Tony Nardo of Saugerties retired from his $80,000-a-year engineering job in 1990. He got a letter in May saying his $21,000 annual pension might be raised, but he hasn't heard anything since. "I think it's a disgrace, the way it was handled," Nardo said. "It was very misleading. The way it was worded, everyone thought they would get something. But the criteria were never explained." ...
Herbert Sweet of Hyde Park, who retired 16 years ago from "a nice fanny job in an office," called IBM for clarification after getting the May letter. "It's a very complicated formula," he said. "I think the only people who got increases are those who retired 30 years ago at the level of janitor." Nardo said he only knows of one retiree who got the raise. "Everyone else who got the letter never got anything," Nardo said. "It bothers me that they didn't let us know. It's not like IBM in the past to do stuff like that."
And all of this must be handled with emails to coders in places where English isn't the primary language.
When it comes to retirement, the pension is calculated from the average final three years wages times 2% times years worked. If I averaged $65,000 a year in the last three years multiply that times 2% would be $1300 times years worked 32 would equal $3466 a month defined benefit pension check if I worked for the government. So how does this compare to the "old" IBM defined benefit pension my wages started contributing to in the 1960's?
IBM was taking .015% of my salary and putting it into my retirement defined benefit pension. Not as good as a public employee but OK. So I was given retirement estimates every year convincing me to stay on with IBM because of those benefits which I conveyed to the people reporting to me as Outstanding. I believed my Company. The retirement benefit I was to expect was $65,000 times .015% times 32 years BG (Before Gerstner) equal to $2600 a month, $866 less than Public Employees. Still OK, would have liked the $866 more but acceptable. Gerstner changed the formula to .0135% from .015% and lowered the maximum service age to 30.
Let's see how that affected my DB pension check: $65,000 times .0135% times 30 years AG (After Gerstner) is $2193 a month, $406 less a month than BG and $1275 less a month than Public Employees. Now with no Cola and inflation averaging 3% (5.6% this year) the pension payment will be worth half in 20 years if I live that long in purchasing power with no Cost of Living adjustment to about $1096 in today's dollars purchasing power.
Because IBM was successful in forcing me to leave like they did with the other 150,000 IBMers over a five year period with "rightsizing, downsizing, resource actions, transfers to AT&T to be set up for work transfer to India and layoff", my projected pension became less. So I took the Pension I receive today, $1500 a month and figured out that compared to the old formula BG where I would have received $2600 a month instead of the $1500 a month I am getting today, $900 less. The formula factor of .015 is really .009. IBM kept .006 of my pension I contributed all those 32 years or about $12,500 annually I never will see.
The After Gerstner pension amounts to $72 a day compared to Sam's $20,000 a day pension. I guess Sam deserves 277 times more than I do. The question I have is:what happened to my Before Gerstner, .006% of my DB contribution that IBM kept out of my salary for 30 years and received a tax write off that I will never see? The $1040 a month? I guess that went to Sam, in order to boost his pension to $20,000 a day. That must be it. I feel better now.
Thought I would give you a way to see exactly how much Gerstner stripped away from employees who built the company Before Gerstner and how this enabled Gerstner to give himself 20,000,000 shares of IBM stock in 1998. And, he got away with it. I think I will write a book entitled "The Theft of the Century" but maybe that title has already been used up.
Some of you might know it but if you take your DB pension check, take your last three years of wages before you left IBM, multiply that by .009% times the number of years employed, the result will confirm that, after the Gerstner adjustment, was really closer to less than 1% even though IBM wrote off .015% as a tax break all those years you were employed.
In hindsight, I should have taken a job as a Public Employee but they had a Union. IBM convinced me unions were bad.
At a press conference in Istanbul organised by TEZ-KOOP on 5 September, TEZ-KOOP President Gürsel Dogru, condemned IBM management and said that their behaviour was unacceptable. He urgently appealed to IBM management to come to the bargaining table and negotiate a collective agreement as IBM employees had wished.
While the industry has the backing of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and at least some legislators from both parties, a powerful labor group is pushing back, calling it a corporate giveaway and bad for workers.
Several Silicon Valley companies - including IBM, Oracle, Siebel Systems, Cisco Systems and Electronic Arts - have settled class-action lawsuits in recent years accusing them of illegally withholding overtime pay from some employees. The settlements have totaled more than $150 million.
Corporate America has been unfairly profiting off tech workers' passion for technology and innovation--a passion that drives them to work 60 hours a week--and IT workers are fed up with it. They need to stop it, whether that's by joining a union, organizing a guild or forming a professional association similar to the American Bar Association.
But even after the government seized the mortgage finance companies on Sunday and dismissed their chief executives, the companies’ outgoing leaders could see big paydays — a prospect that angers many investors, particularly because ordinary stockholders could be virtually wiped out.
Under the terms of his employment contract, Daniel H. Mudd, the departing head of Fannie Mae, stands to collect $9.3 million in severance pay, retirement benefits and deferred compensation, provided his dismissal is deemed to be “without cause,” according to an analysis by the consulting firm James F. Reda & Associates. Mr. Mudd has already taken home $12.4 million in cash compensation and stock option gains since becoming chief executive in 2004, according to an analysis by Equilar, an executive pay research firm
Richard F. Syron, the departing chief executive of Freddie Mac, could receive an exit package of at least $14.1 million, largely because of a clause added to his employment contract in November of last year as his company’s troubles deepened. He has taken home $17.1 million in pay and stock option gains since becoming chief executive in 2003.
“Under no circumstances should the executives of these institutions earn a windfall at a time when the U.S. Treasury has taken unprecedented steps to rescue these companies with taxpayer resources,” Mr. Obama wrote. Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, has said on the campaign trail that the government rescue of Fannie and Freddie should not turn into a bailout for their top executives and Wall Street investors.
Some, especially Washington Republicans, go so far as to insist that no monetary figure can measure who is wealthy in America, so there should be no upper limit on who gets the goodies. Sen. John McCain – who married into a vast inherited fortune and ardently supports continued tax breaks for the rich – rushed forth to claim that some people are “poor,” even “if they are billionaires.” The difference between billionaires and bus drivers, they say, is merely a matter of attitude, not of income and assets.
Time to get a grip on reality. What would you guess is the median income for American families? Is it $250,000, or even a hundred thousand? No. It’s just $50,000 – meaning half of our households struggle to make ends meet on less than that. Indeed, those pulling down more than $250,000 a year are among the wealthiest two percent of American families, enjoying incomes five times greater than the typical family.
But … but… but… stammer the offended punditry and politicos, we live in Washington, DC, where it takes much more to be rich. Actually, not that much more. Even in that land of millionaire lobbyists, median family income is $83,000 a year.
A quarter-million bucks a year certainly doesn’t put you in the same zip code as billionaires, but neither are you living in the same world as bus drivers. Obama’s tax policies are rightly focused on benefiting America’s real majority. Why should the richest two percent of families – including billionaires – be getting tax breaks?
The Living Room Candidate might seem obsolete in the age of YouTube and campaign sites that post every speech and advertising message. But it’s more valuable now than ever, serving as both clearinghouse and curator. It provides voters with historical context and full disclosure: it distinguishes ads that are created by the candidate’s official team from proxy attacks paid for by nonprofit but highly partisan political organizations — a technique now known by the 2004 term “Swiftboating.” In this cycle, however, the campaigns have proved less squeamish than ever before and are perfectly happy to level the silliest charges in their own names.
Editor's comment: Regardless of your political persuasion, the Museum of the Moving Image's "The Living Room Candidate" Web site is a lot of fun, and is also educational. I found the campaign ads (from both the Eisenhower and Stevenson campaigns) very interesting. Many of the issues, and trouble spots in the world then are still in play now.
His experience is not as unusual as it sounds. Some 56 million Americans do not have a regular source of care according to the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) -- even though many of them do have insurance. The problem is a shortage of primary care physicians (PCPs) in many parts of the country, particularly, but not exclusively, in poorer communities. ...
Wachter summarizes highlights: “Getting a ‘regular doctor’ (a PCP) at Mass General now takes the combination of cajoling, pleading, and knowing somebody generally referred to as ‘working the system.’ In other words, the process of finding a primary care doc is now like getting a great table in a trendy restaurant. “The report also makes clear that providing more ‘access’ through expanded insurance coverage won’t do the trick,” Wachter explains. “Massachusetts, you’ll recall, markedly expanded its coverage a couple of years ago (in legislation proposed by that ex-liberal, Mitt Romney). Scott Jasbon, a 47 year-old contractor/bartender, thought he was all set when he enrolled in one of Massachusetts’ subsidized health plans. He was wrong. ...
“But,” Schroeder observed, “if [as we discussed earlier, doctors are] telling their sons and daughters and nephews not to go into medicine, those that [do] go into medicine know for sure they don’t want to go into primary care. . . . They want to go on what they call now the road to happiness. So this means they want to go into Radiology, Ophthalmology, Anesthesia, Dermatology . . . It’s an old-fashioned road. And why do they want to do that? They want to do that because they’re coming out with huge debts. Because unless we fix the payment system, they’re not gonna get the kind of income that they’d like.” But the problem isn’t just the relatively low pay that primary care doctors receive. Students are also “more attracted to shift work, so they don’t have to worry about patients after they leave,” Schroeder added. “They want that eight-to-five job. And then finally, they don’t like all the hassles that we’ve been hearing about” in primary care. ...
But if the patient does not have a primary care doctor, who is going to pick up the slack? The hospital can’t follow him home. The lack of PCPs also is putting added stress on emergency care. Patients who cannot get an appointment with a primary care doctor are crowding ERS. From 1996 to 2006 Emergency room visits jumped more than 32 percent from 90.3 million according to the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And this is not because more Americans lack insurance. To the contrary, the study found the proportion of emergency visits by the uninsured had not changed substantially between 1992 and 2005, although the number of overall visits went up 28 percent. The survey found that people in the highest income bracket - in excess of 400 percent of the federal poverty level -- accounted for an increasing portion of emergency room visits, while the lowest income brackets remained virtually unchanged. So much for the theory that illegal immigrants are responsible for the excruciatingly long waits in the nation’s ERs.
The results indicate 90 percent of physicians surveyed said they have had to change the way they treat patients based on restrictions from an insurance company, and 92 percent said insurance company incentives and disincentives regarding treatment protocols "may not be in the best interest of the patients."
Physicians' biggest complaint (93 percent) was that health insurers required them to change prescription medications. More than three-fourths (78 percent) said an insurance carrier had restricted their ability to refer patients to the physicians they believed would best treat their patients' needs; and 87 percent said that they sometimes feel that they are pressured to prescribe a course of treatment based on cost rather than on what may be best for the patient.
Finding the time and money to develop highly marketable skills is a daunting proposition for many who are trying to figure out which bills to pay late in order to make the mortgage payment. Trying to get a straight answer as to what constitutes marketable skills is another issue as IBM does not value the same skills as the marketplace. IBM values IBM-specific skills and they want you to polish those skills on your own dime and on your own time, even though they are of no use outside IBM and even within IBM may be considered just the flavour of the month.
When I challenged this, I was told that the band ranges were nothing more than "targets" and it was perfectly OK for them to pay me well below my new band range. I asked to challenge this with HR, only to be told that there are people lower paid than me at this band and there is no budget for "out-of-cycle" pay increases to "pull people up." So needless to say this promotion didn't set well with me. IBM promotions are useless.... IBM bands are useless. They aren't even trying to keep employees anymore. -Anonymous-
Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC.
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