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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—March 21, 2009

  • Channel Register (United Kingdom): Sick of that crap office laptop? IBM can help You*. Buy us a computer and we'll let you work on it. By John Lettice. Full excerpt: Sick of using that clunky old work laptop that the bean counters want to write down for another two years? Boy, does IBM have a deal for you - if you work for IBM, that is. These days companies can't afford to throw their money around, but IBM UK has licked that problem by letting its staff buy new computers, so that they can use them for work.

    The can't-be-missed offer comes as part of IBM's You* flexible rewards scheme (click on "Your money" for details), and is described in documentation forwarded to The Register by what we presume is a not wholly ecstatic employee. The "benefit enables you to refresh your primary IBM workstation on a more frequent basis." It's kind of like hire purchase, in that you give IBM a monthly sum for a two year "sacrifice period", at the end of which you make a final "Fair Market Value" payment and the computer is yours.

    Employees can choose from three Lenovo models which will be "configured to meet IBM business requirements" with, says IBM, additional memory and large hard drives plus IBM's internal use software. IBM also claims they are discounted below the "'general public' price available from Lenovo." The prices quoted however aren't greatly below current UK street prices for the machines, and that doesn't take into account the end-of-deal Fair Market Value payment, which IBM estimates at £80-£120.

    Weirdly, the "large hard drives" are all 160GB, significantly smaller than those in equivalent Lenovo models currently available in the real world.

    Still, contemplating the length of the internal queue for replacement workstations, the honest IBMer might still reckon it made sense to shell out for a You* flexible reward. How do you find out how long you have to wait for a machine from the normal refresh programme?

    View Assets. Find your primary workstation in the list provided and click on View Detail. Scroll to the bottom of the window and find the Capitalization Date. Add 4 years to the Capitalization Date, and this is approximately when you will receive a new or cascaded machine".

    Cascaded? Right... So can I buy my old workstation instead of returning it?

    "No. Purchase of a previous IBM-owned workstation is not part of this programme."

    Presumably it could come in handy for cascading to non-participants. What if you leave, or have one of those things IBM calls "Life Events"?

    "If you undergo a Life Event during the course of the You* scheme year, this will not enable you to change your election during the payment term providing you remain eligible for the You* scheme.

    In this instance you still need to cover the cost of the laptop package..."

    If you leave IBM, "whether voluntarily, through dismissal or redundancy, you will have to pay the outstanding amount... This payment will be taken from your final net salary. If there are insufficient funds, then we will ask you for the balance."

    Still, if you negotiate the two years successfully, the computer's yours after IBM has hosed the company software off it. What then? Well, you can go back to the standard company system, or you can buy IBM another computer for you to work on. Cool...

  • Computerworld: IBM's workforce in U.S. declines in '08 but grows overseas. By Patrick Thibodeau. Excerpts: The number of workers that IBM employs in the U.S. declined by about 5% last year, but the company's overall head count is increasing because of overseas hiring. IBM finished 2008 with 115,000 U.S. employees, down from the 121,000 it reported at the end of 2007, according to its most recent annual report released this month. Overall, IBM finished 2008 with 398,455 employees worldwide, an increase of nearly 12,000, or about 3%.

    In 2007, IBM said it had 98,000 employees in Brazil, China, India and Russia, but that number increased by 15% to 113,000 last year. Most of those employees are in India.

  • The Four Hundred: IBM Job Cut Tactics in Rochester Questioned in Two Media Reports. By Dan Burger. Excerpts: Job terminations at IBM's Rochester, Minnesota, facility are colder than a late winter north wind. Losing a job is one of the most stressful life changes anyone has to go through, but if there are degrees of stress that apply, being over 50 years old and getting the axe is especially hard because the rebound job is often at a considerably reduced salary and reduced benefits package. How did IBM handle its latest round of terminations in Rochester? Not very well, apparently.

    Local NBC affiliate KTTC took a closer look at the firings (to call them layoffs, as if these people are possibly going to be rehired, is a cruel joke) and brought attention to a high percentage of over-50 employees that were sent packing. Advisory software engineers and advisory engineers were two job titles specifically noted because approximately 60 percent of the eliminated jobs belonged to folks 50 years old or older. These jobs are within the Systems and Technology Group. ...

    For its part in corporate good citizenship, IBM is offering workers who are no longer needed in Rochester the opportunity to compete for jobs in foreign countries such as China or India, two countries where IBM is outsourcing the majority of its jobs. (See Colonizing Endicott from a few weeks ago for more on this.) ...

    In a March 5 article from The New York Times, IBM is cited as one of many large corporations that "routinely carry out scattered layoffs that are small enough to stay under the radar." It notes that IBM has fired approximately 4,600 North American employees in recent weeks.

    Although an IBM spokesperson claims the job losses are "business as usual," some labor experts are taking issue with the lack of disclosure and the treatment of workers. Also worth noting is a federal law that mandates a warning when certain job eliminations are imminent. Some say corporations are intentionally using scattered and smaller scale firings in order to circumvent the federal law--known as the WARN Act--that only applies when dismissals reach a specified number.

  • Wall Street Journal: IBM Signals Strategy Shift With Talks to Buy Sun. CEO Palmisano Had Been Exiting Hardware Businesses to Focus on Higher-Profit Software and Computer Services. Excerpts: But some analysts questioned why IBM appeared to be willing to pay more than twice the market value of Sun before news of the talks sent Sun's share prices rising Wednesday. IBM is likely to pay $10 to $11 a share for Sun, according to people familiar with the matter. Sun shares jumped nearly 79% Wednesday to $8.89 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

    Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co, said the deal marks a surprising departure from IBM's acquisition history. "Financially, there's an opportunity for IBM to create value for shareholders," he said. "Strategically, it's more questionable." Mr. Sacconaghi said cost-cutting must be a big part of IBM's interest in Sun, suggesting more pain ahead for West Coast tech workers. The combined companies employ more than 430,000.

  • Boulder Daily Camera: Potential IBM acquisition of Sun could lead to local impacts. IBM and Sun are among the Boulder area's largest employers. By Alicia Wallace. Excerpts:An acquisition of Sun by IBM inevitably would impact the local region in some fashion as the Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM employs 2,800 people at its Boulder campus and Sun employs about 2,150 people in Broomfield, where hundreds have been laid off during the past nine months.

    One local Sun employee said some colleagues were not happy about the acquisition news, adding that it could be "worse than layoffs." "There are two prevailing feelings: Closer to the door and/or working for a company that has a very different culture. Acquisitions are always painful, and I think worse when it is two large companies," said the employee, who did not want to be identified due to job security concerns.

  • CNET: Is it a bad idea for IBM to buy Sun? By Stephen Shankland. Excerpts: Sun and IBM have different cultures that could prove difficult to integrate. Sun, based in Silicon Valley, is an engineering-centric, free-wheeling company willing to try many ideas and see which ones stick. IBM is more conservative and driven by business concerns. Its bold moves often take years to pan out. Both companies share a passion for research and development, but how they bring that to market differs greatly.

    Sun employees looking at the company's troubles might well be happy to don blue Oxford shirts, at least figuratively. But it's not easy to reconcile different procedures for allocating resources, marketing products, assessing their success, and charting new directions. And IBM might well sidestep cultural mismatch issues by laying off thousands of Sun employees.

  • Channel Register (United Kingdom): IBM joins rivals in cutting contractor rates. By Chris Mellor. Excerpt: A person familiar with the IBM UK contracting arrangements said: "IBM (is) to request that all contractors in the UK take a ten per cent cut in their rate or risk termination. This has succeeded in annoying the heck out of everyone. Most expected it, but given the record profits last year and the forecast, it has been seen as a slap in the face by some." We understand that this rate cut may have come from IBM US and some people think that it has relevance to the potential purchase of Sun, but it may just be opportunistic given that BT and Cap Gemini are are doing the same.
  • Benchmark Financial Services, Inc.: Secrets of the 401k Industry: How Employers and Mutual Fund Advisers Prospered as Workers’ Dreams of Retirement Security Evaporated. By Edward Siedle. Excerpts: Beginning in 2002, with the mutual fund scandals investigated by state and federal securities regulators, compelling evidence surfaced indicating that (for decades) providers of services to defined contribution retirement plans had engaged in wrongdoing, often in collusion with one another. In a defined contribution plan, all risk rests with the participants who have no say in the design of the plan or the economic arrangements entered into with and among providers of services to the plan. Generally participants pay most, and increasingly all costs associated with the plan and their investment results depend upon the performance of service providers chosen for them. Unfortunately, of all the parties involved with defined contribution plans, participants (whose monies are at risk) are least knowledgeable regarding complex, opaque investment management industry practices. Given that the majority of participants work 40-60 hours a week, it is unreasonable to expect that they will (in their spare time) acquire the expertise to skillfully sift through the numerous investment alternatives that have been provided to them and craft an optimal retirement savings program. ...

    A 2008 Annual Survey of 401k Plan Sponsors by Deloitte Consulting found that 80% of employers believe that 401ks are effective in recruiting employees to come work for them but only 13% believe that the 401k plans they offer will provide retirement security for their workers. In other words, employers understand that offering a plan that purports to provide for workers’ retirement security, without obligating the employer to pay retirement benefits, is helpful in building their businesses. However, employers privately acknowledge that these plans are not sufficient to provide for workers’ retirement. On the other hand, employers believe that guaranteed retirement income, such as a traditional pension plan, would be far more costly to provide.

  • Channel Register (United Kingdom): HP skims another 10% off some EDS workers' pay packets. By Kelly Fiveash. Excerpts: Hewlett-Packard has confirmed its EDS employees in the US and Puerto Rico will have their base salaries cut an additional ten per cent for April 2009 only. The company told its staff late on Friday that some workers would temporarily suffer a second drop in pay to help HP execs steer the services outfit through tough economic conditions. ...

    Meanwhile, HP has been undergoing the tricky task of convincing its workers in the UK and Europe to voluntarily take a pay cut. Unlike their US cousins who saw an immediate dent in salary following the company's latest cost-cutting announcement on 18 February, HP's EMEA employees are required by law to give their individual written consent before any salary deduction can be imposed upon them. All of which might explain why the firm's US employees have taken yet another hit.

  • Workforce Management: Top-Exec Pay Train Runs Full Steam Ahead. Excerpts: Amid the deepest economic collapse in generations, corporate America is coming up with a novel way to justify extravagant executive pay: Ignore the bad news. Companies that sank into the red last year are looking past a host of business expenses, ranging from asset write-downs to higher-than-expected operating costs, to rationalize paying brass even more than they got in flush times. Others appear to be reducing pay but continue to bestow extraordinary perks, such as “golden coffins.” ...

    “Executive pay is the ultimate shell game,” said Richard Ferlauto, a longtime critic of corporate compensation practices and director of pension investment policy at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “Boards come up with all sorts of new ways to pay people whose performance shows they don’t deserve it.” ...

    Some CEOs are willing to accept less compensation. Stephen Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group cut his pay 99 percent last year, to $350,000, after the firm swung to a $1.2 billion net loss connected to heavy write-downs. Numbing the pain was the $180 million Schwarzman pocketed in 2007, when he took his leveraged-buyout firm public.

  • Financial Times: US companies pull out of retirement plans. By Deborah Brewster. Excerpts: A wave of US companies are suspending payments to their staff 401(k) retirement plans in a bid to cut costs amid the economic downturn. Saks, General Motors, newspaper group McClatchy, clothing company J.Crew, FedEx, UPS, Coca-ColaBottling, Reader's Digest, Motorola, Regions Financial and Sprint Nextel are among the growing list of companies which have suspended contributions. Even the AARP, the influential advocacy group formerly known as the American Association for Retired Persons, will suspend contributions to its staff 401(k) plan from March 22 for the rest of the year.

    The growing number of suspensions appears to strike a blow against the viability of 401(k) plans, which were introduced 30 years ago as the main way that Americans should save for retirement, replacing defined benefit pension plans. Companies typically offered to match employee contributions up to 5 per cent of annual salary. The average 401(k) plan at the end of 2007 held about $65,000, but half of them held less than $19,000, according to a trade group, the Investment Companies Institute. They would hold much less today because of stockmarket falls. The suspensions mean that individuals can continue to contribute to their plans, but their companies will not.

News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
Minimize
  • No new articles this week.
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.

  • Huffington Post: Marie Douglas-David, Wife Divorcing Former CEO, Says $43 Million Not Enough. Excerpts: A 36-year-old Swedish countess divorcing a former CEO says she cannot live on $43 million. Marie Douglas-David, a former investment banker, says she has no income and needs her 67-year-old husband, George David, to pay her more than $53,000 a week more than most U.S. households make in a year to cover her expenses. ...

    Douglas-David has filed court papers showing she has more than $53,800 in weekly expenses, including for maintaining a Park Avenue apartment and three residences in Sweden. Her weekly expenses also include $700 for limousine service, $4,500 for clothes, $1,000 for hair and skin treatments, $1,500 for restaurants and entertainment, and $8,000 for travel. At that rate, Douglas-David would burn through $43 million in less than 16 years. The Census Bureau estimates that the median U.S. household income in 2007 was just over $50,000.

  • Jim Hightower: The Right Wing Weeps for the Rich. Full excerpt: Politicos and pundits on the right have resurrected an old bugaboo to hurl at Barack Obama's economic recovery efforts: Class War! Even New York Times columnist David Brooks, the soft-spoken but steadfast defender of America's corporate powers, has recently reached for this political cudgel to pound Obama's budget. He wails that the tax burden to finance such big initiatives as universal health care and energy independence "is predicated on a class divide." Brooks expresses despair that "no new burdens will fall on 95 percent of the American people," adding with a cluck of the tongue that "all of the cost will be borne by the rich and all benefits redistributed downward."

    Let us all now give a collective hug to the poor, put-upon rich, who for the past 30 years have been grabbing practically all of the financial gains generated in our economy, while the vast majority of folks have seen their real incomes decline. Then let us point out to Brother Brooks that such things as health care for all and a booming green economy actually will be of great benefit to everyone, including the rich.

    Yet, the Times columnist condemns "promiscuous" redistributionists who want to spread the wealth. With a straight face, he cries out for a conservative vision of "a nation in which we're all in it together – in which burdens are all shared broadly, rather than simply inflicted on a small minority."

    What planet has this guy been on the last couple of decades? This "small minority" he weeps for is the same bunch of elites who've created tax dodges, trade scams, deregulation fantasies, de-unionization schemes, financial hustles, and other mechanisms to redistribute wealth from workaday families to them. It's about time the burden shifts upward – and the benefits of our economy become broadly shared.

  • Jim Hightower: The Ridiculous Class Bias in America's Tax Code. Full excerpt: The rich truly are different from you and me, for they are treated differently. I'm not talking about the merely affluent, but about the ultra-rich – those Wall Street elites who annually pocket tens of millions of dollars each through such financial entities as hedge funds and private equity firms. While you and I earn the bulk of our money from wages (or "ordinary income," as economists so snobbishly call it), the richy-rich don't receive anything as pedestrian as income. No, no, they have "gains."

    Aside from the snoot factor, what's the difference? The tax code. Our ordinary income is taxed by the feds at a rate of up to 35 percent. The very rich, however, who haul in most of their money from capital gains and stock gains, pay only 15 percent on this income.

    What's at work here is another big difference between us and them. They have lobbyists and are able to make impressive levels of campaign contributions to key politicians – so, the tax code has been deliberately perverted to benefit them. Oh, tut-tut, sniff these swell ones, we take big investment risks with our money and we fuel America's entrepreneurial spirit. So we are, in fact, special and deserve preferential tax treatment.

    Good grief, Daddy Warbucks, spare us your bloated sense of entitlement. Mostly, you're risking other people's money, and mostly you're buying up existing companies, which you then cannibalize by firing workers and selling off corporate parts to fatten your take. Nothing noble about it.

    Income is income, and the superrich deserve no special break just because they make their money from money. As Warren Buffett has asked, why should billionaire investors like him pay a lower tax rate "than our receptionists do or our cleaning ladies?" It's a question of fundamental fairness.

  • New York Times: Off With the Bankers. By Simon Johnson and James Kwak. Excerpts: A.I.G. can hardly claim that its generous bonuses attract the best and the brightest. So instead, it defends the payments by arguing they’re needed to retain employees who are crucial for winding down transactions that are “difficult to understand and manage.” In other words, only the people who stuck the knife into the American International Group can neatly extract it for a decent burial.

    There is no reason to believe this.

    Similar arguments made during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, when currencies and stock markets collapsed in much of Southeast Asia, turned out to be a smokescreen to protect the executives who were partly responsible for the mess. Recovery from that crisis required Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand to close or consolidate banks. In all three countries, bankers protested, claiming that their connections with borrowers were critical to recovery.

    In South Korea, cozy relationships between banks and the large conglomerates called chaebols were a major reason for the crisis. But after the crisis hit, Korean bankers and companies insisted that the complexity of chaebols like Samsung and LG — with their many separate but interwoven businesses — meant that outsiders would not be able to distinguish good loans from bad. ...

    The lesson of all this is that when insiders have broken a financial institution, the most direct remedy is to kick them out. Traders are hardly in short supply, and you don’t need to rely on the ones who made the toxic trades in the first place. Companies must always plan around the potential departure of even their star traders, or they are certain to fail. A.I.G. does not need to keep all of its traders, especially since it takes far fewer people to unwind a portfolio than to build it up.

  • West Virginia Record: AIG situation an insult to state teachers, attorney says. By Justin Anderson. Excerpts: A Charleston attorney says the current controversy over AIG executives getting bonuses using federal bailout money to the tune of $165 million is not just an insult to taxpayers nationwide, but to the state's teachers. On behalf of a class of state teachers and school service personnel, Harry Bell filed a lawsuit last year against former state lawmaker Ramona Cerra, AIG and its subsidiaries and the state Consolidated Public Retirement Board.

    The lawsuit blames Cerra for persuading teachers to leave a defined benefit pension program for a 401K-style retirement plan administered by AIG. ...

    "Over 14,000 teachers and school service personnel in West Virginia are deeply interested in the debacle that is their retirement accounts," Bell said in a statement. "Their individual financial well-being was and continues to be placed at risk due to highly-leveraged, high-risk credit default swaps of collateralized debt obligations by AIG. "That is bad enough, but the recent bonus payments show a total disconnect from reality on the part of AIG."

  • Reuters: NY Cuomo: Tainted deals included Carlyle Group. Excerpt: More than 20 investment deals made by New York state's pension fund were "tainted" by a kickback scheme, and five of the investments involved The Carlyle Group, a giant private equity fund, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday. Cuomo charged the kickbacks were paid to Henry Morris, the chief fund-raiser for former state comptroller Alan Hevesi and the pension fund's chief investment officer. Both men are accused of having received fees from companies seeking to invest the pension fund money as part of a 123 count-indictment.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: NY Cuomo: Tainted deal included Carlyle Group" by "flatsflyer". Full excerpt: Three Finger Lou became the CEO of Carlye Group when he left IBM. Bush, Maylone, Majors, baker, are all partners in the Private equity Fund (Hedge) Fund. I think I read someplace that they are close to failure also.
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  • IBM employee letter to New York Congressman Hal. Full excerpt: Hi John: I joined your Town Hall conference call Wednesday evening Feb. 12th,I had difficulty joining the call and missed some questions. I have to declare due to the fact of the massive IBM layoffs in the Hudson Valley I was surprised not to hear this topic addressed. I have just been laid off from IBM Research in Yorktown Heights NY, along with thousands of other IBM US employees.

    The irony is these layoffs came a few days after IBM announced record profits. It was also around this time IBM CEO met with President Obama regarding the creation of future IT jobs within the US. I guess it was a great photo op for Sam Palmisano "IBM CEO" the photo's were splashed all over IBM internal web sites.

    To get to the point within IBM there appears to be a disturbing trend. IBM is hiring foreign Post Docs on student visas such as H1B as supplemental workers; the older experienced US employees are asked to train them, after training IBM then layoff the older workers, after a certain amount of time to avoid litigation IBM hires full time the foreign Post Doc. This trend appears to be a way for IBM to get cheap foreign labor, I presume this may be the trend throughout many US companies.

    As a NY State Congressman you should take heed and visit IBM Research Division Yorktown Heights NY and take careful note of the vast amount of IBM non US employees at this site, as compared to 5-6 years ago. The numbers are astounding.

    A year ago last November an older IBM colleague and personal friend was laid off after IBM hired a foreign Post Doc. The older IBM'er trained the foreign Post Doc, the Post Doc then took over some of his tasks, eventually the IBM'er was informed that he will no longer be required and was laid off, he subsequently accuses his management of firing him in order to open a position for the foreigner, IBM management obviously denies the accusation. Well guess what: he was laid off. IBM after a certain period of time which probably avoids litigation concerns hire the Post Doc as a full time employee at a lower pay rate.

    My case is similar, 2 years ago I worked with a excellent summer intern and recommended to my manager to hire this person. Last August he hired this person who is now a Post Doc and foreign national on a student visa working as a supplemental IBM employee. I was asked by my manager to train this person on very high tech specialized equipment. During this period after reflecting on what happened to my friend it crossed my mind that I may be training my replacement. Well guess what , I was right. I have been with IBM for 22 years and had excellent yearly reviews. My colleague was with IBM over 25 years and also had excellent reviews.

    The US work force is in dire need of immediate assistance. Not only do you see foreign workers taking US high tech jobs it is the same story throughout all US industry. Last April I spoke with laid off construction workers in San Francisco California who are being replaced by mainly illegal latino's who are taking advantage of the sanctuary city policy and pricing local workers out of the jobs market.

    My question is : WHEN and HOW or IF, you and your colleagues in Congress intend to address the sheer undermining of the US work force. Like most US citizens it is my opinion these concerns will fall on deaf ears. The US citizens approval rating for Congress clearly reflects my opinion. Prove me wrong

  • Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comment 3/13/09: I saw someone below commented that "offshoring is slowing down ". Don't bet your job on it. The new HR catch phrase is "Globalization - Employee Provisioning Model". My managers PBC has a line item for increasing "GR penetration". There is a percentage target but PBC obscured the value -- not to be shared with the victims. -annonymous-
    • Comment 3/14/09: It's time for those of us who were laid off and not presently employed during normal working hours to frequent the off-campus lunch places we all used to eat at and start handing out Alliance materials. Look at it this way -- they can't fire you for becoming a union organizer, they've already laid you off! -Anonymous- Alliance reply: That is an outstanding idea! Let's hope visitors here take your advice.
    • Comment 3/14/09: Duty Managers are the next RA casualty. IGA recovery is moving to India. -Beat Up-
    • Comment 3/15/09: From this site, Twitter & others I get the feeling that layoffs are now happening continuously in small doses - 1, 2, 10s. The new exit dates do not sync with the big January layoffs. People need to report so that the press knows. -annonymous-
    • Comment 3/16/09: GBS RA should be end of March -an-ee-mouse-
    • Comment 3/16/09: Hearing through good sources RA to come soon in Global Technology Services (GTS). Don't have any further info. -Vine-
    • Comment 3/16/09: GBS cuts coming end of this month. My second line slipped up and opened his mouth about it. Says his hands are tied and can't avoid the inevitable. -anonymous-
    • Comment 3/16/09: In GBS, currently training my replacement, a GR. Talking to my manager and all, I guess the list is out by now or they know who is going, only that the announcement will come at March end or sometime. -Tea Leaves says RA is coming-
    • Comment 3/17/09: GDF = Global Delivery Facility; SDM = Service Delivery Manager; PM = Project Manager; GR = global resource; SAs = system administrators; BOD = board of directors; IGA = IBM Global Account; RA = Resource Action; ITD = Integrated Technology Delivery; GBS = Global Business Services; GTS = Global Technology Services.. If not correct, they're close. -joe too-
    • Comment 3/18/09: I was "resource actioned" in January and recently got a new job doing more interesting work, so there is hope. I donated $120, the equivalent of one year's dues, to the Alliance. I'd like to say what I think of IBM's personnel policies (and their attitudes towards software developers), but I think I'll just sit back and watch what the executives do to this once-great company. It should be entertaining. I'm just glad to be out of there. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 3/19/09: With regard to the offshoring alert on your homepage. Its not just this account that is going off-shore this year. Most of the major accounts will be going. I work in GTS and they are relocating our jobs to Iowa. We were just told that many of our accounts are moving offshore and as such, we will not be going to Iowa. Instead, we will work with the account until the bitter end. Helping our 'comrades' in foreign countries to become proficient in our current jobs. Also, a bunch of S/As that did not relocate to Boulder are currently 'benched'. They don't KNOW what's going to happen next, but they can read the writing on the wall. They're basically sitting around like ducks in the water, waiting to be picked off. -Dizzy in Illinois- Alliance reply: We realize more accounts are going offshore. What we need is proof, like the email on the front page of the Alliance web site.
    • Comment 3/19/09: With Sun takeover, now they'll have a new batch of Sun contracts to offshore and more cover for the stealth layoffs. It's the only way their business model works. Bring on Congressional hearings. I'd like to hear these companies answer tough questions under oath about exactly how many American IT jobs sent to BRIC countries instead of the PR spin. Can't play it both ways. One thing for sure...you don't see any India Stimulus hiring Americans here. -annonymous taxpayer-
    • Comment 3/19/09: I was always 2+ in GBS, but this year got 3 and the informal 30 days plan to find a project. 30 days are over and nothing changed... I heard there are a lot of projects in the pipeline. Are they waiting for something to start the RAs, hoping to get those projects signed up, or it's just a way to "tell" people find a new job and leave on their own (and without severance). I mean who wants to stay after this kind of treatment. My resume was on dice, resumark.com and other sites the same day I got the "30 days plan" email. -gettingready-
    • Comment 3/19/09: Does anyone know how many US IBM employees there are? -anon- Alliance reply: There were 115,000 in 2008; 121,000 in 2007; 127,000 in 2006. Notice the trend downward. That is with hiring and new acquisitions. It looks like a lot of IBMers being pushed out the door, retiring or just leaving.
    • Comment 3/19/09: After 25 plus years and after receiving all that IBM owes me I just want to shout to the world. I HATE IBM WITH A PASSION. I am waiting for the day they take their crappy business overseas and go belly up. I am doing everything I can to inform people in the business world that IBM products suck. I talked one exec into dropping Lotus Notes for Outlook. Now IBM is going to buy Sun. Is that the same Sun that they have been bashing for the last 15 years? IBM's growth plan is to buy companies, strip them and take their customers.

      For those of you left at IBM here is what I have observed. First line managers are not managers anymore. They appraise people, gives awards and promotions based on what the 2nd line says. I have asked for two years why I was rated a certain way and my boss said the 2nd line made the decisions. A 2nd line I had met once. When I was laid off, a 2+, but they way, my manager said he was not part of the decision. Then he wasn't allowed to travel to close me out. He wouldn't even return a call one week before the end.

      If you are still working for IBM, you will not be long. There are so many people on the bench and so many people with nothing to do it is a very ominous sign for you. IBM's products are not selling. That is why they are buying companies left and right. IBM has business partners that get no support and no education so they don't know how to sell IBM products. Here is the sad thing. The rest of the layoffs will not offer severance packages. Those remaining are going to get totally screwed. -Done-

    • Comment 3/19/09: Well, well, well our Enterprise Automation team just had our mandatory all hands GDF meeting. What a load of hog wash. We were told in one breath that our department is fighting it with the justification that EA does not fit the model. Then in the next breath that the department has met the objectives of GDF by its LEAN implementation use of global resources in Brazil, (hmmm) that are coincidentally in a GDF.

      So, let me see if I have this right boss, EA management is defending the position that its organization does not fit the GDF model by presenting evidence of how successful it has been in GR GDF's. Yeah that'll work! I agree with my management, EA will not fit the GDF model and they can not make it work. With that said, just like we were told, chances are it will not happen, so do not worry. Who me worry, about selling my house in this economic environment or losing my job because I will not move? No worries, mate! -Tivoleer-

    • Comment 3/20/09: AIS (a cost centre within GBS) has just decided to make cuts - upwards of 10%. The RAed individuals will be notified next Thursday (26/3/2009), with 30 days notice to find a position elsewhere within IBM (outside of our division, 6c). With the AIS bench >15%, and immense pressure to staff projects with GR, this is no surprise. What is a surprise is we carry "staff aug" utilisation targets (95%+) yet are expected to do project-based work (eg non-maintenance).

      By comparison, our competitors (Accenture, EMC, etc) have utilisation targets of 75-80% at best. Obviously IBM thinks of AIS as a commodity (which it is in many ways), and with AIS being only 3 years old (spun-off from AMS in April 2006), its numbers have shrunk year-over-year. It is difficult to imagine the AIS experiment existing 2-3 years from now.

      As it still shares the same division number as AMS (both are 6c), I would think AMS and AIS will collapse back into a single entity again. Very difficult to differentiate custom application development when the GR price to customer (mind you not cost, but price) ranges from $25-30 per hour. Also nearly impossible to demonstrate industry alignment. -AIS-RA-

    • Comment 3/20/09: Received an email saying that everyone (GBS) must submit Claim for next week by 3/25. I'm sure this is in preparation for the upcoming RA. -Grim Outlook-
    • Comment 3/20/09: Should-I-Use-Them - I had a very good manager. I had taken a couple of days vacation and he told me when he informed me of my layoff to go in and change those days from vacation to personal days or floating holidays so that my severance would be higher. So, you can use personal days, at least up to what you have accrued thus far before you leave the company. -RA'd-2007-
    • Comment 3/20/09: OK... so ya wanna know what the buzz about the "GDF's" is all about. You only need be concerned about the GDF's if you work in ITD. There are currently four Global Delivery Framework Centers, located in East Fishkill, Boulder, Toronto, and in July, the Dubuque GDF will open.

      Soon there will be additional GDF's. California is looking like where the next one will be located due to the recent signing of a Strategic Outsourcing contract with Kaiser. While I personally do not work in a GDF, I know many who do, and most report that they are not happy campers. You see, there is no choice with regard to where you will work. If you live within 50 miles of the GDF, you will be commuting to work each day. So if you were a work at home employee, you aren't any longer! And now your manager decides if, when and how much you can work from home. If you were told to report to the GDF each day, but informed your manager that you'd rather not, well, then you just voluntarily resigned from IBM.

      Then there's the open landscape seating in the GDF. It does not make for a very conducive or productive atmosphere when one is trying to concentrate. The 300 or so other people sitting in the bullpen with you generate an awful lot of "office clatter". Finally, there are those employee's that live greater than 50 miles from the GDF, and lucky them! They don't have to report to the GDF each day. They can still work from home as much as they like. For a while. You see, their replacements are being hired as we speak. Perhaps the guy who lives more than 50 miles from the GDF is a Band 7 or 8. His replacement will be a Band 3 or 4.

      It will work like this: The new guy gets hired as a Band 4, reports to the GDF everyday, and when management thinks he or she is sufficiently trained, the folks who live more than 50 miles from the GDF are most likely history

      So now that you know what all the fuss is about, aren't you impressed? The GDF's are nothing more than a management fad de jour, simply another way to cut costs. What I cant figure out is this: I recall management encouraging employee's to work from home permanently. That was justified by all of the money IBM would save on office space because IBM no longer had to provide offices to employee's. Now that's it's back to everybody on site in the GDF, what the hell happened to everybody work from home??. -anonymous-

  • General Visitor's Comment page
    • Comment 3/13/09: Common guys...Sam is minting money ? kidding me ? He has only 100M after working his a** off for 30 freaking years in IBM. Do you have any idea how much money Madoff made by just depositing Investors money in Chase Bank ? 800 Million. Please leave Sam alone. He is a poor guy. Give him some slack. Do you want to see your CEO poorer than Madoff? -Sam_Is_Poor-
    • Comment 3/17/09: To -retired- I am also retired , I retired in 2007, thus Exodus2007. I am beginning to believe its Stockholm syndrome where the kidnapped person starts to side with their kidnappers. Folks lined up in the slaughter chute moving forward one step at a time and still they will not band together. I put up with the harassment and the stress years longer then I would have if I had not had a real defined pension waiting for me. A person I met was telling me about his pension from his union being 50 bucks a month for every year of service. Mine worked out to be that exactly. He worked on a Domino sugar assembly line. It seems like such a small amount but it adds up nicely as opposed to nothing. I spent at least half of my career working for an IBM that cared about me and even my family. Family dinners, Quarter century club luncheons every 5 years once you were in. Day in the Sun. Family outings. Now they have nothing. Just stress and angst. Yet they accept it . The best I can hope for is one of my button pushes resets their minds and they all stand up and shout no more. As a collective unit. As a UNION. -Exodus2007-
    • Comment 3/1809: For those who are interested, Virginia Rometty, an IBM Sr. VP (Global Sales & Distribution), was elected to the AIG board a few years ago. Interestingly, she's on the compensation & management resources committee and the nominating and corporate governance committees at AIG. -Think-
    • Comment 3/19/09: Poor Sun if they are sold to IBM. IBM will rape what is left of Sun. If McNeely is still around he better find some real estate in a BRIC country! -anonymous-
  • Pension Comments page
    • Comment 3/14/09: Anyone know anything about the income leveling choice when you take your pension. I am only 52 and someone told me that at my age it would be a good thing to select. Anyone know anything about this as an option? Thanks in advance. -Need to Decide-
    • Comment 3/15/09: To -Need to Decide- In my opinion, income leveling is bad at any age. At 52 unless you have bad health problems you should be able to work a menial job of some kind to make up the difference income leveling would provide. Then at Social Security age you will get to keep your social security instead of giving it to IBM to pay for the income leveling. So that when you are truly too old to work you will have the income you need. If you are too ill to work at 52 get an SSA disability lawyer and look into filing for early SS Disability. Do not, in either case, give IBM your SS income for a small short term gain. A minimum wage job will give you over 800 per month. 52 is too early to fix your lifetime income level. -Exodus2007-
    • Comment 3/16/09: -Need to Decide- I've got to echo what Exodus2007 said. Pension leveling is not good at any age. They will boost your pension income equal to what you will eventually receive with a pension plus social security. once the SS kicks in, they cut your pension down to much lower than you would get without leveling. The net is that inflation eats up your income, and you are in tough shape later on. The only way it is any good is if you know you are going to die before getting social security. Everyone I've known who selected it have regretted it later. If you can't live on your pension, you need to find some other source of income. Later, when SS kicks in at 62 or older, that will help cover the inflation that has decreased the value of your pension dollars. -Retired in 2006-
  • Raise and Salary Comments
    • Comment 03/21/09: Salary = 100K; Band Level = 9; Job Title = Senior Consultant; Location = Beijing; Message = Beijing -Anonymous-
  • PBC Comments
    • Comment 3/15/09: Band Level = 6; Years Service = 15; Prior Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr Bonus = 1.7%; Prior Yr Bonus = 4.6%; Message = Location: G.S in Canada -BE-
    • Comment 3/16/09: Band Level = 8; Years Service = 18; Prior Yr PBC = 1; This Yr PBC = 1; This Yr Bonus = 3%; Prior Yr Bonus = 5.7%; Message = SSO,Toronto, Canada --
    • Comment 3/19/09: Band Level = 7; Years Service = 3; Prior Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr PBC = 2; This Yr Bonus = 2800; Prior Yr Bonus = 5900; Message = location US -name-
    • Comment 3/21/09: Band Level = 6; Years Service = 3; Prior Yr PBC = 1; This Yr PBC = 1; This Yr Bonus = 9.2%; Prior Yr Bonus = 9.4%; Message = Slightly lower bonus percentage this year, but pay increase meant in real terms it was larger. Overall happy at a low level of IBM in the UK (in GBS) but feel I work hard for my 1s. -Always Hidden-
  • International Comments
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Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC.

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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