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December 20, 2003 December 13, 2003 December 6, 2003 November 29, 2003 November 22, 2003 November 15, 2003 November 8, 2003 November 1, 2003 October 25, 2003 October 18, 2003 October 11, 2003 October 4, 2003 September 27, 2003 September 20, 2003 September 13, 2003 September 6, 2003 August 30, 2003 August 23, 2003 August 16, 2003 August 9, 2003 Pension Lawsuit Win July 26, 2003 July 19, 2003 July 12, 2003 July 5, 2003 June 28, 2003 June 21, 2003 June 14, 2003 June 7, 2003 May 31, 2003 May 24, 2003 May 17, 2003 May 10, 2003 2003 Stock Meeting April 26, 2003 April 19, 2003 April 12, 2003 April 5, 2003 March 29, 2003 March 22, 2003 March 15, 2003 March 8, 2003 March 1, 2003 February 22, 2003 February 15, 2003 February 8, 2003 February 1, 2003 January 25, 2003 January 18, 2003 January 11, 2003 January 4, 2003 December 28, 2002 December 21, 2002 December 14, 2002 December 7, 2002 November 30, 2002 November 23, 2002 November 16, 2002 November 9, 2002 November 2, 2002 October 26, 2002 October 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August 11, 2001 August 4, 2001 July 28, 2001 July 21, 2001 July 14, 2001 July 7, 2001 June 30, 2001 June 23, 2001 June 16, 2001 June 9, 2001 June 2, 2001 May 26, 2001 May 19, 2001 May 12, 2001 May 5, 2001 2001 Stock Meeting April 21, 2001 April 14, 2001 April 7, 2001 March 31, 2001 March 24, 2001 March 17, 2001 March 10, 2001 March 3, 2001 February 24, 2001 February 17, 2001 February 10, 2001 February 3, 2001 January 27, 2001 January 20, 2001 January 13, 2001 January 6, 2001 December 30, 2000 December 23, 2000 December 16, 2000 December 9, 2000 December 2, 2000 November 24, 2000 November 17, 2000 November 10, 2000 November 4, 2000 October 28, 2000 October 21, 2000 October 14, 2000 October 7, 2000 September 30, 2000 September 23, 2000 September 16, 2000 September 9, 2000 September 2, 2000 August 26, 2000 August 19, 2000 August 12, 2000 July 29, 2000 July 22, 2000 July 15, 2000 July 1, 2000 June 24, 2000 June 17, 2000 June 10, 2000 June 3, 2000 May 27, 2000 May 20, 2000 May 13, 2000 May 6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—May 30, 2009

  • The Texas Observer: Offshoring Big Blue. By Jim Hightower. Excerpt: Have corporate chieftains become deaf, blind and stupid—or just stupid?

    Check out IBM Corp., the computer giant that once prided itself on treating employees right. These days, workers for Big Blue are being pounded black-and-blue by IBM’s relentless downsizing and offshoring. Fewer than 30 percent of IBM’s employees now live and work in our country. The corporation is chopping another 5,000 jobs in New York state, apparently sending the work abroad. IBM seems blind to the injury this causes in its own community. Injury turned to insult when the community learned that the company took $45 million from state taxpayers last summer in exchange for a promise to keep jobs in New York. The double cross caused an uproar, but IBM’s top executives are tone-deaf to public sentiment. In March, even as IBM lobbied for a chunk of federal stimulus money, the company submitted a patent application for a computer system to help corporations send more jobs overseas.

    Could they possibly get any more stupid? Yes! IBM is offering jobs to displaced workers. The only catch is that they’ll have to move to China, Slovakia, India, or wherever their old job went. What a deal. You can keep your offshored job, but you have to offshore yourself. You also have to work for the local wage—the one that’s so low IBM decided to move your job there.

    Why should our tax dollars finance this travesty? Rep. John Hall, a New York Democrat, and others are sponsoring HR 1874, the Patriot Corporations of America Act, to support companies that don’t abandon our country. For information, call Hall’s office at 202-225-5441.

    • A reader comment concerning this article follows: IBM executives simply hate American employees. There are as many employees in India now as in the US, and the counts are going in opposite directions quickly... every quarter there are more stealth US "actions" (firings) in the name of greater profit margins. IBM should not get a dime of US tax breaks. It is anti-US. Posted by Anon by fear of backlash on May 28, 2009.
  • Deccan Herald: Are we ignoring warnings in corporate governance? By Madhukar Angur. Excerpts: Enron held the reputation of being “America’s most innovative company” for six consecutive years until it came under the spotlight for carrying out accounting malpractice. The Enron scandal of October 2001, found the company had artificially boosted the profits and covered the debts totalling over $1 billion by improperly using off-the-books partnerships. Enron had also manipulated the Texas and California power markets and bribed foreign governments to win contracts abroad.

    Satyam had also won awards and accolades for innovation in corporate governance. With the Satyam scandal coming to light, one has to face the stark reality that India’s corporate governance system is in shambles and needs urgent reforms. In the current situation it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Satyam to continue to exist. Should it survive, it will have challenges to face since other companies will refrain from acquiring a tainted company. ...

    Directors and managers across the globe may want to assess the following “early warning signs” to gauge the overall corporate health and the effectiveness of the management team.

    • High earning expectation is a potential “warning sign” as more often than not it leads to accounting irregularities that may result in “abusive earnings management.” Revenues that consistently match the analysts’ expectations should ring an alarm in the minds of the auditors and stakeholders. ...
    • Ethical practices of the company: Many businesses pay lip service to ethics and as a result their practices still fall short relative to its importance. Businesses ought to think deeply about corporate social responsibility and appropriate standards of conduct in society. Milton Friedman’s contention that “the business of business is business,” and the slavish dedication of many businesses to focus on increasing short-term shareholder value and rewarding managers accordingly borders on myopia.
  • Audit Integrity: IBM AGR Summary. Excerpt: International Business Machines Corp. is currently rated as having Very Aggressive Accounting & Governance Risk (AGR), receiving an AGR Score of 13 out of a possible 100. This places them in the 3rd percentile among all companies, indicating higher accounting and governance risk than 97% of companies.
  • Financial Times: IBM opts for online MBA. By Rebecca Knight. Excerpts: Peter Lynt, vice-president for global process delivery at IBM, does not have an MBA from Northeastern – nor from any other school for that matter. But he thinks that the degree is essential in today’s business world. “I chose to work harder in my career to get where I am today,” he says. “But I do believe that having an MBA rounds you out, makes you more competitive and it helps you understand the dynamics of the global marketplace.”

    This is precisely why Mr Lynt has helped to set up an MBA programme for the technology company’s most talented managers in India. The company recently partnered with Boston-based Northeastern University College of Business Administration to create an online degree course, which makes it possible for IBM employees based in Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi to earn an MBA without disrupting their careers. ...

    Mr Fernandes says that, because the programme is “purely online and delivered in a distant environment”, Northeastern CBA must work harder to ensure quality. “At some point, video conferencing will have enough capabilities that remote assessment of a student can be done,” he says. “As it becomes more prevalent, there will be more safeguards that you’re conferring a degree on the right, capable person that’s earned that degree.”

    Thomas Moore, dean of the CBA, says he came up with the idea for the programme after speaking to Mr Lynt, who studied as an undergraduate at Northeastern, about the difficulties IBM faced maintaining a high-quality workforce in India. “By getting these high potential managers into an MBA programme, we’re adding value to IBM and helping the company recruit and retain workers,”says Prof Moore.

  • CNN/Money: IBM Launches Vietnam Innovation Center to Fuel Technology Growth. Excerpts: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, May 26-- IBM further expanded its reach into growing nations with the opening of the first IBM Innovation Center in Vietnam. The new center aims to help local communities build skills and develop new technologies to support demand for digital infrastructure projects in banking, telecommunications, energy and government industries. ...

    "IBM continues to make major investments in emerging markets around the world, growing business while helping to develop local ecosystems that advance IT skills and innovation," said Jim Corgel, general manager, IBM ISV and Developer Relations. "With this IBM Innovation Center and new university collaborations, we are able to make IBM’s technical resources and expertise more accessible to fuel innovation and help local businesses and academics compete on a global scale." The Vietnam center adds to the growing network of 43 IBM Innovation Centers worldwide, part of the company’s $1 billion annual investment into the success of its 100,000 global business partners.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: IBM Retiree Health Coverage vs. Government "Single Payer"" by "mel_zimowski". Full excerpt: I'm wondering what would motivate IBM to terminate the health benefits coverage that it provides to some of its retirees. As I understand it, this group was of age 50 or older on January 1, 2000. Since medicare kicks in at age 65, isn't IBM on the hook at most until 2015? This is only about 6 years away. If IBM terminated its program, wouldn't the lawsuits that would follow take almost this long and cost IBM a huge amount of money? Maybe I'm too optimistic and trusting, but wouldn't it cost IBM more to eliminate the program than to just keep it and let time reduce the cost? Am I missing something in my analysis?
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: IBM Retiree Health Coverage vs. Government "Single Payer"" by Don Shuper. Excerpts: The only, repeat ONLY, reason IBM would not terminate health coverage for retirees of any age is that they might lose certain tax advantages. IF any credible, detailed financial analysis shows it is in the monetary best interest of the 'company', the coverage will be terminated in somewhere between 30 and 90 days, subject to COBRA regulations. Besides which, IBM pays a bundle for lawyers on retainer - and they need something to do! He who has the gold ... rules.

    As I've said before, absent a written contract without loopholes, (that is really an oxymoron), those who are retired and currently have IBM medical benefits have NO - ZIP - NADA standing to sue. This is distinct from having rights under ERISA to get fair treatment from the provider.

  • Computerworld: US: H-1B workers outnumber unemployed techies. Fraud case raises questions about visa program. By Patrick Thibodeau. Excerpts: As unemployment among tech workers increases with the recession, the U.S. government is raising broad questions as part of a federal case over H-1Bs about the connection of visa fraud to the unemployment of IT workers. The government's interest in H-1B fraud-related unemployment turned up in court filings in a case in U.S. District Court in Iowa against a New Jersey IT firm, Visions Systems Group in South Plainfield, NJ, which was indicted in February on visa-related fraud charges.

    Visions Systems was included in a sweep that led to arrests of some 11 people in six states. The government, in announcing its action, said the companies and people involved were "displacing qualified American workers," but didn't identify how many. In court papers filed last month, the U.S. indicated it may be getting ready to do just that.

    The U.S. said it is "prepared to demonstrate to the court the manner in which the defendant's schemes, along with similar schemes by similar companies have substantially deprived U.S. citizens of employment." The government then points out that "in January of 2009, the total number of workers employed in the information technology occupation under the H-1B program substantially exceeded the 241,000 unemployed U.S. citizen workers within the same occupation." ...

    There are interesting arguments being raised in the courts by the U.S. over the H-1B visa. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in its case fighting the Programmers Guild and others from overturning the extension allowing foreign nationals with technical degrees to work on student visas from one year to 29 months, argued that the H-1B visa is needed to avoid a competitive disadvantage.

  • The Onion (video): More American Workers Outsourcing Own Jobs Overseas (humor).
  • Forbes commentary: American Jobs At Risk In The Airline Business. By Steve Wallach. Excerpts: There has never been a more pressing time for the Obama administration to step in to prevent even more middle-class American jobs from being outsourced. However, with its tentative approval of antitrust immunity for Continental Airlines to join the Star Alliance, the Department of Transportation has opened the door for more job losses and pay cuts for American workers.
  • Wall Street Journal: The New Résumé: Dumb and Dumber. Job Seekers Play Down Their Credentials to Avoid Looking Overqualified. By Jane Porter. Excerpts: Kristin Konopka sent out nearly 100 copies of her résumé in January in search of receptionist work, but got only one callback. That's when Ms. Konopka, a 29-year-old New York actress and yoga teacher, took her master's degree and academic teaching experience off her résumé. The calls started coming in. The slimmer version of her résumé landed in 30 in-boxes and earned her three callbacks and two interviews. "It definitely picked up the interest," says Ms. Konopka, who realized quickly that people don't "want to hire anyone who is overqualified." ...

    In the past eight months, Jamaica Eilbes, an information-technology recruiter for Milwaukee employment agency Manpower, has had to weed out more overqualified résumés than usual from the stacks that cross her desk each day. "I'd never feel comfortable putting a really high-level candidate into a lower level position," says Ms. Eilbes, who recruits for Manpower and other clients. "We don't want to take you on if we think you are going to jump ship."

    But in recent months, Ms. Eilbes has seen more master's and doctoral degrees at the bottom of résumés instead of at the top. She's also seen candidates omitting or trimming job descriptions that showed they had substantial years of work experience. Résumés on which job descriptions taper off as they progress down the page raise Ms. Eilbes's suspicions. "How do I know I can trust them later down the road if there's something on their résumé they decided to take off so they could have a better chance at getting that job?" she says.

  • Working America, the AFL-CIO and the Working America Education Fund: Unemployment Lifeline. Excerpt: The figures are staggering. Unemployment at 8.9 percent. Record new unemployment claims. By one measure, unemployment and underemployment at 15.6 percent. Hardworking families are struggling to get by, and too often, they don't know where to turn for help. That's where the Unemployment LifeLine comes in. It's a one-stop guide that links workers to the resources in their area, from unemployment offices to veterans' services to child care. It also offers the opportunity to talk to others and share support and lessons learned.
  • The Register (United Kingdom): IBM goes judicial over second strategic exec exit. Dell bracketed with Apple. By Gavin Clarke. Excerpt: IBM has apparently moved to block a second strategically important employee from joining a systems competitor. The giant is reportedly suing to stop former mergers-and-acquisitions chief David Johnson from joining Dell, the world's joint second largest provider of PCs. IBM claimed Johnson's new position at Dell violates an agreement restricting his employment with rivals. The company said Johnson was in possession of "valuable confidential information" that prevents him from undertaking a senior strategy position at Dell.
  • New York Times: Dear Donna: A Pinup So Swell She Kept G.I. Mail. By Larry Rohter. Excerpts: But “Donna Reed probably came closer than any other actress to being the archetypal sweetheart, wife and mother,” said Jay Fultz, author of the 1998 biography “In Search of Donna Reed.” Since she was also slightly younger, newly graduated from ingénue roles and therefore closer in age to the average fighting man, they often wrote to her as if to a sister or the girl next door, confiding moments of homesickness, loneliness, privation and anxiety.

    All told, Ms. Reed held on to 341 letters, some typed but many written in the kind of elegant Palmer method cursive script rarely seen today. Taken as a whole, the correspondence offers a candid glimpse of a vanished era, a time when six hard-bitten Marine sergeants could write that “we think you’re swell” and mean it in something other than an ironic sense.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site
  • Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comment 05/22/09: As a former ibm’er I feel very sorry for the folks who are hanging on to the broken promises which we heard from our managers. These promises, which were reinforced by ibm’s basic beliefs and opinion surveys, caused us to stick with ibm while hoping that some of the top brass would remember us. As a current customer, I feel very sorry for the folks who are working around the clock, to support our systems. It’s clear that ibm doesn’t care about the front line. Less than half of the transitioned staff still works for ibm. And they are still trimming. But we’re paying full price for ibm to provide service, so we’re left with no choice but to insist on the service we’re paying for. Since they aren’t cutting us any discounts, I’d rather see you use the union to increase your pay - than to see the exec’s take all the profits. Our service would be better if we were serviced by happy employees. As to ibm’s future, hundreds of thousands of former employees and current customers have a lot of ill will towards IBM. Good luck. -anonymous-
    • Comment 05/23/09: >>So here's another free way to spread the word since our congressmen aren't exactly coming to our rescue. Good job, -RA'd 2/26/09-, BUT, this is from the CWA site: CEO IBM Sam Palmisano 1-Year Pay $21,300,000; 5-Year Pay $57,580,000; Annual Pension $4,000,000. Do you think Sammy cares what anyone says? I spoke to an employee the other day. He 'just' wants to 'make it' to retirement eligibility. Do YOU think the employees are ready to rise up and unionize??? IBM (legal) figured it out 'good' this time. All the bloodshed of 1999 with none of the backlash. Brilliant.-anonymouse-
    • Comment 05/23/09: And let's not forget Sams 2, yes TWO NEW Gulfstream 550's on order @ $70M/ea. The argument of essential for secure transportation doesn't hold water. These are to REPLACE the 2 he ALREADY has. Guess the leather gets a bit worn after 12 yrs or so. -Amazed-
    • Comment 05/24/09: TWO NEW Gulfstream 550's on order @ $70M/ea. Does this come with the enhanced failsafe security package? Geez Wouldn't two four seater Piper Cubs suffice? Heck they cut costs on everything so why not here? It's greed. Plainly so. -anonymous-
    • Comment 05/24/09: Just when I think it can't get worse, it does. Now they are paying tuition for Indian employees to get their MBAs! AND they complain of high attrition rates in Indian employees. So - let me get this straight. They fire American MBAs who have proven their loyalty for 20 years and instead shell out tuition for disloyal employees in India to get online MBAs? Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. (At least my MBA is "real.") -annonymous-

      Alliance reply: There is somewhat of an irony to this. During the IBM boom of the 1980's, a similar situation occurred. For example, once a 2 year degree'd, junior engineer got in his/her first or second service year with IBM; they would signup to go back to school and get their 4 year or even their MBA, Phd, or whatever and take an educational LOA. There were some that left IBM for Microsoft or whomever, a year or so after they completed those academic accomplishments, because they were dissatisfied with the assignments IBM gave them. It's ironic because their disloyalty sparked IBM's policies to change, in this country, as a result. This is from my observation while working in a development engineering department, from 1984-1990.

    • Comment 05/25/09: More cuts coming in Rochester, MN manufacturing and support groups according to the rumor mill. Sounds like the last Thursday in July. Hang on! -JJ-
    • Comment 05/26/09: "Freedom is a road seldom traveled by the multitude..." I got my walking papers and checks today. I burned rubber in the parking lot while blasting "Schools out" by Alice Cooper! This has been the most stress free I have felt in 12 years... same amount of time I have spent on the 'plantation'. Those who are still hanging on, PREPARE NOW! Get your finances in order. My wife and I did a while back because tech jobs are not stable, and most tech folks know this which is why many won't bother joining a union. They would prefer to just hop around and try and hold on to any job they can get til they are 70 with no quality of life. They 'hopping' thing started back in the tech boom and hasn't stopped. I am free now and will enjoy some time off and work on my skills for my next job. I encourage those who feel a union can help or even if you are on the fence, to go ahead a join. Tech jobs have too much competition worldwide unlike automakers, etc. Any clown in these BRIC country and lie and say they have credentials because none of the yahoos are really checking their background. All they see is cheap labor... ibm Has no more innovation or a clue and hates competition which is why they would prefer to go cheap on everything to make it look like they are profitable. It will all come tumbling down... And I will be here to laugh... Be prepared. -Free in NC-
    • Comment 05/26/09: Got the word. June 1st IGS layoff notifications. July 1 exit. Quarterly targets. -No Numbers-
    • Comment 05/26/09: First - I think, regardless of whether a union can/is ever formed - this website serves a HUGE BENEFIT for employees. It is the one place where people can go to get the "heads up" and maybe get a head start looking for a transfer, or "wise up" on what really happens at IBM. This is the bona-fide, de-facto blog board for any scoop on IBM. Support Alliance and let others know about it (and the tricks on how to navigate to where all the juicy comments/info is, you have to click on the Comments line on the left, then PAGE DOWN a few... it's the paging down that most people miss). -gotta-b-invisible-
    • Comment 05/27/09: IBM and Wal-Mart have paired up to off shore the Wal-Mart IT. They are beginning now, 1st they are training contractors on the IT systems. Then for approx. 10 weeks after that these contractors will go to India to train the people there on the Wal-Mart systems. After they are trained the shift will take place to India. -anon-
    • Comment 05/27/09: Just got the axe from STG sales in Canada - not many of us left. Makes sense as we are not selling anything anymore. I was afraid to leave IBM - guess what I'm already fielding offers from partners for more pay - boy was I stupid to hang around. Must say I don't want to give any managers names as references - seems IBM chooses real dorks for management - not sure why - but real dorks - cant be trusted. That is the big problem - references. I am sure glad to get away from sametime, and weekly cadance - what a total joke - glad it is over. -John- Alliance reply: Sorry for your job loss. Good luck to you.
    • Comment 05/28/09: "I would not be surprised to see a LOT of people at all levels leaving esp. when the economy starts to improve." Yes you are correct. We have seen this before. People hear about layoffs coming. They get their house in order, send out their resume and above all else they make the mental break with their current employer. They decide that they can leave, maybe even that they want to leave. They layoffs happen. They organization fires all that they want. You might think it is over, but it isn't. For the next 6-9 months those people who reached their "activation energy" during the buildup to the layoffs still keep leaving as they find better jobs. I saw this in IBM at business unit that was actually hiring while there were massive layoffs in other areas of IBM. That business unit continued to loose key employees for months and months even though they didn't fire a single person and in fact hired many of the people who were fired from other areas. The stealth nature of these layoffs and IBM's lack of candor with it's employees makes the reality of an event likely again. The current economic recession means that the effect might be stretched out over a longer period. By that I mean both the firings by IBM AND the continued voluntary separations after IBM is done spilling blood. -BFL-
    • Comment 05/28/09: Layoffs for contractors in Yorktown and Hopewell junction started today, I saw guy laid off just as shift ended, they made him work the whole shift and rode him about work and then laid him off with no notice. Dumb contractor boss let it slip IBM is definitely planning a June resource action and is starting with contractors this time. The contractor boss let it slip that the email she recieved on Wed morning stated they wanted to minimize the bad press they have been getting -anonymous-
    • Comment 05/29/09: Yes it is happening AGAIN!. IBM is firing employees just because they can. They are starting with contractors and will soon get around to regular employees. And yet again no massive number of people have joined the Alliance to try and slow down or stop this terrible attrition. The old saying that the beatings will continue till morale improves is true at IBM. Calling Management names will not solve it. This situation at IBM defies a basic rule of physics. For every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. IBM pushes and few react. Its like the IBM workforce has become zombies. So buried in their own little ruts they just go through the day like robots. It is so very sad. I have heard the word sheeple to describe them. Sheep at least bleat when they are getting sheared. The French rose up against King Louis. Americans rose up against King George. IBMers need to rise up against King Samuel. Otherwise expect the beatings to continue. He can only assume that you like them. -Exodus2007-
    • Comment 05/29/09: To -Exodus2007 Yes it is happening AGAIN!. IBM is firing employees just because they can.- That's a little over the top. They're not doing it "just because they can". They're doing it to meet their commitment to an EPS number. The sad thing (well, it's not really sad, more shameful) is the EPS could likely be met or even beaten if each executive from Sam to 3 levels down would take a 15% pay cut. But why take a pay cut when you can fire people... -anonymous-
  • General Visitor's Comment page
    • Comment 05/22/09: Has anyone noticed the large number of Financial Analyst jobs - those that report into Loughridge - opening on the Job Post system this past month (like 10-20) but that they all require the work to be done at an IBM office in Somers, Armonk, or one of the other Westchester County locations? What's up with that? Since when did Financial Analysis work need to be done "face to face"? And why all these openings? Are they making all the remote, work from home FAs (worklife balance) make the choice to work from an office or sianara? Something is UP with this, I don't know what yet. -Anon-y-mouse-
    • Comment 05/22/09: How is Sam going to implement this "Smarter Planet" stuff, when he's dumping the highly experienced, highly trained and very smart US professional employees in lieu of inexperienced, uneducated, ill-trained, el-cheapo, temporary morons offshore? Nothing like hypocrisy, eh, Sam? -Frank-
    • Comment 05/23/09: -Anon-y-mouse- Simple. Financial Analysis = bean counting in IBM's creative accounting. Increasing Financial Analysts positions means more cost controls, cost cutting, offshoring. -movedacheez-
    • Comment 05/24/09: In regard to waiting. I waited. Ducked the axe and hung on till I got my 30 and my defined pension. I do not understand why folks with just the 401k hang on and put up with IBM's crap. It is really not that special a 401K. Most employers offer similar. There is virtually no medical coverage through IBM to retirees as they jack the price so high you can buy better coverage cheaper through Carefirst on your own. I cannot understand why the newer folks are not organizing IBM to make their own lives better. Forget the how it used to be. Forget lost benefits that will never be regained. Negotiate new benefits. New pension rules. New retiree health care. New overtime rules. New standby pay. New appraisal rules. New layoff and right to recall rules. I could understand if any of the benefits were outstanding why someone Might put up with more crap from IBM management but NONE are outstanding anymore. They have actually become less then mediocre. Unless you are an executive with a contract of course.

      Life does not have to be as complicated as IBM makes it. Pensions can be as simple as $50.00 per month for each year of service. Don't need a degree in math to figger that one out. Therefore you cant be cheated . I do not believe any IBMer is looking for a free ride. We are all smart enough to understand that will not happen. But we also need to be smart enough to say stop when we are getting cheated. Nothing says stop like a legal contract. -Exodus2007-

    • Comment 05/25/09: Regarding Palmisano's severance if he gets fired, something to keep in mind is that his severance check would probably be more than your TOTAL LIFETIME SALARY! Employees NEED to join the Alliance simply to protect their hard earned money. When I was laid off last year, my manager verified that I was going to earn the full 26 weeks of severence pay. However, payroll robbed me of 7 weeks of that pay even though I was a full-time employee because I didn't transfer into Division 7 until 1999. My manager agreed that it was the most dishonest thing he has ever witnessed done to an employee. Bottom line: If you don't have a contract like IBM's executives, the company can put you over a barrel whenever and however they want. -StillSore-
  • Pension Comments page
  • Raise and Salary Comments
    • Comment 05/24/09: Salary = 101K; Band Level = 8; Years Service = 16; Hours/Week = 40; Div Name = 07; Message = I proactively left the company this month. Update your resumes, set up job agents on all the major sites, network, and consistently explore opportunities outside of IBM. Always be prepared to leave, because someone else may make that choice for you. -adios IBM-
    • Comment 05/27/09: Div Name = IBMUS Message = NO RAISES THIS YEAR FOR 2 PERFORMERS. That's a mandate. Not subject to management discretion. 1 and 2+ performers will get a small raise (1%-4%), whether or not they are over their market reference point or paid over their band's salary. Emphasis this year is on TOP contributors. The rest of us should be grateful to just have a job (rolling eyes). So, in January 2010 when your manager tries to sell you that a '2" is a good rating, just remember that a "2" is the new "3". Oh, executives will not be getting a raise this year either. They'll just cash in their stock options on the backs of fired employees. When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him: 'Whose?' Don Marquis -anon-
    • Comment 05/28/09: They keep making up reasons to delay the raises year after year. Align with the six-month pay cycle of the sales teams. WTF? This is NOT THE REAL REASON OR TRUTH IBM! Last year they didn't have to align pay with the sales teams. Why now? If you believe IBM has to now align the pay cycle I can convince you the sun rises in the west and sets in the east. Maybe next year IBM will delay the raises a year or more or do away with them altogether. Pushing back the raises another month gives Sam and the posse some extra $$$ for the Armonk coffee fund or they use the month HOLDBACK of the raises for an installment of paying off those two new $70M jets for Slammy boy.. So now, say, if you get a 2% raise it really is effectively a 1.917% raise for the year now . People: do yourselves more than a favor. Get a contract. A contract that stipulates who, how and exactly when you get a raise. No contract = everything at will for the employee. -anonymous-
  • PBC Comments
  • International Comments
    • Comment 05/27/09: Country = UK; Union Affiliate = No; Job Title = IT Specialis;t IBM Division = GTS; Message = GTS in the UK has released most of its contract staff and announced a total pay freeze for 2009, to reduce labour costs. 1st line managers attending HR sessions on how to manage 3 performers coming to the end of Performance Improvement Plans. -easyrider-
News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
  • Forbes: Medical Tourism's Most Distant Outposts. By Gaia Pianigiani. Excerpt: In December 2008, Carlene Gregg Victor left Houston's George Bush International airport with a wheelchair and a flicker of hope. After a 10-hour plane ride and a five-hour snowy drive from Amsterdam to Cologne, Germany, she and her husband arrived at a hotel near the Xcell-Center for Regenerative Medicine, where they would mount a desperate offensive in their battle with her Parkinson's disease. ...

    Gregg Victor is one of the 1.5 million Americans who traveled abroad to get medical treatments last year. Most of these so-called medical tourists sought quicker access to health services, care for non-covered procedures like dental surgeries and cheap elective procedures like face lifts. More than a few were pursuing new stem-cell-based treatments unavailable in the States and rarely covered by American insurance companies. In March, President Barack Obama issued an order removing the limitations on stem-cell research set by George W. Bush, but real movement on this issue, if any, is still many years away. In the meantime, patients are paying up. Adult stem-cell treatments, often arranged by American-based intermediaries, run between $10,000 and $35,000, depending on the treatment. Airfare and hotel stays are extra.

  • Wall Street Journal: Drug CEOs Switch Tactics on Reform. Pharmaceutical Companies Join Health-Care Overhaul, Hoping to Influence Where Costs Are Cut. By Jonathan D. Rockoff. Excerpt: Drug-company executives are aiming to prevent steep cuts in prescription prices by joining the effort to overhaul the U.S. health-care system. Their approach contrasts sharply with their behavior 15 years ago, when they helped defeat President Bill Clinton's reform efforts from the outside. "This is not the 1990s, when the industry was playing defense," says John Lechleiter, Eli Lilly & Co.'s chief executive. "We're playing offense. We're at the table." The pharmaceutical executives are using their new access to try to steer lawmakers away from measures that could reduce drug margins, pressing instead for cost reductions by hospitals and insurers.
  • New York Times, courtesy of Physicians for a National Health Program: What Is 'Socialized Medicine'?: A Taxonomy of Health Care Systems. By Uwe E. Reinhardt. Excerpts: With another “national conversation” about health reform upon us — as it is every decade or so — we will hear a lot of derisive talk about the evils of “socialized medicine.” The term is regularly confused with “social health insurance,” which is not at all the same concept. The chart below may be helpful in appreciating the distinction. ...

    Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani of New York has exemplified the perennial confusion in this country over socialized medicine. In his ill-fated presidential bid, and subsequently as a supporter of Senator John McCain’s bid for the presidency, Mr. Giuliani routinely decried as socialized medicine (or “socialist”) any proposal presented by Democratic candidates, because typically the latter advocated tax-financed subsidies toward the purchase of health private insurance or expansions of public insurance programs. But technically none of them advocated socialized medicine.

    Perhaps Mr. Giuliani was unaware that Americans all along the ideological spectrum reserve the purest form of socialized medicine — the V.A. health system — for the nation’s veterans. I find this cognitive dissonance amusing. Indeed, if socialized medicine is so evil, why didn’t Republicans privatize the V.A. health system when they controlled both the White House and the Congress during 2001-06?

    Mr. Giuliani also seems to forget that, in 1996, he found social health insurance a perfect solution to the financial problems faced by former Mayor John V. Lindsay, who fell on financially hard times during the 1990s as a result of chronic illness.

    In a fit of compassion, then Mayor Giuliani rushed to his friend’s assistance with — you guessed it — taxpayers’ money, rather than with a private sector solution. He did so by appointing Mr. Lindsay to two no-show city jobs that came with tax-financed municipal health insurance and a tax-financed pension.

    It seems fair, then, to ask Mr. Giuliani why it was perfectly fine to bail out a financially distressed man who had been wealthy enough in his younger years to provide adequately for his old age, when proposals to extend the same kind of assistance to hard-working, uninsured members of lower-income families are decried by him as “socialism.” One can only hope that our members of Congress and the typical American voter can make the right distinctions.

  • Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Curbing Flexible Spending Accounts Could Help Pay For Health Care Reform. By Chuck Marr and Kris Cox. Excerpts: Congress should consider scaling back or eliminating health care flexible spending accounts (FSAs) [1] as part of its effort to pay for health care reform. This paper, which is part of a series of papers on proposals to help pay for health reform, outlines several ways in which Congress could curtail FSAs. FSAs are designed to allow employees to pay out-of-pocket health care costs with pre-tax dollars. Employees have a set amount deducted from each paycheck to be deposited in their FSA — free of any income or payroll tax — from which they are reimbursed for out-of-pocket health care costs they incur during the year. FSAs, however, suffer from significant flaws.

    FSAs encourage the overconsumption of health care, which runs directly counter to a critical goal of health care reform. They also provide only modest tax savings to many workers while imposing onerous recordkeeping costs on accountholders. In addition, health care reform is likely to require health policies to limit beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs, which would weaken the rationale for FSAs.

  • New York Times: Is Employer-Based Health Insurance Worth Saving? By Uwe Reinhardt. Excerpts: Ask any group of health policy experts whether they would have put in place our employment-based health insurance system, had they had the luxury of designing our health system from scratch, the resounding answer most likely would be “No.” In fact, no other industrialized country has quite this arrangement. It is uniquely American in origin and in modus operandi.

    Our employment-based system was not the product of a carefully designed health policy. It was a byproduct of evading wage controls during World War II. ...

    A second major shortcoming of employment-based health insurance is that it is only temporary. It is tied to a particular job in a particular company, and it is lost with that job. Nowhere else in the industrialized world does a family, already down on its luck over a job loss, also suffer the loss of its health insurance. It happens only in America, under employment-based insurance. ...

    The objective of current health reform efforts should not be to abolish the employment-based system to which so many Americans feel attached, brittle and expensive as that system may be. Instead, the aim should be to develop a robust, parallel system of fully portable insurance that individuals or families can purchase on their own, in a properly regulated and organized market, with public subsidies where deemed necessary. As my earlier posts to this blog sought to explain, this can be done in a variety of ways.

  • Associated Press, courtesy of the New York Times: Report Concludes Uninsured Are Costly for All. Excerpts: Health insurance premiums for an average family are $1,000 a year higher because of costs of health care for the uninsured, a new report finds. And private coverage for the average individual costs an extra $370 a year because of the cost-shifting, which happens when someone without medical insurance gets care at an emergency room or elsewhere and then doesn't pay. ...

    ''As more people join the ranks of the uninsured, the hidden health tax is growing,'' said Ron Pollack, Families USA executive director. ''That tax hits America's businesses and insured families hard in the pocketbook, and they therefore have a clear financial stake in expanding health care coverage.'' The report found that, in 2008, uninsured people received $116 billion in health care from hospitals, doctors and other providers. The uninsured paid 37 percent of that amount out of their own pockets, and government programs and charities covered another 26 percent.

  • Health Affairs: Hard Times And Health Insurance: How Many Americans Will Be Uninsured By 2010? By Todd P. Gilmer and Richard G. Kronick. Abstract: In earlier work we demonstrated that increases in the cost of health care accounted for the decline in insurance coverage from 1979 to 2002. Here we examine whether our model adequately accounts for observed changes in coverage though 2007, and we provide an estimate of the effects of the recession on the number of uninsured Americans through 2010. We project that the number will increase by at least 6.9 million. The estimate does not directly take into account the additional effects of job losses, which are likely to add millions more to the number of uninsured Americans.
  • Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports magazine): Give us health insurance solutions, not promises. Now isn't the time to play games or politics with our health care! We need real solutions, not promises from the special interests who want to put their needs before yours. The giant insurance companies are promising not to raise costs quite as much as they have, and to cover everyone, as long as we all have to buy insurance from them. That's a great way to line their pockets, and put more middle-men between you and your doctor, but it doesn't solve our health care crisis! To really bring costs down and get everyone covered, we need real solutions: The choice of a publicly run coverage plan that would compete with plans offered by insurance companies. Financial help for those who truly can’t afford their premiums, whether they buy a public or private plan. And tough rules to crack down on waste and abuse. Tell Congress you expect real, affordable health insurance choices, not just what the insurance industry wants.
  • Leadership Council of Aging Organization: Letter to Max Baucus, Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee on Finance and Charles Grassley, Ranking Member Committee on Finance Committee (PDF). Excerpts: We strongly commend you for ending the practice of denying Americans health coverage for pre-existing medical conditions or charging them higher premiums because of their health status. However, we are concerned that allowing health insurance companies to charge older consumers up to 5 times more than younger adults based on their age in the non-group, micro-group, and small group markets (the 5:1 rating rules) will still result in many older Americans not having access to affordable, quality coverage.

    As you know, the current health insurance system is failing many older Americans. A growing number of older adults are without insurance coverage, and once older Americans lose their coverage, they are more likely to remain uninsured for an extended period of time (until becoming eligible for Medicare). In addition, older adults are much more likely to spend a significant portion of their income on health care. According to an AARP study, 2 in 3 adults ages 50-64 in the individual insurance market spend 10 percent or more of their income on health care. ...

    Some have argued that premium adjustments for age are appropriate because older Americans have higher incomes and can thus afford to pay more for their health coverage. In fact, among the uninsured, older adults do not have higher incomes than younger adults. The median family income of the uninsured is $28,000 to $31,000, regardless of age. There is more variation in the median income of those who purchase insurance coverage, but it is 35-49 year olds, not 50-64 olds, who have the highest median income. The facts are clear: age is not a proxy for income, and it is simply inappropriate to use income as an excuse to charge older Americans more for insurance.

  • AFL-CIO: Here Come the Big Lies About Health Care Reform. By Mike Hall. Excerpts: We noted a few days ago how the private insurance industry was set to unleash its attack dogs on health care reform to try to kill a public health insurance plan option as part of President Obama’s health care reform initiative. Those dogs have started to bark. Yesterday, the fake group, Americans for Prosperity (AFP)—another one of those astroturf names meant to appeal to All of Us—launched a $1.7 million TV ad campaign claiming we may all die if Obama’s health care reform proposals are enacted.

    The ads don’t even skirt the neighborhood of the truth, but then, as Robert Borosage wrote last week, the health care industry has a long history of “trying to scare the hell out of Americans” when it comes to health care reform. The ads conjure up the boogeyman of a “government-run” health care system where patients will die as their cancerous tumors grow to fatal stages while they wait months to receive care. Scary stuff. Phony, but meant to scare us all.

    A public health plan option has won the endorsement of major health care groups and many senators and representatives and is a key component of the AFL-CIO’s health care reform principles. It would provide workers who have private insurance and those without insurance a choice in coverage: Stay with their private plan or choose the public plan option. It would also—which scares the hay out of the private insurance industry—provide some competition for an industry that has secured a near-monopoly of the market and recorded record profits, while we are paying more for less care.

    The Wall Street Journal reports that another group, Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, is buying air time for a 30-minute Sunday morning infomercial featuring “horror stories” about the Canadian and British health care systems and warning the U.S. government is about to take over health care here. Like AFP’s campaign, that message doesn’t even have a nodding acquaintance with the truth. But a key Republican strategist says the truth doesn’t matter when it comes to fighting health care reform. BTW, most Republican lawmakers have decried a public plan option with strikingly similar, and just as phony, arguments.

  • CNN/Money: IBM Outlines New Model for Healthcare. Excerpt: IBM today announced the findings of a major healthcare study that underscores the critical need for a new model of care called the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH). The new study, "Patient Centered Medical Home: What, Why and How?," (www.ibm.com/healthcare/medicalhome) identifies the PCMH as a viable foundation for the reform of today’s unsustainable healthcare system because it is committed to primary-care based, coordinated, proactive, preventive, acute, chronic, long-term and end-of-life care.
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.

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:

  • "Where's the Raise?" by " justadeveloper". Full excerpt: Did you see the on the IBM web site that raises will be effective on July 1, 2009? What happened to June 1st? Then it was moved to June 15? It seems every year the employees are the ones to get stiffed with the raises coming in later and later. The excuse given this year was so everyone would be aligned with sales. Why should I care if I get my raise when sales does. We all know that this is a smoke and mirror tactic to avoid and shift expenses for tax reasons!
  • "Just another opportunity" by "Frank_Reality". Full excerpt: To make the 2Q results look better than they really are and to screw employees. When Sam was spewing propaganda about 250,000 IBMers getting raises, he didn't mention that 150,000 IBMers won't be getting raises. He also said nothing about the amounts of raises - if they were something to be proud of, he would have trumpeted that too. If you're in the US, expect yet another market based adjustment of zero, and count yourself fortunate if you see a tiny (1-2%)performance based adjustment if you're a 1 performer.
  • "June RA's" by "confusedibmer". Full excerpt: I heard that there are 5000 june RA's ...apparently the list is already prepared and they would be announced before june 1st? anyone heard anything?
  • "No Raises coming for most employees" by "bigbertha92". Full excerpt: A pair gets you zero.
  • "What's next? Soon we'll be driving Smart Cars" by "IGS_Consultant". Full excerpt: The latest "downsizing" of IBM's travel policy: Effective May 1, 2009, employees are to reserve economy or compact class car rental vehicles per changes to car rental policy. Perhaps inline with India Business Machine's move to "everything India", Hertz will be directed to purchase Tata's new $2,000 car for exclusive use of IBM employees while on business! Sam, of course, will continue to fly in one of his corporate jets.
  • "Agreed..." by "wonderaboutibm". Full excerpt: It's another chickens$$t expense reduction -- not even significant beyond the all-important quarterly results. But the chickens$$t grand prize goes to forcing everybody to economy/compact rental cars, which saves I believe round 2 - 3 dollars a day per car over what I remember the intermediate car rates were.
  • "How about a dollar a day?" by "IGS_Consultant": Full excerpt: I just checked on hertz.com for the rental rates (in Denver, but most places will be comparable) at Hertz using the IBM discount code. The difference in cost between a mid size ("Mazda 6 or similar") and a compact ("Ford Focus or similar") is exactly *one dollar* a day! I wonder how many "dollar a day" savings in rental car charges will be required to cover the cost of Sam's two new corporate jets, at $70 million a piece?
  • "RE: We tried to tell you so...but you wouldn't listen" by "Sam_Watkins". Full excerpt: I told of the Vault boards back 8 years ago these things were happening. Probably none of you worked for IBM back then but I warned people. Back then outsourcing wasn't as much of an issue as H-1Bs. But India has acknowledged that H-1Bs are absolutely necessary for outsourcing, and Professor Norm Matloff has reported on this in his newsletter. So in the end you IBM guys lose your jobs either to outsourcing, OR, you are displaced to make room for a cheap/docile Indian on an H-1B visa.

    Before everyone takes pot shots at me I urge you (members) to check the archives and see what I posted, which was on various boards.

    I warned the financial services guys they'd be replaced - and they laughed at me. They aren't laughing now.

    I warned programmers they'd be targets too, and as usual with numb skulls, they launched flame wars on me. Meanwhile how many of those flamers are still in IT?

    The issue is NOT that I was right. The issue is that people didn't listen to me. And now they are too sorry to admit they were wrong, and I was right. And I sorry I was right because people lost their job. I did warn them.

  • "Yup" by "Frank_Reality". Full excerpt: You're not the only one to see that coming. But what was unpredictable because it defies any logic, is how Sam and his thugs are choosing to destroy the business by ignoring the poor quality and productivity of unskilled, inexperienced, and poorly trained offshored labor.

    The IBM internal instant messaging systems were non-functional three days this week. Reliability of the Domino mail environment has sucked (unless you're on a server supported by US resources) ever since that support was offshored.

    I've talked to developers who had to rewrite the unusable code for products coded in China.

    If Sam and his execs continue this path of denying the poor delivery of offshore resources and continues this insanity, there won't be any IBM employees anywhere - the corporation will fail and go bankrupt.

    Odd how financial bankruptcy follows ethical and moral bankruptcy.

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.

This site is designed to allow IBM Employees to communicate and share methods of protecting their rights through the establishment of an IBM Employees Labor Union. Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act states it is a violation for Employers to spy on union gatherings, or pretend to spy. For the purpose of the National Labor Relations Act, notice is given that this site and all of its content, messages, communications, or other content is considered to be a union gathering.