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Highlights—February 15, 2014

  • Canadian Lawyer Magazine: Chief Justice dissents, but employee prevails in IBM pension case. By Jennifer Brown. Excerpts: After a five-year battle, a British Columbia man can keep his pension benefits and damages awarded after his former employer, IBM, challenged a lower court decision all the way to the Supreme Court.

    On Friday, in a 7-2 decision the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an appeal brought by IBM Canada in IBM v Waterman which looked at whether pension benefits received by Waterman during his wrongful dismissal notice period should be deducted from his damages award.

    “This means older workers can breathe a sigh of relief that they won’t be summarily dismissed and forced to take their pension,” says Clio Godkewitsch, an associate with Koskie Minsky LLP.

    “It’s the correct decision and it affirms the law at least in Ontario that we have understood forever that pension benefits are a form of deferred compensation,” says Godkewitsch. “It shouldn’t be such a shocker to employers. This doesn’t change anything for employers but it’s always good to have the highest court in the land give its nod of approval to the existing law.”

    Richard Waterman was employed by IBM (U.K.) Ltd. and then IBM Canada Ltd. for more than 40 years as a software services specialist before being terminated at the height of the recession in 2009 — without cause and with two months notice.

    When his employment ended, he was 65 and eligible to receive benefits under IBM’s employer-funded pension plan. He had no intention of retiring, declined the severance package offered by IBM and sued for wrongful dismissal. Following a summary trial, he was awarded damages in the amount of $93,305.32, based on a reasonable notice period of 20 months.

  • WRAL TechWire: IBM layoffs strike first in India; workers describe cuts as 'slaughter' and 'massive'. By Rick Smith. Excerpts: Dispatches from the firing line at IBM:
    • "People broke down after seeing the inhuman treatment. Laptops along with the cases were confiscated, so several employees were seen crying and exiting building carrying and balancing their personal belongings with their two hands."
    • "IBM STG INDIA is doing RA and it is very deep and numbers are huge." "
    • Just heard from a colleague in Bangalore that job cuts there have begun. Workers asked to leave on the spot. He claims 6 out of 23 people in his department."

    IBM's latest $1 billion "rebalancing," as described by its CFO last month, is underway. And the first country hit is India, based on reports from Blue Blue workers there on Tuesday. The so-called "Resource Action" struck in the country where IBM reportedly employs its greatest number of workers.

    Workers were given little notice. Reads one note just sent to the union seeking to represent IBM workers:

    "Job cuts in India STG announced today including managers. Asked to return laptops within 2 hours and leave premises."

    One analyst has estimated that IBM will cut 13,000 of its more than 434,000 workers, based on the amount of money set aside for the rebalancing IBM disclosed after another quarter of disappointing earnings. A similar action in 2013 led to some 3,500 job cuts in North America alone, with several hundred hitting IBM's North Carolina work force.

    Lee Conrad, head of union efforts to unionize IBMers, has received emails from workers as well as a reporter in India. The "RA" is expected to hit IBMers in North America as early as Feb. 19, based on internal speculation. "Still waiting here in the U.S.," Conrad wrote.

    IBMers have described the rebalancing as "Project Apollo." The 2013 action was called "Project Phoenix."

  • The Register: IBM job cuts: Big Blue starts 'slaughter' of Indian and European workforce. Redundo reaper makes appearance after Lenovo sell-off. By Jack Clark. Excerpts: IBM has begun slicing away at its workforce in India and Europe, as the company tries to shift its business to more lucrative, higher-margin technologies.

    IBM has begun slicing away at its workforce in India and Europe, as the company tries to shift its business to more lucrative, higher-margin technologies.

    "We have been getting reports from IBM India employees for the past 2 days," Lee Conrad, the international coordinator for the IBM Global Union Alliance, told us. "They say the cuts are very large, although we do not have any numbers yet."

    In addition to the large-scale Indian job cuts, Conrad told us that job cuts were ongoing in Europe, with countries hit so far including Norway (35 jobs), France (between 438 and 500), Belgium (105), Italy (430), and the Netherlands (240).

    "We expect more in other countries. The number could reach 15,000 world wide," he said.

    In related news, IBM was recently rumored to have retained Goldman Sachs to help it price up its chip division for a possible sale. If true, by the end of this year IBM's grim redundancy reaper will likely need a lie down to recover from its bleak "returning value to shareholders" scything.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • Bloodletting will occur each quarter all regions. The bloodletting will continue in all regions for all 4 quarters of this year. My manager was asking us just yesterday what were our strongest skills (looking for what skills my team needs to retain) and under the guise of 'cross skilling' telling us we need to ensure we all know each others specialist activities. Which would make it easier to get rid of someone and offload the work to various team members (if we had the capacity)

      They are carrying out stack ranking to work out who to keep in the Australian part of the business and the only good news on my part is that I'm not on the radar for this quarter... My team is down to our last 6 members (of a team that peaked at 24) while my Indian counterparts number at 64 (with them managing less than half the server fleet we managed previously). The directive is that all the Australian teams lose minimum one person per quarter as part of 'rebalancing' so by the end of the year it would be down to 2 technical staff here.

    • Where the axe should fall. If anyone has seen the tortuous process to get authorisation to buy tea and biscuits for a customer meeting at IBM, you'd know where the fat that needs trimming is.
    • Re: Where the axe should fall. The meeting where they email each other about the email they are sending for the meeting and the email announcement of the email for the rescheduling of meeting back to the original time? THAT process?
  • The Register: IBM handing pink slips to Israel-based Diligent devs - reports. Deduped out of existence, perhaps? By Chris Mellor. Excerpt: Israeli media outlets are reporting that IBM is laying off product developers at its Diligent operation but leaving support staff roles untouched.

    According to Israeli biz news site Calcalist, Diligent, XIV, and Storwize – all three Israeli companies acquired by Big Blue – were housed by the firm in the R&D division of its Storage Technologies Group in Haifa, Israel.

  • Linked In's IBM co/ex workers independent group IBM: How analysts project IBM job cuts for Feb-May 2014. By Ken Schuster. Excerpts: Analysts began speculating about job cuts at IBM when the company reported lackluster fourth-quarter results in January, including a 26 percent slump in hardware revenue and a slight decline in services revenue.

    Chief Financial Officer Martin Schroeter told analysts the company will take a “workforce re-balancing” charge of about $1 billion this year, roughly the same charge it took in 2013.

    Tony Sacconaghi, an analyst at Bernstein Research in New York City, said it costs IBM about $70,000 to let an employee go, meaning if the latest re-organization mostly is related to staff reductions, the $1 billion charge suggests the company could be cutting 10,000 to 15,000 workers. IBM has about 400,000 employees total in more than 170 countries.

    A selected comments follows:

    • Just like Dell Computers, IBM cannot continue to please investors with layoffs. Eventually, they will have to realize that people will refuse to come back to work at companies that do not provide stability. This continued reduction in resources will do more long term harm to the company than they realize. These companies are already complaining that there are not enough tech workers in the U.S. and need more H1B Visa's yet, when they make the layoffs, it is mostly U.S. workers. This is prevalent in all U.S. companies these days and is destroying the middle class which is the economic engine of the U.S. and the world.

      If, the U.S. falters, so does the rest of the world. Emerging markets are slumping and will continue stagnant growth as America struggles with unemployment and slow sales.

      The wealthy 1% can only buy so many socks, cars and meals etc. The middle class of America is key to growth and the middle class is being destroyed.

  • Poughkeepsie Journal: Report: IBM hires firm to explore sale of semiconductor business. By Craig Wolf. Excerpt: IBM has hired investment banker Goldman Sachs to explore the possibility of selling its semiconductor business, according to a report in the Financial Times. The report has not been confirmed by IBM. "IBM does not comment on rumor and/or speculation," said Douglas Shelton, a spokesman for IBM.
  • Poughkeepsie Journal: IBM employees to be notified of job cuts Feb. 26, workers' group says. By Dan D’Ambrosio. Excerpts: An IBM workers’ group is warning workers to expect more job cuts in New York and Vermont later this month. Alliance@IBM, citing unnamed sources inside the company, said the deadline to select the employees to be cut was Jan. 24, and those employees will be notified Feb. 26.

    “This is no surprise to IBM employees,” Lee Conrad, national coordinator of the union, wrote in an email Wednesday to its mailing list, which includes members, company workers and journalists. “Employees are being pushed out the door in order for executives to reach their goal of $20 earnings per share and greater wealth for them and large stockholders.”

    IBM Spokesman Doug Shelton declined to comment. ...

    Alliance@IBM is calling for employees to wear black and blue every Wednesday to “signify the bad treatment of employees by executive management.” The workers’ group also is calling for informational picket lines, off company premises, with the message: “No job cuts, Halt Roadmap 2015.”

  • Poughkeepsie Journal editorial: Protesting IBM layoffs is no strategy substitute. Excerpts: Surely, there is no harm in high-profile protests that include members of the mid-Hudson Valley’s state delegation keeping pressure on IBM about its job commitments. IBM Corp. and many other huge companies receive all sorts of tax breaks, yet Big Blue has announced another round of layoffs. ...

    IBM once employed more than 30,000 people in the mid-Hudson Valley, but that number is down to about 7,000 workers, and it seems obvious the downward spiral will continue. ...

    Public-private partnerships in luring more companies here are part of the equation. The tax incentives that have gone to IBM clearly have not created jobs over the last decade or so — but it’s a bit harder to determine how many they have saved from vanishing earlier.

  • New York Times: Facing Criticism After Remarks, AOL Chief Reverses 401(k) Changes. By Leslie Kaufman. Excerpts: Tim Armstrong, the chief executive of AOL, did an about-face on Saturday, reversing an unpopular change in the media company’s employee benefits program and apologizing for publicly singling out two families’ health care issues as a cause of those changes.

    AOL had recently altered its 401(k) program, switching its matching payments to one lump sum at year-end instead of throughout the year. The change would have disadvantaged AOL employees, especially those who left the company before Dec. 31. On an internal call last Thursday discussing the new policy, he had attributed the change partly to soaring medical costs associated with two families’ “distressed babies.”

    In an email to employees late on Saturday, Mr. Armstrong announced the company’s reversal.

    “The leadership team and I listened to your feedback over the last week,” Mr. Armstrong wrote. “We heard you on this topic. And as we discussed the matter over several days, with management and employees, we have decided to change the policy back to a per-pay-period matching contribution.”

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • I am sure when Mr. Armstrong needs health care, or anything for that matter, he's not too worried about his wallet. As for the rest of workers in this country, retirement benefits - what? Fully paid health care - say again? Job security?

      The trend is to cut skilled older workers, replace them with inexperienced younger workers who can be underpaid, overworked and afforded essentially no benefits at all.

      How ironic is it that many around my age, late 50s, that still have to work, are left to scramble to try to hang onto what we have built, only to look forward to having to deal with the attitude displayed by guys like Mr. Armstrong. We are problems, sick kids are problems, employees are problems in general.

      Except for the fact, if it were not for all those problem folks, guys like this arrogant CEO wouldn't have the keys to the bank.

    • My 61-year old wife was fired, thrown overboard, by a junior version of this corporate jerk. Age discrimination? You bet! Are they going to get away with it? Most likely. "USA" now stands for "United Sociopaths of America: Land of the free government bail-outs and tax breaks for the rich; home of the 'bravely trying to hang on' shrinking middle class.
    • In its information to investors, AOL claims that last year was its best year in a decade. That shows that the justification for cutting contributions to 401k's was just a pretense. If the company is doing so great, why does it have to take benefits from its employees?
    • What Armstrong has done with his clumsy explanation for the reduction in 401k benefits is highlight for the public how specious these arguments for cost-cutting are and how greedy these CEOs are, especially when the cost-cutting is contrasted with their obscene levels of pay.
    • And multimillionaires like him are now crying "persecution of the job creators!" because the American public are calling them out for their greed and callousness. American workers need to keep up the public shaming. (Oh, and BTW -- most jobs are created by small business. I just wish the media would point that out every time the mega-millionaires and their political cronies use that term.)
    • At the end of 2012 IBM announced the exact same 401k policy that AOL was pursuing, before their CEO put his foot into his mouth. Too bad IBM got away with chintzing their employees, but good AOL could not get away with it.
    • I am glad that Tim Armstrong reversed his ill-considered decision on his company's 401k plan to cheat AOL workers, but I am outraged that we have to go through this torturous procedure of public protest every time some corporate mogul decides to do something outrageous to his or her employees. Why can't these multimillionaire bosses just do the right thing by their hard-working work force rather than pushing them off the cliff and making them launch a campaign just to get decent management treatment for them.

      Armstrong would be nothing without his employees, but he clearly is of the ranks of CEOs who see their workers as peons who should be beholden to him and his entourage for even having a job. This attitude is all too pervasive in the United States today.

      I bet Armstrong votes Republican and supports ALEC.

    • Our corporate culture has become all about how to increase the extreme wealth of the few at the expense of the many.

      Employees are not valued. After all, the more benefits cut and the lower the pay, the more millions for the top execs. Thus employees' life situations are not important nor a consideration.

      Anyone in their fifties is facing a lay-off at anytime. Due to their age they will also find it difficult to impossible to find a new job that remotely compares to the old job. That is unless they are a member of the we-DESERVE-to-be-super-rich executives club. They make millions and millions while decrying the very thought of a minimum wage of $10/hr.

      Who cares if employees can feed their children? The club where even the worst performers are assured they will be given millions to move on to their new job and new huge pay package.

      Too bad so many employees are opposed to forming unions. Their chances of climbing the financial ladder are dimming, as are their chances (and their children's) of having a middle-class to hang onto.

  • Washington Post: AOL reversed its controversial 401(k) policy. These 4 companies are sticking with it. By Jia Lynn Yang. Excerpts: AOL may have reversed its 401(k) policy, but a number of other companies are sticking to their approach, subtly docking their employees' benefits by paying matches in an annual lump sum, rather than with every paycheck.

    The list includes Deutsche Bank, IBM (which drew some attention when it made the change in late 2012), Charles Schwab and Advocate Health Care, the largest health system in Illinois. According to several emails from readers, it seems that the trend has recently caught on among federal government contractors, too.

    Charles Schwab is especially striking since the company advises investors to make regular contributions to their investments, a method known as "dollar cost averaging." The firm's web site offers as good an explanation as any for why matching with every paycheck is superior to getting a lump sum. ...

    For all workers, the annual lump-sum can also be bad for another reason. Companies that hand out annual matches often require employees to be at the company in December to qualify for the pay, except if they retired, become disabled, or died during the year. But based on recent history, layoffs are most likely to occur in the fourth quarter of the year, right when employees could have the most to lose if their firm pays out its match annually.

    Selected reader comments:

    • No doubt AOL backed down because of the negative reaction from the great number of people who heard of it. This was probably because Tim Armstrong put his foot in his mouth when he talked about the two "distressed babies", as well as the disconnect between health care costs and cutting the 401 (k) program.

      IBM and Schwab didn't get that same publicity so they got away with it. It shows just how little say average working men and working women have in this economic system. The only time working men and women are referred to these days occurs when the monthly unemployment statistics are reported. And, then they are not referred to as working men or women but "the labor market" not unlike the cattle market or the hog market.

      We need a new "Square Deal" for working men and women. It's in the national interest to do so. When we were a successful economic nation workers had a seat at the table with representation from labor leaders such as George Meany, Walter Reuther, and, I.W. Able.

      You can call what we have now as a post-Civil War "sharecropper" economy , or, a "Banana Republic" economy, or, it you prefer, a "Banana Republican" economy.

  • New York Times editorial: Making Retirements Less Secure. Excerpts: AOL, which employs about 5,000 people, said that to compensate for the rising costs of health and other employee benefits it would start contributing to the 401(k) retirement accounts of its employees in one lump sum at the end of the year, instead of every time it pays workers.

    In doing so, the company was following the example of several large companies, like IBM and Charles Schwab. About 17 percent of employers matched 401(k) contributions in an annual lump sum in 2012, up from 12.9 percent in 2009, according to the Plan Sponsor Council of America.

    It is easy to see why companies are switching to lump-sum contributions: It saves them money. They get to keep until the end of the year the money they would have ordinarily put into workers’ accounts every week or every two weeks. Businesses that choose this approach also get to keep the money that they would have contributed to the retirement accounts of workers who leave for other jobs or are unfortunate enough to be laid off before the end of the year. ...

    Lump-sum payments expose workers to potentially greater financial risk, because retirement funds that would have been invested in stocks and bonds over the course of a year when companies matched contributions with every paycheck will, under these new policies, be invested all at once at the end of the year. If stocks are rising, as they have been in the last few years, that means the lump sum will be invested in the market when stocks are more expensive than if they were purchased throughout the year.

    Last Saturday, Mr. Armstrong, along with apologizing, did the right thing in announcing that AOL would reverse the change in its 401(k) policy. Other companies using this kind of contribution approach or considering adopting it should think twice about the damage it does to employee retirement plans.

  • New York Times: Beware the End-of-Year 401(k) Match. By Ron Lieber. Excerpts: AOL’s chief executive, Tim Armstrong, drew plenty of attention earlier this month when he seemed to attribute a change in the company’s 401(k) plan in part to a couple of employees whose infants required expensive care. But what was mostly lost in the discussion was just how much it would cost employees if every employer tried to do what AOL did.

    The answer? Close to $50,000 in today’s dollars by the time they retired, according to calculations that the 401(k) and mutual fund giant Vanguard made this week. That buys a lot of trips to see the grandchildren — or scores of nights in a nursing home.

    Mr. Armstrong ultimately reversed the change after the uproar over the singling out of particular employees. Still, everyone who saves in a 401(k) or similar plan needs to take a close look at what AOL was trying to do, so they can recognize it and protest if their employer tries to do something like it. While there are plenty of federal regulations governing the basic administration and safeguarding of employer-provided retirement accounts, companies have a lot of leeway to alter their own plans in ways that can cost employees plenty. AOL’s attempt is an unpleasant reminder that employers can and will make changes to employee benefits programs for any reason at all. ...

    Second, the change at AOL might well have simply sailed through had Mr. Armstrong not tried to pin it partly on a couple of infants. He may have done us all a favor, though. In an Aon Hewitt survey of employers taken right after IBM announced its change, 22 percent of them said that the primary barrier to moving to a last-day rule was concern about their own employees reacting badly.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • Far from being "corporate largesse", the 401K match is a "hat trick". The employee gets more money in their retirement account. The employer gets more employee loyalty at almost no additional cost. If 401K's are the only pensions of the future, there needs to be more regulation of how they are run.
    • I'm surprised that IBM employees didn't protest more. However IBM's performance since that change was implemented speaks loud enough.
    • is there no end to the corporate greed at the expense of the average non-executive employee? not even the grace to be embarrassed about their outright obscene avarice?
    • Not mentioned in this article is the loss of interest and dividends paid to the account holder if the match is deposited as a lump-sum at the end of the year, compared to being contributed biweekly. Presumably the employer has those funds available to invest, either in the business or elsewhere during the year, thus reaping that benefit as well.
    • And the rich elite wonder why people feel there is a corporate war on the middle class? Look, after 4 decades in corporate America, I've watched one clever CFO after another nickel and dime the workforce. Not just one company, but every single one of my employers.

      Private sector employees bought into the 401(k) myth as the third leg of a secure retirement. Then, corporations took away pensions and now they are whittling away at the 401(k). Meanwhile, the political arm of corporate America -- the GOP -- wants to "privatize" Social Security.

      The elite executive class doesn't feel this pain -- they impose it.

    • The company I work for implemented this exact change several years ago. The result: a huge exodus of employees every January.
    • Just one more example of the steady erosion of workplace benefits that have become common in a weak employment environment.

      In the last ten years, employees of all stripes have seen salaries stagnate, health care benefits decline, 401K matches diminish, and other indirect benefits on the job disappear. And, during the same time, executive compensation in their companies have often skyrocketed.

      Many times, these cuts aren't precipitated by dire financial consequences within the entity; instead, employers initiate them simply because they can...given the weak job market coupled with similar trends followed by other employers.

    • 401k plans are a cruel hoax on workers. Initially thought to be of little consequence they became a replacement for defined benefit plans. It seems that nearly every corporate cost savings is paid for by employees and not executive employees.
  • Reuters: IBM's CEO visits China for trust-building talks with govt leaders -sources. By Matthew Miller. Excerpts: A slide in IBM Corp's sales in China amid a broad backlash against claims of U.S. government spying has triggered a rare visit to Beijing by Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty.

    The head of the world's biggest technology services company arrives in China's capital on Wednesday for three days of meetings with government leaders, according to people familiar with her visit. The visit comes as U.S. firms like IBM and Cisco Systems Inc seek to restore trust with Chinese regulators and reverse slumping sales. ...

    In Beijing, Rometty will have meetings with Chinese officials including Vice Premier Wang Yang, responsible for helping to formulate China's economic policy. The IBM chief also is expected to meet officials from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and top state-backed customers. ...

    Rometty is the second top IBM executive to travel to Beijing in the last four months to meet Chinese officials.

    In November, IBM dispatched its head of governmental programs, Christopher Padilla, the former Under Secretary for International Trade at the U.S. Commerce Department, following announcement of the company's third-quarter earnings. ...

    In December, Louisiana Sheriffs' Pension & Relief Fund sued IBM at U.S. District Court in Manhattan, accusing the firm of concealing how the U.S. spying scandal would reduce its China business. IBM had lobbied Congress to pass legislation allowing it to share personal data of customers in China and elsewhere with the NSA, the lawsuit claimed.

    "These allegations are ludicrous and irresponsible and IBM will vigorously defend itself in court," IBM spokesman Doug Shelton said in an e-mail.

  • WCAX (Burlington, VT): Are big layoffs coming to Big Blue? By Logan Crawford. Excerpts: The IBM workers union says it got a hold of an internal memo indicating job cuts are coming in Essex Junction. The document suggests layoffs at the end of the month. Meanwhile, the state is trying to get companies like IBM to be more forthcoming about job cuts before they happen.

    "It's really sad to see this happen," said Earl Mongeon of Alliance@IBM.

    The workers union Alliance@IBM received an anonymous tip the company will be laying off workers by the end of February.

    "That the job cuts are coming and this time around I guess they're going to notify the state. Any time they notify the state that usually triggers the WARN Act, which means it's going to be over 500 employees," Mongeon said.

  • New York Times: Ideas to Make Retirement Possible. By Floyd Norris. Excerpts: Who killed pensions? Can they be resurrected?

    A few decades ago, pensions were almost taken for granted by both public and private employees. They promised that people who worked a specified number of years for one employer would receive a certain amount each month, for life, after they retired. That amount was usually based on their income in the years before retirement.

  • PandoDaily: How a $100,000 check exposes the politics of pension theft. By David Sirota. Excerpts: When historians one day sit down to solve the Great American Pension Heist, they will likely focus much of their attention on a scandal that has been unfolding in corruption-plagued Rhode Island over the past three years.

    As I’ve written before, the concurrent trends of slashing public workers’ pensions and increasing taxpayer subsidies for corporations are not unrelated. To the contrary, the Ocean State is the latest to show how those two capers are operating in tandem to convert retiree nest eggs into yet more handouts to the super-rich.

    The latest twist in this already rancid grotesquerie involves a $100,000 check passed from a former Enron trader to a front-group helping a politician billed as a rising national star in her party. Before I get to that, though, we need to travel back four years when this cartoonish tale began with two seemingly disparate events: the rise and fall of a major league baseball player’s software firm, and the low-key election of a treasurer in the smallest state in the country. ...

    Raimondo was certainly correct in noting that Rhode Island was facing shortfalls in its pension system. However, as the Economic Policy Institute documents, those shortfalls were “largely due not to overly generous benefits, but to the failure of state and local government employers to pay their required share of pensions’ cost.” Instead of making those contributions, the state (like many others) had been using money owed to pension funds to pay for stuff like the $356 million a year in corporate subsidies, even though there is little proof that they are a solid job-creating investment. Put another way, politicians have been taking money needed to fulfill negotiated pension-fund commitments and instead using the cash to subsidize the corporate class – aka the elite constituency that disproportionately finances those politicians’ reelection campaigns. ...

    More broadly, the entire episode reveals that while polls suggest that both pension cuts and corporate welfare are unpopular, there is plenty of oligarch money mobilized to support the politicians who most loyally aid the Great American Pension Heist. That’s because the heist isn’t just a crime against retirees in a vacuum. It is a wealth transfer from those retirees to the richest of the rich.

  • Seeking Alpha: IBM: 4 Different Insiders Have Sold Shares This Year. By Markus Aarnio. Excerpts: In this article, I will feature one tech stock that has seen intensive insider selling during the last 30 days. Intensive insider selling can be defined by the following three criteria:
    • The stock was sold by three or more insiders within one month.
    • The stock was not purchased by any insiders in the month of intensive selling.
    • At least two sellers decreased their holdings by more than 10%. ...

    There have been 356,765 shares sold, and there have been 1,000 shares purchased by insiders since January 2013. ...

    There have been four different insiders selling IBM, and there have not been any insiders buying IBM during the last 30 days. All four of these insiders decreased their holdings by more than 10%. IBM has an insider ownership of 0.10%.

  • Forbes: The 10 Best Companies For Women In 2014. By Susan Adams. Excerpts: The National Association for Female Executives (NAFE), a division of Working Mother magazine publisher Working Mother Media, has just released its annual list of the top 50 companies for executive women. NAFE also highlights 10 companies it says are the “best” for women. They aren’t ranked from one to ten. They’re all considered to be great places for women to work and advance. ...

    To be considered for NAFE’s list, companies need a minimum of two women on their boards and at least 1,000 employees in the U.S. NAFE chooses the top 50 based on women’s representation at all levels, employees’ access to and use of programs and policies that promote women’s advancement, training opportunities and managers’ accountability. NAFE sends out invitations to 1,000 companies. To participate, a firm must fill out a lengthy form with some 200 questions. NAFE chose the 50 best companies from 250 firms that responded.

    IBM stands out because it’s the only one of the top 10 with a female CEO. In 2011 the century-old tech giant tapped Virginia Rometty for the top job. IBM also has an impressive share of female senior managers, 26%, and 22% of its executives are women, according to NAFE. Those are strong numbers, given that 30% of its 433,000 employees are women. IBM even goes after female executives who have left the company through something called the Reconnections initiative, which offers continuing education and networking

  • Bloomberg: IBM Pays More to Borrow in Bond Market as Sales Decline. By Charles Mead and Alex Barinka. Excerpts: International Business Machines Corp. (IBM)’s borrowing costs are rising even as those of its peers fall, underscoring concerns that the world’s largest seller of computer services is struggling to find its place in the cloud. ...

    “It’s an early signal that bondholders want a slightly larger premium to hold IBM because of the disappointing results, the challenges it’s facing in the hardware business and favoring shareholder returns over improving balance-sheet fundamentals,” said Nikhill Patel, an analyst at San Antonio-based Frost Investment Advisors LLC, which oversees about $10 billion and doesn’t own IBM bonds.

    Debt investors are demanding higher interest rates about two months after money manager Stan Druckenmiller said he’s betting against the stock of IBM, the only company in the Dow Jones Industrial Average to deliver a loss to shareholders last year. The century-old Armonk, New York-based business has attempted to support its equity by selling assets, using tax havens and repurchasing shares, which has coincided with an increase in its ratio of debt to cash flow.

  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • IBM Outsourcing and Management Review” Team Leader (Former Employee), Oklahoma City, OK. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 5 years. Pros: Huge expert pool of long term subject matter experts to call on when needed. Cons: Massively impersonal organization that runs contractors into the ground by reducing hours while customers are in need of more. Contradictory commitment to corp earnings as opposed to providing adequate support coverage—a core responsibility. Advice to Senior Management: Look at the business more and less at the balance sheet.
    • Not too optimistic about the outlook...” Software Engineer (Current Employee), Raleigh, NC. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 8 years. Pros: Friendly coworkers, hard working employees, willing to share their expertise and support. Cons: Cutting expenses (people) focus is wrong - is destroying the morale and the core strength of the company. Opportunities to try different jobs is small since usually moving to a different group request is rejected. Leadership, with a few exceptions, is out of touch with realities at working team level. Advice to Senior Management: Focus should be on people and keeping the talent. Every bad quarter translates into more cuts but no vertical mgmt change at the level that defines the roadmap.
    • Company with massive potential may be headed in the wrong direction.” Partner (Current Employee), Denver, CO. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Name recognition; broad range of products and services. Cons: Singular focus on 2015 road map is leading to poor decision-making; internal challenges to providing multi-tower solutions; lots of internal "red tape"; growing culture of self-preservation vs. team work. Advice to Senior Management: Spend less money on stock buy-backs and more on hiring delivery expertise; remove false walls between service lines; follow your stated values.
    • I worked hard, learned a great deal but was overlooked because of my age for any advancement opportunities.” Financial Analyst (Former Employee), Rochester, MN. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 5 years. Pros: – Schedule flexibility on non close work days Cons: No raises in 7 years, added work load without compensation, salary based so no pay for extra hours worked in month and quarter close. Too many layers of management. Advice to Senior Management: Think about the customer and the employee instead about your personal wealth. Listened to many of the top level people give speeches at site meetings that "It is our time to be rewarded ".
    • Try working for IBM if given a chance” Senior Product Manager (Current Employee), San Jose, CA. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 5 years. Pros: Excellent thought leadership & vision in the market. Good work life balance, good flexibility like working from home (teams are distributed all across the country). Good benefits, industry average salary. If you're getting a job at IBM, I highly suggest you work here for one year at least and figure out if this culture is a good fit for you or not. You will learn a lot here.

      Cons: As usual with big companies, too many processes, takes too many approvals to get things done. You have to work hard to stand out, But that is true for any other company. Don't expect big bonuses or stock options.

      Advice to Senior Management: Get rid of the slackers, and drive individual product teams like a startup culture, While leveraging the IBM branding, Sales and marketing machine to drive growth and revenue.

    • Technology alone does not create value for customers.” Anonymous Employee (Former Employee). Pros: Software divisions across big data, analytics, Watson, etc. — lots of component technology. In-house consulting group with domain expertise that no other major integrator has in cloud architecture, financial services, healthcare, analytics, etc. Massive cash to invest.

      Cons: Focus on EPS benefits senior management's compensation, but clouds management's perceptions of what is required to compete against Amazon, Google, and startups. Management doesn't get innovation and how to create an environment where individuals take ownership. Stovepipes prevent communication and collaboration. Comp plans actually incentivize groups NOT to cooperate. Rounds of layoffs have lead to demotivation, and lack of CEO communications leads to more FUD.

      Advice to Senior Management: Focus on solving customer business issues, not providing technology components (Watson, big data, mobile, etc.) IBM's cost structures will never be competitive with startups, so value is paramount. For each focus, create small SWAT teams lead by a "Steve Jobs" visionary who can handle technical/sales/product management, and give that person access to Ginny to get the job done, with a hand-picked team of maybe another 5 people. Define metrics that address the real issue of customer wins that lead to repeatable sales. And support whatever s/he (leader) needs, even if that means double-compensation across divisions, pulling senior techies out of different divisions, etc. Need to break a lot of glass to move IBM into a lead position.

    • Consulting by Degrees: The Industry's Biggest Lie” Consultant (Current Employee). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than a year. Pros: Honestly, the only thing I enjoyed about the CdB program was all the other young professionals in it. Everyone is fresh out of college, eager to meet new people in new cities.

      Cons: Lack of responsibility, lack of purpose, lack of career guidance, 'training' is entirely misdirected, people outside of CdB don't respect the program, the program is constantly over-hiring leaving people on the bench for MONTHS at a time, the 100-year-old culture, etc...

      Advice to Senior Management: Stop lying. This isn't McKinsey, BCG, Deloitte, Accenture, etc. and it never will be. You sell the program to be of pure strategy consulting when in reality, that is the last way I'd describe it to be. The flashy trip to Orlando with the 10% of people who have positive experiences in the program only leaves us more disappointed when we find out it's all a lie.

      Stop hiring business majors who have no interested in IT, stop hiring pre-med majors, stop hiring international relations majors and START hiring IT-focused students and only IT-focused students.

      A supply chain major does not want to work on a software implementation project as a glorified secretary for 9 months. Reevaluate everything about your recruiting strategy. Having a mass exodus of consultants in the 1.5 to 2.5 year time frame after hiring is wasting money.

    • IBM” Anonymous Employee (Former Employee). I worked at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Great opportunities for an IT professional. Cons: Management assumes you will give up vacations/personal time in favor of business needs 100% of the time.
    • IBM” IT Specialist (Current Employee) Brno (Czech Republic). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 3 years. Pros: - smart people around; - cutting edge technologies; - great as start position; - lot of e-learning and courses; - name, reputation, boost your CV; - home office possibility (depends on role). Cons: - worst first-line management, that I ever met' - processes, approvals, internal systems; - really huge amount of bureaucracy; - no retention policy (you are just easy replaceable number); - below average salary, no meal vouchers, almost no annual raise (even you have good PBC); - no motivation to do something extra; - overprices canteen. Advice to Senior Management: It is too late to change anything. Please try to motivate top-guns and start do something with retention policy. People are not just numbers.
    • IBM buys companies for new technology, eventually outsource jobs overseas” Software Engineer (Former Employee), Littleton, MA. I worked at IBM for more than 10 years. Pros: People I worked with were all very nice. Good work-life balance, especially working from home was nice. Fairly good benefits. You may find an exciting position if you are lucky. Cons: Not as innovative as you'd expect. Sure, IBM invented Watson but it came from Laboratory, not from Software Group. Actually most of software portfolio came from acquisitions. Jobs by acquisitions will be outsourced overseas sooner or later.
    • IBM” IT Specialist (Current Employee), Washington, DC. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 5 years. Pros: Vast knowledge base, ability to move laterally if you are looking to move to a different position. Tech refreshes have been executed very quickly. Free use of IBM spaces. Cons: Poor promotional structure, intranet is extremely confusing and cumbersome to navigate. Company email is full of spam, forwards, and 'entire sector' emails; it's difficult to manage what deserves your attention.
    • IBM good place to work but always in fear of RA” Senior IT Consultant (Current Employee), Remote, OR. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 3 years. Pros: Good place to work if you can navigate the huge company. Cons: Always afraid of layoffs in the current environment and pay increases are non-existent. Advice to Senior Management: Employee morale is terrible and training and less RAs would help.
  • Glassdoor IBM Canada reviews

  • Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert. This week's topics include:
    • Wall Street Journal Profiles People Affected by Failure to Expand Medicaid…
    • …While Washington Post Profiles Those Whose Unemployment Benefits Ran out
    • Democrats Bail out Speaker Boehner to Raise the Debt Ceiling
    • Senate COLA Vote Restores Full Pension Benefits to Younger Military Retirees
    • AOL’s CEO Faces Backlash for Singling out Employees with High Health Care Costs
    • Mortgage, Home Equity and Credit Card Debt Increases among Seniors Ages 65-74
  • Washington Post opinion: The myth of maximizing shareholder value. By Harold Meyerson. Excerpts: Nevertheless, facts are facts, and the fact is that there is no legal requirement for for-profit companies to maximize returns to shareholders. When a company is for sale, its directors are required to do all they can to maximize its value. At any other time, corporate law simply dictates that directors are supposed to help the company prosper and do nothing to benefit themselves at the company’s expense. But no law requires corporations to maximize returns to shareholders. Say a company would prosper by hiring more skilled but more costly workers, by building a new factory or outlet, by spending more on research and development — even if such actions reduce returns to shareholders in the next dividend payment. Those actions are entirely legal, not to mention existentially smart. ...

    The idea that corporations exist to reward their shareholders arose not in a body of law but from the work of ideologically driven economists. In 1970, Milton Friedman wrote that business properly had but one goal: to maximize profits. The same year, Friedman’s University of Chicago colleague Eugene Fama argued that a corporation’s share price was always the accurate reflection of the enterprise’s worth, an idea that trickled down into the belief that the proper goal of a corporation was to boost its share value — particularly after most CEO salaries and bonuses became linked to that value.

    Beginning in the 1980s, when General Electric chief executive Jack Welch laid off more than a quarter of GE’s employees while driving its share value higher, American business abandoned its earlier “stakeholder” model — in which it sought to balance the interests of workers, shareholders and the larger community — in favor of the shareholder model, under which investment in promising new ventures and the pay and benefits of employees were sacrificed on the altar of short-term profits and share value.

    So stocks soar — the share value of the Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 30 percent last year — while wages and investment languish. ...

    Apologists for the 1 percent generally argue that our rising levels of inequality are the consequence of globalization and technological change — forces of nature over which mere people and nations have had no control. They often blame U.S. workers for lacking sufficient training. But they omit from their diagnosis the shift from stakeholder to shareholder capitalism. This is not surprising, as it’s a shift that Wall Street and corporate executives brought about.

    Indeed, the German economy is every bit as subject to the forces of globalization and technology as ours, but inequality is lower there, and German workers have more security and opportunity than ours, because German capitalism still adheres to the stakeholder model.

    If we think, as Wales apparently does, that our own form of capitalism is required by the legal obligations on corporations, we’re sadly misinformed. Shareholder capitalism is sustained not by law but by an institutional edifice of greed. The U.S. economy will not work again for the American people until they tear down that edifice.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site

Job Cut Reports

  • Comment 02/05/14: Just saw an email that there is a freeze on transfers into GBS NA till April 30th. This means the RA lists are being prepared! Good luck to all -Anonymous-
  • Comment 02/05/14: How can all THIS be motivating? We saw our GDP declining year-to-year, although IBM made record profits. We also saw our TCR/MBA decline at the same time... Quite frustrating for an employee to see that a company does not want to have their employees participate in case of good profit. Even now only "1" are worth? A "2+" is too bad so to speak? Oh no Ginni, come on. I think you can do better! -Anonymous-
  • Comment 02/05/14: SimpleMath - There is no safe place. I worked in SWG for many years and there were many layoffs there even though there was money being made. I suspect this layoff will include people from all divisions. -longtimebeemer-
  • Comment 02/06/14: Interesting timing of the job cuts if 2/26 is the day. That is the last day of the IBM Pulse conference, a major SWG customer event. Lots of emails to sales reps recently, pleading to get customers signed up, as enrollments are well below expectations. They don't want to disrupt the conference support effort, so my guess is that SWG will be hit right at the end of the conference. -htoad-
  • Comment 02/06/14: IBM is heading downward. They no longer care about their employees and there is no investment in people. Also, IBM used to be very innovative but more and more they are buying other companies to hide losses instead of creating new software or technologies. What about taking all the technologies they have and truly creating integrated solutions? IBM feeds on other companies that have succeeded instead of coming out with anything new themselves. You can only hide losses by cutting people for so long. I think it has got to the point where they are cutting into bone now. IBM you have forgot who got you to where you are. Mr. Watson must be turning over in his grave to see how you have ruined people's lives. So glad I got out of there. The company is doomed under current leadership. I went to another company and I have to say it feels so good to work for a company that has better pay, better bonuses, and better benefits. Good to know not every company is like IBM. -previous employee-
  • Comment 02/06/14: To htoad: Spot on. The last round of cuts in June came right after Innovate was over. Go figure. -IBMer-
  • Comment 02/06/14: I feel like a loyal partner who does not want a divorce but feels it is sadly inevitable between me and IBM. I've been too unhappy for too long. Life is too short for this. Let the RA come... -Ready for the divorce-
  • Comment 02/06/14: Contract employees let go this morning in Rochester. Not sure of the total numbers. Some were contacted last night at home while others were personally greeted this morning. -JustAnotherBrickInTheWall-
  • Comment 02/07/14: My time with IBM was a perpetual struggle to sneak genuine innovation past management and too many coworkers who saw it as disruptive to their quest to rise into the upper echelons of "leading and directing". The environment was generally such that one had to pour more time and energy into political innovation (that technical innovation *might* see the light of day) than into technical innovation. It wasn't about bringing the best widget to market: it was about bringing the best widget to market that - first and foremost - got those warring with each other over who got to "lead and direct" promoted.

    Okay, there was one other area of significant innovation: *talking* about innovation. The IBM I joined in 1985 slowly morphed into what might be called "Innovative Blathering Machine", clinging fiercely to corporate political correctness in the form of hollow phrases like"Six Sigma Quality", "Innovation that Matters", "Smarter Planet". LOL! I was constantly astounded by what a stupid planet IBM *itself* was, quashing innovation in the name of org charts every possible opportunity. The dichotomy between how IBM portrayed itself and what I knew about it was a perpetual source of fear, loathing, and insecurity, as in "just when *is* the other shoe going to drop?" Well, for me it dropped last summer when they kept younger slogan chatterers and got rid of the only person in the shop who could make machines sing.

    Word to the wise who make it through the next RA. If you want to innovate, go somewhere else. If you want to stay with Innovating Blathering Machine, put your finger on the pulse of business phrases in vogue, and chatter up that nonsense every chance you get in earshot of those who've come to equate innovation with being able to parrot that crap. And hope the ship doesn't completely sink before you reach retirement age, which for IBM is more like 50 these days. -truth-of-the-matter-

  • Comment 02/07/14: To -Proxy Reader-: You're being pretty naive. Yes, the executives all gave up their bonuses. Bonuses are **nothing** for the execs. That gesture was nothing more than smoke and mirrors designed to make them look better to all us minions (the real ones getting screwed). They may have passed on a million or two, but they make **tens or even hundreds of millions** in stock options. Believe me, they're not giving up those. Join the Alliance! -BigBlueBayou-
  • Comment 02/07/14: Internal document about software development explicitly states the projects are to be staffed with "millennials" . I guess old farts can't code . -Stinky Old Fart- Alliance reply: That is age discrimination. Please email us a copy or send hard copy.
  • Comment 02/07/14: Proxy Reader: Right you are! What the IBM executives should have done is willfully forfeit the stock options due instead of exercising and ca$hing them out for million$ on February 1st. That would show some executive leadership. IBM executives foregoing their BONUS as a leadership stance for a small GDP pool and no GDP for PBC 2+,2 is empty and contempt. But the IBM executives don't care as much for their BONUS for this year since it would have been much less this year due to lousy IBM revenues and they can make more or make it up in $tock option$. -anon-
  • Comment 02/07/14: Managers being forced to move employees coded as mobile to work at home. What does this mean? I can speculate, it revolves around the reporting of job cuts in specific office locations. So moving more bodies to work at home status may avoid the reporting requirements of cuts. Thoughts? -Anon-
  • Comment 02/07/14: Utilization rates in an IBM organization can range from say 110% ( I have not seen a utilization rate less than 110%) to 120% a year. Since IBM does not take your 'earned vacation', holidays , personal choice days or sick days into account a utilization rate of 110% means an employee works the equivalent of 44 hours or 5 1/12 days for all 52 weeks in the year (120% would be six days a week).

    Basically in IBM, with these utilization rates you have no 'earned vacation', holidays, personal choice days or sick time since you are 'expected' to work extra hours for any time off. You are also being evaluated on your achieving this 100% plus utilization rate.

    Since the older employee has more vacation time it appears to me that IBM is openly and clearly practicing age discrimination since the employee with more vacation time has to work more hours to compensate for their 'earned vacation'. For example, am employee who attempts to take their 4 weeks or 5 weeks vacation has to work an additional 132 (3 weeks time 44 hours at 110% utilization) or 144 hours (3 weeks times 48 at 120% utilization) over the employee who only has 2 weeks vacation. Join the union...one thing is for sure, IBM is not going to treat you any better in the future. -Joe-

  • Comment 02/08/14: Several area state lawmakers, Democrat and Republican, gathered with community activists and organized labor near the IBM Poughkeepsie facility on Thursday to decry company layoffs despite state subsidies of almost $1 billion to the company.

    They called the IBM grants "corporate welfare" and promoted transparency and accountability for large corporations. The activists said Big Blue has laid off or outsourced an estimated 4,000 jobs in New York. State Sen. Terry Gipson, D-Rhinebeck, said,

    "I think we"d be better off taking a lot of that money that we're giving IBM and other corporations like that and then investing it in the entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them create jobs. I have a bill, "Hire New York," that does just that."
  • Comment 02/08/14: My heart goes out to those who've recently received their undeserved PBC 3 ratings and are about to witness the drive train of the bus they've been thrown under go rumbling by. The truth is that all your feelings of being part of a team, of pride in working for a great company, of being a respected individual bringing innovation that matters to bear upon creating a smarter planet... all that... is about to evaporate as though none of your career ever happened.

    Managers whom you may have considered mentors will avoid you. Coworkers who were less effective than you will remain because of their age or other factors unrelated to skills and contributions. Furthermore, you will need to account for where you were with any ongoing intellectual property, package it, and turn it over to those same coworkers. If you work remotely, you will have to play the executioner to wiping your workstation clean, packaging it up, and sending it back. The joy you once knew in balancing work and life via that workstation, and being able to jump back into the ongoing action at all hours of the day and night will be gone.

    You will learn the hard, cold truth that IBM couldn't care less about innovation that matters or creating a smarter planet. Rather, it cares only about creating a more attractive stock. That is IBM's one true product. And oh, what a fool you've been for imagining that your participation was in the service of anything more than that purely abstract product. It's going to sting, and sting hard as the more-significant-than-you-could-have-imagined component of your proud identity known as "being an IBMer" is ripped from your chest. Welcome to the underbelly of the American Dream, the old and chipped lead paint beneath the thin veneer of corporate slogans. And good luck. -empathetic-

  • Comment 02/08/14: @-curious-: PBC skews, which vary according to business unit, are determined by the financial needs of the business. How was the financial performance of a business unit in the past year? Is a business unit looking to retain or separate Employees from the business? How much does Management plan to pay out in GDP bonus/variable pay in the coming financial cycle? How many Employees does Management plan to RA (fire) this year? (They will receive 3's so a record of "poor performance" can be "built" to justify firings and stave off lawsuits.)

    There are a host of other considerations that go into formulating skews, which are reviewed and re-reviewed by HR and Finance many times before they are finalized. Historically, the skew has been around 10% 1's, 25% 2+'s, 30% 2's, and 35% 3's. However, I have heard about VERY few 1's this cycle, so that may be as low as 1 or 2%, especially in light of Ginni's recent announcement that only 1's will receive GDP payments this year. -Voting Alliance Member-

  • Comment 02/08/14: @Proxy Reader: You need to look a bit further to Column "g", entitled "Non-Equity Incentive Plan Compensation", of the table on Page 43 of the document to which you refer. This is the compensation that Ginni said she and her reports would forgo in her "2014 Kickoff Message For All IBMers" presentation.

    In that same presentation, she went on to say that the vast majority of IBM Employees would also not be receiving Growth Driven Profit-Sharing Program (GDP) payments. Payments under both of these programs are often referred to as a "bonus" in the vernacular. The point of the original post was that just days after Ginni said "we did not generate a pool for GDP payments", she turned around and took $6M in zero-cost basis stock grants.

    Moreover, if you'll examine the 2011 Summary Compensation Table on Pages 42 and 43 a bit further, particularly Column "j", you'll see that Ginni's predecessor received almost $88M in Total Compensation for just the 3 years reported in that document. So, with apologies to William Shakespeare: That which we call an Executive Bonus by any other name would smell as foul. -Something's Rotten and its Stench is Getting Worse-

  • Comment 02/08/14: I was just reading an article on USA Today that was bashing companies for holding 401k matches until the end of the year. IBM and AOL were highlighted as examples. Not five minutes later, the front page had a news flash that AOL had reversed their decision. IBM stands alone. -Headed out-
  • Comment 02/08/14: I'm seeing a lot of questions in this forum about benefits, severance pay eligibility, disability, etc. This tells me that IBM Employees have completely lost faith in IBM Management as far as getting a straight answer about anything. On the other hand, if IBM Employees had a Labor Contract negotiated through Union Representation and Collective Bargaining, you wouldn't have to ask these types of questions because it would all be spelled out in your Contract.

    Moreover, you would also have a Shop Steward (who is NOT an IBM Manager and has the best interests of the Employees she or he represents at heart) available to answer questions and take grievances to Management. As has been mentioned before, having Union Representation may not be a perfect solution, but it is the ONLY ... I repeat, THE ONLY solution available to IBM Employees who fall under the jurisdiction of US Labor Law to get us out of our current predicament.

    Join the Alliance TODAY!!! The sooner we have enough IBM Employees join the Alliance, the sooner we can petition the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for a vote and begin negotiations for your wages and benefits that will be set forth IN WRITING, and not what some crooked IBM Senior Manager decides they're going to be! -Voting Alliance Member-

  • Comment 02/09/14: @-Voting Alliance Member- Further skewing of the percentages. Some groups were told that nothing higher than a 2 could be given. HR is a partner in the decision process defining to higher level management what the numbers "should be". -Anon-
  • Comment 02/09/14: Outsourcing STG sales to business partners is only the first step in a broader plan across IBM. Look at the pharma companies and be warned if you are in a sales role....in order to make Roadkill 2015, IBM will begin to transfer SWG sales roles to business partners; starting with items considered "commodity parts" such as WAS or portal.

    Sales reps will be fired en mass but will be allowed to be hired by business partners, just not for the same product/territory. Info Mgmt and Analytics will be the last to be sold off but all are vulnerable. You may get hired by the business partner, but at 2/3 your current pay. However, bonuses and commissions might be better...or at least easier to understand.

    STG is the first salvo but won't be the last. I suspect SWG CTP's will be spared, at least for awhile, since technical resources are hard to come by and are still needed. -Anonymous-

  • Comment 02/09/14: In regards to AOL reversing their decision on end of year 401(k) distribution and IBM not doing so, remember the Alliance had a petition against IBM's decision. Only 1000 signed. Why do you think IBM didn't reverse? By not signing the petition IBM workers gave IBM a green light. -Alliance-
  • Comment 02/09/14: For a while there I was thinking one of my biggest wastes of time as an employee was the yearly Business Conduct Guidelines certification. But suddenly I'm remembering all the time I wasted on the various "skills assessment" nonsense over the years, which meant absolutely nothing in terms of anyone ever contacting me because they needed someone with my skills, or the few times I went applying elsewhere internally, and I still had to somehow express all my skills explicitly in other ways despite having done so exhaustively many times in the so-called "smarter planet" of the internal IBM biosphere. Any companies outside IBM reading this: they don't even know the capabilities of those working for them. *Forget* about them getting anything requiring more than half a brain - e.g. *your* data right - right. -fooled-more-than-twice-blush-
  • Comment 02/10/14: Updates from the STG India. People were reacting to the sale of semiconductor business news rather harshly, well wishers were asking me when was I planning to leave IBM, and the others sarcastically asked me what am I still doing here in STG. Felt very embarrassed walking in the corridor today.

    The general perception here is that if you are still with IBM, it is because you did not find a job elsewhere. Phew !! that just means to say IBM STG is being considered the worst place to be at this time. We all at STG India would like to express solidarity with the IBM USA work force preparing for yet another RA in the coming weeks. Rest assured we do not feel any better being employed with IBM either. The flood gates are opening and I anticipate that we will lose all our above average work force in the next 3 months. Good luck to you all, I am sure there is life outside of IBM. bye for now, time to update my resume, keep in touch. -STG INDIA-

  • Comment 02/10/14: RAs started in STG Bangalore, hearing that large numbers impacted. Will keep you posted on the details as i get them. the job market is reasonably good outside and the average experience here is about 6-7 years. people are not too worried. most were anyway sick of the company and its junk policies. -Bangalore RAs started-
  • Comment 02/10/14: To -Anonymous- regarding Short Term Disability. I tried it both ways and unfortunately both backfired. When I became ill in 2009 (caused by IBM stress and 60-80 hour work weeks, BTW) my manager told me that I had two choices: tough it out or go on unpaid leave (which was incorrect, of course). I toughed it out, worked all the way through my illness including travel and was awarded with a 2 PBC and it was recommended that I find another job within IBM.

    When I became ill again in 2011 after changing jobs I decided to go the STD route to protect myself and to give myself the grace to be able to get better after 13 years of service. My 2nd line told me that I hadn't "given him enough headlights" and got really annoyed when I wouldn't tell him what I had. I had to get HR involved on that one.

    I came back full power after a 6 week leave and worked my tail off until I was let go without warning in 2013. No severance. PBC 2+ for 2011 and 2012. I figure that my 2nd line cut me as soon he could without it looking like it was directly tied to my leave. The crazy part is that I was an extremely high performing employee as soon as I got better. There is no empathy for someone dealing with anything personal - health, family issues, etc. It is very sad and I am so glad that I am gone. IBM has no heart. -BlindSidedinRTP-

  • Comment 02/10/14: To -Anonymous-: IBM doesn't give out severance to look good. IBM gives out severance to avoid unlawful termination lawsuits. I was a manager who had an employee with a drug problem, and I was advised by HR to offer a package to avoid such a lawsuit. -Ex-IBMer-
  • Comment 02/10/14: My manager gave me a PBC 3 and verbally told me that I was not a PBC 3. He implied that he had no choice. I just want the RA package at this point. IBM is not worthy of having me as an employee. That is sincerely my feeling now. I no longer respect IBM and no longer respect myself for continuing to work for IBM. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 02/10/14: STG System x management is creating a list of who will be moving to Lenovo as we are all aware off. However, what you may not be aware off is, not everyone in STG System x platform is moving over to Lenovo. The folks that are remaining with IBM will be given 90 days to find a job, if unsuccessful; you will be packaged out the same time your co-workers will be moving to Lenovo. The ones who move to Lenovo based on the PC acquisition have less than a 50% chance of keeping their jobs after two year. Word is you will know your faith within the next month. Good Luck all unless you daddy is in upper management to protect you. -Anon-
  • Comment 02/10/14: -BlindSidedinRTP- Based on what you said did you get a lawyer since Federal HIPAA Law was violated (your IBM second line did not have to know your specific illness, only your immediate FLM and/or IBM HR)? You were clearly violated as far as the federal law says. BUT, then again, going against IBM it is so tough to prove the fault(s) and who(s) culpable.. If your 180 day window is not up yet I would pursue a lawsuit against IBM. From this post you might have a good chance or winning a settlement, even if it is only your severance. This is precisely why we need an IBM UNION NOW! LIFE@IBM IS NOT GOOD for your health and for anything good. -trexibmer-
  • Comment 02/11/14: -BlindSidedinRTP-, You're certainly right that IBM has no heart. A team member was RA'd a few years ago as soon as he returned from STD, so when I went out on STD this year it was no surprise to me that I was RA'd as soon as I came back. I am much happier not working in the toxic environment that IBM has become. I suggest you consult a lawyer. The severance package is given to avoid lawsuits, you have nothing to lose. -LifesTooShort-
  • Comment 02/11/14: "I no longer respect IBM and no longer respect myself for continuing to work for IBM." Amen. And if anyone reading this comments section or has visited this Alliance website has not joined the Alliance yet then do you feel the same way about yourself? I could not respect myself either if I did not join the Alliance in solidarity to try to reform IBM. The Alliance has protected my anonymity so I am not afraid I joined. -anonymous_member-
  • Comment 02/11/14: IBM does not need to make you a PBC rating of 3 to get rid of an employee. You have no contract. You can be let go for no reason (Fire at Will). As one can see they are getting PBC 3 when they are not deserved. It's a tool to get you to work harder and add a veil of legitimacy before you are let go. -samtheman-
  • Comment 02/11/14: STG Bangalore literally turned into a slaughter house today. Several employees were called to a meeting and RA'd. Their TPs were confiscated and they were asked to vacate premises immediately. Severance package was on an average 3 months basic component of salary, which is like 6 weeks full pay. RA per department as on today:
    • SRDC 40%
    • Processors 15%
    • SRAM 80%
    • SSE Just began, final numbers not available

    RAs expected to last till Friday. The fear is that HCM might be wiped off totally in a day or two. EDA and methodology numbers not yet available.

    People broke down after seeing the inhuman treatment. Laptops along with the cases were confiscated, so several employees were seen crying and exiting building carrying and balancing their personal belongings with their two hands -STG INDIA-

  • Comment 02/11/14: Just heard from a colleague in Bangalore that job cuts there have begun. Workers asked to leave on the spot. He claims 6 out of 23 people in his department. -David-
  • Comment 02/11/14: I have been having this constant discussions with my managers about PBC ratings. It is not a mechanism to appreciate someones' work or abilities, but to deny the raises. The latest news was about Rometty 'not funding' the bonus. What the heck does that mean? She says, executives also will not receive it. But they get free stocks and millions in bonuses, anyway!

    She says we have to focus on the customer. I work hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime and yet, I don't see a raise nor a bonus.

    Then there is the novel idea of keeping the 401K match, till the end of the year. They are using our money to fund the salaries of the top execs.

    The regular IBMer is slogging and struggling and does not even get the wages he/she deserves. IBM is pathetic. And to push up the stock they will start laying off more. Makes no sense, when the regular IBM employees don't make the market wages and yet the company comes out with some stupid formula to say that we are some of the best paid, to deny raises. -Worried_at_IBM-

  • Comment 02/11/14: IBM today had a massive layoff in STG Bangalore more than 40% staff was let go off in a single day. Be it PBC 1 or 2 does not matter you are just asked to leave IBM premises by immediate effect. I fail to understand how joB cut will help management to achieve 20 EPS. The upper executives lack vision and clarity to restructure business process. Good bye to ibm hopefully will be in better place than ibm. -RA_STG_Bangalore-
  • Comment 02/11/14: I heard from someone who is close to many senior VPs that STG is going to be cut by 65%. Seems extreme but you never know... -RTPBased-
  • Comment 02/11/14: @RTPBased, I would not be surprised to see STG cut by 65%. x86 is as good as gone. Power is an overpriced architecture that can no longer compete on a cost-to-performance ratio. Mainframe is a behemoth that will trudge along, but at what price. Storage will struggle but survive simply because IBM thinks it can play in the Cloud business (good luck IBM). STG layoffs will just be the start in a week or so. There will be another massive layoff in the 3rd or 4th quarter as programs complete. The best thing in the world happened to x86 in being sold. The only question there is how long can anyone stay after 24 months. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 02/11/14: -BlindSidedinRTP- I returned from an STD and was notified of RA before a cup of coffee. The RA was finalized by my IBM Director. I also lost all my FHA. He never even acknowledged me as being a Quarter Century Club inductee. Basically I didn't exist in this Director's eyes anymore. Found out this IBM Director retired/quit IBM in December after at least 30 years and being at least 55 yrs. old (so he got his FHA and full pension) and in January became a President of a elderHealthcare company... Heaven help those folks being cared for there. I bet the care staff splits pills to save money to maximize profits. -STD'd&RA'ed-
  • Comment 02/11/14: To all IBMers in India: I feel bad to hear about your layoffs. I was RA'ed by IBM after 29 years of service. IBM destroyed my home town of Endicott NY with massive layoffs in the late 80s early 90s for nothing more than executive greed, The only thing that will stop this greed is a union. -ANA-
  • Comment 02/11/14: Clearly, the inept IBM Senior Executive Team, without a clue, is gutting the company to save their own sorry selves. This is only a start, this will get worse up to and beyond Roadkill 2015. For anybody who is left, either unionize and fight this crap or it's over. Don't let these thieves steal your lives. -IBM Doomed-
  • Comment 02/12/14: PBC for 2014 coming soon --- Hi All, we've just received an email from HR telling us that we should get prepared for 2014 PBC. Funny! Lets challenge management this year with regards to "why should I make PBC ... there is no money involved any more!". For me - given the actual situation - PBC is senseless. Cheers. -oliverro-
  • Comment 02/12/14: Workforce rebalancing has been announced in IBM Netherlands. About 240 people will be invited (project is described as manager induced voluntary leave), mainly from GTS and GIESS. Selection criteria among others: 1) Over 54 years old, 2) Under 40 and PBC 2 or worse for years in a row, 3) Band 5 and below, 4) Too many years of poor performance, 5) Role has become redundant. Managers will approach employees, all to be completed by April 1. -OnceProud-
  • Comment 02/12/14: I'm hardly surprised by IBM's selling off business units representing things that are hard to do. My PBC 3 rating in January of 2013 was a farce of Romettian proportions, a stunning demonstration of IBM's inability to recognize and leverage skill sets conducive to innovation and adaptability.

    Despite having far exceeded my business commitments, I was charged with being "distracted". Well, my"distractions" consisted of leveraging my software development skills to automate creation and testing of technical information deliverables, as well as automatically monitoring search engine rankings, and picking up additional skills to that end. Mostly on my own time, mind you, which is why I still managed to far exceed my business commitments.

    Had that happened in 2013 instead of 2012, it might have been called "Think 40". Instead, it was called "being distracted". Coworkers without such skills, or who didn't expand the scope of their skills in ways that could amplify their contributions were retained.

    Given that microcosmic snafu, it makes sense that IBM can't compete with companies that value "skilling outside the box", so to speak. IBM will cling to its obedient servants who are careful to not stray too far from doing things the same old IBM ways to the very end, which is clearly fast approaching - at least in ecosystems where innovation truly matters, and where the market is no longer fooled by abstract mumbo jumbo like "creating a smarter planet". The proof is in the pudding, and IBM's pudding is now no more than powder and water.

    Also, my condolences to Indian IBMers (well, *former* IBMers) who are now experiencing IBM's callous indifference. Seems like just yesterday (it was 4 years ago, actually) that my career shifted from software development to being shuffled between organizations that didn't really want me after my software development project was moved to India. Apparently it's your turn to be seen more as a commodity than a creative human being. -skills-be-damned-

  • Comment 02/12/14: To those unfortunate employees who have been mistreated and let go unceremoniously. .whether in Netherlands or Australia India or US...pls share this union site link with local and national media, local politicians, social media. Let IBM know how not to treat decent human beings. Tell your stories on national TV. Hit where it hurts. -mediakill-
  • Comment 02/12/14: Similar program in Germany as in Netherlands. About 400 people, mostly senior staff, from STG will be targeted. Including System p&z development. So much for all the praise that Schroeter did shed on the mainframe ... R&D budget is definitely to precious to be spent on breathing new life into this dinosaur. -anon-
  • Comment 02/12/14: Thought I would share since I know IBM management reads these comments. If you don't unionize and fight back then your only other option is to leave because you will eventually be fired. I went to another company and we have watched the senseless slaughter of good people by these endless firings, particularly in IBM hardware, with keen interest.

    You see, we have IBM equipment installed but since they have made it very clear they want out of the hardware business, we have decided for the good of our own company that we will help them get out of the hardware business even quicker. Which is why we are replacing IBM blades and Power machines with DELL blades, IBM DS8* storage units with EMC symmetrix, and IBM tape libraries with HP everstor.

    We can no longer bet the company on IBM's dismal long term prospects. Many of our business partners are doing the same thing. As for their services, mobile, cloud and data analytics, NO THANKS! You can keep your Watson and go play some more jeopardy. -misty-

  • Comment 02/12/14: Layoffs has started in Brazil. Based on the rumors, the target is over 1.500 resources. Good luck all. -IBMBR-
  • Comment 02/12/14: Am I the only one to sense that the IBM business model has failed? The cheap labor approach has failed and that was the crux of their plan. I suspect the board of directors will have to take drastic action soon. -Dave-
  • Comment 02/12/14: I was RA'd yesterday at IBM STG Bangalore, it was a ruthless meeting with manager and HR citing reasons which I could have debated for hours for their misdoing , as you are aware bosses are "always right" .. Gave 2 hours time to leave and laptop was seized. The treatment was gruesome and inhuman and I think IBM has trained the managers very well to take these action. To quote some examples of inhumanness , there is an employee who is on honeymoon unaware what is in store for him when he returns as he is on the hit list. -EX- Employee STG Bangalore-
  • Comment 02/12/14: I left IBM on my own a while while ago. I finally got fed up of people with no real interest in my career being in charge of it and took control back from them. I have to say that I have not been this happy for a looooong time. What's really sad is that it has come to this.

    When I joined IBM through an acquisition I thought it was a great career move with fantastic opportunities. Instead it became a millstone. I don't regret my time there, wonderful and talented people, some great products but overall it was a soul sucking experience that I am happy to have put an end to.

    It's sad but IBM has become a company run by accountants and accountants have little interest in real technological innovation. Overall I am sure IBM will survive in some form but I suspect that eventually it will become just another also ran in the technological race. -glad-to-be-gone-

  • Comment 02/13/14: The carnage in India is proof that multinational (especially US based) corporations will brutally do what is best for them and Wall Street. They will use India while India is cheap and then abandon it and move on to something cheaper - Africa is likely the nest exploitation target.

    Hence, it is important you also do what is best for you. This means slaving away for more than 40 hours is ill advised. PBCs and utilization ratings are designed to extract all your paid vacation time back to IBM. To hit the utilization that is required of you, you would have to work 44 hours or more. IBM would have gained back your paid vacation time. In the end, when you are old, IBM will have separated from you but the same will be said for your neglected family and life. PBC is a fraud that is used to discard you when needed or to make you needlessly work harder like the galley slaves on a Ben Hur Roman ship.

    People, without some form of collective bargaining/union you will just keep playing musical chairs and be abused by companies run by shareholders and crooked management - like IBM. Make sure to encourage others that will be staying to join the Alliance. Anyone try complaining to Buffet? Where is that much ballyhooed and supposed mid-western ethic, character and honesty when we need it?

  • Comment 02/13/14: In the old days IBM to me as an outsider translated to: well dressed, well spoken people executing a good strategy and selling top shelf, well designed products and services with great management and execution. Today IBM means to me: inept and dishonest management engaged in financial engineering, abuse of employees, product lines you don't want to buy because you don't know when it will be dumped by IBM, instability, poor execution on services/consulting etc. and chaos caused by a ill-conceived strategy of catering to the shareholder above the scared customer and the needs of your employee. -WhatIsIBM-
  • Comment 02/13/14: Its just not STG, Resource Action is going in SWG as well. It started today in Bangalore. Highest RA ever. Almost 70% fired today mostly PBC 2's.Hope they all find jobs soon. Team morale is really down. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 02/13/14: I am posting in this forum to let you know how things in India work. Will post more in the days to come. Corruption is a main issue in India. Someone rightly said "You bribe in foreign countries to get something illegal done but in India, you bribe to get what you are entitled to get done."

    Indian Government and entrepreneurs + actors and cricketers have looted the country for decades. Not many jobs have been created in India and without the IT boom, many of us would have been doomed without jobs.

    IT companies in India suck everything out of you - the life and what is left of the dead body. Working hours are long. Some companies even keep track of physical access to compute working time. Salaries are very low, rewards low. The top management and yes-men reap all the rewards. We are entitled to approx 20 vacation days per year but are seldom allowed to use them. >90% of Indian managers are junk and are just not fit for the job. There is lot of back stabbing and mutual welfare is very rare.

    A couple of years back, a new social movement promised much but we have not seen much yet - such deep rooted is corruption.

    Just as executives get paid well, our actors and cricketers are paid mammoth amounts. These people endorse products as well and our product prices are much higher because of it. Inflation is in double digit. Sometimes it is distressing to know that half the population is dishonest - we got the leaders we deserved. Government employees do not do their jobs without bribes. We have poor teachers in educational institutes. Another debatable point is the existence of reservation based on caste in education as well as jobs. How many know all about India? -An Indian dreaming for a better India-

  • Comment 02/13/14: @Belle I agree that IBM does not pay employees competitive salaries. I was laid off in the 2013 spring/summer RA within STG in Austin, TX. I was a band 6, and weeks after being notified of my RA I landed another job at a Fortune 500 company that pays 20K more per year than IBM paid me. HR/recruiting at my new job insisted this was the market value pay for most jobs in my experience bracket. To any IBM'ers still left in STG in Austin, join the Alliance and get out while you can! IBM does not pay any of you the competitive salary you deserve! -Anon-
  • Comment 02/13/14: IBM's Rometty meeting with Chinese officials to "restore trust" Really? Trust: please define it IBM. She doesn't even meet with resources in NY USA in Armonk's backyard. If she is abroad now she should go to India on the way back to "restore lost trust" due to the recent RAs. But I doubt she will. -Anonymous-

    Alliance reply: There is significant value in IBM's operations in China, and consider what amount of other (Global) US corporations have vested there, (many of IBM's customers) and the fact that China holds more than a $Trillion worth of US Treasury bonds that play a big role in the global market's "breathing apparatus". IBM Execs know which side their bread is buttered on, despite what they seem to do. IBM does not care as much about India as they do China. No uprising is allowed by workers in China.

  • Comment 02/13/14: Don't do your 2014 PBC! Seriously, the PBC doesn't matter. Your rating is already in and your RA date is probably determined already. Why waste your precious time? JOIN THE ALLIANCE instead of writing your PBC! Don't give IBM management and HR any satisfaction by doing it and obeying them. Your FLM is rated on PBCs done on time. Your manager and second line will then have to actually do their jobs.. FIGHT BACK DO NO PBC 2014 this way! -PBC'd-
  • Comment 02/13/14: Glad_to_be_Gone_too: Sobering words, all the more so for being consistent with what I experienced at IBM. Innovation *always* took a backseat to blind obedience to management and project management. *ALWAYS*.

    After a while it became kind of a game of chicken with reality, knowing that innovating would cast one in a bad light, thus making skill acquisition mostly a waste of time, and yet suspecting that there would have to be competitive marketplace consequences *somewhere* along the line. And so now there's this glut of RA'd IBMers looking for work who didn't have to be much more than sheep to succeed within IBM, and thus are wholly unprepared to compete with those who worked in truly innovation-driven environments.

    The IBM tech stigma/stain is painfully valid. At 52, I can only hope to catch a break and be able to personally demonstrate the skills that I acquired independent of the IBM internal games demanded by managers and project managers, which I mostly had to hide/bury while with IBM in order to not be labeled and penalized as "distracted" or otherwise not as much of a "team player". -sadly-concurring-

  • Comment 02/13/14: Not as an employee, but as a stockholder (at least at present) I have to wonder what IBM executives are thinking? Continued job cuts can only indicate they are either making significant efficiency improvements (trust me, this isn't happening) or they are conceding defeat in existing markets and wishfully expecting success in all new ventures). I'm guessing it's the latter so as a stock holder, I'm very concerned. -Jeff Johnson-

    Alliance reply: There is a 3rd possibility: IBM realizes that their "offshoring" strategy since 1999 was never really designed for any long term stockholders other than their own executives. Their business model of destroying hardware and buying other small software and services companies to boost their revenue and stock price is showing the weak fibers of its fabric.

    IBM employees have been the "whipping boys & girls" at every turn in their quest. As a stock holder, you must have seen this in the past 15 years.

    Our mission has always been to get the US IBMers to see this and step yup to the plate and do something about it. It's the "same ole same old". The stock holders (not the executive ones) should also organize as a share voting block and demand that IBM cease the idiocy that it continues to practice. Just a suggestion.

  • Comment 02/13/14: Another interesting phenomenon that was applied in executing the RA in IBM India are mentioned below: 1) All departments/business units have a head count freeze—this means that no department has the hiring approval from IBM USA to increase HC. 2) Freeze on internal business unit transfers—no one is allowed to move from one department to another. 3) PBC ratings were a gimmick. (Lots of top contributors fired yesterday. I have been closely monitoring the situation and this RA action is affecting 400 to 500 IBMers. -Current STG Staff_fearing RA-
  • Comment 02/13/14: Comment regarding Rometty trying to restore trust—Ginni does not want trust since she does not care. She only wants to somehow ensure that the sales targets for China can be met. Nothing matters for that girl—just plain dollars. She already sold her soul. Hope the Chinese government does not care either and buys somewhere else. -oliverro-
  • Comment 02/13/14: Had my Yearly PBC appraisal at IBM East Fishkill NY and utilized all 4000 word characters to justify what I had accomplished. My manager review explained that I walked on water and still only received a 2 rating. Another coworker also received a two rating with only a paragraph input using a cut and paste approach; with protest told his manager that he could not sign it and he signed it for him.

    Also, heard that 50% of PBC reviews including management were only rated a two and we would not be receiving our usual yearly variable pay. Interesting part is that upper management wasn't signed or closed out anyone's 2013 PBC and the link from PBC Blue pages is no longer available.

    No talk about this Year's 2014 objectives. Serious manpower and morale issues here and with the new pending layoff have never recovered from the last STG layoff.

    Our site also had a complete reorganization and our new micro manager never as much looks you in the eye and we haven't had a department status meeting since then. Told another employee that before his second line told him about the previous layoff he had already heard about it from a member of the Alliance!

    They just don't care; no longer in the PC business with the manufacture of computer micro chips up for grabs. Main interest now is for their corporate shareholders. Using expendable employees as blood money and everything going down the drain!! -Corporate Greed

  • Comment 02/13/14: IBM continues to block Alliance email alerts to internal addresses. To ensure that you get the alerts please join the Alliance in any of our 3 levels of membership. https://afl.salsalabs.com/o/4004/donate_page/alliance-join OR http://action.cwa-union.org/content_item/allliance-signup -Alliance-
  • Comment 02/13/14: Dear Indian "IBMers" (soon to be ex-), I am thinking of starting a campaign against IBM's atrocities, perhaps by getting a few politicians and media people involved. But of course, one individual doing it won't carry any weight and only create negative publicity for the "revolters". (You know how these things work in India.) Are you willing to lend me your support? If a substantial amount of willingness to support flows in, I will reply here again with more details on how we can organize -Anonymous from India-

    Alliance reply: There is an organization in India that is affiliated with the IBM Global Union alliance. It is UNITES Professionals and the email is unitesprofessionals@gmail.com We encourage all IBM India workers to contact them.

  • Comment 02/13/14: Taking a Poll - How many folks who got PBC 3's had the word "distracted" in their reasoning speech? I did! It makes me laugh to think the "Brain Trust" actually had to script this stuff. Show of hands? -FUBAR-
  • Comment 02/13/14: -Corporate Greed !!- 4000 words? PBC wise in Research one has to summarize a years worth of one's accomplishments onto a single PPT slide that includes a picture of you so management know's who they are talking about. Only after you get your # and feedback in early January can you actually fill in boiler plate and submit via the on-line process. -anonymous-
  • Comment 02/13/14: PBC 3 without the word "distracted" here. I truly felt my manager and his manager were forced into handing out the 3's, despite nobody left actually being a 3. They wrote absolutely nothing negative on my PBC 3 other than the 3 itself. I am one of the last US technical resources left on my project, so this is likely what made me a candidate for the 3. What angers me is why not lay me off? Why insult me with a 3 that I do not deserve? Is it because IBM is trying to avoid giving me a severance package? I am very suspicious now. I think this is another new GAME (like the 401K match delay) intended to save money (severance) and screw the employees. The only thing IBM is good at anymore is saving money and financially engineering it into earnings. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 02/13/14: Count me in...I was told I was "distracted" because of a family illness that went on for 9 months! I didn't do enough as others in my band. -distracted-
  • Comment 02/13/14: -Corporate Greed- It makes no difference if your PBC results are 4000 words or 2 sentences, it is a total waste of time. Your PBC rating was decided many months before you documented your results. I was a manager for awhile in the 1990's and I would tell my employees not to waste a lot of time writing and documenting results in PBC. It is all a joke to make the employee feel like they have some control over their destiny ! -longtimebeemer-
  • Comment 02/13/14: <slaps self in the forehead> OMG! Had I only not wasted so much time creating PBC's, documenting accomplishments, sitting through assessments that had little to do with what I documented, becoming certified in conduct guidelines that executives trample in spirit if not letter, updating skills databases that would never be consulted, becoming certified in open source guidelines that I'd never be allowed to exercise, learning about patent processes that I'd rarely have time to pursue, learning about agile processes that were really primarily waterfall processes merely called agile to sound good, reading DOM's, and seemingly endless other tasks not burdening those competing with IBM, I JUST MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN SO FRIGGIN' *DISTRACTED* AND THUS GOTTEN A 2 INSTEAD OF A 3! -for-the-love-of-sudden-enlightenment-
  • Comment 02/14/14: I was with IBM STG till 2012. Had to quit. Reason ??? It's obvious.... PBC. I was rated 3 in 2011 for not getting along well with my manager and being more of a challenge to him. I was much more skilled technically and otherwise than him. However, he was skilled in making his top management happy at the cost of people like me (poor employees). I was band 8 and an Architect still struggled to prove my point. Even after going through IBM's so called grievance shell "The Open Door". All nonsense. I was told your manager has assessed you correctly. The next year I worked for another group and rated PBC 1 (very rare a gentlemen & honest manager). I got an offer with 50% more salary. I never thought my market value is such. In my exit interview with HR I was told PBC is the reason. She said...."But, you are rated 1". I said, check my last year's PBC. And as most of the people mentioned here, "distraction" word was there as usual. -Glad-I-Left_STG_2Yrs_back-
  • Comment 02/14/14: IBM management seriously lack the meaning of the term good will. The enemies they create in mistreated employees will prove fatal. They basically created an army of people bad-mouthing IBM and its products at companies and conferences. Idiots Become Managers. -Foo-
  • Comment 02/14/14: I shake my head at some of the arrogance here per 'all the real 3s are already gone and now they're picking on us superstars' Come down off your thrones, you stars getting hit now are no more special than many who have lost their jobs throughout the years. Wake up. IBM Management doesn't care for alleged superstars either. Join the Union. -Not a star-
  • Comment 02/14/14: IBM India Rational Labs on the firing line coming Monday -blindIBM-
  • Comment 02/14/14: I did a search on LinkedIn this am and guess who had the most postings? .........yup, IBM. A ton of Coop and Intern positions. Did you also know that there is a program office that is chartered with finding kids of executives with those internships? It's true. Openly posting for internships and coops, the would likely lead to hiring a new hire after letting go of experienced workers. Search in New York under "Transformation" Project management, etc. and you will see. -Bluewho?-
  • Comment 02/14/14: It's worth Googling for "IBM values" and "IBM values at work" -- I took a moment to sit down and read these, very seriously. From my interpretation, I'd say the corporation is meeting at best 50% of these, mostly on the "innovation" side -- and, sadly, the innovations seem to be "creative tax dodges, ruthless cost optimization, and workforce reshuffling." Dedication to Every Client and Trust/Responsibility/Relationships are blatantly lacking, to the point where I think investors could call senior leadership on the carpet. These sorts of airy-fluffy intangibles might not mean much compared to"earnings per share," but, in my experience, they ARE ultimately linked to success or failure. -SimpleMath-
  • Comment 02/14/14: TechWire asked: "Can someone enlighten me as to what IBM's new strategy really is?" It appears IBM does not have a strategy, or at least it's in shambles. Here is the proof: IBM announces on a Friday that they are selling the semiconductor arm of their business and then 3 days later, announce that they are a not selling it. A decision like that is a long term strategy and for IBM to flip like this proves they don't have one. IBM has dug its own grave by the tunnel vision of higher EPS and Road-Kill 2015. The morale of IBM's employees, their life blood, is at an all-time low. IBM's chickens have come home to roost and the upper level execs are thrashing. -NoStrategy
  • Comment 02/14/14: The best manager I ever had at IBM was full of creative ideas and practical solutions. But while he always had his opinion, he WANTED his staff to challenge him, rip his ideas to pieces and help build a better plan. Everyone, whatever level, was listened to equally. He created a awesome, fun environment.

    Unfortunately he managed up the same way he managed down, and he equally challenged his management and championed his employees. This did not sit well with the IBM senior management who simply want to issue orders, not be part of a conversation. Ultimately he left in frustration, even though IBM didn't want him to (probably because customers loved him, due to his refusal to up-sell anything until the stuff they'd already paid for was working as the sales guy promised).

    Every single communication I see from senior management is about numbers or vague high-level abstract ideas with nothing tangible attached to them. IBM is sinking because of the obsession with saving a penny now, even if it means giving up a dollar down the road. -On the way out-

  • Comment 02/14/14: So I had a PBC 1, but it came at a lot of cost; worked 70-80 hour weeks for many months, not by choice but I got assigned to multiple project because there were no people left to work on them. I did not even spent Xmas with my 2 year old because I was working all the time. I am seriously considering looking out for a new job but it makes me wonder if other companies could be better. How could they?. Corporate greed is not isolated to IBM; don't all companies exploit their employees to the max? I am hopeful there is a better place. -FrustratedAndExhausted-
  • Comment 02/14/14: Having worked for IBM in India, I have tons of internal material which highlights the fraud going on within IBM in India. BCG violations are going viral in that country. The legal department team of IBM India outsources work to their relatives; the top management team scams millions to line their own pockets; the talent hired is so below par it is a joke; the list goes on. Of course the "ivory tower" in Armonk is aware, as it was escalated to them. As a result, the India MD Shanker Annaswamy was recently offloaded for another as ?competent? manager. The entire organization lacks the ethics required to be a a sustainable business model. Maybe that will be Palmisano & Rometti's legacy -Indian-
  • Comment 02/14/14: My advise.....I was RA'd last year and I felt bad at that time, but now I am so glad IBM gave me that push in the back. For a long time I contemplated of leaving, but that RA was the push I needed. Now, I earn MUCH more and I do a job I really like. And I took the severance as a nice gift.

    I was not unemployed for a single day and I had multiple job offers and interviews almost every day. Many RA'd people with good skills don't have to worry...you may be thankful later on that IBM gave you that push in the back to find a better life. That's how I see it. A lot of folks have to focus on a life outside of IBM...don't assume it is your destiny to stick around in IBM until you retire.

    If you are still in IBM, it is critical to do projects and sharpen skills that you really need in your interviews. So, cut down on anything Microsoft Office related and meetings...do design work, or even programming. Also, get in the faces of clients as much as possible and show what you can do. Remember, it is NOT important what IBMers think of you, as it really does NOT matter, but make sure you look good to clients and business partners you work with. -Fairness101-

  • Comment 02/14/14: In the 12 years I was at IBM, the company changed drastically. It started with little things (no more free lunches, etc) and eventually ended with major changes ( 401K), which mostly affected us blue collar workers. The morale after the summer 2013 layoffs was infectious and I honestly hated going to work. I combated this by just working from home, but in the end I just saw too many people who didn't care anymore. A lot of people had and still have the "I'm waiting for my [severance] package" mentality, which I will admit, I had for some time as well.

    I also saw many friends who were laid off, struggle to find jobs and that really bothered me. I spent the better part of six months studying and applying for jobs outside of IBM. I frequently encountered negative comments and stereotypes about IBMers from recruiters, HR personnel, and other engineers. Unfortunately, regardless of your skill set there is a general pessimism towards IBMers. I think the longer your tenure at any company, the more skepticism people will have towards your skill set.

    Looking back I think I thought the severance package was worth waiting for mainly because I had started to believe what some managers at IBM had instilled in me: fear and self-doubt. Many times when I complained about pay, bonus money, or ratings, I got the good old "you should be happy you have a job". The last one my manager gave me was,"IBM offers a lot of flexibility for you and your family".

    It is not IBM's responsibility to keep you skilled, but it?s usually good question to ask yourself: can this job/company help me grow professionally? I feel pretty blessed that I left and I think it was a smart move emotionally and professionally. I have encouraged friends to leave as well, but for some that just seems impossible. I don't think you can right the ship, there are just too many messed up things going on there. I hope the best for all IBMers and hope that I am wrong about IBM. Good Luck IBMers. -goodluck and goodbye-

  • Comment 02/14/14: Verbally told of PBC 2 for 2013 despite good performance and significant overtime, though it's not in writing yet. I was told I hadn't done any major redesign of my program, but I've regularly said that it doesn't need any and the people in it agree. I used to get regular PBC 1's and never less than 2+ or old 2, so really disappointed. And I found out that there's no 2013 GDP by accident since I hadn't had time to watch Ginni's 30-minute video in which (I now discover) she obliquely mentions PBC 1's will get GDP and so we have to infer nobody else will. Yet profit last year was still over $25b and we found money to buy back more crazy numbers of shares to keep the price up for the execs' share options. It's not good, is it? -Can't Say UK-
  • Comment 02/15/14: Its been confirmed about SWG in IBM India having resorted to RA's. Not published in news articles yet. Resource names have been finalized, and will be communicated to SWG employees next week. -Sam-
  • Comment 02/15/14: IBM - people say human resource makes a company and human resource sinks a company. The so called IBM leaders have failed every workers hard work and every policy. My only question to these so called executives and think tanks is what were they doing when Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Oracle were laying their foundations. What were they doing when Google, Amazon and others were busy in changing the face of technology...probably making plans to cheat employees of their money and office politics to get their ass l*ckers a promotion. IBM clients need to know that they cannot get good services til their suppliers are good. What can you expect from a supplier who does not care about their own employees; how can they take care of your needs? -None-
  • Comment 02/15/14: Did anyone think that all of this make the employees unhappy is a long term strategy? Tim Ringo did mention that the long term strategy for IBM is to reduce head count by a 66% - particularly in high cost areas US/Europe etc. By creating mass panic and unhappiness, they would have made many people to leave on their own without having to pay severance. According to Tim, IBM wants to reduce employee related expenses and wants to automate or contract its way out of employee obligations and expenses. However, this is short sighted of US corporations.

    As people are under employed or unemployed they lack the buying power to purchase goods or services which, in the end will comeback to affect US corporations - as it is already. For example, if fewer people are coming to the malls or shops, IBM will sell less Informix-based retail equipment to retailers, etc. Of course, the idiots in IBM management and Wall Street do not think deeply. They rule by Cognos reports and metrics in an ivory tower. -Think Deep-

  • Comment 02/15/14: from the India folks: This sudden and completely unexpected move by IBM has created ripples across the IT industry, as such behavior by the management is only expected by a B-grade company having no morals or ethical responsibility towards its employees. Being an ex-IBMer, I still cannot relate and accept this situation. I am amazed at how complacent people get in their jobs. The India plant has only been around since the turn of the century and they thought they had it made.

    I saw one post from an Indian employee on here saying how much more talented and skilled they were than their US counter emps. Well, the skill sets have leveled out now, huh? IBM just axed 2000 in India not-a-star hit it spot on. Listen to what he said.

    Remember the drive that got you here because that is the drive you will need for sitting back in your chair soaking up the temporary employee benefits. Do something to make others proud. Stand up for yourselves and Unionize. You have already proven to management you are not worth fighting for, thus the layoffs. Make them put their focus on making more money and not cutting costs by standing up and being brave.

    I left IBM for a better job, but I will be the first to admit, there are not a lot of "better jobs" out there. The corporation I work for has the same push on its employees, long hours, 24x7 availability expectations, carry a cell phone for the company, good pay, skimpy benefits, and a non caring jerk for a manager. No greener grass on the other side. -not-a-star 2-

  • Comment 02/15/14: For those that are new in IBM, the PBC system is a *ranking system* and not a *rating system*. IOW somebody has to be on top and someone has to be on the bottom even if you all walk on water. It's like trying to win at the rigged games at a carnival midway. The only time you will win is if the carnival barker let's you win. -#23_Grease-
  • Comment 02/15/14: IBM is coming across more and more everyday as a company which has bastardized the concept of ethical behavior and management. Truth is it will never sustain in the long run. IBM is doomed. Wall Street is going to get a rude shock soon. I pity the average IBM investor who is being taken for a ride. It will soon be over and will be very painful for hundreds of thousands if employees and many clients. Clients who are still trying to sign deals with IBM better watch their backsides b4 its too late. -orgethics-
  • Comment 02/15/14: Your 60-hour work week is not a badge of honour. It is a problem.

    There is a sense of pride over being able to state that we worked an exorbitant amount of hours this week, last week, or last month. I know because I've done it in the past, and probably still do it *sigh*. After all, saying you worked a 60 hour week is indirectly telling the listener how busy your design firm is; how successful your product is; how important you are to your employer. It's essentially a humble brag.

    But as you dig into the 60-hour work week, you realize it is a problem. Not just for the obvious reasons either, like work/life balance, burnout, how unhealthy it is, errors that come with being tired and so forth. http://jeffarchibald.ca/60-hour-work-week-badge-honour/ -anonymous-

  • Comment 02/15/14: All clues indicates RA in STG China will be on next week, some teams required all regular employees in office on Tuesday. It's not easy to fire an employee in China, labor law requires some specified procedures and conditions to relieve the contract; minimum severance package is also better than US and India If IBM makes me unhappy on the severance, I would unionize other RAed and charge a lawsuit. -ChineseLabor-
  • Comment 02/15/14: What happens when you swap out all your experienced personal with interns? Here is why Boeing 787 is grounded AGAIN in 2014.

    HubG Precisely. But we should not be too soft on Boeing: It was the bean counters at Boeing that heard about the general malicious rumour that 'you can get rid of your top employees, to whom you pay "too much", and let your other employees "rise to the occasion" - do their jobs for less pay.'

    It was the mentally challenged bean counters who offered early retirement packages, and got rid of the people who knew how to do the job. And so the time came that production at Boeing ground to a halt! The guys that knew the proper work-arounds to assembly problems had gone. Obviously, the same false propaganda was applied to the designing and engineering personnel. These basic faults should have never been there in the first place. It puts Boeing at the level of technically challenged Chinese car makers." http://news.sky.com/story/1195209/dreamliner-grounded-as-white-smoke-spotted -Boeing-

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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