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Highlights—February 14, 2009

  • Hudson Valley Times Record-Bulletin: IBM Notebook: Chinese factory like slavery, report says. By Christine Young. Excerpts: Chinese factory workers making keyboards for IBM and other American companies are treated little better than slaves, according to a 60-page report released Thursday by The National Labor Committee. The report, "High Tech Misery in China," describes horrendous sweatshop conditions at the Dongguan Meitai Plastics & Electronics Factory in southern China, which produces keyboards for IBM, Lenovo, Dell, HP and Microsoft. "This is dehumanization," said NLC Director Charles Kerrigan. "If it's not slavery, it's very close."

    Prompted by the report, IBM says it is reviewing its relationship with the factory, where, the NLC alleges:

    • Employees work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, with just two days off a month, for 41 cents an hour.
    • Workers sit on hard, backless stools as 500 keyboards an hour move down the assembly line.
    • Workers are locked in the factory compound four days a week, prohibited from taking a walk.

    "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."

  • ComputerWorld: IBM offers to shift workers losing jobs to lower-wage countries. 'Project Match' lets employees take new jobs in India, other countries — but at local pay rates. Excerpts: Some of the workers being let go by IBM have a chance to remain with the company — if they're willing to move to Brazil, India, China or a dozen other low-wage countries. But the expatriate employees would likely be paid local wages as they begin their new lives overseas.

    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."

  • National Public Radio (NPR): IBM's Project Match Draws Criticism. All Things Considered, February 6, 2009 · IBM's Project Match allows employees facing layoffs to be transferred abroad to countries such as India, Brazil and the Czech Republic to work at local wages. Not all workers are happy, however. Julie Moran Alterio, senior business reporter for The Journal News in the Lower Hudson Valley, offers her insight.
  • NPR: Comments on: IBM's Project Match Draws Criticism. Selected comments follow:
    • Middle America (merdabubula) wrote: First, how about trying to go to first sources vs. interviewing a reporter. Two: Creative approach? Really? I'm just curious, how much does IBM donate each year to NPR? Three: To put it in perspective imagine this scenario: A young man or woman returns from overseas armed forces service. He or she gets some education in what everyone says is the field to go into, IT, and then gets a job with IBM. Now this person is told that essentially, he or she just isn't good enough to enjoy the benefits and privileges (for which they have sacrificed and maybe bled for). What they need to do is move away from their home and country and sacrifice some more. While IBM's CEO accrues enormous wealth, wealth created in part by the folks that are being asked to give up their lives, yet again. "Not all workers are happy..", how many workers has NPR communicated with about this issue?
    • tha meez (meez) wrote: This story is almost correct... IBM is NOT TRANSFERING employees overseas. Once you are NO LONGER EMPLOYED BY IBM USA, then they will offer you interviews for jobs overseas. You will then work under local labor laws, not US labor laws.
    • Rick Casey (rickc) wrote: This story outraged me! I cannot believe corporations are expecting employees facing layoffs to move overseas; this beggars the imagination. This is CLEARLY a sign that upper management executives are taking the path THAT IS EASIEST FOR THEM! Such an action is so utterly selfish and lacking in empathy for their employees, it borders on the inhumane. I do hope you will follow up this story with an angle that is more sympathetic to the poor employees. Frankly, I sometimes get pretty disgusted with how "corporate" NPR has become over the years -- and this story is a perfect example of that unfortunate trend.
  • Alex Jones' Info Wars: Think of this layoff as your gateway to an exotic cross-cultural adventure. By John Murrell. Full excerpt: IBM may be quietly laying off thousands of workers (see “Careers abbreviated at AOL, SAP, IBM“), but it still has opportunities available. Displaced employees at its North American facilities, for instance, are being given an opportunity to gain firsthand insight into the world of cheap offshore labor.

    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.”

  • Fortune: SAP: HP Consultants Know What They're Doing, IBM And Accenture Don't. By Eric Krangel. Excerpts: Earlier this week SAP co-CEO Leo Apotheker struck out at the consulting practices of Accenture (ACN) and IBM (IBM), essentially accusing the two companies of sending so-called "experts" who have no idea what they're doing to perform the difficult task of integrating SAP software into businesses. He went on to propose consultants should be certified to prove their competence. Leo needs to blame someone: SAP implementations are notorious for their difficulty and cost overruns, and last month jeweler Shane Co. blamed difficulties with SAP's software as partly responsible for the company's bankruptcy.
  • Fortune: IBM Strikes Back At SAP, Embraces Rival Lawson. By Eric Krangel. Excerpts: Last week, SAP lashed out at IBM (and Accenture too), saying IBM's untrained consultants are giving SAP a bad name. SAP adds consultants should be certified -- and officially designates IBM consulting rival EDS (now a HP unit) as the first certified SAP partner. But now IBM is making alliances of its own: Today it announced a new partnership with SAP rival Lawson Software.
  • glassdoor.com: IBM – “Under Sam's oversight, "respect for the individual," a former core IBM value, has become a thing of the past.” by "Senior Program Manager in Somers, NY". Full excerpt: Pros: IBM has a great deal of bright, talented, dedicated, hard-working people -- and there's a lot to learn at a company of this size. I used to be able to also say there are many opportunities in a company of this size, since if you didn't like your first job, you could always apply for a position in another area / division. Today, however, with nearly quarterly downsizings / job outsourcings going on, when you do look for a new job within IBM you're often competing with hundreds to thousands of others who were just advised they're on the way out the door and have only 30 days to find a new job in IBM. As a result, over the past 8 years or so, mobility within the company has been very limited. -- as has upward mobility due to IBM's laser focus on reducing SG&A (sales, general and administrative = headcount) expenses quarter to quarter.

    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.

  • glassdoor.com: “IBM: Strong technical people; moribund executive management.” by "Engineering Manager in San Jose, CA". Pros: The best reason to work for IBM is the people. Generally, within my organization, the technical team is first rate and highly skilled. If you're lucky to work for a manager who is technically competent and a manager who can convey your accomplishments to the rest of the organization you'll do fine. Pay is average as are general benefits. Pretty much all I want to say, so I'll run out the clock here. q w e r t y u i o p a s d f g h j k l z x c v b n m q

    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.

  • CFO Magazine: Stopping 401(k) Matches: The New No-brainer. At least 40 employers have stopped contributing to their employees' defined-contribution plans. By David M. Katz. Excerpt: On a day like Monday, when five big companies reported a total of at least 57,000 layoffs, it was easy to see why CFOs might want to stop providing a match to employees' 401(k) savings. In many cases, it's an easy way to cut a cost worth 2 percent or 3 percent of your payroll without having to give employees more than a week's notice. What's more, cutting out the matching funds an employer contributes to a 401(k) wouldn't be unexpected in these tough times. And in lieu of a layoff, the elimination of the match can seem almost merciful.
  • Workforce Management: Deep Corporate Staff Cuts Heat Up H-1B Visa Debate. Long backed by the U.S. tech industry as crucial to American competitiveness, H-1Bs let computer programmers, electronics engineers and other skilled workers stay in the country for up to six years. Excerpts: Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, kicked off the latest debate in January by publicly calling on Microsoft to prioritize American workers over foreign guest workers as the software giant downsizes. In the wake of Grassley’s letter to Microsoft, questions have been raised about the legality of axing H-1B workers first. And H-1B critics have stepped up their attacks on a program they say makes little sense during a time of corporate belt-tightening.

    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.

  • eWeek: Lenovo CEO Resignation Tied to Company Performance. By Nicholas Kolakowski. Excerpt: The company has seized market share in the enterprise through its products such as ThinkPad mobile workstations and other desktops and laptops targeted toward professionals. According to Reuters, its share in 2008 of the global PC market stood at around 7.5 percent. However, Lenovo has not been able to make inroads into the consumer market, where companies such as Acer and HP managed to grow their PC businesses when times were good.
  • Associated Press, courtesy of Senator Bernie Sanders: Investigation: Banks look overseas for workers. By Frank Bass and Rita Beamish. Excerpts: Even as the economy collapsed last year and many financial workers found themselves unemployed, the dozen U.S. banks now receiving the biggest rescue packages requested visas for tens of thousands of foreign workers to fill high-paying jobs, according to an Associated Press review of visa applications. The major banks, which have received $150 billion in bailout funds, requested visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years for senior vice presidents, corporate lawyers, junior investment analysts and human resources specialists. The average annual salary for those jobs was $90,721, nearly twice the median income for all American households.

    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.

  • Workforce Management: Any Upside for Employers to Encourage 401(k) Saving? There are no real incentives for employers to ensure that their employees are saving enough for retirement, experts say. By Jessica Marquez. Excerpts: Employees know why they are—or should be—saving for retirement. Some want to travel. Some want time to sail, golf, garden or hang out with their grandchildren. In short, they want time to enjoy what used to be called the golden years. But what’s in it for employers?

    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.

  • InformationWeek: Smart Companies Still Looking For Smart IT People. Posted by Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, Excerpt: "Smart companies are using this time to set themselves up to be more competitive, well-positioned in the longer term, not just focusing on cutting in the short-term," he says. "It's up to the leadership of IT to argue for investments that are strategic to the company long term, but don't have short term ROI."
  • Associated Press, courtesy of Forbes: Women say new law helps their pension case. By Jessie J. Holland. Excerpts: Four women who lost retirement credit because of decades-old maternity leaves told the Supreme Court Thursday a new anti-pay discrimination law signed by President Barack Obama means they deserve larger pension checks. The Supreme Court is preparing a decision in the case of four AT&T Corp. employees who sued the corporation because their decade-old maternity leaves wasn't counted toward their pension checks. But the woman say the new Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first law Obama signed as president, means that Congress has already come down on their side.

    The court's decision could affect thousands of women who took pregnancy leaves decades ago and now are headed toward retirement.

  • ComputerWorld: Fed indictments tell how H-1B visas were used to undercut wages. U.S. announces arrests in several states alleging visa fraud. By Patrick Thibodeau. Excerpts: Federal agents on Thursday said they arrested 11 people in six states in a crackdown on H-1B visa fraud and unsealed documents that detail how the visa process was used to undercut the salaries of U.S. workers. Federal authorities allege that in some cases, H-1B workers were paid the prevailing wages of low-cost regions and not necessarily the higher salaries paid in the locations where they worked. By doing this, the companies were "displacing qualified American workers and violating prevailing wage laws," said federal authorities in a statement announcing the indictments. ...

    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.

News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
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  • New York Times: UnitedHealth and I.B.M. Test Health Care Plan. By Reed Abelson. Excerpts: Try, try again. The giant insurer UnitedHealth Group is testing a new model of health care that many policy experts say holds great promise but has yet to prove itself. An earlier trial of the model by UnitedHealth, in Florida, never got off the ground because doctors refused to participate. This time, however, the insurer is teaming up with seven doctors’ groups to make another attempt, in Arizona, at the prodding of one of the state’s big employers, I.B.M.

    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.

  • Financial Week: COBRA subsidy revised, but survives. By Jerry Geisel. Excerpt: The federal government would pay 50% of COBRA health care premiums for up to 12 months for employees who are laid off from Sept. 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2009, under a massive economic stimulus bill the Senate is expected to vote on Tuesday. Those COBRA premium provisions, agreed to over the weekend by a bipartisan panel of Senate negotiators, are a change from the provisions earlier approved by the Senate Finance Committee. Under that panel’s measure, the government would have provided a 65% premium subsidy, but the subsidy would have ended after nine months.
  • NPR: Mom Re-Enlists To Get Treatment For Disabled Son. By Joseph Shapiro. Excerpt: In states hard-hit by economic recession, families with young disabled children are among the first to feel the effects. State budget cuts are taking away promised therapy for those children, even though getting it can make a difference in their ability to learn for the rest of their lives. In Nevada, the budget crisis is so bad that it has created long waiting lists for children who need early intervention. That's forcing one family to make a pretty dramatic choice.
  • Washington Post: At Wal-Mart, a Health-Care Turnaround. Once Criticized, Company Is Now an Innovator in Employee Coverage. By Ceci Connolly. Excerpts: Once vilified for its stingy health benefits, the world's largest company has become an unlikely leader in the effort to provide affordable care without bankrupting employers, their workers or taxpayers in the process. From its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., the retailer is doing in the real world what many in Washington are only beginning to talk about.

    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.

  • Taking Note: Uwe Reinhardt: “The U.S. is Not a Democracy; it’s an Aristocracy". By Maggie Mahar. Excerpts: In a private conversation with bloggers at the Families USA healthcare conference last week, Princeton healthcare economist Uwe Reinhardt recalled a conversation, when he asked health care economist Victor Fuchs, “When will we ever have universal health insurance in the U.S.?” Fuchs’ answer: “Not until World War III, a Great Depression, or a major epidemic that threatens everyone.”

    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.

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.

  • New York Times op-ed: Mistresses of the Universe. By Nicholas D. Kristof. Excerpts: Banks around the world desperately want bailouts of billions of dollars, but they also have another need they’re unaware of: women, women and women. At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, some of the most interesting discussions revolved around whether we would be in the same mess today if Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Sisters. The consensus (and this is among the dead white men who parade annually at Davos) is that the optimal bank would have been Lehman Brothers and Sisters. ...

    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.

  • New York Times op-ed: Slumdogs Unite! By Frank Rich. Excerpts: Someday historians may look back at Tom Daschle’s flameout as a minor one-car (and chauffeur) accident. But that will depend on whether or not it’s followed by a multi-vehicle pileup that still could come. Even as President Obama refreshingly took responsibility for having “screwed up,” it’s not clear that he fully understands the huge forces that hit his young administration last week.

    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.

  • New York Times: Nearly 700 at Merrill in Million-Dollar Club. By Michael J. de la Merced and Louise Story. Excerpts: For nearly 700 lucky Merrill Lynch employees, 2008 was a million-dollar year, even though the brokerage firm lost $27 billion. On a day the chief executives of eight large banks were questioned about their industry’s excesses on Capitol Hill, Andrew M. Cuomo, the attorney general of New York State, raised hackles by disclosing how Merrill Lynch distributed its $3.6 billion 2008 bonus pool. The payments, made just before Merrill Lynch was sold to Bank of America in December, have already stirred anger for being paid earlier than usual. And Mr. Cuomo made it clear that the bulk of the bonuses were paid to a small portion of Merrill Lynch’s 39,000 employees.

    “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.

  • New York Times: Fed Calls Gain in Family Wealth a Mirage. By Edmund L. Andrews. Excerpts: The leap in wealth that Americans thought they were enjoying over the last several years has already turned out to be a mirage, according to new estimates by the Federal Reserve. In its triennial survey of consumer finances, released Thursday, the Fed found that the median net worth of American households increased by a seemingly healthy 17 percent between the end of 2004 and the end of 2007.

    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.

  • Time Magazine: 25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis. By Angelo Mozilo.
New on the Alliance@IBM Site
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  • Take Action! Job cuts and job shifting offshore by IBM! I am writing to you today to alert you to the ongoing job cuts at IBM. IBM has terminated almost 5000 employees over the past 2 weeks. Exact numbers are hard to come by because IBM claims the Securities and Exchange Commission allows them not to report these job cuts because it is "routine practice". IBM employees, their communities and the media have a right to know how many employees are losing their jobs.

    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.

    Go to the Alliance@IBM site to send this message, or your own message, to your state and federal leaders.

  • Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comment 2/07/09: I wasn't resourced, YET. But I have figured out how to save my job. Next opening as a stewardess or a pilot on the corporate jet is the only way to ensure you are safe at IBM. Can I top off your vodka and tonic? Some caviar with that wine? I can handle that. -ANONOMOUS-
    • Comment 2/07/09: The 'rare skills' stuff is BS. More than once when I was looking at internal job postings, I would call the manager asking about the job only to be told that they already had someone who was just waiting for his visa to be approved and the job posting was just a 'formality.' -john jonzz-
    • Comment 2/07/09: our small team of 6 will be laid off as of March 31st - sending call to South Africa -no news yet on other job offering- -Anonymous-
    • Comment 2/08/09: I work in GBS AS, and 12 of my colleagues are now scheduled to complete the training of their Indian replacements on 3/27. In reading the postings here, it sounds like they are not the only ones. What will happen then? Will they get a package? Thus far, I have not heard anything about packages, but clearly, there will be a huge number of people on the bench come 3/27. The rest of us are scheduled to follow them as our entire project will be offshored to India this year. Given the state of the economy and prospects for finding another job, I do feel like we're digging our own graves...that's a good analogy. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 2/08/09: If my GBS colleagues with a 3/27 end date are not offered a fair package, you can bet it will impact how the rest of us ride this out. Of course, we have already been told that we are next...the rest of us will be gone in the 6/26, 9/25, and 12/25 quarterly waves. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 2/08/09: It is no excuse that you as an IBMer have no time and access to your own computer to join the Alliance! Yes, please don't use IBM's laptop or desktop at work to join the Alliance or view these forums. IBM is monitoring for it. The Alliance doesn't want anyone in IBM, members or not, to jeopardize their job! If you are afraid of losing your job if you become a voting member, then rest assured their are some Alliance voting members that are still working in IBM since 1999. At least become an associate member and the Alliance will never reveal your name so you have nothing to fear of IBM finding out. If you don't join you are basically just waiting to be fired either now or later on. -IBMUnionYES- Alliance reply: We never reveal anyone's name whether it is voting members, associate member or subscriber. We leave the decision on being public with you.
    • Comment 2/08/09: IBM Project Match is more than creepy: Now with this program IBM is working hard to basically transfer your job offshore and if you don't take it they give you no severance. Then it is up to the USA and state Labor Dept. to determine whether you deserve any unemployment benefits since IBM will say you had a job and left it voluntarily. The time is now folks. If we don't hang together and organize we will surely hang separately. -anonymous-
    • Comment 2/08/09: Hi Guys, I don't think you get the point. The point is that IBM is lying to the public. Whatever they do, they have the right to do it. But if they are lying to the people, that is a piece of shit from the once-respected corporation. I really don't know what IBM upper management is thinking. Do they really believe they can prevent people from knowing the truth by telling them a story? What do they think the US intelligence is? It is very obvious that Sam and company are sabotaging IBM to maximize their benefit before IBM would eventually fall. -Someone-
    • Comment 2/08/09: Hello American brothers and sisters. I don't understand you guys at all. Things can be changed. Look at us here in Europe. whenever there is problem like this, we take to the streets. Why are you so passive and not go out on the streets to defend your jobs? Why do you keep on voting for the same corrupt Democrats and Republicans year in year out? Why didn't you guys vote for more someone who defends the rights of American working class. someone like Ralph Nader. Complaining achieves nothing. if there are that many millions Americans suffering, you could easily create a new political party to represent them and kick the ass of the corporate execs who are only thinking about themselves, and gobbling in billions of dollars of compensation and salary every year at the expense of the poor workers. Get out off your couch and do something, just blogging won't solve your problem. I share your pain, however in Europe we workers are not as passive as you guys. -european viewer-
    • Comment 2/08/09: On January 27th at East Fishkill NY targeted employees including technicians, engineers, and a few manager’s were called into managements office and handed their pink slips. Most of them selected were 50 something, with twenty or more years of service including some being called at home that were on a leave of absent with health related disabilities. Some off-shit operational systems were left without required work coverage. Peers are saying that we are being set up for failure. While management is saying to pick up the slack !! -Survivors Guild-
    • Comment 2/08/09: "Hi Guys, I don't think you get the point. The point is that IBM is lying to the public. Whatever they do, they have the right to do it. But if they are lying to the people, that is a piece of shit from the once-respected corporation. I really don't know what IBM upper management is thinking. Do they really believe they can prevent people from knowing the truth by telling them a story? What do they think the US intelligence is?"

      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-

    • Comment 2/08/09: Re “rare skills”: As a non-management employee I had the responsibility of interviewing candidates for technical suitability. In at least two cases I was told to tailor the questions to fit known strengths of specific H1B candidates. Those candidates easily won. -Retiree- Alliance Reply: Confirmation that corporate lawyers are instructing HR people how to screen out qualified Americans for jobs that they want to reserve for h1b's and L1's as well as any other foreign workers; appear in this video from 2007: PERM Fake Job Ads defraud Americans to secure green cards
    • Comment 2/08/09: "Why are you so passive and not go out on the streets to defend your jobs? Why do you keep on voting for the same corrupt Democrats and Republicans year in year out" Because billions have been spent, very successfully, to train us to believe that the Free Market is to be trusted to make all things right, even as globalization destroys the country's middle class. -irRational-
    • Comment 2/08/09: To -Survivors Guild- The Alliance can't advocate this, but I surely can. IBM must be allowed to suffer the consequences of their actions. In this case, where management does not have adequate coverage, let the damn things break and crash. If you have more work than can be done in a normal shift, let tasks remain undone. This is a perfect time to do everything by the book in a deliberate and careful manner. If you work with offshore resources that fail to do their jobs, do not make any extraordinary effort to cover up their failures. Those failures must be allowed to happen as they are the natural consequences of IBMs offshoring strategy. This is not to actively sabotage anything, but it is only a passive response to make no extraordinary effort to prevent problems caused by IBM executives' personnel policies. Since you are being treated with minimal respect, pay, benefits and job security, the company does NOT deserve extra effort beyond the minimum needed to get by. IBM has already taken you for everything they could and made your work life hell. Granted, they can fire you, but they're eventually going to do that anyway. -Deliver the minimum-
    • Comment 2/09/09: I've worked for IBM for a few years now and I have to say I'm not surprised by what they've done and what they're in the process of doing. Honestly, IBM hasn't had a good idea when it comes to software since the 1960's and the only way they can survive into the immediate future is to sell that 1960's technology to people who wouldn't recognize it as such, hence the move to "growth" markets. You've all probably heard of the "innovation that matters" nonsense that is spewed on the internal website; it's a mockery of the science and art behind creativity. IBM has put its researchers in the pressure cooker and has basically communicated to them that if an idea doesn't have immediate potential as a product, it's not an "innovation that matters."

      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-

    • Comment 2/09/09: Please offer Chubby Sam a job overseas... -Sam P-
    • Comment 2/09/09: To disenchanted_youth: I disagree that “IBM hasn't had a good idea when it comes to software since the 1960's”. Perhaps it is natural that I might think so, since I was there developing software, indeed from 1965 to 2005. Nevertheless, I saw not just a steady stream, but rivers of good ideas flowing. By the way, my viewpoint wasn’t company wide, just from one or two labs; and I don’t imagine the others were sitting on their hands. Give your coworkers a break here. -Geezer Programmer-
    • Comment 2/09/09: -european viewer- You are absolutely correct in your view! Americans are a recalcitrant lazy lot generally. The average American is behind those taking action: way behind those taking action. Then they complain, whine, and think unions are evil and can't help. Funny that they help across the Atlantic though! No wonder thousands of folks in IBM view this website and don't even become an Alliance subscriber... BTW, I did vote for Ralph Nader each time even though he got well less than only 1% of the popular vote for President. I don't consider my vote for him wasted: I feel it counts as a protest. I also want a 3rd party in this country to at least get 5% of the popular vote. Until this happens the American political picture will be the same: corrupt and self pandering and ruled by special interest and something called money. The more you throw at the American gov't the more you get your way. Yes, sad but so true. -anonymous-
    • Comment 2/09/09: As part of my job I was required to go to a VP's home (actually now 2 VPs live there, she got her husband promoted) to fix their wireless network on company time. I was even given an award(of IBM $$) for service over and beyond the call of duty. Needless to say I was fired after returning from a medical disability. This is clearly a misuse of IBM's assets and I believe this requires an investigation. Sounds like an Enron abuse to me. Not too hard to figure out who the 2 married VPs are.(look high up) -Used-
    • Comment 2/09/09: What nobody should ignore, is your BCG (Business Conduct Guidelines) and IBM's Core Values. Every employee signs up to these every year but it seems to me the senior management sign with total dishonesty and get away with it. "Personal Trust, Honesty and Integrity" in all dealings including fellow work mates, employees and clients alike.

      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-

    • Comment 2/09/09: Hey Guys, I've applied to Project Match and I was awarded a job in India. I've just spent the last hour talking to my team lead in India about the work conditions and was told that I would be working as a junior developer. The team I will be on is comprised of about 50 developers and we will all be working in the same room. The room has no air conditioning so I was told that wearing a shirt to work is optional. I was also advised to pack a fan because of the high cost of purchasing a fan there. I'm looking forward to my move and the opportunity to experience a new culture. My starting salary will be 50,000 rupees a month. -Indy- Alliance Reply: We hope you are not being facetious. Why not keep us informed of your experience, like a blog, for example?
    • Comment 2/09/09: I am SWG Canada & I have known for over a year. IBM promised there would be other opportunities...... just not in Canada. The last couple of weeks has been agonizing, listening to the IBM cheerleaders..... I'm done drinking the blue kool-aid. 18+ years . it sucks!! -the Slow Death-
    • Comment 2/10/09: I work in EF GBS and was informed yesterday morning by my mgr. that my job is being gr'ed to Brazil effective 3/31/09. It was stressed that this is not a layoff but I'll be on the bench starting 3/31/09 and I couldn't get any information as to how long that will be. They're going to try to find me a job but I'm not holding my breath for that. I have 27 yrs. w/IBM and am not yet 55 yrs.old (retirement eligible). I've been on this IBM internal account for 19 years and have good PBCs (like that matters anymore). It's all about the money. At this point I'd rather just get a severance pkg. because at least I'd have something! They want all of us on commercial accounts which are 90% travel and temporary assignments. If you refuse to take a job they offer you, then they consider that you've resigned. Nice, huh? We're all just commodities. -slammed-
    • Comment 2/10/09: So I was RA'ed, and my last day is 02/23. My work is going (has gone actually) to India. I was also just informed my account was selected for an audit, which is suppose to begin on 02/16 and last into March sometime. My manager informed me to get the documentation in order, etc, etc. I replied back "this is India's responsibility now, they signed off on the transfer of duty as being completed last week. Not to mention I will only be employed 1 week after the audit starts. Please consider this email my notification of being unavailable to participate in the audit. Please contact the India support team for further assistance." We'll see how far that goes, but what are they going to do me? Take away my crappy severance? Let them have it. -stickin_it_to_IBM-
    • Comment 2/10/09: Are the layoffs targeted to higher-paid employees? Longer term employees generally make more than shorter term employees, and it appears that more older employees are being laid off. Recall the Rochester graph a few days ago. What about women vs men? (Does anyone know?) I have not seen any data on this, but generally men make more than women. If the primary layoff cohort is older men, it would suggest a pattern of selective layoffs to reduce payroll costs. -867-5309- Alliance reply: There has been a pattern of selected job cuts against older employees for many years.
    • Comment 2/10/09: I expect IBM to pause layoffs for the simple reason that the ESC and HR are completely overwhelmed trying to "process" the 5000 already laid off. Once March 1, look out. They;ll be ready for more -in the know-
    • Comment 2/10/09: I use to have a business controls job but even better I had a Business Controls manager who maintained a temporary residence in CT for the convenience of being closer to work. The interesting fact is she formally lived in NJ but worked in NY. She did not file income tax for CT, hence tax evasion. Upper management was aware of where she lived and must have known(or should have known) what state she was claiming on her w/h tax. Net is this is tax evasion. And for a Business Controls mgr, with upper management being aware and possibly involved. This is FRAUD at its best. How many other people do this? I believe all involved should be fired and I believe all State taxing authorities have a vested interest in auditing IBM's payroll. This doesn't even touch upon those executives who claim home offices in CT and maintain offices in NY but do not file NY state income tax. Its all corrupt. Auditors beware!! -Anonymous-
    • Comment 2/10/09: "As part of my job I was required to go to a VP's home (actually now 2 VPs live there, she got her husband promoted) to fix their wireless network on company time. I was even given an award(of IBM $$) for service over and beyond the call of duty. Needless to say I was fired after returning from a medical disability. This is clearly a misuse of IBM's assets and I believe this requires an investigation. Sounds like an Enron abuse to me. Not too hard to figure out who the 2 married VPs are.(look high up) -Used-" This is done for most high level exec's. and quire a number of hours are spent on this. I know in one case where work was done on their kids computers -Sam the man-
    • Comment 2/10/09: Look at out about the March 1 date mentioned here about the start of round 2 of lay offs, it's seems true I stumbled across something that supports this date in a printer room this week. Also in the North there appears to be few hundred people from India with no local phone numbers in blue pages or managers that appear to have been assigned jobs in Canada just waiting for training to start. -Northern Lights-
    • Comment 2/10/09: of about 1400 SWG employees let go ~77% were age 40 or higher. Of the population remaining in SWG the over 40 population is ~50% -Deep Blue-
    • Comment 2/10/09: Indy, if that offer is for real, that's $1024 a month. Good luck moving back to the US on that when IBM decides they are done with you... Has any one been through the contract to see what the options are if you want to move back at the end of your time? To ex-swg, if there are rules like that, they are not followed. We lost a team member a couple years ago and he was back within a week of his last day. -gettin'-hosed-
    • Comment 2/10/09: To -John Boy- I'm not sure about the devaluation of the bachelors degree, but have you noticed that IBM isn't requiring a bachelors degree in many of their job postings? There are lots of jobs that state high school diploma, or associates degree. Even the 'people manager' jobs have had their educational requirements lowered. Is this the wave of the future? Will more companies adopt this? Cheap labor is all they care about? I am saddened that they no longer value a well educated mind. Maybe they want the less educated because they won't think too much about how ibm is screwing them over. -miss understanding-
    • Comment 2/11/09: To John Boy, it is quite interesting that larger tech companies cry because there is a lack of technically skilled workers. What an insult. I have personally trained our India and China colleagues as well and they seemed to lack the skills that ONLY COME WITH EXPERIENCE. H1-B Visas need to go, especially with this disrupted economy. -H1-B-Visas-
    • Comment 2/11/09: Indy- If you are headed to Bangalore, the wild monkeys there can get fairly mean. My advice to you is carry a banana with you to work. This way if the monkeys start chasing you, toss the banana and go. (This is first hand experience). Other than that, apartment rent is about 20,000 rupees a month for an OK place. Also keep in mind that jobs are plentiful there right now. In Bangalore, Dell, IBM, HP and Microsoft are all within a short walk of each other. It is not uncommon for people to hop jobs there quite often. If I were single, I might consider this, if it was not in India. The only other issue is that it still relies on US currency, which I am not too certain of anymore. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 2/11/09: I have confirmation of the GDC pay rates. The GDC jobs are split into teams of rhythm/blues/jazz at bands 3/4/5 respectively. Keep in mind most people who do these jobs now are band 7. It's been a while since I've seen the secret band salary chart but the rough guideline is salary is $10,000 x band. So the IBM public PR about $45,000 jobs in Dubuque, IA GDC is accurate. This would be a typical band 4 pay.....which is about $30,000 less than band 7 workers who have these jobs working at home today. Supposedly if you join the GDC early on, you're grandfathered and stay at your current band instead of getting reduced to a 3-5 band. But, there is no guarantee of how long that grandfather status will remain. Maybe until the transition is over and the new cheap workers are trained. -IBMer...for now-
    • Comment 2/11/09: Another consideration regarding GDC pay rates for current employees transferring to Dubuque. There is an established policy on locale pay adjustment. Dubuque may well be in a Regional classification where an adjustment will be applied, resulting in less pay although not officially considered a pay reduction from Blue point of view. -OldGeek-
    • Comment 2/11/09: We lost two staff members in January as part of the resource action in SWG. Now we find out today that they're trying to fill the positions with the same skills. Will be interesting to see just where the two new positions will be created (as if we don't already know). Why doesn't management see all the skills and knowledge they lose and how much time we waste training new staff? There can't be that huge of a savings. -anonymous-
    • Comment 2/12/09: Heard today from a reliable source the next round of layoffs at global services are coming -GS_turn-
    • Comment 2/13/09: I was RA'd on 1/27. The thing that bothers me the most is that I am less than 4 months from being able to bridge to retirement. My date of hire was 6/16/1980. Is there anything to be done to somehow get to that bridge?? I don't care about leaving IBM so much, (I really didn't like my job anymore) but to be THAT close to full retirement benefits and not make it. The difference in monthly pension payments is pretty significant. Thanks -anonymous-

      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.

    • Comment 2/13/09: I was contacted yesterday by a manager in Turkey who was interested in talking to me about a job opportunity in Istanbul. Apparently the Project Match countries are now shopping the US bench. I told her that I would consider a temporary international assignment, but not a permanent move under the Project Match program. -Waiting for the axe in GBS-

      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.

    • Comment 2/13/09: The two amendments in the stimulus bills that will ensure jobs go to Americans and legal residents were REMOVED at the last minute. We will be paying billions of dollars to give jobs to those illegally in our country and those foreigners brought into our country under the H-1B and other visas that take our good jobs away from us. Tell your senators and reps and President to NOT sign the bill until these amendments are returned to the stimulus bill. The two amendments removed at the last minute are: (Senate) Reauthorizes the E-Verify system for a period of five years and mandates its use by any business or locality that receives stimulus funds. (This ensures workers hired are not illegal aliens). (House) Prevents banks that receive stimulus funds do not hire H-1B workers for a period of one year -anonymous-
    • Comment 2/13/09: When does the Alliance have either rallies or meetings in the Denver Boulder area? -Unionizing- Alliance reply: We have eliminated meetings due to high cost (travel, lodging, meeting rooms etc) until we grow Alliance membership. We also had to eliminate a staff position.As we have repeatedly stated we simply do not have the funds to do some of the work we need to be doing. We have conference calls with dues paying members in lieu of face to face meetings. We have attempted rallies in the past but with poor results. Employees need to be to public in their support of this cause in order for rallies to work and have an impact. A rally with 10 people does nothing.
    • Comment 2/13/09: GBS RA is coming, names are being listed/negotiated now. Don't know date of action. -GBSer-
    • Comment 2/13/09: Of the approximate US S&D RA total of 1,435 let go about 1,149 were over 40 (80%). Total selected and non-selected population of ~13,323. -Deep Blue-
  • General Visitor's Comment page
    • Comment 2/08/09: I used to work up the road from IBM a few years ago in Research Triangle Park, NC. There was a protestor there a few times a month, with long pole signs warning about IBM's exportation of jobs overseas. Everyone I spoke to who worked at IBM called him a nut and he was always alone out there in front of the entrance to IBM in RTP. My question is why is it that no one will stand up for a cause until their own paychecks are at risk? Why was he alone? I know that all the RTP employees know exactly who and what I am talking about. You see, if you guys who at that time were gainfully employed had stuck up for his righteous cause, perhaps management would not be in such a powerful position to hide in their endeavors. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 2/09/09: We need more people like that person years who at RTP displayed posters protesting IBM! He must have been fired since if he still was in IBM at RTP I bet he would still be doing what he once did. Most IBMers now have a short, if any , remembering span. IBM luvs it just this way. Keeps you sheep unherded, unflocked and ripe to be picked off by IBM the big bad predator. Was he WRONG? He is more right than almost all of you in RTP. Yes, if you folks joined him maybe more folks in RTP would not have been recently RA'ed. But without joining hime IBM can RA all of you guys in RTP. -anonymous-
    • Comment 2/12/09: After 10 years I've had enough of IBM's nefarious human resource policies. I've heading to the exit. Trust big blew to ever do the right thing by its people? Never. Think I'd survive 20 years to make it to retirement? Not a chance. If you really want to see the greed of IBM management, check out the latest insider transactions in IBM stock on 1 February. Thousands of 0 cost stock grants, one third immediately turned to cash at market value. Funny, I don't remember any of those people on the numerous midnight outage calls last year when GR resources trashed IGA. -Anywhere But IBM-
  • Pension Comments page
  • Raise and Salary Comments
    • Comment 02/11/09: Salary = S$58K; Band Level = 6; Job Title = IT Specialist; Years Service = 3; Hours/Week = 58 hrs; Div Name = GTS; Location = Singapore; Message = Deprived from reasonable compensation (10+ years experiences with BSc) -Anonymous-
    • Comment 02/13/09: Today's Dilbert is apropos on corporations' lowering of employees' salaries. http://www.dilbert.com/fast/2009-02-13/ -Deflated Salary-
  • PBC Comments
    • Comment 2/08/09: Prior Yr PBC = 3; This Yr PBC = 3; This Yr Bonus = 0; Prior Yr Bonus = 0; Message = Is it a breach of IBM policy to put you on a performance Improvement Plan based on your PBC goals, but the PBC has not been finalised or approved by management? please help.-Anonymous- Alliance Reply: If IBM wants to break its own rules, there's nothing you can do about it as an individual. You need a collectively bargained union contract.
    • Comment 2/09/09: Prior Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr PBC = 2; This Yr Bonus = ??; Prior Yr Bonus = 3000; Message = I worked really hard last year. I am leaving this company as soon as possible. I work like a dog from day to day and I'm seeing nothing for it. All management can do is point out and emphasize what I did wrong. enough is enough after I helped them to win major revenue in sales. -Steven-
    • Comment 2/09/09: WHY can't everyone visiting this site disclose their recent PBC rating so the Alliance can show the REAL distribution?IBM denies more PBC "2" and PBC "3" employees this year. So let's show they are lying. -anonymous
  • International Comments
    • Comment 02/11/09: Country = Canada; Union Affiliate = none; Job Title = CTS tech support; IBM Division = Services; Message = We have just been notified a couple of days ago were being let go. IBM in Canada is moving a huge chunk of its helpdesk and CTS supports to India leaving a lot of IBM'ers and contractors without a job. Not sure of exact figures but my account alone has a 100+ agents. My manager is actually going to india to train our replacements before eventually going back here without a job. -anonymous-
Vault Message Board Posts
Minimize

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:

  • "We need a revolution - right now" by "Premaria". Full excerpt: After 20+ years with IBM, I really do not recognize this corporation. There was a time when you had to have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in order to be considered for an entry-level position - now there are job ads for Business Solution Salespeople with a high school diploma and 1 year of SAP.

    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.

  • "Does this shock you?" by "omegadoom". Full excerpt: Didn't you know IBM's agenda by now? They're using the economy to thin their ranks in the US so that they can build their offshore workforce. Then when Obama tries to award tech contracts, IBM will be the first in line as an 'american company'. Of course since they don't have any onshore staff, they'll import the lower cost workers so they can make a larger profit off the margin.

    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.

  • "This reminds me of some business journalists..." by "ThePhoenixTech". Full excerpt: One of the biggest cheerleader of the "outsource everything" mindset was Business Week journalist Steve Hamm which at some point was the author of a blog called "Bangalore Tigers". His "expertise" on outsourcing and offshoring was based on PR lunches and dinners with the CEOs and other higher up executives of service companies and the occasional trip to India paid by Business Week.

    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?

  • "So you now know that your MBA is worthless..." by "omegadoom". Full excerpt: In Academic terms you view all the workers as the same. Take any line worker building a ford and you can train him on a different part of the line and he can do that job too. One line worker can be replaced with another line worker and the quality is the same. In the real world we know different. You have cultural issues and you have quality control issues. When communication is a major factor, its cheaper in the long run to use local sourced labor.

    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 could work for some" by "LSP&SSO". Full excerpt: Given the choices of: a) being laid off; or b) being laid off and getting an offer to move to a different geography and help with relocation expenses, many people might actually appreciate and take advantage of Option (b). This might not work for someone born in US, but more recent immigrants (Central Europe comes to mind) might actually use it as an opportunity to move back. It all depends on compensation vis-a-vis local conditions.
  • "R U Nutz?" by "omegadoom". Full excerpt: Maybe this might work if you left India on an H1B visa and you want to go back. But remember that when you move back, you're being hired by IBM India and you're subject to India's labor laws. (Whatever that may be.) You can replace India with Slovakia or Brazil or any low cost country. And you need to read the fine print. They'll help with *some* of the relocation costs. The bottom line is that the take away message is that IBM *is* hiring in 3rd world countries as they reduce head count in the US.
  • "developing != 3rd world" by "LSP&SSO". Full excerpt: Not every developing country is automatically a 3rd world country. Czech Republic, United Arab Emirates, Poland... those are not 3rd world. Labour laws are different, but life in these countries is not exactly a living hell. The pay may be lower, but so is the cost of living. Hmmm... the Emirates... no income tax, last I checked. ;-) As I said earlier, it might work for SOME PEOPLE. Now, if you were laid off tomorrow, would you rather the company cut you loose completely, or would you actually appreciate at least being given these relocation options?
  • "What is the world coming to, Frank?" by "civilliberty". Full excerpt: We know, or can see, where IBM is headed. Do you think change is on the horizon? Do you think people/organisations will wake up to this farce?
  • "I just spoke to a friend still caught in the Blue Pig..." by "omegadoom". Full excerpt: His take was that Sam has only a couple of years left and he wants to get as much short term dollar gains at the expense of IBM's long term reputation. Why spend a premium on software and services when the only thing you compete upon is price. QoS is getting worse and the short term key is to maximize margins on lower dollars. Kind of sucks for those in SWG who try to develop a good product with their hands tied.
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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