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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—August 3, 2013

  • Reuters: SEC investigating IBM over cloud revenue. Excerpts: U.S. regulators are investigating how International Business Machines Corp reports revenue from its cloud computing business, the company said on Wednesday.

    IBM said it learned of the investigation, being conducted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in May. The company made the disclosure in its quarterly report filed with the SEC. It gave no details on the probe. ...

    IBM said it was cooperating with the SEC and repeated a disclosure made on April 30 that the Department of Justice is investigating allegations of illegal activity by a former IBM employee in Poland, as well as transactions in Argentina, Bangladesh and Ukraine.

  • Bloomberg: IBM Defends Cloud-Computing Accounting Amid SEC Probe. By Sarah Frier. Excerpts: International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), facing a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into how it reports revenue from offsite cloud services, said it stands by its accounting methods. ...

    While IBM doesn’t disclose its revenue from cloud services, it said the sales rose 70 percent in the first half of 2013 from a year earlier. In its filing today, the company didn’t provide details on what information the SEC was seeking.

    “IBM has robust systems and controls to identify and validate what products and services count as cloud revenue,” Barbini said. “IBM accounts for cloud transactions exactly the same way as it would account for those transactions if they were not cloud -- in accordance with GAAP.” ...

    The disclosure of the probe comes days after IBM won court approval for a $10 million settlement with the SEC for accusations of bribery in China and South Korea. IBM said earlier this year it’s the subject of a U.S. Justice Department bribery investigation related to contracts in Poland, Argentina, Bangladesh and Ukraine.

  • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pennsylvania won't renew IBM computer system contract after study finds problems. By Kate Giammarise. Excerpts: A planned modernization of the state computer system designed to calculate and provide unemployment compensation benefit payments in Pennsylvania is plagued with problems, according to a study released today. The state won't renew its contract with IBM for the system.

    The study was conducted by Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute.

    As of July, the modernization program is 42 months behind schedule and more than $60 million over the original contract price of $106.9 million, according to the study. ...

    The problems we've identified cannot be solved and the state will not renew its contract with IBM, Ms. Hearthway added.

    Problems outlined in the study include: the department's and contractor's plans "were not well implemented," instability in the contractor's work force, the contractor's project manager and executive both leaving in early 2009 during a critical time and "no one in DLI [Department of Labor & Industry] was accountable and responsible for the administration of the program" leading to ineffective oversight. ...

    An IBM spokesman said the company was surprised by the announcement.

    "This decision is based on a third-party report that we have not seen, despite repeated requests to the Department of Labor and Industry to review it together in the normal course of a working relationship, that always has had the best interests of the citizens of Pennsylvania as its primary objective."

  • Harrisburg Patriot-News: Pa. terminates $170 million project with IBM over failure to deliver computer system it promised. By Jan Murphy. Excerpts: After seeing a technology project fall $60 million over budget and 42 months behind, state Labor and Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway has decided it’s time to pull the plug on a contract to modernize the state’s unemployment compensation computer system.

    This decision announced at a news conference on Wednesday followed a $800,000 study by Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute that found the problems with the IBM Corp.-developed system to be unsolvable.

    Spending any more money on trying to make the system, originally slated to cost $106.9 million, would have been a waste, Hearthway said. ...

    Scott Cook, a spokesman for IBM in its Chicago office, said the company is surprised by today’s announcement. He said it had asked repeatedly to review the Carnegie Mellon study with Labor and Industry officials but had been denied that opportunity.

    “In complex information technology implementations, there is accountability on both sides for system performance and service delivery. IBM is fully prepared to continue to invest to bring the benefits of a contemporary unemployment benefits system to the State and its citizens, and we stand ready to work with the State to resolve this matter,” Cook said in a prepared statement. ...

    Department spokeswoman Sara Goulet was baffled by Cook's comment about this action coming as a surprise.

    "We've been meeting weekly with them and they know full well all the problems. That's ridiculous that they say they're surprised. They must be in denial," Goulet said. ...

    Rep. William Keller, D-Philadelphia, has been complaining to the department since about a year ago after his constituents said their calls to the Unemployment Compensation call centers resulted in a constant busy signal or did not go through. He said department officials told him the computer system was to blame. “I was screaming about this,” Keller said.

  • The Times of India: IBM executive fraud puts focus on performance pressure. By Shilpa Phadnis. Excerpts: IBM India is said to have sacked 24 employees in early July for overstating revenues by $8 million during 2011-12. The company has not denied the media report that said that the overstatement was done by executives who were under pressure to achieve financial targets.

    The incident has put the spotlight on how senior executives are increasingly under pressure to demonstrate growth in challenging times, pushing them sometimes to resort to unethical accounting practices. ...

    In IBM's case, it looks to have been an instance of dressing up financial statements to make it look good, and not an attempt at misappropriating funds. When TOI contacted IBM, the company's spokesperson declined to get into the specific issue, but said in a statement, "It's fundamental to IBM's culture and business model that we act with integrity wherever and whenever we do business, and the company has demonstrated that commitment to integrity over our long history. We have a robust compliance program that reaches into every country in which we do business. When we receive an allegation of wrongdoing, the company investigates it and takes appropriate action."

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • I know of repeated instances where employees are asked to record more time than normal to achieve utilization targets. Obviously, higher utilization is then used to increase invoices and billing amounts. This is highly unethical and must be stopped.
    • Why only these 24 people, there are many especially in IBM India (local not GBS) who are manipulating the numbers which is also called dressing up the numbers to show they are doing great. This is happening for last 4-5 years even when the flag was raised along with giving huge incentives given to customer for getting contracts and what not, when REG flag was raised by some people, the very same administration destroyed their career and hence many people left and doing good in other companies. One thing is for sure, IBM is not the same it use to be. It has lost its core value and the future is bit dark.
    • Good. We are quickly learning from the Americans as to how to indulge in Corporate Fraud. Where is our friend Ramalinga Raju nowadays. Certainly not in jail I guess. Its a good formula to enjoy ill gotten wealth. Go to jail for sometime and then come back and then live the rest of your life like a king.
    • IBM (India) has become a dark and dirty place. This news is a testament to the dirty politics and coterie of higher band professionals who have made IBM India a mediocre organization with lame process. The leadership is completely disconnected with the issues of employees leading to lower morale and frustration amongst employees. People get promoted and sent to overseas plum positions for destroying the projects, people and using the process to their advantage as time begets. Such is the irony of IBM that it talks about values but most of IBM India executives are only aligned to their annual ratings and promotions. Sorry state of affairs really. Will take years and a lot of pain to rebuild its reputation (if it wants to).
  • Columbia (Missouri) Tribune: Assessing IBM’s return on public investment. By Jacob Barker. Excerpts: Columbia has benefited from the state’s largesse and the jobs and paychecks IBM’s service center has brought to the city, but it’s not as clear whether the state has recouped its investment. Since many of the incentives have not been completely paid out, it’s hard to measure.

    Much of the incentive package from the state is doled out as employees are hired. The Missouri Quality Jobs program, for instance, calculates a certain benefit based on the type of business and its payroll and size. Then, it lets an employer like IBM keep the withholding taxes that are usually taken out of its employees’ paychecks and sent to the state of Missouri. Anything above that is given to the company as a state income tax credit.

    Missouri Department of Economic Development spokeswoman Amy Susan said just more than $2 million has been given to IBM in tax credits thus far. She did not know how much of its employees’ taxes IBM had retained. ...

    At the local level, Boone County provided a 50 percent property tax abatement on IBM equipment and a sales tax exemption for that property. The Missouri DED, in documents for the BUILD program, estimated local property tax abatement at $1.5 million.

    The city, with the help of local banks, purchased and remodeled IBM’s building at 2810 LeMone Industrial Blvd. IBM’s lease agreement with the city is set up so the company pays down the $10 million loan for the building construction over 10 years, according to Columbia City Council meeting minutes. Even if IBM were to leave, it would still be responsible for the lease payments, and the city would still own the building.

    Missouri has also provided at least $2.8 million in job training payments, according to the Missouri Accountability Portal, which reports some of the state’s incentive program’s outlays.

    A reader comment follows:

    I am sick and tired of two faced crony capitalism. Far too many federal administrations of both parties, as well as state and local governments have practiced it. Profitable and successful companies get taxpayer dollars and manipulate idiot politicians who want to show voters they are creating jobs in their states or cities.

    There is nothing wrong with providing some tax breaks for entrepreneurs or start up companies, but it should not ever happen with a multi-billion dollar company. They threaten to ship jobs to India or China or Paducah, KY if you don't pay up! Then when receiving taxpayer dollars, they cannot even give some basic information so the one footing the bill (taxpayer) can see if they are getting what was promised? W T F?

    The city buys the damn building for IBM and then leases it to them for $1 a year? Come one! Then the multi-billion dollar company claims they need state tax money to provide training for a few hundred employees? Oh yes, I have witnessed that swindle before, and am sick of it.

    These companies have laid millions off over the last 15 years and then they bitch about the higher unemployment insurance rates and taxes they have to pay. They have a legitimate gripe about regulations, rates, and taxes for sure. But they are part of the problem because they are the first ones in line with their pig snouts in the trough when it comes to them being offered taxpayer dollars.

  • Forbes: Why Procter And Gamble And Novartis Could Teach IBM How To Dance. By Peter Cohan. Excerpts: Big companies grow more slowly than successful start-ups. Yet they have far more capital, people, and technology than their younger rivals. Some big companies have overcome the dysfunction that results from their superior resource endowments and adapted the traits that spur start-ups’ faster growth.

    IBM is a big company that needs to get its start-upness back. A decade after its former CEO, Lou Gerstner — author of Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? — left in 2003, that elephant has lost its rhythm.

    Big Blue is a $105 billion (2012 revenues) company but its top line is shrinking at a 3% rate while demand for its products and services – as measured by corporate IT budgets – is rising at 4.1% in 2013 to $3.8 trillion.

    The reasons why IBM is shrinking in a growing market are complex. One is that IBM focuses on maintaining bragging rights to its 20 year streak as the world’s leading corporate producer of patents – that IBM’s Mike Fay said generate $1 billion in annual licensing fees – rather than turning those ideas into products that gain market share. ...

    Scott Cook, Executive Chairman of Intuit, the personal finance software provider, created mechanisms and a methodology to make innovation part of everyone’s job. As I wrote in February 2012, Intuit created an “idea collaboration portal,” that allows employees to come up with new ideas, post them, get feedback from others at Intuit, revise the ideas, and get staffing—all without intervention from managers.

    In this way, Intuit developed a debit card for people without bank accounts. An Intuit finance employee—not a “product person”—noticed that the people who need tax refund checks the most are often ones who don’t even have bank accounts.

    She came up with the idea of giving those people debit cards and having Intuit accept the tax refunds in its accounts and transfer the funds to the debit card.

    She expected 100 takers but got 1,000. And the surprise was that half the ones that wanted the debit card already had bank accounts.

    IBM could learn from these examples — but thanks to its EPS Roadmap 2015 – a set of rigid goals designed to deliver $20 a share in earnings by 2015 — I am not expecting Big Blue to get back its dance moves.

  • ZD-Net: Amazon fires back at IBM over $600M CIA cloud contract with court complaint. By Zack Whittaker. Excerpts: In a bid to prevent the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency from reevaluating its future cloud contracts, which could see it being served to its rival, Amazon has complained to a U.S. court.

    It comes just a few months after the Seattle, Wash.-based retail turned cloud giant was reportedly (at the time) awarded a $600 million contract by the U.S. government. IBM, as the main rival in the cloud space, objected and filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which ultimately confirmed the bid was going ahead.

    According to the latest from Federal Computer Weekly, the GAO was not entirely happy with the intelligence agency's deciding factors, and agreed that the CIA should take another look at the procurement process, which would give Big Blue another shot at winning the contract.

  • National Real Estate Investor Press Release: IBM Call Center Sold to Beacon for $16.5 million. By Chris Barnett. Excerpts: –7100 Highlands Parkway, a single-story 150,000 square-foot Class A office building built exclusively for IBM Corp. as its Atlanta call center, has been acquired by Beacon Investment Properties, LLC of Hallandale Beach, FL from Cabot Properties, Inc., Boston, for $16.5 million.

    The contemporary, rectangular office building located at 7100 Highlands Parkway in suburban Smyrna, is 100% leased to IBM through December, 2017. Constructed in 1997, it is deemed an architectural landmark in the Northwest Atlanta submarket. The steel and glass structure has 26-foot domed sky-lit ceilings, a see-through reception lobby, vast open office space plan and the familiar blue and white IBM corporate color scheme.

  • Reuters, courtesy of The West Australian: IBM to receive 21 million euros state-aid for Romania investment - report. Excerpts: BUCHAREST (Reuters) - IBM, the world's largest technology services company, will receive 21 million euros (18.1 million pounds) state-aid from the Romanian government for investment that will generate 900 jobs, daily Ziarul Financiar reported on Monday.

    "IBM Romania will receive 21 million euros to develop an information technology consultancy project in Bucharest and Brasov," the finance ministry said. Under Romanian law, state aid is given for large investments that create new jobs.

  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • Chaotic work environment ruled by executive compensation metrics” Anonymous Employee (Current Employee). I have been working at IBM for more than 10 years. Pros: Lots of very smart people. The technical teams are willing to share knowledge and information. Access to a wide variety of market and technology areas. Cons: The company is ruled by Earnings per Share, the metric that the executives are compensated by. There are way too many executive-level people. Non-executive people are compensated based on the company's revenue. Revenue is declining so the executives constantly cut expenses to keep EPS high so THEY can get compensation. Every year or so a new set of management comes in and completely changes the strategy. Then the technical people have to clean up the broken glass from the previous regime and try to shift to the new strategy. None of these strategies use a keep-it-simple approach. In true IBM fashion the product plans attempt to do everything for everyone and end up doing nothing well. Advice to Senior Management: Bring back "Respect for the Individual." Use the same compensation metric for everyone—we all feast of famine together. Simplify our product plans. Do one thing really well, and then move to the next. Reduce the levels of management. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
    • DON'T, JUST LET IT SINK” IT Architect (Former Employee). I worked at IBM full-time for more than 3 years. Pros: IBM's big, very big, there are several areas of expertise and you are likely to find one you feel comfortable with. Cons: Everything else, bad compensation, barely any benefit, alleged career opportunities that never come true, written values that you don't see anywhere in reality. Advice to Senior Management: You are not doing people a favor; they work for money and benefits, not to be able to add the IBM name to their CV's. IBM is huge but CAN go down if keep on this path. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
    • End of a Legacy—at least from my perspective” Staff Software Engineer (Former Employee) Austin, TX. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Most of the "pros" were diminished from 2008 until I left, but they were:
      • PBCs: In the beginning, your goal was to support the goal of your direct manager. You were treated as a professional and given the ability to define how you would support those goals, and you were measured by the success. This meant something, at least in the departments I was in, for many years. In recent years,they became a joke.
      • Work from home: This was a blessing for a long time, it afforded work/life balance. It became a means for 24x7 days as commitments were outsourced around the globe.

      Cons: Bungee cord management, obvious use of "3" rankings to push out those with the most experience, due to their higher salaries and age. This became routine over the years, when we witnessed star performers get shoved out the door and we grappled with covering their responsibilities. Those of us left to pick up the pieces knew their performance was NOT weak.

      Advice to Senior Management: Rather than treat your senior staff like chattel in order to meet your EPS, why not be honest, and give them an opportunity to take a reduction in pay for a period? Many would have opted to continue their career through the tough times, and you could have maintained the skills - IF you really wanted to maintain the skills. I'm beginning to think that is not really the plan, based on crowd sourcing, etc.

      No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.

    • Good workplace if you're a robot, really brilliant, or a cut-throat.” Anonymous Employee (Former Employee). Pros: Smart people,good compensation (at least for information developers--aka, technical writers); great benefits. Cons: All the pros I've written up make it sound good, huh? But I should have listened to my first instinct about the workplace there: I'd never felt like the people around me at work were so unhappy. But instead I stuck it out for more years than I care to share here. There were a few fantastic colleagues along the way, but unfortunately IBM promotes the people who will do anything to be top dogs. There are a few who are so smart they don't have to bend over for management. If you think you can end up being among the "top contributors" every year, then you might not need to fight for your job to escape the annual layoffs at IBM.
    • Pros and Cons” Sales Executive (Current Employee), Atlanta, GA. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Competitive comp/benefits; flexible work location (home); strong sense of culture. Ability to advance career if you can find the right niche. Cons: Weak management not willing to go against norms to succeed. "Cover your ass" mentality is rampant. PBC process is a joke. Everyone knows there is a skew, but everybody denies it. Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
    • Great company, slow to get things done” Project Coordinator (Current Employee), Melbourne (Australia). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 7 years. Pros: Career opportunity; work variety; client exposure; some great experts in many fields; global opportunities; work-life flexibility and ability to work anywhere; employee equality. Cons: Poor pay and difficulty having pay reviewed or updated within changed roles or positions; job insecurity; 'blue tape' and processes slowing everything down; poor reward and recognition efforts and team building programs. Advice to Senior Management: Removing staff who are needed from positions that are then not backfilled, or replaced with inferior candidates (both on and off shore) makes working in a team very challenging, and reduces how much the remaining staff contribute. Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
    • "OK” Pre-sales (Former Employee) Dallas, TX. I worked at IBM full-time for more than a year. Pros: Decent benefit package while employed; however once they lay off don't count on a good separation package. Cons: Not what you know, but who you know. Advice to Senior Management: Too many management levels. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
    • IBM - GBS” GBS Specialist (Former Employee), Costa Mesa, CA. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 3 years. Pros: Variety of projects and educational opportunities are plentiful. Cons: It take the right kind of person to be able to thrive in the IBM community. Advice to Senior Management: Management could be a bit more supportive in assisting one to roll on to other engagements rather that just leaving it up to the employee and mentor to find another project or be terminated.
    • Too many middle managers” Sales Specialist (Current Employee), Dallas, TX. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than a year. Pros: Good products and strong professionals. IBM culture drives pride in being an IBMer. Easy to find help in meeting tasks. Cons: Matrix management has too many managers which leads to micromanagement of every decision. IBM is a 100-year-old company and many processes are slow and involve too many people. Admin folks follow age-old processes explicitly and not empowered to make exceptions to changing needs. This bogs the organization down in detail as managers take excessive time trying to approve simple decisions as they work their way through excessive matrixed management. In summary, there are too many people matrixed into normal decision processes so not even simple decision can be made in a timely manner. Even worse, no one seems empowered to step up and stop ridiculous over management of what should be simple decisions. Advice to Senior Management: Push decisions down to trusted staff. Drive cost out of the business by eliminating several layers of matrix middle management. Empower process owners to quick pace decisions when needed.
    • IBM InsideSales Dublin: Many complicated processes and politics involved. But many opportunities too...” Sales Specialist (Former Employee), Dublin (Ireland). I worked at IBM full-time for more than 3 years. Pros: Training: many internal training available. IBM can finance as well external training-certification diplomas. Career: from my experience, if you are very patient and very consistent (without necessarily being the best), you can easily be promoted to higher position or move to other job roles (more opportunities than in other companies). Friendly atmosphere within IBM InsideSales Dublin center.

      Cons: -IBM is a big organization that makes you feel sometimes (very often...) like you are working for public services not an IT company. -Very slow and useless processes, with many teams involved, which can make the work very frustrating. If you want a job that makes a difference, where you can see effective results of your hard work, this is not a company for you! -IBM is very political, on all levels, so be ready to spend more time on networking, meetings and PowerPoint presentations, than doing your job. -Commissions: payment of commissions is very obscure and complicated process...it's made in way, that you never know how much you will get! It's like the lottery; you can get 100 Euros one quarter and 5000 Euros the next quarter, even if you have the same achievement! - Salary, they can at any time change the terms of your contract. Many people started with 70% base and 30% commission and ended up with new salary condition of 55% base salary and 45% commissions.

    • A wealth of opportunities and chances to grow” Anonymous Employee (Former Employee). I worked at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: In 16 years at IBM, I was given the opportunity to grow and move into different areas of the company. I essentially had 5 different careers in that time - mechanical engineering, manufacturing engineering, software sales, technical sales support, and call center operations. Cons: Compartmentalization was a problem. I never got rewarded for just doing things to help the business move forward, regardless of whether or not it was in my job description. At times I was even penalized for doing so. This discouraged "outside the box" thinking. Also, in a couple of the positions, I experienced upper management setting an expectation of being available/online at night "after dinner, or once your kids have gone to bed." I hope that is not pervasive. Advice to Senior Management: Employees should not be viewed as resources that can be used up and replaced when they have been worn out (or burned out). Treat every employee, even those in their first week on the job, as a source for ideas. Ask them what they think and act on good ideas. They will feel more invested in, and valued by, the organization than any amount of salary will provide.
    • Still a great place to be, though declining morale due to frequent layoffs” Anonymous Employee (Former Employee). Pros: Great people; vast resources to help get things done; company is always a leader in markets it chooses to serve. Cons: First-line people have little power to effect change; plans and directions set from executives you will never see.
    • Not your father's IBM” Client Technical Specialist (Former Employee), Atlanta, GA. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: After working for IBM for 10 years: good people at local levels; name recognition; okay benefits; opportunity to move from position to position at same pay scale. Excellent opportunity for developing nations employment. Cons: Management is generally clueless; very political environment,;laid off twice (won't go back again). Lucky if you get a cost of living increase. Employee benefits costs go up and wages go down. Atmosphere is like having a target on your back. Advice to Senior Management: Ever think of getting on "Undercover Boss"? You may learn who is the life blood of IBM, not management or the share holders. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend.
    • Coming up on a decade...glad to be leaving soon.” BCRS (Current Employee), Markham, ON (Canada). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 8 years. Pros: I've worked mostly from a home office for much of my career (a very good benefit: without it I would have left long ago). My current manager is very good and tells it like it is. Cons: I work from home and save IBM thousands. Can I expense home office internet? Of course not! That alone should tell you how IBM views its employees. Also, no opportunity for advancement. My salary has increased by 5% total over 10 years. I received a "massive" 2% bonus last year. Past managers have monthly meetings and just tell you your utilization and nothing else. Many first line managers have absolutely zero technical skills and abilities: they just know how to talk smoothly. No opportunities for advancement in my group. No opportunities for industry training. Very low morale as we see long term IBMers let go. Not very challenging work in my group. Advice to Senior Management: Realize that it's ultimately employees, not your brand, that is driving your business. That decrease in growth? It will continue big time until you start respecting the employee (North American employee that is!) again. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend.
    • Crazy, with a side of fear.” Anonymous Employee (Former Employee). I worked at IBM full-time for more than 3 years. Pros: IBM is a great stepping stone to open doors for future jobs. Let's face it, the IBM name carries a lot of influence (unless you've worked there).

      Cons: The processes are second to none in that you give up on trying to do anything because you can't figure out how and no one will tell you—because they've never been able to figure it out either. Seriously, it's easier to go buy your own office supplies/books/training because trying to order something through BOND (buy on demand) is a crusade.

      Everything, and I mean everything is only done for "the business." Promotions are solely based on business need, not performance.

      You can be (and I was) a top performer each year that you are employed there, but it gets you nothing, aside from a small "profit sharing" bonus. I got three raises in 2012, but they didn't add up to one half of one of the raises I received at my former company.

      The more a company preaches work-life balance, the more out of whack the company is. And IBM preaches it. A lot. 40 hour work weeks are not the norm, at least within the Industry Solutions division. My three year experience was 50-hour standard work weeks (working through lunch on a daily basis) and upwards of 80-90 hour weeks several months of the year for special projects.

      IBMs strategy of acquiring companies to broaden their portfolio of offerings is riddled with integration issues and their picking and choosing of who is retained and who is RA'd is seemingly random with no regard for level of skill.

      The "it is what it is" attitude and getting texted by your boss at 11pm at night to get back online and work because their boss is online and expecting things to be done at 11pm is completely ridiculous.

      Advice to Senior Management: None. It's all about the shareholder. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend.

    • good people, subpar jobs. the company to go when you got tired of working and only think of your retirement.” Systems Administrator (Former Employee), Olivos (Argentina). I worked at IBM full-time for more than 7 years. Pros: you can find people honestly passionate about their jobs, mostly in technical roles. Cons: pay doesn't correlate to how demanding your job can be, and it's very difficult to have such thing as a career in technical jobs. very frustrating for an IT company. Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
    • Advisory Engineer, Development” Advisory Engineer (Former Employee), Tucson, AZ. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Sharp engineers and better than average middle managers. Much of the best of the IBM culture hangs on from previous generations. Good pay and better than average benefits. Cons: IBM no longer makes anything, Mostly just a reseller and system integrator. Good place for top software developer, but no career growth for hardware engineer. Advice to Senior Management: Develop the next generation of top technical performers in the USA. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
    • Bye Bye Blue” Marketing Manager (Former Employee), Chicago, IL. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Loved working from home. Managers were excellent in terms of dealing with direct reports. Good work-life balance. Cons: No corporate loyalty towards employees any more. Only focus of HQ is to improve EPS, any way at any cost. In the long-run, this will kill an American icon. Advice to Senior Management: Quit sending American jobs to Brazil and India. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
    • Career support but heavy focus on costs.” Software Engineer (Current Employee), Littleton, MA. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Strong support for skills development in several career paths. Opportunities for advancement across business units and geographies for star performers. Cons: Heavy focus on costs undercuts development of star performers and core performers alike. Advice to Senior Management: Stop worrying about the 2015 roadmap and its earnings-per-share commitments that are damaging the company and instead focus on innovation again. Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend.
    • Process stifled innovation; company is risk aversed to invest in new product ideas; primary growth through acquisitions” Anonymous Employee (Former Employee), Littleton, MA. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 3 years. Pros: Access to IBM technologies; ability to learn many products if you are self-motivated in your own time. Cons: No clear career path; too many IBMers with long tenure ahead in promotion queue and waiting to get on new projects/initiatives; globally-dispersed development teams mean you can be constantly working; no teamwork since people are focused on gaining their own visibility; complex matrix reporting structure. Advice to Senior Management: Have empathy towards employees; review reward system to encourage team collaboration; invest in skills development for employees; invest in new tools to improve operational efficiency. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
    • Not the same company it once was.” Anonymous Employee (Current Employee). Pros: Good 401k match; projects can last very long time, and if you find a good one you can have great work/life balance. Cons: Tough to advance within technology. You're responsible for your own career and don't expect much guidance from management. Pay raises are basically stagnant right now and have been for 4-5 years. Many cuts recently due to roadmap 2015. Advice to Senior Management: Stop getting rid of all your good people or it will be a long hard road to recover from. It may already be too late.
    • Good career opportunities but declining benefits” Anonymous Employee (Former Employee). I worked at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Challenged daily by many of the brightest people around. Cons: Continued cutbacks and reduction of employee benefits. Advice to Senior Management: Return to the heritage of making IBM the best place to work will make it easier to hire and retain the best employees resulting in improved business results. Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend.
    • Interesting experience years back -> sweat shop today.” Anonymous Employee (Current Employee). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Global environment; lots of interesting work; working from home. Cons: Working from home makes you compete in a global market. This is good if you live in a low cost country, bad if you live in a major city. Advice to Senior Management: Doing more with less should be about process and tool improvements, not about employees doing more for less. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend.
    • Working at IBM has been a positive experience for me.” Staff Software Engineer (Current Employee), San Francisco, San Jose (Costa Rica). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 8 years. Pros: Flexible work environment. Able to work remotely sometimes with manager's approval. It is possible to change jobs within the company. It is possible to relocate to another city. Change jobs within the company. Cons: Like any other big company sometimes it takes longer to get some things done. The end product is of high quality but sometimes other companies are faster and take market share first. Advice to Senior Management: Hire the best people from reputable universities. This is especially important for R&D jobs. Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend.
    • Better company to invest in than to work for” Senior Managing Consultant (Former Employee). I worked at IBM full-time for more than 3 years. Pros: Smart people; genuine commitment to diversity; interesting work; flexible work arrangements. Cons: Excessive bureaucracy; inadequate compensation; declining benefits; distant management; very limited investment in professional development; employees are treated as commodities and not people; very difficult to do business with; constantly asked to do more with less,;and increasing job insecurity as more jobs are shipped out of the U.S. Advice to Senior Management: You have a disgruntled workforce. Empower first-line managers to make more decisions. Pay more than lip service to investing in employee development. Streamline approval processes. Make a greater percentage of solid-performing employees eligible for annual compensation increases. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
    • I enjoy working at IBM, coworkers are great!” Sales Specialist (Current Employee). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Flexible schedule; work from home; great people to work with. Cons: Can be very stressful; too much work; expected to always be available. Not properly compensated based on performance. Advice to Senior Management: Management states that they pay to keep the top performers, but that is not what they do. When raise time comes around there is always an excuse; high performance marks but they don't have any money to give a decent raise; however, management gets theirs. Need to reward the people who actually do the work based on their performance. Management says they do, but they don't. Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend. I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company.
    • Great colleagues, very smart people, great big-picture technologies but management is only focused on the bottom line” Marketing Manager, IBM (Former Employee), Boston, MA. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Work at home flexibility; autonomy depending on your manager; pays well; great benefits; some big-picture projects. Cons: Work overload; on-going fear of layoffs; some of the processes are very rigid; extreme cost cutting that made team meetings impossible. I never met my manager in the two years I worked for him due to cost reasons and we hadn't had a team meeting in 8 years for cost reasons. Also while great, the work at home made some of us call IBM "I'm By Myself." Advice to Senior Management: Stop the relentless cost cutting. It's hard to get enthusiastic in the face of ongoing layoff threats. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend.
    • One of the best companies to work for.” Project Manager (Current Employee). Denver, CO. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 7 years. Pros: Plenty of career opportunities; good benefits; flexible work environment. Cons: Salary; career advancements; no Green Card processing after 5/6 years; bureaucracy; recognition is hard to come by. Indian policies are bureaucratic. Seems they have dropped their bar as they compete with the lowest in the market. Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend. I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company.
    • Good Company” Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) Pros: Good benefits; lots of opportunities to learn new things, to work on leading edge technologies; excellent people to work with; very talented, hard working people. Cons: Rigid, lots of red tapes and internal processes. Takes forever for upper management to make decisions. Sometimes internal fighting are not pretty. Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend.
    • Corporate greed” Anonymous Employee (Current Employee). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Resume builder. Some low-level managers still have people manager skills. Cons: No more loyalty; workers are frustrated at all of the take aways. Advice to Senior Management: Look in the mirror ask yourself if you are doing the right thing. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
    • My experiences working for IBM have been mixed” Anonymous Employee (Former Employee). I worked at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Successful multi-national information technology company with multiple career opportunities across a broad spectrum of jobs and geographic locations. Successful systems, services and software middleware businesses. Client base includes some of the largest companies in the world. Does business in 170 countries. Cons: Large, impersonal, slow to innovate with a finance-driven culture. Does not invest in employee training, education and skills development as it did in past years. Does not value sales and sales leaders as it did in the past. Weak product management teams in many segments of its business. Advice to Senior Management: Find a way to better empower your people and streamline your decision process. Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
    • Overall, it was a good experience, but frequent. quarterly layoffs, termed 'Resource Actions' by IBM, made it stressful.” Senior Project Manager (Former Employee), Tampa, FL. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Good salary; work at home option; schedule flexibility; educational opportunities; and opportunities to change career focus. Cons: Lack of job security, especially with a large focus on outsourcing jobs overseas. Frequent reorganizations and management changes. Very low or no raises, even for top performers. Advice to Senior Management: Stop focusing solely on quarterly reports and performing "resource actions" against top performers. Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend.
    • Good overall company with little strategy for growth” Business Development Manager (Current Employee), New York, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time for less than a year. Pros: Knowledgeable expertise; employee base quite smart and helpful. Cons: Morale is bad; employees dissatisfied with growth and lack of business strategy. Advice to Senior Management: Re-focus on your employee base instead of worrying just on revenue. Also, migrating workers out of of US for cost purposes will backfire. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend.
    • IBM has lost its concern for employee welfare” Financial Analyst (Former Employee), Rochester, MN. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 7 years. Pros: Gained experience with spreadsheet analysis and formating. Made many good friends across the generational gaps in the modern work place. Cons: Six plus years and no pay increase; decreasing benefit package despite EPS gains; constant turmoil in job roles; added workload without any compensation or regard for time worked. Advice to Senior Management: Get back to serving the customer, caring about your employees and stop thinking short term. You may have a 2015 plan for EPS but you do not have a clue how to take care of customers or employees. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
    • Opportunity or Not?” Anonymous Employee (Former Employee). I worked at IBM full-time for more than 7 years. Pros: Diversified organization that promotes telecommuting for employees and opportunity for career advancement. Health benefits and 401k retirement are exceptional. Cons: Flip side to "Pros", opportunity for career advancement is directed more and more overseas where job growth is promoted, leaving you to wonder day-to-day if your job will be eliminated or moved. Past incentives such as bonus, home office expenses, award recognition are becoming a thing of the past. Advice to Senior Management: As IBM continues to market the jobs overseas rather than within, the technical skills and level of support continue to waiver at an expense to the customer. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend.
    • Large company with tight knit finance community” Senior Financial Analyst (Current Employee), Armonk, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 3 years. Pros: Work-life flexibility; endless opportunities for career development or exploration. Cons: Compensation isn't competitive for those in New York. Advice to Senior Management: Don't drive out your best people by increasing workload without increasing pay or at least maintaining perks. Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend.
    • I survived” Associate Partner (Former Employee). I worked at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: I worked with IBM for 11 years in consulting. Generally it has good training, good people to work with (of those left), some good products and the ability to collaborate with other employees. Cons: Too much bureaucracy; hard for clients to do business with; don't respect employees (can't emphasize this enough), especially not in consulting. Some recent laid-off workers have still not received their pay. Poor pay, benefits and ability to move up. Executives aren't truthful with the employees. Advice to Senior Management: Go back to producing products and get out of consulting. IBM has tried several times to be in consulting but they don't get the idea of people as your product so should just go back to producing software and hardware and only having services to help others implement your products. Please try and treat your employees with respect but some how I doubt that will happen. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
    • Came to IBM thinking its a world-class company but it is not. Low percentage of smart, intelligent people.” Advisory Engineer/Scientist (Current Employee), Hopewell Junction, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than a year. Pros: • Very good collaboration opportunities; • Freedom to innovative things; • They encourage vision. Cons: • Most of the people are superficial (not technically sound). • Management acknowledges your vision and goes ahead with it but does not let you complete it, citing cost-cutting, etc. and starts scraping tools. • Appraisals are ridiculous; only your manager rates you. Managers have perception and then no consideration given to innovation (IP's), publications. They always say there was not enough work done or enough interaction with customer. No quantification only qualitative information. • Management pushes you to perform impossible tasks with a standard viewpoint even though there are better quicker ways of obtaining results. • Too many levels of management. • You are always sneered upon by IBM research. • No far-sighted vision and too much politics. • Workers are more technically sound than the managers. Advice to Senior Management: • Please get rid of multiple levels of management. • Hire managers who are experienced in the area and not somebody who comes from a totally different area. • Don't be stubborn about your vision and sneer at others. • Be open to ideas and think out of box of your employees. • Please adapt 360 appraisal. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
  • Glassdoor IBM Canada reviews
  • New York Times: Unemployed and Older, and Facing a Jobless Future. By Alina Tugend. Excerpts: For those over 50 and unemployed, the statistics are grim. While unemployment rates for Americans nearing retirement are lower than for young people who are recently out of school, once out of a job, older workers have a much harder time finding work. Over the last year, according to the Labor Department, the average duration of unemployment for older people was 53 weeks, compared with 19 weeks for teenagers.

    There are numerous reasons — older workers have been hit both by the recession and globalization. They’re more likely to have been laid off from industries that are downsizing, and since their salaries tend to be higher than those of younger workers, they’re attractive targets if layoffs are needed. ...

    Susan Sipprelle, producer of the Web site overfiftyandoutofwork.com and the documentary “Set for Life” about the older jobless, said she stopped posting articles like “Five Easy Steps to get a New Job.”

    “People are so frustrated,” she said. “They don’t want to hear, ‘Get a new wardrobe, get on LinkedIn.’ ”

    As one commenter on the Facebook page for Over Fifty and Out of Work said, “I’ve been told to redo my résumé twice now. The first ‘expert’ tells me to do it one way, the next ‘expert’ tells me to put it back the way I had it.” ...

    But the reality is that the problem of the older unemployed “was acute during the Great Recession, and is now chronic,” Ms. Sipprelle said. “People’s lives have been upended by the great forces of history in a way that’s never happened before, and there’s no other example for older workers to look at. Some can’t recoup, though not through their own fault. They’re the wrong age at the wrong time. It’s cold comfort, but better than suggesting that if you just dye your hair, you’ll get that job.”

  • California Public Policy Center's UnionWatch: Social Security is Healthy Compared to Public Sector Pensions. Excerpts: Last week yet another missive on the lessons to be learned from Detroit’s bankruptcy was published, this time in Forbes Magazine by Jeffrey Dorfman, an economist at the University of Georgia. Dorfman’s article, “Detroit’s Bankruptcy Should Be A Warning To Every Worker Expecting A Pension, Or Social Security,” clearly implies that future Social Security benefits are as financially imperiled as public sector pensions.

    This is patently false, and spreading this falsehood has dangerous consequences.

    Not only are the financial adjustments necessary to fix Social Security far easier to implement than what it’s going to take to rescue public sector pensions, but the sheer size of the public sector pension liability is actually bigger than the total liability for the entire Social Security fund. It is imperative that American voters understand this fact. ...

    You can tweak the numbers all you like. Use medians instead of averages. Assume the public sector worker actually keeps working, on average, to age 60. Take into account disability payments, which are drawn from the Social Security fund. Assume people collect Social Security benefits before age 68. The stark fact remains: Our government pays more money to its own retirees – who represent 20% of the active workforce – than it pays in Social Security retirement benefits to everybody else put together. Financing Social Security, forever, can be accomplished with relatively minor incremental adjustments to withholding and benefits. ...

    Dorfman’s final insult is to suggest 401K funds provide a more secure retirement than defined benefits. Sure, if you are a fund manager collecting commissions on individual 401K accounts, regardless of their volatility. ...

    The reality is that defined benefits are always preferable to 401K accounts because they greatly reduce market risk and they virtually eliminate mortality risk – i.e., in a pooled fund you don’t have to hope you die before your money runs out.

  • Retirement Town Hall: Retiring early under ACA – an unexpected outcome for employers? By Jeff Bradley. Excerpts: With the recent release of state health exchange premium data, we are finally getting a meaningful look at what the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) means for early retirees.

    One of the largest barriers to early retirement is health coverage. Indeed, before ACA, purchasing individual coverage could be very expensive and significantly limit coverage for any preexisting conditions. Under ACA, the coverage is less expensive because of the inclusion of a large pool of younger workers and the requirement that the highest premium in an exchange plan cannot be greater than three times the lowest premium.

    Workforce planning may be more critical than ever under ACA:

    • Depending on existing post-retirement healthcare options, employees may begin retiring much earlier than expected.
    • This Colombia University study notes that as many as 940,000 workers in “job lock” may leave employment due to the availability of health care under ACA.
    • Employers should consider the ramifications of an unexpected wave of early retirements in 2014 as it will be easy for early retirees to receive heavily subsidized health coverage under ACA.
New on the Alliance@IBM Site
  • Job cuts have begun. So Far in North America:
    • BT/IT CIO Enterprise Transformation: 4
    • Corporate Marketing and Communication: 83
    • GBS AMS Commercial Delivery: 27
    • GBS AMS IBM Global Account: 123
    • GBS CS Financial Services Sector: 14
    • GBS CS Industrial Sector: 32
    • GBS PS Business Analytics: 39
    • GPS Solutions and Delivery: 116
    • IBM S&D Communications Sector: 3
    • ISC Engineering: 75
    • ISC Sales Transaction Support OIST: 70
    • Research: 65
    • S&D Global Techline and Channel Technical Sales: 9
    • SO Delivery HQ Cloud Development and Delivery: 40
    • SO Delivery Integrated Competencies: 46
    • SO sectors (GSSR): 31
    • Software Group Collaboration: 115
    • Software Group East Region Sales: 40
    • Software Group Industry Solutions: 126
    • Software Group Information Management: 137
    • Software Group Marketing: 222
    • Software Group NA Software Sales: 63
    • Software Group Rational: 59
    • Software Group Security: 22
    • Software Group Tivoli: 98
    • Software Group WW Services and Education: 22
    • STG Advanced Microelectronics Solutions: 114
    • STG Burlington Semiconductor MFG and Development: 93
    • STG Burlington Site Operations: 8
    • STG Cloud Systems SW Development: 70
    • STG Competitive Lab and Technical Sales Centers: 35
    • STG Electronic Design Automation: 106
    • STG High Speed links, Cores and Memory: 67
    • STG IBM I Development: 60
    • STG ISV Global Support: 35
    • STG Lab Services and Tech Training: 52
    • STG Operations and Transformation: 34
    • STG Power Software Development: 64
    • STG Pureflex & System X Software Development: 32
    • STG Semiconductor Research and Dev: 165
    • STG Server & Storage Engineering System Test: 97
    • STG SSE Intellectual Property: 64
    • STG Storage (ISSA): 41
    • STG Storage Systems Development: 121
    • STG Strategic Initiatives: 8
    • STG System Z Software Development: 45
    • STG Systems Solutions Dev: 56
    • STG Systems Technology Development: 24
    • STG Test Site Design: 59
    • STG Worldwide Client Care: 30
    • STG WW STG Tech Support: 65
    • SWG Application and Integration Middleware: 86
    • Total cut so far: 3312
  • Job Cut Reports
    • Comment 07/28/13: We have lost 50% of our team too. Several people in Dubuque have not received any raises this year despite 1 and 2+ on their PBC. IBM is a major letdown and everyone I know over there is looking to get out. Great job Coffas, you talk a good game but you are so FOS you stink. Don't try telling us what we need to do anymore, we stopped listening to your blabber. Give us the money we deserve already. We have put in the nights and weekends to comply with customer demands. You are not holding your end of the bargain. The people of Dubuque need to know the truth about what's going on there. IBM is putting demanding schedules on their employees and sticking it to them when they were expecting a reward for all their hard work. Coffas, you should be the one being RA'd, along with all your FLM and SLM brown nosers. Anyone disagree here? -helterskelter-
    • Comment 07/29/13: Artech contacted me (how they got my contact info is a concern) about contractor jobs (Unix Sys Admin) for Dubuque...I left on my own a year ago and politely told them I worked for IBM for 15 years, left on my own for a 19% pay raise and better working conditions and said I had no desire to ever work for that company again - good luck filling the position. -anonymous-
    • Comment 07/29/13: Just notified of MANDATORY time off across all of STG in NA. 1/3 pay for regulars, no pay for execs (my exec actually tried to make us feel sorry for him). Week has to be last week of August or 1st week of September. Manager didn't know when the hit comes on our paychecks (WOULDN'T THAT BE SOMETHING TO KNOW?!?). So if the hit comes when the leave comes, we've been given 3-4 WEEKS' NOTICE for a substantial hit to our pay. I'll be spending that week ramping up my search for a more sane employer. -MoreGoodNews-
    • Comment 07/29/13: What's a "1-3-9 presentation? It sounds like a pitch for a chain letter or pyramid scheme. "Hey, all you need to do is get 3 people, then those 3 get three people, then those 9 get... -Anonymous-
    • Comment 07/29/13: More job cuts happening in Boulder Global Delivery Framework. Contractors will be effected this go around around and be notified July 31st, their last day! IBM regs will be hit a little later. Happy to be on my way out.
    • Comment 07/29/13: I left DBQ GDF in April. In my group FLM was actively encouraging Band 7's to quit IBM -- everyone who left was replaced by a Band 4. Now there's only a handful (<5) of Band 7's. I have to laugh though; I was the only one who knew how to handle a specific install at the customer — boy IBM sure saved a lot of money by getting me to leave. Just another example of why customers will abandoned IBM in droves as part of Roadkill 2015. -ex-Dubuquer-
    • Comment 07/31/13: If IBM shows up at any job fairs in your area such as Burlington, VT or Poughkeepsie, NY or Raleigh, NC be sure to let the organizer(s) or sponsors of the events are that you know IBM is not being candid with job opportunities in the area! If there were truly jobs in the area that IBM wants to hire and fill they would not have RAed hundreds of qualified people at these locations! -trexibmer-
    • Comment 07/31/13: From IBM's Q2 10-Q: "In May 2013, IBM learned that the SEC is conducting an investigation into how IBM reports cloud revenue. IBM is cooperating with the SEC in this matter." No details are provided about the nature of the SEC's concerns. However, it's worth noting companies tend to receive payment for cloud software/services subscriptions up-front, and recognize this revenue over the life of the contract. The timing of such revenue recognition can present some accounting issues. -moreIBMshenanigans-
    • Comment 07/31/13: Looks like the rumors of contractor layoffs on July 31st are true. Folks have been pinging me today saying goodbye. Today's their last day. They found out this AM. and they're turning in their laptops now. -dun-4-
    • Comment 08/02/13: Has anyone heard if there have been RAs in AMS? If you have information on this please share - I come here periodically to check the current RA news and see how remaining IBMers are doing. Over a year after receiving my RA and several conversations with other RA folks, I'd like to share the obvious: if you have been selected for RA please look at this as a blessing. If you haven't figured it out yet - IBM is driving their stock price by cutting the higher paid non-management staff. Forget about PBC ratings; it's about your total cost as an employee - bottom line. I totally understand the outrage, anxiety and confusion. I was in that some spot in March of 2012; the day I was notified I updated the resume and started the hunt. Forget about trying to post internally - RA is the same as a target on your back. RA is IBM speak for "high cost employee". Hang in there, join the alliance, and try to remember why you joined IBM in the beginning. Look at where it is now -take a breath and jump ship if you aren't RA'd. You will be so glad you did. -NoLongerBlueandBlessed-
    • Comment 08/02/13: To those just RAed or soon to be: In many US States you can collect UI even if you took the RA package. Apply for it! YOU have been paying into your State's UI when you were employed so you are entitled to it! Don't take IBM's word that you can't and are retired now (in IBM's jaundiced eyes) when you still want to, willing, and are looking for work! -da_facts-
    • Comment 08/03/13: just learned that the Almaden Research Center has removed office trash cans. One enterprising resident brought a galvanized metal one in and set it in the hall. So sad. -former IBMer-
    • Comment 08/03/13: Looks like there will be a limited RA for certain folks on the State of PA implementation team. I'm surprised an account of that size was not being overseen by at least a VP. It probably was, they were just to busy counting their EPS to notice -Anon-
    • Comment 08/03/13: Pennsylvania Kills An IBM Contract That's 3 Years Late And $60 Million Over Budget: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/pennsylvania-kills-ibm-contract-thats-140100532.html Let's see .... Disney, State of Texas, State of Indiana, NFL, Hilton, ServiceMaster, and now the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania .... Guess some people can't recognize a passing parade when they see one. How many times do Customers have to get kicked in the nuts by IBM Management before they wise up? -Nurse Mildred "Ginni" Ratched-
    • Send the RA pack to ibmunionalliance@gmail.com so we can validate and count the number of workers fired. Names are confidential.
News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
  • Smirking Chimp: Republicans Sabotaging, Not Governing. This Is Who They Are Now. By Dave Johnson. Excerpts: Obamacare, for all its policy and political flaws, makes our health care system far better than the corrupt and dysfunctional system we have now. (I think Medicare-For-All is the right approach and would have high public support.) People with “preexisting conditions” will finally be able to get insurance. Subsidies will help people afford private insurance. The expansion of Medicaid will help millions receive health care.

    The Republicans want it killed, period, and are willing to sabotage everything to get that. They want this because it will help people and therefore will be popular. They offer no alternative plan and do not care about all of these people who will be helped. In fact, they complain that so many new people will have access to health care that it could cause a shortage of doctors!

    They want the health care act killed because it helps people, which they fear could lead people to support Democrats and government in general.

  • Huffington Post: The GOP Is Now Against Tax Breaks -- If They Help the Middle Class Buy Health Care. By Jason Sattler. Excerpts: On October 1, up to 26 million Americans will begin to find out that they are eligible for subsidies through the Affordable Care Act. Many, if not most, Americans have no idea that these tax credits are heading to all legal residents who earn up to 400 percent of the poverty level, up to $45,960 a year for a family of one.

    This is why the wary proponents of health care reform get optimistic when they see a state like New York, California and Maryland release rates for its health insurance exchange that are lower than experts expected. These already discounted rates don't even factor in the subsidies that, in Maryland, for instance, an estimated 75 percent of state residents will get.

    In order to stomp on this good news before it begins to spread, conservatives are actually arguing that middle- class Americans should reject these tax breaks.

    Reuters' David Morgan explains:

    FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, a conservative issue group financed by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, known for funding conservative causes, are planning separate media and grassroots campaigns aimed at adults in their 20s and 30s - the very people Obama needs to have sign up for healthcare coverage in new online insurance exchanges if his reforms are to succeed.

    "We're trying to make it socially acceptable to skip the exchange," said Dean Clancy, vice president for public policy at FreedomWorks, which boasts 6 million supporters. The group is designing a symbolic "Obamacare card" that college students can burn during campus protests. ...

    "On Jan. 1, the exchanges kick in and the subsidies kick in," Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said Saturday at the Western Conservative Summit. "Once those kick in, it's going to prove almost impossible to undo Obamacare. The administration's plan is very simple: Get everyone addicted to the sugar so that Obamacare remains a permanent feature of our society." ...

    Republican promises to "Lower your tax burden!" and "Increase your take-home pay!" suddenly become "Get everyone addicted to the sugar!" when tax breaks help middle-class Americans pay for health insurance.

    This is why today's Republicans can't admit the real reason why they oppose Obamacare: The middle-class tax breaks in Obamacare are paid for almost entirely by taxes on the richest 2 percent of Americans and corporations.

    Obamacare's subsidies are like another government program that subsidizes working families, which Republicans conceived and used to support: the earned income tax credit. But today's GOP is funded by billionaires who are jealous of the people on food stamps, and millionaires who get massive tax breaks and rant against the 47 percent of Americans who "don't pay income taxes."

    The Bush tax cuts were sold as a tax cut for all Americans. But while a middle-class family could take their tax break and buy a new hood for their car at a salvage yard, the richest Americans could buy a new factory with their breaks. And the worst part is they didn't buy or build a factory, they kept their money or sent it overseas.

  • Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) press release: ‘Medicare for All’ would cover everyone, save billions in first year: new study. Economist says Canadian-style, single-payer health plan would reap huge savings from reduced paperwork and from negotiated drug prices, enough to pay for quality coverage for all – at less cost to families and businesses. Excerpts: Upgrading the nation’s Medicare program and expanding it to cover people of all ages would yield more than a half-trillion dollars in efficiency savings in its first year of operation, enough to pay for high-quality, comprehensive health benefits for all residents of the United States at a lower cost to most individuals, families and businesses. ...

    Friedman says his analysis shows that a nonprofit single-payer system based on the principles of the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, H.R. 676 (PDF), introduced by Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., and co-sponsored by 45 other lawmakers, would save an estimated $592 billion in 2014. That would be more than enough to cover all 44 million people the government estimates will be uninsured in that year and to upgrade benefits for everyone else. ...

    Friedman said the savings would come from slashing the administrative waste associated with today’s private health insurance industry ($476 billion) and using the new, public system’s bargaining muscle to negotiate pharmaceutical drug prices down to European levels ($116 billion).

    “These savings would be more than enough to fund $343 billion in improvements to our health system, including the achievement of truly universal coverage, improved benefits, and the elimination of premiums, co-payments and deductibles, which are major barriers to people seeking care,” he said. ...

    Friedman said the plan would be funded by maintaining current federal revenues for health care and imposing new, modest tax increases on very high income earners. It would also be funded by a small increase in payroll taxes on employers, who would no longer pay health insurance premiums, and a new, very small tax on stock and bond transactions.

    “Such a financing scheme would vastly simplify how the nation pays for care, restore free choice of physician, guarantee all necessary medical care, improve patient health and, because it would be financed by a program of progressive taxation, result in 95 percent of all U.S. households saving money,” Friedman said.

  • Wall Street Journal MarketWatch: Will health reform make you change doctors? New insurance plans may limit boomers’ physician options. By Elizabeth O'Brien. Excerpts: Some experts have said that the experience of shopping for health insurance on the new online marketplaces that will open for enrollment this October under the Affordable Care Act will be like booking a vacation on Travelocity. But for those who make the wrong insurance purchase, the stakes could be much higher than an inconvenient layover or a hotel room without a view, and consumers who base their decision on price alone may be in for some unwelcome surprises.

    Chief among them: Some patients may have a difficult time seeing their current doctors under the new plans.

    Consumer advocates have anticipated that the ACA will be a big help to boomers who are looking to retire early or set out their own shingle, since they’ll no longer be tethered to their job for the health benefits. Between 500,000 and 900,000 Americans could choose to stop working or retire early, based on their new options for insurance outside their job, according to a new study by researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Another report, released this spring by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, estimated that the number of self-employed Americans will grow by 1.5 million in 2014 because access to high-quality, subsidized health insurance coverage will no longer be exclusively tied to employment.

    Yet prospective early retirees or freelancers shouldn’t assume that plans on the state-level marketplaces will offer them the same doctor choices that their employer-provided insurance does. “You really need to pay attention to the network,” said Sara Rosenbaum, law professor at the George Washington University who has closely tracked the health-care law’s rollout. Economic forces behind the new insurance exchanges are putting pressure on insurers to keep prices low, and one of their main ways to accomplish that, given the law’s requirements, is to offer fewer doctor options. And while healthy 20-somethings might be happy to accept limited choice in exchange for lower premiums, that trade-off might not look as attractive to boomers who’d rather not, say, find another cardiologist. ...

    Many of the health care law’s new requirements could prove a boon to boomers on the individual market. Starting next year, insurers will no longer be able to deny sick people coverage or charge ill consumers more. Today, this practice, known as medical underwriting, is allowed in all but a handful of states. It’s the main reason behind the phenomenon known as “job lock,” whereby workers stay in unsatisfying jobs because they’d be unable to secure affordable coverage—or any coverage at all—on the individual market. What’s more, under the Affordable Care Act, all plans everywhere on the insurance market must offer a host of essential health benefits, from emergency care to hospitalization to mental health care. ...

    For now, consumers must prepare to do their homework and look beyond premium prices when making their plan selection. Within each of the four metallic coverage tiers—platinum, gold, silver and bronze—the least expensive plans will likely have the narrowest networks, Rosenbaum said. Consumers looking for the broadest networks will likely find them in the two highest tiers, gold and platinum, which will cover more of consumers’ out-of-pocket costs in exchange for higher premiums, she noted. It’s important to look not just for your own doctors, but also for specialists available in the event of a devastating diagnosis, experts say. For example, if there’s a history of cancer in your family, it would be good to know that your network includes top oncologists in your area.

  • The Texas Tribune: Texas Women's Health Program Claims Decline. By Becca Aaronson. Excerpts: The number of claims filed for medical and family planning services in the new state-run Texas Women's Health Program has dropped since the state ousted Planned Parenthood from it and set up its own program without federal financing, according to figures from the Health and Human Services Commission. ...

    “We’re still hearing from patients who were in the program and were unable to locate a provider or schedule services in a timely manner,” she said. The exclusion of Planned Parenthood requires many women to travel farther to find an available provider, she said, and to make "tough decisions about paying out of pocket for care or simply putting off vital care that could potentially save lives."

  • Kaiser Health News: Five Things To Know About Obamacare Premiums: A Guide For The Perplexed. By Julie Appleby. Excerpts: Premiums will skyrocket next year! Premiums will be lower than expected! Premiums will be about the same!

    Consumers are understandably confused after weeks of conflicting pronouncements about the expected cost of plans, for individuals and small groups, to be sold in new online insurance marketplaces under the federal health law beginning Oct. 1.

    New York regulators said average premiums on those plans will be half of what they cost now, while Indiana warned of an average 72 percent increase. Florida’s insurance officials projected 30 to 40 rate increases, while the White House trumpeted a report saying that rates in 10 states and the District of Columbia will average 18 percent less than forecast.

    How is a consumer to make sense of this? For starters, state rates vary considerably because state regulations differ, although that is expected to lessen under the health law. But a bigger factor is that state officials who have opposed the health law are inclined to compare measures that show a big increase, while those in favor are inclined to do the opposite. ...

    Most policy analysts concur that average premiums will go up for younger, healthier people – and that they will get better benefits than they do now – but that rates may fall for older or sicker Americans, as new rules go into effect Jan. 1. Increases may be offset for many of those buying coverage through tax credits available to people with low and moderate incomes.

  • Seattle Times: Obamacare: What it will cost here. Four companies to offer 31 health plans on new state exchange at a variety of prices. By Carol M. Ostrom. Excerpts: For some people, individual insurance plans offered through Washington’s new online exchange marketplace may cost more than those available now, but they will cover much more, state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said Thursday.

    And although people in some counties will have limited choices, as they do now, in most counties the 31 new plans available from four companies will offer a wide range of premiums and cost-sharing options. ...

    Not all companies that applied to sell new individual insurance plans inside Washington’s online exchange marketplace will be able to do so, Kreidler said. Five of the nine companies that applied were turned down because they weren’t able to guarantee access to doctors and hospitals, the insurance office said. ...

    For many people, the premium is what counts, and coverage limits aren’t always apparent — at least while they’re healthy. Many people who have bought individual plans in the past don’t realize the extent of coverage gaps, Kreidler said. “Your financial exposure could be huge,” he said. “None of us is immune to bad luck, cancer or being in a major accident.” ...

    The insurance office estimates that about 477,400 people in Washington will qualify for subsidies, and the state’s target for enrollment is about 130,000 people by Jan. 1.

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.

  • Smirking Chimp: Moral Hazard Meets Amoral Bankers. By Stephen Pizzo. Excerpts: For nearly a quarter-century I covered banks, bankers and their friends on Wall St. and Washington. I got to know a lot of them, and a general pattern seemed to apply; the bigger the bank, the smaller the consciences of those running it.

    "Too-big-to-fail" always came with genuine incentives to cheat, lie and steal. Once you reached that size those in charge also became too-big-to-jail.

    Have you ever wondered how your behavior would change if you knew you were pretty much untouchable? It's gotta be a real rush once it sinks in, especially so if you spend most of your waking hours up to your gonads wading through billions upon billions upon billions of dollars of other folks' money. ...

    It's the Ground Hog Day of economics. It happens and happens and will keep happening... until we get over our queasiness about sending folks in business suits to the slammer -- a real slammer.

  • Smirking Chimp: Wanna Be a Crook? Go BIG. Too Big To Jail. By Stephen Pizzo. Excerpts: The Dept. of Justice has a message for aspiring crooks: If you aspire to become a successful crook -- defined as one that can steal a ton of money in broad daylight, and get away with it -- go big, very big.

    I've been writing it and saying it for two decades now; the fastest, cheapest and most effective way to stem the ever-rising tide of banking and securities fraud is to jail the guys and gals at the top. ...

    But they don't do it. Those business world guys and gals look just way too much like them. They wear suits, not hoodies. They trim their hair, no dreads. They drive nice cars, or have people who drive for them -- no low-riders, no rifle racks. Their children go to private schools, not failing inner-city public schools.

    In short, banking and Wall St. crooks just don't fit the prison profile. And hey, they have standards. Even on the rare occasions when one of them actually gets convicted, they are not sent to Sing Sing, but to some minimum security (minimum inconveniences) prison "camp." There they can catch up on some reading and sleep unworried they will awake in the middle of the night to a hulking cellmate climbing in their bunk for a non-concentual "snuggle."

  • New York Times: Banks Find S.&P. More Favorable in Bond Ratings. By Nathaniel Popper. Excerpts: The Wall Street ratings game is back.

    Five years after inflated credit ratings helped touch off the financial crisis, the nation’s largest ratings agency, Standard & Poor’s, is winning business again by offering more favorable ratings.

    S.& P. has been giving higher grades than its big rivals to certain mortgage-backed securities just as Wall Street is eagerly trying to revive the market for these investments, according to an analysis conducted for The New York Times by Commercial Mortgage Alert, which collects data on the industry. S.& P.’s chase for business is notable because it is fighting a government lawsuit accusing it of similar action before the financial crisis.

    As the company battles those accusations, industry participants say it has once again been moving to capture business by offering Wall Street underwriters higher ratings than other agencies will offer. And it has apparently worked. Banks have shown a new willingness to hire S.& P. to rate their bonds, tripling its market share in the first half of 2013. Its biggest rivals have been much less likely to give higher ratings. ...

    Along with its chief rivals — Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch — S.& P. was criticized for offering top-flight ratings to subprime mortgage securities, which made those bonds appear more attractive to investors before the crisis. The agencies had an incentive to offer higher ratings because banks choose which ratings agency grades each bond. The flaws in the system became apparent when many bonds with the highest ratings ended up plunging in value, inflicting enormous damage on the economy.

  • Christian Science Monitor: Florida education chief Tony Bennett resigns over how a C became an A. Tony Bennett stepped down after reports that, while directing Indiana schools, he upped the grade of a charter school reportedly run by a major GOP donor. It's a blow to attempts to grade schools. By Stacy Teicher Khadaroo. Excerpts: Less than a year into his tenure as Florida’s education commissioner, Tony Bennett resigned Thursday amid a controversy over adjustments he made to school grades last year as Indiana’s school chief.

    The Associated Press published e-mails this week suggesting Mr. Bennett tweaked a new A-F grading system in Indiana to favor a charter school run by a major Republican donor – giving it an A instead of the initial C. Bennett said in a press conference that the accusation was “malicious and unfounded” and that he hoped there would be an investigation, but that he was resigning to avoid distraction to Gov. Rick Scott’s education reform efforts in Florida. ...

    In one of Bennett’s e-mails last fall that was revealed this week, he wrote to his chief of staff after learning about Christel House charter school being likely to receive a bad grade: “This will be a HUGE problem for us…. They need to understand that anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work.”

  • New York Times op-ed: Sex, Money and Gravitas. By Paul Krugman. Excerpts: Can a woman effectively run the Federal Reserve? That shouldn’t even be a question. And Janet Yellen, the vice chairwoman of the Fed’s Board of Governors, isn’t just up to the job; by any objective standard, she’s the best-qualified person in America to take over when Ben Bernanke steps down as chairman.

    Yet there are not one but two sexist campaigns under way against Ms. Yellen. One is a whisper campaign whose sexism is implicit, while the other involves raw misogyny. And both campaigns manage to combine sexism with very bad economic analysis.

    Let’s start with the more extreme, open campaign. Last week, The New York Sun published an editorial attacking Ms. Yellen titled “The Female Dollar.” The editorial took it for granted that the Fed has been following disastrously inflationary monetary policies for years, even though actual inflation is at a 50-year low. And it warned that things would get even worse if the dollar were to become merely “gender-backed.” I am not making this up. ...

    The other campaign against Ms. Yellen has been subtler, involving repeated suggestions — almost always off the record — that she lacks the “gravitas” to lead the Fed. What does that mean? Well, suppose we were talking about a man with Ms. Yellen’s credentials: distinguished academic work, leader of the Council of Economic Advisers, six years as president of the San Francisco Fed, a record of working effectively with colleagues at the Board of Governors. Would anyone suggest that a man with those credentials was somehow unqualified for office?

    Sorry, but it’s hard to escape the conclusion that gravitas, in this context, mainly means possessing a Y chromosome. ...

    This has been obviously true in the case of budget policy, where the Serious People hijacked the national conversation, shifting it away from job creation to deficits, on the grounds that we were facing an imminent fiscal crisis — which somehow keeps not coming.

    But it has also been true for monetary policy. The Wall Street Journal (news department, not editorial) recently surveyed the forecasting records of top policy makers at the Fed, whom it divided into “hawks” (officials who keep warning that the Fed is doing too much to fight unemployment) and “doves” (who warn that it’s doing too little). It found that the doves made consistently better forecasts, with the best forecaster of all being the most prominent of the doves — Janet Yellen.

  • New York Times: U.S. Cuts Take Increasing Toll on Job Growth. By Jackie Calmes and Catherine Rampell. Excerpts: Although the sequester became law on March 1, some of the effects, like the forced leaves, have begun to ramp up only recently. More job losses, rather than shorter workweeks, are predicted if the cuts remain in place into next year. ...

    Corporate and academic economists say that Washington’s fiscal fights have produced budget policies that amount to a self-inflicted drag on the economy’s recovery.

    Joseph J. Minarik, director of research at the corporate-supported Committee for Economic Development and a former government economist, said he could not remember in postwar times when fiscal policy was so at odds with the needs of the economy.

    “The macroeconomic situation is highly unusual,” he said, adding: “We have to be concerned about our debt getting totally out of hand, so we are concerned about the federal budget. But the concern has got to be tempered by the fact that we have got to get some economic growth going as well.” ...

    “The disjunction between textbook economics and the choices being made in Washington is larger than any I’ve seen in my lifetime,” said Justin Wolfers, an economics professor at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. “At a time of mass unemployment, it’s clear, the economics textbooks tell us, that this is not the right time for fiscal retrenchment.”

  • BusinessWeek: Congress Heads Out for a Not-So-Well-Deserved Vacation. By Kristen Hinman. Excerpts: Last year by this time, lawmakers had sent 54 bills to the president for his signature—half of which either renamed things like post offices or were equally small-bore. That made the first half of 2012 one of the least productive sessions on record. So how did Congress stack up during the first half of this year, compared to last?

    Even worse. As of yesterday, the House and Senate had passed just 26 bills for President Obama to sign into law. Once again, most of the legislation is small potatoes. There are a couple of tweaks to existing laws, and a handful of bills that merely renew existing laws. A Coast Guard building got renamed, as did a Missouri bridge and a New Hampshire air-traffic control facility. Also, by law the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., can print special coins for its 75th anniversary. Whew, exhausting. No wonder they need five weeks off.

  • Smirking Chimp: Republicans Choose (More) Vacation Over Governing. By Dave Johnson. Excerpts: This week was put up or shut up time for Republicans. After decades demanding unspecified budget cuts they finally had to put their vote where their budget outline was. So what did they do? They are taking a 40th vote on repealing Obamacare and then heading home for five weeks vacation. This is who they are. ...

    When they return in the fall it looks like they will try to divert attention from their failure to come up with specific cuts by passing something that Democrats cannot accept and the President will veto, then shut the government down and try to blame Democrats. Senate Republicans moved that ball down the road by filibustering the Senate version of the THUD bill. The country is left without a budget and the Congress goes home.

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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