Employees, and even MPs, are often sympathetic to changes if a company is struggling - even if they do not personally like them. Sympathy is not appropriate in this case because although IBM did not meet their targets they actually achieved record profits last year.
It is hard to understand why a company is alienating its staff at a time when it appears to be doing well despite a recession. The plot thickens when you learn that the company had looked at downgrading pension schemes in other European countries but had not been able to because legislation in Germany, for example, protected the workers to a greater extent than in the UK.
The only explanation appears to be because IBM is doing this because other companies have been making changes to pension schemes recently and because they think they can get away with it.
Suddenly this becomes less of an internal problem and more of a question about whether British legislation protects workers' pensions to a great enough extent. The sort of people being affected here are those who have done exactly what they have been asked, by successive governments, and have made prudent plans for their retirement. We must ensure that firms are not allowed to use the recession as an excuse to duck their financial and moral obligations to their employees. This is one area where IBM may try to lead but we do not want others to follow.
Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM, Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services Inc.and their partners are running the state's welfare system under a 10-year, $1.34 billion contract - one of the most lucrative in state history. Critics have complained about lost documents, lengthy approvals for benefits and other problems with the new system, and Murphy has given the contractors until the end of this month to fix a host of problems. Among them, a complaint from both advocates for welfare recipients and lawmakers about a lack of face-to-face contact that largely began when Indiana moved about 1,500 state caseworkers to the IBM team in March 2007. ...
Murphy said IBM has already been sanctioned about $260,000 for poor performance under the contract. She also said the overall value of the contract hasn't changed, even though the new system has only been rolled out to counties covering a little more than a third of the state's caseload. ...
Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, was among the lawmakers who questioned whether the state is getting its money's worth from IBM and its partners. Kenley said the budget committee will continue examining the contract through much of the fall. "This is only the beginning of this discussion," Kenley said.
The Register has confirmed IBM is the "main commercial supplier" whose "failure... to meet key contractual milestones" was blamed in July by minister Tessa Jowell for the missing capability and heavy loss to taxpayers. The total write-down was £24.4m. IBM declined to offer any comment on its involvement in SCOPE Phase Two or say whether it will return the money. The Cabinet Office said it was considering its legal options. It declined to comment on IBM specifically.
I wish things were different today than in Dunlop's time, but when this downturn began, companies raced to cut people ahead of the coming decline in sales and profits. It didn't seem to occur to anyone that layoffs would accelerate the recession as fired employees — also known as consumers — had no money to spend. As we enter what seems to be a jobless recovery, it's past time for us to realize that layoffs are not always the right answer. ...
More recently, Fortune reporter Geoff Colvin laid out all the costs of layoffs, which, he points out, companies mistakenly equate with only severance costs. Colvin included brand equity costs, leadership costs, Wall Street costs, rehiring costs, and my personal favorite, morale costs. To stay strong in tight times, to find opportunities to cut costs in smart ways, and to innovate your way to the future, you'll need everyone on board. So undermining morale may not be a great idea right now. You'll also need people with deep knowledge of the business — and mass layoffs ensure that you lose critical perspectives and information. In many cases, there's another way (or two). Some companies, for example, have been paying everyone a bit less rather than resorting to layoffs.
But Justice Sotomayor suggested the majority might have it all wrong -- and that instead the court should reconsider the 19th century rulings that first afforded corporations the same rights flesh-and-blood people have. Judges "created corporations as persons, gave birth to corporations as persons," she said. "There could be an argument made that that was the court's error to start with...[imbuing] a creature of state law with human characteristics." ...
On today's court, the direction Justice Sotomayor suggested is unlikely to prevail. During arguments, the court's conservative justices seem to view corporate political spending as beneficial to the democratic process. "Corporations have lots of knowledge about environment, transportation issues, and you are silencing them during the election," Justice Anthony Kennedy said during arguments last week. But Justice Sotomayor may have found a like mind in Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "A corporation, after all, is not endowed by its creator with inalienable rights," Justice Ginsburg said, evoking the Declaration of Independence.
The courts have long treated corporations as persons in limited ways for some legal purposes. They may own property and have limited rights to free speech. They can sue and be sued. They have the right to enter into contracts and advertise their products. But corporations cannot and should not be allowed to vote, run for office or bear arms. Since 1907, Congress has banned them from contributing to federal political campaigns — a ban the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld. ...
One of the main areas where corporations’ rights have long been limited is politics. Polls suggest that Americans are worried about the influence that corporations already have with elected officials. The drive to give corporations more rights is coming from the court’s conservative bloc — a curious position given their often-proclaimed devotion to the text of the Constitution.
The founders of this nation knew just what they were doing when they drew a line between legally created economic entities and living, breathing human beings. The court should stick to that line.
All of the meetings were the manager saying the same thing, probably reading from a script he got from HR. They make a pretense of telling you flaky reasons (needs of the business, etc) but really you just sit there because you get 3 minutes at the end, when they ask "do you have any questions".
Even if you have questions they won't be answered. Sometimes you are told a date that will be your last date; sometimes you are just told to start looking for work. What really is awful though is at the same time there is usually more work to do than people to do it and they keep hiring offshore. You find this out because you are then told to train these offshore newbies. I used to care a lot about IBM, had lots of pride. They killed it in me. -a GR
"These great business men are American heroes," says Linda Cardellini. "So why is Obama trying to reform health care when insurance companies are doing just fine making billions of dollars in profit?" Will Ferrell asks.
This interactive side-by-side compares the leading comprehensive reform proposals across a number of key characteristics and plan components. Included in this side-by-side are proposals for moving toward universal coverage that have been put forward by the President and Members of Congress. In an effort to capture the most important proposals, we have included those that have been formally introduced as legislation as well as those that have been offered as draft proposals or as policy options. It will be regularly updated to reflect changes in the proposals and to incorporate major new proposals as they are announced. This side-by-side offers a summary of the major components of these proposals; detailed descriptions of provisions relating to the Medicare and Medicaid programs can be found online.
“There is an image of Canadians flooding across the border to get care,” said Donald Berwick, a Harvard University health- policy specialist and pediatrician who heads the Boston-based nonprofit Institute for Healthcare Improvement. “That’s just not the case. The public in Canada is far more satisfied with the system than they are in the U.S. and health care is at least as good, with much more contained costs.”
Canadians live two to three years longer than Americans and are as likely to survive heart attacks, childhood leukemia, and breast and cervical cancer, according to the OECD, the Paris- based coalition of 30 industrialized nations. Deaths considered preventable through health care are less frequent in Canada than in the U.S., according to a January 2008 report in the journal Health Affairs. In the study by British researchers, Canada placed sixth among 19 countries surveyed, with 77 deaths for every 100,000 people. That compared with the last-place finish of the U.S., with 110 deaths. ...
Yet the Canadian “bogeyman,” as U.S. President Barack Obama called it at an Aug. 11 gathering in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, may have “all but defeated” the idea of a public option in the U.S., said Uwe Reinhardt, a health-care economist at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, Democrat from Montana, introduced on Sept. 16 compromise health-care legislation that, unlike other House and Senate bills, omits a government-backed choice for the uninsured living in the U.S. who can’t afford private coverage. ...
Private insurers, the pharmaceutical industry and the medical profession fear the “market power” of a public plan, Reinhardt said. They “deployed certain think tanks to find horror stories around the world that can be used to persuade Americans a public health plan in the U.S. would bring rationing.” Given that Congress is likely to pass a mandate to cover the uninsured, Americans forced to buy policies will be left with no alternative to coping with “double-digit rate increases” on commercial premiums, Reinhardt said. ...
Fifty-four percent of chronically ill Americans reported skipping a test or treatment, neglecting to go to a doctor when sick, or failing to fill a prescription because of the cost, according to a 2008 survey by the Commonwealth Fund, a foundation that focuses on health care, and pollster Harris Interactive. That was more than twice the number in Canada, data from those New York-based groups showed. ...
“Canadians value fairness, and they cannot conceive of a system in which someone can’t get health care,” said Wendy Levinson, a Canadian who runs the department of medicine at the University of Toronto and worked in the U.S. from 1979 to 2001.
The U.S. spent $7,290 on health care for each person in 2007, 87 percent more than Canada’s $3,895, according to the latest OECD data. The U.S. also devoted the highest percentage of gross domestic product to health care, 16 percent, OECD numbers show. Canada’s expenditure was 10.1 percent. ...
Canadians visited their doctors more frequently: 5.9 visits per person compared with four for those in the U.S., according to 2005 OECD data. ...
The U.S. leads industrial countries in the portion of the health-care dollar devoted to processing claims and paying providers, the Commonwealth Fund said. Private-insurance administrative costs in the U.S. are 12.7 cents of a dollar, and as high as 18 cents for some companies, said Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund. Government plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, spend 5.8 cents excluding costs of private drug plans, she said. In Canada 4.2 cents is spent on administration.
For example, insurance corporations are infamous for denying coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition – things like cancer, or that ingrown toenail you had 20 years ago. The National Women's Law Center, however, recently revealed another "condition" that can preclude coverage: domestic violence. Yes, eight states allow insurance giants to categorize "getting beat up by your spouse" as a pre-existing condition!
Then there are those mythological Obama "death panels" that Republicans have screamed about. While they never did exist in Obama's reform plan – guess where they do exist? In that Republican-led, state of Texas! The Texas Futile Care Law allows a corporate hospital committee to overrule families and pull the plug on granny if the hospital deems any more treatment to be "futile." It was signed into law by – guess who? – Governor George W. Bush.
And now, three quickies from the Washington Money Game. First, how much clout do health industry lobbyists have in this reform fight? So much that they got a copy of Sen. Max Baucus' draft legislation even before President Obama did. Second, just hours after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would no longer demand the "public option" that health insurers vehemently opposed, an insurance lobbyist announced a $5,000 per-firm fundraiser for her in his Washington home. And finally, Rep, Joe "You lie!" Wilson, who loudly opposes Obama's reform, has pocketed $240,000 in campaign funds from the industry.
Sometimes, the real story is in the tidbits.
"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.
Jed Rakoff, a federal judge in New York City, decided to find out. Earlier this year, lawyers for Bank of America and the Securities and Exchange Commission strolled into Judge Rakoff's courtroom asking him to ratify a legal settlement between the bank and the watchdog agency – usually a routine matter. But this case involved the $3.6 billion in executive bonuses that a subsidiary of Bank of America had doled out last year – even as the bank was getting a $45-billion taxpayer bailout.
Worse, the bankers had lied to their own shareholders about it – a boo-boo that violates SEC rules. But our watchdog had no bite and very little bark. The agency assessed a measly fine of $33 million, which is less than the individual bonuses that some of the bankers had taken.
To the astonishment of those who made this shameful sweetheart settlement, the judge refused to rubberstamp it. Instead, he demanded the names of each executive responsible for the bonus rip off, saying they should be held personally accountable for their crimes. In two hearings before the judge, the bankers and the SEC bobbed and weaved, shucked and jived, trying to skate free. But Rakoff, was not to be trifled with. Invoking America's notions of morality and fair play, as well as channeling the public's rising anger over Wall Street's greed and Washington's meek complicity in that greed, the judge voided the settlement on September 14.
Now, Bank of America and the SEC face a public trial over the whole sorry mess they created. At last, a judge has kicked back at some of the financial system's greedheads and incompetents – and, yes, I do think they're feeling it.
While the executive and legislative branches have sided with the giant banks against millions of hard-hit homeowners, several judges have been standing up to banker arrogance on behalf of regular folks. Take Judge Randolph Haines, a U.S. bankruptcy judge based in Phoenix, who has had the temerity to challenge Wells Fargo.
This banking powerhouse, which has taken $25 billion in bailout money from us taxpayers, has been notoriously imperious in dealing with its own customers. In a case before Judge Haines, the bank had callously dilly-dallied with the urgent efforts of an out-of-work single mom to keep from losing her home. For months, she had been seeking a loan modification from Wells Fargo, but the bank kept losing her application. "I submitted the paperwork three times," she said, "and nothing happened."
Meanwhile, she was forced to file for bankruptcy – ending up in Haines' court. Frustrated by this bank's pattern of indifference toward powerless people, Haines summoned one of Wells Fargo's top executives to his his courtroom to answer the complaints of this lowly borrower. The mighty executive, of course, blamed the borrower, claiming she had failed repeatedly to provide a financial worksheet as requested
However, at Judge Haines' suggestion, the borrower handed a letter to the Wells Fargo chieftain that she had received from the bank, asking him to read it. The chagrined banker had to concede that "[she] is right. The letter did not ask for a financial worksheet." He then added, "Customer communications is something we're taking a look at, your honor."
They might also look at things like basic competence and honesty. Who knows what'll come of this little courtroom comeuppance, but at least someone in authority is not afraid to confront these BSing big shots.
Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC. Sample posts follow:
We all have to play nice-nice with our GR (global resource) peers. and when your GR team lead sends notes to IBM US mgmt that they need MORE WORK from their US counterparts, IBM mgmt. rolls over and gives them more work. Reminds me of an old CCR song: Fortunate Son.
And when you ask them, how much should we give? Ooh, they only answer more! more! more. What a sad, pathetic, f'ng company.
What's more pathetic is how India is not held accountable since they are Sam's chosen ones and how anyone who reports problems with India are considered anti-team, racist and uncooperative.
The sacred cows over in India aren't cattle, they're the "office boys" pretending to be IT professionals working for IBM. What a sad, pathetic f'ng company indeed.
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