Prompted by the report, IBM says it is reviewing its relationship with the factory, where, the NLC alleges:
"This factory is very frightening in the sense that management tries to control every second, every movement of the workers' lives," said Kerrigan. ...
"Companies the size of IBM like these countries because they're authoritarian," Kerrigan said. "They produce for much less and work longer hours under primitive conditions. IBM is there for a reason, and it's clearly not because they're in love with the Chinese people and culture."
IBM, which is cutting thousands of employees in a move that it has refrained from describing as a layoff, is offering affected workers what it calls Project Match. The employees who can take advantage of the offer include those who have been "notified of separation from IBM U.S. or Canada" and "are willing to work on local terms and conditions," the company said.
U.S. workers have long taken jobs in other countries to get promotions or for the experience of living overseas, but corporate expats are typically paid on a U.S. wage scale. IBM said that as part of Project Match, it is offering workers financial aid to offset moving costs, assistance with visas "and other support to help ease the transition of an international move." But their wages may be similar to the pay of employees in the countries to which they're moving. ...
Don Dowling, an employment law attorney at White & Case LLP in New York, said that by hiring a U.S. worker at a local pay rate overseas, IBM would be getting someone who knows the company and is experienced — while also saving money. A worker "willing to move to India for IBM is worth more to them than a person hired off the street, everything else being equal," Dowling said.
In addition, many countries require the use of written employment agreements for workers who are hired locally, instead of the "employment at will" provisions common in the U.S., according to Dowling. "You've got a better basket of rights than you do in the U.S.," he said. ...
Ron Hira, an assistant professor of public policy at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York and author of the book Outsourcing America, said it's hard to know exactly what IBM's motivation is for Project Match program. But, he added, "for workers, it is a clear indication that IBM plans on accelerating its massive offshoring of U.S. and Canadian jobs." Citing IBM India's rapid growth, Hira questioned whether Project Match was really a publicity stunt — "a way to indicate compassion with zero real costs."
Hira thinks it's unlikely that many U.S. workers will agree to move overseas, other than young people and immigrants from other countries who seek to return there. And he doesn't see a bright future for the IBM employees who do accept the offer. "American workers will be expected to take the lower wages of the new country," he said. "And even with the lower cost of living, none will be able to save enough money to return to the U.S."
According to an internal document obtained by InformationWeek, Big Blue has a program called Project Match that helps U.S. and Canadian workers whose jobs have been cut relocate to places where the company still has openings — specifically, developing markets like India, China and Brazil. “Should you accept a position in one of these countries,” the notice explains, “IBM offers financial assistance to offset moving costs, provides immigration support, such as visa assistance, and other support to help ease the transition of an international move.” The tradeoff? You have to be “willing to work on local terms and conditions,” living on the low wages that helped undercut the domestic job you just lost.
The employee advocacy group Alliance@IBM sees the program as a slap in the face to go with the push out the door, saying, “IBM is not only offshoring IBM U.S. jobs but they want employees to offshore themselves through Project Match.” The company, naturally, puts it in more positive terms. “It’s more of a vehicle for people who want to expand their life experience by working somewhere else,” said a spokesman. “A lot of people want to work in India.”
Cons: Employee morale is poor, and workloads are unreasonable (with many working 60+ hours per week in salaried positions) due to IBM's laying off so many American workers in 2009 (in spite of reporting record earnings for 2008). IBM's performance appraisal and rating system, called the Personal Business Commitments (PBCs) system, is a flawed system which forces managers (I know, I was a manager myself for 10 years) to "skew" the ratings to match a normal, "bell shaped" curve distribution. For all but the few fortunate workers who are able to secure a top rating, the system is demoralizing, and is seen as an unfair way of keeping pay increases and bonuses low.
Advice to Senior Management: Please stop laying off tens of thousands of Americans and moving their jobs overseas while buddying up to President Obama and trying to convince him that IBM is a key American asset. If you really want to do something good for America, then stop laying off Americans just so you can hire three times as many employees overseas at less cost in the name of fattening your own wallets. Foreign workers do not pay American taxes, and they are not putting their investments in American banks. Your actions may prop up IBM's stock price in the short term, yet in the end they simply speed up America's race to the bottom. Your personal wealth may make you immune from the pain that a failing American economy is causing average Americans, however, you do live in America, you do have families in America, and you should show some type of loyalty to the American way of life. If America goes totally in the toilet, then you'll end up having to move the IBM HQ (and your families) overseas -- so please, get with the program and stop propping up the stock price on the shoulders of thousands of laid off American (IBM) workers.
Cons: Management lies, and as a first line manager, I know ... Indeed my management chain requires me to lie to my team: people I trust and respect. Lies and misrepresentation are the IBM family values, particularly for personnel issues and also for business metrics. That is the biggest downside - you never know when you're getting the straight story. For example, the PBC system is a ranking system. A first line manager is told what their "skew" has to be - the company advertises that a first line manager can use their own judgment for differentiation between team members, subject to some oversight to ensure equity. In actual fact managers are told what to do and are required to lie to their team members so that the executives can make their metrics. There are many other examples - and I see them every day - it always comes down to managing the metrics, rather than the results.
Advice to Senior Management: Get some Integrity. And don't confuse results with metrics.
H-1B visas rarely go to exceptional talent and often are used by “body shops” that provide contract labor to other companies, said Ira Mehlman, media director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform advocacy group. “H-1B visas are not being used as they were intended,” Mehlman said. ...
Semiconductor giant Intel also ranked in Information Week’s top 10 list of visa approvals, while technology firms Accenture, IBM and Oracle made the top 100. Intel and Accenture did not respond to requests for comment. Oracle declined to comment for this story. IBM spokesman Clint Roswell declined to comment on Grassley’s call for prioritizing U.S. workers.
In a twist on immigration work matters, IBM recently began offering U.S. employees who have lost their job the option of working for IBM in a less-developed country, such as South Africa, India and China. Roswell said the offer includes help with visa matters and moving costs. So far, no IBM workers have taken the company up on the offer, Roswell said. “It’s not for everyone,” he said.
The numbers of visas sought by the dozen banks in AP's analysis increased by nearly one-third, from 3,258 in the 2007 budget year to 4,163 in fiscal 2008.
That’s one of the main issues with the 401(k) system. There are no real incentives for employers to ensure that their employees are saving enough for retirement, experts say. While employers in years past used pensions and other "welfare benefits" to stave off unions or weaken their influence, that’s less of a problem now, given the weakness of unions in the private sector.
The court's decision could affect thousands of women who took pregnancy leaves decades ago and now are headed toward retirement.
The H-1B workers were also victims, according to the federal indictments. Some were hired for jobs that didn't exist. One worker from Pakistan who arrived in the U.S. for a programming job, for instance, ended up with a job pumping gas.
UnitedHealth will try giving doctors more authority and money than usual in return for closely monitoring their patients’ progress, even when patients go to specialists or require hospitalization. The insurer will also move away from paying doctors solely on the basis of how many services they provide, and will start rewarding them more for the overall quality of care patients receive. ...
I.B.M., which paid $21 million last year for its Arizona coverage, is among the nation’s employers that have been increasingly vocal about their dissatisfaction with the health system, in which they pay more money each year, regardless of the quality of the care their employees receive. “What we buy is garbage,” said Dr. Paul Grundy, I.B.M.’s director of health care transformation, who has become a major proponent of the medical home concept.
At a time when other firms are scaling back or eliminating health coverage, Wal-Mart has made a serious dent in the problem of the uninsured. New figures being released today show that 5.5 percent of its employees now lack health insurance, compared with a nationwide rate of 18 percent. ...
To reach near-universal coverage, the largest private employer in the nation relies heavily on the government and other employers to play a role. Of the company's 1.4 million workers, 52 percent are in a Wal-Mart health plan. Despite revenue that is expected to exceed $400 billion for 2008, the company charges its low-wage workers a substantial portion of their income for medical coverage.
In other words, Fuchs believed that it would take a catastrophe before Americans finally would realize that we are all in one boat together: Wars, natural disasters and economic upheaval can create great solidarity.
"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.
Wall Street is one of the most male-dominated bastions in the business world; senior staff meetings resemble a urologist’s waiting room. Aside from issues of fairness, there’s evidence that the result is second-rate decision-making.
The tsunami of populist rage coursing through America is bigger than Daschle’s overdue tax bill, bigger than John Thain’s trash can, bigger than any bailed-out C.E.O.’s bonus. It’s even bigger than the Obama phenomenon itself. It could maim the president’s best-laid plans and what remains of our economy if he doesn’t get in front of the mounting public anger. ...
In reality, Daschle’s tax shortfall, an apparently honest mistake, was only a red flag for the larger syndrome that much of Washington still doesn’t get. It was the source, not the amount, of his unreported income that did him in. The car and driver advertised his post-Senate immersion in the greedy bipartisan culture of entitlement and crony capitalism that both helped create our economic meltdown (on Wall Street) and failed to police it (in Washington). Daschle might well have been the best choice to lead health-care reform. But his honorable public record was instantly vaporized by tales of his cozy, lucrative relationships with the very companies he’d have to adjudicate as health czar.
“Merrill chose to make millionaires out of a select group of 700 employees,” Mr. Cuomo wrote in the letter, which was sent to the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday night.
But the gains were wiped out by the collapse in housing and stock prices last year. Adjusting for those declines, Fed officials estimated that the median family was 3.2 percent poorer as of October 2008 than it was at the end of 2004. The new survey offers one of the first glimpses of how American families were positioned financially as the roof fell in on the economy, and it provides some sense of how much wealth has been destroyed since then. Indeed, the destruction of wealth is still in full swing: housing prices are still falling, more than two years after the bubble peaked.
The survey suggests that the boom years were not all that wonderful even before the crisis set in. And it indicates that many households will have to greatly increase savings rates, which were below 1 percent, to make up for some of the lost wealth. Adjusted for inflation, the median household income actually edged down slightly over the three years ending in 2007. The mean, or average, household income jumped by a respectable 8.5 percent.
But a growing share of that income came from investment profits rather than from wages and salaries. And the wealth that Americans were building was overwhelmingly in the form of paper profits that vanished as quickly as they had appeared.
Not only is IBM cutting US IBM employees jobs, they are also shifting the work offshore to low cost countries. At a time of rising US unemployment I find this totally unacceptable.
As IBM CEO Sam Palmisano seeks billions in stimulus money I believe you should be aware of IBM's "firing here and hiring there" practice. I am asking you to enact or support legislation that requires any company like IBM that receives Federal, State or local public money to be fully transparent in job cuts, where the jobs are being eliminated and if the work is being shifted offshore and to where. .
On top of the need for openness and transparency, corporations like IBM that offshore work from the US and terminates a US worker should face financial penalty.
It's quite obvious they think it's low, and given how many of us have (for whatever our reasons) stayed in this miserable place over the years, they may be right. I think it's more that they believe the US press is clueless and/or complicit, and on that score they're probably also correct. But I think they underestimate the power of blogs and other forms of viral communications to spread the real news. However, I've reached the conclusion that they really don't care what their reputation as an employer is within the US, because they have no reason to care. They clearly desire to shed many more jobs, and for the few replacements they need they'll certainly find enough naive (or desperate) and cheap new blood, that it really just does not matter if they have a horrible reputation among those who know. -irRational-
I'm disappointed to the say the least to have learned how secretive and draconian IBM is. I'm having a hard time keeping a sense of pride of where I work because I know my efforts are, in the end, to line Sam's pockets with money while I get paid a non-competitive wage and no pension. I'm seriously thinking of leaving IBM, even though I've always been 1 or 2+ performer, I've lost passion for doing good work for IBM because I've witnessed a slow transition there from treating people with respect, to treating them as if they are owed nothing for the years they've spent building IBM into a success. I'm fearful that IBM will no longer value me when I'm older, even if I keep my skills up to date. It's hard to feel confident in one's future at a company when a history of strong contributions means nothing because that was last year, and IBM has amnesia. -disenchanted_youth-
Legally were these cases taken to court I think the management individuals would be found culpable. The problem is getting the top management into court over their policies and damn lies to employees. Also every time a senior executive or other senior person gets caught with their finger in the till, IBM gets off with "we will ensure this won't happen again by ensuring our employees undergo training and education". Point is, like so many other aspects of IBM Corporate culture, dishonesty and greed, it is the executives and senior management that break the rules and not the humble god fearing employee.
All those compulsory courses... Financial, Export, IP, etc. etc. Who breaks all the rules? They do. Who gets clobbered? The employee. The whole structure is as corrupt as it can get and sadly many many many honest people are being/are going to be hurt. To see self opinionated god Sam P. licking Obama's butt is the final straw that should hopefully seal his corporate death once and for all. -UK Eye-
Alliance Reply: Answer to your question: "Is there anything to be done to somehow get to that bridge??": Not now...it's too late for you and many others who are in the same boat as you. Sorry to hear about your job loss and IBM's treatment of you. I know, from personal experience, what it's like to lose my full retirement. That's why I joined Alliance@IBM 10 years ago; to help get people like yourself to understand that individuals cannot change this situation. It has to be a group effort. I'm still trying to get that message out.
Alliance Reply: IBM employees, here in the US, should be running to their nearest Internet mag, blog Media outlet, or newspaper or TV station, radio station,etc. and telling them to start talking about "Project Match". The press is not picking this up for some strange reason. In this time of collapsing economy and job loss; the media need to spotlight this unbelievable program to rid IBM US of it's working citizens, voluntarily. See the Sticky above and get to work at it. What you know and what you think of Project Match, matters.
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:
I know that Sam & Company are really upset that the US economy tanked before they could leave and cash out on fat golden parachutes, but to go from being an incredible, highly-respected corporate citizen to encouraging great employees to relocate to 3rd world living standards (have ya been to India?) is downright disgusting.
I look forward to kicking Untrue Blue's butt on every single deal. It's simple - this company can no longer be trusted and guess what - the talented workforce that they are trying to shed themselves of are the same ones who know how to knock them down.
The net net is that IBM gets money and the US labor force is still screwed.
With respect to this 'project match', it means you're willing to go work in India for an Indian wage. Some of your relocation costs will be covered, but lord help you if you get fired and need to come back to the US.
Other interlocutors were academics and researchers ...including IBM researchers.
Our Steve was swallowing and regurgitating on his blog every nugget of propaganda and IBM was often the subject of his articles. Not surprisingly, IBM was defined as one of the greatest success story in the Outsourcing arena. At some point the blabbering nonsense got so thick and intoxicating (an example: Today, almost every business function within an organization can be reduced to a finite series of steps and cause-effects actions) that educated commenters slowly slowly gave up and the blog died of a slow and painful death. RIP.
Once I posted a very simple question for the author: Steve have you ever dealt with Dell Customer Service? Do you think I received an answer?
Dell has actually split their call centers based on product lines, where the business class pcs and laptops have US call centers and not Indian ones. (Gee I wonder why...) I dropped Verizon for my T1 because I was sick of dealing with Indian call centers. No offense but when you have to repeat your problem 3 times to the same person, you get pissed off.
This site is designed to allow IBM Employees to communicate and share methods of protecting their rights through the establishment of an IBM Employees Labor Union. Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act states it is a violation for Employers to spy on union gatherings, or pretend to spy. For the purpose of the National Labor Relations Act, notice is given that this site and all of its content, messages, communications, or other content is considered to be a union gathering.