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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—April 17, 2010

  • Strategy and Design Solutions: Announces Creation of The trueBLUE Association. Excerpts: What is this all about? Companies are looking for help. They want access to talent and they want good utilization. They have work that needs to be done but can not afford to offer full time jobs, nor do they want to send work offshore. In many cases, they are not allowed to send the work offshore. What would it mean to these companies if there was access to the talent of the former professionals from IBM? So far we have heard from companies in the Financial, Retail, Distribution, and Public sectors. ...

    Our solution is the trueBLUE Association. Together, as affiliates of the trueBLUE Association, we will deliver your talent to the companies who are looking for, not just a person, but a team; a team of trusted IBM knowledgeable professionals. As IBM alumni, you have a special talent for collaboration and teamwork. As "freelance" professionals, we have the ability to group together in the trueBLUE Association as a community. Together we can offer our services to much larger projects than a typical freelancing business. With this community vision in mind, we are establishing a critical mass of x-IBM professionals on oDesk to meet the demand that companies have been asking for. oDesk offers a managed solution to ensure that workers are guaranteed payment for their work while clients' projects are completed satisfactorily. It is a win-win opportunity!

  • Channel Register (United Kingdom): IBM job cuts go compulsory. Dark days at Big Blue. By John Oates. Excerpts: The job-cutting process at IBM UK has changed from voluntary to compulsory. Managers at IBM Global Services in the UK were originally looking for volunteers to cut head count by about 500. But even though they got more than this number of volunteers the process is going to become compulsory for some people. A source told the Register: "It's a mess, especially after all the pensions trouble. People facing redundancy will now be notified by 1 June and will leave IBM on 5 July. It is being run from the top - lower down managers don't know what is going on."

    Selected reader comments concerning the above article follow:

    • My advice: Stop to anyone considering a job with Big Rue (as in you'll rue the day you accepted their offer) - run very fast the other way.... there are plenty of better companies to work for than them. If you decide to ignore this advice, remember that 2 years is about how long it will take for your career and salary to stagnate. As for redundancy, don't stress too much about that... it's usually the most expensive that get shafted first (because the redundancies are a cost cutting measure after all).... it's not until you earn the big bucks (after like 20 years of service, or if you joined as a professional hire when the economy was booming) that you become a liability to their bottom line. Anon for obvious reasons.
    • It depends... You're in the interview process for a job at IBM. It depends on what position you're hiring to fill. If the rec is real and open, you shouldn't worry because you may or may not get the job. If the rec is a consulting position, you shouldn't worry because the position may or may not exist, depending on whether or not IBM gets the contract. If the rec is for a band 6 or 7, you shouldn't worry because most of the senior positions are at risk. If your job might be filled by someone in India, Brazil, Viet Nam, China, or any other country where labor is cheap and quality of work isn't a concern, then, I'd be concerned. Bottom line, with IBM, unless you actually have an offer letter in your hand, don't count on there being a job open for you to fill. Good luck with your other interviews. -G
    • I may be wrong here but let me take punt. Have you been at the company less than 5 years? You see, if you're a grad who they want to keep you'll be offered good pay rises, stock options, restricted stock units. I to have always had a pay rise, but lets say that after five years they've tended towards inflation levels.

      You see HR in the UK had/has a problem: turnover was/is too high for new grads, but too low for people with longer service. Now, you may be saying, "Wooohoo I'll be at the front when it comes to pay raises etc, keeerrrrrching." Well consider this: I would desperately like to work somewhere else, however, I have a mortgage and a family to support. Because of all the pay rises I received I cannot take a job anywhere else as I cannot afford it -- essentially I'm paid too much. Sounds like a stupid question but, is that a position you want to be in?

      So, the advice that people have given about staying a couple of years and then moving on is right. Do not fall into the IBM trap that I did. (Oh and we could talk about the possibly illegal enforced PBC rating percentages, but that's for another day).

      One final thought......do you want to work for a company where the Pensions' Trustees are taking them to court, and a large number of recent "retirees" are launching a series of industrial tribunals for constructive dismissal/age discrimination?

    • Some people don't get pay rises, those are the lowest performers"? Rubbish, and probably written by an IBM manager or exec. That is a flat-out lie. I've been a top performer and haven't had a pay rise for years. And that is whilst earning significantly below IBM's "market rate" for my band (and the IBM market rate is usually around 75% of the real market rate). Don't be fooled by people posting nonsense such as this, apart from the fact that chances of being laid of are (still) statistically slim, the rest is absolute crap.
    • If you mean GBS then the lack of technical skills should be to your advantage - possessing them automatically limits your options in the modern IBM
    • I'm an IBM employee and could not recommend it to anyone I liked :) Run away now and find a company that values their employees!
    • I am a current IBM employee and can state as fact that the IBM Graduate scheme is exempt from the current round of redundancies. I cannot give my name but I can say I am very close to the redundancy project. I have worked for IBM for 13 years (unlucky for some); moral is low at the moment but not to be unexpected given the current situation. I joined IBM from a non technical background and have on balance enjoyed my time at IBM, I still pinch myself in the mornings not believing my luck. OK, so IBM is not the greatest employer in the world, they are not the worst either. You could do a lot worse than work for IBM.
  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree Information Exchange message board: "Considering early retirement in 2011" by "remerkner". Full excerpt: Hello everyone, I'm new to the forum and am trying to gather information that will help me decide whether or not I can retire next year. I believe I have a good handle on all my expenses with the exception of medical premiums. Like many others, I have a sum of money in the IBM future health account which can only be used if the IBM insurance coverage is used.

    I'm hearing all kinds of numbers out there that range from $400 a month (out of pocket) to pay for COBRA to $800-1000 for the IBM policy coverage. I'd appreciate hearing of your experience and please don't be bashful about pointing out the holes in the pavement, since I'm sure there are quite a few. Also, any other lessons learned that you're willing share are most welcome. Thanks to all that reach out to help. Ruth

  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree Information Exchange message board: "Re: considering early retirement in 2011" by "teamb562". Full excerpt: Hi, I am in a similar situation as remerkner and am following this thread with interest. Thanks to all for their comments. One question in regards to Cobra. Isn't it true that you would need to be laid off in order to qualify for Cobra, similar to unemployment? In other words, if you retire voluntarily, Cobra is not an option, Is this correct?
  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree Information Exchange message board: "Re: considering early retirement in 2011" by "madinpok". Full excerpt: COBRA is available to you in all cases. If you quit, retire, or get laid off, it doesn't matter - you can take advantage of COBRA. All that is required is that you be covered under the employer's plan at the time you leave your job.
  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree Information Exchange message board "Re: considering early retirement in 2011" by "madinpok". Full excerpt: The original question didn't ask about eligibility for subsidies. But since you did, I'll attempt to answer. The law that created the COBRA subsidy program says that if you have other health insurance available, you are not eligible for the COBRA subsidy. Someone retiring from IBM presumably has the retiree health coverage available, so I would take that to mean that they could not receive the subsidy. I believe others who have posted in the various IBM yahoo groups have confirmed that that is what the IBM ESC has told them. Still, it doesn't hurt to call the ESC and ask again. You never know, you might get a different answer.

    Even without the COBRA subsidy, COBRA insurance will still be less expensive than the FHA retiree coverage. If you plan on retiring and using the FHA, you will be paying out of pocket eventually when the FHA money runs out. So you may want to first take advantage of the cheaper COBRA prices (and better coverage) while it is available.

  • Associated Press, courtesy of Forbes: IBM announces opening of $30 million facility. Excerpts: IBM Corp. says it has opened a new $30 million manufacturing facility at its Poughkeepsie, N.Y., site to produce the next generation of mainframes and servers. The Hudson Valley facility officially opened Tuesday and will produce IBM ( IBM - news - people )'s next line of System z mainframe computers and high-end Power Systems servers.

    Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM does not expect to add any jobs at the site.

    The 56,000-square-foot facility will be built inside an existing structure at IBM's 400-acre site in Poughkeepsie. The company says it features innovations to conserve energy and improve the manufacturing process.

  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • IBM Anonymous: (Current Employee) “Great place to work 60 hrs a week.” Pros: Lots of opportunities to grow. Generally good people to work with. Good compensation. Cons: Your life is IBM - not much work/life balance Executive management not respectful of competing interests/deadlines You become a slave to the corporate machine. Advice to Senior Management: Make sure your commitment to employees is not just lip-service. It's fine to have tons of opportunities, but allow people to grow in their roles.
    • IBM Software Engineer: (Past Employee - 2010) “IBM.” Pros: Very flexible work schedules. Ability to work from home. Good education opportunities. Cons: Extremely difficult to get equipment, such as monitors, etc. Can be difficult to do job jobs transferring to other countries. Advice to Senior Management: Consider investing in equipment and other resources for US employees. Give employees a real chance to find other jobs in the company during layoffs.
    • IBM Anonymous: (Current Employee) “Pathetic Bureaucracy, incompetent senior management, no growth.” Pros: Great work, freedom to make decisions at work. Cons: Sad work environment, no personal growth, stagnant salaries, bad hr policies. Advice to Senior Management: Make the company more employee friendly and encourage growth and professional competence.
    • IBM Anonymous in London, England (United Kingdom): (Current Employee) “There are better companies to work for.” Cons: 1. Low pay compared to other companies. 2. Share price over people 3. Poor development opportunities outside of online learning. 4. Focus on utilisation; Pros: 1. Good people though many are unhappy. 2. Still a good company to have on your CV. 3. Access to IBM research and resources. Advice to Senior Management: Get back to the idea of people being IBMers, try and re-instill the corporate values and pay people the market rate.
    • IBM Project Manager: (Current Employee) “Sad State of Affairs.” Pros: Flexibility to work from home, access to scads of knowledge and assets. Cons: The offshoring has gone far too far. Those of us left have to train, explain, baby sit, correct, all while pretending all to the client. Here's a recent example: One highly competent and fast to deliver North American specialist was RA'd only to have 4 offshore resources replace him and they can't deliver squat! Advice to Senior Management: Please get your stock options. sell your stock and retire before it is too late for the next mgrs to save this company from this downward spiral. Also, do a real cost comparison of the offshoring situation. Surely when quality and expertise drops this significantly and 3 to 4 inexperienced people are hired for every one NA RA'd, this stops making sense. But I guess if you don't care about the long term viability of the company, no sense thinking about the nasty math!
    • IBM Senior IT Architect: (Past Employee - 2010) “No longer interested in North American Employees.” Pros: Large library of intellectual capital. Still a few good people left. Cons: Morale is horrible in Global Business Services due to fear of layoffs. Overly dependent on offshore, particularly Indian resources that are not technically competent. Raises are rarely given and then only 1% to 3%. Profit Sharing goes mainly to the execs. Career advancement is ad hoc and depends on who you know and not what you did. A large part of your yearly review rating depends on you billable hours for the year, but many projects force you to bill only 40 hours/week but to actually work 50 or more hours. Advice to Senior Management: Retire!
    • IBM Anonymous in Chicago, IL: (Current Employee) “Not what it used to be.” Pros: Access to interesting technology which you won't find at smaller companies. Benefits while decreasing, still seem pretty good in comparison. Cons: Outsourcing to Global Resources has destroyed morale. Lack of training and education. Constant threat of layoffs. Cost savings measures are ridiculous. Advice to Senior Management: Remember that at one time, IBM valued their employees as their best asset. If you have employees willing to deliver, IBM will succeed. Your current path is not heading in that direction.
    • IBM Anonymous: (Past Employee - 2010) “Understand the management priorities.” Pros: Decent salaries and benefits, professional and intelligent peers, stable financials and good working conditions. Still a conservative company with lots of long tenure senior execs. Cons: The quest for earnings per share growth puts everyone at risk of being terminated when organic growth is not achieved, even if you are a producer. Advice to Senior Management: Manage for the long term and ignore the quarter to quarter swings in the stock price. It takes a lot less talent to cut costs and manage tax obligations than it does to do effective long term planning. Could it be time to clean house on the executive floor?
    • IBM Business Analyst in Research Triangle Park, NC: (Past Employee - 2009) “Where is my old IBM?” Pros: Enjoyed the flexibility that IBM offered. Cons: Expected to work on time zones around the world. Many times had NO meetings 9-5 in my time zones, but at 6:30am, 2am, etc to deal with India. Benefit package not as robust as prior to Gerstner and not sure where the employee respect went! We became numbers - or even worse - liabilities! Advice to Senior Management: Good luck!
    • IBM Anonymous in Lubbock, TX: (Past Employee - 2010) “I am proud to have been an IBM'er.” Pros: Overall, IBM was a great company to work for. The expect a lot from their employees, yet they still follow the motto from years past of "Respect for the Individual". Cons: IBM has become a 'sweat shop'. They are so focused on the return to the stock holder (which I understand is a primary responsibility of the CEO), however their strategy to move more jobs to other countries is beginning to take a toll on the US employees. I was impacted by the 3/2010 resource action, but was fortunate to have 34 years, so technically I retired. When looking at internal job postings after being notified, I estimate that only 10% of the PM jobs were in the US and of those 90% was 100% travel. Advice to Senior Management: Customers and US employees are beginning to wear down. "IBM Means Service" is what made this company great, however it no longer applies. Get back to the basics of delivering the very best product and support with some of the best people.
    • IBM Senior Consultant in Glendale, CA: (Current Employee) “Good, but at a high cost to employee.” Pros: Company reputation, best practices are stellar, experience on projects across industries, peers and partners are exceptional, job knowledge grows exponentially Cons: Pace..unsustainable, bonus not adequate for majority, reimbursement for phone, low; career movement limited between divisions unless you've established political support and/or sponsorship; training although extensive is only available to a few employees and otherwise discouraged due to billable engagements. Advice to Senior Management: Management could benefit from changing the reward and recognition structure within the organization. Many successful consultants leave because of arcane regs around promotability. Burn-out needs to be addressed if recycling of consultants is ever to end!
    • IBM Anonymous: (Current Employee) “Stressful work.” Pros: 3 weeks of vacations, longer than most of the domestic companies. some flexibility. This is a huge company, so you get to meet smart people and learn a lot stuff if you are lucky. Cons: It is too big, so the process is really annoying. cost saving like crazy, you get the approval to repair a door 3 months after you submit the request. Advice to Senior Management: Should invest more on the employees to create real good product, but not only save money to acquire other companies.
    • IBM Anonymous in Vancouver, BC (Canada): (Current Employee) “Used to be great, now ok.” Pros: Flexibility in work hours and locations depending on project, partially autonomous from IBM Corporate, casual work environment if not working on customer site. Cons: Trending towards more offshoring, requiring more and more calls early in the morning or late at night. Moving away from s/w development and more towards delivery and project management of offshore resources. 44 billable hours required. Add another 2 or 3 hrs for administration, education, and giveback. With so much stress on billing you might as well do contract work and get those billable hours into your own pocket instead. Advice to Senior Management: In the 90s IBM learned it's lesson that it's employees are its most valuable asset. It is slowly forgetting that.
    • IBM Anonymous in Madrid (Spain): (Current Employee) “IBM Spain.” Pros: Some of its people are extremely capable and when the offer is right, the resources are acquired for the market needs. When a team is formed, really formed by the actions of the members, the loyalty and capacity to deliver are increased exponentially. Cons: Due to the only focus on profitability the company has lost the sight on the people that make it profitable so the clients are finding some issues when contracting services from IBM. The team is not as motivated as it used to be 10 years ago when there was a proper focused on careers and skill building within the company. Advice to Senior Management: When selling services, the people that form the company are the raw material. Damaging the materials acquired is the worst a company can do. I would like to see the company investing in training and taking care of the valuable people they have. It is a shame to see good resources leaving the company due to frustration because of internal politics.
    • BM Product Marketing Manager: (Past Employee - 2009) “I had a good run.” Pros: Flexibility of home-office, esp. for parents with young children. Opportunities to move around within the company. Great colleagues. Cons: Quarterly RA (layoff) cycle. After layoffs, the expectation is that the rest of the team would pick up extra work with no thought to whether this fits the employees' existing responsibilities or skill set. Constant nickel and diming regarding expenses: doubling up in hotel rooms on work trips, approval for a flight for a project but not the hotel (I stayed at a former manager's house). I even stopped submitting my home office expenses since my manager, and I would get notices if I submitted legit items under the wrong category. I just took the home office tax deduction instead. Work/Life balance, because of the home office, even on vacations, I was working to meet deadlines since this is what my management team also did. WIth each year, my benefits package, esp. health changed. After nearly 10 years I was paying 3X more per month than when I started, for less coverage and higher co-pays. Advice to Senior Management: When it comes to resource actions and company direction, respect your employees enough to be public. Explain what is happening, why and what the company hopes to accomplish with the layoffs. Re-invest in your employees. My expanded team was constantly having resources, both people and financing, reduced, with no recalibrating of goals. How can you advertise a new or upgraded product with little or no funding after Q2? For some groups, viral marketing and handmade signs for trade shows were becoming the norm.
    • IBM Anonymous: (Past Employee - 2010) “IBM today is not your father's IBM.” Pros: Some very smart and talented people are sprinkled throughout the organization making most days very interesting and challenging. Some of the best products on the market for middleware. Cons: The employee review process is now purely set to target people for the next round of reductions. Employee training and growth is no longer a focus of management - only completing that days highest priority task. Advancement is limited compared to 5 to 7 years ago. The continued removal of co-workers and off-shoring has caused a huge morale drop among employees who will leave in droves when the economy picks up. Advice to Senior Management Management: Should renew the focus on employee growth and development to renew the tie between employee and the company. People feel like just another number with no regard for the job they've done nor experience they possess.
    • IBM Client Executive in Washington, DC: (Current Employee) “Client Executive/Leadership roles are still the most critical for IBM's success, yet paid the least.” Pros: Flexibility in working from home/office. Ability to advance career anywhere in the country/world. Competitive benefits package. Great company for developing future management talent. Arguably the best IT company in the world. IBM's values and its dedication to make their clients happy. Cons: Promotions are hard to come by when times are tough/tight (MUST have the right sponsor or you go nowhere.) Salary is kept extremely quiet across the company (in order to control cost and keep everyone in the dark), hence a varied pay scale regardless of talent level. Very big company with a very big company feel - one can get lost easily within IBM. Difficulty keeping young talent due to unwillingness to pay for it and invest in it. Some view IBM as now run by the accountants and only listening to Wall Street vs. employees. Advice to Senior Management: Stop cutting costs around employee development and pay - young and experienced! Take a look at the big picture and remember what made this company great for so long. IBM cared about its employees, their future and families. Bring that back as well as a new commitment and zeal to create the future next great IBM generation (employee development, education, and team building). If management continues to not invest in their GOOD people (they've fired everyone else by now), then who will sell the products that only IBM can develop with a $6 B R&D budget?
    • IBM Advisory Software Engineer in Austin, TX: (Current Employee) “Round after round of layoffs have led to a cut throat work environment.” Pros: Benefits and 401K match are pretty good. Cons: The work environment has eroded away. This used to be a very nice stable place to work. Unfortunately those days are long gone. Advice to Senior Management: Stop the RAs.
    • IBM Anonymous: (Current Employee) “Working at IBM.” Pros: IBM has a very flexible schedule, I have a great deal of autonomy to complete my responsibilities, the team is very professional, we have great infrastructure & technology and I work full-time from home. Cons: Due to many job cuts over the years, we are assigned a very heavy work load and jobs are continuing to be sent offshore (mostly to Argentina.) Advice to Senior Management: Stop offshoring all of the good jobs. Bring back reimbursement for internet access which is required to work from home since the company is saving a ton of money on real estate.
    • IBM Senior Manager in San Jose, CA: (Current Employee) “Great company to work for.” Pros: Provide opportunities to acquire skills in different areas through education, on the job training. Great work environment - team work, flexible (promote work from home). Have many organization with different mission and products provide the opportunity to work with different product sets, and different team culture. Cons: Since IBM has many divisions with different mission and product sets, the employee will not have an overall understanding of the different organization products and strategy. Advice to Senior Management: Management team especially 1st line didn't have much of the decision making for the compensation for their employees. Need to give the 1st line management team more lead way to compensate their employees.
    • IBM Staff Software Engineer in Beijing, Beijing (China): (Current Employee) “IBM China is a good place to work if you want to learn things, and the work is pretty stressful.” Pros: Keep learning new stuff from different team and people, and you have to slightly above average pay comparing to other company in the industry good company culture, people feel happy most of the times. Cons: Working environment is not so good, heavy overtime sometimes hard to get life and work balanced some managers are too hands off therefore the lead have to take over lots of work. Advice to Senior Management: Good employee need to be awarded and promoted, not just verbal recognition
    • IBM Anonymous in Austin, TX: (Current Employee) “IBM (ITD)” Pros: Flexibility is great. Work from home. Benefits are pretty good overall. No micro-management (this, of course, depends on division/organization and employee's skills/performance). Annual salary reviews (depending on your performance review, you get an increase, I have always gotten an increase every single year, but in recent years that increase is about 2-3% only). Annual performance bonus. Cons: Base salary paid is a little lower than other top companies in the Austin area. Off-shoring like crazy... too many folks here in the states are getting displaced by employees and/or contractors overseas. There's smart people anywhere in the world... but it seems that in many cases IBM just hires "global resources" without conducting a good technical interview.... and what happens next is just horrible... you, as the person facing management here in the US, then have to deal with these folks who lack technical skills and you are asked to make it work... If you are a good and excellent software engineer, you are rewarded like this: you become the lead of some "global team" and you are left with very little time to own a component since you have to spend a lot of time on communication: many global resources do not speak English and/or lack many technical skills (sometimes the need to do baby-sitting is just too much). Advice to Senior Management: Hire good and experienced global resources who do speak English. Allow US employees to get some education (in other words, invest in your US employees). If you have a top performer in your team, please reward that person: increase their salary not by just a mere 3%... after all, that is about the same % increase the other folks who are not top performers also got.
    • IBM Commercial Manager in London, England (United Kingdom): (Current Employee) “Overworked, underpaid and stressed out.” Pros: Lots of opportunities to work with varied partners across UK. You are able to move jobs within one big organisation. Cons: Too much focus on making profit, cutting cost and no consideration on looking after employees. Employee morale is at all time low. Latest redundancy package for those near retirement means we no longer have experienced executives. IBM = i've been married. Say good bye to your home life. Advice to Senior Management: Employees of IBM are faced with long hours, stressful jobs and expected to work anywhere without any consideration of family life/work life balance. You are driving your talent away.
    • IBM Systems Administrator: (Past Employee - 2009) “A discouraging place to work.” Pros: For the time being, the name recognition of IBM is perhaps the only positive value to working for the company. The company name still holds some weight on your resume. Cons: IBM is a horrible place to work if you have knowledge, ethics, and drive. Employees are not treated well. Knowledge and hard work are not rewarded. Pay is nowhere near competitive for many workers. Benefits were once very good, but this has been eroded steadily. Work/life balance is no longer a concern. You are in constant fear of job security as regular layoffs come throughout the company without public disclosure. Future growth and development are no longer considered, while short-term earnings are put above all else. IBM is a place to be avoided. Advice to Senior Management: The damage is done. There is not really anything that can be done to stop the downward spiral that IBM is now experiencing.
    • IBM Distinguished Engineer: (Past Employee - 2009) “IBM Distinguished Engineer - IBM Services.” Pros: For someone new to IT, IBM can be a place to get exposure to various pre-developed assets that can be leveraged in your career after you leave IBM after 2 or 3 years. Cons: IBM is in the process of exiting the United States as an employer. Literally the only people left in the US in IBM will be services employees dedicated to customer accounts that contractually require those people to sit in the US. The concept of having a career in IBM is only a valid concept if you intend to work in one of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries. Advice to Senior Management: IBM's senior management is in transition out of the industry - they need to accelerate that shift.
  • Wall Street Journal: Wal-Mart Looking to Ramp Up Sourcing from India. By Rumman Ahmed and John Satish Kumar. Excerpt: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is looking to export products worth "hundreds of millions of dollars" from India as the world's largest retailer wants to make the country a major sourcing hub, the chief executive of its Asian operations said Tuesday. Scott Price, however, didn't provide any specific export targets, saying it is still "early days." Mr. Price was in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh for the opening of the second wholesale store of Bharti Wal-Mart Pvt. Ltd., the U.S. company's joint venture with Bharti Enterprises Ltd.
  • ZD-Net: Computer desk, steampunk style (photos). Excerpt: Meet the Victorian Organ Command Desk. Bruce Rosenbaum of Massachusetts home restoration firm ModVic literally pulled out all the stops when he built this baroque computer desk out of a demolished church's 19th century organ. He gutted the pump and innards, replacing them with three monitors, a 3GHz AMD Phenom II X4 945 processor running Windows 7 Ultimate, 3GB of RAM, a 1TB HD, and lots of other goodies including a Webcam, printer, scanner, and iPhone dock. The organ pipes were placed upside-down for effect.
  • Wall Street Journal: Can Infosys Keep Workers With Hefty Raises? By Dhanya Ann Thoppil. Excerpt: Infosys Technologies announced wage hikes as high as 17% when it reported earnings this week. Is that enough to keep it from losing workers? The Bangalore software bellwether saw 3,500 employees leave last quarter, and its competitors, including IBM, Accenture, Wipro, HCL and Cognizant, are a constant temptation just as orders are expected to surge. Infosys “freshers,” or entry-level workers, earn about 325,000 rupees ($7,300) a year. During its earnings press conference, Infosys executives said the raises are in response to an exploding job market in India. “We have given a large wage increase to people in the middle and junior levels to make sure that we have a competitive structure,” said T.V. Mohandas Pai, Infosys’s human resources director.
  • Centre for Research on Globalization: Good-Bye: Truth Has Fallen and Taken Liberty With It. By Paul Craig Roberts. Excerpts: There was a time when the pen was mightier than the sword. That was a time when people believed in truth and regarded truth as an independent power and not as an auxiliary for government, class, race, ideological, personal, or financial interest. Today Americans are ruled by propaganda. Americans have little regard for truth, little access to it, and little ability to recognize it. Truth is an unwelcome entity. It is disturbing. It is off limits. Those who speak it run the risk of being branded “anti-American,” “anti-semite” or “conspiracy theorist.” Truth is an inconvenience for government and for the interest groups whose campaign contributions control government. Truth is an inconvenience for prosecutors who want convictions, not the discovery of innocence or guilt. Truth is inconvenient for ideologues.

    Today many whose goal once was the discovery of truth are now paid handsomely to hide it. “Free market economists” are paid to sell offshoring to the American people. High-productivity, high value-added American jobs are denigrated as dirty, old industrial jobs. Relicts from long ago, we are best shed of them. Their place has been taken by “the New Economy,” a mythical economy that allegedly consists of high-tech white collar jobs in which Americans innovate and finance activities that occur offshore. All Americans need in order to participate in this “new economy” are finance degrees from Ivy League universities, and then they will work on Wall Street at million dollar jobs. ...

    As an economist, I am astonished that the American economics profession has no awareness whatsoever that the U.S. economy has been destroyed by the offshoring of U.S. GDP to overseas countries. U.S. corporations, in pursuit of absolute advantage or lowest labor costs and maximum CEO “performance bonuses,” have moved the production of goods and services marketed to Americans to China, India, and elsewhere abroad. When I read economists describe offshoring as free trade based on comparative advantage, I realize that there is no intelligence or integrity in the American economics profession. Intelligence and integrity have been purchased by money. The transnational or global U.S. corporations pay multi-million dollar compensation packages to top managers, who achieve these “performance awards” by replacing U.S. labor with foreign labor. While Washington worries about “the Muslim threat,” Wall Street, U.S. corporations and “free market” shills destroy the U.S. economy and the prospects of tens of millions of Americans. Americans, or most of them, have proved to be putty in the hands of the police state. ...

    I was associate editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal. I was Business Week’s first outside columnist, a position I held for 15 years. I was columnist for a decade for Scripps Howard News Service, carried in 300 newspapers. I was a columnist for the Washington Times and for newspapers in France and Italy and for a magazine in Germany. I was a contributor to the New York Times and a regular feature in the Los Angeles Times. Today I cannot publish in, or appear on, the American “mainstream media.” For the last six years I have been banned from the “mainstream media.” My last column in the New York Times appeared in January, 2004, coauthored with Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Schumer representing New York. We addressed the offshoring of U.S. jobs. Our op-ed article produced a conference at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. and live coverage by C-Span. A debate was launched. No such thing could happen today. ...

    With over 21 per cent unemployment as measured by the methodology of 1980, with American jobs, GDP, and technology having been given to China and India, with war being Washington’s greatest commitment, with the dollar over-burdened with debt, with civil liberty sacrificed to the “war on terror,” the liberty and prosperity of the American people have been thrown into the trash bin of history. The militarism of the U.S. and Israeli states, and Wall Street and corporate greed, will now run their course. As the pen is censored and its might extinguished, I am signing off.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site
  • IBM: The information services company that refuses to divulge information. Excerpts: It is ironic that a company that advertises itself as an information services company and wants to build a smarter planet refuses to divulge crucial information and wants the planet kept in the dark. But that is the case with IBM. Take job cuts. Last year IBM cut an estimated 10,400 jobs. This information came from Resource Action documents sent to the Alliance. The true number, which is probably higher, is only known to corporate executives. On March 1st another 2900 jobs were cut. Probably higher. Once again only IBM knows the true number and appears to be violating the intent of the WARN Act.

    The jobs were cut all across the United States and some in Canada. What locations and communities had job cuts? Nobody knows because IBM no longer gives out that information. Now IBM has decided that it will no longer inform employees, the government, communities, the media, or stockholders how many employees work at IBM in the United States.

    From now on only the global headcount number will be reported. It is clear why IBM is doing this. The US employee population is shrinking due to off shoring. IBM is also displacing US workers with foreign workers (at lower pay) brought in to work on US client accounts. Meanwhile headcount in India and other countries is increasing.

    In fact, IBM India had an employee population of 94,000 in 2008. At the end of 2009 IBM USA had an employee population of 105,000, down 30,000 in just a few years. But with IBM no longer giving out headcount by country we will not know when IBM USA goes below IBM India in headcount. Is this important?

  • To Alliance@IBM supporters: The Alliance is the only organization that advocates and supports IBM employees and ex-employees. In fact, there are few like it in the Information Technology field. It is always difficult to keep an organization like this alive, but as a supporter you know how important it is that we exist. We are calling on you today to help keep us alive another year by joining as a member or associate member. See our online forms below. As our membership has dropped, it is imperative that we gain new members or this organization and web site will cease to exist. Help us keep our organizing and advocacy work alive!
  • General Visitor Comments: Due to a lack of membership growth the comment sections will be closed until we see sufficient growth in full membership, associate membership or donations. Many of you that visit our site have not yet joined, but seem to value its existence. The only comment section that will remain open will be Job Cuts Reports. If you have information that you want the Alliance to know about please send to ibmunionalliance@gmail.com. Information of importance will be put on the front page of this web site. To join go here: Join The Alliance! or here: Join The Alliance!
  • Tell-A-Friend! Take action! IBM must employ US workers on ALL Government contracts! Pass your message on to your friends and colleagues, and invite them to sign up for Alliance@IBM.
  • Job Cut Reports
    • Comment 4/11/10: We have moved from a country that landed on the moon to a country that bails out its banks and hedge funds. The fact that IBM has discontinued the "Thanks" program is immaterial to me, as I would no longer wear anything with the IBM logo on it. Stand up for yourselves -Pickles-
    • Comment 4/12/10: To those recently resourced, there is up to a 3 week period after 3/31 where you do not have medical/prescription coverage until COBRA kicks in. I suggest you call benefits at 800-796-9876. They told me I could pay for my prescription at a pharmacy and be reimbursed later when I was unable to get a refill via Medco. If you need a prescription ASAP, IBM Benefits can do an emergency update. What a mess -Anonymous-
    • Comment 4/12/10: A bit of trivia to consider when you look for a miraculous or legislative fix : When I started my 10 year career as a Band 8 in GBS, I normally was deployed into deals where IBM billed my time at $155/hr low end and as high as $295/hr (as a pseudo band 9/10). My utilization ran roughly 90 – 95% (Gross revenue ~ $375K+). When I left IBM, due to the “full claim” labor model, my utilization ran roughly 105% and my billing rate was between $85/hr and $145/hr (Gross Revenue ~ $250K).

      According to our management, this was the way of the world and it was much better to use folks @ 105% then let them sit idle on the bench. Now, I’m no math major, but seems to me that $375K is MORE than $250K? Hmmm, perhaps the model they are using is flawed? NO WAY, IBM never makes Management decisions that are flawed – therefore, we need cheaper staff to get the margins we need, so off-shoring we go. Until the model above changes, guess what, you cost too much! And from what I was told by some more candid managers, there is a lot of pressure to reduce the hourly rates further to get more clients and increase sales, so if I were in India I’d start to worry as well – some emerging markets are cheaper than India these days. -RA'd in 2009-

    • Comment 4/13/10: IBM Retail store got hit hard with layoff 3/31 sales an tech support hit hard. 10 tech support people and 5 sales people that i know of more were cut too. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 4/16/10: Heard from a 1st line manager that has always been correct about ra's, and heads up projects for offshoring, that IBM's goal is to get the US head count down to 10% by the time they are finally done with all the ra's. I've never heard him say something that didn't actually happen yet. -Hegedus-

    Editor's note: Many more job cut comments resulting from the March 1st firings are available in the highlights from these weeks:

News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
  • New York Times: Baffled by Health Plan? So Are Some Lawmakers. By Robert Pear. Excerpt: It is often said that the new health care law will affect almost every American in some way. And, perhaps fittingly if unintentionally, no one may be more affected than members of Congress themselves. In a new report, the Congressional Research Service says the law may have significant unintended consequences for the “personal health insurance coverage” of senators, representatives and their staff members.
News and Opinion Concerning the U.S. Financial Crisis
Minimize "It is a restatement of laissez-faire-let things take their natural course without government interference. If people manage to become prosperous, good. If they starve, or have no place to live, or no money to pay medical bills, they have only themselves to blame; it is not the responsibility of society. We mustn't make people dependent on government- it is bad for them, the argument goes. Better hunger than dependency, better sickness than dependency."

"But dependency on government has never been bad for the rich. The pretense of the laissez-faire people is that only the poor are dependent on government, while the rich take care of themselves. This argument manages to ignore all of modern history, which shows a consistent record of laissez-faire for the poor, but enormous government intervention for the rich." From Economic Justice: The American Class System, from the book Declarations of Independence by Howard Zinn.

  • New York Times: A Voice of Reason. By Bob Herbert. Excerpts: The Republican Party is not simply the “just-say-no” party. It’s also a shameless advocate of the free lunch. Ronald Reagan famously told us he could jack up defense spending, cut taxes and balance the federal budget all at the same time. George W. Bush put two big wars on a credit card. And now we have the perennially clownish Newt Gingrich, in an embarrassing rant against President Obama, assuring the deluded G.O.P. faithful that, yes, the party can indeed bring down the federal deficit while cutting taxes. ...

    One of the reasons so many conservative Republican absurdities became actual U.S. policy was the intellectual veneer slapped upon them by right-wing think tanks and commentators. The grossest nonsense was made to seem plausible to a lot of people — people who wanted to believe in a free lunch. When Mr. Reagan told the country that “government is the problem,” the intellectual handmaidens of the corporate and financial elite were right there to explain in exhaustive detail why that was so.

    The result, in addition to the terrible consequences of Iraq and Afghanistan and the damage to America’s standing in the world, was the tremendous (and tremendously debilitating) transfer of wealth from working people in the U.S. to the folks already in the upper echelons of wealth and income. The elite made out like bandits — often literally. ...

    In 2006, Tamara Draut, Demos’s vice president of policy and programs, wrote a book called “Strapped: Why America’s 20- and 30-Somethings Can’t Get Ahead.” Ms. Draut made the case that the hallmarks of adulthood — from getting an education to buying a home to finding a good job with decent benefits to raising children and beginning to save for retirement — had been eroded by the shortsighted public policies that have prevailed in recent decades. What has been left are just the remnants of the American dream.

  • Huffington Post: The West Virginia Mining Disaster and the Financial Crisis Have the Same Root Cause. By Arianna Huffington. Excerpts: Officials say it's too soon to pinpoint the exact cause of the tragic explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia that took the lives of 29 miners, but we certainly know enough to identify the root cause. It's the same cause that led to the 2007 Crandall Canyon mine disaster in Utah that killed six miners and three rescue workers. It's the same cause that led to the 2006 Sago mine disaster in West Virginia that killed 12 miners. And it's also the same cause that led to the Lehman Brothers disaster, the Citigroup disaster, the bursting of the housing bubble, and the implosion of our financial system: a badly broken regulatory system.

    The loss of life at Upper Big Branch happened in one horrific instant. The economic collapse has not killed people, but it has gradually destroyed millions of lives. Both calamities occurred because elected officials who should have been creating a regulatory system that protects working families instead created a system that protects the corporations it was meant to watch over.

    Just look at the ways in which the New York Times describes the regulatory agency that so atrociously failed the Upper Big Branch miners:

    • The agency "remains fundamentally weak in several areas, and it does not always use the powers it has."
    • "The fines it levies are relatively small, and many go uncollected for years."
    • "It lacks subpoena power, a basic investigatory tool."
    • "Its investigators are not technically law enforcement officers."
    • "Its criminal sanctions are weak."
    • "Fines remain so low that they are mere rounding errors on the bottom lines" of the companies being regulated.
    • It shows a "reluctance to flex all of its powers."

    Sound familiar? Most of these conditions were the same ones that led to the housing bubble, credit default swaps, toxic derivatives -- and, by extension, the bank bailout, long-term unemployment with no end in sight, and the rapid acceleration of the decline of America's middle class. The "fundamentally weak" state of America's watchdogs is the deliberate end product of massive amounts of corporate lobbying. In the case of the mining industry, the amount spent by mine owners on lobbyists intent on weakening regulations and widening loopholes has skyrocketed from under $2.5 million in 2003 to $14 million today, with predictable results: profits up; dead miners up.

  • New York Times op-ed: The Fire Next Time. By Paul Krugman. Excerpts: On Tuesday, Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, called for the abolition of municipal fire departments. Firefighters, he declared, “won’t solve the problems that led to recent fires. They will make them worse.” The existence of fire departments, he went on, “not only allows for taxpayer-funded bailouts of burning buildings; it institutionalizes them.” He concluded, “The way to solve this problem is to let the people who make the mistakes that lead to fires pay for them. We won’t solve this problem until the biggest buildings are allowed to burn.”

    O.K., I fibbed a bit. Mr. McConnell said almost everything I attributed to him, but he was talking about financial reform, not fire reform. In particular, he was objecting not to the existence of fire departments, but to legislation that would give the government the power to seize and restructure failing financial institutions. But it amounts to the same thing. ...

    And let me assure you, Wall Street isn’t lobbying to prevent future bank bailouts. If anything, it’s trying to ensure that there will be more bailouts. By depriving regulators of the tools they need to seize failing financial firms, financial lobbyists increase the chances that when the next crisis strikes, taxpayers will end up paying a ransom to stockholders and executives as the price of avoiding collapse.

    Even more important, however, the financial industry wants to avoid serious regulation; it wants to be left free to engage in the same behavior that created this crisis. It’s worth remembering that between the 1930s and the 1980s, there weren’t any really big financial bailouts, because strong regulation kept most banks out of trouble. It was only with Reagan-era deregulation that big bank disasters re-emerged. In fact, relative to the size of the economy, the taxpayer costs of the savings and loan disaster, which unfolded in the Reagan years, were much higher than anything likely to happen under President Obama.

    To understand what’s really at stake right now, watch the looming fight over derivatives, the complex financial instruments Warren Buffett famously described as “financial weapons of mass destruction.” The Obama administration wants tighter regulation of derivatives, while Republicans are opposed. And that tells you everything you need to know.

    So don’t be fooled. When Mitch McConnell denounces big bank bailouts, what he’s really trying to do is give the bankers everything they want.

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. Sample posts follow:

  • "Raises are effective 7/1" by "bigbertha92". Full excerpt: Don't expect a raise if you're a 2 performer. Only top contributors (1 & 2+) will receive a raise. The raise will most likely be around 1%. No kidding. Executives are not getting raises this year.
  • "IBM Just don't get it" by " Toa". Full excerpt: If you get the same money for a half ar*ed effort as you do for a good effort then why bother trying to do a good job! I've even seen 2+ being downgraded to a 2 because the manager didn't believe the 2+ was valid.
  • "Let's Go Global!" by "bigbertha92". Excerpts: Everything is "global" - from EO training to forced-by-mgmt-to-take IBM learning courses. Learn when no means yes, how not to be offensive, and watch slang!

    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.

  • "The Truth Can't Be Told" by "Frank_Reality". Full excerpt: Yes, even though the GRs in India can't handle simple tasks on time, with adequate quality and within cost, they are given more and more responsibility they cannot begin to handle. And of course when they screw up and fail as often happens, it's always the US teams' fault. It is pathetic (and clueless) to reward this incompetence with more work and more responsibilities.

    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.

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.