From One IBM Family To Another Part 1
From the spouse of a March 2nd 2016 casualty
This is a story of a special gift from one family to another. What the two families have in common, is a family member who works at IBM. One family member is the head of IBM Human Resources and the other is a casualty of IBM’s recent mass layoff.
The soon-to-be-ex-IBMer has worked at IBM for many years and thanks to the head of HR, his severance is one month of pay. That is not a typo. One month of pay. IBM’s longstanding policy of paying two weeks for every year of service was eliminated in January, presumably in anticipation of the upcoming mass layoff. Perhaps IBM realized that since they’ve taken away most of the employees’ benefits already, the options were limited as to what else to take. The ex-IBM employee qualified for the maximum of twenty-six weeks of pay prior to January.
The soon-to-be-ex-IBMer and thousands of others being fired, will retire with a lump sum payment of well, not much. Some will still get the monthly pension they were promised but if you weren’t forty years old when the change was announced, then you lost your pension to a cash balance payment. The pension was taken in 2000, and it was frozen in 2006, which meant IBM would make money investing the employees’ pension and the employees would not. The promise of medical for life was broken in 2000 along with the pension promise and there was a seventy percent reduction of employees’ variable pay. In 2014, IBM discontinued medical insurance for retirees & their spouses who were told when they retired that they would have it for life. IBM cut medical insurance assistance to the retiree spouses to $1300 per year which saves IBM millions and costs retirees’ widows thousands of dollars out of a pension that hasn’t had an adjustment for inflation in over twenty years. They really did it. They hit the retirees.
In 2014, IBM announced that employees would not receive their 401k match from IBM unless they were still employed on December 15 of that year. IBM would also not pay the 401k match into employees 401k investment account until December 31 so they could keep the employees money and invest it themselves.
Frankly, what choice did IBM have? They had to finance the IBM president’s $4.5 million bonus which is an increase from last year’s bonus of $3.6 million. What did Ginni Rometty do to deserve this bonus? She is making IBM history with 15 straight quarters of declining revenue and a drop in the stock price that is unprecedented.
IBM only made $13.2 billion in net income in 2015. They can’t possibly use any of that money to make good on promises to employees as it’s already slated it to go to executive pay, bonuses and stock options. IBM has existed for over one hundred years and was long known as one of the best companies to work for. In the last twenty years, it has become one of the worst. Somewhere along the way, the leaders of IBM opted out of integrity if you understand the meaning of integrity to be doing what you say you’ll do. Perhaps they realized they are Big Blue and there’s no one to stop them.
A story of corporate greed isn’t special. What makes this special is that it’s IBM. When Thomas Watson, Sr. ran IBM, he said IBM’s greatest asset was its’ employees. The employees often had below market salaries but they would have medical for life and a pension in return, in gratitude for their long, faithful service to IBM. Thus, the term “lifers”, became part of the IBM lingo, as most of the employees stayed for the life of their career knowing they’d be taken care of and rewarded for their loyalty.
Well it’s time to pay up and IBM is turning its’ back on those long-serving IBMers. Who would have known that one IBMer, IBM’s head of Human Resources, could destroy the livelihood of thousands in a single day? If you run into her, be sure to congratulate her on a job well done. She did it. She saved IBM millions of dollars. The employees, well, collateral damage in the war of corporate executive greed. Isn’t it ironic that you can work in “Human Resources” without having a sense of humanity?
IBM isn’t disclosing the number of employees let go so the number of casualties are not publicly known at this time. They certainly don’t want to alert their customers that the experienced employees that are servicing their contracts are leaving. Who could blame them? It’s business.
So, from one IBM family to another, thank you for your special gift. Don’t think twice about those ex-IBMers, they’ll be alright…for a month.
From One IBM Family to Another Part 2
Six weeks have passed since March 2nd, six weeks to go to May 31 and six weeks until my spouse goes on unemployment with the state. Why does the state now have to support our family? Well, because IBM won’t now that they found a way not to.
These past 6 weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster. There was shock for the first week, anger for another month and now it’s just plain worry…well okay, there is still plenty of anger.
IBM has been paying one week of severance for every year of service since the first layoffs took place in the 1990s. Does that sound like an implied contract to anyone besides us? The six months of severance my spouse should be receiving would have been a huge help for my spouse to transition to a new career. We had planned on it knowing that as my spouse aged, he’d be a target for an IBM layoff. Our plan was obviously blown out of the water by Diane Gherson, IBM Head of Human Resources and the other “big boys & girls” at the top.
We have learned a few things along the journey of this nightmare. First, filing an EEOC charge for age discrimination against IBM is easy. You don’t have to know there’s been age discrimination. You only to have to suspect it and frankly, how could you not suspect it? Let the EEOC get the facts from IBM and decide. Here is the link to the EEOC website: https://www.eeoc.gov/employees/charge.cfm
It really is as simple as providing some basic information and can be mailed to your nearest field office. The claim includes a reason for why you think you’ve been discriminated against. Your response can be as short as “I suspect age discrimination in the March 2nd layoff”. Why do it? The question is, why not? It creates a path to an age discrimination lawsuit in case you decide to go that route down the road, it forces IBM to disclose the number of IBMers let go as well as their age and it raises awareness with the EEOC of what IBM is up to. All good things, right? If you’ve been fired already, what have you got to lose? There is a time limit on filing with the EEOC so get it done if you want to keep your options open. Robert Cringely wrote an article that is posted on the waching ibm facebook https://www.facebook.com/alliancemember/ page and I hope he doesn’t mind if I quote him: “The way the separation package is written one must file their EEOC complaint BEFORE they accept and sign the agreement, and leave IBM. If the complaint is filed after, the arbitration process will limit the settlement to $zero.”
Why do that when you have the possibility of having IBM paying for what they’ve done? Think about what you’ve lost as a result of IBM’s greed. Hit them where it matters most to them…money!!
Second, consider talking to the press now. If you’re a victim of IBM’s mass layoff and angry about what IBM did, speak up. What have you got to lose since you’ve already been fired? You still have your freedom of speech until you sign the separation agreement. If you want to talk to the media contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Another thing…is it worth signing your rights away for one month of pay? If you really need the money, I respect that. If you can get by without the measly sum, “THINK” twice about signing their agreement.
So, from one IBM family to another, thank you again IBM for your special gift. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.
From One IBM Family to Another Part 3
You are not going to believe what I have to say. Honestly…it’s beyond astonishing. By now, you know that I’m the spouse of a soon-to-be-ex- IBMer. My spouse was fired (RA’d) on March 2nd, 2016 along with thousands of other IBMers. My spouse is a U.S. IBMer until May 31, 2016 and being a U.S. IBMer, he was “given” one month of severance pay. A slap in the face after decades of service? Ah, yeah.
Today, a letter from Ginni Rometty arrived in the mail congratulating my spouse on “retirement”. I swear to God that it’s true. She actually sent a letter thanking this soon-to-be-ex-IBMer who was just fired with the following message:
“I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you well on your retirement from IBM. Your dedication and contribution over the years helped establish IBM as one of the most successful and respected companies in the world.
You have been a part of shaping our history as a leader. While you may be retiring to embark on the next phase of your personal journey, you will always remain a valued and appreciated member of the IBM family.
My very best wishes for good health, happiness, and success.”
Sincerely, Ginni Rometty
This very special letter arrived with a catalogue of retirement gifts to choose from. Amongst the choices are an auto jump starter, a Cuisinart food processor and a GPS.
Is this what Ginni gets when she “retires”? I don’t think so. If Warren Buffett were to see fit to show Ginni the door, what do you think she’ll be offered? An auto jump starter? One month of severance? Yeah, right. Ginni, you can keep the “gift”. It’s not that we’re ungrateful for your generosity. Accepting your “gift” would be like selling one’s soul to the devil. We don’t accept your gift, we don’t accept your disgusting one month severance and we don’t accept that my spouse is an IBM retiree.
The depths to which IBM has sank is unfathomable. This one though, this one breaks the bank. Seriously? Congratulations on your retirement????? Are you f***g kidding me?? To the world, I say, THIS is Ginni Rometty. THIS is who is going to turn the IBM Titantic? The IBM Titantic is going down. If the big boys & girls don’t suck it dry first, the employee lawsuits that are coming will break it in two.
A special note to the other soon-to-be-ex- IBMers: If you received the same letter from Ginni, keep that letter some place safe. If Ginni’s letter is enough to inspire you to file an age discrimination charge against IBM with the EEOC, the letter may come in handy.
IBM is going to have to answer to the EEOC at some point. I have to wonder if IBM is really stupid enough to think that they can call the older soon-to-be-ex- IBMers “retirees” and take them out of the count of “RA’d” employees. Does IBM think they can get away with it? IBM, I’ll even dare you to lie to the EEOC. Go ahead. You’ll make our case easier, I expect.
So, once again, I thank IBM for the gift that keeps on giving. This time, the gift has value to us so our thanks are sincere. You may have just handed us the golden ticket to the age discrimination charge against you that you deserve. You fire someone (well over) 40 and then congratulate them on their retirement?? Astonishing, right?
The disintegration of employment at IBM
By Lee Conrad
In the mid 1980’s, the number of IBM employees in the United States was 230,000. Now it is 72,000, and the future of employment growth in the US is bleak.
In a relentless, ill conceived drive to cut cost and to increase earnings per share, IBM executive management put this once great company on a path of ruin. Business units were sold off and in the case of chip manufacturing IBM even paid a company to take that segment. Job cuts and force outs have been the order of the day. Off shoring of work and the bringing in of foreign workers on guest worker visas have been a slap to the face of hard working loyal US employees who have lost their jobs to this insidious business model. Employees of companies IBM bought face a bleak future as they transition into IBM and then their work gets moved to another country.
IBM in the 21st century is a shadow of a once great company. It is now a company selling a myth of greatness.
This didn’t happen overnight and it didn’t go unnoticed by many IBM employees or the Alliance. It did go unnoticed by many in the country. The myth of IBM as a great and successful company lived on. But now that façade is cracking.
After 13 straight quarters of dismal revenue, questions are being raised about the company leadership. Unfortunately concerns weren’t raised when IBM embarked on this path and the “Roadmaps”. All is fine and good when the stock price is up and dividends are paid off. Nobody cared about the workers losing their jobs or the damage done to their families and communities.
But with the latest job cuts in July and the push to move more work out of the US, it has to be asked: what is the future for IBM US employees?
Here are some comments from IBM workers caught in the latest job cut:
JobTitle: Project Manager
CustAcct: MAJOR Communications SO account
Message: Got call yesterday. 20 year IBM, 2 and 2+ performance. Client contract with named PMs and penalties to IBM be-damned. Hits across account = big client sat issue coming = contract renewal may be affected. My math does NOT show how this RA will resolve 13 quarter Revenue miss. Welcome to USA ‘landed’ replacements.
JobTitle: Intel Server Admin
Message: 21 years with the company. Good reviews. Same as all the others. Finally got my call this morning for the RA. It’s finally my turn. My main customer requires US workers, but it hasn’t stopped IBM from trying to secretly send the work to India before (until the customer found out). Not sure if they will try again, or if they will just transfer it to another US team. I know that my team is too overloaded to be able to pick it up. Last RA hurt us bad; this one will likely drive my department under. So sad to watch IBM implode like this, as it used to be such a great company to work for. Looking forward to what the future holds for me!
JobTitle: IT Architect – Consultant
BusUnit: IBM Systems – Middleware (former ISSW)
Message: Got a call from my FLM on Friday to let me know I was RAed. 18 years with the company. Usual severance package. Glad to be making a boatload of money to be forced out. Massive layoffs will continue to compensate for the steep decline in revenues. There is just no way around it. Cloud is already a cheap commodity business but IBM is willing to bet its shirt on it. We are all witnessing the fall and death of what used to be a great company… we’ve seen other companies in the past going that way. No company lasts forever!
I received an unexpected phone call on Thursday. I have always been a 2+ and a 1 rating. Told by a very unfeeling human being jobs were being lift and shift to India and mine was one of them. I have been with IBM for 16 years with IT experience of 30 years. This is devastating and since this is an election year I encourage everyone to reach out to our lawmakers. I am so tired of Ginni talking about retraining. Has anyone been offered to be trained for one of the many job openings in WATSON? I know I haven’t. All you see are positive comments regarding her webcast. SO proud to be an IBMer, what a bright future, blah, blah, blah. Yeah right.
For more comments go here: http://www.endicottalliance.org/jobcutsreports.php
These types of comments, although recent, mirror what has been said on the Alliance web site for many years.
We have been waiting and working towards a time when IBM US employees would get good news. That doesn’t seem to be in the mix. The shrinking number of IBM US employees says it all.
The message is clear, be prepared. Don’t say you didn’t see it coming, because it is here.
IBM executives: Morally bankrupt.
By Lee Conrad
In one week in 2015, IBM executives have shown employees and the world how morally bankrupt they have become. Many will say that there has been a slow progression towards this point in time for quite awhile.
Thousands of workers were notified that they will lose their jobs either through a resource action or through off shoring of their work. Many were targeted because of their age. Hundreds faced the demeaning falsification of the employee work evaluation process called Personal Business Commitments and had their rating lowered in order to justify a termination. Still others, having good work records and evaluations were told they were not needed, yet had work in front of them. As if these actions weren’t dehumanizing enough, we have learned that 900 “landed resources” from India will be arriving soon to take over the jobs of terminated workers. And IBMDubuque workers were notified of their termination as the Kaiser Permanente contract is sent to India.
Meanwhile the CEO of IBM and other executives receive millions in bonuses and pay raises. This, after 11 poor quarterly financial reports, and taking IBM down to a level not seen since the early 1990’s. If anyone deserves to have their PBC’s lowered and then shown the door it isCEO Rommety and other executives.
The Roadmap 2015, an abysmal business model that chased after a goal of $20 earnings per share at any cost, has been proven a failure. Countless employees and customers suffered from this misguided plan and the negative effects are still being felt.
And the IBM Board of Directors? Apparently non-caring or asleep at the wheel.
IBM employees ARE the company and we want to see it succeed. It is time to stop firing the very ones that can fix the company.
IBM employees worldwide are saying enough of IBM’s misguided job destructive actions.
2015: Another rough year for IBM workers
By Lee Conrad
It has been another rough year for IBM workers. Mass job cuts, workers quitting IBM’s toxic work environment and business units sold off. In 2014 alone an estimated 10,000 US IBM employees will be out of the company. In July 2015 another 5000 employees will leave the IBM Systems Technology Group to go work at Global Foundries. The US employee population continues to shrink, down to an estimated 70,000.
According to CEO Rometty, Roadmap 2015 is a failure. No Kidding. IBMers have been telling her that right along.
But the pain will continue as IBM flounders for direction. Another $600 million has been allocated for job cuts in the 4th quarter of 2014. More loss of jobs, more disruption and more loss of customer confidence. The madness continues and a gutless and out of touch Board of Directors aid the destruction of IBM.