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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—January 17, 2009

  • Forbes: IBM Could Feel The Pinch. By Andy Greenberg. Excerpt: Despite an expected drop in sales, analysts predict that IBM's earnings will rise about 8% to $3.03 per share for the quarter. The company's relatively healthy profits are a result of careful cost-cutting at the computing giant, largely in the form of a cut in its pension plans two years ago. (Emphasis added by editor—not in original article.) And though it maintained its earnings target in its last earnings announcement, the company may still be preparing for tighter times. A rumor that as many as 16,000 layoffs are coming--the equivalent of 4% of the company's workforce--has persisted on the independent IBM employee site IBMalliance.org, though IBM hasn't confirmed the job cuts.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "What they have up their sleeve to target resources for layoffs and f" by"sjshaveltx". Full excerpt: Folks, for those of you who are wondering, I am a former IBMer (Band 10), and I have a fair amount of insight on what tactics are going to be used on the resources, in the upcoming RA rounds.

    Specifically, as you well aware, the expectations for resource utilization has been increasing dramatically over the past years, to where it actually is now officially set at 105%, as this expectation allows for the possibility of vacation and holidays to exist and to still meet the required 100% levels. Now obviously these levels cannot be sustained, which is where the deviousness gets into the picture. Clearly if you do not obtain these levels of utilization, then you are a 'poor' performer and will be getting '3' ratings on your PBC's. Next stop, you are now on the shortlist for getting the ax.

    As bad as that one is, the next one is even worse. The BCG - "Business Conduct Guidelines" which all IBMers must digitally sign once a year, has some very interesting clauses contained in it, such that anyone who task resources to perform certain activities and to charge those efforts to internal codes (i.e. B&P), are now subject to levels of scrutiny and auditability which are unsustainable in any reasonable manner. I dare say, that none of those of you who have done this 'giving a code for people to work on' have the degree of specific task oriented detail (down to the minute, that the specific task was performed) to pass this scrutiny, and therefore now you are in violation of the BCG, and subject to immediate termination. (no bridge, no benefits, no anything).

    This is the one, they are going to use to hit most of the higher bands (9,10) for certain, probably some of the 8's as well. So my sincere advice to all of you, is to start capturing in silly amounts of detail any task efforts that you have assigned to other people.

    If you don't think it can happen to you, think again. I know of at least 5 people who this has happened to in the last 6 months, two of those were at the 29 year mark.

    Please take this to heart, I know most of you are saying this won't affect you, but it can and it will, they are very capable of using tactics such as this, and given the interest in keeping costs down, this is the one that holds the best mechanism for doing that. Be careful out there, the sharks are in the water!

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: If the January rumor becomes a reality. . ." by "madinpok". Full excerpt: You can get COBRA coverage if you are fired, laid off, or leave voluntarily. It doesn't matter. However, you must start COBRA IMMEDIATELY after leaving. If you use some other coverage after leaving your current job, you can not sign up for COBRA later.

    It is a good idea to leave a non-zero balance in your FHA account to ensure that you can re-enter the FHA plan at a later date. However, it may be difficult to draw it down to a number as low as $100. Since you can only chose to take money out of the FHA account in 10% steps of the annual premium, you may have to leave $1000 - $2000 as a balance to avoid drawing it down to zero.

    Right now, I think the choice to use COBRA or the FHA first is a roll of the dice. Although the new administration will push for health insurance coverage for the uninsured, it appears at the moment that that will not include people who have coverage through employment or retirement benefits. But given how politics work (or don't work), maybe the changes will cover a wider base than they are talking about, making it attractive for employers to end retiree health plans. Another possibility is that IBM could dump retiree health coverage regardless of what the government does. But I think that is unlikely.

    Either way, it will probably take a year or two for the changes to be implemented. If you believe retiree health coverage will not change, then you should use COBRA first. But by the time COBRA runs out and you are ready to use the FHA, that puts you right in the time frame where the world of health insurance might change and the FHA could disappear. If that happens, a better choice might have been to use the FHA first, while it was still there.

    Since no one knows where this will all end up, it is really a gamble right now as to what the right choice is.

  • "Re: If the January rumor becomes a reality..." by Kathi Cooper. Full excerpt: I'm not an expert in Obama's health plans for the nation, but I do know it is not universal coverage. I think it is coverage only if you don't have it already, similar to a car insurance pool for those that can't get it through the normal market channels. Therefore, if you are on FHA when Obama's health plan kicks in, I don't think you lose FHA. You keep your current insurance. Other than that change, I agree with your assessment wholeheartedly. (or is it 'unfortunately'?)
  • eWeek: IBM's Palmisano: Government Investment Could Lead to 900,000 IT Jobs. By Darryl K. Taft. Excerpt: IBM CEO Sam Palmisano has told members of the Barack Obama transition team that a $30 billion government investment in the IT industry could lead to the creation of more than 900,000 jobs in areas such as broadband access, health care IT and upgrading the electrical grid.
  • AlterNet: The Plot Against Pensions and the Plan to Save Them. By Amy Goodman. Excerpts: For the 50 million Americans with 401(k) retirement plans, 2008 is a year many wish they could forget. Workers saw their 401(k) plans lose between 20 and 30 percent of their value as the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its worst year since the Depression. Between October 2007 and 2008, more than $1 trillion worth of stock value held in 401(k)s and other defined contribution plans were wiped out. For workers nearing retirement, the losses have been devastating. ...

    TERESA GHILARDUCCI: It’s really the end of a thirty-year experiment with a do-it-yourself pension system. The United States stood above all other nations in saying, “Look, we’re going to hand over this saving and investing responsibility over to individuals. They want control. The stock market is healthy.” The finance industry told people that all you had to do was invest in the stock market, wait for a long term, implied that that long term would end at the end of your working career and you would have enough to live on for the rest of your life. And that experiment is over: it failed. And just like the Great Depression, just like the policies proposed in the Great Depression that brought us Social Security, I think we’re at that point now where we have to rethink that experiment and rethink how we get people their valentines, their pension valentines. ...

    GONZALEZ: And by defined benefit, that meant that they were guaranteed a certain income per month when they retired.

    GHILARDUCCI: Yes, that’s right. It was based on years of service and on pay, so lower-income workers got less, higher-income workers got more. But that was fair. The point is that it was guaranteed for the rest of a person’s life. And that’s precisely what people want when they retire. They don’t want to be rich. They don’t want to make it big in the stock market. That was always seen as something you did in Las Vegas or with money on Wall Street, money that you could afford to lose. The idea is that pensions were supposed to be secure for the rest of your life.

    And we now have a system where older people who are retired have Social Security and their pension on top of that, and we have the great success story in America, was that we went from the 1950s, where to be old meant that you had a high probability of being poor, to a situation now, even though it may be at risk, it may be over, where if you are old, you could actually count on some income. Thank goodness we have Social Security.

  • PBS: Bill Moyers Journal: Synopsis: Bill Moyers sits down with United Steelworkers' International President Leo Gerard to discuss seeking economic justice for workers in the middle of an economic crisis and how he sees the future of American manufacturing. Gerard shares his thoughts on how unions will fare under the Obama administration, what kind of stimulus might be needed and what the future of American industry might look like.
  • CNN/Money: MSU Named Home to IBM Global Delivery Center. IBM Supports Creation of State Technology Corridor. Excerpt: Governor Jennifer M. Granholm, on behalf of the state of Michigan, and IBM, in close partnership with Michigan State University (MSU), today announced the creation of a global delivery center for application services to be located on the MSU campus in East Lansing. The global delivery center will be the first of its kind in the U.S. for IBM. The center will provide innovative application development and support services to modernize older and less efficient IT systems for state and local government agencies and universities. Additionally, IBM will accommodate work from telecommunications, health care and other U.S.-based clients in the center with a focus on modernizing IT applications through process excellence, tooling automation, and asset re-use.
  • CNN/Money: IBM to create up to 1,300 jobs in Dubuque facility. Excerpt: IBM, the world's largest technology services company, plans to open a new computer support center in Iowa, creating up to 1,300 new jobs and defying a trend of widespread corporate layoffs. The Dubuque facility in a 10-story office building once occupied by now-defunct retailer Roshek's Department Store, will create jobs for high-tech workers at a time when many technology companies are cutting staff.
  • IT Business Edge: IBM to Add Jobs in Iowa, Michigan. By Kara Reeder. Excerpts: Iowa has gone to great lengths to attract IBM. The state offered “a $55 million package,” which includes an $11.7 million loan. IBM will get $10 million from local community colleges for job training expenses for its employees. Moreover, the city is giving Big Blue a “very low lease rate,” tax credits and a 20-year tax abatement.
  • CNET News: HP focuses on patent quality, IBM on quantity. By Matt Asay. Excerpts: Microsoft may get a lot of grief for its patent strategy, but IBM carries the biggest patent portfolio by far. In fact, Big Blue has acquired more patents than any other company on the planet for the last 16 years running. This is particularly interesting when you discover, as The Wall Street Journal recently did, that Hewlett-Packard, one of IBM's fiercest competitors, is actually slowing its patent applications. In HP's words, its emphasis now is on patent quality, not quantity:

    HP was once trying to compete with IBM as the most prolific patent producer...But after Chief Executive Mark Hurd arrived at HP in 2005, the Palo Alto, Calif., company spent less time and money filing new patents as the CEO strove to make HP more efficient, said Kevin Light, a deputy general counsel and vice president for intellectual property at HP. ...

    This strategy is a far cry from IBM's position, which has been to seek a wide array of patents on just about everything, some of which have been downright silly, like its patent on, wait for it, patent trolling. Or how about the patent on offshoring?

  • Channel Register: Indian police raid PWC in Satyam probe. Blamestorming begins over $1bn accounts hole. By John Oates. Excerpt: Police raided PricewaterhouseCooper's offices in Hyderabad today in connection with the ongoing investigation into the alleged billion dollar fraud at outsourcer Satyam. PWC audited Satyam's accounts and was apparently unaware of the large holes they contained. The firm's chairman admitted last week to cooking the books over the course of several years. He wrote to directors and confessed to inflating profits and claiming non-existent assets and cash reserves.
  • US News & World Report: 5 Ways to Protect Your 401(k) if You're Laid Off. How to keep your nest egg intact even if your company goes under. By Emily Brandon. Excerpt: Unexpected job loss can derail retirement plans in an instant. American employers shed 524,000 jobs in December, and 31 percent of employed adults ages 45 and up think it's likely that their job will be eliminated this year, according to a recent AARP survey. The good news is that if you do get laid off, you can still keep your retirement plan intact. Here's how to handle your 401(k) if you lose your job or your company goes under.
  • Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.): Take Action. Equal pay for equal work. Excerpt: American women still earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. In the year 2009, that's downright shameful. That's why I am joining several of my colleagues in the Senate to introduce the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act of 2009, to protect women from discrimination in the workplace. But this common-sense legislation faces considerable opposition from some of my colleagues -- and a likely filibuster attempt -- so I urgently need your help to ensure it passes when it comes before the Senate on Thursday. Please stand up for the principle of "equal pay for equal work" by forwarding this message to your Senators, urging them to support the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009!
  • Pension Pulse: Pension Pandemic, Part 1. Excerpts: I was chatting with a buddy of mine this afternoon about yesterday's comment on Turkey's pension funds returning 32% in 2008 because of their large allocations to high quality government bonds. We chatted about where most pension funds are now going to find the yields to make up for those huge losses they suffered in 2008. Hedge funds? No. Private equity? No way. Real estate? Hell no! Even long bonds are yielding next to nothing and they will not produce the stellar returns achieved in 2009.

    So where are pension funds going to go to make money? I have some ideas, which I will discuss tomorrow, but it's worth mentioning what another successful trader told me tonight: "Pension fund managers have an asymmetric payoff. If they lose billions, they get fired, get a huge package, polish up their c.v. and get hired by some other pension fund. If they make billions, they get a huge bonus and they are treated like gods. Their incentives are skewed to take huge risks and not to protect against downside risks."

    This trader is smart and he eats what he kills. He knows what it means to have "skin in the game" because if he is not making money, he's in big trouble. It's the risk of ruin that keeps him on his toes, always thinking about how he can protect the downside risk before he enters a position.

    But pension funds got sloppy in the last six years and 2008 was a huge wake-up call that reminds them to always worry about systemic risk and to stop blindly throwing billions into the latest "product" that investment banking sharks or brain dead pension consultants are peddling and packaging to them.

  • National Public Radio's Day-to-Day: Why Pension Funds May Be The Next To Collapse. 2008 brought us the collapse of the housing market, the implosion of the stock market and the near collapse of the auto industry. Could 2009 bring us more of the same? Alex Cohen talks to reporter Jon Entine about why he thinks pension funds are the next domino to fall.
  • CNN/Money: Sichuan Changhong Electric: IBM Buys 1.56% Stake In Company.
  • Syracuse Post-Herald: Life In The Plume: IBM's Pollution Haunts a Village. By Janet Gramza. Excerpts: On Jim Randall's old house, it's tucked behind the chimney so you can't see it from the street. The First United Methodist Church of Endicott has six, all painted a muddy brown so they blend with the brick exterior. But most aren't camouflaged, and once you notice them, you see them all over the village of Endicott: big, white boxes attached to the sides of homes and businesses with white plastic PVC pipes running up walls and rising above rooftops -- 500 white flags marking Endicott's identity as the toxic vapor capital of New York.

    The devices are custom-made vacuum pumps that suck harmful gases from the ground beneath the buildings and send them into the air, where they are to disperse without a trace. They are there to protect the homes and offices of about 2,400 people who live and work in what's become known as The Plume. ...

    The contamination of Endicott and the cleanup effort by its main polluter, IBM Corp., have established the village as one of the largest known examples of vapor intrusion, a phenomenon in which volatile chemicals creep from far underground into the air of buildings above. "VI," as the scientists call it, is still such a new discovery that its long-term effects are unknown. Endicott has seen a rise in some cancer cases. Those may or may not be linked to The Plume, but have cast an unmistakable shadow on this village. ...

    But for much of its history, Big Blue routinely polluted its birthplace. Tons of industrial solvents used to clean computer parts were dumped down drains or leached from leaky pipes into the ground for years before environmental rules required that such "spills" be reported. In 2002, scientists discovered the ground was exacting its revenge: The large underground chemical plume was releasing gases into homes and offices in a 350-acre swath south of the plant. The main chemical was a liquid cleaning agent called trichloroethylene, or TCE, that has been linked to cancer and other illnesses.

News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
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  • New York Times: Big Health Insurer Agrees to Update Its Fee Data. By Danny Hakim and Reed Abelson. Excerpts: In a settlement with one of the nation’s biggest insurers, New York’s attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo, has ordered an overhaul of the databases the industry uses to determine how much of a medical bill is paid when a patient uses an out-of-network doctor. A statement from Mr. Cuomo’s office said the industry had engaged in “a scheme to defraud consumers” by systematically underpaying the nation’s patients by hundreds of millions of dollars over the last decade.

    The move, to be announced Tuesday, is part of a settlement with the insurance giant UnitedHealth Group, which operates the industry databases. It results from a yearlong investigation by Mr. Cuomo’s office that concluded the data had understated the true market rates of medical care by up to 28 percent. The settlement will have a nationwide impact because UnitedHealth, the biggest health insurer in New York, operates the databases used by the entire industry, through its Ingenix business unit. The deal calls for creation of a new independent database, to be run by a university that is still to be selected. ...

    In an interview Monday, Mr. Cuomo said: “For years this database was treated as credible and authoritative, and consumers were left to accept its rates without question. This is like pulling back the curtain on the wizard of Oz. We have now shown that for years consumers were consistently low-balled to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.”

  • MS-NBC, courtesy of Physicians for a National Health Program: Health insurer accused of overcharging millions. By Melissa Dahl, Jeff Rossen and Robert Powell. Excerpts: Sixty-four-year-old Mary Jerome of Yonkers, N.Y., is one of those who complained to the attorney general. When Jerome was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in 2006, she chose to go to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, an out-of-network hospital under her insurer, Oxford, reported NBC News correspondent Jeff Rossen for the TODAY show.

    The insurance company determined via Ingenix that many procedures Jerome needed — including chemotherapy medications — were not considered “usual, customary or reasonable.” After three surgeries and treatment for an embolism, Jerome was left owing $46,000.

    Weakened from cancer and frightened over her finances, Jerome was fighting a battle on two fronts. She remembers “the devastation it gives to a patient who is at the worst time in their life. They’re trying to fight one battle, and then they have to fight a second battle when they have nothing — physically, spiritually, emotionally — left to fight with.”

    But Jerome’s daughter, Eva, who is a Manhattan lawyer, encouraged her mother to appeal to the state’s attorney general. Jerome’s complaint was one of hundreds from angry customers, which prompted Cuomo to launch an investigation of the insurer.

    “This is huge. This problem went across the country,” Nancy Nielsen, president of the American Medical Association, told the TODAY show. “It’s industry-wide, throughout insurers. So, it touched every state. Many doctors. Many millions of patients, and this has been going on for years.” ...

    In a statement, UnitedHealth Group told TODAY: “We respectfully disagree with the New York Attorney General’s findings that we manipulated data … (or that our ownership of Ingenix was a conflict of interest.) We agreed to his settlement because it was an effective way to address any perceived conflict of interest.” Cuomo says he’s now looking into other health insurance companies for the exact thing. So, there may be millions more on the line here, as well. In addition, some patients plan to bring a class action lawsuit against UnitedHealth Group.

  • New York Times: Not So Reasonable and Customary. Excerpts: Typically, when patients use non-network doctors, their insurance company agrees to pay 70 percent to 80 percent of the “reasonable and customary” charges for a given medical service in the same geographic area. If the doctor’s bill is higher than that rate, the patient must make up the difference or the doctor must settle for less.

    The rub comes in defining what is reasonable and customary.

    That calculation for most of the industry is made by a company called Ingenix, which conveniently is owned by UnitedHealth. The whole system is rendered suspect by an obvious conflict of interest: If Ingenix pegs the customary rates low, it keeps insurance reimbursements low and shifts more of the cost to the patient.

    Investigators for Mr. Cuomo contend that UnitedHealth and Ingenix have been manipulating the data through a variety of stratagems to keep the customary rate calculation low — and the insurance payments low.

  • Consumer Watch Dog: Follow the (insurance lobby's) money. By Judy Dugan. Excerpts: In the race to influence health care reform, the insurance industry and major corporations just made a big score in the toy department. RAND Corp. today announced a new online "analytic tool" of health reform proposals for "policymakers and interested parties." It leans hard toward having individuals pay for their own private insurance. It and completely omits a true public insurance choice like opening Medicare to all, much less any kind of single-payer plan. It's all free-market, all the time. Here's why--the list of the project's funders:
    To date, funders include the following: AARP; Abraxis BioScience, Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, Founder, Chairman, and CEO; Aetna Foundation; Alcoa; Amgen Foundation; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts; California HealthCare Foundation; The Funari Family Foundation; General Motors Foundation; Johnson & Johnson; Karen Katen; Charles N. Martin Jr., The Martin Foundation; Pacific Business Group on Health; Pfizer; RAND Corporate Endowment; RAND Health Board (designated gifts from individual members); Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; John J. Rydzewski; Leonard D. Schaeffer; The Suzanne Nora Johnson and David G. Johnson Foundation; United Health Foundation; and Wellpoint Foundation.

    That's four major health insurance companies and four pharmaceutical companies, other medical industry-allied foundations, including the Blue Cross-funded California Health Care Foundation, and GM. No wonder the "tool" is such an elegant, well-built toy--lots of informational popups, colored interactive boxes and decisions made in advance about what works and what doesn't.

    In the "analysis tool" above (here's a link to the actual page), the health-care payment option with the most pluses (in RAND's opinion) is "individual mandate," in which individuals must prove they've bought health insurance, or face tax penalties. That turns government into a customer-delivery system for insurance and drug companies, while lightening the burden on employers.

News and Opinion Concerning the U.S. Financial Crisis
Minimize "It is a restatement of laissez-faire-let things take their natural course without government interference. If people manage to become prosperous, good. If they starve, or have no place to live, or no money to pay medical bills, they have only themselves to blame; it is not the responsibility of society. We mustn't make people dependent on government- it is bad for them, the argument goes. Better hunger than dependency, better sickness than dependency."

"But dependency on government has never been bad for the rich. The pretense of the laissez-faire people is that only the poor are dependent on government, while the rich take care of themselves. This argument manages to ignore all of modern history, which shows a consistent record of laissez-faire for the poor, but enormous government intervention for the rich." From Economic Justice: The American Class System, from the book Declarations of Independence by Howard Zinn.

  • ABC News: Bailout Czar's Secret? Copy. Paste. Repeat. Much of Treasury Report On Bailout Billions Borrowed From Previous Documents, Committee Says. By Justin Rood. Excerpts: Cut-and-pasted reports were once the domain of high school cheats cutting corners on their term papers. Now it's apparently being done by senior government officials tasked with saving the country from another Great Depression. Rather than write original answers to questions posed in December by a congressional oversight panel, U.S. Treasury officials appear to have creatively repurposed old testimony and even Web site copy into a 13-page report that left some questions entirely unanswered, the panel said in a new report Friday. ...

    The committee sounded alarmed that no one knew what had happened to the millions or even billions in taxpayer bailout funds given to financial institutions. "The Panel still does not know what the banks are doing with taxpayer money," it wrote. "For Treasury to advance funds to these institutions without requiring more transparency further erodes the very confidence Treasury seeks to restore."

  • MSN/Money: Cost of the Bush era: $11.5 trillion The outgoing administration has presided over 8 years of disasters and crises with some of the biggest price tags the nation has ever seen. By John Dyer. Excerpts: Where has all the money gone? Here are five areas where Bush has approved massive outlays of taxpayer money. ...
    • Wall Street bailouts: $6 trillion...
    • Iraq and Afghanistan: $3 trillion...
    • Tax cuts and deficit spending: $2 trillion...
    • Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: $270 billion...
    • 9/11: $260 billion
New on the Alliance@IBM Site
Minimize
  • Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comment 1/10/09: To GTS employee. No matter how old your laptop is, IBM will want it back and so you will be asked to return your badge, your corporate charge card and your laptop. Ask them for a prepaid FEDEX or DHL number for you to use when you return the laptop. To being laid off. PBC ratings are a joke and have been for years. The first round of layoffs is always to get the "3"'s out and so they have to make someone a 3, regardless of whether it is deserving or not...it's what they are told to do. Managers have no say anymore, it all comes from the bean counters at the top. -goneandhappy-
    • Comment 1/10/09: I also hear the next big date is 1/23 and the cuts will be 'deep and wide'. I work in SW sales and was given a 'heads up' to start looking. I have to admit I'm not surprised as the Q4 pipeline was a pipe dream. However IBM was touting it as the healthiest pipeline (dream) in its history. We sales reps were pressured to put crap in the pipe to avoid cadence discussions with management. I think this coupled with the poor economy makes it worse. -Anon-
    • Comment 1/10/09: To those thinking of age discrimination lawsuits, I think it would be a waste of time to pursue that course unless you have concrete evidence. In my experience they are careful to do job cuts to avoid discrimination suits: they either go by departments i.e., an entire department is axed or by performance. In recent days I have seen a number of people being moved from one dept to another in preparation. For the person who asked about severance, I think in general it is 4 weeks + 2 weeks per year served (max 26 weeks). But this may vary from one department to another and may also be negotiable. -Brubaker-
    • Comment 1/10/09: My PBC rating for 2006 was 3. I am currently waiting to have my PBC review for last year. By all accounts my 'performance' has been better this year. My original meeting was scheduled for this week but was pushed back to after 4th quarter results are released. Interesting. I am stashing a XEROX box at my desk just in case. Moral in our office (Mostly IT professionals for GBS/AS) has taken a sh%$ kicking for the past couple of years so this is just adding to that. We all know the PBC rating process is bull. I know as I have lived through the humiliation of being rated a 3 thanks to some backstabbing team members. I have also heard that some IBM.com sales jobs have already been cut in the .com office here. Bring it…my box is ready to pack. -3 in Atlantic Canada-
    • Comment 1/10/09: FYI the ranking lists were done and negotiated in Nov. You are either above or below the cut line. You don't have the ability to negotiate your position. -retired-
    • Comment 1/10/09: I was a mobile employee. My manager lied to me as he set up a meeting with me to discuss my "career development." It was a shock to learn I was RA'd as I had just received 25% bonus and 2+ PBC. I had left my laptop at home. When I arrived he asked for it and all my access cards, corporate credit cards. When I got home, all access had been cut off so I couldn't even email my friends to say goodbye. I deleted all the info off the laptop and took it back to one of the offices. -Anon-
    • Comment 1/10/09: -Glad I'm Outta there- I was RA'd in July 08 and over 55 years old. The majority of the peopled RA'd were in the same age group as yours. My attorney after reviewing the paperwork said that IBM made sure that they had people in all age brackets (young to old) so we could not go after them in an age discrimination suit. An interesting side note to all - IBM’s general counsel Robert Weber is the attorney that helped Art Modell move the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore so if you think IBM is going to show you any compassion, loyalty or fairness think again just look what Weber did to a whole city- for a buck !!!!!! -Golfer4IBM-
    • Comment 1/11/09: Just to report job cuts: 1. Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada 2. Number of job cuts: Approximately 30 persons (5 network, 25 Strategic Outsourcing) 3. Names of division: ITD (network) and SO -Canada-
    • Comment 1/11/09: Just a comment: To all those folks being told that if you do not accept the IBM specified terms and conditions of your new assignment / transfer you have "voluntarily resigned" don't believe it, and don't put anything that could be construed as a resignation in writing or even speak it. Keep collecting your paycheck until your manager says you are terminated. If no severance is being offered anyway you have no incentive to "resign". If you were to resign, it might have negative implications to your unemployment benefits, potential tax benefits from our new president, and etc.... Make IBM take action against you if that is what IBM wants... do NOT make it easy on them by "voluntarily resigning"... what a load of crap. --
    • Comment 1/11/09: I have been a WAH employee for the last 3 yrs. IBM reclassified me to non-exempt along with the 15% reduction in pay last Feb. Now they are saying that my job is moving to Boulder GDF/GDC and that I will have a 100 mile a day commute to add to that 15% reduction. Clearly gonna be another 7-10% reduction due to commute costs.

      I am 58 years old and it seems that IBM is doing everything they can to force me out. I know for a fact when this GDF/GDC starts up on Jan 19th, that we will have System Administrators that somehow remain exempt mixed with System Administrators that were reclassified to non-exempt. I am waiting to see if there is a re-classification when this happens so that all the SA's are either non-exempt and had the same 15% reduction in base pay that was given to so many of us, or (HAH!) all the SA's in GDF/GDC will be reclassified to exempt and those that unfairly were forced to take the reduction have the 15% cut re-instated. Not Likely.

      So once I know that there will be this issue is not being handled as stated above, I plan on filing a discrimination suit against them. IBM can not throw all of us back into a pool and have some SA's exempt and others non-exempt. I have already started looking for a law firm that is interested in taking IBM to task again over unfair labor practices. People have had enough from the continued screwing IBM delves out. All those that feel the same, should investigate any and all means to stop this unfair labor practice. Sign me Mad as Hell - And I'm Not Gonna Take This Anymore Lying Down! -Screwed Again-

    • Comment 1/11/09: That doesn't seem right. IBM Management is low, but not that low to blatantly lie, at least not any of the 1st line management I've seen. I could easily believe it. Have heard similar 2nd-hand anecdotes from people I trust. People who are honest and care about their employees don't seem to survive long as managers here. The key to managerial success and longevity seems to be a real devious, aggressive SOB. Worst management I've seen in many years and different employers. -irRational-
    • Comment 1/11/09: Notice how its very hard to get anything but a 2 in a pbc rating anymore...even when you go above and beyond the call? and now with the "relative contribution" wording means they can compare your work to someone in another division in another country and say...ohhh well sorry you didn't perform as well that that person did...what a load of crap this company slings! but notice how Management is always smiles? -BigMonkey-
    • Comment 1/12/09: A personal friend, who happens to be a 3rd-line manager, has confirmed to me that layoffs will happen after the earnings are announced. His own area is hit pretty hard, and he has to cut folks that do "excellent work" (his words). Brace yourself, bean counters rule at IBM now... -Anonymous-
    • Comment 1/12/09: For those who don't know Sam P did an interview on Sunday with CNN and flat out said IBM is NOT a U.S. company but a global company and hiring people over seas is NOT outsourcing because it IS a global company so it's just normal hiring. Go watch it yourself. Funny how he does his first interview ever and states that. -Whatever-
    • Comment 1/12/09: I work for GBS Application Services (Div 6C) and everything is quiet which means bad news is coming. My project is just about done and we haven't gotten any information on the next phase. -EverythingIsQuiet-
    • Comment 1/12/09: Just was told was sold as part of the sale of the Global Logistics division. Was also told that all the folks leaving will have appraisals no higher than a 2, just under the mark for variable pay. Work nights, weekends and everything they want and they just throw you out the door and can’t even give you a fair appraisal. Glad I’m going and hope the IBM Execs rot in H___ -Sold-
    • Comment 1/12/09: I was told I will get a "3" PBC rating this year and should start looking for a job right away. My manager conceded that the ratings are completely artificial and are done so management has an excuse to lay folks off. So if you get a "3" in this rating cycle, you know that you're a "dead man walking." -Anonymous-
    • Comment 1/12/09: IBM spent years building a reputation as the premiere company to work for. They had the best pay, benefits and a reputation for treating their employees like family. Their pension was among the best in the world. This served the company well as attracted the best employees in the world and in turn built one of the best companies in the world. They had a no layoff policy. They took the long view and weathered the bad times with eyes to the future.

      Unfortunately the company has fallen into a short sighted, boost the immediate stock price kind of company. Watson would have never even considered any kind of layoffs while the company simultaneously was making billions in profits. Things began to change in the 80's when company pay and benefits began to mirror every other company. Layoffs began to mirror every other company. Companies with average benefits and no pensions attract average employees with no loyalty. This of course leads to an average company.

      It's a shame that such a beautiful and special company has squandered it's long built up reputation for short term bottom line gain. Unfortunately the word is now out. IBM is not the best place to work anymore and employees no longer have pride in the company they work for. No amount of 30 second commercials proclaiming "I'm an IBMer" will ever resurrect their reputation now. The horse is out of the barn. A great company has become average and no different than any other. There is no one to blame but those in upper management.

      No doubt the layoff will be timed to coincide with the Presidential Inauguration to try and bury it on the back page and reduce the bad public relations. These are the decisions that justify a mammoth bonus for a few lucky executives. Signed-Sad ex-ibmer who was once proud to wear an IBM badge. -Anonymous-

    • Comment 1/13/09: Not sure if this note will make it public, but I'm writing it anyway. I worked in the IT field for almost 40 years, never belonged to a union, never had to. I retired from IBM and was approached throughout my career by your union and ignored all the invitations. IBM has treated me fair when I was an active employee and fair as a retiree. I held various jobs outside of IBM and when a union attempted to unionize the employees, I always voted it down. Justified or not, I feel that unions are not needed for the professional sector. -art-
    • Comment 1/13/09: To -Anon- my belly aches with laughter every time I see the new "I'm an IBM'er" commercial....they should be saying "I was an IBM'er". Wonder how many of those commercial folks will be left after the layoff hmmmm..... -Gone and Forgotten-
    • Comment 1/13/09: All hands meeting canceled on Friday, and team meeting canceled today. I am guessing all meetings will be off until >19th -no more meetings-
    • Comment 1/13/09: Excellent Points Kabukimono. IBM was once the only game in town. They had thousands of applicants to choose from. They used to tell us that there were ten people lined up outside that wanted your job. To get into IBM was a secure job for life with a pension and benefits to envy all. Lifetime medical benefits (broken promise). Management treated the company as a whole family, not the sum of their parts. They knew back then that the whole was greater than the sum of the parts. Now if a division isn't pulling it's weight, it's tossed out like yesterdays trash. Chop the low hanging fruit. Google is now what IBM used to be. College grads are clamoring to get into Google. IBM: Not so much. -Sad ex-ibmer-
    • Comment 1/13/09: Anonymous wrote: "If you look at US, China and India, you would realize that the Americans in general would have to work harder and get paid less, because Chinese and Indians are working much harder with smaller salaries." This bogus argument that the corporate world uses over and over again drives me crazy. First off I don't know how you simply state that Indian software people work "harder" than American software professionals. This is a generalization that can be proven false if you look at actual comparisons of worker hours and productivity. Second, yes the Indian workers are paid less in dollars than the American workers are paid. HOWEVER, the Indian software worker pays much less for health care, housing, food, taxes, etc., etc. As an American software worker I'll be happy to be paid the same amount as an Indian or Chinese worker as long as our CEO is paid the same compensation as the Indian CEO, my doctor charges the same as an Indian doctor, my car mechanic charges the same as an Indian mechanic, my grocer gets the same amount of money for a loaf of bread as the Indian grocer, etc. etc. -married_to_ibm_but_Im_packing_my_bags-
    • Comment 1/13/09: Referencing a quote below: "If you look at US, China and India, you would realize that the Americans in general would have to work harder and get paid less, because Chinese and Indians are working much harder with smaller salaries" What people (sam included) fail to realize is that this is not apples/apples. We do not have bombs going off in America. We do not publicly crap in the streets in America. We are much more secure in America. We have a base infrastructure that is the envy of the world. This all comes at a cost. If we do attempt to "salary" compete against India and China, prepare yourself to live in a country akin to the their's. We DO NOT need to compete, American employers need to realize the deal they are getting, inclusive of the tax breaks they receive in this country. -sickenedBySam-
    • Comment 1/14/09: I´m sorry guys but IBM will cut Jobs in USA to move to the cheap countries, I´m working in 1 of those countries (ARGENTINA) and here IBM is hiring and hiring and hiring, when I joined the company (almost 3 years ago) we were 800 workers and at the end of 2008 we were over 3000 only for GDC and IBM keep on asking for new hirings, so the crisis is only an excuse to move the jobs offshore -yo el che-
    • Comment 1/15/09: To "Was Blue:" IBM uses all available means to deflect attention from its misdeeds. Standard PR tactics that include 1) timing positive press (hirings or financial results, for example) just before negative (job losses), 2) having layoffs coincide with national news (inauguration), 3) spreading the bad news over time and location (contractor / supplemental layoffs first), 4) implying that layoffs were "rebalancing" or motivated by workload or job performance. It's also about what's *not* said: No mention about the possibility of relocating employees vs. dumping them on the street. They get more positive PR from the article on hirings in the Midwest. -Think-
    • Comment 1/15/09: The last card has fallen into place for the layoffs. The jobs database has been locked down to prevent transfers into new jobs. Apply for a job now, and within 72 hours you will receive a notification that 'you have not been selected for this position'. What this really means is you're dun-4. -dun-4-
    • Comment 1/15/09: IBM might be creating jobs in Dubuque, but they certainly are getting their monies worth from taxpayers. $55 Million package from the State and Dubuque; local community colleges to PAY IBM $10 million for training; tax credits and a very low lease on the building. -IBM scams Iowa-
    • Comment 1/15/09: The Iowa location will be the new (third) GDF site. Iowa was specifically chosen because it is expected that salaries there will be ultra-low. The next wave of GDF transfers will be sent to the Iowa location once it's up and running toward the end of the year... It's another of the "Your job has moved to the GDF; if you show up in Iowa on Monday with no M&L, you may keep your job." Assuming you don't want to move to Iowa, you will be replaced by an American (yay! American!) worker in Iowa who will presumably be willing to work for much less than your salary. Welcome to the new IBM Global Services. -Intheknow-
    • Comment 1/15/09: Mgrs in RTP have been having meetings with their staff telling them that the dept. budgets and projects have been slashed or cancelled for 2009. This leaves entire groups without work. They're sitting twiddling their thumbs now waiting for word on what will happen. They were told nothing except their projects are going away. -it's happening-
    • Comment 1/15/09: Dubuque, Iowa is right in the middle of nothin' - how strategic is that! Those 1,300 "new" jobs for Iowa will mean 1,300 layoffs for other states. Just re-arranging the furniture, folks. It would be interesting to compare its Cost of Living with, say, White Plains. -John Boy-
    • Comment 1/15/09: We're getting people telling us that groups in RTP are being notified of their layoff status today. People associated with the "P Series" are affected. Other groups are being told the funding to their departments is being cut-off, and that they will know status of the next steps within the next week. -tai mai shue-
    • Comment 1/15/09: To Gone in 96 It is true, 1300 jobs in Dubuque. I've even seen IBM external job postings come through just this morning for jobs relating to this GDF. It's been standard practice for IBM to add jobs during RA phases. Makes no sense to me, but I'm not a highly paid executive with lucrative stock options either. -waiting_for_the_axe-
    • Comment 1/15/09: The IBM internal account delivery organization jobs, those based in US and Canada, are definitely heading for the chopping block. Technical services jobs will be outsourced to Brazil and India. Delivery management or supervisory positions will go away completely. Regarding comments on PBCs, we all know the scores are totally meaningless. 3 is now a 4. And, top secret, a 2+ is the new 2 but even a 2+ won't keep you safe. I never met a "1", have you? -Justly Anxious-
    • Comment 1/16/09: "Do you guys know which divisions this is happening in? Is it isolated to a division, or is it all over IBM? I'm in GBS - IGA (POK) and everything appears "normal" to me ... so far. thanks -Sarah-".... Sarah; I'm an IBMer in SWG (sales). I was recently in a meeting with other IBMers (we all flew in from all over). Everyone had a comment about the pending resource action due next week. We all made comments like "if I still have a job, I'll do this or that". My 2nd line manager called me back in December and told me to start looking because my name was on the list. He said 50% of the work force was being let go (I'm sure he meant within our dept). But in talking with other IBMers, the rumor is the cut will be 'deep and wide'. Good luck to us all! -Anon-
    • Comment 1/16/09: I am an IBM SSO employee who has been working from home for the last six years. It has been a great employee moral boost to be able to be home when my children come home from school. I also tend to work longer hours on nights and weekends. I do not need a wardrobe of expensive professional work clothes and I save on gasoline cost and car wear and tear. The sad news is that IBM is changing its work-from-home strategy.

      During the course of 2009, various “waves” of the technical support group (SSO) will be required to report to one of three locations in the U.S. (Boulder, Fishkill and a 3rd undisclosed location). Employees will be required to drive in to an office to work. Those who currently do not live near one of those three locations will be required to move. Moving expenses will not be covered. If you do not move, you will loose your job.

      There are approximately 8,000 technical employees (SSO). Approximately 75-80% telecommutes. I cannot fathom what the management at IBM is thinking. With global warming and the effort to reduce greenhouse gases, having 6,000 more people commuting is unconscionable. I hope that publicizing this will cause IBM management to step back and see that this move makes no business or environmental sense. Not to add that employee moral is in the basement. -work at home-

    • Comment 1/16/09: I received an email from my manager last night--IF I am interested in moving to the Dubuque GDF, we need to let her know by Monday. I am in the Denver area, and can commute to the Boulder GDF--that has not been "offered" at this point. -BoulderBlu-
    • Comment 1/16/09: I am an employee of IBM as a result of an outsourcing agreement dating back to 2005 with ABN AMRO. When we were courted to join IBM, during various HR partnering meetings held with both ABN AMRO and IBM HR representatives present, we were told that our service with ABN AMRO would be honored when we joined IBM. During those sessions, specific questions were asked regarding severance in the event IBM determined staff cuts necessary. We were told (on more than one occasion) that combined service would be recognized. After the sale of ABN AMRO/LaSalle Bank, an “all hands meeting” was held and suddenly that service bridge we had been promised, had expired.... something we were NEVER told prior to accepting employment with IBM. I'm wondering if any other inquiries have been made regarding this issue and if so, what can be done to right this horrible wrong. I appreciate and anxiously await your response. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 1/16/09: to BoulderBlu: I understand your frustration. The idea of having to go to 1 of 3 sites they way some people are stating as that "you" can go to 1 of 3 sites and you choose which one is a misnomer, the your job junction is selected for either Fishkill, Boulder or iowa, and you are told go to that site or you don't have a job, one of my co-workers in Boulder is in a similar boat as you, was told to report to Fishkill -sickofthisbs-
    • Comment 1/16/09: Our team just had a mandatory meeting today and discussed the GDF in Dubuque, IA. They are asking for volunteers to help stand-up the GDF and indicated that folks will need to re-apply for jobs and if hired will be receiving pay rates consistent with local rates (read: major pay cuts). It was made pretty clear that folks who did not elect to move to IA would probably be looking for jobs. Clearly GDF is the new standard for SSO ... days of working from home will soon be gone, as will decent pay rates. -NoGDFforme-
    • Comment 1/16/09: Today I also received the email from a manager regarding whether I would be willing to move permanently to Dubuque, or to travel and assist with "training and transition". There was no explanation of the work, incentives, motives, or any real information -- just the need to respond by 1/19. There are many IBM employees who are unaware of the talk of layoffs as well as the talk of other potential changes on the horizon. -SickOfItAll-
    • Comment 1/16/09: I am utterly dumbfounded by the information (or lack of same) from the Iowa GDF required meetings. If I have this right: they would like you to sign up to move to west mumblefart in the middle of winter to help set up this GDF where your team may or may not end up being seated to do some kind of work they aren't identifying to live somewhere they haven't figured out and when you're 'done' helping with the set up, your usual job may or may not still be available to you when you go home. If you want to actually stay, they will most likely replace you with someone cheaper as they have stated a preference for local labor. Are they serious???????? -Dumbfounded-
    • Comment 1/17/09: Jobs database for band 8-9 sw related showing a TOTAL of 4 positions nationwide. This is of biblical proportions. This NEVER happens. September RTP alone was 80-100 jobs. Layoff definitely coming. Zero chance to move around. -anon-
    • Comment 1/17/09: 1/27 Notification Date Confirmed -first line-
    • Comment 1/17/09: For those who are not yet aware, Tulsa will be hit extremely hard in this round of layoffs. BTW, this is a "round" of layoffs--just because this one is 15-16K doesn't mean the US firings will stop. From what I gather in all the manager's meetings I participate in, Tulsa will continue to be hard hit for some time. -Shannon C.-
    • Comment 1/17/09: To all being "forced" to Dubuque or other potentially undesirable locations: google the term "constructive discharge" -Think- Alliance Reply: This was one of the first links that appeared in Google: It's a good definition ... http://jobsearchtech.about.com/od/federal_labor_law/a/constructive_2.htm
    • Comment 1/17/09: As the IBM layoffs unfold next week think about this. Sammy hopes the IBM layoff news will be on the back page of the newspaper due to the Inauguration. Let's hope Barack Obama will kick some sense into greedy American CEO's like Sammy. Sammy is a greedy S.O.B. just out to inflate his bank account at the expense of all hard working Americans. Barack has been preaching change. Let's hope he changes the american way of screwing the hard working employee. Barack preaches hope. Lets hope he fixes things. I hope Barack kicks some sense into Sammy's fat head. -Obama man-
    • Comment 1/18/09: To anonymous from ABN AMRO -- Our company was acquired by IBM 2 years ago. We were told that our years of service at our old company would count toward years of service at IBM. But at the last RA, the people who were let go had severance counted from the time we were acquired. -cynic-
    • Comment 1/18/09: thanks for the post about constructive discharge--I think some employees will have access to remedies that others will not. For what it's worth, I think they can stop WAH arrangements whenever they want...we used to have to go into a data center back in the 90's, and I believe that is acceptable, legal for employer to do. In the situation where you are close to A data center, in my case Boulder, and you are willing to assume other job duties available there, IMHO, IBM definitely has a legal problem. I've already replied to manager in writing that I am ready and willing to report to that location, for my current job, or other position. Since they have offered no M&L to other locations, and you live by a designated GDF site, I think it will be difficult for them to force a move to say, Fishkill, NY, or resignation. That's constructive discharge. Situations like this, though they may be few, show the company is up to some shady business. Forced move from a GDF site, to another, with no M&L, just aren't going to cut it. -BoulderBlu-
    • Comment 1/18/09: I too was asked to move to Boulder GDC/GDF (on 12/01 - ten yr. anniver.) IBM wanted to know by 1/16/2009 in writing and be on site by 1/19/2009. I asked if IBM would put into writing explaining the move and what to expect. My manager said nothing would not be provided in writing it was a verbal notification only, but they want our answer in writing. Needless to say, I start work elsewhere 01/26/2009. I decided that some nameless, faceless pin-head accountant was going to guide my career. Instead of waiting for the inevitable I am moving on. One week left at IBM. I do think age has something to do with this action. -One-Week-Left-after-10yrs-
    • Comment 1/18/09: Everything is quiet. I got my rating last week. I never know what goes into it since I can\'t compare my performance with other people in my department since I work from home in GBS. Everything is a mystery. I think I am safe but I don\'t know what the hell is going behind the curtain. Management is extremely careful in the language they use for department meetings. Also, the one on one meetings are useless since managers are afraid of lawsuits. There were few people laid off late in October 2008 in my practice group (their last day was Dec 1). -Indifferent-
    • Comment 1/18/09: My group had a round table with one of our executives and he asked us to be honest. So we asked about raises, he got very upset, said if we could find another job somewhere else in this economy then go ahead. He told us we were chasing the dollar and that it was wrong to do so. I bet he gets a big fat bonus this year. He said a 1% or 2% raise was a slap in the face. Well WTF is 0%. IBM sucks ass. I cant wait to find another job! -given2fly-
    • Comment 1/19/09: I am anticipating that our entire GBS AS project will be offered a package on 1/27. I think some executive's bonus depends on getting some large quantity of US employees off of payroll by end of 1Q2009, so there's an acceleration of the plans that they already had to force us to train our GDC India replacements by EOY 2009. At this point, I feel there's no stopping this train. I just hope the package is good. I sincerely do not see a future at IBM for American IT professionals. So, if offered a package, I think it would be very risky not to take it. -ITFutureBleakInUSA-
    • Comment 1/19/09: Hi, I am at a IBM foreign site and my heart goes out to the USA IBM employer. I understand your plight and you are so right when you say its all about greed. Money is everything to IBM. I have been here 25 years and can vouch that I have seen a growth of greed for profit over this time. I am in service delivery and some of you have probably helped me over the past. I wish you all the very best ...... -Kevin-
    • Comment 1/19/09: IBM is a global company, however, it receives a significant amount of income and tax breaks from the US government and US companies. The issue is not jobs… the real issue is the brain drain that is occurring into countries with cost advantages like India and China. The US is loosing it leverage and technical leadership in the world which will ultimately put us all at risk. The real question is when will Washington respond to this risk. I believe it will never happen as long as corporate interest are considered more important than our nations interest. -Hame-
    • Comment 1/19/09: I was just knocked from a 2 to a 3. 52 years old, 30 years of service in a couple of months. Clearly, they are setting the table, but I did not fight it since I want to leave. No warnings about the appraisal drop during 2008. I look in the mirror and I know I am not doing the best I can, and know I did not perform to be a two plus, but the definition of a two in terms of doing your job effectively etc is what I accomplished last year. I wish IBM would just be up front with this stuff and tell us the truth. What would be so bad with just being honest with employees and saying on such and such date we are going to have resource action of x amount of employees to end all this ridiculous speculation. -seeya later-
    • Comment 1/19/09: I work in ITD in the UK. PBC ratings over here seem depressed as well, presumably there is a global initiative to make sure most people have a low enough rating to be "in scope" when the sackings start. -cynical_Brit-
    • Comment 1/19/09: I've been told I'm safe from the resource action. I was told SWG will be hit and STG even harder, 25% terminated in STG perhaps. I wish those terminated good luck and keep your head high, you WILL survive this. If only we'd all joined the union earlier perhaps we could have had an agreement in place to prevent this, or at least a voice in the process. Instead, Sammy took home $50+ million in 2008... -safe_union_member-
  • General Visitor's Comment page
    • Comment 1/13/09: Sam Palmisano is now positioning IBM as the company to lead the economic recovery of the United States with "intelligent" solutions. The irony of his comments make me want to wretch. The healthcare and power grids of the United States don't need to be engineered by a company like IBM which continues to use antiquated systems and outdated management philosophy. This is a sales pitch by a master salesman. God forbid that Congress falls for this load of shit. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123180687062275609.html?mod=googlenews_wsj -gadfly-
  • Pension Comments page
  • Raise and Salary Comments
    • Comment 01/11/09: Salary = 91k; Band Level = 8; Job Title = Senior I/T Architect; Years Service = 28; Hours/Week = 48; Div Name = IGS; Message = Wow, looking at the other band 8s on this board, looks like my salary is lower than most.-tai mai shue-
    • Comment 01/12/09: Salary = 65K; Band Level = 7; Job Title = Project Manager; Years Service = 5.5; Hours/Week = 40; Div Name = 7T; Location = Home; Message = Every year except for two years, only 3% raise. One year was promo, I got 6% the other year didn't get a raise. I am 2 and 2+ performer. Last year, I had a 2+ rating and only 1.7% raise. Manager told me the average raise in our department was only 1.3% raise and I should be happy about that. IBM has the lowest salary raise structure. If you want to make more money, go to another company then come back, if you still want to come back. -Hopeforthebest-
    • Comment 01/13/09: Salary = 58k; Band Level = 8; Job Title = Certified IT Specialist; Years Service = 4+; Hours/Week = 50; Div Name = SWG; Location = CEE; Message = It seems to me most of the people working @ IBM are in a sorry state, myself included. Worldwide! The usual raises are in the range of 3 - 4 percent, if that much. I am really sorry to hear that such significant cuts are being planned by IBM management and think that Sam Palmisano should go in order for the company to survive. His double digit growth target is hurting the company more than anything else. My country IBM organization had a stellar performance in 2008 exceeding the most optimistic revenue expectations that management had. Yet, we are cutting down expenses, get no raises - all decided at region level. I really hope something good will happen in the very near future, otherwise the outlook is bleak, to say the least. -CEE IBMer-
    • Comment 01/14/09: Salary = S$69K; Band Level = 6; Job Title = IT Specialist; Years Service = 3; Hours/Week = 40+; Location = Singapore; Message = Lots of bad news here it seems. Guess I'm just staying here due to the crisis... -riversandlakes-
    • Comment 01/15/09: Salary = $49K; Band Level = 6; Job Title = SSR; Years Service = 5.5; Hours/Week = 50-60; Div Name = SWG; Location = Federal; Message = Pay is not good. -Sales Rep-
    • Comment 01/16/09: Salary = 66,000 Band Level = 6 Job Title = Software Support Engineer Hours/Week = 65 ("officially" 40) Div Name = SWG Location = Massachusetts, USA Message = -Anonymous-
    • Comment 01/17/09: Salary = 69k (includes overtime); Band Level = 4; Job Title = SSR; Years Service = less than 20; Hours/Week = 45+; Location = Below the Mason-Dixon line; Message = Work and extra pay is where you find it. For SSR's, working a scheduled weekend is an instant raise with a day off during the week. Many of my coworkers are not willing to answer the phone at night or work weekend projects. I view it as a pay raise for working the same number of hours. A call out always means sleeping in the next day and getting paid for it. Adjusting family time to ensure that major activities are scheduled on days off takes only a minor amount of planning. As an SSR visiting customer accounts it is always easy to handle non-IBM related items during the work day. This company views me as simply a position not a person. We'll I have no problem making the position I hold with the company pay me extra money every year. -Volunteered for extra work-
  • PBC Comments
    • Comment 01/10/09: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 3; This Yr Bonus = 600; Prior Yr Bonus = 0; Message = Last year my manager promised me to give me a 2+ or again a 2 if my performance is on the same level. Ironically my performance is better than last year, but the pbc is sinking due to forced distribution. My manager said, they had to distribute 3 and so I was the designated one since I am a workstudent. I am very glad I leave IBM. This company is not meant for young motivated people. IBM always talks about performance oriented work etc. but is not willing to pay for good achievement. I am disappointed about this enterprise and I will never return again, no matter the salary or opportunity I get. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 01/10/09: Prior Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr PBC = NA; This Yr Bonus = NA; Prior Yr Bonus = low; Message = To -Tortured@IBM- Last year, I was told that I would not get any variable pay if I did not sign my PBC. The thing is, the signature only acknowledges that you had the discussion with your manager and read the results. You can state your disagreement in the comments section and still appeal the rating. If you feel that your rating is outrageously unfair, then you should appeal it by first talking to your 2nd line manager and so forth. If you then are not satisfied, you can file a formal appeal. There is a time limit for filing a formal appeal of ratings. -patriot-
    • Comment 01/12/09: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2; This Yr Bonus = ???; Prior Yr Bonus = 4000; Message = I got the same message I got last year from management. You met all of the goals but all we can give you is a 2. The message was you are lucky to have a job. IBM really knows how to treat its employees. I am not expecting a bonus this year just holding onto the job will be enough. Its sad. -SameOldStuff-
    • Comment 01/12/09: Prior Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr PBC = 2+; Message = In SWG as a software engineer. Just got my PBC rating for 2008. Have been getting a 2+ for several years now and just got another one. Was expecting something lower so that IBM could set me up for a RA in 2009. But mgr had very nice words to say about my work in 2008. I'm happy with my rating. -not_a_customer_facing_job-
    • Comment 01/13/09: 2+ PBC and 25% bonus - role in presales, bonus tied to deal wins by marketing -Anon-
    • Comment 01/16/09: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr Bonus = ?; Prior Yr Bonus = 2300; Message = changed organizations/job in 2008. new manager is cool, but 'warned' me that i'll have to do a lot more this year to maintain the 2+ rating. -anon-
    • Comment 01/16/09: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2+; Prior Yr Bonus = 2856; Message = My manager gave me my 2008 PBC review in December. I've been working very hard and got the 2+. Others I work with have not had reviews yet. Being that next weeks rumored RA who's knows if it will amount to anything performance bonus or even if I'll have a job. Here's to 8 years working very hard. -anon-
    • Comment 01/17/09: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2; This Yr Bonus = ?; Prior Yr Bonus = 1700; Message = All 2s for 10 year career except for one year, got a 3 even though I worked just as hard that year (this was "old system" 3). I am an exceptional performer in every other environment, but ibm has boxed me into their mold as a 2 performer. I can work my derriere off but it will make no difference. They've already decided I'm a 2 and no more. It's very discouraging. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 01/17/09: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2; Message = Been trying to get a 3 for many years (to get a package) but these numbskulls keep giving me 2/2+. I find the less I do, the better my rating and consistent raises. What's wrong with this picture? Software Engineer on Ice :>) -IBM/RTP Skateland-
    • Comment 1/18/09: Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 3; Message = was asked to assist in a different dept since late spring. did a good job, extra long hours. people happy. total surprise to be dropped to 3 with no warning or issues from the boss. i expect to be gone. hate that it ended this way. -so long ibm-
    • Comment 1/18/09: Prior Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr PBC = 2+; Message = Manager had our PBC's done before the holidays. Received my results via Notes, with no meeting yet. Never had that happen before. Ditto for my other Dept members. -gettin old after 25-
  • International Comments
    • Comment 01/10/09: Union Affiliate = none; Job Title = Service Technician; IBM Division = IBM Canada; Message = I was given this site by an IBM friend. I am a retiree since 1993 when I was forced into retirement. I jointed IBM in 1966 and was looking forward to my 2012 retirement. IBM was my life and was the greatest company in the world. It took care of me and I to the best of my ability returned the favour. Then in the 80's that changed. In a matter of a few years they turned 180 degrees and changed all the great things it stood for. The employee became something to hire and fire and lie to. In my case I went from a 2 performer all my life at IBM to a 4 performer in a matter of 3 months without an explanation and then I was retired. Four months of depression later I finally snapped out of it and it took many more years to realize it wasn't my fault but IBM's treachery. Good Luck in trying to force IBM to go back to its good old days. -Reinhard Schwarz-
    • Comment 01/11/09: Country = Czech republic; Union Affiliate = none; Job Title = IT specialist; IBM Division = IDC Brno; Message = Hello, I would like to draw attention of all IBMers to the Story described there: http://crazystory.baywords.com/ It is story about Fraud & its covering up, bad management and about end of career of one of perspective man in IBM. -Doktor-
    • Comment 01/19/09: Country = UK; Union Affiliate = No; Job Title = IT Specialist; IBM Division = GTS; Message = UK GTS management are informally informing some employees that voluntary separation packages may be on the way. -readytogo-
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. A few sample posts follow:

  • "IBM BCS Transfer USA to India???" by "Ora-e-biz". Full excerpt: Any inputs on getting a Transfer from USA IBM BCS to India IBM BCS (Band8) ???
  • "Probably a piece of cake" by "wonderaboutibm". Full excerpt: Since you will go from what our beloved mgmt thinks of as a low-growth to a high-growth market, and .. they will be able to cut your salary too. A real twofer.
  • "Why not go the whole hog" by "civilliberty". Full excerpt: Transfer to IBM India, accept the lower salary, join Satyam, obtain intellectual knowledge of core business systems, get retrenched, and when business finally wakes up to how incompetent this off-shoring exercise is and what they've lost through engaging in it, they might get you back into the US on an exorbitant salary. Sounds like a reasonable business model to me.
  • "Except" by " civilliberty". Full excerpt: That the smaller more nimble players in the consulting field can make a good profit, pay their staff well and win work because they offer a superior service in a leaner model. IBM has chosen the low cost option because it's easier for the mush-headed executives to manage and it doesn't require much management or engagement skill (they have some of the most inept management I have encountered anywhere in industry) and no conscience needs to be exercised - that's why the model you have identified exists within IBM and some other larger consultancies.
  • "Jan Layoff Rumor?" by "Blue_Bystander". Full excerpt: I heard a rumor from 2 sources that 16K US layoffs coming later this month. I'd guess they'll announce it on a Friday after the inauguration.
  • "Rumored 15% of US HC in STG and SWG" by "Tweetie_Bird". Full excerpt: Jan 21 - 23. Employees all identified, packages ready but managers have no idea of what they status will be. Second round will be in the following weeks after the re-orgs are completed. Some managers will be let go or voluntarily leave, some go back to being peons and the politically connected stay to inflict more pain and mayhem.
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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