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Highlights—July 5, 2014

  • Alliance@IBM:

    Press Release.

    Full excerpt: IBM employees of the Technical Support Services division (maintenance, planning, support & operation) continue their action, following the management's ploys to break up the movement.

    The Technical Support Services division (maintenance, planning, support & operation) of IBM France, whose employees went on strike from 23 to 26 June, is prolonging the action. Client interventions and operations outside of business hours, as well as on-call duties are no longer carried out.

    Faced with the employees' refusal to carry out on-call duties this weekend, IBM's management tried to break up the social movement by having Belgian, Romanian and British employees intervene.

    To answer this, the TSS employees met this Monday 30 June 2014 at a general assembly called by the trade unions (CFDT, CFTC, CGT, FO, UNSA) and decided to continue the action until the management agrees to come back to the negotiating table. This decision was adopted by a very large majority.

    The employees' main demands are a general wage raise, a revision of the on-call duty agreements, and an improvement of the working conditions. Since 2013, two successive layoff plans have led to 1,000 job cuts out of around 9,000 in France, and have deeply damaged working conditions.

    II the action were to last longer, it would have a negative impact for IBM France's clients. Some large clients have already expressed their worries regarding IBM's current inability to carry out repair and maintenance operations outside of normal business hours.

    The TSS employees organized the nation-wide movement on their own. The trade unions actively assist them and are committed to supporting them for the duration of the protest.

    Contacts:

    • Jerome Baudin
      CFDT trade union representative
      tel : +33 6 85 03 33 90
    • Regine Delebassee
      CGT trade union representative
      tel : +33 6 61 84 84 10
    • Patrice Troccy
      FO trade union representative
      tel : +33 6 84 42 69 06
    • Pierry Poquet
      UNSA trade union representative
      tel : +336 88421119
    • Jean Paul Bouvier
      CFTC trade union representative
      tel : +33 6 84 53 36 13
    • Frank Setruk
      CGC trade union representative
      tel : +33 6 08 72 27 29
  • Alliance@IBM:

    IBM France employees of the Technical Support Services division are on a national strike. Full excerpt: Following years of decrease in purchasing power, the deterioration of working conditions and because of growing contempt by IBM's management, the workers of the TSS division began a national strike on Monday June 23. Their goal is to receive compensation for the decline over the past years.

    IBM TSS employees demand the following:

    • a 5% raise for ALL employees, with at least an additional 200 Euros net per month. No conventional wage below the guaranteed minimum.
    • a reevaluation of the indemnities for on-call duty and activities outside regular business hours precise and detailed commitments from IBM management regarding working conditions following the layoff plans.

    More information here: pressrelease2014june24thibmfrancetss1.htm And the latest press release on management attempts to break the strike here: pressrelease2014june30thibmfrancetss2.htm

    The TSS workers organized this strike on their own with the help of France unions. Not all of IBM France is unionized.

    Worldwide, IBM employees are fed up with the management induced decline of IBM, Roadmap 2015 and the mistreatment of employees. Organizing worldwide is a priority.

    Are you tired of working in fear? Tired of the disrespect from management?

    Join the Alliance and regain the dignity and respect you deserve! http://afl.salsalabs.com/o/4004/donate_page/alliance-join

    The officers and members of the Alliance@IBM

  • CETRA (Cebtri de Estudios del Trabajo):

    83.5% Workers National Union of IBM strike voted. (Spanish to English machine translation provided by Google.) Excerpts: Members of the National Union of Workers of IBM (ITRS), which represents about 340 employees of the multinational in the IT sector in Chile, made official yesterday before the Labour Inspectorate, voting 83.5% of employees, for strike, and the rejection of the latest offer from the company that was zero weights. ...

    For the union president, Jorge Ojeda, the outcome of the vote "is a clear sign of grassroots support to the negotiation process, which began several weeks ago, and where we raised among other things, a wage increase of 75 thousand dollars for each worker and contract term to three years. "

  • Poughkeepsie Journal:

    IBM deal may mark end of era. By Craig Wolf. Excerpts: An exit by IBM Corp. from the business of making its own microchips would mark the end of an era not just for IBM but for the industry.

    That's the view of a veteran analyst of the semiconductor business, senior market research analyst Rob Lineback of IC Insights Inc., based in Scottsdale, Arizona. He said IBM is the last of the big integrated computer companies to make its own chips. ...

    Some employees have been told to expect changes and that they could get word this week. IBM isn't commenting. The change, according to some press reports citing unnamed people who would be in a position to know, is that IBM is looking to sell parts of its chip business, most likely the manufacturing end, and most likely to an existing partner, GlobalFoundries. ...

    The impact on the people working at IBM remains unclear, but the rumors flying have left people unsettled, said Lee Conrad, national organizer for the worker group Alliance@IBM. "I think they're just waiting for the shoe to drop," Conrad said. "They're scared to death inside IBM now."

    The East Fishkill complex, opened in 1962 and built up over decades, had as many as 11,600 people working for IBM there in 1984, back when IBM reported jobs by site. IBM no longer reveals site populations. But it had an average of 3,675 employees in 2013, according to a required company posting seen by members of the Alliance@IBM worker group.

  • MarketWatch:

    China pulling the plug on IBM, Oracle, others. Move to ditch foreign mainframes benefits Huawei, Inspur. By Li Xiaoxiao, Qin Min, Zhang Yuzhe, Nan Hao, Qu Yunxu and Zheng Peishan. Excerpts: E-commerce companies and banks in China are scrapping hardware and uninstalling software for mainframe servers made by American suppliers in favor of homegrown brands said to be safe, advanced and a lot less expensive.

    The movement has taken special aim at products made by the American companies IBM Corp., Oracle Corp. and EMC Corp.— a tripartite powerhouse with deep roots in corporate IT departments across China. ...

    The switch to servers made at home has been a slow process for Chinese banks. Ultimately, the banks’ IT experts have been making these decisions, although they’re being encouraged by the government to choose Chinese suppliers, according to a source close to the China Banking Regulatory Commission.

    The now-famous 2013 revelations involving former U.S. computer-security expert Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on government espionage, gave a boost to proponents of the De-IOE campaign.

  • New York Times:

    David Ferrucci: Life After Watson. By Steve Lohr. Excerpts: David Ferrucci has left I.B.M., and Watson, and joined the hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates.

    To the degree there was a human face of Watson, the “Jeopardy!” computer champion, it was David Ferrucci. He was the I.B.M. researcher who led the development of Watson, an artificial intelligence engine. The goateed computer scientist was always articulate and at ease in front of a camera or a microphone.

    Dr. Ferrucci has left I.B.M. to join the giant hedge fund Bridgewater Associates. And the weight of the Watson-related fame, it seems, played a role. “I was so linked to the Watson achievement, and where I.B.M. was taking it, that I felt I was almost losing my identity,” he said in a recent interview.

  • Internet Retailer:

    An IBM e-commerce executive moves over to eBay’s technology arm. By Abby Callard. Excerpts: EBay Inc. announced today it has hired Craig Hayman as president of its eBay Enterprise business, the online marketplace’s e-commerce technology arm. Hayman has experience at IBM's Industry Cloud Solutions and WebSphere businesses.

    "We are fortunate to have Craig join our leadership team and lead our Enterprise business unit," eBay founder and CEO John Donahoe says. "Technology continues to have a significant impact on the overall commerce landscape. Craig's experience will enhance our ability to serve retailers and brands in this online to offine world."

    Hayman spent 15 years at IBM in various leadership roles. He led the company’s campaign to become a provider of software-as-a-service, which means clients subscribe to the software and access it via the web rather than installing it in their one data centers. IBM introduced its Commerce on Cloud SaaS option in May 2012 to complement the licensed IBM Websphere software used by such big online retailers as Staples Inc., No. 3 in the 2014 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, Sears Holdings Corp., No. 5, Liberty Interactive Corp., No. 6 and Office Depot Inc., No. 9. Hayman also oversaw IBM's acquisitions of more than a dozen companies in e-commerce and online marketing.

  • ComputerWeekly:

    Roadchef exits IBM Global Services for direct supplier relationships. By Karl Flinders. Excerpts: Motorway services company Roadchef ended an outsourcing contract with IBM Global Services (IBM GS) when its IT was up for refresh and decided to move to SAP.

    The company, which has about 3,000 employees, recently completed the refresh and insourcing project, which cost £4.5m, and is set to save £1.5m a year.

    Nathan Sharkey, head of IT at Roadchef, said that in 2012 the company’s plan was to replace IT systems that had not evolved over a number of years. The ERP system needed to be replaced. Roadchef was using a Sage Line 500 ERP system and outsourced its IT to IBM GS.

  • The Four Hundred:

    Saxena Leaves IBM, Watson Not Talking. By Dan Burger. Excerpts: I wonder if Watson saw this coming?

    We all know Watson, the cognitive computing in a can with a resume that includes TV star and all-time Jeopardy! king of the hill; medical advisor at the Cleveland Clinic, MD, Anderson Cancer Center, WellPoint, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; and high profile shopping assistant with clients such as The North Face, MD Buyline, Welltok, Travelocity, and Kayak.

    IBM has placed a $1 billion bet on the hotshot Watson, believing the cognitive capabilities will fit comfortably inside a set of products that within "the next 20 years will change computing as we know it today." Those words were spoken by Manoj Saxena, who last November had been named general manager of Watson Solutions. Saxena was one of the keynote speakers at IBM's Enterprise2013 conference. "Once Watson is commercialized," Saxena said, "we will draw a line in the sand and say: Before this time, computing was nothing more than a giant calculator that could only understand zeroes and ones and structured data. After Watson, there will be cognitive computers that can understand language, syntax, and semantics. Cognitive computers will reason, think, understand and learn from information."

    Last month, Saxena resigned from IBM to become a managing director of a venture capital firm called The Entrepreneur's Fund. His special assignment will be investing in startups that leverage cognitive computing.

  • EE Times:

    IBM Needs Custom Silicon Prowess. By Anonymous IBM employee. Excerpts: The following opinion article was contributed anonymously by a current and long-time employee of IBM's semiconductor group in response to our recent series on the outlook for IBM as a chip maker.

    Semiconductor process technology is vital to IBM's server business, but it's not clear even some of IBM's top executives understand that reality.

    As an employee of IBM's microelectronics division, I am biased but I think there is still a place for our Z-series and P-series computers using processors based on that silicon technology. Perhaps our servers will not sell at the volumes they once enjoyed, but I think they could find a smaller market for banks that can't afford to go over to the cloud.

    One of the key process technologies at IBM is silicon-on-insulator and one of its key uses is making trench capacitors for embedded DRAM. This technology offers huge competitive advantages and has been presented at top technical conferences such as ISSCC. EDRAM only really works if you use a trench capacitor not a stack as the ability to wire a stack capacitor would drive extra critical metal levels. ...

    I think the view of IBM's chief executive Virginia Rometty is that IBM will become a software-only company. This view may be shaped in part by her degree in computer science. When she received that degree, CS was all about programming and not about the actual architecture of the CPU.

    So I worry about our willingness to abandon the chip business. We give different messages. On one hand we promote the Open Power Consortium, but on the other hand we show we have no staying power, so why would anyone commit to it. At IBM headquarters in Armonk they are proud of eliminating business that does not perform to stated expectations.

  • Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert. This week's topics include:
    • Supreme Court Sides with One Percent in Home Health Care Case
    • Americans are United on Support for Social Security
    • New Census Report Gives Detailed Look at the 65-and-Over Crowd
    • Companies that Pay Above Minimum Wage Come Out Ahead
    • Centenarians Less Likely to Succumb to Chronic Illness
New on the Alliance@IBM Site

Job Cut Reports

  • Comment 06/29/14:

    For those who are about to be laid off, we salute you. If you are "over qualified (age)" and are ready to work where age is not a bias, look into patent examination (staffing up). There are many here from the 'company that shall not be named' and it's all on you. Many commute back to their homes on weekends, every other weekend, or in some cases back to California when they can. No need to sell and move if that works for you, and after a time you can telework from your home. It pays the bills! -Ich Bin Muede-
  • Comment 06/30/14:

    In the latest Barron's Most Respected company list, IBM falls from #10 last year to #52 this year. I'm sure we are all in shock over this one. I think its time for a mid year PBC review for the entire executive team. Perhaps they should be rated 3's and put on a performance plan. Time for you to go Ginni. http://barrons.wsj.net/public/resources/documents/BARRONS_WORLDS_MOST_RESPECTED_COMPANIES_2014.pdf -anonymous-
  • Comment 07/01/14:

    The "day of reckoning" for EFK is fast approaching: IBM EFK: WHY NOT do something positive: Take a break for 15 minutes at 2PM. Hit the restrooms en-mass even if you don't have to! Go to the snack machines in the break areas. Take a break! Go outside for a breath of fresh air. Call a loved one on your cell phone, check you car's tire pressure/oil level in the parking lot...etc. Then join the Alliance! -WhyNot?-
  • Comment 07/01/14:

    Playing the odds of getting laid off at IBM is like playing Russian Roulette. The difference is you have a 15 shooter cylinder with 15 chambers. To determine the number of bullets at the next draw do the math below:
    • Every 4 years of age you are over 40, add 1 bullet.
    • Every $8K of salary you are earning over $60K add 1 bullet.
    • If your division is targeted then add 2 bullets.
    • If are in banding level over 9, take out 1 bullet for every level you are over 9.
    • Add 1 bullet of every 2 PBC levels you are at below 1. So PBC 2 is 2 bullets = +2 and 2 or 2 levels.
    • If you have a union contract pull out 5 bullets—you don't have one so forget this altogether.

    The number of bullets you have chambered will determine your survival rate at the next pull of the trigger. So this reflects how little PBC actually plays into you survival chances at the next RA. -AgeDiscrimination-

  • Comment 07/01/14:

    Layoffs coming. All jobs have been frozen. RAs are forthcoming. Numbers were not good for 2q. Revenue down. More heads must roll. Watch out if you're over 50 and make $90k. IBM is struggling to bring new customers in faster than they are leaving. -Aloha-
  • Comment 07/01/14:

    I've been told that GBS has changed its bench policy, shrinking time to being "offered" a separation from 90 days to four weeks. -anonymous-
  • Comment 07/03/14:

    Endicott went through what the city of Poughkeepsie and other cities near Poughkeepsie are gong through now. There were restaurants that closed on Washington Ave, a car dealership closed, Union Endicott School district lost tax revenue, and the real estate market crashed. IBM does not care about their employees and how many plants and employees are RA'ed. Join the union before all of IBM US employees are RA'd. -ANA-
  • Comment 07/04/14:

    Remember do not spend more than the 40 hours you are paid at work. Do not do more than your paid - not for IBM anyway. Go home. Spend time with your family. No matter what you do, if you fit the bill to reduce cost (age, salary etc.), you will be tossed out like yesterday's garbage. Your boss is no longer TJ Watson Sr. or Jr. Do things with the deathbed test. For example, on your deathbed, are you likely to say "I wish I had spend more time at work for IBM and less time with my family" ? No. So don't do it. You will regret it later. -test-
  • Comment 07/04/14:

    Congrats to the France TSS team on strike and good luck. Hopefully this starts a movement all over the world. We should stand up and organize in all countries. That's the 'onliest' chance to stop this madness. -Time-for-a-change-
  • Comment 07/05/14:

    With "Congrats to the TSS France Team" I meant of course congrats for being so brave and stand up. That's what all IBM workers worldwide need to do. We don't have much more to lose, we only can win. Writing here in the forum is important to share information and to organize, but writing alone won't stop Agenda 2015. Again, as written quite a few times already: Organize yourself, join the unions and go on strike. TSS is one of the areas where it is really painful for IBM. I am sure there are others as well. We have at least the chance to show them that we are not willing to accept everything. To all IBM workers: Hold your heads up, be proud, strong and courageous and don't give in like this. FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS, AGAINST JOB CUTS AND FOR YOUR WORK BEING APPRECIATED AGAIN. -Time_to_act-

IBM Retiree Issues Comments

  • Comment 06/27/14:

    So, I'm now 52 and change, mulling taking retirement at 55, January of 2017. I'd like to do as soft a landing as possible. I know that currently my department and other departments in my division periodically hire contractors who are ex-IBMers and/or retirees. I'd like to know if any of you have gone that route, what are the advantages/disadvantages of doing so? Also, how did you get back into IBM? Did you know the hiring manager or find another way through contract companies? -mullingretirement-
  • Comment 06/29/14:

    -mullingretirement- Three years is a long time in IBM these days. Hope you make it but IBM will stack the deck against you since they save money if you leave or are RAed before 55 since you lose the FHA eligibility.

    IBM contractor as a retiree is just you being essentially an IBM PO (seriously! you are a purchase order). The disadvantages are many: you can be furloughed or let go in a nanosecond. You generally have little or no benefits either and you also get the bulk of the grunt work assigned to you by regular IBMers. The only"advantage" of being an IBM contractor that I can think of is you are still working..for the time being. -HumanPurchaseOrder-

  • Comment 06/29/14:

    I am 59 with 29 years at IBM and have a question on the enhanced retirement annuity at 30 years. I have gone to NetBenefits and run the scenarios of retirement at 29 + years (thinking I may get RA's shortly) and then at 30 years. The numbers are very close. So I am not seeing any sort of enhancement. Does this not show until you have actually reached the 30 years?? Thanks for any input. -AtlantaGirl-
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