The Disintegration of

Employment in IBM

Last week an unknown number of IBM workers were notified they would lose their jobs. The common thread in the reports was that their work was being moved to another country. In the mid 1980’s, the number of IBM employees in the United States was 230,000. Now it is 71,000, 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
Location: WAH
CustAcct: MAJOR Communications SO account
BusUnit: GTS
ProdLine: SO
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
Location: Boulder
CustAcct: Multiple
BusUnit: GTS
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
Location: Charlotte
CustAcct: Multiple
BusUnit: IBM Systems - Middleware (former ISSW)
ProdLine: Software
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 click here:

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. News like no more job cuts or that work offshored is coming back and RA’d workers recalled. That workers would be given a voice in running the company. Or that workers would be valued and pay raises given every year.

That doesn’t seem to be in the mix. IBM executives have turned their backs on US workers.

The shrinking number of IBM US employees says it all.

The message is clear, be prepared. Organize to prevent your own demise.

Don’t say you didn’t see it coming, because it is here.