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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—December 26, 2009

  • eWeek: IBM Hiring for Customer Service Jobs in Colorado. By Don Sears. Excerpts: IBM is taking advantage of tax rebates in Boulder, Colo., and hiring 500 customer service call center workers over the next five years, say news reports from the AP, Wall Street Journal, Daily Camera and Longmont Times-Call. The 500 jobs will come between now and 2014, said the Daily Camera, a locally published Boulder media outlet. IBM qualified for the rebates after passing environmental and community standards. The company retrofitted 22,000 square feet of space in a 62,000 square-foot space.

    Call center job salaries in the area range from $23,000 to $38,000 a year, according to analysis by the Longmont Times-Call. ...

    IBM has taken a lot of heat in 2009 from its union and former employees after shedding an estimated 10,000 jobs. The exact figure of layoffs this year is not known, as IBM does not publicly announce its restructuring or job cuts, but former employees have well documented the occurrence of layoffs. Many workers have been forced to train employees in Asia and other countries who replaced many employees in North America.

  • Longmont Times-Call: IBM-Boulder adding 500 jobs. By Tony Kindelspire. Excerpts: IBM-Boulder is adding 500 jobs over the next year, mostly at the call center at its Boulder facility in Gunbarrel. “We’ve done some hiring already; we’ll continue to do some into 2010,” said Larry Longseth, vice president of global server systems operations and the senior executive for the company in Colorado. The 500 full-time positions will be new to the company’s Boulder facility, which currently employs about 2,800. Longseth said it’s part of an effort to expand the call center capability there.

    Longseth wouldn’t comment on the jobs’ pay scale, but according to Salary.com, such positions in this area pay from about $23,000 to about $38,000. The majority of workers fall into the $30,000-a-year range, according to the site, which tracks salaries both on job description and locale.

    Editor's note: Selected reader comments concerning the above article follow:

    • Praise be to IBM for finding space on that enormous campus to squeeze out more government subsidies to boost profits from more low wage contractors without benefits. The inside story does not reflect the headline spin.
    • why no mention of this company laying people off in this story, got a little brown on your nose? .. Would be nice to see number of local people laid off the last couple of years right next to that great looking 500 number ;)
    • I'm happy for the 500 who'll get these jobs. Let's be clear about IBM though: for the past few years now, everyone they hire except for Management is a contractor, not a regular employee, and most contractors get lousy benefits. Also, aside from the thousands of jobs IBM has eliminated in the past 3 years, many thousands more U.S. jobs have been moved to India, Brazil, China, and other countries. IBM doesn't give a hoot about the community, like all big companies that have gotten billions in subsidies over the years, they only care about their Wall Street rating and their big yearly bonuses (the fat cats that is). IBM isn't at all what it used to be, as any IBMer who's honest will attest to.
    • Since 2002, no one working in the tape room in building 26 has gotten a raise, which means they have been getting pay cuts every year since the cost of living keeps going up. $10.35/hr for life, no benefits, and managers that are completely inept. That's how it is for contract employees there.
    • This is great news. 500 new jobs! God bless IBM.
    • Yes, God Bless IBM, and God Bless the thousands of people they've laid off in the past 3 years including many thousands whose jobs moved to Brazil, India, and China. God Bless America too....something IBM seems to care little about.
    • IBM Boulder is a Global Delivery Center. What you aren't told is that these 500 jobs opening there are due to other people being laid off in other parts of the country. Some of the people in other parts of the country were given the option to move to the Boulder area, at their own expense and with no job guarantee, and at the local salary unless the local salary required you to get a raise.

      For example, if you lived in Nevada and got paid 70k a year, you might be given an offer in Dubuque IA for 30k a year or you might be given an offer in New York for 70k a year. If they turned down the offer, they were given approx 2 months to find a job within IBM before they are placed on the RA list. Once they are on the RA list, they are essentially black balled and cannot transfer to other parts of the company.

      This is actually pretty insulting if you think about it. The jobs average 30k per year, that means that you could only qualify for a $625.00 a month house/apartment rent (30k/25%/12). So the technicians working at the IBM facility will either be living on Colfax or if they lived closer to Boulder they would have to be living with a few room mates. This is basically a wolf in a sheep's disguise.

    • IDunno, as a person who 'opt'd' into the RA in the first wave by requesting my mgr put me on that list I've only watched friends and family and friends suffer from this companies greed .. It's def. not the IBM I grew up knowing .. Hey Larry, tell me I'm wrong, I dare ya ;) .. Your son still have a job there or has he been RA'd, comedy.
    • I was at IBM for 5 years, as a contractor. I ended up being an architect for a major email system migration, in addition to my regular job. Unlimited contractor overtime was authorized for the migration, and I got this in writing. I spent an additional 60 - 80 hours a week migrating users to the new system. That is 60 to 80 hours a week OT for 7 months. When the migration was complete, IBM came to me and told me that contractor OT was not approved for the project and they wanted all their OT back. Needless to say, my last day at IBM was the next day when I gave my contracting company notice.
    • They treat contractors like garbage, too. I saw on a constant basis IBM managers talking down to contractors and threatening them with dismissal over the slightest thing. There is an unbelievable amount of arrogance and politics (kissing-up) going on over there. When I was a contractor there, no one got a raise (and I was there for six years). Rather than promote from within, they'd hire someone outside to those positions and they'd pay someone just off the street the same as someone that has been there for years. I saw as a manager's friends and family got cushy, much better paying jobs than those who have worked there for far longer and were far more competent. To these new 500 employees (of which I bet a great majority are only part-time), start kissing up to your manager now if you want to get ahead. Then you can screw up as much as you want and you'll have nothing to worry about.
    • Outsourcing is the way of the corporate world and has been for at least two decades. If you're working as a contractor inside of something as large as IBM and not the sort of contractor who has skills that permits working for other Fortune 500s, then it might be likely that you have tunnel vision. Thinking that IBM is doing something different or unusual. Kissing A and playing water cooler politics is life in the corporate conspiracy - everywhere.
    • I agree that outsourcing has been the way over the last 20 years, and people will just have to deal with that. The point is that the only thing IBM has been innovating recently is processes on how to abuse employees. They do not care how good you are at your job. While I was migrating email systems at night, I was the worldwide subject matter expert for what I did during the day. Nobody at IBM knew more about my area of expertise in the world, period.

      IBM has actually patented processes on how to outsource people overseas and how to reduce headcount without affecting the bottom line. A few years ago, IBM employees sued IBM over unfair overtime practices and they won, sort of. Within a month after IBM paid out the penalty, everyone who participated in the lawsuit got a 15% salary reduction.

      Oh, I forgot to mention that if your job is moving to a global delivery center and you decide not to relocate, IBM considers that a voluntary resignation. So basically if you decide that you don't want to uproot your entire family, move to Colorado on your dime (with no guarantee of retaining your job)and take a 40k a year pay cut (or more), you quit. You get no severance, no unemployment benefits, nothing.

  • Boulder Daily-Camera: IBM gets $35,000 business incentive from Boulder, will add 500 jobs. Tech giant could become largest employer in Boulder and Broomfield counties By Heath Urie, Camera Staff Writer. Excerpts: At a time when many companies are looking at cost-cutting measures such as furloughs and layoffs, IBM Corp. plans to add 500 jobs at its Boulder campus. The Armonk, N.Y.-based company is expected to overtake Sun Microsystems as the largest private-sector employer in Boulder and Broomfield counties, thanks to an expansion of customer-service-related jobs that's being supported by $35,000 in tax rebates from the city. Boulder City Manager Jane Brautigam announced Monday that IBM will receive the money as part of the city's flexible rebate program. It was one of three late-year rebates announced Monday. ...

    Frances Draper, executive director of the Boulder Economic Council, said the expansion shows IBM's stake in staying in Boulder. "What it really indicates to us is that IBM corporate is feeling like Boulder is a key site for their operation," she said. "That says that IBM supports this site in the long run." Draper said the 500 jobs being created "probably aren't going to be the highest-paying jobs in the county by any means," but they will still be good jobs that come with training and stability.

    Editor's note: Selected reader comments concerning the above article follow:

    • Lets' see, IBM forces it's current employees to move to Boulder. Those who don't get fired. Then they hire someone at half (or even quarter the cost) to replace the person. They save about $50K per employee per year. Multiple that by 500 = $2.5 million. And they get $35K from the government and do it in the name of social, community and environmental sustainability guidelines. Wow, what a scam.
    • No doubt these aren't "IBM" jobs--they're most likely Manpower "employees" doing the work at about 1/4 of the cost... What's hilarious about this is that if their clients knew IBM paid support staff so little, they'd take their business elsewhere. When I worked there, a leaked document got out showing that IBM was billing their customers $40/hr for each support person assigned to them, but the employees only saw $10 of that.
    • This makes me sick and it's wrong. The City is getting the short straw here. Although any hiring at a time like this is welcome news, I'm incensed that IBM is getting tax dollars to hire very low-paid ($11 hr) contractors (not full time employees with IBM benefits) that they can fire without notice or penalty. This comes after they laid off thousands of people at the Boulder site over the past three years. Many of those jobs went to India and are lost forever.

      Nearly one-third of IBM's global workforce is now in India, and it's no joke that IBM is now referred to as the "India Business Machines" company. The public never heard about it because the company carefully kept the numbers below the WARN letter reporting threshold. A WARN letter (Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notification) is required by law to be sent if a given number - or percentage - of workers at a site will be cut. And of course, the media has been laying off reporters right and left so there is nobody left to cover the news in depth anyway.

      Make no mistake, IBM is NOT committed to Boulder. The company is committed to nothing but itself and the stock price. Anyone that thinks otherwise is delusional or stupid.

    • From the article: >Draper said the 500 jobs being created "probably aren't going to be the highest-paying jobs in the county by any means," but they will still be good jobs that come with training and stability. Only one part of this statement is true. Can you guess what it is?
    • I believe the comments submitted by past and present employees of IBM at http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/IBM-Reviews-E354... say it all. Read up on their disturbing, unconscionable business practices. ...it's nauseating.
    • The writer of this article certainly needs an education on what is really happening in IBM. Thankfully IBMers are speaking out on the shell game IBM is pulling across the country. Tax breaks in Boulder and Dubuque for hiring?! IBM is telling people to move to these 2 locations or lose their job. 10,400 employees terminated this year and more on the way. How many of these jobs in Boulder will be contractors/temps? How many current employees moving to Boulder from other locations?
    • People are so quick to forget, yes that includes most of the knuckleheads that have commented on this so far. I'm an ex-IBM'er who took a severance package from Infoprint at the end of last year, and it was the best thing I've ever done after 12 years of corporate slavery.

      Here's a little bit of history. It was only 9 or 10 years ago when IBM had about 6000 employees working at the IBM Boulder site. In those last 10 years, IBM has sold it's PC division to Lenovo, a Chinese company, and also sold the Printing Systems division to Ricoh, a Japanese Company to name a few. Did these sales affect the work force at Boulder's site? Well, not so much since the PC division was in Raleigh (they did lose a lot of jobs there), and Ricoh's purchase was more of an addition to their business with Infoprint being another one of their brands. It was all based on IBM's model of outsourcing hardware divisions that incur higher operating expenses. regardless of profit ratio. It was real tangible expense, but also kept many americans employed.

      Now here's the kicker, Global Services division. In the hey day 10 years ago, Global Services was HUGE, and had lot's of help desk jobs that were created through IBM business outsourcing programs and services for other companies. This division is where the job cuts mostly occurred, and IBM Boulder's site saw close to 2000 jobs go to India. When I left their were less than 3500 employees at the IBM Boulder site, that's 2500 jobs gone from Boulder County in less than 10 years.

      There's a lot of irony to be noted here. First of all, IBM's stock is now trading around $130 per share, a definite high point in the last 10 years, and a low point was $64 rr $66 a share after the dotcom bomb and 9/11/01 attacks. And this is the irony the executives wont admit to, they are getting bitten in the ass by all this outsourcing on two different fronts: One, there's not one non-Indian american customer that enjoys talking to someone on a helpdesk in India, and it's been brought up repeatedly and even impacted IBM's new and existing business. (Nothing against India, but the communication is less than effective, and I'd rather see my neighbor be gainfully employed.)

      Two, the new white house administration is putting the clamp down on companies who outsource american jobs to other countries, got ya Salami Sam Palmisano (IBM's CEO). It's just a hidden knee jerk reaction not to incur the wrath of the US Gov and more importantly the IRS!

      Lastly the real irony is people who were making $18-25 an hour with benefits can get their old jobs back with no benefits for half their previous wage 5 or 10 years ago. Oh yeah, let's not forget this either, not too many living in Boulder can do so on these meager wages. The entire time I was an IBM employee, I was always below the median income of Boulder. So yeah these people will be driving longer distances and bumping up pollution emissions, was that really worth $35,000 to City of Boulder considering the new jobs will be for people who can't afford to live or shop here? Way to improve our quality of Life City of Boulder!

      One very last note. Wouldn't it be nice if the DC editors and writers wouldn't take the words of City of Boulder and big business as truth, but instead do a little bit of their own research into the dynamics and history of the stories they report on? This story definitely needs a published rebuttal as it's a misleading disservice to the community. Everything isn't as rosy as reported here.

    • I was laid-off from IBM March 26, 2009 a day known as "Black Friday" inside IBM. I was a 19 year veteran of IBM and my job went first to a teammate who did two jobs to the point of exhaustion and then onto India. I am now employed out of state, making $12,000 more in 6 months than I did when I left IBM. The company only hires contract or temp employee's - those without job security or benefits. Many of these employee's will live far away and commute to over-priced Boulder county (a boutique town not unlike Aspen or Telluride). Boulder - don't be fooled into thinking IBM will hire hire on the hog in Boulder, those days are gone. For an idea of what is being posted about IBM see Jobvent.com, and read the real stories of those careers destroyed by a record profit making IBM Corp.

  • eWeek: H-1B Visa Enforcement to Increase in 2010. By Don Sears. Excerpts: The United States Customs and Immigrations Services plans to up its enforcement of the law on H-1B visas and the U.S. companies that take advantage of them by conducting 25,000 on-site inspections in 2010. IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Google and many technology giants and smaller IT shops employ temporary H-1B visa holders to fill U.S.-based jobs from foreign countries. After a Congressional report showed a range of fraud within the H-1B visa program, the pressure to enforce the law on the books has increased. ...

    Some in the U.S. Senate, led by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) of Iowa, have introduced legislation that would impose limitations on H-1B visa usage. In a year of major job loss in information technology, Grassley, along with Sen. Dick Durbin (D) of Illinois initiated a bill that seeks to insure that U.S. companies look to hire American workers before using H-1B visas.

    "The H-1B program was never meant to replace qualified American workers. It was meant to complement them because of a shortage of workers in specialized fields," Grassley said in a statement. "In tough economic times like we're seeing, it's even more important that we do everything possible to see that Americans are given every consideration when applying for jobs."

  • Forbes: Twelve-Trillion-Dollar Lessons From Saving The Fat Cats. By Robert Lenzner. Excerpts: The transfer of wealth to Wall Street does nothing to lower unemployment, but it sure gets stocks soaring again. When you add up all of the direct and indirect costs, saving Wall Street was a task that required an amount of money almost equal to the value of the entire U.S. economy. It cost $12 trillion to prevent the massive failure of the financial system. A fraction of that amount stabilized Detroit's automobile industry.

    This $12 trillion package gifted a goldmine to Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase while granting Citigroup, AIG, Bank of America and Wells Fargo time to come back from the precipice for renewed fortune hunting. Washington public policy transferred an agglomeration of wealth so magnificent that one investment banker in a high position likened it to the way Putin transferred Russia's wealth to a handful of oligarchs.

    Investors in the nation's financial institutions can thank this massive bailout for the astonishing recovery in financial shares: Goldman Sachs has more than tripled from its low, and Morgan Stanley has more than doubled. Bank of America shares are worth six times what they were at the bottom, and even Citigroup is a quadruple, going from 97 cents to around $4. ...

    A final lesson, or perhaps admonition, is that Goldman Sachs is getting too smug, arrogant and selfish for its own good. It is intending to spend about 50% of its net revenues on bonuses, come hell or high water. That's $20 billion, more or less. It doesn't change the magnitude of the wealth transfer if the top 30 Goldman executives will not get cash but stock over a five-year period. This will set off a firestorm across the nation. Goldman is awash in money because Bear Stearns and Lehman are no more, and Citi, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley--not to speak of several European financial giants--have been wounded. Goldman's largesse to its employees is a function of immensely reduced competition. Let's see if Goldman can maintain its advantage.

  • New York Times op-ed: The Big Zero. By Paul Krugman. Excerpts: Maybe we knew, at some unconscious, instinctive level, that it would be an era best forgotten. Whatever the reason, we got through the first decade of the new millennium without ever agreeing on what to call it. The aughts? The naughties? Whatever. (Yes, I know that strictly speaking the millennium didn’t begin until 2001. Do we really care?)

    But from an economic point of view, I’d suggest that we call the decade past the Big Zero. It was a decade in which nothing good happened, and none of the optimistic things we were supposed to believe turned out to be true.

    It was a decade with basically zero job creation. O.K., the headline employment number for December 2009 will be slightly higher than that for December 1999, but only slightly. And private-sector employment has actually declined — the first decade on record in which that happened.

    It was a decade with zero economic gains for the typical family. Actually, even at the height of the alleged “Bush boom,” in 2007, median household income adjusted for inflation was lower than it had been in 1999. And you know what happened next.

    It was a decade of zero gains for homeowners, even if they bought early: right now housing prices, adjusted for inflation, are roughly back to where they were at the beginning of the decade. And for those who bought in the decade’s middle years — when all the serious people ridiculed warnings that housing prices made no sense, that we were in the middle of a gigantic bubble — well, I feel your pain. Almost a quarter of all mortgages in America, and 45 percent of mortgages in Florida, are underwater, with owners owing more than their houses are worth.

    Last and least for most Americans — but a big deal for retirement accounts, not to mention the talking heads on financial TV — it was a decade of zero gains for stocks, even without taking inflation into account. Remember the excitement when the Dow first topped 10,000, and best-selling books like “Dow 36,000” predicted that the good times would just keep rolling? Well, that was back in 1999. Last week the market closed at 10,520. ...

    What was truly impressive about the decade past, however, was our unwillingness, as a nation, to learn from our mistakes.

    Even as the dot-com bubble deflated, credulous bankers and investors began inflating a new bubble in housing. Even after famous, admired companies like Enron and WorldCom were revealed to have been Potemkin corporations with facades built out of creative accounting, analysts and investors believed banks’ claims about their own financial strength and bought into the hype about investments they didn’t understand. Even after triggering a global economic collapse, and having to be rescued at taxpayers’ expense, bankers wasted no time going right back to the culture of giant bonuses and excessive leverage.

    Then there are the politicians. Even now, it’s hard to get Democrats, President Obama included, to deliver a full-throated critique of the practices that got us into the mess we’re in. And as for the Republicans: now that their policies of tax cuts and deregulation have led us into an economic quagmire, their prescription for recovery is — tax cuts and deregulation.

    So let’s bid a not at all fond farewell to the Big Zero — the decade in which we achieved nothing and learned nothing. Will the next decade be better? Stay tuned. Oh, and happy New Year.

  • Wall Street Journal: Does Golden Pay for the CEOs Sink Stocks? By Jason Zweig. Excerpts: Why does it seem that it's always Christmas in corporate boardrooms? And how can investors tell whether those glittering pay packages are worth the cost? The answer sounds obvious: Pay the boss more for good results now, and you should get even better results later. But the evidence for that is surprisingly weak, and two new studies even suggest that when chief executive officers get paid more, shareholders end up earning less.

    The first study, led by corporate-governance expert Lucian Bebchuk of Harvard Law School, looked at more than 2,000 companies to see what share of the total compensation earned by the top five executives went to the CEO. The researchers call this number—which averages about 35%—the "CEO pay slice." It turns out that the bigger the CEO's slice of the pie, the lower the company's future profitability and market valuation. "These CEOs," says Prof. Bebchuk, "seem to be trying to grab more than they should." ...

    Surely the financial crisis should have taught us all that we must acknowledge the extent of our ignorance. What's urgently called for in the CEO pay process, says Prof. Yermack, is "a great deal of humility." It's high time for corporate compensation committees—and investors—to start doubting whether the lavish pay packages they endorse actually work.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site
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  • Job Cut Reports
    • Comment 12/23/09: The Call Center outsourcing has become a huge disaster. The reps have names like "Edsel, Homer, Elmer, Anne etc" all of which look like they were chosen from a "Baby Name Book" circa 1935. They act like little machines reading off a script, have no emotion, no personality and when asked to deviate from the script they are lost. Oh yea, they also have no clue what calls go to what SSR etc. Still, true to form, some IBM drones are helping and cluing these people in instead of asking them to do their jobs. Yea... Just like: "Your Work Will Set You Free"... Learn from history all you IBM bleed blue drones, it won't... I see it but I don't believe it. One year left and I will open my own business. I can't wait. -Quimby-
    • Comment 12/25/09: Clarification: In reading my last msg I would just like to say that my intention was not to associate the Holocaust with anything IBM is doing. What I meant is that sheep are sheep and you should not believe anything IBM tells you. Question, challenge, be alert and be ready to mobilize if necessary. Any one of us could be RA'd at any moment and your performance and dedication means nothing. That's what I was trying to say. Peace! -Quimby-
    • Comment 12/27/09: -Quimby- I for one understand your message exactly. IBMers are so entrenched in their job rut, nose to the grindstone and all that sort of thing that they embody that phrase from history. It's as if they believe they can outwork the RA's even though history has shown they cannot. Most seem to believe that if they out work or somehow meet the outrageous performance requirements of their jobs they will somehow be spared. That taking no time for family or enjoyment and just slaving away will somehow make it all better.

      It's always sad come the day they are fired for profits that they realize their children are grown and being a good little work widget put food in their stomachs but no happiness in their hearts. It is the work widget mentality that prevents IBMers from organizing yet makes them the most productive self supervising employees in the world. They of course have to be self supervising because the only skill modern day first line managers have is butt kissing. They could not run the means of production by themselves for a half a day without the widgets. It is so sad. -Exodus2007-

    • Comment 12/28/09: Saw emails from people who are being let go for not moving to Iowa... do not know how many are affected but they are off the books 12/31... this is in global services. -gmangle-
    • Comment 12/29/09: "...do not know how many are affected but they are off the books 12/31..." Typical IBM. These folks probably lose whatever GDP they should have gotten if they were still employed THROUGH 12/31. Means more profit for IBM and a bigger bonus for Slammy P. and the Armonk posse. And the majority of folks out there in and around IBM still don't see a need for a union to make IBM play fair. Unbelievable. -anonymous-
  • General Visitor's Comment page
  • Pension Comments page
  • Raise and Salary Comments IBM CEO Sam Palmisano: "I am pleased to announce that we will not only be paying bonuses to IBMers worldwide, based on individual performance, but that they'll be funded from a pool of money nearly the same size as last year's. That's significant in this economy -- and especially so, given the size of the 2007 pool. Further, our salary increase plan will continue, covering about 60 percent of our workforce. As always, increases will go to our highest performers and contributors. We should all feel good about the company's ability to invest in people in these very concrete ways."
    • Comment 12/26/09: Salary = 125000; Band Level = 7; Job Title = Senior Consultant - S&C; Hours/Week = 65; Div Name = 5; Location = Anon; Message = Strategy and Change consultants make 15% or more on average than others. B7 is 120 to 130 while B8 is 130 to 150k. Oftentimes, we do the same job as lower paid GBS staff. -Anon-
    • Comment 12/28/09: -Anon- 125000 in what currency? If it is in USA dollars that seems way out of whack for a band 7 even with more money S&C folks might get. -S&Ced-
    • Comment 12/28/09: Salary = 82000; #Yrs Since Raise = 0; %Raise = 10; Band Level = 10; This Yr-PBC = 1; Job Title = IT Architect; Location = UK; Message = Market rate is a scandal - IBM never pays it to 95% of the staff. -Poorman-
    • Comment 12/29/09: -Anon- If this is what you are being paid as a B7 or B8 I suggest you enjoy the ride for now and sock the $$$ away for as long as you can on your IBM "magic carpet ride". IBM will soon hire S&C Consultant folks from China or some other cheap as %$#@ BRIC as soon as they can and your job will be outsourced for sure!!! You can bank on it. Sorry to be blunt but it's the truth that will hurt. -grim_reaper-
  • PBC Comments
    • Comment 12/22/09: Band Level = 7; Years Service = 5; Prior Yr PBC = +2; This Yr PBC = 2; This Yr Bonus = 0; Prior Yr Bonus = 0; Message = Hi Young Lady I'm in the same situation as you this year. Got 2 but I'm in the top 4 of people that worked quite hard (hours) and I for sure will write some comments on that notation as it is not acceptable getting that kind of notation that's bad management! That notation system is more disappointing than really motivating and gives stress to all employees. The results of those notations are ridiculous as last year as was near to get a 1, but he came out with yet another thing that cannot be achieved . Guys out there any comments on that? -for young lady-
    • Comment 12/26/09: Band Level = 7; Years Service = 28; Message = I was RA'ed in April of 09 with a PBC rating of 1. The prior 4 years were all 2+ and 5 years prior to that were all 1's. Management does play a PBC game with people they want gone, but if you fit other criteria (age, pension type) your rating means squat. I was totally blind sided. -Gettin Over it-
  • International Comments
    • Comment 12/27/09: Country = United Kingdom; Union Affiliate = no; Job Title = SM; IBM Division = not known; Message = IBM UK Ltd has made the decision to close its final salary (DB) pension to future accrual moving employees to a Direct Contribution pension (DC) resulting in an enormous amount of distress and hit to productivity and support for their employer for all those people who have accepted the lack of pay-rises and bonuses and promotions for quite some years now because at least their pension was 'protected'!! this means that a huge number of senior, experienced (highly paid) managers and reportees will leave (or have already left) the company in 2010 - with no leaving package, golden handshake or any recompence apart from what they can glean from their standard company pension...a huge victory for IBM Corp with massive savings being made whilst h/c reductions are accomplished. I personally know of 117 people to whom this situation applies and 10 already gone, 51 will leave IBM in next 4 months, 12 have decided to stay as they are dependant upon their salary and the status of the rest is not yet known but will become clear over the next few days. I believe this number will be multiplied by at least a factor of 10 to represent the total amount of UK employees affected. -toolateI'mscrewed!-
    • Comment 12/29/09: Country = UK; Union Affiliate = No; Job Title = Retired; IBM Division = GTS; Message = IBM UK ends 2009 as a much changed company from a year ago. Several thousand employees in the 'final salary' pension scheme have been affected by IBM's decision to close the scheme to existing members. This despite a 'guarantee' given previously that the scheme would be funded until at least 2014. Many of these have applied for early retirement and are expected to leave 1Q 2010. In addition, the imposition of PBC3 quotas and PIPs are an aggressive effort by IBM UK to offload staff with minimal severance packages. IBM UK is successfully unloading many of its more senior and highly paid employees at little cost via these actions. It has resulted in a very large increase in union membership over the year. It is yet to be seen whether the intervention of the union will have a significant effect on IBM's actions. Reports from within the company suggest that staff morale is at an all-time low, with many just waiting for the job market to pick up before finding another job. We can only assume this is the effect that IBM UK intended when it embarked on its actions. -easyrider-
News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
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  • New York Times: Health Care Changes Wouldn’t Have Big Effect for Many. By Reed Abelson. Excerpt: Now that the Senate has caught up with the House by passing a sweeping health care bill, lawmakers are on the verge of extending coverage to the tens of millions of Americans who have no health insurance. But what about the roughly 160 million workers and their dependents who already have health insurance through an employer? For many people, the result of the long, angry health care debate in Washington may be little more than more of the same. As President Obama once promised, “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan.”

    That may be true even if you don’t like your health plan. And no one seems to agree on whether the legislation will do much to reduce workers’ continually rising out-of-pocket costs. True, there is an important advantage for the working insured: more peace of mind for people who are worried about being laid off or would like to change jobs.

  • New York Times op-ed: Tidings of Comfort. By Paul Krugman. Excerpts: Indulge me while I tell you a story — a near-future version of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol.” It begins with sad news: young Timothy Cratchit, a k a Tiny Tim, is sick. And his treatment will cost far more than his parents can pay out of pocket. Fortunately, our story is set in 2014, and the Cratchits have health insurance. Not from their employer: Ebenezer Scrooge doesn’t do employee benefits. And just a few years earlier they wouldn’t have been able to buy insurance on their own because Tiny Tim has a pre-existing condition, and, anyway, the premiums would have been out of their reach.

    But reform legislation enacted in 2010 banned insurance discrimination on the basis of medical history and also created a system of subsidies to help families pay for coverage. Even so, insurance doesn’t come cheap — but the Cratchits do have it, and they’re grateful. God bless us, everyone.

    O.K., that was fiction, but there will be millions of real stories like that in the years to come. Imperfect as it is, the legislation that passed the Senate on Thursday and will probably, in a slightly modified version, soon become law will make America a much better country.

    So why are so many people complaining? There are three main groups of critics. ...

  • Washington Post: Medical sales reps work alongside doctors, even in operating rooms. By David S. Hilzenrath. Excerpts: In a Florida operating room, a senior citizen with a collapsed vertebra lies face down and unconscious on the operating table, surrounded by members of a medical team. If all goes well, they'll insert a tiny inflatable balloon into the brittle bone and then stabilize it by injecting cement. It's a delicate procedure that deploys needles close to the spinal cord, and it takes a coordinated effort.

    There's an anesthesiologist alternating with a nurse anesthetist, an X-ray technician and a circulating nurse; there's a pair of scrub techs to handle surgical instruments; there's the surgeon, a middle-aged orthopedist who has never performed this type of operation before.

    And, at the foot of the operating table, there's Chuck Bates, a guy who studied biology in college and always wanted to go to medical school but never did. Instead, he began his career selling hot dogs to grocery stores.

    As the surgeon prepares to make an incision, Bates stares at the X-ray monitor. Come up one centimeter and make your incision there, Bates tells the surgeon. A little later, when it appears that the doctor is going to use his hand to push a needle into the patient's spine, Bates suggests that he try a mallet instead. Just tap-tap-tap, Bates advises. The job wholesaling hot dogs enabled Bates to get an MBA on the weekends, and then a friend told him about a career more in tune with his interests, which led to employment with Kyphon, a manufacturer of medical devices. ...

    Although patients may not be aware of their presence, sales representatives have become fixtures in operating rooms across America. They come bearing artificial hips and artificial knees, cardiac pacemakers and implantable defibrillators, spinal stabilizers and mesh used to support prolapsed bladders. They deliver screws to hold bones together, and protein substances meant to make bone grow again. ...

    Many medical devices could not be used -- or used safely -- without sales reps, said David Nexon, senior executive vice president of the Advanced Medical Technology Association, an industry group. Richmond gynecologist Catherine A. Matthews said that's a frightening argument. "They're not in any way motivated to recommend what might be the best thing for the patient," Matthews said. "They're there to sell their product."

  • The Commonwealth Fund: Paying the Price: How Health Insurance Premiums Are Eating Up Middle-Class Incomes. By Cathy Schoen, M.S., Jennifer L. Nicholson, M.P.H., and Sheila D. Rustgi . Overview: The rapid rise in health insurance premiums has severely strained U.S. families and employers in recent years. This analysis of federal data finds that if premiums for employer-sponsored insurance grow in each state at the projected national rate of increase, then the average premium for family coverage would rise from $12,298 (the 2008 average) to $23,842 by 2020—a 94 percent increase. However, if health system reforms were able to slow premium growth by 1 percentage point in all states, by 2020 employers and families together would save $2,571 per premium for family coverage, compared with projected trends. If growth could be slowed by 1.5 percentage points—a target recently agreed to by a major industry coalition—yearly savings would equal $3,759. The analysis presents state-by-state data on premium costs for 2003 and 2008, as well as projections, using various assumptions, for costs in 2015 and 2020.
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.

  • Washington Post: AIG executives' promises to return bonuses have gone largely unfulfilled. By Brady Dennis. Excerpts: When word spread earlier this year that American International Group had paid more than $165 million in retention bonuses at the division that had precipitated the company's downfall, outrage erupted, with employees getting death threats and President Obama urging that every legal avenue be pursued to block the payments.

    New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo threatened to publicize the recipients' names, prompting executives at AIG Financial Products to hastily agree to return about $45 million in bonuses by the end of the year. But as the final days of 2009 tick away, a majority of that money remains unpaid. Only about $19 million has been given back, according to a report by the special inspector general for the government's bailout program.

  • Huffington Post: Main Street and Wall Street: A Tale of Two Cities. By Robert L. Borosag. Excerpts: You know the Dickens: It's a "tale of two cities," "the best of times and the worst of times." On Wall Street, the big banks, basted with public succor, are ladling out record bonuses. Their leaders are arrogant enough to stiff the president's invitation to the woodshed. Even at AIG, still a ward of the government, the hubris is such that the executives that led the company into bankruptcy now are threatening to sue anyone who dares tamper with the million dollar bonuses that they once promised to return.

    On Main Street, millions remain unemployed, foreclosures are rising, pain is spreading. Many of the best jobs that have gone are not coming back. The downturn has been particularly brutal on the young. As a New York Times editorial reports, the jobless rate for teenagers is the highest recorded since records began being kept after World War II. For low-income black students, only 4 in 100 found jobs this fall. ...

    The economic challenge goes beyond recovery. In fact, Wall Street's rescue, while necessary, now stands in the way of a prosperous economy. Banks are emerging from free fall more concentrated than ever, with an explicit promise that they are too big to fail. This is a guarantee of future financial catastrophe. They must be broken up or regulated like utilities. Banker's bonuses are simply a leading indicator. Their return to record levels means exactly that we are headed into another mess.

    The pain on Main Street is also not sustainable. The basic promises we make to one another -- a good education for our children, an opportunity for those who work hard, security in the golden years -- depend on an economy with a broad and vibrant middle class, where prosperity it widely shared. As the middle class struggles with declining wages and increasing insecurity, those promises can't be kept.

    Politically, this reality will frame the choice in 2010 and beyond. Voters will want to know: Which side are you on -- Wall Street or Main Street? The myth that Wall Street's riches benefit Main Street -- that bankers are doing, in the words of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein, "God's work" -- has been shattered.

  • Wall Street Journal: In Battle With U.S. Over Pay, AIG Chief Meets His Match. By Serena Ng, Deborah Solomon, and JoAnn S. Lublin. Excerpts: At a reception shortly after he became chief executive officer of American International Group Inc., Robert Benmosche told a group of AIG executives that a part of his anatomy was bigger than the government's. His five-month tenure at the insurer is putting his swagger to the test. Mr. Benmosche, more than any other leader of a bailed-out American company, has styled himself as a bulwark against government intrusion into the corner office. Although he sees his main mission as repaying roughly $87 billion in taxpayer money pumped into AIG, he doesn't want the government to tell him how to do his job.

    The 65-year-old insurance-industry veteran has criticized regulators, threatened to quit over government pay constraints and used profanity in company meetings. "With me, what you see is what you get," Mr. Benmosche says he has told government officials, AIG board members and employees. ...

    The government has spent about $121 billion thus far on the AIG rescue, and the company, now 80% government-owned, won't be paying back what it owes anytime soon. That has left Mr. Benmosche no option but to contend with pay czar Kenneth Feinberg.

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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