January 6, 2009

Union tries to organize IBM workers

According to Yahoo Tech: “One message states that IBM will announce 16,000 layoffs on Jan. 23, affecting workers worldwide. Similar predictions are made in other recent posts on the site, which is run by the Alliance@IBM/Communications Workers of America Local 1701, a union that is trying to organize IBM workers.”

“The union, while still in an organizing phase and not yet recognized by IBM, has about 6,000 members, including IBM employees and retirees, according to national coordinator Lee Conrad. But because the union has not reached an employment contract with IBM, there is “not an awful lot” it can do except raise awareness of the issue”. Stay tuned for more info.


  1. […] Update 1 (Jan, 06 2008): IBM Employees Buzzing About Layoff Rumors […]

    Pingback by Rumor: Massive layoffs are coming to IBM later this month « — January 6, 2009 @ 2:50 pm | Reply

  2. Why can’t they find another job during good time? Now they start to blame IBM. No one in the world own you a job. Only those lazy will shelter inside IBM

    Comment by IronRabbit — January 6, 2009 @ 5:19 pm | Reply

  3. “Why can’t they find another job during good time?” Now they start to blame IBM. No one in the world own you a job. Only those lazy will shelter inside IBM”

    “Good time?” Uh, this is not a particularly good time from a jobs perspective.

    “No one in the world (own?) you a job.” No, no one owes me a job. A little loyalty for years of hard work, innovation, and contributions to the company would be nice. Those days appear to be long gone. I’ve noticed a bit of a drop off in colleagues submitting patents this year. There may be a correlation here.

    “Only lazy will shelter inside IBM?” I’m not sure how one can equate 12-14 hour work days, including weekends with being lazy. Also, there are those of us close enough to retirement and we have a financial incentive to reach those anniversary dates. Having the rug pulled out right before we meet those milestones is a hard pill to swallow.

    Brush up on the writing skills some. You’ll be glad that you did.

    Comment by BulgarWheat — January 7, 2009 @ 5:29 am | Reply

  4. Though it will be plausibly deniable, when 40% of my dept was laid off 60% of those let go were over fifty and 40% were within a year of full retirement. If you are close to retiring watch out. IBM will get a much bigger savings by laying you off than from other groups.

    Comment by Almost A Retiree — January 9, 2009 @ 6:56 am | Reply

  5. No one who works at IBM is lazy…..only crazy to stay….. I got out while I still had my sanity….

    Comment by Not Lazy ... but Crazy — January 10, 2009 @ 3:17 pm | Reply

  6. In Europe, there are entities called “works councils” which negotiate with a large employer on an employee’s behalf and are able to obtain decent severance packages for employees being laid off. In some countries, work hours are limited to 35 per week, and vacations are much more generous than that offered to U.S. employees. (I ought to know, I covered for 2 Europeans while they took off the month of August, got not one day off myself.) While no one owes you a job, there should be greater protections for those being laid off, no matter the state of the economy, or the employer. I have a friend in her late 50’s, a cancer survivor. It’s going to be hard for her to find another job, and once COBRA runs out she will be uninsurable. Does it seem to be in anybody’s best interest for this woman who worked hard all her life to become destitute just so some company can make their numbers to Wall Street? Employees on their own have NO negotating power with large employers.

    I never thought much of unions, but given the absolute lack of loyalty to employees, executive compensation through the roof (could definitely keep more people on staff if the Csuite was not siphoning off millions!!), I hope IBM gets a union amd the union movement in this country gets stronger.

    Comment by Elzabeth — January 13, 2009 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

  7. As a Republican and a conservative I am generally against unions in this day and age. But having worked at IBM, I can now understand why a union might be a good thing at IBM. It also tells you something about IBM’s mismanagement when a union is making headway in a tech company!

    It’s unfortunate that the union is the CWA. Maybe if they dropped their political BS and stop trying to show solidarity with other unions they would have more supporters within IBM.

    Comment by Timmah — January 16, 2009 @ 1:25 pm | Reply

  8. There is absolutely NO headway being made to unionize IBM…don’t be fooled. Alliance@IBM has been trying for years to organize IBMers…and they continue to fail…because the majority of IBMers are intelligent enough to realize that unions are very simply organizations who use leagalized blackmail to leverage benefits that the free market cannot support. “Do it my way or I will hurt your business. Give me this or I will hurt your business.” Ultimately, they make the company unable to compete and lower the quality of their products as the company takes shortcuts trying to compete. I’ve worked for IBM for many years and have ducked quite a few layoffs. Perhaps this one will get me…who knows. But I would rather take my skills elsewhere than join a union, thereby ensuring the demise of a company who has been a pretty darn good employer when compared to all others over the past 50-years. Every single time layoffs get mentioned…people start whining about offshoring, unions, c-level compensation etc. And every time…Alliance@IBM starts racheting up the rhetoric in the press…trying to agitate workers and the media. I believe a company has the right to do what it deems best to ensure that they survive in the future….PERIOD. Remember folks, IBM is a global company…with the majority of their workers outside of the United States. The employee/company loyalty factors are GONE…not just at IBM…but everywhere in the US. This was the result of globalization…greatly influenced by communications technology. It is our responsibility to keep our skills marketable knowing that there will be others requiring much less compensation looking to take our jobs. And sometimes…they will get them. Quit blaming IBM…this is the new reality globally…it’s not IBM trying to “secretly” prevent you from your retirement payment. Get real.

    Comment by Rolando — January 18, 2009 @ 1:46 pm | Reply

  9. IBM is a global company, however, it receives a significant amount of income and tax breaks from the US government and US companies. The issue is not jobs… the real issue is the brain drain that is occurring into countries with cost advantages like India and China. The US is loosing it leverage and technical leadership in the world which will ultimately put us all at risk. The real question is when will Washington respond to this risk. I believe it will never happen as long as corporate interest are considered more important than our nations interest.

    Comment by Hame — January 19, 2009 @ 4:55 am | Reply

  10. #9, “The real question is when will Washington respond to this risk. I believe it will never happen as long as corporate interest are considered more important than our nations interest.” – not anymore, I think. The gov needs our tax money = they need people to be employed here (means income tax, sales tax money)

    Comment by DF — January 19, 2009 @ 12:34 pm | Reply

  11. Comment #8 by Rolando is spot on. intelligent people will never (willingly ascribe to blackmail as leverage. Unions are a contrivance trying to hold back the ocean (the markets) which incidentally rise in good times and fall in bad. Companies that are rigid because of unions will underperform the agile when times are good, and will die when times are bad and they cannot (or will not, eh, Detroit?) adjust. BTW, commenter # 3 BulgarWheat, I guess you didn’t detect commenter # 2 is not a native english speaker. Aside that, did you get the point? Curse the darlness or light a candle?

    Comment by CJ — January 19, 2009 @ 1:49 pm | Reply

  12. The January 23, 2009 round of layoffs has already started. Several people in my organization were told today they had to look for other jobs. Sheesh, we just had a resource action in October 2008 and I thought our organization was ok for a while. I have been at IBM for 27 years and have never seen anything like this. To have resource actions hit twice in the same organization within two and a half months is causing near hysteria within IBM. For those of us who are still employed, it is nearly impossible to get work done. All I can do is put on blinders and try to focus on my job.

    My management told me that the resource action in October 2008 was to clean house for 2009 due to a US market which was not anticipated to expand. People are scratching their heads over this round of resource actions since IBM reported record earnings this week. IBM globally is doing well. With that said, the rumor I have heard is that headcount in the US is moving to developing marketplaces overseas. The total worldwide employee count may remain the same.

    Let’s face it. IBM is a global company and with the US economy in the ditch, they are going to go where the economy is expected to grow. Employees who are resourced have an option to take jobs overseas but the question is whether IBM will pay moving and living (which I highly doubt).

    I just wish we could have a little stability so we could focus on getting driving revenue in the US marketplace.

    Comment by HGH — January 21, 2009 @ 8:20 pm | Reply

  13. The comment #8 by Rolando was absolutely correct. As an IBMer myself, I am exactly as loyal to IBM as IBM is to me. As soon as it becomes more profitable for me to work somewhere else, I will leave IBM. As soon as it becomes more profitable for IBM not to employ me, they will terminate me. I can’t say which will happen first, and that’s okay. We are “At Will” employees, and that gives freedom and discretion to both the employers and the employees.

    As an employee, husband and father, I have a responsibility to maintain my skills, certification, licenses and my professional networks to stay employed and employable. I own that. We all do. We don’t need a union to babysit us. No offense to union members, but I think unions are for people who can’t take care of themselves or want something for nothing. Good luck to all the IBM employees let go over the next few days.

    Comment by JD — January 22, 2009 @ 7:27 am | Reply

  14. As a European, I’ve the feeling that outside Europe, the me-myself-and-I way off thinking is your culture. If I have a job, if I have money, If I’am the best and so on, there is no problem. But one day, you are not the best anymore as we all on a certain day will be beaten by a younger and better one because we become old, or we got a ill (like I do), or we got family trouble, or the economy is hitting us hard by people who played a little to much with our money on the stock exchange without taking responsibilities for the Society. If this is the world I live today in, a world were everything is possible for the best only, I think, this world is realy realy sick. The point is that the Union has a social role in the world to protect also the weak people and people in trouble and to regulate and controle that social and human rules are applied. Ofcourse you can destroy and eliminate the Unions and just let survive the fittest and strongest like the animals in the nature but I’m human. If being human may not be accepted anymore, then, perhaps, we are on the basis of World War III were the fittest will survive. Planet Earth is in big danger. We can’t ignore the scientific facts. The time is there to change the system. The current monetary system is not working anymore. Like we have hospitals for ill people, we need Unions for people in troubles to protect them and to get them back on track. I know, Europe is a social part in the world. But I think we will survive and not I will survive.

    Comment by DCK — January 22, 2009 @ 5:43 pm | Reply

  15. I have worked for IBM for many years. Too many years. It sucks, the management makes it suck, they suck, they are not trustworthy and do not deserve much respect. The entire place needs to unionize.

    Comment by BJ — March 24, 2009 @ 2:23 pm | Reply

  16. IBM is Anti-American….They should be banned from participating in any USA
    infrastructure projects. If they like India so much move there.

    Comment by JG — March 26, 2009 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

    • They love China too: sold them laptop brand Think Pad.

      Comment by Anonymous — March 26, 2009 @ 3:14 pm | Reply

  17. Overall, I’d have to say I have never been more ashamed of American business management than I have been lately. From greed on wallstreet to an overall
    reluctance for American business to invest in America.

    I tip my hat to Paul Otellini, CEO at Intel, for trying to invest more in America. Where have our values gone?

    Comment by JG — March 26, 2009 @ 3:28 pm | Reply

  18. Furthermore, this has nothing to do with keeping your skills up and competitive. It is assumed you will do that. This has only to do with $$$.

    The truth is IBM is hiring kids fresh out of school in most cases that do not
    have the skills or system knowledge that you have.

    And it will be tough to compete because these countries manipulate monetary policy, taxes, import/export rules, and in many cases provide a substantial
    investment in education.

    Just for the record, I have never been employed or laid off by IBM. However this is especially a time when Americans should invest in America. And IBM is showing its true colors.

    Comment by JG — March 26, 2009 @ 3:48 pm | Reply

  19. And….it makes no difference to me if IBM workers unionize or not.

    What is needed is for IBM management to wake up and do the right thing.

    It is not just AIG management that is thinking only of bonus dollars.

    Comment by JG — March 26, 2009 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

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