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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—June 20, 2015

  • Business Insider:

    It sounds like IBM layoffs are still going on. By Julie Bort. Excerpts: Two IBM employees reported that layoffs have commenced inside IBM this week, according to a union organization that tracks such things, Alliance@IBM.

    Layoffs have been ongoing all quarter, according to one employee posting to the Union website, who said the last layoff in his unit finished in May. ...

    IBM won't disclose the number of people it cuts and doesn't have to report that figure under the WARN act unless it conducts a layoff that cuts 500 people or more at once.

    When we asked IBM, a spokesperson declined to comment.

    IBM tends to talk about layoffs in financial terms, how much a "workforce rebalancing" – as IBM calls it – costs the company in any given quarter. ...

    In fact, IBM is so closed-lipped about layoff numbers it stopped releasing information about job titles and ages of workers being let go in 2014, Bloomberg reported at the time. This even though employers are required by U.S. federal law to reveal that data if they want employees to waive their right to file age discrimination lawsuits as part of their severance package.

    Today IBM asks workers to agree to binding arbitration as part of their severance package, Bloomberg reported. ...

    In April, Senator Grassley wrote a letter to IBM demanding to know details about its layoffs and its usage of foreign Visas. IBM told him, "For competitive reasons IBM does not release data on workforce changes."

  • Poughkeepsie Journal:

    IBM, GlobalFoundries deal to close July 1; new look for tech. By Joseph Spector. Excerpts: An agreement last October for IBM to pay GlobalFoundries $1.5 billion to take over IBM’s semiconductor manufacturing facilities in East Fishkill and Vermont is expected to close on July 1, sources familiar with the negotiations said. ...

    The deal comes as IBM is rumored to be facing another round of job cuts across the nation. But so far the IBM jobs in New York have largely been saved from the company’s downsizing, in large part because of contractual obligations between the state and the company.

  • I, Cringely:

    The H-1B visa program is a scam. By Robert X. Cringely. Excerpts: This is the second of three columns relating to the recent story of Disney replacing 250 IT workers with foreign workers holding H-1B visas. Over the years I have written many columns about outsourcing (here) and the H-1B visa program in particular (here). Not wanting to just cover again that old material, this column looks at an important misconception that underlies the whole H-1B problem, then gives the unique view of a longtime reader of this column who has H-1B program experience.

    First the misconception as laid out in a blog post shared with me by a reader. This blogger maintains that we wouldn’t be so bound to H-1Bs if we had better technical training programs in our schools. This is a popular theme with every recent Presidential administration and, while not explicitly incorrect, it isn’t implicitly correct, either. Schools can always be better but better schools aren’t necessarily limiting U.S. technical employment.

    His argument, like that of Google and many other companies often mentioned as H-1B supporters, presupposes that there is a domestic IT labor shortage, but there isn’t. The United States right now has plenty of qualified workers to fill every available position. If there are indeed exceptional jobs that can’t be filled by ANY domestic applicant, there’s still the EB-2 visa program, which somehow doesn’t max-out every year like H-1B. How can that be if there’s a talent shortage? In truth, H-1B has always been unnecessary. ...

    I learned (while working) at (an unnamed public technology company) a LOT about H1B. We had contracted with several of the Indian firms such as Infosys, Wipro, Tata, Impetus, TechMahindra for ‘outsourcing’ and ‘offshoring’ ordinary tech work like programming, DBAs’s, documentation, etc.

    The rates were very enticing to any corporation: we were paying anywhere from $15/hour to a *max* of $28/hour for H1B folks from those Indian firms (which BTW, had set up US subsidiaries as ‘consulting/contractor firms’ so that American companies were hiring “American workers”).

    The jobs we were hiring from TechMahindra, Wipro, etc., were jobs that American workers of same skillset and experience would be paid in the range of $80k-$170k (annual, which translates to $52-110/hour when you factor in benefits, medical, etc.). Quite a considerable difference in cost to the corporation.

    At one point we had ~800 staff in India that worked for Infosys/Wipro/etc.) but had H1B ‘project managers’ onsite in the US from Infosys/Wipro/etc. to manage those armies of people in India (i.e. – deal with language issues, scheduling, etc.).

    I got to know some of the H1B’s that were in the US working for us. I asked them, “How can you afford to live here on $15/hour?” The answer was they were living in group homes (e.g. – 8 guys would rent a townhouse and pool their money for food, etc.), plus had “no life” outside of work.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • Yes, it’s a scam – and it always has been. I’m an American Citizen now but I came to the US on an H1-B visa back in the 70’s – not because I had any skills that American workers didn’t have but simply because I was cheaper and didn’t need any training. My company justified the need for me by placing some ad’s in the local newspapers with job requirements that were impossible to meet and then told the immigration/visa people that there had been no applicants – they had to hire a foreign worker.
    • I want someone on Capitol Hill to say in front of cameras the reality of it all: there are plenty of American IT workers, but a shortage of American IT workers who will work for $30k a year. (Or even less, if you go to places like Manila or Malaysia.) If you strip away the illusion, maybe people will realize the bill of goods they’ve been sold.
    • “The politicians have no clue.” That is incorrect. They have laser-like focus (as well as an equally intense studied indifference) to everything to which they are instructed by their corporate donors.
    • While visiting a Maker Faire in my area last week I happened upon a Cognizant booth staffed entirely by 30-something Indians. While they showed my daughter how to make a windsock out of duct-tape, another of their number told me about his background and their difficulty being separated from their family back home and why it is still a better choice than living in India.

      As I listened to the man talk the term “Digital Sharecroppers” came unbidden to mind. But this is worse than sharecropping because an H-1B worker can’t switch employers.

      What Cognizant and the rest of the H-1B abusers are doing is exploiting the promise/hope of US Citizenship while suppressing near-term wages (and the value of the citizenship they use as a lure), with indentured servants.

      Cringely is right in saying the E2-B program is an appropriate alternative. Another good option would be the Entrepreneur Visa. I say trade an Entrepreneur Visa program which creates new jobs in exchange for killing the H-1B visa which only suppresses wages and supports corporate dinosaurs trying to cut their bottom line rather than actually innovating.

  • Yahoo! Finance:

    IBM banned Uber for employees, but quickly reversed course. By Aaron Pressman. Excerpts: IBM is a century-old tech giant with almost 400,000 employees, still struggling to find growth in an increasingly mobile and online business environment. Though the company's transformation is ongoing, signs of agility more befitting a tiny startup are beginning to emerge.

    Both IBMs were on display in an incident earlier this year involving the hottest of hot startups, Uber. At the end of March, IBM's accounting department issued a new edict banning reimbursement for use of Uber and other ride-sharing services over safety and security concerns, Yahoo Finance has learned. But the decision was almost immediately reversed after a single 20-something IBM employee took to the company's internal social network, Connections, to petition for a change.

  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • “UNIX Systems Administrator”

      Former Employee — Unix Systems Administrator in Buenos Aires (Argentina). I worked at IBM full-time (more than a year). Pros: Clients have very large, potentially interesting hardware and software deployments. Custom IBM hardware that's administered is very nice. Work from home policies are very lax. Cons: Excessive, dehumanizing processes for absolutely everything. Multiple layers of bureaucracy slow down work. Extremely narrow area of focus. Communications with the customer are handled through multiple layers of people. Quality of surrounding employees varies widely. On-call rotations are frequent and can be exhausting.
    • “Insufficient Return On Investment (time/energy)”

      Current Employee — Senior Software Engineer in Poughkeepsie, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: Layoffs have been reduced (not eliminated). Now hiring to replace laid off workers. Work from home opportunities are good.

      Cons: As a 30+ year employee, I regularly work 60+ hours per week and I bring home less than I did 5 years ago due to increased medical premiums and infrequent raises. Last 5 years of raises were 0%, 2.1%, 0%, 0%, 2.2%, all while working 60+ hours per week. IBM's official policies are:

      • Hire the best
      • Pay average

      Actual pay is a bit under average.

      Advice to Management: There needs to be appropriate financial return for hard work and dedication.

    • “IT Project Manager”

      Former Employee — IT Development Manager in Huntsville, AL I worked at IBM full-time (more than a year). Pros: Very organized and methodical in all approaches. Cons: Extremely impersonal with very high expectations for performance and little reward for achievement. Advice to Management: Up and coming career seekers — good choice. Long term professionals — negotiate well before being hired in. Internal process lock down opportunities. Great for conformists...not so great for idealists.
    • “Life After IBM Does Exist”

      Current Employee — Software Sales in Denver, CO. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: Great teammates. Iconic brand. Decent benefits.

      Cons:

      • Know nothing mid-management
      • Sycophant first-line managers
      • Age Discrimination
      • EPS at all costs
      • Too many empire-builders

      Advice to Management: Too much corporate nepotism; the company needs fresh blood at the very top. Stop recycling lifers into new executive roles. Get rid of all executives that have no direct reports. Stop laying off worker bees; they are the life blood of the company.

    • “IBM sourcing analyst”

      Current Employee — Sourcing Analyst in Raleigh, NC. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 3 years). Pros: Great company. Not very many opportunities for advancement. Huge company offers great benefits. Opportunities for travel. Great experience. Looks fantastic on resume. Cons: Technology and tools aren't great. Can't is 100 yet as old and they still act it. Computers are complete crap even in a client facing role. Can actually be embarrassing.
    • “Great Place”

      Current Employee — Software Developer in Toronto, ON (Canada). I have been working at IBM full-time (less than a year.)

      Pros:

      • Respect from colleagues
      • Open helpful culture encourages intellectual curiosity
      • Good pay
      • Strong company structure and programs
      • Good benefits
      • Trusting atmosphere
      • Flexible working hours
      • Occasionally working from home is great
      • My best job to date (hope I can stay (thinking) until I am gray).

      Cons:

      • Rigid bureaucratic structure (to be expected with such a large organization)
      • Slightly impersonal at times (though not nearly as bad as other places)
      • Slightly more annual holidays might be nice (now: three weeks)

      Advice to Management: Great job; high praise from me at least!

    • “Project Manager”

      Former Employee — Global Project Manager in Armonk, NY. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 5 years). Pros: Good retirement plan. Drug medication discount up to 75% to the whole family (Vidalink). Cons: Toxic environment. Stressful and with a lot of bureaucracy. Work goes overseas every year. We always need to improve our productivity. (We didn't have work/life balance). Advice to Management: You have lost many of the best of your resources recently. Plan careful any transition due to new strategy change. Take action based on employee values and satisfaction and not to please stock market.
    • “Not great, to put it short”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in Kraków (Poland). I have been working at IBM full-time (more than a year).

      Pros: Ermm, this is is hard. It's seriously hard to find something above "very bad" level here. We have 14 inch laptops for all tech employees, as an example.

      Cons:

      • I met multiple Infrastructure Architects who never heard of Jenkins. Guess what they are building.
      • Everything is VERY budget. Old laptops, Lotus Notes, very short list of approved software. gVim is banned. Seriously.
      • My knowledge transfer from previous team was 10 minutes of cursing.
      • Local management is horrible. You are not expected to talk with anyone.
      • Medieval technology. 90% employees really believe someone apart from IBM uses AIX. That leads to very strange technology. 6.99% of people I met never heard of Git.
      • No one hides the fact there are no raises.
      • Security checks. You are officially not allowed to use internet apart from Ibm.com domain.
      • A lot of senior people work 25 years here. Go convince that guy ksh is not a good programming language for all automation.

      Advice to Management: Stop Watson business. Throw Tivoli monster out of the window. Forget AIX. Get people under 30 making technical decisions. Just close the shop, seriously.

    • “Consulting IT Architect”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee in San Jose, CA. Pros: Benefits were good. Great group of people to work with. Got to meet many people worldwide. Had the opportunity to work hands on with software. Cons: Management is not honest. They do not treat employees with respect. Do not provide the opportunity to grow your skills. Very stressful environment. Advice to Management: Be your own person. Work to grow your department and have a positive work environment. Get to know the people in your department no matter where they are located.
    • “Not the company it use to be”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Job security. Provides employee a broad range of opportunity within their chosen field to broaden their scope and take on new roles. Cons: Quarterly focus and 2015 road map has ruined the company. Everything is dictated by short-term thinking. Constant travel and spend restrictions. Decisions by senior management are slow and cautious. Poor management and leadership overall.
    • “Terrible (unless you are a robot)”

      Former Employee — Inside Sales in Littleton, MA.

      Pros: Some very nice and professional co-workers. (No idea where they get their patience, other than there are no other jobs so they go along to get along but hate the company).

      Cons: Poor work/life balance (your whole life is supposed to be about IBM).

      Poor middle management; your manager will 'have your back' until the manager above him/her complains and then they will throw you under the bus and put you on a 30-60 day 'plan' to exit you out of the company.

      Advice to Management: Grow up; being a middle manager at IBM doesn't mean a thing. You're not the President of the United States or anyone of any significant importance. Treat your people like humans and stop hiding behind titles.

    • “Was great until I made a paperwork error”

      Former Employee — Senior Software Engineer Manager in San Jose, CA. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: Great people, lots of flexibility, can move around inside to different jobs. Good work/life balance and alternate work options.

      Cons: The pay is lower. Expense controls to drive you nuts. No clear strategy or vision at least in my division.

      Advice to Management: Give loyal employees the benefit of the doubt. After 16+ years I would not have expected a simple paperwork error to have resulted in termination.

    • “PwC Acquisition // 12 year IBM Employee // Job Outsourced”

      Former Employee — Assistant in DFW, TX. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: Remote work from home option supporting execs in domestic USA or global countries. Working in a virtual world.

      Cons: Corporate savings since employees are responsible for paying for own home/phone; internet; and printer usage sometimes exceeding limits. No pay raises for 10+ years. Many women in management trying to get ahead therefore disrespecting others.

      Advice to Management: Moving in the direction as WANG Laboratories but with much more greed!

    • “Pressure cooker environment”

      Former Employee — Senior Program Manager in Armonk, NY. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 3 years).

      Pros: Big company, lots of opportunities to learn new things and career choices. Working from home positions!

      Cons: IBM keeps cutting workforce in the US every year moving the work to APAC; customers do not want to deal with people who are not local to the US so they cling onto the few US resources left overloading them with work...fewer and fewer people make for very long work weeks. The added aggravation of all the overhead activities to be performed to align with management initiatives turns this company into the only relationship you will entertain as you won't have time for anything else.

      Advice to Management: Stop this madness of firing US resources. The 80/20 rule does NOT work when you are offshoring jobs to India and the like. There is too much time difference; the difference in work ethics are too wide and constitute a huge barrier and your customers are willing to pay extra for US based resources!

    • “Everyone is a Widget”

      Former Employee — Department Manager in Rochester, MN. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: Most people on the front lines are great people trying to make a difference. Cons: To managers, everyone is a widget, interchangeable and disposable. Layoffs are very common. First-line managers have no authority. Advice to Management: Poor business results leading to layoffs are the outcome of ineffective executive management with extremely poor business acumen.
    • “Not at the top of the tree anymore”

      Former Employee — Programmer Manager in Leeds, England (UK). I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros:

      • Global travel for the younger employees
      • Some good financial benefits
      • Close working relationships
      • Community education and mentoring facilities

      Cons:

      • Ever reducing company benefits
      • Poor career advancement
      • Constant pressure to take on more and more workload
      • Poor work/life balance despite rhetoric to the contrary

      Advice to Management: Mean what you say, push boundaries, include all employees, be interested in them.

    • “Incompetent Management/No Job Security”

      Former Employee — Program Manager in Burlington, VT. Pros: Co-workers (non-managers) are great and support you to get the job done. Cons: No Job security. Management only looks to save their own job. No appreciation for good job if you are not the senior management favorite. Advice to Management: Get a life.
    • “Director”

      Former Employee — Director in Armonk, NY. I worked at IBM (more than 3 years). Pros: Many talented people, excellent R&D. Good brand, not always well managed beneath the "top line" name. Risk averse and distrustful of business partners. Cons: Huge bureaucratic overhead, competing product lines. Management by accountancy. Little ability to delegate decisions to the right level in the customer's eyes. Rather insular US outlook, despite international presence. Advice to Management: Untangle the terribly hampering lines between responsibility and authority to act. Reduce placeholders, increase real talent.
    • “Benefits great but slow to give out training dollars”

      Current Employee — Consultant in Washington, DC. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than a year). Pros: People are talented and gifted; a lot of projects to roll onto to try different roles/responsibilities. Work with a variety of people where you can learn from; people who've been with the company for 10+ years and those at least a year. Benefits are great — covers dental, medical, etc. Cons: Depending on who you have as your manager and who he/she reports to, you may or may not get training dollars — you need to talk to the right people (mainly those higher in the chain) to get the training you need to get ahead for your own career development. Advice to Management: Please look out for those who joined the company and do not lie to them about your rating system, and how many 1s or 2+s you give out to your staffers.
    • “Delivery Executive”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: Great compensation, flexible work environment. Cons: Big organization with too many decision makers and not enough decision making. People selling what cannot be delivered. Variable compensation is good but salary increases non-existent. Travel only in coach class. Unfair salary or bonus distribution. Incentive plans targets are subjective and they want to keep as that.
    • “Marketing and communications global”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in Armonk, NY.

      Pros: A few good employees left to work with

      Cons:

      • Terrible leadership
      • Managers are bullies
      • No raises
      • Tear down self esteem at every turn

      Advice to Management: All management should be fired from first-line management up to Ginnie. Start again.

    • “Hardworking and active culture with very little emphasis on reward”

      Current Employee — IT Project Manager in Melbourne (Australia). I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 3 years).

      Pros:

      • Constant stream of work
      • Supportive middle management structure
      • Hardworking culture with can do attitude — no deadwood

      Cons:

      • No work life balance and no reward
      • Too much emphasis on cost and headcount reduction
      • Higher management lacks client focus and commitment
      • Conversions to permanency and contract remuneration increase rejected multiple times
      • No career progression

      Advice to Management:

      • Invest in revenue streams rather than cost reductions.
      • Invest and reward talent
    • “Consultant”

      Current Employee — Senior Consultant in Atlanta, GA. Pros: Flexible work environment and ability to travel. Work with some of the largest customers in any industry. All employees have the opportunity to invest in themselves and have access to training and a tremendous support system. Cons: A lot of offerings and products that do not work together. Focus is on quarterly performance by brand or product. Little emphasis on solutions that combine all of IBM. Advice to Management: Listen to the customer. Stop expecting them to conform to how you have done business in the past.
    • “Still a good place to work”

      Current Employee — IT Architect in Toronto, ON (Canada). I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: Work at home provides the flexibility to adjust your schedules provided you aren't overloaded with work. Some managers are excellent and really care about their staff and show great respect. Cons: Workloads can be excessive and time frames are often far too short to do the correct things. Customer requirements are often changing and executives often don't consider the complexity of customer solutions. Generally there aren't enough staff available to do the volume of work. Advice to Management: Management is a tough challenge since most 1st and 2nd line managers don't have much say in things, so show as much respect to employees as you can since that makes a big difference.
    • “Maintenance Tech”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Current management is OK but there are too many people looking to stab you in the back. Cons: Constantly trying to get blood from a stone. Less people more work and no pay increase.
    • “IBM Global Business Services”

      Former Employee — Certified Senior Project Manager in Paterson, NJ.

      Pros: Benefits, plenty of opportunities for those willing to travel, many positions can be performed at home. Good place to get experience at the beginning of one's career, plus working for IBM looks great on a resume.

      Cons: Most of the money, bonuses, and opportunities go to people in specific areas (those that IBM is focusing on at a given moment). Currently that would be big data, cloud, mobile, etc.

      Advice to Management: Find ways to recognize and reward your "meat and potatoes" employees. Many excellent, much needed employees are demoralized and feel unappreciated.

    • “Operations manager”

      Current Employee — Operations Manager in New York, NY.

      Pros: Average to normal work environment and lots of flexibility. Mostly a work at home environment and full of strong employees.

      Cons: No career growth 1 to 2% raise year over year ONLY for top 10% employees. Anything outside of that is not eligible for an increase. Only 2 people on a team of 10 can land in that category.

      Advice to Management: Be more people oriented and so trying to be IBM cool. Offer more learning support.

    • “IBM — a declining company”

      Current Employee — Advisory Software Engineer in Durham, NC. Pros: Some of the very best hardware and software experts work at IBM. Cons: You won't often get to work with them. Also everyone now is job scared. Advice to Management: Stabilize the place. Make it a place where you can be proud to go to work, and not worry about loosing your job.
    • “Apple Partnership”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee.

      Pros: IBM's partnership with Apple is a great idea and if it goes well may benefit the company. Opportunities for learning are always available and a lot of great people work for IBM.

      Cons: Valuing employees is a thing in IBM's past. Hard work and dedication are expected but rarely appreciated except by your coworkers and if you are lucky, your manager.

    • “No learning, no motivation, no future”

      Former Employee — Storage Administrator. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 3 years).

      Pros:

      • The work from home options at the site were very good. We were only required to be in office a few days per week, with the ability to flex that as low as two days per week.
      • The managers were very understanding of how rough it was to work at IBM and didn't try and compound those issues.

      Cons:

      • The instability was ridiculous. It seemed like every few months you'd hear about the next big wave of layoffs that were about to happen. Morale in the office dipped, and as each layoff passed the office became emptier and emptier until maybe 10% of desks per each floor were filled.
      • They hired mostly non-technical people to perform technical jobs. When I had to teach a coworker who has been there for 3 years what "ls" and "cd" do on their AIX servers, I knew this was the wrong place to be.
      • Major outsourcing to India. Basically every job was at risk of being outsourced, or in the process of being outsourced by the time I quit. The Indians they hire to replace the American jobs didn't seem to have much formal education in the field or any experience. It was a hassle training them.
      • Second-level management and higher are purely about the bottom line with zero regard for the human beings lives they are ruining by penny pinching and shipping jobs overseas. First line management also despised them, but they were powerless.

      Advice to Management: First-line managers; you're powerless so no advice here. Second-line managers, quit making a once great company the main laughing stock of the IT world.

    • “IBM on the decline”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in Elizabeth, NJ. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: Flexible enough to trust work from home employees, works well with minor changes to work schedule as long as it fits the client/account needs; most mid-level managers have heart and do care how changes in the company policies effect their employees.

      Cons:

      • Constantly watching over your shoulder for the RA (IBM's term for layoff).
      • No pay increases. and pay ranges are actually lower than business averages in many job titles.
      • Higher management levels care more about the bottom line then the people.

      Advice to Management: I've worked for IBM 27 years, and have seen the culture change. Money should not be your driving factor. Care more about the employees. A happy employee makes for a happy client — more happy clients make for more money in the end — you need to turn around your thought process before you destroy what was painstakingly built before you came.

    • “Sales”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: The ability to work from home. Cons: Old out dated technology is used that doesn't allow for your skills to stay sharp when the technology is only used within IBM. Advice to Management: Start using the technology being used by all of the acquired companies instead of phasing them out over time.
    • “Culture of Distrust: External Hires Beware!”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee in New York, NY.

      Pros: When I was recruited to join IBM from another large company, it appeared to be a wonderful opportunity. The people were nice and friendly. The work was interesting and I felt like I was contributing straight away.

      Cons: There is a horrible culture of distrust among the executive management team that flows downstream to the workers. The VPs are not transparent and communication is nonexistent. Many layoffs, so morale is extremely low. IBM does a wonderful job ensuring that the brand appears to be leading edge, and in reality, the emperor does not have any clothes. The Cloud, Mobile, Social and Analytics are really far behind the industry but the world would never know because of the great Brand Management team that continues to promote a sinking ship. In the end I was treated horrible as IBM management does not like external hires.

      Advice to Management: Get rid of the horrible VPs that you have in place today...that is why Ginni is failing at her job because IBM lacks real leaders.

    • “Not so much growth career-wise”

      Former Employee — Applications Developer in Quezon City, National Capital Region (Philippines). I worked at IBM full-time (more than a year).

      Pros:

      • Flexible working hours.
      • Ability to work at home.
      • There are multiple opportunities to enhance one's technical skills through trainings (online/classroom).

      Cons:

      • People managers are also project managers; this makes their roles conflicting as they tend to focus more about the company rather than its workforce.
      • Contrary to its values being promoted among employees, process is very poor, if there is even one in force.
      • Holidays are accounted for utilization. If there are public or non-working holidays (Christmas, New Year), you have to render overtime to take back lost hours which is ridiculous.

      Advice to Management:

      • Give credit to those employees who perform on their work; it's their services which brings in the majority of the income of the company.
      • Invest more talent and training for trending technologies (cloud computing, mobility) to win more clients who are moving into these tech.
    • “IBM Tivoli Sales group”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC. Pros: Able to work remotely. Big name brand helps open sales doors. Cons: Compensation dropped year after year based upon the calculations they kept changing on how sales personnel were compensated. No visibility into upper management or the decisions they make. Too much internal competition between organizations that are supposed to support each other. Dog eat dog environment. Advice to Management: Good luck keeping quality people with your current policies and bad decision making.
    • “A company does not have Xmas party”

      Current Employee — Software Engineer in Sydney (Australia)/ I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 5 years). Pros: Nice people, but few stay. It is still stable and flexible. A lot of good partners like Apple. Does not push hard for the outcomes. Cons: It's no longer the company 10 years ago. The company does not care what employees think and just minds the stock price. Advice to Management: People, quality people, are more important than anything else.
    • “Great benefits but you're a number.”

      Current Employee — Recruiter, RPO. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 3 years). Pros: Great benefits including work from home, flex scheduling, and vacation. Cons: Hard to find information when you need it; some sites do the have local HR. You're a number.
  • truthOut:

    Backlash Grows as Leaked TPP Text Reveals Increased Corporate Control of Public Health. By Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh. Excerpt: As the Obama administration praises the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), backlash continues to grow against the deal. WikiLeaks has just published another section of the secret text - this one about public healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry. Newly revealed details of the draft show the TPP would give major pharmaceutical companies more power over public access to medicine, and weaken public healthcare programs. The leaked draft also suggests the TPP would prevent Congress from passing reforms to lower drug costs. One of the practices that would be allowed is known as "Evergreening." It lets drug companies extend the life of a patent by slightly modifying their product and then getting a new patent. We speak to Peter Maybarduk of Public Citizen and John Sifton of Human Rights Watch about their concerns.
  • Washington Post:

    How to get the most out of your Social Security benefits. By Allan Sloan. Excerpts: I’m going to oversimplify — the only way to deal with Social Security without bogging down — until we get to a strategy called file-and-suspend, which might not be available much longer.

    Okay, here we go. If you have at least 10 years of employment (or have been married long enough to someone with the requisite 10 years), you can begin drawing Social Security retirement benefits at any time between ages 62 and 70. The longer you wait to start, the bigger your monthly benefit — but the fewer years you have to collect it. ...

    Conventional wisdom is to wait until 70 if you can afford it and are in good health, because higher benefits offset the risk of outliving your money — that’s longevity risk. However, unless you live to your mid-80s, you don’t come out ahead by waiting: It takes 12 1/2 years of a 132 percent benefit to make up for the four years of 100 percent benefit you gave up. Should you die at 69 and 11 months, you and your spouse are out of luck. That’s what’s called mortality risk. ...

    But your feelings could be different. And file-and-suspend is easy to do — at least for now — by following instructions in the popular new book “Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security.” My longtime friend Philip Moeller, a journalist who specializes in retirement issues, is one of the co-authors. The others are Paul Solman of “PBS NewsHour” and Laurence J. Kotlikoff of Boston University. It’s a very useful book.

    File-and-suspend works like this. When one member of a benefits-eligible couple hits 66, for example, he or she files for Social Security but immediately suspends receiving payments; the other member files for “spousal benefits,” which are equal to half what the filer-and-suspender would have gotten. After reaching 70, the filer-and-suspender refiles. So the couple gets four years of partial age-66 benefits plus full age-70 benefits rather than not getting a dime until age 70.

  • The Center for Public Integrity:

    Free market ideology doesn't work for health care. Costs imposed by 'medical industrial complex' defy reason. By Wendell Potter. Excerpts: In my column last week I suggested that one of the reasons Americans tolerate paying so much more for health care than citizens of any other country — and getting less to show for it — is our gullibility. We’ve been far too willing to believe the self-serving propaganda we’ve been fed for decades by health insurers and pharmaceutical companies and every other part of the medical-industrial complex, a term New England Journal of Medicine editor Arnold Relman coined 35 years ago to describe the uniquely American health care system.

    One of the other reasons we tolerate unreasonably high health care costs is gullibility’s close and symbiotic relative: blind adherence to ideology. By this I mean the belief that the free market — the invisible hand Adam Smith wrote about more than two centuries ago and that many Americans hold as a nonnegotiable tenet of faith — can work as well in health care as it can in other sectors of the economy.

    While the free market is alive and well in the world’s other developed countries, leaders in every one of them, including conservatives, decided years ago that health care is different, that letting the unfettered invisible hand work its magic in health care not only doesn’t create the unintended social benefits Smith wrote about, it all too often creates unintended, seemingly intractable, social problems.

  • Washington Post:

    As the rich become super-rich, they pay lower taxes. For real. By Christopher Ingraham. Excerpts: One of the cornerstones of American income tax policy is that taxes are progressive. People who make more money devote a higher share of their income to federal income taxes than people who make less money. That allows for a redistribution of wealth that lowers inequality.

    That's how it's supposed to work, at least.

    But new data out this spring from the IRS gives us a closer look of how the income tax works at the pinnacle of the income distribution -- not just the top 1 percent, or even the top 0.1 percent, but among the rarefied realm of the 0.01 and even the 0.001 percent. Those latter two categories are new in the IRS report this year, reflecting a growing public interest in the ultra-wealthy and their effects on the economy.

    The IRS found that as you go from being merely wealthy (the 1 percent) to super-duper wealthy (the 0.001 percent), your average federal income tax rate actually goes down. In other words, the progressivity of the federal income tax starts to fall apart at the upper reaches of the income distribution. Take a look.

  • Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert. This week's topics include:
    • In Temporary Victory for Seniors, Bad Trade Deal Fails to Advance in House
    • Speakers Named for Alliance’s National Legislative Conference in Washington, DC
    • Florida Alliance Holds Annual Convention
    • Medicare Turns 50: President Clinton Calls Out GOP Hypocrisy on Medicare Cuts
New on the Alliance@IBM Site

Job Cut Reports

  • Comment 06/17/15:

    Packaged off from long-term disability Canada. So essentially I met with management to discuss going back and low and behold I was let go. When I asked for confirmation that everyone else doing the same job was also let go she would not comment. Thru Facebook etc. I know for a fact these folks still have their job. I am wondering if I have a case to sue IBM for wrongful dismissal or am I just SOL trying to fight them. -Anonymous

    Alliance reply: Unless someone from Canada can answer this we suggest you contact your labor board.

  • Comment 06/18/15:

    Firstly, contact an employment lawyer in your province. Labour laws in Canada are a provincial jurisdiction. They can review your situation to see if there is a case of constructive dismissal. Secondly, they can review your package to determine if this was adequate for your situation. -Ferme La Porte-
  • Comment 06/18/15:

    RA's have started today in the US. 30 day notice. I just got the call. As we just had a RA finish at the end of May, I was not surprised that there would be another. As a rated 1 employee the previous 2 years and a 2+ last year, I was surprised I got the call. Still in shock and not sure what to do. I don't expect any openings within the company. Anyone have suggestions or words of advice? -Anonymous-

    Alliance reply: We are sorry to hear of your RA notice and probable job loss. You can find plenty of advice, if you read through our Job Cuts Reports Archives.

    Please provide Alliance with more RA information; such as the same information we've requested from IBMers training their replacements, in our previous comment, also on this page:

    • What is your job title?
    • Where are you located?
    • What customer account are you on?
    • What division or business unit?
    • What product line?

    We will be better able to share this information with all US IBMers and the media, if there is an RA occurring at this time. Thank you for your support. Report job cuts here: http://www.endicottalliance.org/jobcutsreportsTUfm.php

  • Comment 06/18/15:

    So it begins again today. I got the call at 8:40, 16 years consist 2+ employee or better. The standard 1 week for each 6 months max 26 weeks. -Steve-
  • Comment 06/18/15:

    5 RA'd today from the ATT account:
    • What is your job title? 1 SDL, 2 SWD , 2 T3
    • Where are you located? WFH various US locations
    • What customer account are you on? AT&T
    • What division or business unit? Div 07 SPMS US-Group 2
    • What product line? GTS. Mobility Services This is the second round. 30 days notice. Shifting work from US to Costa Rica.
  • Comment 06/18/15:

    With the U.S. IBM RA's that are going on this week. I think it's time to remind everyone that is being RA'D to petition for your Trade and go back to school http://www.doleta.gov/tradeact/. Its easy to do and you will get 2 years of college paid for plus 2 years of money equal to unemployment. There are other benefits too! -Anonymous-
  • Comment 06/18/15:

    Lots of talk of job cuts in Dubuque after another bad quarter. I've heard as much as 30% of some teams, possibly more. Not sure how we can keep working like this. -Frank-
  • Comment 06/18/15:

    The RAs have started. Six from Power servers team in Atlanta. Also IBM is moving all power servers support to India except government accounts to building a bigger Power Servers presence in India. v solution to their ego problem is lay off Americans and hire cheap indentured slave labor in third world countries! And, it's not working. Maybe they should move HQ to Bangalore — that might work great. -anonymous-
  • Comment 06/18/15:

    • Name: Regina Manuel
    • Email: rtaylorm@yahoo.com
    • JobTitle: Global Delivery Project Executive
    • Location: Bentonville AR
    • CustAcct: Walmart
    • BusUnit: GTS
    • ProdLine: Middleware

    Message: I feel for those that have received an RA. I was laid off in March of 2014 with the same MO. I always had 1's or 2+ and for 2-13 all of a sudden I got a 2. I also firmly believe that it was age discrimination. IBM used to have to publish the demographics of a RA but they did not in the 2014 RA. Most everyone I know that was RA'd was between 45 and 65 and a band 9 and higher. If I can help you in anyway please let me know — rtaylorm@yahoo.com. Is their anyone out there that also believes it was age discrimination and if so what can we do about it? Is there anyway we can get the demographics? -Gina-

  • Comment 06/20/15:

    Just heard substantial RA underway across Asia. Large number of people being told about layoffs across SE Asia in particular; especially in GBS and GTS. -Singapore Bob-
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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