In further good news, IBM's Global Services behemoth saw a huge increased in signings, IBM's Software Group was up smartly, and other server and storage product lines did well. So for those on Wall Street who tuned in to the conference call with Mark Loughridge, IBM's chief financial officer, it looks like the 52-week high share price that Big Blue hit before the numbers came out can be justified. (Well, at least as much as any over-rated stock in the IT sector.)
"We completed an outstanding year, with record profit and free cash flow, and exceeded the high end of our 2010 earnings per share roadmap objective," said Sam Palmisano, IBM's president, chief executive officer, and chairman in his traditional statement. (Palmisano doesn't attend quarterly calls with Wall Street.) "We also capped a decade in which our shift to high-value businesses, our global integration of IBM, our investment in research and development of almost $60 billion, and our acquisition of 116 companies have helped us to nearly triple our EPS and return more than $100 billion to shareholders.
Transcripts show that Chiesi had expressed concern to her co-conspirators about being caught in the scheme. "You put me in jail if you talk," she said in one conversation. "I'm dead if this leaks. I really am ... and my career is over. I'll be like Martha fucking Stewart."
IBM hints at permanent firings and never announces or confirms them when they do occur. IBM does this so they can skate around their offshoring push.
So IBM "allocating" $8B for "productivity" initiatives in the next five years is not only totally vague, one cannot even come up with a real ballpark figure of those IBMers today that will be gone in the five year time period. By using fuzzy math: if IBM considers that it cost them about $100,000 for each employee, on average, in severance benefits, then 80,000 IBMers could be gone in five years. LIFE IS NOT GOOD for those IBMers! Of course the bulk of these severed employees will be USA based.
It would be nice if Lou Dobbs would take this up. Then maybe IBM would be forced to come clean, or at least to curb further RAs they have in mind to execute.
Very nice job on your interpretation/translation of the above "executive-speak". I particularly hated exec-speak because the employees never knew the hidden meaning behind the words. Maybe the words were innocent enough, and maybe they weren't.
In the early 1990's, I attended a town hall meeting at my site. The speaker was an exec (IBM VP) known to me only by his name. During his pitch, he presented/talked to a slide that had the words "affordable structure" on it. In true executive double-speak fashion, he glossed over the slide so that I (and I'm sure many others in the room) had no idea of what he was specifically talking about. During the Q&A session, someone asked him about that particular slide, specifically those two words; affordable structure . "Could you possibly expand on that a little bit further?" the exec was asked.
I was shocked by the frankness and candor of his answer. He said "The slide would be better worded if it said an affordable COST structure." And then he further said "All costs are subject to scrutiny and cutting, including those related to people." The room had been very quiet all through the Q&A, and there were no low murmurs or sigh's that went through the room when he made that remark, so I couldn't help but wonder if the audience had actually comprehended what he said, or was everyone simply in flat-out denial about what he meant. I didn't have to wait long to find out. Many employees found out the hard way what an "affordable structure" is/was.
In May 2010, I was put on STD with multiple physician's documentation through the MTR process that quite clearly stated I was unable to function appropriately in the workplace, which said condition was cause for the first bad PBC, and due to time lapse of being out on medical leave and under doctor's care for 6 months, from Jan through May 2010 is what they used to rate my last "performance" on, as I only started back to work full time after the holidays. Prior to this condition, for over 10 years, I always received at least a 2/2+ rating.
During yesterday's PBC conversation with management, not only was I given a 3 rating, but I was "offered" the opportunity to voluntarily leave IBM with a Minimized Separation Payment(ISAP), or be monitored under a stringent Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), which contains items that are not realistic to meet, especially since we were re-orged into a new team, processes, databases and roles had been modified during my leave.
It appears they have already made their decision about me, and one way or the other, they have decided they no longer want me employed. I also have been denied the option to seek an alternate position within IBM.
I have not signed my PBC as of yet and I have the following questions and concerns:
I would appreciate any helpful feedback to this issue. Thank You.
I guess if I look at it from a management side - how am I going to get the work done in my territory so I can meet MY goals? Am I going to get it done with people that are out sick half the time and can not perform the full job ? If I have to operate with fewer resources than I really need then they better be the best people , and at the end of the day if you are not working you are not the best person on the team. You get no extra head count allocation when you have people out ill or on STD they are still counted in your group headcount. Somebody else is doing their work - is that fair to the team?
What you write in the PBC form probably will have no effect, but might provide some documentation if you did file a lawsuit.
In Illinois, I believe you will be able to collect unemployment, even if you receive a pension from IBM and severance pay. The IL unemployment regs are here: http://www.ides.state.il.us/pdf/pubs/uilaw/handbook.pdf
See item 5 on page G-46 and item 3 on page A-44. The key on the pension is that you did not earn any pension benefits during the "base period" (which is the last 5 quarters) since IBM froze the pension plan on 12/31/2007.
Only you can decide if you think it is worth fighting. IBM will do everything it can to win this fight. Your chances of getting your PBC changed are probably slim. And if you do win, you can be sure your management will not forget and will try again in the future. Do you really want to work in a place where your work is not appreciated?
I was a manager just before Gerstner took over, and left the company in 1993. Even back then, we were told to downgrade folks who were out on medical leave. The rationale was, "if you are not at work, you cannot contribute, ergo your contribution is less than your peers'". And once you're put on the "measured mile" it's extremely difficult to get off.
IBM doesn't want its name dragged into the papers, esp. now that management is a collection of money-grubbing cowards who just want to be able to line their pockets. So I think management will be willing to buy your silence with a better separation package. Good luck, and please keep us posted.
What you must then demonstrate through co-worker and "team leads" testimonials is that your performance placed you somewhere in the 30-50% percentile of your peers' performance. If you can't get these testimonials in your behalf, you will lose in the panel. Do not even consider going alone to the panel. You must bring reliable witnesses.
In your own testimony, you can then bring up your past performance rating of 2/2+ and the fact that what dragged you down in 2010 from the usual 50-70% range was your illness which you have now no longer suffer from.
About downgrading those out on medical leave. I get it. I was downgraded one year during the early 2000's when contracts were vastly less and my utilization was low through no fault of my own. The logic is that you are billing less, which is the number one factor for your PBC. That is just the way it is.
Keep your nose clean. In the long run it'll be better for you. The only time to consult an attorney is if you believe some law was violated, but IBM is now an expert at all this. Move on.
Burning bridges: with all due respect, I don't think the OP has any bridges left. IBM management has decided to get rid of him, and it will happen. Most IBM managers now are too busy feeding at the trough, so no one is going to lift a finger to defend the OP and risk being kicked off the gravy train by going against upper management's edict.
IMO, the OP can't "fall off the floor", by taking the current ISAP offer and leaving. Anything else would be icing on the cake.
OP: Again, I don't know your individual circumstances nor your work history with IBM. If you're going to retire, I suggest you fight for a better package.
I had a very similar situation where I was placed on an APPROVED MTR restriction of no travel for 18 months due to a severe injury which left me bed-ridden but otherwise functional. At the end of 2009 I was given a PBC rating of 3 stating that I didn't meet my objectives and "compared to the other's" I underperformed. Well, of course that would be the case since I was in pre-sales and wasn't allowed to travel to customers.
I argued with my management (up to 3 levels above me) that I could not be compared to the others as they have an obvious unfair advantage. Their argument was that no matter how good my work was that I was doing from home, it still had "lesser value" compared to those employees traveling to customers and closing deals and I should EXPECT a 3 rating in 2010 as well. At that point I quickly put out my feelers to find another job within the company. (Which has worked out very well so far).
Anyway, I opened up an HR case for investigation. After 8 months the verdict came back stating "It was a toss up so we are siding with IBM instead of the employee". I asked for a written statement for the verdict and was denied. Can you say hiding incriminating evidence??
I have also considered legal action and should I be terminated due to this, I will be pursuing it further.
That being said, I've also accepted the fact that IBM is not the IBM it used to be and I'm playing a game with people without a heart.
My advice to you is to do what feels right to you and your family. Perhaps try to negotiate for a better package, but don't try to salvage a spoiled relationship with the company. They have a crack team of attorneys dedicated to ensure IBM always wins. Best of luck to you.
Check out page 34: Post Employment Medical (Access). If certain age and service requirements are met, employees will have access to post-employment health care coverage. Eligible if you leave IBM at age 55 with at least five years of service, AND if age plus service equals 65. For example: 55 years old + 10 years of service 58 years old + 7 years of service 60 years old + 5 years of service. Can continue IBM health care coverage for yourself and eligible dependents. Pay full retiree group rates.
I guess if I were 25 I'd gloss over this and say this is great. There is no reference what the "full retiree group rates" will be or what it represents. Who at 25 knows what "Access" means. And of course, there's that same nasty disclaimer on page 39. We "boomers" were "had". Hope this new generation wises up a bit.
Management always talked about how comparing salaries at other companies to IBM salaries was not apples-to-apples due to the far superior "total compensation" + full employment + respect for the individual + all that other crap we don't do any longer :-/
Main thing is that retirees and employees were treated the same way until retirees moved to medicare. Once FHA was introduced, funding did not cover thru age 65. I am a retiree but will use up my FHA funding by age 58. After that, I will have to pay in today's $$ at $1100 per month for high-deductible insurance for two.
Since retirement benefits was part of compensation and IBM used to claim that they take of their retirees, it is/was expected that IBM will continue with the same trend. Retirees from 5 years or 10 years ago will be treated same as current retirees. When IBM changed the plans, it was based on age and not based on years of service. An employee with 10 years of service and 50+ age was treated better than an employee with 20 years of service and few days/months to age 50.
What was promised for 20 years to someone was treated worst then what was promised to someone for 10 years of service because of age difference. Expectation is that retirees are treated same as employees with same cost structure and deductible. No one is asking for free medical for life.
More than $100 B-I-L-L-I-O-N since 1995. How much healthcare would that buy?
It will be interesting to see the terms and conditions and what that really means. Cheers
My cynical side says that in 2014, employees should expect a resource action to assure that payouts of even the $1000 are reduced. It will be interesting to see the details of the plan which someone, hopefully, will post here.
Cons: Process, Process and Process that kills you even for simple needs of an employee. No exposure to anything at all outside your team or customers. Collaboration only exists on intranet portals and internal messenger. Hierarchy kills - Management is scared if you reach out to anyone in the top and they will kill you. Crazy people get promoted - if you lick backs, you will grow fast and fat within IBM. If you are honest and critical, sorry bro, you will be killed. Boring work place, everyone repeats the same thing for years! No new challenges, if you are happy with a constant never changing work style, this place is for you.
Advice to Senior Management: Please go around cubicles and meet your employees every day. Don't just listen to your immediate reportees, also make it a point to speak to 3 levels below. Walk and speak, don't just work on internal messenger and telephone chats. Do something cool internally and stop the hype about IBM being the one and end of all greatness in technology!
Once the real cost of all that 'give back' dipped into IBM coffers I had my OT capped - the work still needed to get done, I just had to find a way to do it with no OT and a team that grew leaner in skilled workers. Finally I got sick of waiting, knowing that whatever was coming would benefit 'the company' at my expense and took a job with another company
I lost a few perqs, mostly tied to tenure and the 401k isn't as nice but I make 20% more with room to grow in my band. I sit 30 feet from my manager who not only helps when I need her but actively works with me to develop skills.
As an exempt worker I am expected to work OT only when there is an absolute requirement, and then I am expected to flex that time. My co-workers are baffled that I get up every morning and log in remotely to make sure everything is running smoothly before the customers arrive. They're thrilled that I volunteer for work without cherry picking the choice assignments.
I'm not trying to redboard or gloat but IBM has taught many of us well. We have skills and habits borne of what this company used to be. If you feel the path is to join the union and try to restore IBM's past, more power to you. I hope you're successful. But if you've had enough, there is hope. Don't wait for the end to catch up to you - get out there and dig. It took me a year but there are hiring managers out there who value and respect the IBM reputation even as the monkeys at the top tear it apart. -Gonegonegone-
IBM management will not give you a job reference. So, getting RAed is really like getting fired. IBM ruins your life and your career and most likely you will have to start over and find a new occupation if you are lucky to find someone that will hire you. This is good reason why the Alliance and a union is so important. You need an advocate to protect your rights as an employee. Do you think IBM's HR is looking out for you? Think again. The way it is now IBM throws you out like a piece of garbage and forgets about you like you never existed. Don't let IBM destroy you and ruin your life. Stand up and organize! -I Got Screwed by IBM-
Anyone else care to offer a correction or an obscure viewpoint that may matter one time in a million?? Lets not nitpick things to death here and make things seem worse for these folks . Most employers these days use an online application with an online personality test. You should actually search online for how to answer the questions to get past the first automatic rejection screening. A lot of people apply for jobs online and never hear back because some automated robot rejected them because of a wrong answer to a mundane question. The young college kids are aware of this and search online for correct answers. Level the playing field and do the same. -Exodus2007-
How to start the organizing: go to the cafeteria during lunch hour and make a comment that you find it unfair and unacceptable that good, hard working employees that have made the IBM stock rise to $150 a share on record profits are now being targeted as PBC "3" performers. (If IBM has a record stock price and profits then how can there be more underperforming workers than ever before?) IBM Management cannot tell you to shut up or leave the cafeteria. The cafeteria is you best area to begin organizing. You are protected by National Labor Relation Board law if IBM tries to take any action against you if you start and do it in the cafeteria (or snack shop/vending machine area) Then you can end this IBM travesty once and for all and before it is too late when you get RAed. -IBMUnionNOW-
There are a few folks in my dept complaining about PBC ratings this year. Seems the persons who are saying anything are grumbling because their ratings were lowered. If you were a 2+ last year, this year you are a 2. If you were a 2 last year, you're now a 3 and pretty soon out the door. No telling who else was affected. Lots of folks just suffer in silence. I am beginning to hear rumors of a imminent RA soon to come. (February time frame). The managers are setting their accounts in order. Jettisoning accounts to the GDF and trying to wash their hands of all supplemental DOU work. I am in GTS. -Miss Understanding-
The study found that one-fifth to one-half of non-elderly people in the United States have ailments that trigger rejection or higher prices in the individual insurance market. They range from cancer to chronic illnesses such as heart disease, asthma and high blood pressure. ...
The study is laced with reminders about provisions of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - as the health-care law is formally known - that are designed to eliminate insurance problems for such people. The most significant is scheduled to take effect in 2014, when the law will, for the first time, forbid insurers to charge sick patients more or reject sick applicants. Last year, two smaller changes took effect: a rule that insurers cannot reject sick children, and temporary subsidies until 2014 for a federal high-risk pool and new state ones. In their early months, the pools have not proved popular. ...
The new report says that, of those Americans who are uninsured, 17 percent to 46 percent have medical conditions, depending on the definition used. Such health problems, the study found, are especially common among adults ages 55 to 64 - a group long recognized as a problem spot in the health-care system, because people of that age tend to have higher medical expenses but do not yet qualify for Medicare, the large federal insurance program for the elderly.
Republicans need to pass a law that the Congressional Budget Office certifies will cover the same number of uninsured as the Democratic health reform does - 30 million. And it has to do it at lower cost. ...
The logic is simple. If Republicans are serious, they have to accept that it's a national priority to make sure that every American has basic health coverage. Thirty million isn't enough, of course, because the ranks of the uninsured still hover around 50 million. But since Democrats could only muster the will to cover 30 million, that's all we can expect the GOP to match as a measure of seriousness. (Though I'd be happy to see them shame Democrats with a plan to cover more).
The reason Obama should frame the debate this way is that there is no chance the Republican House will pass such a bill. That's because the GOP does not view the presence of 50 million uninsured in a wealthy nation as an issue that needs to be addressed. Why not? Largely because, as the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan once told me (channeling the Republican mind on the uninsured): "Those folks never vote for us and we have our priorities for the money." ...
Right now the "debate" over Obamacare is a symbolic ruse. Republicans are blaming health reform for all manner of ills even though the thing doesn't even get off the ground until 2014. If the president said, "Okay, John Boehner, you bet, now that you're in power, as soon as you pass a version that covers the same number of people for less, I'll be happy to put my approach aside and cut a deal," he'd remind Americans about the discussion Republicans refuse to have. ...
And for no good reason. After all, Obama made Romneycare - adapted from the conservative Heritage Foundation's (sensible) ideas - the centerpiece of his reform. He stiff-armed the left by leaving single payer off the table. In case no one got the message, Obama tossed the public option overboard in health care's legislative endgame. Any reasonable Martian would thus conclude that Obamacare - that is, Romneycare for the rest of us - is a centrist scheme. ...
...I still think the best model to emulate is mighty Singapore's, a savvy blend of private responsibility and public provision that leaves that nation with world-class outcomes at 4 percent of GDP (vs. our 17 percent). It's a breathtaking achievement that would give our overpaid medical industrial complex a heart attack. ...
To those who say we should get costs under control before extending coverage to the uninsured, I say: that's a perfectly reasonable argument . . . that only a well-insured person would make. No doubt I'm guilty of what President Bush, in another context, called "the soft bigotry of low expectations." So to atone, here's my pledge: If the House passes a plan the CBO says will cover 30 million people, I'll not only eat my words; I'll eat the bill itself.
Today is Day One of our efforts to replace Obama Care with something better—a lot better," said Rep. Fred Upton (R., Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The chairmen provided few details but said they would pursue such longstanding Republican priorities as limiting medical liability lawsuits and allowing consumers to buy insurance across state lines. ...
Republicans are setting no deadlines for coming up with health-care proposals and said they would most likely offer piecemeal measures rather than a single sweeping bill. Democrats mocked them for having no alternatives.
"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.
Then everything changed. Real wages stopped rising as US capitalists redirected their investments to produce and employ abroad while replacing millions of workers in the US by computers. Women's liberation moved millions of adult US women to seek paid employment. US capitalism no longer faced a shortage of labor. US employers took advantage of the changed situation: they stopped raising wages. When basic labor scarcity became labor excess, not only real wages but eventually benefits too stopped rising. Over the last 30 years, the vast majority of US workers have in fact gotten poorer when you sum up flat real wages, reduced benefits (pensions, medical insurance, etc.), reduced public services, and raised tax burdens. In economic terms, American "exceptionalism" began to die in the 1970s.
The rich, however, have gotten much richer since the 1970s, as every measure of US income and wealth inequality attests. The explanation is simple: while workers' average real wages stayed flat, their productivity rose (the goods and services that an average hour's labor provided to employers). More and better machines (including computers), better education, and harder and faster labor effort raised productivity. While workers delivered more and more value to employers, those employers paid workers no more. The employers reaped all the benefits of rising productivity: rising profits, rising salaries and bonuses to managers, rising dividends to shareholders, and rising payments to the professionals who serve employers (lawyers, architects, consultants, etc.). ...
The richest 10-15% -- those cashing in on employers' good fortune from no longer rising wages -- helped bring crisis by speculating wildly and unsuccessfully in all sorts of new financial instruments (asset-backed securities, credit default swaps, etc.). The richest also contributed to the crisis by using their money to shift US politics to the right, rendering government regulation and oversight inadequate to anticipate or moderate the crisis or even to react properly once it hit. ...
The trillions spent to save the banks and other select corporations (AIG, GM, Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, etc.) were mostly borrowed because the government dared not tax the corporations and the richest citizens to raise the needed rescue funds. Indeed, a good part of what the government borrowed came precisely from those funds left in the hands of corporations and the rich because they had not been taxed to overcome the crisis. With sharply enlarged debts, all levels of government face the pressure of needing to take too much from current tax revenues to pay interest on debts, leaving too little to sustain public services. So they demand the people pay more taxes and suffer reduced public services so government can reduce its debt burden. ...
In the US, capitalism has stopped "delivering the goods." It now brings long-term painful decline for its working class, the end of "American exceptionalism," and rising social, cultural, and political tensions. The reality of ever-deeper economic division clashes with expectations built up during the century of rising wages before the 1970s.
Reform advocates denounced the ruling as opening the way for a flood of corporate money and corporate influence in US politics. Supporters of the decision praised it as recognizing that corporate officials have a free speech right to engage in public discussion of political issues of importance to the company.
Mr. Edgar said the justices were featured speakers at invitation-only retreats sponsored by Koch Industries, a private company whose officials have played an active role supporting Republican candidates and conservative causes. He also said Justice Thomas may have had an undisclosed financial conflict of interest through his wife’s work as founder and CEO of a conservative advocacy group, Liberty Central. Edgar said the group stood to benefit from the Citizens United decision through easier fundraising and easier political spending. [Ms. Thomas has since stepped down as CEO of the group.]
Much of that money flowed to the GOP chairmen overseeing banking, energy and other key committees - leaders who will play a central role in setting the House agenda over the next two years.
The impetus behind such largess is simple: Many companies and industry groups hope House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) and other Republicans will succeed in rolling back Democratic policies they find objectionable, including environmental and Wall Street regulations.
GOP lawmakers took their first step in that direction Wednesday by voting to repeal President Obama's health-care overhaul law. Major health-care firms and their employees gave Republican leaders at least $5 million over the past two years, including well over $2 million to Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), according to a Washington Post analysis of contribution data.
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