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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—May 28, 2011

  • WRAL-TV (Raleigh, NC): IBM lays off workers in RTP, other locations. By Rick Smith. Excerpts: Some employees at IBM in Research Triangle Park and beyond will not be around to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary this summer. They are being laid off as part of what IBM calls internally a "resource action." In IBM speak, affected workers are being "RA'd" – laid off. An IBM spokesman confirmed Wednesday that some layoff notifications were made.

    "IBM re-balances its skills and resources throughout the year to ensure that we meet the evolving needs of our clients," said Doug Shelton, IBM's director of corporate media relations. "IBM does not comment publicly on details of its staffing plans or headcount." ...

    One affected employee described the moves in RTP as a "bunch of layoffs." Lee Conrad, a retired IBM employee who is the national coordinator for the Alliance, said cuts were made Tuesday in the STG and GTS divisions. ...

    Employees reported cuts in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Rochester, Minn., and California. One IBM worker based in Charlotte also said he was cut. "RA'd in Charlotte, N.C., in Global Technology Services," the worker said. "Informed by telephone and told that final day is June 23 ... Manager said 'Don't bother to look for another job, there aren't any.'" "Looks as if there were about 70 layoffs in this division and mostly skewed towards age 45+," the employee added.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • "Resource-Action"......sounds like the Pointy-Haired Boss in "Dilbert" came up with the name. I hope none of the overpaid executives lost THEIR jobs......;(
    • IBM always is very secretive about this. They gradually do this so that they don't hit the WARN criteria which is where they have to post an official notice with the numbers of the layoff. Shame on IBM for treating their employes like that. That's why I own no IBM stock either.
    • Have so many friends that work at IBM, and they live on the edge knowing this could happen at anytime.
    • RA'ed? Really?! Didn't IBM just announce big earnings in Q1? Have to check on my IBM peeps in RTP. Yet IBM hires workers from India, Brazil, Singapore, Malaysia all the time and have done so for many years because they pay them little in comparison while US executives continue reaping millions in salary/benefits increases from failed short-term strategies. So much for the myth of responsible corporate citizenship from this "fine" US company. One of many "glowing" examples recently. Isn't IBM one of those "global giants" that helped support Nazi Germany? Yes, I went there.
    • I'm as pro-business as any American, but you need to understand that in Corporate America, execs do what is good for them in the timeframe they expect to remain with the company. When corporate governance is weak, they only pay lip service to the shareholders, and have no interest at all in what's good for America. IBM in particular only maintains its HQ in the US to make sure it gets lucrative government contracts; otherwise it would be an offshore company like Accenture...
    • IBM handles layoffs like no other company I've ever heard of...
    • The "jobs added/jobs lost" numbers in NC don't tell the whole story : we lose high-tech jobs and add positions at McDonalds. This so-called "recovery" is simply moving people from salaried, skills-based jobs to minimum-wage service jobs.
    • seahawker, you don't seem to understand that corporate America is different from small/medium sized businesses. There is fundamental hypocrisy there. A perfect example: Bill Gates at the White House a few years ago bemoaning the lack of kids going into computer science. His agenda of course, to get the government to approve more H1B visas, so he could avoid hiring any of the same computer science grads that he claims to want (contract Indians are cheaper and you can fire them easily). Another example: IBM's Palmisano standing next to Obama announcing the creation of 1,100 jobs in Iowa, on the very same day that IBM made 5,000 job cuts in NC, VT, NY... I could go on. Yes, many Americans are lazy and feel entitled, but that does not justify the very selfish outlook of America's top execs, and the way they are decimating our economy for short-term gains.
    • IBM is ALWAYS laying off. Most UNRELIABLE employer.
    • Same old garbage from IBM !! Every quarter they have to meet their their quota of people to be fired. There is a VP whose sole responsibility is to ensure that happens, and she reports directly to that overpaid, overfat boss of hers Sam i can fire i am .
    • And the cycle continues...I had thought about applying to IBM a few years ago but remembered that every couple of years I hear of a big layoff. As tired of thoughtlessness said, WAY to unreliable. I have no trust or faith in IBM as an employer.
    • I'm close to throwing in the towel on this country. It's almost beyond repair. Once we let the soulless legal entity known as the corporation take over, we started downhill. Starting to look into visas to other countries as we speak.
    • My thoughts and prayers are with the affected IBM workers and their families.
    • Looks as if there were about 70 layoffs in this division and mostly skewed towards age 45+," the employee added Another of the Big Blue churn and burn tactics.
    • IBM has been lobbying hard to get their hands on the billions of dollars our generous government provided in stimulus money to create jobs. Nice to know now where it's going. Another fact...IBM has more employees in India than any other country in the world. India Business Model.
    • I worked for IBM for about 6 years before being laid off in another RA about 4 years ago. About 6 months later, I got another job, the best job I've ever had. They treat me well and I feel like a contributing member of a team instead of a cog in a machine. So laid-off IBMers, take heart. There is life after IBM.
    • It stuns me how and why people keep continuing to work there knowing that they could be on the chopping block at any given moment. They have been doing this "restructuring" for years. No way to take care of yourself or a family always living on the edge.
    • They are not going to stop until every American is gone but the Senior Management team and a few staffies so those high rankers don't have to try and communicate with other nationalities. Most successfully # of quarters of earnings in row makes no difference to the policy to remove "expensive" Americans and leave them with no one who can do the work.
    • IBM cutting skilled workers from their legacy support services by sending the jobs to India and Brazil is not working out as a cost savings. They may be saving labor cost which satisfies management reports and incentives, but the fines for non-performance and delays have been very heavy. The customers are starting to figure out that the cloud is really a fog.
    • The result of the ruling classes taking Bonuses, Quarterly Results, and Golden Parachutes. Nothing new here. This won't change until there is a citizens revolution, french style.
    • I'd like everyone to refer back to my comment approximately 6 months ago (when IBM was gleefully "hiring") that mentioned how IBM in this area is notorious for hiring and then FIRING at the drop of a hat. I love living here but the business environment in the Triangle is just goofy.
    • most people that have worked for IBM would never go back to work for them again because it is not the great company it once was and never will be again
    • IBM is famous for hiring temp contractors who stay for years and years -- and when they cut those workers loose, no one ever knows because they aren't part of the "real" workforce. So IBM, Lenovo, and many other revered big-name companies that we lift up as America's best simply play musical chairs with the local workforce, with one eye on the best time to cash in their chips and move on to the next government incentive package. To those of you who think the "free" marketplace is a wonderful thing, I'd like to point out that there really isn't anything "free" about handing out tax breaks to a bunch of corporate merry-go-rounders like these big boys. Let's give incentives to the small businesses first, what'd'ya say?
    • I always thought it was half humorous and half insulting when I got a "PO" (purchase order) for my position, like I'm a truck or a desk or a computer. I also think it's half insulting and half humorous that what used to be the "personnel" department is now "human resources". You are no longer a person, you're a resource!
    • I don't really know how IBM gets away with it. When I was laid off two years ago from IBM, the vast majority of the people in my group had more than 20 years of service with the company. They don't reshuffle skills. They lay off those at the top of the pay scale and then rehire the same skills for half the price or less - or hire them in India or China. In my out placement seminar when I was laid off, everyone in the group had more than 20 years with IBM. Not a single person in our group had less. IBM refilled my job right away with someone making much less. So much for their claim that my skills were not needed.
    • "This isn't news. IBM has 250,000 employees and is therefore laying off constantly; regardless of the economy.: - App7689 Really? Where have you been? IBM's US work force is now down to about 105,000 people. They now have about 2 times that number working overseas. Last year, the employees barely got any incentive pay because they didn't meet their goals. But the chairman had a record year and got a record bonus? So how does that work? How does the chairman have a record year when none of the employees meet their goals?
    • Considering IBM has an entire department dedicated to teaching other companies "Strategic Outsourcing" no one should be surprised. Sam will buy himself a new boat and bigger house while the people who actually do the work will get the boot.
    • You have no idea. During last few yrs, IBM laid off 1000s of US workers, many over 45-50; sometimes IBM hires them back as temp contractors for a lower hourly wage & few benefits – no insurance, etc. When I worked @ IBM-RTP in early 2000s, a co. who employed IBM admin personnel got a bus. They told all the admin employees to get their personal effects & get on the bus. They fired all the people on the bus, not allowing them to return to their desks. These workers had done nothing wrong. Yet IBM hires Indian workers, whose language & work we must correct. Admin support really no longer exists at IBM. Mid/high level mgs try to reserve conf rooms & send mtg invites with unexpected results. I expect to be laid off at any moment. I work my tail off, 10+ hrs/day and weekends. I like this job. I need this job in this economy. I always seek out other opportunities, but the pickings are slim, as we all know. Good luck to all IBMers, contractors, rank & file and mid mgmt; execs need not worry.
    • "Yet IBM hires Indian workers, whose language & work we must correct." I have experienced this statement. IBM keeps sending me an invoice they want to have paid. I keep calling them for more information. There isn't a PO number on the invoice, or a name to help me place who ordered the item they want paid. For the past two months I've been shuffled to 10 different people, and I haven't gotten any answers other than they have to request the information. They don't get back with me, so therefore the invoice sits on my desk, unpaid. I make notes of dates and times when I call to cover myself. The language barrier completely frustrates me and each person I speak with asks me the same questions. VERY FRUSTRATING!
    • What about the year I was laid off - there 40,000 - in 2005 - no kidding - and then IBM hired at least 30,000 in India - you think I'm making this stuff up? I've been independent ever since and doing much better thank you. My satisfaction is going up against young know it alls and beating them and the "off shored" at winning follow on work after they screw up the initial job. Keep it up kiddies - more work for me !
    • I was RA'd in 2002. Best thing that happened to me while I worked there :)
    • First off my condolences to all those that lost their jobs. The Lord be with you in finding another one. Second off is this really surprising to anyone? A large corporation lays off workers while the top tier executives get bonuses? This is nothing new. I think I put more thought into cutting my grocery budget then these people do in laying off workers. I worked for IBM for about 2 years and left to find a job where they treat employees like actual human beings instead of robot slaves that don't need to eat, drink or use the bathroom.
    • "If you owned the company - would you give all your profits to employees. " johnnyplusthree hmmm...yeah, no company would EVER do this and be successful...ever heard of SAS? CEO makes decisions based on what he thinks will be best for his company and it seems to work for him...when you have to make investors happy it will always come down to profit management...not necessarily what is best for your company or country...
    • For some of us an RA = death sentence. > 27 yrs with the company and > 50!!!
    • So sad, once a great company to work for has become a symbol of what is wrong in corporations. The workers used to be an asset at IBM, now they are an expense. They were people, now they are headcount.
    • Take heart my fellow ex-IBM'ers. I was "RA'ed" from IBM over two years ago. I am over 50 and African-American. I thought life was over. I now have a better job and position and now understand that the IT world is full of ex-IBM'ers. IBM was good to me, it is where I was given the skills to truly make money. Thank you IBM, I was the little bird that had to learn to fly. GO BIG BLUE, Blue 4Ever...
    • mep asked: "How can the US compete globally with those less taxed, less regulated, and with a lower standard of living?" Apparently, by managing your workforce better. Just ask any IBM executive. The logic behind outsourcing is that you can take the same cheap, substandard labor force that offshore companies use, and somehow make the same quality product. It isn't the architects and the innovators that make the company anymore - it's the management, apparently.
    • IBM has been practicing age discrimination in their layoffs (not to mention pension conversion) for many years. This has been facilitated directly by complicity of our politicians and court system. Obviously, IBM has for years been buying off politicians and much of the news media (Forbes article on Palmisano, for example). Is IBM different from other big business in the US these days? Probably not. The root cause is ethics lapses, and the situation continues to get worse as other companies join in the fun.
  • Alliance@IBM: US job cuts continue as company gears up for 100th anniversary. Full excerpt: As IBM prepares a massive public relations campaign around the founding of IBM 100 years ago, more job cuts are being reported. It seems to most US employees that the "churn and burn" in IBM just never stops, and it doesn't. For those employees targeted for the recent resource action and for the over 15,000 who lost their jobs the past few years, a celebration of IBM's founding will ring a little hollow.

    As the celebration gears up, the media and the country are seeing IBM presented through the eyes of the corporate executives, not the rank and file IBMer. A recent article in Fortune magazine painted a very rosy picture of Sam Palmisano as head of IBM. The article lauded Sam for his leading IBM into the 21st century.

    Comments from IBM employees that were posted to the article were not very flattering and took Palmisano to task for IBM's poor treatment of employees, the decline in working conditions, the decline in salaries and pensions, and the constant job cuts that have devastated the US workforce as work is off-shored. And it wasn't just US IBM employees who were taking Sam to task. Many comments came from IBMer's around the world.

    Typical comments posted to the article:

    "As a UK IBM employee, and soon to be ex-employee (I'm getting out now), my main reason for leaving is lack of respect and lack of reward; no pay rise since 2007; a stunning performance by IBM. My team and personally was very poorly rewarded. I have key skills in a growing technical area and would have personally brought in £250K revenue in just normal work let alone additional new business. Did anyone at the high-levels bother about this. Nope. Not one bit. The modern IBM does not care about employees; just costs and profit."
    "As a retired 30-year IBM veteran, I have worked with some wonderful people during my career and can honestly say that IBM has some awesomely talented people in their technical ranks and that they have arguably the best workforce in the world right here in the U.S.A. On the other hand, IBM Management 'led' by Sam Palmisellout is totally clandestine and self-serving and are completely out of touch with the general IBM Employee Population. Employee morale at IBM is at 'rock-bottom' since they are generally overworked, underpaid, are totally disrespected by Management, are no longer provided with any sense of job security, and have seen many of their talented fellow IBM employees fired and their jobs moved to offshore locations (Brazil, India, China, etc.) simply for cheaper labor and definitely not for technical advantage. Their Raises and Promotions are rare and realistic career paths are non-existent for non-executive personnel. Many IBM'ers I know totally despise those pompous and greedy ARMONK-EY Executives and would hardly call them 'leaders' since they don't have a clue how to grow revenue and rely on perpetual cost cutting (offshoring, layoffs, salary rebanding, benefit reductions, etc.) as the primary means of profitability. The Technical folks are the major reason why IBM is a successful Corporation and they deserve the utmost respect from those IBM Corporate Executives."

    So how did Fortune magazine react to the 200 plus critical comments? Did the editors commission a story on what IBM workers are going through working at the new IBM? No. They simply deleted all the comments. To many this was simply a whitewash. Can't upset the celebration with a little truth.

    IBM employees around the world are proud of the work they do for the company. IBM employees are also civic minded, giving back to the communities where they work and live.

    IBM employees are simply saying to the CEO and the world--give us some respect, not empty words and public relations campaigns. Treat us as assets not liabilities. Call us people not "resources". Reward loyalty with concern for employees well being. Let us have a true voice in the workplace. Let us join our unions and the global union alliance free from intimidation. Do all that and more and there will be cause to celebrate.

  • Poughkeepsie Journal: IBM cuts more jobs; Dutchess affected. Excerpts: Centennial year or not, IBM Corp. is continuing its practice of trimming the workforce. Job cuts began Tuesday and include some in Dutchess County, where IBM is the largest private employer.

    Lee Conrad, national organizer for the Alliance@IBM, a union group, said that the cuts "seem widespread," and are in the Systems and Technology division and in Global Technology Services. ...

    The company has not announced anything, and no longer does, as a matter of policy. Tom Midgley, president of the Alliance@IBM, confirmed that a "resource action" is under way and that it has reached into local sites, though he did not have specific numbers. ...

    "I  don't think people are feeling too jubilant about the 100th anniversary while their jobs are being cut and the company is making record profits," said Midgley, who works at the East Fishkill IBM site. "It seems to most US employees that the 'churn and burn' in IBM just never stops, and it doesn't," said an online article posted by the group.

    Selected reader comments concerning the article follow:

    • Congratulations IBM. More families will be in trouble paying mortgage and school tax this year. What's not being reported is the salary freeze and salary cut practice in IBM Global Services division since 2006 (before the recession). People here don't believe me that the annual 5% or so increase in school tax feels like 15-20% every year, because of the salary freeze, salary cut, and grocery price increase combined.
    • With record profits and recent conviction of Moffat Palmisano's right hand man at IBM. I think it's time to lay off Palmisano. As a former 31 Year IBM Senior Manager I am ashamed of how IBM is treating their employees.
    • The employees may not be happy but I'm sure the stockholders are. Truth be told, IBM cares little about the employees but that feeling is mutual. It's one of the dirty little secrets of business - employees don't care about the company. Oh, they may say they do, but if another job paying more comes knocking, they're gone. For-profit companies exist primarily to increase shareholder equity. IBM has done that very, very well.
      • They're gone because of job security...why have faith in a company that will just chew you up and spit you out because you speak English, not Indian....
      • IBM's ISO9001 Quality Policy mentions "stakeholders", which is supposed to include employees. IBM stopped caring about the employees when it stopped being a leader and instead became a follower- we don't have to be the best, just the most profitable. Let others innovate and we'll sell their product to our customers. Any old-time employees or retirees will tell you about opinion surveys, where one question was always "How confident are you that you will continue to have a job with IBM as long as you do your job well?" Other questions included how competitive benefits and salary were. Do they even have opinion surveys anymore? Oh, and if it is so cost-effective to offshore manufacturing jobs, imagine how much more cost effective it would be to offshore executive jobs.
    • Alliance ... are they still around? Let's give IBM more tax breaks. Sam gets a bonus and employees get the SHAFT! When are our politicians going to learn, IBM is leaving the Hudson Valley.
    • And some of you IBM'ers want public employees to give up what you don't have...maybe you should have unionized long time ago. 28 yr employee probably got canned for no other reason other than getting close to retire....was probably a great employee...will never know..and there are more out there I'm sure.
    • Of course people are leaving IBM. Voluntarily. This has happened in the past 10 years (at least). Just so you know many units have implemented salary freeze and salary cut (it is not company-wide). This trend is not only continuing, it is actually accelerating. That is why I worry this area will have a double dip housing crash when the house for sale sign will start increasing. Sometimes high earner household is replaced with low income household gradually over the years. The change is very subtle.
    • What a bunch of whiners. IBM is one of the only companies thriving in this economic environment. Why don't some of the whiners start your own company and run it the way you think it should be run? Let me know how that works out for ya. Palmisano should be given a raise to $100M per year. He is doing a fantastic job. This article shouldn't even be printed. 103 layoffs in a company that has nearly 450,000 employees. That's like a company with 5000 employees laying of 1 person. Would that make the paper?
  • Austin Statesman: Report: IBM job cuts affect Austin, other sites. By Kirk Ladendorf. Excerpts: IBM Corp. has begun cutting jobs this week at several sites around the United States, including Austin, according to a union-related group that tracks the company's U.S. job moves. IBM had no direct comment on the extent or the size of its job cuts. ...

    IBM employs more than 6,000 people in Austin, which remains one of the company's most productive research and development operations. Much of the company's work in Austin is tied to Unix software and hardware development, development of the Power family of microprocessors, Tivoli Systems software, and Linux development. ...

    "The number of IBM jobs has declined dramatically over the last five years in the U.S.," Conrad said. "A lot of jobs have been off-shored and outsourced to India, China and South America."

    The group said that IBM's in this country declined from 133,789 in 2005 to 105,000 in 2009 before the company stopped providing a U.S. headcount. In recent years, it said, IBM's hiring has been heaviest in India, Asia-Pacific and Latin America, where wages are generally lower. The organization believes that IBM's U.S. job total now is below 100,000.

    Selected reader comments concerning the above article follow:

    • IBM = India Brazil Mainland China. RA with over 20 years. My last day can't come quick enough to leave this hell hole!! I may be broke but I will be much happier.
    • From personal experience - IBM is a horrible company. They treat their employees like garbage with excessive, unpaid overtime, no option for utilizing comp time, and general disrespect for treating people with respect. I would never, ever, recommend them to anyone. For anything. The people who lose jobs here in Austin are much better off w/o IBM.
    • Anyone that criticizes IBM for making cuts or moving jobs overseas hasn't the least bit of common sense regarding business. You have been sold and bought a set of lies by the Liberals that make you believe a company's purpose is to hire and keep employed people. You are a fool if you believe that and you would not last a year running your own business following that stupid model.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Who is Doug Shelton?" by "sby_willie". Full excerpt:
    "IBM re-balances its skills and resources throughout the year to ensure that we meet the evolving needs of our clients," said Doug Shelton, IBM's director of corporate media relations. "IBM does not comment publicly on details of its staffing plans or headcount."

    Doug Shelton. Is he actually a person? Or is he the voice of the Watson Jeopardy! computer? Is he just a tape recording released to the media?

    He always and only comments with the same remarks above.

    Does anyone have any other comment Shelton has made, other than not or declining to comment?

    Being IBM director of corporate media relations seems an real easy and cozy job: you don't have to say much; and you just have to say the same thing all the time.

    IBM should eliminate IBM director of corporate media relations and save the stockholders the equivalent of his salary and benefits as an effective cost cutting measure.

  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • IBM User Experience in Austin, TX: (Current Employee) "Decent if you want to play the corporate game." Pros: Decent pay, they love people who want to grow their career and will give you the opportunities. Can be fairly flexible with work hours and location (can work from home). Cons: Have to play the corporate game if you want to be seen as a "valued contributor" - raises and bonuses are tied to this. Continuing to offshore jobs which makes it difficult to work with knowledgeable people that are needed when developing new projects, makes the job that much harder. Company is less concerned with putting out software that doesn't look like it was developed by interns and tons of defects. If the project needs 5 people to work on it, only 2-3 will be allocated. Advice to Senior Management: Learn how to properly evaluate your employees and quit using the generic/all-in-one PBC method that gets abused by people putting so much spin on what they do, they make paint drying sound like an engineering breakthrough. Offshoring jobs may save a buck to make the stock look good, but the people you hire are mostly incompetent with high turnover. In the end it will cost you more money than what you saved since it's takes them 3x as long to get it done and hurts the companies image by producing a poor user experience due to all the bugs/defects.
    • IBM Anonymous: (Current Employee) "IBM...I'm By Myself" Pros: flexibility to work from home is great, but can be very impersonal at times. Cons: management is never satisfied. they want more more more and give you less less less. Advice to Senior Management: stop outsourcing to other countries and getting rid of US employees
    • IBM Anonymous in Bangalore (India): (Current Employee) "Good. Awareness of opportunities minimal" Pros: Work life balance extremely good. Global opportunities. Cons: Highly process oriented. Too much information available and process driven. Advice to Senior Management: Highly hierarchy oriented making it difficult to reach out anytime.
    • IBM Senior Program Manager in Toronto, ON (Canada): (Current Employee) "Great company to gain experience." Pros: Ability to move to different areas and different job roles. Cons: Gone are the days of "respect of individual." Advice to Senior Management: People are the most important capital of a company, executives need to treat people/employees the way the like to be treated.
    • IBM Sales: (Current Employee) "OK Work/Life Balance, Decent Benefits, But big and frustrating" Pros: - You will not be punished for taking vacation; - Work from home; - Decent pay to pressure ratio; - Strong R&D and acquisition strategy. Cons: - Too many employees, too few structured processes to get things done; - Middle management filled dead weight and annoying pet projects; - Inside sales strategy is worthless; - Customers are dissatisfied with support; - Accountants prevent deals, yet expect rapid sales cycles; - Very little cross team collaboration (peers often are gatekeepers of clients); - Company is run by spreadsheets. Advice to Senior Management: - Eliminate 30% of the management staff; - Eliminate 20% of sales staff who do not contribute; - Give your reps a CRM tool that manages contacts and pipeline; - Blow up the inside sales org and hire new management from a competitor; - Abandon the mindset that pressure can shorten sales cycles from months to weeks; - Give management back time to work with the field to close business and execute quickly.
    • IBM Anonymous: (Current Employee) "DBA" Pros: IBM name value still exist in the market. So I can utilize the name value to find another job at best. Cons: IBM treats employees just a worker and does not give us any respect to have personal life and career path. Advice to Senior Management: IBM management should establish a solid and robust career program so the employees can work towards the career goals instead.
    • IBM Managing Consultant in Armonk, NY: (Current Employee) "Inertia at its best." Pros: Good benefits, both medical and 401K. Pay is about on par with competition. To get fired is a rarity. Cons: Environment is very bureaucratic and risk taking is limited. Old ideas continue to overpower new ones. Advice to Senior Management: Promote accountability and responsibility.
  • CNN: America can learn from Europe on work-life balance. By Cary L. Cooper. Excerpts: Americans have a lot to offer the world in terms of business innovation and technological advances, but they have a great deal to learn from Europeans about getting better balance between work and life.

    The U.S. has some of the longest working hours in the developed world. On top of that, Americans also have some of the shortest paid vacation leave. And although many European countries have seen increases in their working hours -- particularly the UK -- employees are typically given between four and six weeks' paid vacation time by their employer.

    So what drives Americans to work such long hours and take few, if any, vacations?

    One explanation is that Americans are intrinsically "workaholic." Getting ahead at work is fundamental to their self image, and to the image they like to project to their employer, and, indeed, to the outside world -- America is open for business 24/7! And this is not only about individual behavior, but also about corporate culture.

    Another explanation, which is more psychological in orientation, is that American workers are intrinsically more insecure than their counterparts in other countries. Many European countries have better employment protection for workers, including legislation about redundancy pay, or sick leave, or hours of work, or break times at work.

    Indeed, in the European Union there is the Working Time Directive that specifies that workers are not allowed to work over an average of 48 hours per week over a specified number of weeks, together with other specific constraints about breaks and length of shifts. Most E.U. countries have signed up to this Directive.

    In the U.S., with less employment protection and employees more vulnerable to instant job loss if they don't deliver, I suspect that many workers are frightened of taking up their holiday entitlement, as meager as it is, because they fear it sends the message that "I will not be perceived as fully committed or giving 100%." ...

    Recent research is showing that consistently working long hours and not taking respite away from work, can have a damaging effect on health, and can negatively affect family life.

    The notion that working long hours and not taking holidays makes for a more productive workforce is, in my view, a managerial myth, with no foundation in organizational or psychological science. The human body is a biological machine, and like all machines can wear out.

  • Vault: Bill Clinton: B-Schools Promote One of 'Two Bad Ideas' Hurting America. Excerpts: Bill Clinton, addressing NYU's graduating class inside Yankees Stadium, talked of two bad ideas that America has adopted over the last thirty years. These two ideas, he believed, have not only hurt our country badly, but exist only to serve the powerful.

    The seed of one of those bad ideas choking our country, Clinton said, has been sown in our business schools for some time now, that of a shareholder-only vision of the world.

    I was probably the last generation of Americans until the present day who could have gotten an MBA, if I went to business school instead of law school, with the prevailing theory being that American corporations had obligations primarily to all their stakeholders.
    Ever since then we've been teaching our young people that your primary obligation is only to the shareholders. The problem is that if you do that you ignore the other stakeholders.
    That could be why wages have been virtually stagnant for 30 years—because the workers are stakeholders. It could be why communities haven't been able to undertake economic transformations in many places—because communities are stakeholders. It could be why customers don't care so much what the source of their purchases are—they're stakeholders. I think we have to move back to a stakeholder not just a shareholder-only society in the United States and throughout the world.
New on the Alliance@IBM Site
  • 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!
  • Job Cut Reports
    • Comment 5/21/11: IBM hires very few new employees in our country. IBM hires on more contractors and supplementals instead. A reason IBM will not release the number of employees they have is that the IBM workforce might not be down and might even has increased but the proportion of contractors vs. employees is much higher than it ever has been. -da_facts-
    • Comment 5/24/11: I just got the call this morning from my manager. I am safe but some 'infrastructure and back office support' people on our team are getting the boot. Not sure how many yet. GTS MTS -anonymous-
    • Comment 5/24/11: Job cuts - Resource Action - firings - happening today in STG in Poughkeepsie. Not a large number in my functional area. Also an article in Yahoo about IBM's stock and how great it is. Open for comments. More details as they arrive later today. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 5/24/11: I think folks who expect a raise must have their heads in the sand. Open your eyes and look at what's happening here. There will be no raises until your IBM US salary reaches an equilibrium with IBM China and IBM India. As far as IBM is concerned, you are overpaid already. Furthermore, they'd prefer to get rid of the overhead that full time employees carry, hence the new competition from Liquid Portal. The only thing that is certain is that the RAs will continue. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 5/24/11: RA today in STG in RTP.. know a few affected but don't know the extent. -anonymous-
    • Comment 5/24/11: RA'd today, IBM US PM GTS -anon-
    • Comment 5/24/11: RA in STG Rochester today. I was included, I don't know how big it is in Rochester. -anonymous-
    • Comment 5/24/11: Unix SA, Band 7 location - work from home - account Wellpoint. I know of one other admin besides myself that was cut in our group. Not sure if anyone else was affected. I was expecting this for quite sometime. Question. Can someone tell me (or point me to a resource which tells me) when I can file for unemployment if I receive severance in California? Thanks in advance. -RAd today-
    • Comment 5/24/11: You mean RA's are happening again?.. Can you believe that just because no one organized and forced a contract negotiation IBM is going to shaft employees deep and hard over and over yet again! And even though some were safe this time its no guarantee they will be safe in 6 months. This is my shocked face : { } -Exodus2007-
    • Comment 5/24/11: Software Engineer with STG Cross Platform Software. Got the call this morning... -Eric-
    • Comment 5/24/11: Received my RA notice today - GTS CMS/PM -okay- Alliance reply: Sorry for the job loss of all those fired today. Please send us the RA pack so we can have it for our records and count the number"selected" for the job cut.
    • Comment 5/24/11: RA'd from Shared Services today -done-
    • Comment 5/24/11: RAed today, STG RTP -anonymous-
    • Comment 5/24/11: Folks, IBM likes to do RA's on Tuesday. This keeps happening over and over. What does it take for people to get it. We are dealing with a big corporation with high priced lawyers working everyday, day in and day out, to keep the RA's low profile, under the radar, out of the newspaper. The fact is they are taking away our jobs. Wake up and smell the Shi*. -Not Roses-
    • Comment 5/24/11: My friend is a computer engineer working for Intel, MASS. Her 2011 bonus was 38% of her annual salary. Some employees' bonus were closed to 50%. I am speechless. She is not worrying about outsourcing either. Every employees are upbeat in Intel. IBM. SHAME ON YOU. -letsworkforIntel-
    • Comment 5/24/11: RA'd in Charlotte, NC, in Global Technology Services on 5/24. ~28 years service. Division 07, GTS Integrated competencies 1. Informed by telephone and told that final day is June 23. Manager said "don't bother to look for another job, there are not any". Looks as if there were about 70 layoffs in this division and mostly skewed towards age 45+. Missed retirement bridge by just 16 months. -anonymous-
    • Comment 5/24/11: I was part of an RA a year ago in Rochester MN. It was the best thing that ever happened to me... 1. I don't have to go to work every day wondering if I will have a job at the end of the day. 2. IBM doesn't value any of their employees. BTW, I was a 1 or 2 plus all my years with IBM. -anonymous-
    • Comment 5/24/11: RA'd today. STG in Poughkeepsie. I joined the union a while back and will continue to support it. -anonymous-
    • Comment 5/24/11: In California you can receive unemployment and severance. I was RA'd last year and filed online for employment day after my last official day with IBM. -TroubleO7-
    • Comment 5/24/11: To -RAd today- Short Version: IBM severance did not disqualify me for unemployment. Long version: see what state of California has to say about this: http://www.edd.ca.gov/uibdg/Total_and_Partial_Unemployment_TPU_46035.htm -outin2009-
    • Comment 5/24/11: 80 cut under my 4th line in my area (Poughkeepsie NY STG MVS software& and microcode development, may include Rochester and left coast labs too). Employees notified today, last day June 23. standard package (26 weeks, & 1 year medical) Another year, another layoff -none-
    • Comment 5/24/11: I know of one girl RA'd from my department today. (not sure if there are more) I am in middleware services under MSD. She lives in California, so the state rules allow her an extra 30 days to find new work. Her last day is at the end of July. -dun-4-
    • Comment 5/24/11: Tucson STG labs, I know one cut on my team, not sure how many on the departments around us yet. Worse here, with most housing underwater financially, and little to no other high-tech in the area. -TucsonTech-
    • Comment 5/24/11: RA'ed today, Band 6 mobile employee (formerly Poughkeepsie) from STG Cross Platform Software. Looks like 29 people in my org were affected. -anonymous-
    • Comment 5/25/11: Resource Action, yesterday, IBM Poughkeepsie, STG (Server) Division, somewhere in the area of 3-5% per department, departments already understaffed due to lack of hiring and people quitting (partly due to off-shoring to India, Singapore, China). Package: +5 years tenure, year medical, # months salary depending on years with IBM. Effective in 1 month. High % older workers. -anonymous- Alliance reply: We still have not received any RA packs. We need those to count the number and have documented proof for the media because IBM isn't talking. Send to ibmunionalliance@gmail.com
    • Comment 5/25/11: yeah I was RA'd in RTP. I was told not to bother looking for a job as well. Also amazing, I also found out managers are not posting jobs but are just keeping them between managers so it would appear that there are not any. -anonymous-
    • Comment 5/25/11: Got RA'ed Tuesday in STG Austin. Spend the last 5 months, training a person in India - should have smelled the rat... -=anonymous=-
    • Comment 5/25/11: RA'd yesterday div 07 shared services. Job going to Brazil. After I was told I said "good luck with that" will be 22 years 6/19. My last day is 6/24. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 5/25/11: RA'd yesterday div 07 shared services. Job going to Brazil. After I was told I said "good luck with that" will be 22 years 6/19. My last day is 6/24. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 5/25/11: I'm in California and was only given 30 days notice on Tuesday instead of 60 which is customary in CA. I mentioned it to my manager and he said that he'll look into it. He's a real stand up guy, but if he can't do anything about it, what should I do next? IBM HR? CA EDD? Thanks in advance. -CA WARN Act-
    • Comment 5/25/11: Managers who say "don't bother looking for an internal job" are just being honest. Twice after a resource action the group I was in at the time tried to hire someone who had been on the list - interviews, verbal offers, etc. and then we're told we can't hire them. After 7 years at IBM I know of ONE person rehired after an RA. Don't waste your time looking internally. -MA_SWG-
    • Comment 5/25/11: Was RA'd yesterday STG in Poughkeepsie for SHD, not sure how many others were affected. Internal job postings on site were wiped except for co-op / intern positions. -anonymous-
    • Comment 5/25/11: I was RA'd in 2007, it was the first big cut that I'd remembered in years at that time I immediately started looking for another internal job.. I found a team that had an open req they'd been trying to fill and were eager to get me on board since I'd worked with half the team before but it was impossible, I came to find out that nothing short of Joanne Collins-Smee personally approving the move was going to save me and she had no intention. At that time anyway, getting off of the"list" was nearly impossible... at least within the same division. On the bright side, life's been much more rewarding on the other side, working for a company who's actually investing in you as an employee... I hadn't felt that way at ibm for awhile. -RAdforgood-
    • Comment 5/25/11: I'm within the STG division, (division 7T). My department is based in Austin, TX, but I'm working remotely out of Syracuse, NY. I don't know exactly how many jobs are being cut Austin, TX, but there are quite a few. I am not a member of this union or any union. I am just providing this info for statistic. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 5/25/11: Just got the second correction for the IBM Centennial (online) celebration. Gosh guys...if you didn't get rid of all the folks that know what to do, what do you expect? -anymouse-
    • Comment 5/25/11: it may depend on the division, or even the reason for the RA, I was not spreading FUD. Our second-line (at the time) actually apologized for yanking our candidate out from under us, telling us he had not initially been aware they weren't allowed to hire back anyone on the list. Best of luck to those who wish to look internally - and I hope you're all union members already. -MA_SWG-
    • Comment 5/25/11: If this is how Sam is going to treat us then maybe we should boycott all IBM 100 year anniversary celebrations, worldwide! -Had Enough-
    • Comment 5/26/11: Cut from Div 07 - GTS - Band 9 PM with June 23 as last day, just turned 50. QUESTIONS - 1) if California gets 60 days notice, why not others? - doesn't seem fair.2) Does TAA still exist? 3) Should I keep documentation that shows my job being transferred to named people in foreign countries in last month? 4) Are there gov't programs for older people laid off? -me2-
    • Comment 5/26/11: IBM is very skilled in doing surgical cuts in each geographic location so it is under the WARN radar. Also in age selection to prevent against age discrimination. Imagine the $$$$$ $aving if IBM does not have to pay RA'd persons plus benefits for the extra 30 days. It is designs to SAVE money so executive can get a hug bonus. If someone is getting 60 days, either it is a business needs or there is a greater number of persons RA'd in Cali. It smells like a business needs other than anything else. -cannedbyblue-
    • Comment 5/26/11: Today. fired # unknown. Location: GDF Toronto, Canada. Positions are offshore to India, but many contractors are hired yesterday. More contractors working here than FEs -Max-
    • Comment 5/27/11: Big Blue Wiennee stuck it to the devoted again. I work from home in GTS and got my emotionless call Tuesday also. RA'ed LAID the HELL off. 29 years and 6 months. Over 50, and I have analyzed the list and 82% are over the age of 40. Same deal don't look for a job, Some Indian, Not Native American, will be getting it, that can barely speak English. Last day June 23.

      Old man Watson would roll over in his grave if he knew what this bunch of Money Grubing Ass holes have done to this company. Smart Planet my ass. That bunch in India cant grab their butt with both hands and don't have the skills to procreate. And don't get me started on the GDF initiative.

      Beth Purdue is a lunatic, she has no idea they are laying off the experienced Real IBMers for dip sticks and call that creating jobs, Ha. I am bridging and saying the Hell with ya , your Merit Raises, haven't seen one of those since 2003, your dictated PBC crap and excessive work schedule e.g. 60+ hours and get me a job at Walmart as a Greater. I figure with the hours I put in, the pay is about the same.

      IBM and your Blackberries, you are going down. Apple is gonna kick your Butt. American Born, American Raised and Damn proud of it. -Anonymous-

News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
  • Christian Science Monitor: Single-payer health care: Vermont takes lead. Single-payer health care bill – the nation's first – is signed into law. But Vermont's governor says single-payer health care faces 'a few challenges' before it becomes reality. By Dave Gram. Excerpts: "We gather here today to launch the first single-payer health care system in America, to do in Vermont what has taken too long — have a health care system that is the best in the world, that treats health care as a right and not a privilege, where health care follows the individual, isn't required by an employer — that's a huge jobs creator," Shumlin said.

    Among Vermont's challenges: getting waivers from the federal government at a time when the U.S. House has come out strongly against the less ambitious federal health care bill passed last year. ...

    "We're going to hear all kinds of scare stories that this is a thoughtless experiment or that it is too bold," said Dr. Deb Richter, a longtime advocate of a single-payer health care system. "But I would remind you that every other industrialized country is doing what we are trying to do. And they do it for far less money, they live longer and they get better-quality care." ...

    One of those who said she was glad to see the law taking effect was Jennifer Schneider, a 41-year-old Burlington woman who was diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer in 2009 and detailed her troubles getting insurance and understanding the coverage she got. A person in that situation should be able to focus on fighting her illness, not her health insurer, Schneider said. "You shouldn't have to worry about whether you're covered," she said.

  • The Hill: CBO: Defunding healthcare law could end drug benefits. By Sam Baker. Excerpts: Permanently defunding the healthcare reform law could lead to the end of Medicare coverage for prescription drugs, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Although the Medicare drug benefit predates healthcare reform, the new law made changes to the program — most notably eliminating the so-called "doughnut hole," in which seniors must pay for their drugs out of pocket.

    If the new healthcare law is defunded, the changes to the prescription drug program could not be implemented and Medicare would be unable to offer the benefit, CBO said.

  • New York Times op-ed: Medicare and Mediscares. By Paul Krugman. Excerpts: Mr. Ryan may claim — and he may even believe — that he's facing a backlash because his opponents are lying about his proposals. But the reality is that the Ryan plan is turning into a political disaster for Republicans, not because the plan's critics are lying about it, but because they're describing it accurately. Take, for example, the statement that the Ryan plan would end Medicare as we know it. This may have Republicans screaming "Mediscare!" but it's the absolute truth: The plan would replace our current system, in which the government pays major health costs, with a voucher system, in which seniors would, in effect, be handed a coupon and told to go find private coverage.

    The new program might still be called Medicare — hey, we could replace government coverage of major expenses with an allowance of two free aspirins a day, and still call it "Medicare" — but it wouldn't be the same program. And if the cost estimates of the Congressional Budget Office are at all right, the inadequate size of the vouchers — which by 2030 would cover only about a third of seniors' health costs — would leave many if not most older Americans unable to afford essential care.

    If anyone is lying here, it's Mr. Ryan himself, who has claimed that his plan would give seniors the same kind of coverage that members of Congress receive — an assertion that is completely false. ...

    Anyway, the underlying premise behind statements like that is the assumption that the Ryan plan represents a serious effort to come to grip with America's long-run fiscal problems. But what became clear soon after that plan was unveiled was that it was no such thing. In fact, it wasn't really a deficit-reduction plan. Once you remove the absurd assumptions — discretionary spending, including defense, falling to Calvin Coolidge levels, and huge tax cuts for corporations and the rich, with no loss in revenue? — it's highly questionable whether it would reduce the deficit at all.

News and Opinion Concerning the "War on the Middle Class"
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.

  • truthOut: A Little Less Corporate Political Corruption. By Jim Hightower. Excerpts: President Barack Obama is thinking about issuing an executive order that would mitigate some of the damage done to our democracy by the Supreme Court's dastardly Citizens United edict, which unleashes unlimited amounts of secret corporate cash to pervert America's elections.

    Obama's idea is simply to require that those corporations trying to get federal contracts disclose all of their campaign donations for the previous two years, including money they launder through such front groups as the Chamber of Commerce. ...

    Neat. It would be a clean, direct, and effective reform — so, of course, the corporate powers and their apologists are squealing like stuck pigs. Steven Law, a Bush-Cheney operative who is now both a Wall Street Journal editorialist and the head of a secret corporate money fund, recently decried the very idea of public disclosure of contractor campaign contributions: "When I was in the executive branch," he sniffed, "mixing politics with procurement was called corruption."

    Yes, Steve, and y'all were corruption experts. Perhaps you've forgotten about Halliburton, the Cheney-run corporation that helped put Bush in office and then snagged tens of billions in contracts, becoming the poster child of corrupt, no-bid procurement. Come on, Obama, don't back down under pressure from these corporate sleazes — sign that disclosure order. If they're going to steal our elections, let's at least make them admit it.

  • Jim Hightower: Academic Freedom for Sale Cheap! Excerpts: Billionaires are different from you and me, for obvious reasons, including the fact that they buy much pricier baubles than we do. A sleek car costing $100,000? Why that's just an impulse purchase. A few million bucks for a Matisse original? Go ahead – it'll liven up the hallway. How about throwing a fat wad of cash at a university to get an academic chair named for you? Sure, it's all a part of living in BillionaireLand.

    Then there are megalomaniacal mega-billionaires like the Koch brothers. Using money from their industrial conglomerate, their foundation, and their personal fortunes, these two far-out, laissez-faire extremists are literally buying public policy. Their purchases of everything from politicians to the tea party help them push the privatization of all things public and the elimination of pesky regulations and taxes that crimp their style.

    To advance their plutocratic cause, brother Charles has gone on a shopping spree for an invaluable bauble that most of us didn't even know was for sale: academic freedom. And it's surprisingly cheap!

    For only $1.5 million, Koch bought a big chunk of the economics department of Florida State University. His donation gives him control of a new "academic" program at this public institution to indoctrinate students in his self-serving political theories. The billionaire gets to screen all applicants, veto any he deems insufficiently ideological, and sign off on all hires. Also, the department head must submit yearly reports to Koch about the faculty's speeches, publications, and classes, and he evaluates the faculty based on "objectives" that he sets.

    Charles has made similar purchases of academic freedom at two other state universities, Clemson and West Virginia. Imagine the screams of outrage we'd hear from the Kochs if a labor union was doing this.

  • Jim Hightower: A Morally Untenable Corporate System. Full excerpt: This will seem like a fairy tale now, but not so long ago, it was actually possible for CEO pay to constitute "an embarrassment of riches."

    How quaint. Today, the riches are massive, but the embarrassment gene seems to have been completely bred out of corporate chieftains. They have no shame at producing negative results and offing thousands of underlings, then wheeling in a front-end loader to haul their own pay to the bank. The head man at Estée Lauder, for example, recently cut 2,000 employees but grabbed a huge salary increase and new stock payments worth more than $24 million.

    Are there no adults to supervise these corporate playgrounds and teach such concepts as humility and sharing,? Well, technically, the board of directors is supposed to provide corporate governance, including the setting of CEO pay. But who's on these boards? Mostly other members of the corporate brotherhood who want to keep executive pay levels rising. And, of course, the chiefs themselves sit on their boards, usually chairing them.

    The tale of boardroom coziness between directors and the bosses they supposedly govern was vividly revealed in the Wall Street crash of 2008. Far from providing any reasonable restraints, few board members even questioned the casino games the banks were running, and fewer yet objected to giving reckless bankers billions of dollars in unwarranted bonuses.

    Now after the collapse, what has changed? Nothing. One survey of nine of the big banks we taxpayers bailed out shows that two-thirds of their failed board members are still there, and, once again, they're shoveling inexplicably-huge bonuses at the same old CEOs.

    A system that enriches executive elites while crushing the middle class is worse than an embarrassment – it's morally untenable.

  • AlterNet: Republican Judge Strikes Down Ban on Corporate Contributions Directly to Candidates. Excerpts: Reagan-appointed federal Judge James Cacheris just ruled that corporations have a constitutional right to contribute money directly to political candidates:
    In a ruling issued late Thursday, U.S. District Judge James Cacheris tossed out part of the indictment against two men accused of illegally reimbursing donors to Hillary Clinton's Senate and presidential campaigns.
    Cacheris says that under last year's Citizens United Supreme Court case, corporations enjoy the same right as people to contribute to campaigns.
    The ruling is the first of its kind. The Citizens United case had applied only to independent corporate expenditures, not to actual campaign contributions.

    Today's decision extends beyond the egregious Citizen United decision because Citizens United only permits corporations to run their own ads supporting a candidate or otherwise act independently of a candidate's campaign. Cacheris' opinion would also allow the Chamber of Commerce and Koch Industries, for instance, to contribute directly to political campaigns.

If you hire good people and treat them well, they will try to do a good job. They will stimulate one another by their vigor and example. They will set a fast pace for themselves. Then if they are well led and occasionally inspired, if they understand what the company is trying to do and know they will share in its sucess, they will contribute in a major way. The customer will get the superior service he is looking for. The result is profit to customers, employees, and to stcckholders. —Thomas J. Watson, Jr., from A Business and Its Beliefs: The Ideas That Helped Build IBM.

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