IBM's portion of a $4.5 billion cargo-tracking system for the Department of Homeland Security was identified for review, as was Raytheon's $251 million contract for the patent-processing project. ...
AT&T spokesman Michael Balmoris declined to comment. Lockheed Martin spokesman Jeffery Adams, Computer Sciences Corp. spokeswoman Marian Herbst Kelly, IBM spokesman Clint Roswell, and Raytheon spokesman Jon Kasle all said they couldn't immediately comment.
The controversy centred around IBM's Baulkham Hills facility, after unionised staff demanded better working conditions and protested at the plans to offshore staff. Staff also expressed a desire to be represented by a union in employment negotiations. At one stage, the ASU proposed an indefinite strike if the demands of staff were not met.
Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Life Insurance Issues for those looking to retire from IBM" by "Robert". Full excerpt: To whom it may concern: I am writing this note to help other IBMers avoid a serious mistake I made concerning life insurance. The IBM Group Life policy can be continued after you retire but the first fact to emerge immediately after you retire is that you are put into a new risk pool for retirees, no longer working with higher rates, regardless of your age.
The policy was then managed by Marsh McLelland for several years with dramatic rate increases. The plan was taken over by Prudential who immediately lowered rates about 5 years ago but there are still some "gotchas" due to my own ignorance I was unaware of. My policy for $170,000 and has been in effect since 1999. Rates are now adjusted each August 1 and my current rate is going up about $70 per month per year. Also, there is zero cash equity build up in the account and the policy is automatically terminated at age 100.
If I had it to do over again I would learn about other options like annuities etc and not be locked into a poor financial plan with no desirable options.
One manager also mentioned that health care is a factor in this move to get rid of older employees. I was told that every year IBM negotiates with the insurance companies and the higher percentage of older workers, then the higher rates they are charged.
Too bad there are so many of us that are doing valuable work for this company, otherwise I am sure some accountants (taking their orders from the execs) would love to ship us out tomorrow, if possible.
The measure to increase fees on H-1B visas that was attached to the $600 billion border security bill by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) passed both houses of Congress was signed in to law by the president on Aug. 13. What proponents and advocates on all sides of the debate have to ask themselves is whether this measure will have any impact on American jobs and will close loopholes that allow companies to abuse wages for temporary technology workers .Critics and supporters of H-1B visas are finding the measure to be wholly inadequate and ineffective. “The actual impact [of the fee hike] will be negligible, since the amount of the fee is minuscule in comparison to the wage savings employers accrue by hiring H-1Bs,” said a leading H-1B visa reformer and computer scientist, Professor Norman Matloff of the University of California, Davis, in an interview with eWEEK. “Those savings are in the tens of thousands of dollars each year, multiplied by the (up to) six-year life of the visa.” ...
“The mainstream U.S. firms abuse the H-1B visa just as much as the Indian firms do,” stated Matloff. “All of them use the visa for saving on wages. The mainstream firms tend to hire a higher class of worker than the body shops do, but still the mainstream employers pay the H-1Bs below-market wages. (And as I've said before, this is done in full compliance of the law, which is full of loopholes.)”
Here are six more expenses retirees should consider ditching to help close the gap...
Cons: Full disclosure: I was laid off. However, I am not a bitter and angry ex-IBMer. I was elated to get my layoff package (very reasonable) and found a new, much better paying job before my severance ran out. IBM was very good to me for many, many years (and my tenure started long after the golden years before the early 1990's) and I'm too young to have been personally affected by the pension shenanigans. My review comes from working in the Server group.
It is no secret that IBM's "strategy" has been to reduce its US workforce. They're achieving this by two methods: small but continuous layoffs spread throughout the company and by making it more unpleasant to work there to encourage attrition. The unpleasantness ranges from big things (most people haven't had a raise in years) to the petty (no coffee, no soap in the kitchens, etc.). Meanwhile, the senior executives are making millions upon millions. Consequently morale throughout the entire company is extremely poor.
Training? Only if it's free and local (no travel expenses).
Raises? Small and non-existent. IBM redefined their salary ranges a few years ago. We used to hear you've got lots of growth left in your salary range. Now you hear, "well, you're near the mid-point of your range, so you're paid what you should be paid. It's like jumping halfway to a wall - you'll never reach it.
Salaries? When I worked there, I thought it wasn't bad, but three of us have left my team in the past two years and we've each received pay increases at our new companies in excess of 30% and that's been in this terrible economy.
Working Conditions? Varies widely throughout the company depending on your local mgmt and location. It was generally pretty good where I was in the Pacific NW.
Career? At the big sites, there's plenty of places to transfer or try new jobs. Smaller remote sites are more limited. And there's no way IBM's paying for anybody's relocation.
Promotions? Still possible if you're on the right projects or working with the right customers. Pay raises are minimal with a promotion, but at least the halfway point in your salary range is a little further away after a promotion.
IBM's always been beauracratic, but local management always had flexibility to take care of their people. That's gone now, First and Second line managers are now probably the worst jobs in IBM. They're reduced to just implementing the new and often petty people policies dreamed up by the execs.
Advice to Senior Management: A company can't thrive by continually driving costs towards zero. Eventually you reach diminishing returns. Ultimately top line revenue has to grow to increase profits. It is the executives' jobs to come up with strategies to grow. Since IBM's top line revenues haven't grown in the better part of a decade, the failures are yours.
Cons: This is an enormous company. There's a lot of stuff going on, and it's very easy to tune out the rest of your division. As a result, personal and career growth tools and advice are about as generic and non-specific as possible, and therefore not all that useful. -- Size makes finding useful information on the company intranet almost impossible. Pages are frequently out of date, and you seem to be redirected to 2-3 other pages before you find anything of use. -- No two groups seem to use the same technology for source control, access management, requirements management, or just about anything else. -- For some, it's such a good place to work that it's impossible for anyone else to advance into a technical leadership role, so you end up leaving or creating something new and esoteric to make your mark, which makes it even harder for someone new to figure out what's going on. -- Benefits (primarily health care) are not as good as other places I've worked. -- Can be very hard to figure out who your customer really is, or who is using what you work on.
Bottom line: It's almost impossible to describe the 'good and bad of IBM', because it's such a huge company. IBM has acquired so many other companies in the past few years that you can't really describe the culture of IBM anymore. There are a few unifying pieces, like benefits and the review process, but if you want to work at IBM you will want to talk to a lot of people during your interview to find out more about the specific site you want to work at.
Advice to Senior Management: There seems to be a huge disconnect between the big 'making a smarter planet' mantra and what we do on a daily basis. The attitude seems to be "someone else does that. We work on what we work on, big corporation be damned." Every purchase of a company just reinforces that feeling further, and leads to cynicism in the ranks. Short of breaking up the company into more cohesive groups, I don't know how you would go about fixing that. Change HR/training/etc. to stop assuming we're all sales people that meet with 'customers' on a regular basis, or that advancing up the bureaucracy is the only form of success.
Cons: Education is why I left IBM. I was set to take a Masters Degree, and asked my manager if there would be any time considerations for my education. The manager said 'no.' Now mind you, I had given IBM hours of free overtime to the tune of 18 hour workdays very often in order to fulfill client needs and meet deadlines. The manager was adamant, he absolutely would give me NO TIME CONSIDERATION for a Masters Degree. IBM *used* to brag about how they supported employees' educational pursuits by paying for schooling. PSHAW.
They stopped paying for low-class employees' educations in 2001, after 9-11-2001. Then, they stopped paying for Team Leads' education in 2003-2004. They might still pay if you are a manager or Sr. Manager, but now their former boast rings hollow.
Anyhow, I quit IBM in order to take my degree and finished in the top of the class. I will only go back to IBM if all other opportunities dry up for me. IBM is like one of the Pyramids in Egypt. There was once greatness there, but all that is left are archaeological ruins. And, the ruins are not great wonders of the world, they are just ruins of a once-great business that had values.
Advice to Senior Management: Bring back the greatness. Care for your dedicated employees and they, in turn, will care for you. Loyalty works BOTH ways.
Just as important as these initial conditions was the Mayo brother's resolve to constantly re-invent their enterprise. They were dedicated to being the best in their field and, more importantly, to moving the entire field of medicine forward. Perhaps the best example was their decision to place doctors on salary, which would allow them to focus on health outcomes rather than volumes of health-related transactions, and give them the space for creativity, education, and research. This was a decision so controversial it nearly shattered the Mayo family, but one that helped to create one of the world's greatest medical centers.
But to keep the family financially stable while both she and her husband look for work, she has decided to forgo health insurance. The Davis family looked at how much COBRA would cost them, thinking the government would help pay for it. Had her husband lost his job just six weeks earlier, Washington would have footed about two-thirds of the premium bill. But since Davis’ husband lost his job after May 31, the young couple is on their own.
The change has gone little-noticed, both by the press and by the laid-off persons impacted by it. But a popular stimulus provision, the federal subsidy of COBRA benefits, expired for newly unemployed workers as of the first day of June. That means, for the average worker who has lost her job since May 31, the cost of COBRA has tripled. ...
For the Davises, under COBRA, coverage might have been a manageable $400 a month. When Davis looked into enrolling her husband and herself, she found it would cost more than $1,100 a month — leaving the family just a few hundred dollars for the mortgage, utilities, gas and food. She sought information on other private plans, but considered all of them too expensive. For now, the Davises are purchasing barebones coverage that will help pay hospital bills in case they are in an accident.
And of course if you retire - that generous (non contributory) pension and benefits that IBM promised you for decades is there to help you live a comfortable retirement.
"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.
But these same politicians are eager to cut checks averaging $3 million each to the richest 120,000 people in the country. What — you haven’t heard about this proposal? Actually, you have: I’m talking about demands that we make all of the Bush tax cuts, not just those for the middle class, permanent.
Some background: Back in 2001, when the first set of Bush tax cuts was rammed through Congress, the legislation was written with a peculiar provision — namely, that the whole thing would expire, with tax rates reverting to 2000 levels, on the last day of 2010. Why the cutoff date? In part, it was used to disguise the fiscal irresponsibility of the tax cuts: lopping off that last year reduced the headline cost of the cuts, because such costs are normally calculated over a 10-year period. It also allowed the Bush administration to pass the tax cuts using reconciliation — yes, the same procedure that Republicans denounced when it was used to enact health reform — while sidestepping rules designed to prevent the use of that procedure to increase long-run budget deficits. ...
The Obama administration wants to preserve those parts of the original tax cuts that mainly benefit the middle class — which is an expensive proposition in its own right — but to let those provisions benefiting only people with very high incomes expire on schedule. Republicans, with support from some conservative Democrats, want to keep the whole thing.
And there’s a real chance that Republicans will get what they want. That’s a demonstration, if anyone needed one, that our political culture has become not just dysfunctional but deeply corrupt.
What’s at stake here? According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, making all of the Bush tax cuts permanent, as opposed to following the Obama proposal, would cost the federal government $680 billion in revenue over the next 10 years. For the sake of comparison, it took months of hard negotiations to get Congressional approval for a mere $26 billion in desperately needed aid to state and local governments.
And where would this $680 billion go? Nearly all of it would go to the richest 1 percent of Americans, people with incomes of more than $500,000 a year. But that’s the least of it: the policy center’s estimates say that the majority of the tax cuts would go to the richest one-tenth of 1 percent. Take a group of 1,000 randomly selected Americans, and pick the one with the highest income; he’s going to get the majority of that group’s tax break. And the average tax break for those lucky few — the poorest members of the group have annual incomes of more than $2 million, and the average member makes more than $7 million a year — would be $3 million over the course of the next decade. ...
...we’re told that it’s all about helping small business; but only a tiny fraction of small-business owners would receive any tax break at all. And how many small-business owners do you know making several million a year? ...
Or we’re told that it’s about helping the economy recover. But it’s hard to think of a less cost-effective way to help the economy than giving money to people who already have plenty, and aren’t likely to spend a windfall. No, this has nothing to do with sound economic policy. Instead, as I said, it’s about a dysfunctional and corrupt political culture, in which Congress won’t take action to revive the economy, pleads poverty when it comes to protecting the jobs of schoolteachers and firefighters, but declares cost no object when it comes to sparing the already wealthy even the slightest financial inconvenience.
What Congress passed is a 2,300-page compendium of concepts, leaving the real decision-making about the details of financial regulation in the hands of the Federal Reserve, the SEC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and other regulatory agencies. In other words, the game is still on for Wall Street lobbyists! So they're presently mounting a furious blitz on the rule-writing regulators, still trying to weaken or even kill many of the reform ideas passed by Congress.
To weasel their way inside, the financial giants have reached into the agencies themselves to hire away nearly 150 regulators, luring them with fat salaries to switch sides and become industry lobbyists. For the banking powers, these insiders-turned-outsiders are well worth the big bucks, for former regulators have long, personal relationships with those in the agencies who're filling in the blanks left by Congress. If nothing else, these newly minted lobbyists are much more likely to get their phone calls returned by their former colleagues than a stranger would.
A New York Times reporter asked one of the switcheroos who's now working for the dark side if he felt this old-buddy connection gave him a lobbying edge. This regulator-turned-lobbyist bluntly said, "If it didn't, I wouldn't be able to justify getting out of bed in the morning and charging the outrageous fees that we charge our clients, which they willingly pay." He added that "you have to work at an agency to understand the culture and pressure points, and it helps to know the senior staff."
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