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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—April 11, 2009

  • American Public Media's The Story: If You Want a Job... Introduction: Rick Clark was laid off in January from his job at IBM. Rick was an engineer, working on the manufacturing side. He was shocked by what he heard in his supervisor's office, but not because he was given a pink slip. Rick was given a brochure that suggested he resign his position in the U.S., move to an IBM project in a developing country, and work there at the prevailing local wage. Rick saw that as a slap in the face. He joins Dick Gordon to tell about the day he was laid off and what's next for him.

    IBM's spokesperson Douglas Shelton says that Project Match is one of several transition opportunities for laid off employees. "For example, if [laid off employees] want to go into teaching, we can help with that, or into non-profit work, we can help with that. They also have the choice to apply to work [in other positions] for IBM in the US."

    Listen to MP3 interview with Rick Clark... (Editor's note: Do not miss this interview. It does an excellent job of providing the truth about IBM's "Project Match.")

  • The Huffington Post: IBM Trifecta: Files For Offshoring Patent, Offshores Jobs, Applies for Stimulus Funds. By Dawn Teo. Excerpts: IBM is currently seeking $30 billion in stimulus money to create 1 million jobs. CEO Sam Palmisano even met with Obama at the White House to discuss IBM's role in the economic recovery. But critics want to know whether those jobs would be in America or offshore. After all, over the last 3 years, IBM simultaneously took $45 million in aid from the state of New York to create jobs while surreptitiously sending thousands of American jobs overseas. In the worst case scenario, a portion of that $30 billion stimulus could fund IBM's efforts to help American companies outsource jobs more easily, since just last week Big Blue submitted a patent for software that would make outsourcing easier for everyone.

    While many companies practice outsourcing jobs to countries with lower wages, IBM is among a handful that proactively makes outsourcing easier for companies around the globe. Big Blue recently refiled a patent for software called Outsourcing of Services, which helps corporations move jobs offshore while maximizing tax breaks. The patent was introduced on March 26th according to Slashdot and withdrawn three days later, the same day that IBM cut 5,000 high tech jobs in the US.

    IBM's offshore outsourcing software is a complex tool that combines statistical analysis and actuarial math with qualitative analysis to automate the process of pinpointing the cheapest, most exploitable human capital on the planet. According to the patent description, it analyzes: qualitative and quantitative attributes that influence performance of sourcing strategy with respect to one or more quantitative measures, quantifies an impact of said qualitative attributes using said one or more quantitative measures, and optimizes the sourcing strategy.

    Lawmakers, IBM employees, and union leaders across the country have expressed outrage that IBM is asking for taxpayer handouts while aggressively engaging in offshore outsourcing of American jobs. IBM is one of the world's largest global sourcing firms, meaning IBM helps lots of other companies to send jobs offshore. It is impossible to determine how far-reaching IBM's offshore outsourcing tool is (beyond the thousands of IBM's own employees known to have been offshored) because no one knows how many jobs IBM has offshored at client companies.

    Last week, IBM began notifying high tech employees that they had been selected for IBM's Resource Reduction Action -- IBM's polite way of saying, "You're fired." Many have reported to Alliance@IBM that they are being required to train their replacements who will be based on India, China, Asia Pacific, or Latin America. According to the Wall Street Journal, this month's layoffs will total around 5,000 jobs. This round follows nearly 5,000 job cuts made by IBM in January and February.

    After the current round of offshoring, the Wall Street Journal estimates that 71% of IBM's workforce will reside outside of America. IBM employees in Rochester who were laid off last year were already voicing anger at seeing "job descriptions for their old positions popping up in China." ...

    Lee Conrad, former IBM employee and National Coordinator of Alliance@IBM, said that IBM knows how to play the system so that even IBM's own layoffs are often obscured from the public eye due to loopholes in the Warren Act, which requires companies to report mass layoffs. He says Alliance@IBM has been receiving reports of layoffs from IBMs largest employment centers (i.e., upper New York, Minnesota, Iowa, North Carolina's research triangle, Vermont) and from workers who telecommute from remote locations all over the country. ...

    Sources inside IBM say to expect more layoffs in June.

  • WCBS News Radio (New York): Did IBM Ship New York Jobs Overseas? Full excerpt: BM getting sweetheart deals from the state? State Assemblyman Greg Ball says yes. Ball, who's running for congress, claims IBM took millions of dollars from the state to keep jobs here - but then sent those jobs overseas. "IBM has a large, comprehensive, long-term view on off-shoring tens of thousands of jobs to india." Ball's now calling for a state investigation, "We're a dog with a bone. we're gonna fight for these jobs. We're gonna fight for these taxpayers dollars. And the people deserve answers." Meanwhile, IBM officials tell WCBS reporter Catherine Cioffi that they are committed to New York and keeping and creating jobs here.
  • Hudson Valley Times Herald-Record: $50M included in budget bill for IBM jobs, Assemblyman Ball says. Assemblyman calls again for layoffs probe, By By Christian Livermore. Excerpts: Assemblyman Gregory Ball, R-C-I-Patterson, said Thursday that another $50 million has been tucked into a state budget bill for retention of IBM jobs in New York, even after the company announced the layoff of scores of New York employees. A state spokesman said the $50 million was part of $140 million in incentives to IBM approved last year. Ball made the announcement at a press conference outside IBM's Sterling Forest location, where he called again for an investigation into IBM's layoffs and offshoring of New York jobs after accepting millions in state incentives to create 1,000 new jobs. ...

    "IBM has been negotiating for "taxpayer incentives while applying for a patent for offshoring American jobs," Ball said. "That's an indicator that they were not negotiating in good faith." IBM cut 274 jobs one month after receiving $45 million in December, and has since announced more layoffs. It also filed a patent, since withdrawn, for a computerized system that calculates how to offshore jobs while maximizing government tax breaks.

  • InformationWeek: Outsourced IBM Workers Denied Federal Aid. By Paul McDougall. Excerpts: The U.S. Department of Labor has rejected a request for assistance by a group of former IBM workers who claim their jobs were offshored to China. The workers had requested aid under the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, but a note published Tuesday in the Federal Register indicated that the request was denied. The decision applied to an appeal the workers made on an earlier denial that Labor Department handed down in February.

    The workers had been employed at IBM's Integrated Supply Chain Operations unit in Hopewell Junction, N.Y. They claim that they were laid off because IBM offshored their positions to a company-operated facility in China. ...

    Labor Department officials said the workers at the plant did not qualify for TAA assistance because they weren't producing a saleable product that had been displaced by imports. A Labor Department investigation found that the workers "managed existing applications in the IBM procurement portfolio that were used internally for purposes such as invoice support, Web orders, and procurement," according to the Federal Register.

    Those activities "are not considered production of articles within the meaning" of the Trade Act, the note said. "No production took place at the subject facility, nor did the workers support production of an article at any domestic location during the relevant period," officials ruled. ...

    However, President Obama in February signed a bill that could result in the program being applied more broadly. "These workers need to be aware of changes in the TAA program that go into effect in May and resubmit their request for aid," said Lee Conrad, an official at an IBM workers group called Alliance@IBM. "They also need to keep the heat on the Department of Labor and if need be contact their congressional representatives. They deserve the assistance that TAA offers."

  • New York Times: I.B.M. Withdraws $7 Billion Offer for Sun. By Steve Lohr and Ashlee Vance. Excerpts: After the legal review, I.B.M. shaved its offer Saturday from $9.55 a share, the proposal on the table late last week, to $9.40 a share, said one person familiar with the talks. The offer was presented to Sun’s board on Saturday, and the board balked. The Sun board did not reject the offer outright, but wanted certain guarantees that the I.B.M. side considered “onerous,” according to that person. ...

    The breakdown in the talks, said the second person close to the negotiations, came over the shifting balance of price and conditions for the deal. For example, I.B.M. scrutinized the “change of control” contracts with Sun executives, senior engineers and managers. I.B.M. felt that the payments to senior employees were higher and extended more broadly across the company than it had anticipated. I.B.M. pointed to the change of control contracts as one reason it was reducing its offer price.

  • ComputerWorld: White House says U.S. needs H-1B visas to avoid 'competitive disadvantage'. Obama administration defends H-1B rule in lawsuit challenging 2008 Bush ruling on visas. By Patrick Thibodeau. Excerpts: In a filing with the appeals court late last month, the Obama administration offered a defense of the H-1B visa program while repeating many of the same arguments used by the Bush administration in defending the ruling in the initial case. "The inability of U.S. employers, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, to obtain H-1B status for highly skilled foreign students and foreign nonimmigrant workers has adversely affected the ability of U.S. employers to recruit and retain skilled worker and creates a competitive disadvantage for U.S. companies," the government argued.

    The filing is the first public statement by the Obama administration about the controversial H-1B visa program. "All we have seen from Obama about looking out for the interest of U.S. workers is talk -- [we're] still waiting for the change," said John Miano, founder of the Summit, N.J.-based Programmers Guild. The Programmers Guild lawsuit contends that the student visa extension would exacerbate problems already created by the H-1B visa for U.S. workers in the science, technical and engineering fields -- including job losses and wage pressures through "a rule that creates more direct competitors for them by increasing the number of foreign workers" competing for jobs.

  • eWeek: IBM to Employees: You Pay for Internet Now. By Don Sears. Excerpt: InformationWeek is reporting that IBM workers who work out of home offices will no longer be reimbursed for Internet access. While this trend may not surprise most of you who already pay for Internet access at home and happen to work there, it's been a longstanding practice at IBM since before the Internet was your source for everything. The new rules go into effect for IBM employees on May 1.
  • HR On Your Desktop: It's Hard To Let This One Go - IBM Again. Full excerpt: The other day I posted a short article about IBM applying for a patent for a method of offshoring jobs. There's just something odd about that especially since the head of HR at IBM was recently named HR Executive of the Year by our friends at Human Resource Executive Magazine. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but patenting a model that weights, among other things, government incentives as part of a decision process to determine whether you keep workers vs. laying them off is just not right. That's a workforce equation that seems to deal with inanimate commodities rather than human beings - the backbone of your company. I'm sure there is a spin on this but I cannot imagine it would be plausible. For a company that is openly seeking stimulus monies from the government to deepen its pockets, the current administration should factor this revelation in its considerations and just say no thanks. But I'm not confident.

    Any of you out there have a model for determining how and when you will offshore your workforce? No seriously - a real HR professional with a model like this? Lets hear from you...

  • A reader comment concerning the above blog follows:
    • IBM used to be ranked as one of the best companies for which to work on a regular basis. For US employees, IBM has become one of the worst. Thanks, Randy, you remind me of Catbert of Dilbert fame. You are living proof that there are HR leaders who are truly e_v_i_l.

      I've worked there nearly 3 decades - IBM has become a sweatshop with insane workloads, incessant cost cutting, constantly pursuing a "how can we cheat them this year" agenda. Job security regardless of how well you do your job is nil. Every quarter for the last 5 years, you live in fear that you'll get fired, even though you are super at doing your job and you have more work than you can possibly handle.

      Age discrimination is alive and well at IBM - when you look at the layoff packages, they are always skewed to take out older employees.

      Add in the offshoring of everything that can be as fast as possible. A few years ago, IBM had around 170,000 US employees. At the beginning of this year it was 115,000. Now within a month from now, it will be 105,000. Last, they plan to be at 35,000 US employees at year end 2012 - that's 4-5,000 firings per quarter.

      IBM is a third rate company, run by third rate thugs raping the company, stockholders and employees to get their insane executive pay. All that matters is the short term stock price, forget the long term viability of the company.

  • HR On Your Desktop: Are Employees Assets or Liabilities? Full excerpt: I've been around the HR world long enough to remember when employees were definitely assets. In difficult times, CEOs went to bat for their employees as did HR directors. I was working in the oil and gas industry in the early 80's when the market collapsed. It was a difficult time and some of our specialty subsidiaries ran out of work - literally. We kept them afloat for months yet in the end they had to be closed. When we closed them our CEO was clear and specific in cases where people were within a few years of receiving their full pension - make them whole. You don't see that much any more do you? What has changed? When did employers decide that promises made in exchange for work done were no longer sacred?

    In recent years, we've often heard the words "we're returning to our core competencies". Translation: "We don't know how to manage this part of our business so we're... laying off the people, selling the business...etc..." When management fails to do it's job - manage the segments of its business they chose to be involved in, they should be accountable if it fails. But often, the victims are the workers who quickly go from assets to liabilities when management fails to manage. The layoffs or sell-offs (and subsequent layoffs) often translate into higher bonuses for executives making decisions to "return to core competencies" - after all, selling relatively low performing segments of your business or reducing the workforce and therefore the labor expense improves the bottom line. We've all seen examples where companies sell off low performing or under-performing segments of their chosen businesses only to have them flourish under management of a new owner. What does that say about the management of the existing company? Are those managers who chose those business segments, managed them poorly to the point of divesting themselves of those segments liabilities as well? You have all have seen and probably experienced this in your career.

    It would seem that employees are mere commodities these days - a liability on the balance sheet. Ask your CFO or your CEO how they view employees - asset or liability. More on this in the next few days but in the meantime, are employees really assets in your business?

  • Two readers comments on the above blog:
    • Any company that says employees are a liability is a lousy place to work and doesn't deserve the employees they have. But there are so many companies that claim via internal and external propaganda that their employees are assets, but treat them like dirt. One example is IBM - offshoring US jobs as fast as they can while trying to keep from reaching the press and claiming that 10,000 jobs lost in the US in one quarter is "normal operations".
    • I've been an IBMer for 35 years. Employees were considered assets as long as the company was governed by visionaries and long term strategists. As soon as the governance was given to bean counters, employees were considered as charges, then soon after, as more dangerous than competitors. Finance people destroying world's economy is not anything new.
  • Forbes: Much Too Golden Years. Fat cat chief executives are almost always used as Exhibit A in the national debate about the rich getting richer. Bolstering that case is a growing body of evidence showing that a burgeoning cohort of chief execs are getting lush compensation deals that last long after they've driven out of the corporate parking lot.

    Take Edward Whitacre Jr., who retires this month as chairman and chief executive of AT&T. On his watch, the company grew from a regional telephone provider to the country's leading provider of wireless, broadband and regular phone service. AT&T now has more than 100 million customers and $63 billion in operating revenue.

    Though its stock price rose 57% in the last year alone, "over the five fiscal years through 2005, Whitacre received $85.2 million in compensation, while total shareholder return was negative 40.3%," according to The Corporate Library, a corporate governance research firm. The Library, in turn, gave AT&T's board a "D" for overall effectiveness.

    But Whitacre's golden parachute has quite the platinum lining. His pension package includes $4.5 million in annual payments for life, plus an $18.8 million lump sum. He'll also get $25,000 in country club fees, $6,500 in annual home security costs and access to the corporate jet for 10 hours a month. AT&T will also cover up to $19,000 in taxes for these benefits, except for use of the aircraft. Whitacre and his family will also receive free health insurance for life. Plus, he'll get just over $1 million a year for three years to work as a consultant to AT&T during his retirement. ...

    IBM: Lou Gerstner got a 10-year consultancy contract worth up to $2 million annually, plus expenses and full use of IBM facilities and services, such as office, cars, aircraft and financial planning. He only has to work one month out of the year. His successor, Samuel J. Palmisano, stands to receive more than $3 million in pension annually for the rest of his life after he retires.

  • ComputerWorld: Sallie Mae plans to return jobs from India to U.S. Its reverse-offshoring plan will create 2,000 jobs in 18 months. By Patrick Thibodeau. Excerpts: Student loan provider Sallie Mae Inc. said today that it plans to return its offshore operations to the U.S., creating some 2,000 IT and call center jobs. The reverse-offshoring move by Reston Va.-based Sallie Mae, formerly known as SLM Corp., will be completed in about 18 months and appears to offset some of the company's previously announced layoffs.

    "The current economic environment has caused our communities to struggle with job losses," Albert Lord, Sallie Mae's CEO, said in today's announcement. "They need jobs, and we will put 2,000 of them into U.S. facilities as soon as we possibly can."

New on the Alliance@IBM Site
  • Click & Take action on job cuts and offshoring! IBM has terminated almost 10,000 employees over the past 3 months. These are not low-paid, low-skilled people being fired. They are highly educated, highly paid and experienced employees. They are also taxpayers.
  • To IBM Employees, if you want to calc the totals RA'ed in your division and get a count/percent RA'ed by Age from your Employee Package PDF; give this JobCutsStats tool a shot. Download it from here: http://groups.google.com/group/ppbiz-group/files. Just unzip to a folder. See the Help doc for usage instructions.
  • RA's employees needed to talk to media. Anonymous if you wish. Send email, name and phone number to ibmunionalliance@gmail.com Alliance@IBM (2/9/2009)
  • The IBM Stockholder meeting is in Miami, FL April 28th 2009. If anyone is going to the stockholder meeting and would like to participate in a picket line or talk to the media, please contact Alliance@IBM VP Earl Mongeon at jemongeon@myfairpoint.net. Earl will be speaking to his resolution on executive compensation. Be aware that the open comment section of the stockholder meeting is severely limited time wise, by CEO Palmisano. The Alliance will not be holding any activities other than a possible picket line this year due to the cost of going to Miami. In the past we have put out a call for employee and ex-employee participation only to see little participation.
  • Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comment 04/05/09: to -pickme-, I know in my department one of the selected told our manager that he wanted a package if a lay off was coming (this was told to me through the grapevine). He was one of the selected to be fired on 4/27. But, my first line is a old-timer (30+ yrs) and is pretty good. She actually told us all in a dept. meeting a couple of days before Black Thursday that a lay off was coming and some of us will be affected (which management is not suppose to do). At least it prepared us for the worst. -anon-
    • Comment 04/05/09: IBM, just like almost every other company,is internet dependent. IT dependency requires high speed internet services. Both your business applications productivity and Voice-Over-IP telephone service require this business tool to be in place - no business tools, no ability to work. Required business tools for company operations, whether your officially assigned Work At Home or Brick and Mortar office, are the company's financial responsibility, not the employee. Large companies like IBM have extremely financially benefited from Work At Home assignments with billion$$$$ saved in reduced real estate cost, facilities operations costs (YES, it includes expensive TELCO systems for phone and high speed internet), insurance, etc. Do you agree that teachers should buy pencils, paper and other supplies for their students just so they can teach? Do you think you should pay for for your high speed back at the company office? IBM is looking to save $16 to $20 million in the US by incorrectly shifting the business burden of high speed tools onto the employees. CEO Sam Palmisano's compensation package was $21 million for 2008. -another IBM serial#-
    • Comment 04/05/09: Greedy Sam has 41% approval on Glassdoor. Who the hell voted in favour of him? His executive buddies? I just lost a decent contractor who was doing a tri role of architect, consultant and developer on my team. We were paying him bottom dollar and his contract came up for renewal. He was told to take a pay cut for the 2nd time in 3 years. He found another job at a bank at double the IBM salary! IBM sucks - the workers are talented, the executives are shallow and greedy. -DM-
    • Comment 04/05/09: Are there any protests planned for the stockholders meeting in Miami? Did anyone get a permit? Figure there must be at least some of us with plenty of time to take a trip south to show the shareholders faces on these decisions. I'm sure there are still 'conscientious investors' that buy IBM stock. Show them what they're doing. The only way the corporate greed will stop is if it hurts the stock price. Either sell it or get others to quit buying it out of fear that Sam's actions will cause their investment to lose value. -Lost it-
    • Comment 04/06/09: to anonymous asking about finding internal jobs of those who got RAed. I got RA'ed.. and even though my manager said that to look for internal postings, I found out from another manager that internal postings are in a holding pattern until after June/July time frame from 3rd possible job cuts. Only way to save yourself from an RA is a direct business case from the transferring manager why he/she would want you in their department. -I B-e M-ad-
    • Comment 04/06/09: I have been laid off after serving IBM USA for more than half my lifetime, I was a part of the Corporate Development Team in IBM US NY . My team was reduced from 11 - 25 to paltry 5 - 15 , with many having been there for more than 15 years . What I have seen and heard is that all labour will be moved to IBM Developing countries like India, LA, and CEEMEA, there is a strict NO NO on labour acquisitions and more emphasis on cutting all finance jobs in IBM USA. This is a preview of more cuts to come in the coming months according to confidential memo circulated. The funny part is the real high paying executives earning fat salaries do not loose their jobs ever and real worker looses his job . Its sad that after so many years of being with IBM , this is what I get. -IBMer Laid off-
    • Comment 04/07/09: I have it from good sources that the Allianz/Firemans Fund account has brought on a global resourcing manager. The process is now beginning to rid this account of the remaining US ibmers in favor of South American workers. MQ Series, Middleware, CICS, and other technical groups are affected. By the end of 2009, 99.8% of the US workers on this account will be gone. -oh-boy-
    • Comment 04/07/09: AS SEA&T organization took a 40-50% hit in the 3/26 RA. For those who made it thru this time, the mission is being moved to GDC's by year end. That combined with no new work coming in does not bode well. -Incognito-
    • Comment 04/07/09: Anyone who got RA'ed had to have their PBC submitted before they can leave? Gee, what a friggin' waste of time, eh? -anonymous-
    • Comment 04/07/09: Many if not all accounts are bringing in IBM offshore teams. The IBM execs present this as a strategy to clients. Clients present requirements for offshore team use and IBM competes for new contracts by perfecting their own offshore teams. Existing account IBM execs are judged by how well they push the work to their offshore workers. -anonymous-
    • Comment 04/07/09: "Rick Clark was laid off in January from his job at IBM. Rick was an engineer, working on the manufacturing side. He was shocked by what he heard in his supervisor's office, but not because he was given a pink slip. Rick was given a brochure that suggested he resign his position in the U.S., move to an IBM project in a developing country, and work there at the prevailing local wage. Rick saw that as a slap in the face. He joins Dick Gordon to tell about the day he was laid off and what's next for him. -stinkin_ass_company-"

      Oh my God, what a story. You can't make this stuff up. Unbelievable. You could tell the guy doing the interview was stunned with the stupidity of the whole thing. What a stupid company IBM has become. At the end of the interview I got teary eyed when I heard what Rick's 12 year old daughter said about what happened to her Dad's job. This is absolutely pathetic. Someone should grab Sammy by the balls and make him listen to this interview. Sammy and his executive stooges just don't get it. -IBMer-

    • Comment 04/07/09: Two thirds of my team is gone. Work is being divided up. Training my replacement. All work is stopping. It kind of fits that another RA would be coming at the end of the Quarter. I can't see them keeping me when there is absolutely nothing to do. Besides, there's that additional goal of outsourcing all internal accounts. That is what I've written to all my local, state, and federal representatives. -Internal Accounts Are Dead-
    • Comment 04/07/09: It's been like pulling teeth trying to figure who got RA'd in Vancouver/Victoria at the end of March. I've heard numbers like 30 people in the Vancouver/Burnaby area. I've confirmed only 1 (a friend) and unconfirmed a few other names. It is almost like the people who are RA'd were told to try and keep it quiet....and they actually are. -West Coast Canada-
    • Comment 04/07/09: I was RAed in the January SWG massacre, and had my papers reviewed by a lawyer, and from all indications, recent RA packages are pretty much the same. So here goes...
      1. If you look for, and are offered a comparable job in IBM, you get no severance. Comparable job is defined in the package as no more than a 10% drop in pay, but could be a different band or job function or shift. It was unclear if that included requiring a move (but that might fall under "your job is moving" rather than an RA). If you turn down for any reason a comparable job in IBM, whether or not you were looking for one, you get no severance. Good idea, if you don't want to get "stuck", is limit your contact with your manager and HR, because that is the only place from which an "official" offer can come.
      2. If you accept another job with another employer before your separation date, you do not by definition forfeit your severance. Nowhere in your employment agreement does it say you can't have two jobs. You need to weigh how you can balance and juggle in the overlap, especially if it is a competitor or anything with a conflict of interest. Best advice though, is accept, with a start date after your IBM separation date.
      3. On looking for another job - so far, the JOBS system internally is usually pretty bare. And of those jobs that are there, rest assured there are many, many roadblocks to you getting one. In 2009, there are fractional percentages of people who found other internal IBM jobs. I personally had 2 that were perfect for me, and there were real openings that got yanked as soon as they tried to fill them with RAed people (like me) although I was a perfect fit and the manager had growth plans approved and I had decent PBCs and.... so don't get your hopes up.
      4. For anyone thinking that req's are being held back till after the RA is done, realize this... Any manager KNOWS that after this is over, ALL MANAGERS are going to be short staffed and will not be letting anyone loose for internal movement. So if they have openings (planned) they know their (almost) only chance to fill them in 2009 is now. So there is nothing being held back because after, there won't be anyone to fill them anyway.
      5. The separation agreement to sign to get your severance - my lawyer said it was one of the easiest he's read. It's not terribly restrictive and imposes no major hardship unless you were planning to recruit IBMers to a new place. I signed mine at my exit interview and my severance check was ready and I cashed it that day.
      6. The exit interview - as I said in another post, it is basically just to zero out and level set that you gave IBM what you owe (workstation, credit card, etc) and a settling of accounts, with you giving IBM back any advances etc, and them making sure you get what's owed to you.
      7. Make sure you communicate to your manager EXACTLY what you are expecting in severance, last paycheck, vacation, and all that stuff because if it's wrong at the exit interview, you're STILL separated from IBM and you have to deal with all that as a former IBMer. Most of all, realize this.... For all it's stupidity, IBM has most often hired the smartest, most driven, dedicated people there are (this means YOU!) Since I left, I've been seeing just how, well, doofy vast numbers of people in our industry are. You are the best of the best. Go out and find the next great thing for you. You've got the goods, just use em. Yeah, rah, rah, and all that, but I've been seeing it since I left. Don't get in a rut. Use what you got, and what IBM helped add to, and make the best of it. Success is your best revenge! -To questions on severance and other jobs in IBM-
    • Comment 04/08/09: I have more than 30 years of service with IBM and was RA'd on March 26th. I was told that my last day is April 27th, but that I would be "bridged" to 4/30. I will retire from IBM on April 30. If you're in the same situation as me, think about this; your last paycheck will be a little short. You're not going to be paid for the three days your on the bridge because the bridge is an unpaid pre-retirement leave of absence! Instead, you will be paid through April 27th. How cheap is that?? -Anonymous-
    • Comment 04/08/09: RE: Rick Clark: I remember my 12 year old son when I was RA'd. He asked, does this mean we're going to be poor? The greedy executives in this country have no heart and certainly no soul, just greed, and need to be stopped. They don't care what this does to families. The best thing that could happen to this company is to put a Union in place to stop the carnage. These executives will certainly rot in hell. -GoneIn07-
    • Comment 04/08/09: Let go in March 2009 action from Rational division of IBM. I found out yesterday that my job responsibilities are being moved to China. Good luck to those remaining at Rational, as more jobs will be sent to the China lab. -Former_rational-
    • Comment 04/08/09: As mentioned here, the SEA&T Group under Application Services (6C) GBS took a significant hit as work performed by this group has gone overseas. A significant portion of the IGA work is going overseas. The person (Andrew Roberts) that hired me a few years ago has been in India since last September training the staff over there. The people that remain better start looking for another job now because by the end of the year this group will disappear. First it was the Test organization and then Systems Engineering. -Ex-SEA&T Member-
    • Comment 04/08/09: I would NEVER vote for Saxby Chambliss or any political candidate that does not support the labor issues. I guess there is strong evidence of this dying republican party for this exact reason. They just don't get it, just as our execs in IBM, they just don't get it. -No-Vote-For-You- Alliance Reply: To be fair, Alliance@IBM has several members that are Republicans and Conservatives. Our former Treasurer is a Conservative. The important point is, that they ALL support organized labor and union contracts. The Republican politicians, on the other hand, are mostly anti-union and seem to be anti-Employee Free Choice Act as well. We can't leave out Democrat politicians in that part of the definition either. There are blue dog Democrats that are against the EFCA as well as anti-union. They are keeping a low profile though, since our President is pro-labor and has vowed to sign the Employee Free Choice Act bill, when it comes to his desk.
    • Comment 04/08/09: Have a friend who was RA'd Mar 26. He is customer facing and told a customer he was leaving and when asked why told the truth. Customer called 2nd line and asked why IBM is getting rid of the best XXXXX they ever dealt with. 2nd line called employee at his office and said "if you tell ANYONE you were resourced or discuss any of this with anyone you will be fired and lose your severance package". It will be interesting as he transitions to the person picking up his workload in a 3 way with the customer. Does he lie? Since I am much more vindictive than him I would wait until April 26 and call all my customers. Thanks again IBM. I guess they are ashamed of what they are doing!!! -RAvished-
    • Comment 04/08/09: Heard rumor from a 3rd line manager in the Software Group(RTP, NC) of a force-out of 30 year+ employees. Sorry, no details given. -buy_my_ash_sammy-
    • Comment 04/08/09: Lots of closed door management meetings taking place today in SWG. What's next ? -Long time beemer-
    • Comment 04/08/09: RAvished: I was told by my management to NOT say anything to any of our clients as it is against IBM 'rules'. 2/3 of our team has been laid off, and the client is still not aware. Every quarter we get an 'address to employees' from our BA management. According to them everything is great and there was not one word about any layoffs and not even a 'thank you' to those laid off. This company really has become a piece of crap. Note that Project Match is really intended for people on H1-Bs, so they can take what they learned in US back home. IBM is very clever. -glad_to_leave_IBM- Alliance reply: Tell us and we will tell the client and congress. Maybe if the clients and the people of America know where the work is going maybe we can put a stop to it. Enough is enough. We can not have an economic recovery if work continues to be offshored. IBM USA employees should not be losing their jobs as the executives get richer. Send info to allianceibmunion@gmail.com with all the details.
    • Comment 04/08/09: -RAvished- Yes, it is true there is an "unofficial gag order" imposed by IBM based on recent RA actions. Of course IBM will deny it. Remember you are not covered by the USA Bill of Rights when working for a USA corporation. It is true! No freedom of speech. Mo freedom of expression. No freedom of association. But... That is why Section 7 of USA labor law was created to give employees a VOICE in their workplace and the right to organize and join a union. -IBMUnionYes-
    • Comment 04/08/09: Several people let go from Winnipeg, Canada AS including the former Practice Lead, the Resource Deployment Manager (RDM), and a few others -Winnipeg-
    • Comment 04/08/09: I still don't get/understand the whole point of, whoever is up top making the decisions is willing to put his internal business on the line by getting rid of top talent. If all the internal projects are going overseas who is on the hook for making it all work, because honestly, I had to help a GR just today with something we have been doing for 2 years now and even then, he just said can you do it for me.... -KARMA_IS_A_BIYATCH_SAM-
    • Comment 04/08/09: Most of the RA'd resources in GBS AS were transferred to practice administrators - now for next 19 days their first line managers are PAs who will process the separations. If you are familiar with the organization and know how to navigate blue pages you can actually see the names of people impacted. -ASAIS-
    • Comment 04/09/09: Friends, I have been reading with interest the comments here since the rumours of the Jan RA started. The Alliance and the site are doing a great job. This is my first post. I am still working but see my days numbered. However, that does not bother me except for the potential of financial catastrophe it could become for my family. I know it hurts to be RAed. But believe me it is bad for those who are left behind. It is obvious to all except the bean counting executives, led by the greatest bean counter of all, that offshoring is a disaster.

      Due to the reluctance to actually ship work at second and first line lever, those who remain behind are compelled to pick up the work of those who have left. I pray I get RAed in June and I am sure going to work towards it to get out of this day in and day out overload. Everything tells me this great company is getting screwed - royally. Off shoring may be cheaper only to the pure blind. Anyone who has used the offshored help desk services from India would know this. I have vowed never to call them. The offshoring work quality stinks.

      In WebSphere the L3 was offshored. As far as I know it came back to US because they were jokers putting on a facade of servicing customers. When the Indian help desk is called they make you repeat 5 times everything that is already written in the ticket, and then once more finally when they understand it. In the end you get tired because of the time consumed and then give up because of the morons at the help desk.

      This company is getting royally screwed. Let it be. I see long term benefits of getting screwed. The bean counters will learn the hard way. We will be out of job for 5 years and then many of us will be called back because of the disastrous results of offshoring. We can then piss on IBM or accept at our terms. The youngsters joining today are no match for us the long-termees. Sincere but generally not as hard working or good communicators. They will need us old timers who think the IBM way. The bean counter bastards will be lucky if they get some of us in mood to go back. So let us take the package as long as the company can afford it. I know there will be a brief hardship once RAed. But it is not worth staying in a sinking ship. Better be a truck driver rather than listen to these money slaves any more. -IBM-Toronto-CurRational-XWebSphere-

    • Comment 04/09/09: This is the response that I received from my congressman, John Hall. He is a great congressman and we need more representatives like him, Jim Ball, Bernie Sanders and others. PLEASE keep up the letter-writing campaign. I do believe that at least some of our reps are not only listening but also taking steps to help protect labor. Of course, we still need to take steps ourselves--such as joining the union! -Out in 2005 and Happy-

      April 8, 2009


      Thank you for contacting me about job cuts at IBM. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this issue.

      Thank you for contacting me about job cuts at IBM. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this issue. Any government funding or support to corporations should be used to create jobs here in the United States, not to outsource them overseas. If IBM can afford to buy up smaller companies and pay its CEO millions with the economy in its current state, then it shouldn't be outsourcing American jobs while asking for government assistance. I recently cosponsored H.R. 1874, the Patriot Corporations of America Act, which encourages corporations to keep jobs here in the U.S. It gives a preference in federal contracting to and cuts corporate taxes for companies that:

      • Produce at least 90 percent of goods and services in the United States
      • Do not pay management-level employees at a rate more than 10,000 percent of the compensation of its lowest paid employee
      • Conduct at least 50 percent of research and development in the United States
      • Contribute at least 5 percent of payroll to a portable pension fund for employees
      • Pay at least 70 percent of employees' health insurance costs
      • Maintain a policy of neutrality in employee organizing drives
      • Provides full differential salary and insurance benefits for all National Guard and Reserve employees who are called to active duty
      • Have not violated federal regulations, including regulations relating to the environment, workplace safety, labor relations, and consumer protections

      H.R. 1874 has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means as well as the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Please be assured that I will fight to ensure it is considered this year. Again, thank you for sharing your concerns. If I can assist in any other way, please do not hesitate to contact me. Sincerely, John Hall, Member of Congress.

    • Comment 04/09/09: Laid off 2/23 from SW Sales role. Confirmed my commission history for the 36 months average calc in writing with the commissions analyst and the RA Project Office and signed the release. Now they are going back in April and saying I was not a commissioned employee after 12/31/08 to avoid paying my commission severance. Lucky for me they not only paid me commission in 2009 and withheld salary, they had me closely supervised on a sales PIP! So it's news to me that any change occurred in my job role. I have an attorney looking at the "bait and switch" wondering if this is widespread (a la class action lawsuit?) -JustwhenyouthinkyouareOUT-
    • Comment 04/10/09: To All Who Were RA'd and want to keep their data. Here are some suggestions: If you have archived mail and can install a trial copy of notes, then make sure you keep your notes id and your mail archive, burn them to a CD if needed if you don't have another laptop at the moment. If your archive is too big for one CD then break it up, create a new local database and split the current archive by increments of a year or six months. Most of you were in technical roles and should be able to do that. If you don't know how then call the help desk -- you just don't need to tell them why you are calling. If some of your emails are really important then forward to your personal email address. Think about yourself and be smart. Buy a comparable laptop used from Lenovo, Ebay, Craigs list etc. and have someone help you transfer data if need be or get yourself a small USB san disk drive and do it that way. Hope this is helpful. -stillanibmer_notforlong-
    • Comment 04/10/09: Several years ago when the CWA started its first drive for unionization at a meeting held at the Best Western in Poughkeepsie NY. Information was obtained from an IBM internal leak that pertained to future projections of outsourcing American jobs overseas. Initially when IBM was first confronted about their intentions of eliminating American jobs,of course they were in denial. Eventually admitted that Yes, that a small percentage ?? of American workers would be called surplus to under go a globalization process. Today this information is all about fact with 10s of thousands of American jobs being exported to foreign Countries. CWA Thanks again for being honest and bringing this information to light. IBM you lied … -Made in America?-
    • Comment 04/10/09: Was given notice very early march. My last day is also April 27. Been with the company for 17 years. Last PBC rating was a 2. Worked in the Software Group at the Markham Lab. Was told to work from home to make room for a shipment of employees to come in from another office being closed. Funny part is that my manager said when June 22nd rolls around, most of those transferred employees are going to be given notice that their end date is going to be July 20th. 10K of staff need to go from SWG, S&D and .COM ... <Anonymous>

  • General Visitor's Comment page
    • Comment 04/06/09: If you start to complain about the change in policy for high speed internet, your manager will just tell you to go back into your local office - and it doesn't matter how far it is from your home. The only way to get reimbursed is for your local office to say there is no space available to seat you. Anyone actually been to a brick and mortar IBM office in the last couple of years? THEY ARE PRACTICALLY EMPTY! How much money is IBM wasting on lease/running these empty offices? IBM RESO is a joke and have made some bad decisions. -anon-
    • Comment 04/07/09: The removal of the reimbursement for home internet /phone services is a major and very disgusting cash grab. Discussed it with manger and said I did not wish to pay for internet service myself, so give me a space in an IBM office. Was then told I still have to pay for a home internet connection as it is now part of my JOB to be able to get on-line and respond to pages within 15 minutes. Nice way to force a salary reduction on people. Having a internet connection was not part of the job requirements when I was hired decades ago. Or is this another way to try to get people to quit without handing out packages? -peter-
    • Comment 04/07/09: Canada got the official email today about the internet connection being non expensible. No problem! I will do 2 hours a month less work and when I am on call, those priority one issues will need to wait an hour so I can drive to the nearest office to log in and look at the problem. As far as I am concerned, my internet connection which I pay for is for personal use only. -DM-
    • Comment 04/09/09: I did a little research on Ginni Rometty, Sr. Vice President of IBM Global Sales and Distribution (of Your Job Overseas). I noticed that she quickly got the Director of AIG's Compensation Committee off her resume. Check it out. She updated her resume March 2009. http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/biography/10069.wss

      Nice one Ginni. She is still IBM's 7 million dollar woman and one of the 50 most powerful women in the business world. Why doesn't she use some of her power to save some IBM jobs in the US? Note that you can download a hi-res 2MB jpeg of Ginni so you can hang it on your wall. Just don't throw darts at it. LOL What a friggin joke. -IBMer-

    • Comment 04/09/09: Anyone else notice that those obnoxiously cheery CLAIM reminders went away after 3/19? I wonder if the person writing them got sacked. (Or heaven forbid, management thought it wouldn't be appropriate in light of all of the layoffs...) -Anonymous-
  • Pension Comments page
  • Raise and Salary Comments
  • PBC Comments
    • Comment 4/08/09: "Will IBM ever answer the question "eligible for rehire" for former employees on an employment reference (or a background service)" No. That's why they don't call it a layoff anymore in favor of a "resource action". Hardly anyone resourced out of IBM returns as an active IBM employee. A few do return as a contractor (when IBM finds, but never admits, they made a human resource mistake). -anonymous-
    • Comment 4/08/09: joe, in the exit package there is a provision for the manager to check if the employee that is being fired would be eligible for rehire in ibm. this is for either LTS , or S/C in ibm. this info is not given out to outside companies. this is why some people get rehired or can work as sub cons and some people are not allowed back on ibm sites. as stated ibm will only say when you were hired and when you left. no other info. -retired-
  • International Comments
    • Comment 4/02/09: Country = India Union Affiliate = none Job Title = Journalist IBM Division = none Message = Hi UKeye, anyone else. I'm a British journalist based in India. I'm doing something about IBM layoffs and Project Match. I'm also looking at how some of the Indian IT companies seem to be stepping up hiring in UK and US. I'm looking to talk to anyone -- anonymously if necessary -- who:
      • a) Has been offered redundancy or relocation to India on Indian wages (Thanks Big Blue!)
      • b) Has taken up the offer (there may be one or two)
      • c) Has not taken up the offer
      • d) Has been offered or is going for a job in UK, US or elsewhere with Wipro, TCS or Infosys (or AN Other)
      • e) Who can give me any background at all on any of the above.

      I'm available at richardworange@gmail.com, 00919920543869, or rworange (skype) Cheers and good luck, -Richard-

News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
  • Kansas City Star, courtesy of Physicians for a National Health Program: If health insurance companies ran the postal service... Excerpts: If medical insurance companies ran postal services, citizens would pay a monthly premium to get mail delivery. The premium would vary by age, sex and region of the country.

    To enhance competition, multiple health insurance companies would compete for mail delivery business. Some companies would provide service only to citizens in cities with populations over 2 million and would deliver only to comparable cities with populations exceeding 2 million. To conserve costs, subscribers would be permitted to post mail only at selected in-network post offices.

    People with preexisting high junk mail volume would pay a 300% surcharge.

    Citizens with dogs would be required to get mail delivery through the state high risk mail pool.

    It would cost $.42 to send a letter across town. Delivery to rural areas would cost $20. Delivery to another state would cost $40. However, the actual allowable charge paid to subcontractors would vary by company.

    Any citizen with mail volume exceeding 30% of average mail delivery could be denied mail service. However, the percentage cut-off point would vary by company. Appeals of denial would be submitted to a specialist who is unemployable in any other business available in the western hemisphere. The specialist would work in an undisclosed location with no direct telephone access and would not respond to e-mail.

    Pre-authorization would be obtained to mail packages with breakable objects. Requests would have to be submitted to the corporate office in Connecticut and reviewed by teams of disgruntled employees (much like the present system.)

    Western Kansas, Wyoming, Nevada (except Las Vegas), the Texas panhandle and select counties of Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and New Mexico would not receive daily mail. 40 million people would go without regular mail delivery. However, the Federal government would legislate that emergency mail must be delivered at no cost to the citizen.

    Illegal aliens would receive mail at no charge at emergency mail stations.

    Citizens away from home would pay out of network rates to send mail. ...

    The CEO of one former health insurance company (now postal delivery service) would make $1.5 billion by selling his stock in the company. The average pay of CEO's would be $400 million annually.

    Citizens would receive group mail delivery rates by applying through their employer and could join the group at time of employment or on predetermined sign-up dates without regard for preexisting mail volume overages. The cost of letter delivery to a citizen who belongs to a group would be discounted as much as 75%.

    In some states, groups could comprise 2 or more unrelated people, not living in the same household. In all other states a group be be required to comprise 30 to 40 people.

    The Federal government would legislate that citizens leaving a group would be able to take his/her postal privileges with him for a period not to exceed 18 months. However, the health insurance company could charge any fee it desired.

    Advocates for a single company to organize mail delivery to everyone at a sensible rate would be branded as socialists and sent to Canada. However, shipment would be delayed because no one could calculate the postage.

  • New York Times editorial: A Public Plan for Health Insurance? Already one of the most contentious issues is whether to include a new public plan option to compete with private insurance plans. Many Republicans deride it as “government-run health care” and a step toward “socialized medicine.” Democrats find the notion appealing — even of vital importance.

    A new public plan — to offer consumers greater choice, keep the private plans honest and, one can hope, restrain the relentless growth in health care premiums and underlying medical costs — seems worth trying. ...

    Many reformers suggest that a public plan be modeled on Medicare. If crafted correctly, it would provide a valuable option for people who don’t trust private insurers to have a patient’s interest at heart and would offer a safe haven should private plans abandon a market, leaving their subscribers stranded. It would also serve as a competitive yardstick for measuring the performance of private plans. ...

    What many critics seem to fear most is that a new public plan would sweep away its private competitors and evolve over time into a full-fledged single-payer system (sometimes called Medicare for all). No matter how fair the competition between public and private plans might be at the start, they warn that the government would find it irresistible to rig the outcome through its regulatory and pricing powers and its ability, in a pinch, to subsidize the public plan with taxpayers’ money.

    That fear seems overblown. Innovative, nimble private plans with well-integrated service systems might outperform any government plan, just as some now outperform Medicare through better coordination of services, stronger preventive care and broader benefits. A new public plan is neither the cornerstone of health care reform nor the death knell of private insurance. It should be tried as one element of comprehensive reform. If, over time, a vast majority decides the government plan is superior, so be it.

  • New York Times editorial: Out-of-Network Payment Practices. Excerpts: The hearings were a useful reminder of how badly the industry behaved in using a UnitedHealth subsidiary to calculate the “reasonable and customary” charges by physicians in a particular region. When patients leave the network, insurers typically pay about 70 percent of these charges and the patient pays the remaining 30 percent — plus any additional amount charged by a doctor above the supposedly reasonable charge.

    Linda Lacewell, who led Mr. Cuomo’s investigation, testified that the industry engaged in fraudulent and deceptive practices to understate the “reasonable and customary” rate and thus keep its reimbursements low. Although the industry denies any such wrongdoing, UnitedHealth agreed to cough up $350 million to settle a class-action suit and agreed to shift responsibility for the calculations to an independent nonprofit organization. Eleven insurers, including some of the largest, have agreed to help finance the new database and use its findings wherever they operate.

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: Executives Took, but the Directors Gave. By Heather Landy. Excerpts: Little of the ire against outsize C.E.O. paychecks has been aimed at the people who signed off on them: corporate directors. Instead, the anger has been concentrated on the executives themselves, particularly those running companies at the heart of the financial crisis. And boards — thrust into the limelight only rarely, as when the directors of the New York Stock Exchange were in a legal battle over the pay collected by Richard A. Grasso — have managed to stay in the background. ...

    Activist shareholders have been criticizing executive pay practices for well over a decade, accusing directors of being too cozy with C.E.O.’s, too eager to lavish pay on them and too ambiguous about the formulas they use for setting compensation. ...

    “The problem isn’t just when people in a particular firm are getting rewarded in ways that take away from the shareholder. That’s been well recognized,” Mr. Hawley says. “What’s not been recognized is that the misalignment of incentives has resulted in firm, sector and systemic risks. None of the corporate governance activists ever made the connection.” It took the disastrous results of 2008 to expose such links, and to make compensation a central issue for politicians and corporate America.

Vault Message Board Posts

Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC. Some sample posts follow:

  • "Hard times in IBM Australia" by "it_guy_oz". Full excerpt: Was verbally informed by management yesterday that tea bags, and instant coffee would not be replenished in Australian IBM offices. Also, employees will no longer be reimbursed for DSL network expenses. This comes only months after record profits were made last year. I'm not a big fan of instant coffee at the best of times and actually pay for my own DSL, but I shake my head at the message this trivial bean counting sends to the workforce. Might be time to start working just 6-7 productive hours a day now (no caffeine fix) and definitely wont be working late each evening (no home network). Perhaps the work life balance benefits of this madness might be worth it.
  • "Classic IBM" by "Toa". Full excerpt: IBM knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing. They like to spread the BS about a work/life balance but seem to forget it is the small things that sometimes make the difference. Oh well, it's IBMs loss as I will now need to step out to a local cafe to get a coffee. That should take me oh, about 20 minutes longer than making a cup of instant in the office.
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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