All production support/technical support for IBM on the Hertz account has been moved to India," states an application for TAA assistance filed with the Department of Labor on behalf of IBM's Hertz contract workers on Nov. 12, 2010. The application specifies the total number of workers affected as 50. It identifies IBM service delivery manager Kelly Thomas and production services manager Sandra Robinson as verification contacts.
It will be interesting to see the terms and conditions and what that really means. Cheers
As QW stated, it is an insult. It certainly isn't enough to motivate anyone to work harder, nor is it enough to retain anyone who wants to leave for better jobs. It certainly isn't generous enough to give IBM good PR.
There has to be another motive for this - perhaps a tax avoidance scheme. At the rate that IBM is dumping US employees, a majority may not be around in 2015 to collect it anyway.
Well all things happen for a reason. Sam Palmisano and the CEO's of his ilk will someday be the subject of history books. Reaganomics will be seen for what it is, the biggest shift of wealth away from the middle-class to the wealthy who then spent it on Asian investments and German cars.
Many second choicers will retire on the same pension their dads got from IBM 25 years earlier. When I moved into the office of a man forced out in 1994, I said - this will happen to me one day and I will save money for that rainy day.
Meanwhile, we never give up trying to reform the American corporation, even if we won't experience the results in our lifetime. Hearing that some companies have suffered because when they outsourced - they lost decades of "tribal knowledge"...and a few, a very few, relocated factories back to the USA. - That warms my heart!
Had I known my pension would be frozen all those years when I was a second choicer with a fully-restored pension, I would have saved more. Yes in the last 3 years I saved half my pay. Now I'm renting out a room in my house. We of tiny pension will survive, but the ego, greed, and hubris of our executives knows no parallel, save for maybe Ghengis Khan.
Nothing is perfect, but some things are fundamentally imperfect and unethical and the 1999 Pension Plan changes were unethical no matter how you looked at them for some set of folks. Case in point anyone that was 39 years of age with 20 years of service. They should be retiring with me but won't be able to...all that had to happen was allow a choice. Pretty simple.
Personally, I will always thank Kathi and others for jump starting the "wake me up" bandwagon in 1999. I was a short distance away from taking the buy out until I wondered what all the commotion was about the "new better plan".
I thank you. My wife thanks you. My children thank you.
PS - I think because of this and other actions, a whole host of companies were prevented by the IRS from converting for a period of time which means a lot of folks outside IBM, in some part, owe her lawsuit a debt of thanks.
Instead I see myself working till I die, much like my great grandparents did in the late 1800's, burned out and dying in industrial accidents. We have to take care of ourselves today or risk joining the lines at the soup kitchens in our old age.
Sad examples of true leadership.
I have to sit down with them and explain my thirty year career at IBM. First off "The IBM" was a corporation based on trust and confidence in its leadership. Ethics trumped legalities. Thos. J. Watson Sr. and Thomas J. Watson Jr. were leaders unlike what we are seeing rising to the surface today. We need more like them. I would sign on again with a corporation of the ideals and quality they started 100 years ago and bet my life and future on a DB plan with them. Hundreds of thousands made that bet and won. It takes men and women of integrity, leading corporations with a future to inspire men and women to commit their lives and future livelihood to a company.
I started at IBM as an administrator cutting commission checks for IBM typewriter salesmen and moved up to become a first line administration manager; in sales I was one of the first IBM salesman for the IBM Credit Corporation and one of the last worldwide IBM salesman on quota for OS/2 Warp; in technical sales I was an IBM Systems Engineer on System 36, System 38 and AS/400's; at the IBM Worldwide level, I have served as the Worldwide Brand Manager for OS/2 Warp Server and Worldwide Market Manager for Tivoli Configuration Manager and Tivoli Provisioning Manager; I will be ending my career at IBM as a Worldwide IBM Tivoli Sales Evangelist and Sales Education Specialist for Tivoli Provisioning Manager and IBM Tivoli Monitoring and a Product Manager for the Netcool product set.
"The IBM" was a corporation of mobility which many don't talk about today. Prove yourself and move where you wanted to.... I could not have made it thirty years with most any other corporation or without similar philosophies.
I would challenge anyone to move between companies and achieve the financial stability I will have when I retire. That is not a boast. I am lucky to have seen the best of a corporation and have been part of the "second choicers"... grateful for what I have, sorry that my children may never experience a "Watson lead IBM" equivalent company in their lifetimes. I have friends that tell me "everyday" they realize what they lost in the Pension changes of 1999 - one was 39 years of age with 20+ years of service. I can't even talk of my retirement without thinking of him and his family and children and how much he lost. I want to cry for them "everyday".
All I can think is "but for the Grace of God.... go I".
I made all the movements above within one company. I did that without a single lost paycheck and continuous earnings. That was "The IBM". We weren't "lifers" (I guess you have to have been in the military to have that initial knee-jerk reaction to the term "Lifer" .. after Vietnam it was one of the most derogatory terms a person could ever use of anyone else... maybe folks don't realize that if you didn't serve... from the 70's Army it was as derogatory a term as you can think of..... so be careful with using a term that can have so much emotion attached to it - sometimes semantics and emotion around a word needs to be explained so we all learn)
I never met an "IBM lifer"... in that sense of the term. We were just folks like any other, inspired by a leadership of the Watsons that many don't understand or comprehend except through the glasses of today's leadership - poor glasses to look through in my humble opinion!
In a nutshell, I tell my children to go 401K and be glad for it because today's leadership isn't the type of leadership that I would envision working thirty years for like "The Watson's IBM". They will most likely "be mobile workers" because they will encounter an Enron like leadership and in that case, a 401K / 403B is the "best of the worst options" they have today - sad but I fear true.
It is the underlying loss of trust and confidence we all have in our business leadership of today that causes discussions like this...
Be glad that the 401K was brought into existence by chance or we wouldn't have anything today for our children. What we need is a real retirement plan for the future.
I can only speak for myself, but I will tell you that I was a single parent raising three children for years on my own while at IBM. If I had had a 401K instead of a pension I couldn't get at - I wouldn't have anything today. I would have dug into my 401K to give them more at the time not realizing I would have been sacrificing my retirement. As it turns out - everything turned out OK. They had a little less at the time for me to have more...and maybe they won't have to support me in my old age.
There are so many sides to this discussion. We need more views, but more than anything we need true leadership in Washington and more leadership like the Watsons in business to inspire those discussions and long term fixes.
Just one humble opinion, grateful for what I have, sad for what my deepest of friends have lost and realizing that my children may never have what I have or experience what I have in thirty years with IBM.
This was clumsy and avoidable. IBM could have chosen a number of different mechanisms to avoid cutting off long-tenure employees (I had no idea that 'lifer' had a negative connotation to anybody). They would have cost incrementally more money, but that tells you more about management than anything else.
Change of Topic: Watching IBM stock flying high, does anybody (like me) think about how much of this earnings-driven stock performance is driven on the backs of employees now working 50-60 hours per week while commission and bonus plans are being underfunded? And how many of these (often disgruntled) employees will fly the coop when the job market changes? Last year our bonus plan was funded at 55% only, so the average OTE for the job role was decreased on the sly by full bonus * .55?
Seems like there's a time in here for a short sale......and if you subscribe to the theory that the best time to short is when all the market analysts are incredibly bullish, it's getting close. Last quarter, of the major analysts that follow IBM (acc. yahoo finance), 8 had "strong buy", 7 had "buy", and 7 had "hold". This quarter, it's 8-7-8 (a push).
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which is part of a medical leave only gives you some protection for you for the 12 weeks you are eligible for in a rolling calendar year. It does handle temporary work leaves for medical reasons for chronic and acute medical issues, of course including cancers. The FMLA doesn't protect your job per se, only that you are able to return to a comparable work position assignment if you old job position or assignment is no longer or is no longer available.
I found out I was to be RAed about 5 months before I returned from IBM short term disability (IBM STD) based on the RA separations papers I received the very hour I was healthy enough and came off the disabled list after 5 1/2 months and returned to work. The separation package had the past departure date on it. You have no protection from being separated via an RA when on either IBM short term or long term disability. The only thing is IBM can execute the RA until you come off of the disability plan you are on.
And we got lots of folks working in IBM, disabled medically or not, that still don't what protections from this happening by getting a union contract!?!
Every time I come in contact with former IBM co-workers, the conversation is basically the same. Everybody comments about how bad it sucks to work for IBM. They cant leave because they have too many years of service invested in IBM, but they don't yet have 30 years. The people closest to 30 years are the ones who usually are the most anxious about making it to 30. The people I'm talking about rarely, if ever, post here.
As was recently posted here, Fortune magazine's list of 100 top companies to work for does not include IBM, and hasn't for many years. Why is that? What does Fortune know about working for IBM that excludes IBM from that list? There once was a time when IBM enjoyed a reputation as a company everybody wanted to work for. IBM was the most admired and respected company anywhere.
Then, there's retention of outstanding employee's. Why is IBM having a hard time retaining outstanding employee's? (Even though IBM really doesn't want any long term employee's!) Sure, back in the day, I saw exceptionally good IBM employee's voluntarily resign from the company. But not to the extent that it happens in today's IBM. What's driving that?
Before I retired, I was aware of a very bright young man who was a technical team lead in the dept in which he worked. His manager took another assignment, and the bright young man was named manager of the department. Not too long after being promoted to dept manager, the bright young man resigned. Not to worry though! His former protege, a woman who in her own right was very smart, and had been named to replace the bright young man as the dept team leader, was made manager of the department. Just this week, I heard she too recently resigned from IBM. That says a lot to me.
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.
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.
Just like my department, when we were moved into a new reporting structure (ITD? how quickly one forgets) in the summer of 2009. We got a little sideshow presentation of our new organization, and every single one of us picked up on the so-called "motto" of the new organization: "To provide the best possible service at the lowest possible cost."
We all knew it was the beginning of the end at that point. We provided good service to our customer, at a reasonable cost. But we all knew it was not "the lowest possible cost". It was all we could talk about for days. I guess the word filtered up the management chain, so that our new third-line manager came up from Raleigh to have a talk with us.
"I hear that you all have a lot of worries here that you are going to get laid off", he said. "I just wanted to put your minds at ease. We have absolutely no plans to lay anyone off. We want to work with all of you."
But then he added the kicker, "Certainly there are no plans in place for any layoffs to happen in 2009. There are no plans for anything to happen in 2010 either, but you can never see into the future."
That was in July of 2009. In October we were all called into another meeting with the same manager - this time he did it via a telephone conference call, he didn't have the nerve to face us in person! And he told us that almost all of were going to be laid off and replaced by Indians. By May 2010 we were gone (three people from the department were actually kept on.)
So yeah, never trust a word from upper management. :-)
But maybe I was better off anyway. I got an email just yesterday from one of the three guys in our department who was kept on. The subject line he gave the email was: "Shoot me now - it would be a kindness" Apparently things have gone to hell at the customer location since the Indians took over, and he's right in the middle of it.
Several months later, due to the great uproar that resulted over the C-B plan, IBM said that they were changing the rules and anyone who was 40 years or older with at least 10 years of service as of July 1, 1999 would now have a choice as to which plan they wanted to be in. This group of employees became known as the "second choicers."
Cons: The fact is IBM has a plan to get rid of everyone in the USA that support customers and sending their jobs overseas to lesser skilled workers who barely speak English which irritates the customers. Then IBM turns around and tries to re-hire you back as a consultant without any benefits (no medical, retirement or vacation) at a reduced rate. IBM has built datacenters and hire in young college kids without experience for dirt cheap (based on what they pay offshore) and keeps the average overall salaries low which pulls your salary down going in as a contractor. IBM then expects us to support and train the kids they hire. Once the kids have gained some experience and since you're a contractor they terminate you without notice. IBM is a ruthless employer and is only concerned about the profits for the CEO, board and upper management. They care less about the people on the frontline building the company by keeping their customers happy and working endless overnight and weekend hours (offshift) that lessens the customer impact and again keeps the customer happy. A salaried systems administrator works on average 60 hours / week with no consideration from IBM. You're expected to do the work at night and attend the planning meetings during the day.
Advice to Senior Management: First line managers should be aware that they will be next once all the US workers are gone. They should be fighting for their people and not submitting to Sam's very poor policies. Everyone just under Sam is a "yes man" kissing his ass and will step on lower management just like they are doing to the front line SA doing the real work. The buy back of IBM stock is so obvious as to artificially inflate IBM stock price so management can cash in on their stock options maturing. Eventually it will catch up with you.
The HHS analysis found the following:
Prior to the ACA, in the vast majority of states, insurance companies in the individual market could deny coverage, charge higher premiums, and/or limit benefits based on preexisting conditions. Surveys have found that, due to preexisting conditions, 36% of Americans who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market encountered challenges purchasing health insurance
So 8% are opposed to everything and 11% are opposed to the individual mandate. And that's about it. Not a single other provision was opposed by more than 1% of the respondents. Not even higher taxes! Hell, a full 14% were supposedly in favor of repeal but couldn't name even a single provision they disliked.
Vietnam vet Ronald Flanagan has been battling cancer for more than two years. Two weeks ago, Flanagan was getting prepped for a bone biopsy at the local Exempla Rock Creek Medical Center. But at the last minute, his wife called the hospital and told them to stop the procedure because she had just received notice that they no longer have insurance. The reason why? The couple had accidentally underpaid their insurer by two pennies and it decided to drop them from their plan:
Two pennies. That's the difference between a potentially life-saving surgery, and a dropped insurance plan. Those two cents could cost Vietnam veteran Ronald Flanagan everything. "Everybody we talk to is very surprised that two cents is enough to do this," said Flanagan.
It was an innocent enough mistake, according to Ron's wife, Frances Flanagan. "If I only had just hit the nine instead of the seven," Frances said. When she was paying their monthly health insurance premium online in November, Frances swapped a 7 for a 9, leaving their $328.69 payment two cents short.
In a statement provided to a local news station, the couple's insurer, Ceridian Cobra Services, explained, "Since the payment was not full, it fit into the definition in the regulations of an 'insufficient payment' … Ceridian understands nothing is more important than one's health." Local station ABC 7 interviewed the Flanagans about their plight. "I felt that it was all my fault," said Mrs. Flanagan, who made the accounting error, choking back tears. Watch it:
The recently passed health care law — which congressional Republicans are unanimously trying to repeal — includes a whole host of protections that would rein in the ability for health insurers to drop patients for frivolous reasons like this. If Republicans are successful, these protections would disappear.
"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.
About that misdiagnosis: What sense does it make to view our current woes as stemming from lack of competitiveness? ...
But isn't it at least somewhat useful to think of our nation as if it were America Inc., competing in the global marketplace? No. Consider: A corporate leader who increases profits by slashing his work force is thought to be successful. Well, that's more or less what has happened in America recently: employment is way down, but profits are hitting new records. Who, exactly, considers this economic success?
Still, you might say that talk of competitiveness helps Mr. Obama quiet claims that he's anti-business. That's fine, as long as he realizes that the interests of nominally "American" corporations and the interests of the nation, which were never the same, are now less aligned than ever before. ...
The financial crisis of 2008 was a teachable moment, an object lesson in what can go wrong if you trust a market economy to regulate itself. Nor should we forget that highly regulated economies, like Germany, did a much better job than we did at sustaining employment after the crisis hit. For whatever reason, however, the teachable moment came and went with nothing learned.
Last week, the Republican Study Committee, a conservative House GOP caucus, announced that it aims to return non-defense spending to 2008 levels and non-security spending to 2006 levels. It would cut funding for veterans programs, scientific research at the Department of Energy, Homeland Security, transportation, housing, education, legal services, foreign aid and the arts. The RSC proposal would save an estimated $16.1 billion by rolling back federal Medicaid funding, putting the burden for those patients on state and local governments.
The Republican "Pledge to America" promised to cut "at least $100 billion in the first year alone," notwithstanding "exceptions for seniors, veterans and our troops." This was never a serious proposal, given that defense, plus entitlements and other mandatory spending, consume about four-fifths of the budget. But it was a nice round number that sounded good. ...
The conservatives want to end funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Legal Services Corporation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Energy Star program, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change . . . you get the picture. Put together, these expenditures would not begin to pay for, say, the $13 billion Marine Corps landing craft that Gates plans to kill because we are no longer fighting World War II.
You'd think that Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, would have applauded Gates's frugality. Instead, he described himself as "not happy" and vowed he will "not stand idly by and watch the White House gut defense when Americans are deployed in harm's way." In other words, it's perfectly fine to waste money on defense. What's not acceptable to GOP conservatives, apparently, is spending on agencies or programs that they oppose philosophically. Don't believe in climate change, despite wide scientific consensus that it's real? Just cut off funding for the U.N. panel that disagrees with your view.
Next week, on the same day that Obama delivers his address and Ryan gives his response, House Republicans will vote to endow Ryan with "stunning and unprecedented" powers to set discretionary spending levels that are binding on the House. The levels that Ryan has laid out, if actually enacted, would result in significant reductions to vital and popular programs like Pell Grants, the FBI, and the National Institutes of Health. This week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) also called for "elements" of the Roadmap to be in the first GOP budget.
"The greatest tragedy would be to accept the refrain that no one could have seen this coming and thus nothing could have been done," the panel wrote in the report's conclusions, which were read by The New York Times. "If we accept this notion, it will happen again." ...
"The crisis was the result of human action and inaction, not of Mother Nature or computer models gone haywire," the report states. "The captains of finance and the public stewards of our financial system ignored warnings and failed to question, understand and manage evolving risks within a system essential to the well-being of the American public. Theirs was a big miss, not a stumble."
His references to education provided a convenient scapegoat for the failure of the economy, rather than to blame the actions of the Wall Street hustlers to whom Obama is now sucking up. Yes, it is an obvious good to have better-educated students to compete with other economies, but that is hardly the issue of the moment when all of the world's economies are suffering grievous harm resulting from the irresponsible behavior of the best and the brightest here at home. It wasn't the students struggling at community colleges who came up with the financial gimmicks that produced the Great Recession, but rather the super-whiz-kid graduates of the top business and law schools.
What nonsense to insist that low public school test scores hobbled our economy when it was the highest-achieving graduates of our elite colleges who designed and sold the financial gimmicks that created this crisis. Indeed, some of the folks who once designed the phony mathematical formulas underwriting subprime mortgage-based derivatives won Nobel prizes for their effort. A pioneer in the securitization of mortgage debt, as well as exporting jobs abroad, was one Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of GE, whom Obama recently appointed to head his new job creation panel.
Rick Hoffman, who oversees sales at Corcoran Group on the east end of Long Island, said there was more buyer confidence in the Hamptons, though prices remain subdued and inventory is above the level of a year ago, He noted that 26 listings by brokers in the Hamptons sold for more than $10 million last year, compared with only 13 the year before. The highest price sale of the year was the $43.5 million purchase by David Tepper, the hedge-fund manager, of a 6,200-square-foot house on a dune overlooking the ocean in Sagaponack.
Mr. Ryan made highly dubious assertions about employment, health care and more. But what caught my eye, when I read the transcript, was what he said about other countries: "Just take a look at what's happening to Greece, Ireland, the United Kingdom and other nations in Europe. They didn't act soon enough; and now their governments have been forced to impose painful austerity measures: large benefit cuts to seniors and huge tax increases on everybody."
It's a good story: Europeans dithered on deficits, and that led to crisis. Unfortunately, while that's more or less true for Greece, it isn't at all what happened either in Ireland or in Britain, whose experience actually refutes the current Republican narrative.
But then, American conservatives have long had their own private Europe of the imagination — a place of economic stagnation and terrible health care, a collapsing society groaning under the weight of Big Government. The fact that Europe isn't actually like that — did you know that adults in their prime working years are more likely to be employed in Europe than they are in the United States? — hasn't deterred them. So we shouldn't be surprised by similar tall tales about European debt problems.
Let's talk about what really happened in Ireland and Britain...
But Bachmann isn't the only welfare recipient on Capitol Hill. As it turns out, there is a filthy-rich class of absentee farmers—both in and out of Congress—who demand free-market rules by day and collect their government welfare checks in the mail at night, payments that subsidize businesses that otherwise would fail. Over the past couple of decades, welfare for the super-wealthy seems to be the only kind of welfare our society tolerates. ...
Chuck Grassley, the longtime Republican senator from Iowa who warns his constituents of Obama's "trend toward socialism," has seen his family collect $1 million in federal handouts over an 11-year period, with Grassley's son receiving $699,248 and the senator himself pocketing $238,974. Even Grassley's grandson is learning to ride through life on training wheels, snagging $5,964 in 2005 and $2,363 in 2006. In the Grassley family they learn early how to enjoy other people's money.
Sen. Grassley railed against government intervention in the health care market, telling The Washington Times, "Whenever the government does more ... that's a movement toward socialism." As the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, he ought to know, especially because the government has done more for him and his kin than for Americans struggling with high medical bills and mortgages. Even the free-market think tank the Heritage Foundation criticized Grassley on his deep connections to farming interests and his stubborn lack of transparency.
Mr. Gates, of course, instantly ran into the new Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Howard McKeon, who believes that defense spending is much too sacrosanct to be included in the full-scale slashing Republicans promise for the rest of federal discretionary spending. Hold off "precipitous action," Republican appropriators advised the defense secretary as they began hearings into the E.F.V. and other worthy chunks of the $78 billion in savings Mr. Gates aims to effect across the next five years. ...
The Pentagon budget has doubled in the past decade and now represents more than 50 percent of discretionary federal spending — and that doesn't include the cost of two wars. How can it be off limits? If Congress tries to revive the wasteful E.V.F. project, the secretary warns its ballooning price tag will swallow most of the Marine Corps' future procurement and maintenance budget across the coming years.
The E.F.V. is a classic in the excesses of the military-industrial complex, with entrenched politicians promoting hometown pork and reeling in political contributions from weapons developers. Republicans are particularly devoted, but this is a bipartisan way of life. Among the Tea Party House freshmen — sworn to root out waste and the rest — only one has dared to say "everything needs to be on the table."
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