymore. Any wink and nod agreement with a manager is not worth the paper it was not written on.

      How can you do financial planning not knowing what your raise will be, or your performance bonus, or if your pay will be cut with a reclassification. How can you go into a long term debt like a mortgage not knowing if you will get a new boss who dislikes you in a few years who will trump up a case to surplus you and you have no where to turn for help defending yourself. A union contract will not only define raises, pensions,benefits but also how layoffs will be administered, how seniority will be defined, How training will be allocated, how performance measurements will be administered. How can this leveling of the playing field be detrimental to employees? In many unions training becomes the union's problem. Unions run schools for members in most trades. The companies define the skills they want and need. The union trains its members to fill those needs.

      Sounds like a win win scenario to me as cost of training is one of the things IBM whines about. As the few folks left, who are hanging on just to get to their frozen pensions leave; the rest better look long and hard at what the future holds for your own retirements and lifestyles. A union really is the only sane answer. You cannot spend potential earnings. You cannot save potential earnings. You cannot budget with inflation running rampant and no cost of living raises. Its survival time. Join the Union. -Exodus2007-

      Alliance reply: Thank you, Exodus2007, for saying what we have been saying from the beginning. The only additional point that we continue to make is that joining the union is the first step. Organizing co-workers and taking the time to talk with them about what they can expect from a union contract versus what IBM tries to scare them into thinking, is the next step. Organizing is the best weapon against the vitriolic venom that is released, like a deluge, on IBM employees every time the subject comes up. It's called union busting; and it will rear its ugly face to IBM employees, sooner or later. Organizing helps to inoculate employees against the company's tactics...and IBM has more than a bag full... You can be sure of that. Thank you for continuing to help Alliance@IBM get the word out; and continuing to organize outside of the company. Your help is greatly appreciated.

    • Comment 08/04/08: My dept. was told today that standby pay has been eliminated and that overtime must average 5 hours/employee per week WITHIN THE DEPT. That does NOT mean, however, that all employees will get 5 hours of overtime. If one dept. member has to work 10 hours of overtime, then that's 5 hours less that are available to others. All overtime must be pre-approved. If you have to work overtime on Saturday or Sunday, then that becomes your "workday" and you take another day off during the week.

      For example....you submit a request for 4 hours of overtime to apply some security patches. Someone has a sev 1 that requires them to work an extra 4 hours, so your 4 hours of overtime is eliminated. Managers have to juggle this day to day, making decisions about who gets overtime and how much. My manager explained to us that if they don't meet their requirements, an RCA is opened and they have to answer to senior management about why. BFD. Like I give damn that he has to answer to senior management.

      This applies even if you're on call. If you\'re on call and get paged on Saturday or Sunday then it\'s expected that you will now work 8 hours that day(s) to officially make it a work day, and you'll take days off during the week. Which means, of course, that when you're on call, you can't plan anything since you have no idea what days off you'll have. I'm on call EVERY OTHER WEEK!!! So week to week I'll have no idea what days off I might have. Want to go to that barbecue Saturday? Nah, forget it....you got paged at 6am, so now your ass is working until 2pm.

      They weaseled around the standby pay because the law says you have to pay standby pay if employees are required to respond to a call within one hour. IBM says that there are "no financial penalties" to IBM if we don't respond within an hour, so therefore, we aren't officially REQUIRED to respond within that hour. The contract I work on states that response time is 15 minutes for all severities. Calling the help desk and opening the ticket constitutes "response within 15 minutes", so that's how they get around that, the bastards. However, we're still expected to meet the SLA's (4 hours resolution for sev 1, for instance). I didn't know I had it in me to be this angry. I'm interested to know if/when others get this news. -Disgusted beyond belief-

    • Comment 08/05/08: Yes, Management today told employee's at the East Fishkill and its Albany NY project that the AWS work pay salary will be eliminated. Meaning up to a 18% reduction in salary. Working 10 hour days and not getting paid a premium for it .. Management has told their people to keep this information internal before decision is formalized . -Another pay cut-
    • Comment 08/05/08: Our dept was just told today along with all other AWS workers that the AWS pay will be eliminated Jan 2009. They bumped base slightly to seem less painful. What a freaking joke. -Ticked OFF-
    • Comment 08/05/08: SSR's, AKA C.E.s have been on call 24 x7 their entire careers. It sounds like they are setting up the scenario of no shift personnel scheduled and everything will be handled with callouts. But no overtime and your SDO will depend on if the managers pet took a callout because he or she will get the choice of what day, usually a friday for a three day weekend and the rest get whatever day they can squeeze in. Standby, callouts, overtime, rights of refusal are all things defined in a union contract. One of my accounts was Bethlehem Steel Sparrows Point and their contract called for overtime to be offered by seniority. Meaning senior, more expensive men had first shot at the overtime. It helped keep proper staffing on shifts as the company could not force all the overtime onto the cheaper younger workers and run them into the ground.

      I used to scoff at some of the union rules like that but as IBM became employee vicious it suddenly seemed a pretty damn good idea. It would amaze you the depth of things like this a union can define in a contract for YOUR protection and benefit. A union contract can specify say 50 dollars per month for every year of service, Doesn't sound like much but 30 years would give you 18000 per year pension. not a fortune but nice to have. Things like this we have allowed to slip past us somehow waiting for the CEO in shining armor to come to our rescue and restore our past benefits.

      Folks it just is not going to happen. We have to be our own hero's and stand up for ourselves. No one who supports unionizing is looking to bankrupt the company. We are just looking to be treated fairly in salary, benefits, retirements and work hours. At what point in America did indentured servitude come back into style? When IBM bullies you and tells you're lucky you have a job, they are basically saying they OWN you. Vote for freedom today. Join the CWA. -Exodus2007-

    • Comment 08/06/08: Happy Blue, I was employed by IBM for 12 years. I started in 1996 and from 1996 - 2001 I got ALL 2 RATINGS on my PBC I worked in IN my first 7 on a commercial account with managers who had 25 plus years of service with IBM and knew how to respect their employees. I moved to VT in 2001 and my 1st 4 years were fine. Then I ran into 2 first time women mgrs. who were totally worthless. All they cared about was climbing the corp. ladder. I got my 1st 3 PBC rating in 2006 from my 1st women mgr. and I got a 2 rating in 2007. I switched jobs 6/07 and by Nov. by 2nd women mgr. said I wasn't doing good and I would be getting a 3 and had to find a job at the end of 07 or I would get offered a perf. package. I showed her the PBC web page which clearly states you have to have 2 3 ratings to get let go and her HR person( who by the way is a CONTRACTOR) NOT EVEN AN IBM'er told her she could do it.

      I worked with the HR Tech. Lead in Burlington and she wanted me to file an appeal because she totally disagreed with my mgr. and the other HR person. At that point I didn't want to lose my measly 13 weeks sev. so I found another job paying 40% less. I called my old mgr. in IN who now has about 40 years of service and he convinced me to contact HR in Armonk the day I left before 5. I worked with a women there for about 3 months and I sent her over 10 pages of documentation on my mgr. and even told her I talked with the person who said they were getting hired and they still sided with her. I talked to a lawyer and he said I had a case but then again you know the IBM rule - you go to a lawyer you lose your severance. I am ok with it all now. I feel very bad every time I read another article in the newspaper or see something on the news about how IBM is totally screwing the employees in Burlington. My advice to anyone there who has there 30 years and can retire is to hit the door running and don't look back. You can always get a part time job if you are bored. My mgmt. at the hospital is absolutely wonderful and I wouldn't take a job back if they offered me more money. -ex-ibmer-

    • Comment 08/06/08: Disgusted beyond belief, our manager gave us pretty much the same news as well today. The big exception was that our standby time was not eliminated. Since my entire (original) team was outsourced, I am the only one left on my account, and I'm on hotpager at all times, so maybe that is why they are letting me keep the standby time. But this is going to make it impossible to make plans for anything. But, as long as I get to choose which days I have off, I think I'll be choosing the days with the most meetings and conference calls. So if it seems that I have to cancel my call with you every week, you'll know why! (Don't know how long it will be before I have to get approval for which days I take off) We are now expected to work 0 overtime, unless paged out for a SEV1 issue, or to work on a specific project with a deadline that is drawing very near. -LowlySA-
    • Comment 08/06/08: We were told yesterday that IBM is concerned that WE have been doing a poor job managing our Work Life Balance, IBM is concerned about this and if we do not immediately take steps to correct it, IBM will by instituting AWS and making Saturdays and Sundays regular work days along with 2nd and 3rd shift. No mention was made that this is a veiled effort to curtail OT work, the manager told us he was barred from mentioning those three words, that everyone knew this was referring too. So now we are to push back to customers, accept that if we have to apply security patches to servers on Saturday and Sundays that we will be working the entire day as a regular day or take a similar number of hours off on another day. What a joke this company has become, taking millions in tax incentives from our states, selling off jobs to any country that wants them. Bottom line if the job you are doing is being done remotely, then it can be done from anywhere in the world. And it will be gone soon. -Soon To Be Gone IBMer-
    • Comment 08/07/08: Burlington VT plant is a friggin hell hole. We no longer make anything for IBM computers anymore. Only chips for toy games and phones. Really terrible. There is no fun in my job anymore. Everything lean six sigma. Lean this and lean that. We've been cut to the bone and there is no meat to be lean anymore. I hate my job. I hate everything about IBM. I hate what fat cat IBM executives have done to me. Sammy Palmacrapo can go to hell. -Joe B-
    • Comment 08/07/08: To Happy blue and ex-ibmer - I also worked for IBM for 8 years before being laid off. I luckily found a job at about 10% less than what I was making at IBM, but in a lower cost of living area. I now live in a medium sized town in the southwest and wouldn't even consider working for IBM again at twice the pay. I've had it with that type of management. My managers here have done something that IBM didn't do in the entire 8 years, they actually came by my office and thanked me for doing a good job. I even got a pay raise on my first evaluation. They really seem glad to have me here, unlike IBM where you are just another animal in the slaughter house and expendable. -another exibmer-
    • Comment 08/07/08: You've actually met your manager and coworkers in your new company? wow! I have worked with a bunch of voices for the past 12 years. Fortunately, occasionally, a voice will state his or her name, and eventually I can learn their accent, tone of voice, inflection, so he or she isn't completely anonymous. -wow-another exibmer-
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    • Comment 08/03/08: Well I was given the word about OT on Friday also, but since I was a Band 8 and now a Band 7, the offer was about as unethical as anything I have heard at IBM. I am to agree in writing that I am not spending more than 45% of my time on anything that could be construed as System Admin work. I will be given some "management duties" like previewing PBC's, previewing IDP's etc. for 55% of my time. I cannot spend over a set number of hours on call. I can assist SA's below me on research and develop processes to eliminate the reason they had to engage me. Basically changing my job description to meet the NLRB Exempt Employee qualifications. For this I get my 15% pay cut back and get to retain my Lead title. I asked management if this wasn't just a veiled disguise to make me fit the NLRB guidelines, that they wouldn't allow me to fit in February and all I got back was a "What do you think" I asked what do I get if I don't agree to this, "you get reduced to a System Administrator, you will never be referred to as a Lead, your OT will be reduced to zero, you will never be allowed to post into a Lead position. I told a friend about it and his comment was "that's not ethical", I told him we are not at ethical, we are at IBM. -SoonToBeGone-
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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:

  • "2Q08 conference call says it all" by " bluejules". Full excerpt: The conference call this quarter gave a good summary of what we're talking about here. IBM's right out front telling the everyone what they're doing. Look at Marky Mark's comments, right up front:
    To drive these results, we have been executing a strategy that aligns investments to growth opportunities. In the emerging markets we've been investing to capture the opportunity created from the build-out of the infrastructures in these high growth economies. While in the more established markets, we're managing our business for productivity, and we're delivering solutions that provide value to our clients.

    If you don't understand CFO-speak, I can translate:

    • US gets expense optimization/productivity enhancements. Big IBM will take most (all) savings, local can use what's left to try to grow the business.
    • BRIC countries get investments in training/facilities/compensation/careers. They get the capital to grow the business.

    Reading this, if I want a fast-paced career, I go to the emerging markets and stay away from the "more established markets." - that assumes I want to go global for a growth career. Other option is go to a growing company/market/industry in the geography I want to be in. Pretty much what ABC has been saying - the boutique firms are the growing market in US.

    As a stockholder I'm fine with this. IBM has told us what they're going to do, why they're doing it, and given targets through 2010 for the results they expect. As an employee, staying in the US at IBM and hoping I'll find a fast-paced, growing career is a little delusional.

  • "Delusional is right" by "ancientblueconsultant". Full excerpt: I just heard form a financial type that the US GBS/ITS net royalty rate is 8.75%. That means that for every dollar of realized revenue 8.75 cents gets taken by corporate just for royalties. This doesn't include expenses, overhead, etc. Just the right to have the franchise costs the operating unit 8.75%. Pretty high. No wonder they are not paying for fax machines, toilet paper or even painting walls. Until the local sanitation inspector comes and inspects the bathrooms or the landlords complain, no one gets anything paid for by the company.
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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