Welcome to IBM Employee News and Links

“News and links for IBM employees, retirees, ex-employees, and persons interested in pension, retirement, off-shoring and corporate governance issues”—The news you won't see on W3!

Our Friends:

Watching IBM Watching IBM Facebook

Quick Links:

Get involved! Insider trading After IBM Lenovo Employee Discount

Previous highlights:

April 2, 2016 March 26, 2016 March 12, 2016 March 5, 2016 February 27, 2016 February 20, 2016 February 13, 2016 February 6, 2016 January 30, 2016 January 16, 2016 December 26, 2015 December 19, 2015 December 12, 2015 December 5, 2015 November 28, 2015 November 21, 2015 November 14, 2015 November 7, 2015 October 31, 2015 October 24, 2015 October 17, 2015 October 10, 2015 October 3, 2015 September 26, 2015 September 19, 2015 September 12, 2015 August 29, 2015 August 22, 2015 August 15, 2015 August 8, 2015 July 25, 2015 July 25, 2015 July 18, 2015 July 4, 2015 June 27, 2015 June 20, 2015 June 13, 2015 June 6, 2015 May 30, 2015 May 23, 2015 May 16, 2015 May 9, 2015 May 2, 2015 April 25, 2015 April 18, 2015 April 11, 2015 April 4, 2015 March 28, 2015 March 21, 2015 March 14, 2015 March 7, 2015 February 28, 2015 February 21, 2015 February 14, 2015 February 7, 2015 January 31, 2015 January 24, 2015 January 17, 2015 January 10, 2015 January 3, 2015 December 27, 2014 December 20, 2014 December 13, 2014 December 6, 2014 November 29, 2014 November 22, 2014 November 15, 2014 November 8, 2014 November 1, 2014 October 25, 2014 October 18, 2014 October 11, 2014 October 4, 2014 September 27, 2014 September 13, 2014 September 6, 2014 August 30, 2014 August 23, 2014 August 16, 2014 August 9, 2014 August 2, 2014 July 26, 2014 July 19, 2014 July 12, 2014 July 5, 2014 June 28, 2014 June 21, 2014 June 14, 2014 June 7, 2014 May 31, 2014 May 24, 2014 May 17, 2014 May 10, 2014 May 3, 2014 April 26, 2014 April 19, 2014 April 12, 2014 April 5, 2014 March 29, 2014 March 22, 2014 March 15, 2014 March 8, 2014 March 1, 2014 February 22, 2014 February 15, 2014 February 8, 2014 February 1, 2014 January 25, 2014 January 18, 2014 January 11, 2014 January 4, 2014 December 28, 2013 December 21, 2013 December 14, 2013 December 7, 2013 November 30, 2013 November 23, 2013 November 16, 2013 November 9, 2013 November 2, 2013 October 26, 2013 October 19, 2013 October 12, 2013 October 5, 2013 September 28, 2013 September 21, 2013 September 14, 2013 September 7, 2013 August 31, 2013 August 24, 2013 August 17, 2013 August 10, 2013 August 3, 2013 July 27, 2013 July 20, 2013 July 13, 2013 July 6, 2013 June 29, 2013 June 22, 2013 June 15, 2013 June 8, 2013 June 1, 2013 May 25, 2013 May 18, 2013 May 11, 2013 May 4, 2013 April 27, 2013 April 20, 2013 April 13, 2013 April 6, 2013 March 30, 2013 March 23, 2013 March 16, 2013 March 9, 2013 March 2, 2013 February 23, 2013 February 16, 2013 February 9, 2013 February 2, 2013 January 26, 2013 January 19, 2013 January 12, 2013 January 5, 2013 December 29, 2012 December 22, 2012 December 15, 2012 December 8, 2012 December 1, 2012 November 24, 2012 November 17, 2012 November 10, 2012 November 3, 2012 October 27, 2012 October 20, 2012 October 13, 2012 October 6, 2012 September 29, 2012 September 22, 2012 September 15, 2012 September 8, 2012 September 1, 2012 August 25, 2012 August 18, 2012 August 11, 2012 August 4, 2012 July 28, 2012 July 21, 2012 July 14, 2012 July 7, 2012 June 30, 2012 June 23, 2012 June 16, 2012 June 9, 2012 June 2, 2012 May 26, 2012 May 19, 2012 May 12, 2012 May 5, 2012 April 28, 2012 April 21, 2012 April 14, 2012 April 7, 2012 March 31, 2012 March 24, 2012 March 17, 2012 March 10, 2012 March 3, 2012 February 25, 2012 February 18, 2012 February 11, 2012 February 4, 2012 January 28, 2012 January 21, 2012 January 14, 2012 January 7, 2012 December 31, 2011 December 24, 2011 December 17, 2011 December 10, 2011 December 3, 2011 November 26, 2011 November 19, 2011 November 12, 2011 November 5, 2011 October 29, 2011 October 22, 2011 October 15, 2011 October 8, 2011 October 1, 2011 September 24, 2011 September 17, 2011 September 10, 2011 September 3, 2011 August 27, 2011 August 20, 2011 August 13, 2011 August 6, 2011 July 30, 2011 July 23, 2011 July 16, 2011 July 9, 2011 July 2, 2011 June 25, 2011 June 18, 2011 June 11, 2011 June 4, 2011 May 28, 2011 May 21, 2011 May 14, 2011 May 7, 2011 April 30, 2011 April 23, 2011 April 16, 2011 April 9, 2011 April 2, 2011 March 26, 2011 March 19, 2011 March 12, 2011 March 5, 2011 February 26, 2011 February 19, 2011 February 12, 2011 February 5, 2011 January 29, 2011 January 22, 2011 January 15, 2011 January 8, 2011 January 1, 2011 December 25, 2010 December 18, 2010 December 11, 2010 December 4, 2010 November 27, 2010 November 20, 2010 November 13, 2010 November 6, 2010 October 30, 2010 October 23, 2010 October 16, 2010 October 9, 2010 October 2, 2010 September 25, 2010 September 18, 2010 September 11, 2010 September 4, 2010 August 28, 2010 August 21, 2010 August 14, 2010 August 7, 2010 July 31, 2010 July 24, 2010 July 17, 2010 July 10, 2010 July 3, 2010 June 26, 2010 June 19, 2010 June 12, 2010 June 5, 2010 May 29, 2010 May 22, 2010 May 15, 2010 May 8, 2010 May 1, 2010 April 24, 2010 April 17, 2010 April 10, 2010 April 3, 2010 March 27, 2010 March 20, 2010 March 13, 2010 March 6, 2010 February 27, 2010 February 20, 2010 February 13, 2010 February 6, 2010 January 30, 2010 January 23, 2010 January 16, 2010 January 9, 2010 January 2, 2010 December 26, 2009 December 19, 2009 December 12, 2009 December 5, 2009 November 28, 2009 November 21, 2009 November 14, 2009 November 7, 2009 October 31, 2009 October 24, 2009 October 17, 2009 October 10, 2009 October 3, 2009 September 26, 2009 September 19, 2009 September 12, 2009 September 5, 2009 August 29, 2009 August 22, 2009 August 15, 2009 August 8, 2009 August 1, 2009 July 25, 2009 July 18, 2009 July 11, 2009 July 4, 2009 June 27, 2009 June 20, 2009 June 13, 2009 June 6, 2009 May 30, 2009 May 23, 2009 May 16, 2009 May 9, 2009 May 2, 2009 April 25, 2009 April 18, 2009 April 11, 2009 April 4, 2009 March 28, 2009 March 21, 2009 March 14, 2009 March 7, 2009 February 28, 2009 February 21, 2009 February 14, 2009 February 7, 2009 January 31, 2009 January 24, 2009 January 17, 2009 January 10, 2009 January 03, 2009 December 27, 2008 December 20, 2008 December 13, 2008 December 6, 2008 November 29, 2008 November 22, 2008 November 15, 2008 November 8, 2008 November 1, 2008 October 25, 2008 October 18, 2008 October 11, 2008 October 4, 2008 September 27, 2008 September 20, 2008 September 13, 2008 September 6, 2008 August 30, 2008 August 23, 2008 August 16, 2008 August 9, 2008 August 2, 2008 July 26, 2008 July 19, 2008 July 12, 2008 July 5, 2008 June 28, 2008 June 21, 2008 June 14, 2008 June 7, 2008 May 31, 2008 May 24, 2008 May 17, 2008 May 10, 2008 2008 Stock Meeting April 26, 2008 April 19, 2008 April 12, 2008 April 5, 2008 March 29, 2008 March 22, 2008 March 15, 2008 March 8, 2008 March 1, 2008 February 16, 2008 February 9, 2008 February 2, 2008 January 26, 2008 January 19, 2008 January 12, 2008 January 5, 2008 December 29, 2007 December 22, 2007 December 15, 2007 December 8, 2007 December 1, 2007 November 24, 2007 November 17, 2007 November 10, 2007 November 3, 2007 October 27, 2007 October 20, 2007 October 13, 2007 October 6, 2007 September 29, 2007 September 22, 2007 September 15, 2007 September 8, 2007 September 1, 2007 August 25, 2007 August 18, 2007 August 11, 2007 August 4, 2007 July 28, 2007 July 21, 2007 July 14, 2007 July 7, 2007 June 30, 2007 June 23, 2007 June 16, 2007 June 9, 2007 June 2, 2007 May 26, 2007 May 19, 2007 May 12, 2007 May 5, 2007 2007 Stock Meeting April 21, 2007 April 14, 2007 April 7, 2007 March 31, 2007 March 24, 2007 March 17, 2007 March 10, 2007 March 3, 2007 February 24, 2007 February 17, 2007 February 10, 2007 February 3, 2007 January 27, 2007 January 20, 2007 January 13, 2007 January 6, 2007 December 30, 2006 December 23, 2006 December 16, 2006 December 9, 2006 December 2, 2006 November 25, 2006 November 18, 2006 November 11, 2006 November 4, 2006 October 28, 2006 October 21, 2006 October 14, 2006 October 7, 2006 September 30, 2006 September 23, 2006 September 16, 2006 September 9, 2006 September 2, 2006 August 26, 2006 August 19, 2006 August 12, 2006 August 5, 2006 July 29, 2006 July 22, 2006 July 15, 2006 July 8, 2006 July 1, 2006 June 24, 2006 June 17, 2006 June 10, 2006 June 3, 2006 May 27, 2006 May 20, 2006 May 13, 2006 May 6, 2006 2006 Stock Meeting April 22, 2006 April 15, 2006 April 8, 2006 April 1, 2006 March 25, 2006 March 18, 2006 March 11, 2006 March 4, 2006 February 25, 2006 February 18, 2006 February 11, 2006 February 4, 2006 January 28, 2006 January 21, 2006 January 14, 2006 January 7, 2006 December 31, 2005 December 24, 2005 December 17, 2005 December 10, 2005 December 03, 2005 November 26, 2005 November 19, 2005 November 12, 2005 November 5, 2005 October 29, 2005 October 22, 2005 October 15, 2005 October 8, 2005 October 1, 2005 September 24, 2005 September 17, 2005 September 10, 2005 September 3, 2005 August 27, 2005 August 20, 2005 August 13, 2005 August 6, 2005 July 30, 2005 July 23, 2005 July 16, 2005 July 9, 2005 July 2, 2005 June 25, 2005 June 18, 2005 June 11, 2005 June 4, 2005 May 28, 2005 May 21, 2005 May 14, 2005 May 7, 2005 April 30, 2005 April 23, 2005 April 16, 2005 April 9, 2005 April 2, 2005 March 26, 2005 March 19, 2005 March 12, 2005 March 5, 2005 February 26, 2005 February 19, 2005 February 12, 2005 February 5, 2005 January 29, 2005 January 22, 2005 January 15, 2005 January 8, 2005 January 1, 2005 December 25, 2004 December 18, 2004 December 11, 2004 December 4, 2004 November 27, 2004 November 20, 2004 November 13, 2004 November 6, 2004 October 30, 2004 October 23, 2004 October 16, 2004 October 9, 2004 October 2, 2004 September 25, 2004 September 18, 2004 September 11, 2004 September 4, 2004 August 28, 2004 August 21, 2004 August 14, 2004 August 7, 2004 July 31, 2004 July 24, 2004 July 17, 2004 July 10, 2004 July 3, 2004 June 26, 2004 June 19, 2004 June 5, 2004 May 29, 2004 May 22, 2004 May 15, 2004 May 8, 2004 2004 Stock Meeting April 24, 2004 April 10, 2004 April 3, 2004 March 27, 2004 March 20, 2004 March 13, 2004 March 6, 2004 February 28, 2004 February 21, 2004 February 14, 2004 February 7, 2004 February 1, 2004 January 18, 2004 December 27, 2003 December 20, 2003 December 13, 2003 December 6, 2003 November 29, 2003 November 22, 2003 November 15, 2003 November 8, 2003 November 1, 2003 October 25, 2003 October 18, 2003 October 11, 2003 October 4, 2003 September 27, 2003 September 20, 2003 September 13, 2003 September 6, 2003 August 30, 2003 August 23, 2003 August 16, 2003 August 9, 2003 Pension Lawsuit Win July 26, 2003 July 19, 2003 July 12, 2003 July 5, 2003 June 28, 2003 June 21, 2003 June 14, 2003 June 7, 2003 May 31, 2003 May 24, 2003 May 17, 2003 May 10, 2003 2003 Stock Meeting April 26, 2003 April 19, 2003 April 12, 2003 April 5, 2003 March 29, 2003 March 22, 2003 March 15, 2003 March 8, 2003 March 1, 2003 February 22, 2003 February 15, 2003 February 8, 2003 February 1, 2003 January 25, 2003 January 18, 2003 January 11, 2003 January 4, 2003 December 28, 2002 December 21, 2002 December 14, 2002 December 7, 2002 November 30, 2002 November 23, 2002 November 16, 2002 November 9, 2002 November 2, 2002 October 26, 2002 October 19, 2002 October 12, 2002 October 5, 2002 September 28, 2002 September 21, 2002 September 14, 2002 September 7, 2002 August 31, 2002 August 24, 2002 August 17, 2002 August 10, 2002 August 3, 2002 July 27, 2002 July 20, 2002 July 13, 2002 July 6, 2002 June 29, 2002 June 22, 2002 June 15, 2002 June 8, 2002 June 1, 2002 May 25, 2002 May 18, 2002 May 11, 2002 2002 Stock Meeting April 27, 2002 April 20, 2002 April 13, 2002 April 6, 2002 March 30, 2002 March 23, 2002 March 16, 2002 March 9, 2002 March 2, 2002 February 23, 2002 February 16, 2002 February 9, 2002 February 2, 2002 January 26, 2002 January 19, 2002 January 12, 2002 January 5, 2002 December 29, 2001 December 22, 2001 December 15, 2001 December 8, 2001 December 1, 2001 November 24, 2001 November 17, 2001 November 10, 2001 November 3, 2001 October 27, 2001 October 20, 2001 October 13, 2001 October 6, 2001 September 29, 2001 September 22, 2001 September 15, 2001 September 8, 2001 September 1, 2001 August 25, 2001 August 18, 2001 August 11, 2001 August 4, 2001 July 28, 2001 July 21, 2001 July 14, 2001 July 7, 2001 June 30, 2001 June 23, 2001 June 16, 2001 June 9, 2001 June 2, 2001 May 26, 2001 May 19, 2001 May 12, 2001 May 5, 2001 2001 Stock Meeting April 21, 2001 April 14, 2001 April 7, 2001 March 31, 2001 March 24, 2001 March 17, 2001 March 10, 2001 March 3, 2001 February 24, 2001 February 17, 2001 February 10, 2001 February 3, 2001 January 27, 2001 January 20, 2001 January 13, 2001 January 6, 2001 December 30, 2000 December 23, 2000 December 16, 2000 December 9, 2000 December 2, 2000 November 24, 2000 November 17, 2000 November 10, 2000 November 4, 2000 October 28, 2000 October 21, 2000 October 14, 2000 October 7, 2000 September 30, 2000 September 23, 2000 September 16, 2000 September 9, 2000 September 2, 2000 August 26, 2000 August 19, 2000 August 12, 2000 July 29, 2000 July 22, 2000 July 15, 2000 July 1, 2000 June 24, 2000 June 17, 2000 June 10, 2000 June 3, 2000 May 27, 2000 May 20, 2000 May 13, 2000 May 6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—August 15, 2015

  • Computerworld:

    As it sets IT layoffs, Citizens Bank shifts work to India via Web. By Patrick Thibodeau. Excerpts: Citizens Bank in Rhode Island has offered its IT employees solid middle-class wages and good benefits, but this slice of the America Dream is ending for many of them.

    Bank IT employees are training replacements in India to take over their jobs. IT employees who were contacted say this "knowledge transfer" is being accomplished remotely, over the Web and in a teleconferences.

    Affected bank IT employees say their jobs will end in December.

    In June, IBM announced that it had signed a five-year IT services agreement with Citizens Bank. The agreement, said IBM, "will help Citizens drive greater efficiencies, improve service and lower cost." IBM runs a large operation in India, where the pay is but a fraction of U.S. worker salaries.

    The number of layoffs is in dispute. Employees said as many as 150 Citizen Bank IT workers were being laid off. But this number doesn’t include contractors. IBM will be consolidating the bank’s IT infrastructure services, and, as part of that, the bank is consolidating from four vendors to one vendor, IBM. This change will result in the elimination of some contractor jobs, and when contractors are added, the total layoff estimate by employees ranges from 250 to 350. Computerworld interviewed four Citizen IT employees: Two were interviewed by phone, and two by email and only on condition of anonymity. ...

    Citizens Bank has previously used offshore contractors, including Infosys and Accenture, both of which have employed H-1B workers at Citizen sites, according to government records. But the IBM contract, and its consolidation of existing contractors, may be the bank's largest IT outsourcing engagement yet. IBM was asked about its use of remote training to accomplish offshore training, but declined to comment.

  • Computerworld:

    With H-1B visa, diversity doesn’t apply. By Patrick Thibodeau and Sharon Machlis. Excerpts: Apple says workforce diversity "inspires creativity and innovation," but one of Apple's major contractors, Infosys, is far from diverse.

    In 2013, Infosys, an India-based provider of IT services, had 509 workers assigned to Apple sites in Cupertino, Calif. Of that number, 499 — or 98% — are listed as Asian, with the remaining 10 identified as either white or black, according to government records.

    Apple isn't the only company where a large majority of Infosys workers are Asian. Of 427 people employed by Infosys at insurance giant Aetna's Hartford, Conn., offices, 418 were identified as Asian in a court filing. ...

    This lopsided representation of Asian people among the workforces of IT services providers is not limited to Infosys. And it is a consequence of the H-1B visa program, which the offshore IT services industry uses to procure most of its labor.

    Nearly 86% of the H-1B visas issued by the U.S. government for workers in computer occupations are for people from India, according to a Computerworld analysis of government data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. ...

    Offshore companies that provide IT services "prefer young H-1B programmers because the visa offers control over this contracted short-term workforce, it permits them to pay less than they would for experienced natives and they cultivate programmers who can better serve their clients after returning home to India," said Lowell. ...

    Many of these H-1B visa holders will work for an alternate universe of companies that primarily hire IT professionals from India. In many instances, these workers may be used to replace people such as Brian Buchanan, a former senior IT staffer at Southern California Edison (SCE). ...

    Buchanan was laid off earlier this year from SCE and had to train his replacements from Tata, who were from India on a visa, according to the lawsuit. Tata has called the lawsuit "baseless," and it reiterated that argument following the filing of last month's amended complaint. Infosys has previously denied the allegations as well.

    Prior to his layoff, Buchanan attended a job fair organized by SCE for its soon-to-be terminated employees.

    At the Tata booth, which was staffed with "South Asians," Buchanan spoke with a Tata regional manager, who told him that the company was hiring for jobs at SCE and elsewhere. But the Tata manager "was dismissive" of Buchanan's inquiries, the lawsuit alleges. In contrast, Buchanan "observed that the Tata employees spent considerably more time speaking with South Asian applicants and spoke to them in Hindi about available positions." ...

    The lawsuit against Tata alleges that the firm staffed SCE "with an almost 100% South Asian workforce." It claims that about 95% of Tata's overall U.S. workforce is made up of South Asians. ...

    After India, which garners the top share of visas for computer jobs by an overwhelming margin, China is in second place — just over 5% of H-1B visas for computer jobs go to Chinese people. No other nation rises above 1%, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services H-1B data for the 2014 federal fiscal year.

  • LinkedIn's IBM Official Alumni Group: The Greater IBM Connection:

    Can IBM Re Invent Itself? Full excerpt: Bob: I spent a good chunk of my life as an IBMer and considering I was 2nd generation, it was most of my life.

    IBM was a great company and greatly admired and emulated. At some point it went off the tracks. The reasons why and a matter of opinion.

    The question I pose to you is: can IBM get back to its position in the industry, and regain its reputation? What would that take?

    Your thoughts on how that can be done.

    Selected responses follow:

    • Anne: I read recently that the analysts are criticizing IBM for not being able to grow organically. I have felt for a long time that the company was losing this ability outside the big bets like Watson or cloud. Return to allowing the internal development teams to work on innovative projects and not just acquiring companies.
    • Bob: That is a very good point Anne. In my last job we shared a building with an arm of a large Internet player. That company actively solicits ideas and if it has merit they support the development. From what you say that does not exist in IBM. When I mention IBM to these people they laugh.

      One weakness from my observation of the IBM process is to buy a Company that is operating well and has a culture. IBM buys it and tries to IBMiize the company, and the good people leave.

      When you buy one of these companies, you are buying the people and their skills in having built something of value. In this business environment value fades quickly without continuing innovation. If you lose the innovators, you bought nothing.

    • Wayne: I joined IBM Business Consulting in 1997 and left in 2009. In the consulting group, the work environment changed immensely with the acquisition of PwC. The IBM I joined was led by experienced IBM managers that had been taught to value the workers. With the purchase of PwC, and putting the "partners" in charge of BCS, the brain trust changed from the workers to the partners. The partners were the masters and the workers were their minions. They killed the culture of everyone is an equal contributor and has a valuable role to play.

      From there, IBM BCS seemed to miss the point of the acquisition. In buying PwC we told that we'd move more into the board room with strategy consulting; but the reality was we moved more into the "vendor" space of off-shore outsourcing. We all know IBM can't be the cheapest vendor, so why put so much of the business into the most price competitive line of business?

      The Partners couldn't sell, because they didn't believe in the core value of doing business with IBM. IBM is a tremendous one-source business partner with an amazing ability to partner across organizations to deliver a working solution. Compared to the other low-price vendors, we're a terrible low-price vendor. (redundancy deliberate)

    • Chad: As an ex-IBMer I can tell you they can once again be a great company but will need to go back to their roots on "respect for the individual". That single statement is the core of IBMs woes.
    • Rich: I spent 31 years at IBM and like you was 2nd generation. What made IBM special was its people and the joint commitment to each other. There was an implied commitment on the part of the company that if you worked hard you would continue to have employment and opportunities to advance and retrain. The company offered good pay, benefits, and working environment.

      When Gerstner came in that went the way of the dodo bird. He did exactly what he had done at other companies like Nabisco. Sell off assets, lay off workers, cut benefits. That completely changed the environment.

      Suddenly instead of focusing on the client and innovating the employees started looking over their shoulders. People who had been hired on thinking that they would spend their entire career at IBM were worried that they'd be out on the street as an older worker competing for jobs. The focus went from a long term vision to managing quarter by quarter. All that was important was stock price, dividends, and executive compensation. Executives didn't stay in their positions long enough to have to account for their results long term so they only needed to consider what impact things would have on their bonuses.

      I know this is a very cynical view of things but I think IBM got exactly what it deserved. What's left at IBM is executives, bean counters, and overseas employees trying to plug the holes in the ship while it sinks. I don't see any way for the company to get back to its greatness short of a miracle.

    • David: Any corporation, not just IBM, that generates revenue from innovative ideas and dependable implementation depends on employing and rewarding the very best people. The old IBM annual reports were full of stories about exceptional contributions by our colleagues. They made us proud to be associated with such stars. No longer is IBM visibly proud of its people. IBM lost this vision some years ago.

      Customers used to respect the commitment by IBM account managers, support staff and executives to the highest quality delivery. The customer was king and he believed that we believed that. We were not strangled by cumbersome processes that got in the way of spending time with or for the customer.

      IBM can develop more advanced technology and more innovative services. However, they will not deliver significant revenue growth without regaining the reputation for great service by great people that caused the phrase "nobody gets sacked for buying IBM". That was a goldmine. Who killed the golden goose?

    • Sylvia: These are great comments. Yes, IBM could reinvent itself. But, it needs leadership that wants to recreate that great company and I don't see this happening right now. Who killed the golden goose? It's really a 'what' and that is arrogance. IBM started to develop bad management who thought they knew better than everyone else and then bad management cloned itself.

      I was essentially a peon but could see the problems developing. When I expressed them to management I was told that "I just didn't understand." But, as things rolled out, I was right and the company just collapsed.

      Shortly after I got dumped out (long story) I read the book Big Blues: The Unmaking of IBM (published in the mid-90's I believe). Reading that was like reading what I lived through...it was my worst nightmare and I couldn't put it down. At this time, I don't see any prospects of IBM regaining prominence...there is no leadership that's interested in doing that. Sad, and we've gotten rid of almost all of our IBM stock. Just really hard to watch.

    • Bill: It will be extremely difficult for IBM to regain its old position. For many reasons it is harder to turn around a company than to found a new one. In the turnaround you inherit a great deal of baggage in the form of both human, financial, and physical that may not work well anymore. Changing all of this to match the new vision and direction for the company is not easy. There are thousands of employees who have to be persuaded to sign on to the new direction. This will require great communication skills on the part of those leading the turnaround.

      Generally, it is not possible to go back to some vision from the past. What worked in 1960 for Tom Watson will not work in 2015. Developing a vision requires insight into the market that is rarely found in combination with the business skill and communication abilities necessary.

      Finally, the type of person with the skills maybe a Steve Jobs, or a Bill Gates is more likely to want to found his own company rather than join an IBM. Does anyone really think that a young Steve Jobs would really last very long if he were to join IBM today. How long did Ross Perot last at IBM?

    • Richard: I spent 7 years at IBM. I never felt that I was safe working there. Always felt the axe was right over my head. Any company that lays off its most valuable employees in order to keep the stock price up is in trouble. I also always felt that IBM was way too rigid. Other technology companies have the ability to act and react much quicker than IBM and beat IBM to market. I don't think IBM can turn around the ship until they realize that their employees are their most valuable asset and treat them with respect. I think that CEO has to go and soon!
    • Bob: IBM needs leadership. The technology leaders all have great leadership! IBM has gone down hill since it hired Lou Gerstner. Some call him a hero, I call him an idiot and the man who murdered IBM.

      Prior to Gerstner IBM has the world's finest marketing organization that drove development of hardware, software, and services. The company was completely customer focused. Today IBM is perhaps the biggest collection of small businesses and bad acquisitions ever assembled with absolutely no one in charge!

      Ginny sure as heck doesn't lead, she just cuts costs... Sam didn't lead, and Lou ripped the company apart. To succeed again: 1. build a customer centric sales organization 2. build products that meet customer requirements.

      Dump all the garbage it has acquired and focus on what customers need.

    • Peter E. Greulich: Bob, great question and great insights into solutions by the commenters. Of course any company can reinvent itself. Sometimes that "reinvention" is just a "back to the future" moment. Or as I said it for more than twenty of my thirty years at IBM, "What is old is new again."

      Every generation, though, has to discover what works for them and make it their own for it to be strong with them - so it is just a matter of time and a few mistakes.

      As you know, I captured my thirty year's of experience in my counter perspective to Lou Gerstner's Who Says Elephants Can't Dance with a book entitled "A View from Beneath the Dancing Elephant." It documents a 20th-century IBM that was built on a mutualistic relationship between leaders and employee-owners — we all worked together to make something of the corporation. It is now a 21st-century IBM run by a corner-office leadership that believes only in parasitic relationships — take everything they can from the corporation.

      IBM still has some of the best people in the industry, but I read a quote that summarizes the situation today as clearly today as it did almost six decades ago. This is what keeps people (and IBM) from reinvention:

      "A new division [has entered into] society, the division between those who manage and take responsibility, and those who are managed and have responsibility taken from them. This is a division more important than the division between rich and poor."

      Gerstner introduced centralization of power and decision making, mistrust of the individual, and a me-first and -only corporate leadership philosophy. Until IBM again decentralizes, trusts the individual, and returns to a service-first thought, it can't reinvent itself. It will just be another corporate giant in the world that lumbers along as former shadow of its former great self, remembered only by those that lived it.

      But if it gets back to respect, service and excellence it can make it.

      Cheers, Peter E. Greulich Author, Speaker and Publisher A View from Beneath the Dancing Elephant

    • Roman: My observation from 8 years working for IBM Australia Ltd is disconnect between big picture strategies and ability to deliver. We lost sight of the fact that to deliver on strategy there needs to be organisation, set of incentives, accounting systems to back the strategy. For example we have said to the market we had "infrastructure on demand". But when it came to actually explain what "on demand" meant the answer we could give was neither clear nor consistent with common understanding of "on demand". Perhaps elephant can dance, but we need to know how to make them do so.
    • Peter E. Greulich: Bob C., I call July of 1999 in my book "The Watershed Event." It was when all of us (even dense folks like me) finally understood that we were no longer seen as an IBM human relationship but truly just as an IBM human resource.

      I give credit to Gerstner for his first five to six years: he made the difficult financial calls that had to be made (although Akers did most of the heavy lifting early); he articulated a strategy to the market of software, services and hardware that they bought off on; he got "us" fired up again with the right words that reminded us of our eight decades of IBM heritage — particularly service to the customer (ultimately Akers had lost all credibility with everyone at IBM — think about the water cooler statement).

      Unfortunately, Gerstner's talk didn't align with his walk in the long run. Since my previous note above about what I think he did wrong in the long run, but ultimately he was the start of the shareholder-first strategy at IBM which Palmisano and Rometty have just taken to the final logical conclusion.

      To keep Bob R. in his chair and not have him hit me up aside the head, here are some more "parts." ;)

      1. Bypass the getting the financial mess in order because it is still generating strong cash flow—12 billion from my last chart but down 27%—and has the financial wherewithal to change with less pain than in 1993;
      2. Put the customer first again instead of the shareholder-first-and-only strategy it has today;
      3. Make a statement that it understands that what Gallup and Deloitte have documented about the impact of poor employee morale on earnings-per-share and reverse the 401K decision (a good-faith offering to the employees);
      4. Revenue per employee has been stagnant since 1999 so IBM needs to truly invest in sales productivity to get revenue per employee climbing again—no more lip service to investing in the sales organization. (Rometty seems to see the sales organization as the enemy — go figure);
      5. Instead of buying back shares invest in technology—IBM in 1964 spent 10x its net income to build the mainframe and IBM in 2013 instead had spent 10x on share buybacks.

      Bob R., thanks for this question. I am working on a new article for Seeking Alpha and this is helping me clarify my thoughts. Everybody feel free to pile on. ;)

    • Peter: Where do I start? I just left last year after 11 years. Everything is structured for self survival, not the company nor the customer. The financial game playing at all levels is pervasive. All wrapped up in the nimbleness of the DMV. It's so sad; so many talented hard working people and we all have left. Sam and Randy set it up for everyone to look out for themselves at the expense of all else. Yes, the company can turn around and still be a wonderful place but not until there is a culture change and I'm not sure how that happens with senior leadership lining their pockets. It's as Wall Street as Wall Street can be.
  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • “Lots of opportunity but you'll really have to work for it.”

      Current Employee — Partner in Dallas, TX. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: Great people, well known brand, deep pockets, complex projects and good learning experience. Global reach means lots of opportunity if you're willing to travel. Reinventing itself in some really leading edge technologies such as AI, cognitive computing, cloud, deep analytics. Few constraints on work location or work style. Very wide array of jobs, can reinvent yourself and have many careers within the same company. Competitive salaries.

      Cons: Complex and difficult to navigate. Recently seen as "old tech", not a glamour brand. Wall Street hates IBM and IBM tries to manage to Wall Street's needs over its customers and employees Leads to regular "resource actions" and divestitures which can be unsettling. People disappear overnight! Flexible working means constant working. Very easy to be sucked into an unhealthy work/life balance.

      Advice to Management: Need to live your stated core values. People are seen as a commodity to be bought and sold. Your current lack of growth is totally down to your complete lack of focus on your clients' needs and the capabilities of your people. Letting finance run the company will result in disaster. Financial engineering instead of real engineering and a shrinking top line.

    • “Rage against the machine”

      Current Employee — Development Manager in Dublin (Ireland). I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 8 years.) Pros: Access to a massive knowledge base. Ability to move within the company to a vast range of different positions. Cons: Administration, bureaucracy, outdated systems and processes, a horrible employee review system. The company advocates agility but is about as agile as a submarine. Advice to Management: Ditch the awful employee review process, get off Lotus Notes, invest in internal systems, drop the Blue Propaganda.
    • “Great company to work if you are a Graduate; Experienced people is an individual's preference”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee.

      Pros: Great company if you are young talent joining fresh graduate. Lots of opportunities to move around and re-skill yourself. Experienced employee: great environment if you like dealing with interesting challenges and some innovative work in the market.

      Cons: If you are joining as experienced employee, best negotiate a high salary when you enter, else it's difficult to get a sizable raise generally or, if you get promoted, the process gets much harder to negotiate a good pay but work load will increase exponentially, So you might end up feeling you are working long and recognised less in a bureaucratic environment.

      Advice to Management: Move away from the bureaucratic process and give people chances. The sheer size of the company may make it tough and you all drive by your metrics, But sign of true leader is not beat up the team when things are going wrong but how well your bring them together at that moment and using people for the strength they are good at. Inherent mindset needs to change with what is being preached to clients, change needs to come from within DNA of organisation.

    • “Concerned”

      Former Employee — Client Technical Specialist in Oakbrook Terrace, IL. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: Great work experiences in my 25 year career! Performed many different job functions over the course of my career there!

      Cons: Since the shift towards CAMSS, seems like they are purposely shedding employees. They refuse to train unless employees are out of college. I have only positive feelings though towards the company, I just hope they come to their senses soon!

      Advice to Management: You're wasting amazing talented people and stunting their growth. Just because someone struggles in their career doesn't mean they should be ejected from the company. You have a problem with culture when you on-board other companies. They resist blending with the portfolio and often work against one another. At this point in history I wouldn't recommend working there. I hope they can turn the ship around.

    • “Decent pay, not a ton of opportunities”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Pay was pretty competitive with similar companies, especially in areas with high cost of living. Perks of traveling life. Could learn from a variety of projects if given the opportunity to move around. Cons: Not much room for growth, little control of career trajectory. Paid differently depending on the college you are coming from, which seems a bit unfair to me. Advice to Management: help CBDers have better control of the projects they are staffed on. There currently aren't enough CBD managers to give each CBDer the attention they need to succeed in their role.
    • “The "new" IBM is coming...actually, it is already here.”

      Current Employee — Sales Specialist in Copenhagen (Denmark).

      Pros: IBM is very focused on the transition of the company to a solution-driven organization around solutions to Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Security and Social. It is a rocket ride and IBM management is laying an interesting road towards achieving the objectives and progressing nicely wrt. acquisition of complementary technologies, setting up an organization to sell and deliver.

      Cons: If you are not ready for constant changes then you should choose a more static company - but hurry up as most of them will soon go out of business or be acquired.

      Advice to Management: Keep the momentum going.

    • “Not so great place any more”

      Current Employee — Senior Systems Engineer in New York, NY. I have been working at IBM (more than 8 years).

      Pros: It used to be a great place to work and that was only because of good quality people in the company. I had the opportunity to work with many people across many nations and it gave me chance to grow in my personal career. The company has good world wide opportunity.

      Cons: The way this company started treating its good people, I have not much hope in the future of the company. There is no benefit if you work good and lead your team successfully unless and until you please the management the way they want. It has been ages for me since I got a good open-minded manager in this company now.

      Advice to Management: Management must think about the personal growth of employee, they need not be reminded every month by the employee. Manager should think about the goal of the company overall and not about his personal goal. A good quality technical person will be an asset for the company if groomed correctly by management. They are busy cutting costs and saving penny.

    • “Finally found home”

      Current Employee — Head of Global Talent — IBM Design in Austin, TX. I have been working at IBM full-time (less than a year). Pros: Amazing benefits + culture + limitless opportunity. Cons: Dated systems that need some TLC. Luckily I work in the design division of Cloud so this problem will not continue to be an issue.
    • “Seen better times”

      Current Employee — IT Solutions Architect in São Paulo (Brazil). I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: Global company, many opportunities in different areas. Some structure for career evolution. Good work/life balance program, but challenging to actually be able to use it. Cons: Below average salaries. Unrealistic sales targets and below market, obscure incentives. Very slow internal processes. Too many managers and hierarchy. Advice to Management: New business units look promising, in the right direction. Improve salaries and recognition to attract retain current talent and attract new.
    • “Disappointed”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee in Dublin (Ireland). Pros: Big campus and easy to park car. Cons: Mediocre managers. Company won't provide you even washing liquid. Your salary will not increase. Nobody really seem to care about IBM at all. They are into saving money at the cost of employees. Advice to Management: It's people who make up the company. Take more care of them.
    • “Great organisation to work with”

      Former Employee — Human Resources in Armonk, NY. I worked at IBM (more than 5 years.) Pros: Great work/life balance, great learning, professional work place, fabulous people policies, huge emphasis on diversity and inclusivity. Cons: Low salaries, other than that a great place to work.
    • “Not a place you'd want to work”

      Current Employee — Senior Consultant in New York, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 8 years).

      Pros: The pros are pretty limited and so are the reasons to work here. It is a big company with many clients so that does present some opportunity to get experiences with different clients, although still the work may be repetitive or not at the upper tier of consulting work.

      Cons: The projects are boring and low-level IT projects as opposed to those that are truly strategic. In my time with the company a majority of the projects in my practice area were a failure or added no real value to the client. Career growth is terrible as management does a terrible job managing resources and basically only see resources as bodies to bill utilization, without caring about whether a project aligns with career aspirations or current skills at all.

      Advice to Management: The management needs to focus on long-term strategy and health of the company as opposed to short-term/quarterly numbers. Also, lip service alone will continue to have your top talent exit as there are many other companies that do value their employees more than IBM does.

    • “Constant massive layoffs all the time”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 3 years). Pros: A recognized company name...for what that is worth. Cons: If you are or will be a U.S. based employee of IBM then get accustomed to constant outsourcing, offshoring, layoffs, reductions in force (RIFs), resource actions and job loss. IBM was a good, stable place to work, but that was decades ago. IBM will sell out, undermine and ravage its own U.S. work force to make an extra dollar of profit by exploiting people in a cheap, poverty-stricken third world country.
    • “Hit and miss”

      Current Employee — Systems Tester in Auckland (New Zealand). I have been working at IBM part-time (more than a year).

      Pros: Excellent opportunities are made available, working with very impressive clients on outstanding projects. Whilst there, great opportunity's have presented themselves.

      Cons: Team leads play a constant game of shifting blame; primary managers shifting the blame about their own short falls onto the low level employees of other teams; this makes the primary modification covering your own backside. Training seems to be nonexistent; it's very much a "learn from doing" environment, but that wont stop people from blaming you when you make mistakes. Have had a total of two hours of official training in the 9 months working here.

      Advice to Management: Change the training structure to support entry level employees and keep better tabs on managers who thrive on making the work space hostile.

    • “Disappointment”

      Former Employee — Systems Consultant in Holmdel, NJ. I worked at IBM (more than a year) Pros: Brand name company with no bite. Cons: Has no currency even with long-term service provider clients to compete! When the clients terminate contracts, IBM cannot even place the services staff on other client contracts. Very meek resource managers with no clout to compete with other outsourcers. Advice to Management: See Cons.
    • “No Longer The Innovative Leader”

      Former Employee — Manager in Armonk, NY. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: Great people (non-management)! You may get to work with emerging technologies if you are providing support to external customers. Work life balance can be great depending on business unit. Access to some emerging enterprise level technologies.

      Cons: Constant staff reductions to drive shareholder value overrides sound business management/operations. Employee morale continues to degrade with each quarterly/monthly staff reduction. Internal tools and technology are rarely updated as most of the support staff have been let go and no capital investment internally due to cost controls. Overall the business is run via spreadsheets despite the availability of industry leading solutions. Salary growth and bonuses are non-existent.

      Advice to Management: Invest in your greatest resources, IBMers. Value to shareholders DOES NOT equate to value for customers nor drives revenue or industry leading innovation.

    • “No Longer The Innovative Leader”

      Former Employee — Manager in Armonk, NY. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: Great people (non-management)! You may get to work with emerging technologies if you are providing support to external customers. Work-life balance can be great depending on business unit. Access to some emerging enterprise level technologies.

      Cons: Constant staff reductions to drive shareholder value overrides sound business management/operations. Employee morale continues to degrade with each quarterly/monthly staff reduction. Internal tools and technology are rarely updated as most of the support staff have been let go and no capital investment internally due to cost controls. Overall the business is run via spreadsheets despite the availability of industry leading solutions. Salary growth and bonuses are non-existent.

      Advice to Management: Invest in your greatest resources, IBMers. Value to shareholders DOES NOT equate to value for customers nor drives revenue or industry leading innovation.

    • “Good name to work for...but that's it.”

      Current Employee — Software Support Engineer in Saint Louis, MO. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 5 years).

      Pros: Growth potential. I say potential because it is difficult to get your manager to approve of you looking at other positions. Work from home office, no travel, and no need to commute every day.

      Cons: Work/life balance is hit or miss. Sometimes it's okay to bring your kids to the doctor and sometimes it's frowned upon. Imbalance between employee/manager relations. Absolutely no training opportunities. Common phrase is "learn on your own". Management is inconsistent and daily tasks that should remain constant are always changing.

      Advice to Management: TRAIN YOUR PEOPLE! Stop gobbling up every little company and train what you have. The problem with large companies like IBM is that they have the mindset of just acquiring more companies instead of nurturing from within. Each department/section/group is different. There is no common ground. One manager may be the best in the world and the other manager (mine) is a workaholic and a severe micro-manager.

    • “Senior Managing Consultant”

      Former Employee — Senior Managing Consultant in Chicago, IL Doesn't Recommend Neutral Outlook CEO I worked at IBM full-time (more than a year).

      Pros: Wide variety of industries, many high-quality people to work with on projects, reputation opens doors to interesting engagements, competitive wages. Hiring process was fairly well run.

      Cons: For such a well-established technology company, searching their practitioner database for reference work and relevant IP yields documents that are often over five years old in a foreign language.

      Very inefficient staffing, ad hoc training and career planning...I was hired as an experienced professional, given a laptop with basic administrative training and then left to fend for myself with no initial projects in mind when I was hired in so as to help establish my network. It took several months to become staffed on the first project.

      Variable compensation is only given to a very small percentage at the very top of a year's given achievers and only when the company is performing well so don't count on more than your base salary.

      Advice to Management: When you hire experienced professionals into a managing consultant role, have a few projects available immediately to get them off running successfully, and invest in face-to-face formal network and core training with partners and peers within the first three months. Do not bring people on unless you have a pipeline that is relevant to them. Also, plan to give them more room the first year to establish themselves.

      For the first engagement it would be helpful to give them a more junior project role and have them work with potential career mentors. Also, invest in your knowledge management portal so that it bring much more relevant information when people are searching for work product templates, artifacts, and the like. Lastly, be careful when you bring in or promote leaders (AP/P) to ensure that they have solid integrity.

    • “Avoid if you're ambitious”

      Former Employee — Financial Analyst in Rochester, MN. I worked at IBM full-time (less than a year).

      Pros: Very little actual work to do so the hours are great. People are generally nice. Since so little analysis or thought is required for the job it's very easy and simple.

      Cons: Extremely boring and repetitive work. You won't gain any tangible skills from this job. Furthermore, your manager may be completely unaware of what your job actually entails since all different corporate finance functions are put together at the CoE. Instead of learning what the day-to-day work is for the analysts under him or her, your manager may be content to expect everyone to read their mind on a daily basis. Managers at the CoE in Rochester seem to think they are god's greatest gift to management when in fact they are simply supervisors for glorified clerks. Your manager will require of you to never approach work in an intelligent manner since they themselves are incapable of thought.

      Advice to Management: Stop expecting employees to read your mind. Understand how little is required of the jobs people under you do.

    • “Sales Management Support”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Good pay, work from home. Cons: Management is awful; CEO is bad too. Too much work for the amount of hours in the day. Advice to Management: Take care of the workers.
    • “IBM consulting is not as attractive as it looks like”

      Former Employee — Senior Consultant in Dallas, TX. I worked at IBM full-time (more than a year). Pros: Good brand name to work for. Lot of self training opportunities. Good pay scale. Cons: Not enough projects in consulting and it is very hard to get off the bench as more people and less projects are there. The consulting projects are taken away by low-cost Indian IT firms as IBM is not able to match the cost. This makes very frustrating for people who join the firm and the blame is put on them for not keeping up. Not enough support from senior management; however they are very accessible. Advice to Management: Provide support to new employees while on boarding and assign a mentor whom they can talk to. Plan and anticipate your human resource needs in advance.
    • “Sr. Project Manager”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. I worked at IBM full-time (More than 10 years). Pros: Opportunity to learn many business areas, industries and develop positive relationships with many customers. Also had opportunities to travel domestically and globally in support of various accounts. Benefits and vacation time were very good. Cons: Constant learning requirements and extended work hours left little time for any true work/life balance. The company also initiated numerous layoffs which significantly affected the overall morale of personnel still working with the company. Layoffs also negatively affected overall productivity in many organizations. The layoff process was quite impersonal and harsh. Raises were nonexistent for 4 of the last 5 years. Advice to Management: Your employees are the people that helped make your company successful. The many years of experience should be valued and appreciated.
    • “Poor employee compensation”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 8 years.) Pros: Decent benefits overall but too may layers of management sucking up workforce pay while not adding any value to client. Cons: No pay raises in 8 years even though the amount charged to client has increased substantially. Advice to Management: lose some management layers.
    • “Management focus on self-perpetuation”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee Pros: Clearly the most intelligent group of people I have ever worked with. Career flexibility for long-term employees Good place to spend 3-5 years early in career. Cultural support for invention. Cons: Talents of staff squandered in an ultra-hierarchal management structure that wants all of the authority and none of the responsibility. Senior-level non-managers under constant pressure to do more with less "or else". Advice to Management: Stop focusing on accounting tricks and cost cutting in order to try and placate the Street. Incentivize constructive dissent. Treat employees as a valued constituency instead of a cost to be eliminated when convenient.
  • New York Times:

    Stock Buybacks Draw Scrutiny From Politicians. By Andrew Ross Sorkin. Excerpts: Should corporate stock buybacks be regulated? Or made illegal? Those are the questions not-so-quietly being floated in Washington by a group of elected officials and others trying to get elected, including most recently, Hillary Rodham Clinton. ...

    Goldman Sachs sent out a note to its clients earlier this summer, warning that Washington was raising concerns over buybacks. “Some lawmakers have linked share repurchases with stagnant wages and a lack of business investment,” the note said.

    Since 2004, companies have spent nearly $7 trillion purchasing their own stock — often at inflated prices, according to data from Mustafa Erdem Sakinc of the Academic-Industry Research Network. ...

    The buyback craze, in which virtually every big company from Apple to General Electric to Walmart has participated, has led to a backlash from some investors and government officials, who have questioned whether such use of profits is a productive way to deploy capital rather than reinvesting in businesses and jobs. ...

    A renewed focus on the issue has taken place recently as a result of one of Mrs. Clinton’s speeches, in which she discussed all the money that companies are pouring into buybacks. “That doesn’t leave much money to build a new factory or a research lab, or to train workers, or to give them a raise,” Mrs. Clinton said. ...

    But companies were also driven to pursue buybacks by executives seeking to lift their pay. Buybacks enable companies to issue more stock to executives without diluting other shareholders because they can buy shares to offset the dilution that occurs when executives exercise their stock options.

    It also led to another point of contention in executive compensation plans because buybacks have the effect of increasing earnings per share, a metric that some compensation committees use to determine the pay of their executives. It also has the impact of increasing the stock price in the short term irrespective of operational success, potentially letting executives cash out of some of their shares at artificially high prices.

    Buybacks are enticing for corporate executives, but they can create other problems, including the risk that they repurchase their companies’ shares at the exact wrong time, when their stock prices are too high. Worse, some companies take on debt to buy their own shares.

  • Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert. This week's topics include:
    • Alliance Celebrates Social Security’s 80th Anniversary with More than 40 Events Today
    • Congressional Republicans Move to Dismantle Medicare
    • Senator Brian Schatz Introduces Legislation to Expand Social Security
    • Consumer Reports: One-Third of Consumers Face Higher Drug Prices in Last 12 Months
    • The Union Veterans Council Has a New Website
    • Fiesta Speaks at the A. Philip Randolph Institute National Educational Conference

    Download a PDF version.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site

http://www.endicottalliance.org/thedisintegrationofemploymentinIBM.htm To all Alliance supporters, send and share the above link to the article "The disintegration of employment in IBM" far and wide. Put it on your FaceBook page; send it to newspapers; send it with comments to your political reps and send it to your co-workers. Help break the secrecy of IBM job cuts. Put some pressure on IBM. -Alliance-

Job Cut Reports

  • Comment 08/07/15:

    Job Title: Retired; Message: -DazedNTotallyConfused- There have been several pension rip-offs over the years:
    • The original defined benefit plan payout was 1.5% of your final average pay for EVERY year you worked, and vested at 30 years. So at 30 years, you'd get 45% of your average pay, and at 40 years you'd get 60%.
    • In 1991, that plan was reduced by 10% across the board.
    • In 1995, the plan was reduced again and changed to one based on points and a complicated formula. Under that plan it would be another 5-8 years before it equaled the 1991 plan - it's referred to as 'wear-away'. The 1991 plan was frozen at whatever you had at that time.
    • In 1999, it changed to the infamous cash balance plan, which was a gigantic reduction.
    • In 2007 the cash balance plan was frozen and you were left with whatever you had at the time, and whatever you manage to save in your 401K prior to retirement.
    • The real loss in 1999 was the 'early retirement subsidy'. Let's say that you started working when you were age 20. Under the old plan, retiring after 30 years, age 50 would get that plan's 45%. The early retirement subsidy covers the part of your retirement until you reach age 65. That's gone with the cash balance plan.
    • Do the math; 45% of your final average pay times 15 years. Even though the cash balance conversion didn't affect me personally, it sure was enough to get me out there handing out fliers on a weekly basis before I retired. Refer to the 'pensions' tab on the Alliance home page for more info. -Dave-
  • Comment 08/07/15:

    To Anonymous, in answer to your question "If we "retire" from IBM with this RA package, does that affect our ability to draw unemployment?". When you received notification of the RA from you manager, you also should have received an email which clearly states "you have been identified for permanent layoff". While Notes prevents you from printing or saving this, you can do a print screen and paste it to a Word doc and then save or print it. This is proof that your leaving IBM was not voluntary. IBM then tries to twist this into "you retired" so they can tell your coworkers and they'll think people aren't getting RA'd. I recommend that all who are RA'd do this as a good portion of your unemployment check will come from IBM. -The Low Spark of High Heeled Girls (Ginny)-
  • Comment 08/08/15:

    Job Title: Project Manager; Location: Southbury and various; Customer Account: Many; Business Unit: GBS. Message: Dear -DazedNTotallyConfused-, I joined IBM in 1996 and was over 50 then. Because I had less then 10 years service in 1999 I was forced into the cash balance plan. One of the reasons for joining IBM (highly recruited to fill a desperately-needed position at the ADVO account) was the generous pension. Three years after joining my projected pension was slashed by more than 60%. People fail to realize some of us older employees were also screwed. -Anon-
  • Comment 08/08/15:

    Job Title: SSR, Retired; Location: Baltimore. Message: "My IBM manager in 1999 told me that the pension conversion was being done by IBM so we can have more flexibility with our pension and that IBM was not taking any money from the pension plan. The manager mentioned to the affect the changes are "transparent" as far as the pension balance is concerned"

    Dear Dazed. All the above is true. The ability to be more flexible is and was built in. Every year they are more flexible in what they take away from your bottom line. The effects were transparent to the pension balance. IBM did not take ANY money out of the pension plan. They even stopped adding money in 2007. They just stopped paying you the full amount you used to be entitled to.

    I see the problem. You're looking at this from your personal point of view, not IBM's. You were supposed to embrace this because it was good for IBM. Not you. You get less. IBM keeps more but spends less.

    The simple breakdown examples I was shown as a choicer at 40, if I kept the revised old plan (no lifetime medical in retirement), and I retired at 30 years of service (which for me was age 50) I would get X amount of money. If I chose the "new" cash balance plan and worked 15 years longer till 65 I would Get Y amount of money. In my case Y=X-$4000.00. Either way I was stuck with FHA which will run out.

    The bottom line is when all those drawing a monthly pension die off, IBM will be able to keep the balance remaining in the old pension plan as all the new folks will have their balances in their enhanced 401k's and IBM will not have to manage any of it. Win, win, and billions possibly up for grabs as the inevitability of death wears down the base payouts and the balance goes to the survivor (IBM). -Exodus2007-

  • Comment 08/08/15:

    IBM intentionally misled us. They created a retirement estimator that had 6% growth as the base growth assumption in the tool. Then they only paid out about 1% a year, without ever changing the tool. Does anyone think that IBM only got 1% on the billions of our money that they managed? I would always change the assumption but I spoke to several IBMers over the years who never bothered and were misled. It was their own fault, but IBM knew exactly what they were doing. When I retired the stock price was $193. Now, it is $155. Nice job Ginni. If ever a CEO deserved to be fired, it is her. -ihateibm-
  • Comment 08/08/15:

    For those who expressed concerns with management's information regarding the sharing of pension plans change in 1999, I was a manager back then (retired a few years ago). I remember at that time I spent hours working with each of my team members to make sure they understood the changes and provided them tools to make sure they made the proper decisions based on their individual situations. This were the spirits of "respect for individuals" which was a treasured tradition I grew up with.

    Unfortunately I saw such spirits gradually eroded over the years. Nowadays, many FLMs are busy everyday trying to make their numbers and have no bandwidth to pay attention to their employees' well being any more. In my humble opinion, this is hurting IBM in the long run. -Anonymous-

    Alliance reply: And if the employees would recognize that their well being is really in their hands, together, IBM management would have to pay attention. This is what unions can do. Alliance@IBM has been saying this, in different ways, since 1999.

  • Comment 08/08/15:

    Tony - You are wrong about the life insurance still being available to employees retiring after the end of 2014. You are citing a document dated a year before that. There is a document on Fidelity in the reference section under the Group Life Insurance Certificate heading entitled Retired Employees (retired prior to 1-1-2015) which clearly states that to be eligible for life insurance you must have been hired before January 1, 2004 and retire after October 21, 1977, but prior to January 1, 2015. If you didn't meet that criteria maybe you can't see this particular document. I would be glad to send it to you. This was first disclosed in IBM's SEC filing of its 10K for 2013 filed on 2-25-2014. Here is the wording from that document copied and pasted here:
    "The company also amended its life insurance plan. Employees retiring on or after January 1, 2015, will no longer be eligible for life insurance. Existing retirees and employees retiring during 2014 continue to be eligible for retiree life insurance." This can be found on page 128 of that 10-K under the heading Non-pension Post-retirement Benefit Plan --> U.S. Non-pension Post-retirement Plan.
  • Comment 08/08/15:

    Job Title: Retired and RA'd; Location: Boulder. Message: -DazedNTotallyConfused-, Yes, you (and many others) were duped. I've been running www.ibmemployee.com since the change in 1999...there's a lot of history there if you care to dig through it.

    Ellen Schultz, a reporter at the time with the Wall Street Journal covered the heist extensively. She wrote a book titled "Pension Heist." (See http://www.retirementheist.com/). IBM is mentioned frequently in it.

    We in the United States live in a society where all three branches of government are controlled by corporate overlords. Forget any idea that we are somehow protected from pension, retiree medical, or other corporate theft. Our only protection are unions; but, then, most Americans have been convinced by corporate America that unions are evil. -alwaysontheroad4bigblue-

  • Comment 08/08/15:

    Folks, almost all of us were naive, and IBM isn't yet done taking away what we thought we were promised, but we had failed to read the fine print. Even those of us already retired are likely to see a sell-off of the plan assets to a third party, with an IBM recovery of significant, what will be termed, "excess assets". -Anonymous-
  • Comment 08/09/15:

    Job Title: SSR; Location: Toronto, Canada; Business Unit: GTS-TSS. Message: It's sad to see old friends' "retirement" announcement; most of those were "RAed" :( I'm aware that RA's are happening across IBM Canada in GTS, GBS, TSS, 8200 Lab with last date as Aug 14. -Ted-
  • Comment 08/09/15:

    "Even those of us already retired are likely to see a sell-off of the plan assets to a third party, with an IBM recovery of significant, what will be termed, "excess assets". Very true! And those that are RA'd think that the retirement benefits they get from IBM are locked in at their departure date THINK TWICE!

    It is called de-risking. Here is one example: http://www.healthcareprivateequity.com/sitecore/content/McGuire-Woods/Home/Client-Resources/Alerts/2015/1/PBGC-Wants-Reporting-Lump-Sum-Pension-Cash-Outs.aspx -Anonymous-

  • Comment 08/09/15:

    To those of you not yet RAed and don't want to leave IBM on your own: Why not join the Alliance? What do you have to lose? It costs less than $0.50 a day to join as a full voting Anonymous member or $0.25 as an Associate and Subscriber. -IBMUnionYES-
  • Comment 08/09/15:

    Location: US; Business Unit: GBS. Message: Major cuts coming to GBS this week...notification processes are organizing for anyone not at max utilization or in a non-revenue generating role. Thanks Ginni! IBM is the next AOL and Kodak. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 08/09/15:

    If you are RA'd, file for unemployment insurance (UI) when you are eligible, if applicable. Unemployment benefits are Social Security eligible. So you will maximize your Social Security benefits ("entitlement"). Heck, you earned this. Take advantage of your rights! Of course IBM wants you to be meek and embarrassed and deny you are on unemployment, but the facts are they unemployed you. In fact they FIRED you without just cause! Don't let IBM off easy: IBM needs to pay more for unemployment tax. And it is your right to apply. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 08/12/15:

    How many people that were forced into last year's retraining while being docked 10% of their pay were caught in this current RA, I'm #1? -Anonymous-
  • Comment 08/13/15:

    I was also part of scams training and RA'd last month. I suspect there are many of us. -Anon-
  • Comment 08/13/15:

    You should have seen the handwriting on the wall or read the tea leaves and joined the Alliance once you got that 10% pay cut which had to tell you that your RA was coming real soon. You're not the only one affected, if that is any consolation. -Not #1-
  • Comment 08/14/15:

    I was RA'd back in Feb 2015. I too was asked to take a 10% pay cut so that I could dedicate more time to CAMSS training. CAMSS is IBM's future according to CEO. Like so many others forced into that SCAM, we never got to complete the 6th month training since the RA hit the majority of those already taking the 10% pay cut. We were told that training had nothing to do with performance since I was a 2+ employee and rated a 2 the month of the RA (still a strong performer). What I don't understand is why the media is not reporting such unethical conduct. Why doesn't Alliance get more media attention?

    When RA'd, you will be forced to sign your rights away. If you don't, you get no severance pay. Also, be aware that many states will not grant you unemployment if you've received severance pay. You will however be able to collect unemployment when your severance pay is gone. So check with your unemployment office.

    I also contacted 3 law firms, only one would consider taking on IBM.

    Most of the folks that got RA'd back in February were over 50. None of the folks axed were slackers; we all worked more than 60 hours/week with the occasional 80+ hour week. It's been more than 24 weeks and I am still seeking employment. Forget IBM, would you do business with them, knowing what you know now? I really don't understand why IBM's unethical employment practices are not on the 6 o'clock news.-signed R UNEMPLOYED IBMer-

    Alliance reply: The Alliance continually sends out news items to our media list. It seems job cuts are "old news" to them. Others in the media watch this job cut section and our web site regularly. You want more attention to IBM employee issues? Here are suggestions we have made before: Write letters to the editor about how IBM treats employees. Every time there is an article about IBM, from local papers, to national and trade magazines, go to their comments section and say something. Be an army of activists!

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.

This site is designed to allow IBM Employees to communicate and share methods of protecting their rights through the establishment of an IBM Employees Labor Union. Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act states it is a violation for Employers to spy on union gatherings, or pretend to spy. For the purpose of the National Labor Relations Act, notice is given that this site and all of its content, messages, communications, or other content is considered to be a union gathering.