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IBM Offers Retirement With Job Guarantee Through 2013 192

Posted by samzenpus
from the out-to-pasture dept.
dcblogs writes "IBM is offering employees who are nearing retirement — and may be worried about a layoff — a one-time voluntary program that would ensure their employment through Dec. 31, 2013. The program, described in a letter addressed to IBM managers, 'offers participants 70% of their pay for working 60% of their schedule.' Participating employees would receive 'the same benefits they do today, most at a full-time level, including health benefits and 401(k) Plus Plan automatic company contributions.' In 2006, IBM employed about 127,000 in U.S. The Alliance@IBM, a CWA local, now estimates the U.S. workforce at around 95,000. How far IBM will go in cutting is up for debate, including one radical estimate."
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IBM Offers Retirement With Job Guarantee Through 2013

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  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:09PM (#39871513) Homepage

    Why the heck does IBM need to cut so many jobs? They're actually doing rather well by all business standards.

    Yet here they're acting like they're hemorrhaging money and need to cut costs fast.

    American Airlines did this sort of thing too, along with voluntary furloughs... But they're actually in trouble and have a reason to.

    WTF?!

    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:11PM (#39871541)

      Cutting jobs that aren't needed is one way to continue doing well by business standards. The longer people on the payroll, the more they cost - if you don't generate more for the company than you cost, why should they keep you on staff?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by AdrianKemp (1988748)

        This is something that I feel has been lost in recent years, and I blame the political correctness garbage.

        I work with people every day that have no job to do. I'm not talking about the typical "I'm the backbone of the company and without me they'd sink" attitude that so many people have. I mean they literally sit and play solitaire all day. They aren't doing bad work, because they don't have any to do.

        Yet, they aren't fired, because you need fourteen thousand strikes and a paper trail eight miles long to d

        • Or can you stay in corporeal form?

        • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:40PM (#39871909)

          Where do you work? Most every state in the US has at will [wikipedia.org] employment; you can fire whoever you want whenever you want, as long as you aren't doing it in retaliation or to discriminate, and even then the burden is o the fired employee to prove. Maybe your company signs contracts with their employees, or explicitly states that you won't be fired without cause, or (more likely in general but given your 'playing solitaire' comment pretty unlikely) maybe they're unionized. But outside of those situations there's no reason your company couldn't fire 90% of their workforce tomorrow morning without warning.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by AdrianKemp (1988748)

            I don't work in the US, I understand that your laws are better, however from what I know you're also a little ways from reality.

            While it's true that the employee in the US has to prove discrimination to actually win any sort of suit, they by no means need to do so to cause serious problems for the company.

          • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:52PM (#39872051)

            A prime example of theoretical vs practical.

            The legal costs of defending someone filing a lawsuit, even a completely frivolous one, are so high compared to the cost of some salary that its cheaper to collect a folder of signed disciplinary actions and formal gathered evidence than to just toss them out on the street like a bouncer in an old western movie tossing a guy outta bar.

            There are also numerous legal issues with your exaggerated example of firing 90% of your company... here we have "at will" theoretically, but the company has to pay a rather substantial fine to the state if they fire more than 50 people with less than 60 days warning. I really have no idea why. Technically its not "at will", in the same way that our financial system is not a "free market" but we pretend it more or less is.

            Never forget than 50% of management is below median. You might think they would want to dispose of the deadweight, but they may be idiots.

            Finally, or they may realize if they get rid of the peons they won't be able to justify their empire based on # of direct reports. One place I worked at, the manager really wanted to be a director, and he's not getting that promotion unless he has the minimum of X front line employees, so lots of solitaire was played. Out of business now, of course, but it was a rational strategy for that boss at that time. I'm sure he's a VP (if not higher) somewhere now.

            • by Xemu (50595)

              Never forget than 50% of management is below median. You might think they would want to dispose of the deadweight, but they may be idiots.

              You're not thinking it through. 50% of management will always be below median, however the median may change. It only makes sense to fire-and-replace if you actually believe you will end up with a higher median. Consider you are likely to end up with a lower median if your company earns a reputation for suddenly sacking 50% of its workforce. There is also wisdom in the

              • by vlm (69642)

                Hmm my point was not just fire the bottom half, but to realize that what a smart /.er would consider blindingly obvious might be far beyond the ability of perhaps the bottom half of managers, especially the lower level ones.

                Sometimes it sucks to work for a guy who got his job solely based on his golf game, or who his daddy is... that's your fault for not gaming it into a new scenario where it rocks to work for someone who got his job solely based on his golf game, or who his daddy is... In the long run tha

            • by tehcyder (746570)

              Never forget than 50% of management is below median..

              Whereas of course 100% of software developers (or whatever it is you do) are above average.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by mc6809e (214243)

            Where do you work? Most every state in the US has at will employment; you can fire whoever you want whenever you want, as long as you aren't doing it in retaliation or to discriminate, and even then the burden is o the fired employee to prove.

            Mostly wrong. Your own link shows that 43 states have public policy exceptions that limit at-will employment, and 37 states have implied contract exceptions. There are also covenant of good faith and fair dealing exceptions.

            Oh, then there is federal law.

            There is no pla

            • by PybusJ (30549)

              There is no place in the USA with genuine at-will employment. If you fire someone, there's a chance you're going to get sued.

              But then, there's very little that you can do at all (which might piss off someone else) which doesn't carry some risk of being sued, even if the suit is without merit.

          • by swb (14022)

            They can show you the door anytime but in most places they have to do it "for cause" in order to avoid paying you unemployment, which is actually fairly costly for an employer who is eliminating a *person* and not a position, as they will have to hire a new person for the position and train them, too, in addition to paying unemployment. The net effect is basically paying two salaries.

            It's the "for cause" thing that makes it hard, you have to show that they were ignoring legitimate direction, had attendance

            • by Compaqt (1758360)

              Wouldn't it just be easier to offer $10k (or $7.5k) upfront along with an agreement that says "This is a final settlement"?

          • I used to work for MGM Resorts in Las Vegas. Nevada has it bad for "at will" work state, but corps like MGM just get so big it's easier to file people away to the point the useless people make up 70% of staff if not more. Getting them to fire someone is hellaciously difficult. Corps like that are deliriously faerful of things like unemployment.
        • Sounds like my job, only my bosses really can't get rid of me, cause I'm the only programmer, and the only one who can work on this colassal clusterfuck of a php/mysql webapp.

          In fact, I'm so good at doing nothing, that I just got a bump in the bonus pool, and I get to work from home 3 days a week. Of course, I'm not being paid even half of software engineer median pay, but then again I live in the rural south, where everything costs a hell of a lot less than almost everywhere else, so it's a pretty good t

        • by Kittenman (971447)

          This is something that I feel has been lost in recent years, and I blame the political correctness garbage.

          I work with people every day that have no job to do. I'm not talking about the typical "I'm the backbone of the company and without me they'd sink" attitude that so many people have. I mean they literally sit and play solitaire all day. They aren't doing bad work, because they don't have any to do.

          Companies have a choice - you can be overstaffed when there's no crisis and have people sitting (basically) idle - but hopefully doing self-education (hopefully not minesweeper, but...) or be understaffed when there is a crisis. Most companies prefer the former.

        • by Wansu (846)

            I salute IBM in cutting jobs ...

          I salute them too, but in a different way.

          This is IBM's new business model. They make the books look good by laying people off. Go for it! At the rate IBM is shrinking, they'll be gone soon enough and the world will be shed of them.

        • I work with people every day that have no job to do. I'm not talking about the typical "I'm the backbone of the company and without me they'd sink" attitude that so many people have. I mean they literally sit and play solitaire all day. They aren't doing bad work, because they don't have any to do.

          I have no idea where you work. I too work with people who literally play solitaire all day and once in a while get up to see how it's going. They're managers and I''ve learned to shuffle my feet on the way to their cube b/c they really hate being caught out with that little card game on their screen...

          But I have a different experience than you. The way it works at my company, you're golden if you have allies at the top and otherwise you're expendable. They've fired the BEST developers we had b/c those d

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          Yet, they aren't fired, because you need fourteen thousand strikes and a paper trail eight miles long to do it.

          Yes it's political correctness/socialism gone mad, isn't it?

          What with unions abl to negotiate pay rises and conditions, the right to strike, health and safety legislation and anti-eight-year-olds-sweeping-chimneys laws, it's impossible for any brave entrepreneur to make more than a few paltry billions today.

      • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:27PM (#39871743) Homepage

        The longer people on the payroll

        That's an odd way of making the decision - there are very few businesses where how long somebody is has anything to do with their job performance.

        • by tattood (855883)

          there are very few businesses where how long somebody is has anything to do with their job performance

          He wasn't saying it was directly related to performance. If your company pays raises every year, then the longer you work there, the more and more they have to pay you. Unless you are getting more and more responsibilities to work on, then you are not doing any more work for the increased pay. Therefore, his argument that the longer you work there, the more it costs the company with no productivity benefit.

          • by dkleinsc (563838)

            You missed the joke - SJHillman had accidentally left out a verb, so the word "long" described the person, not the tenure of his/her employment.

        • It’s not a question of age or productivity. The issue (I am willing to bet) deals with actuary science and low interest rates. IBM has a lot of people on their Pension Plan. They tried to push people to a hybrid plan, but lost a court case.

          Pension obligations are based on expected future payments (as calculated by actuaries) and discounted by a interest rate – in this case long term government bonds.

          So we have older workers whose future payments are more or less fixed. Government interest tan

          • by swalve (1980968)
            I agree. Defined benefit programs ought to be illegal. I mean, it's nice for the employees who manage to collect, but it ends us screwing up businesses and future employees. I'm not sure if the statistic is correct, but it has to be close to the truth: more of the price of a GM car goes to pay retiree benefits than it does to pay the people who actually built the thing.
          • by tlambert (566799) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @09:11PM (#39875157)

            You have your facts wrong; IBM has a cash balance plan ("hybrid plan"). They didn't lose the lawsuit, and the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal after IBM won.

            Specifically, July 1, 1999; I was an IBM employee at the time they converted.

            In a cash balance pension plan, like a defined benefit plan, there is no favoritism in contribution for tenure, so getting rid of the older workers doesn't benefit IBM, so long as the older workers are productive.

            You should read up on cash balance plans: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cash_balance_plan [wikipedia.org]

            You should also realize that ranknfile-ue.org and endicottalliance.org (alliance@ibm) are propaganda arms of the CWA (Communications Workers of America) union, and that the CWA has been trying to get their camel's nose into the IBM tent for forever, ever since they saw the handwriting on the wall about the Internet becoming a big deal. They have their origins in the telephone industry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_Workers_of_America#History [wikipedia.org]

            When I was at IBM, we never gave them the time of day.

            * First of all, very few IBM employees are technically communications workers; all of the CWAs historical strikes to date have been against telephone companies.

            * Second, we were very well paid with very good benefits, and there was no reason to hold IBM's butt to the fire in exchange for the CWA getting a percentage of our paychecks to line their pockets.

            You really need to RTFA and look at who sourced it.

            -- Terry

            • I stand corrected. My memory is playing tricks on me. I remembered that IBM had aggressively encouraged employees to switch from a define pension over to the cash balance account and that things had gone poorly, and thus IBM had a surplus of define pension plans (which are affected by interest rates).

              By the way, from my perspective you took a sharp turn with the 2 organizations which I did not follow. I had to look those up.

          • by timeOday (582209)

            Kind of the dark side of having a defined benefit plan which few people talk about.

            That's the entire point of a defined benefit plan. That's what "defined" means. It means the company is taking on the risk of unpredictable future returns, giving the employee a predictable standard of living in retirement.

            But it turns out this was theoretical for those of us beneath a certain age. 10 years ago I was told there was so much money in my company's pension fund they didn't know what to do with it. So they

            • by alexander_686 (957440) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @10:39PM (#39875589)

              But that is expensive. A company could go out and buy the exact same benefits for their employees via a life insurance company – but at much higher cost.

              Life Insurance companies (effectively) have to discount their liabilities at government bond rates – which are guaranteed. I mean, if you are going to guaranty a rate, and returns are linked to risk, that implies a low risk, and thus a low return.

              I think you are a bit off on Social Security. Currently benefits are tied to Average Wage Index, not inflation. (And yes, Congress will sometimes step in a goose the figures up a bit when inflation goes up faster then the Average Wage Index, but that is the exception, not the rule.)

              But back to pensions – and those are expensive. A company could go out and buy the exact same benefits for their employees via a life insurance company – but at much higher cost.

              Life Insurance companies (effectively) have to discount their liabilities at government bond rates – which are guaranteed. I mean, if you are going to guaranty a rate, and returns are linked to risk, that implies a low risk, and thus a low return.

              Private companies can use a much higher rate, usually a blend of stock market rates and corporate bonds – and thus are much freer to take risk.

              It’s not that I am against pensions – it’s just that I am against the bad actuarial assumptions that most company plans make.

              I will point you to a contra example. When AIG blew up, and the government had to bail out corporate, you might have noticed that they did not have to bail out the fixed annuity arm. That’s because 1. the life insurance was segregated out with their own accounts, 2. the pension obligations were conservatively modeled – by state regulators who are not interested in bailing out life insurance companies.

        • by Yaotzin (827566)
          Tall people do, statistically, earn more money though.
        • there are very few businesses where how long somebody is has anything to do with their job performance.

          Porn: Blazing trails in business for millenia!

      • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:27PM (#39871745) Homepage

        Cutting jobs that aren't needed is one way to continue doing well by business standards.

        Provided, of course, that these are actually jobs that aren't needed. Corporations sometimes suck at that part.

        Several years ago, the entire project team I was on was notified we were being let go. As we got closer to our final days, Sales had their knickers in a twist because they had a huge business deal on the line for the product we built.

        Trying to explain to a panicked salesman that fixing that bug or adding that feature wasn't going to happen because your last day is the end of the week is always fun. It boiled down to "wow, how unfortunate for you to be trying to close a multi-million dollar sale when the company has decided they don't need any of the people involved". Of course, the salesman was frantic about the sale and his commission -- couldn't quite understand why that was no longer our problem.

        I've seen several instances where the bean counters decided to get rid of certain people without actually knowing what their role was.

        • by houghi (78078) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:37PM (#39871873)

          I used to work at a company and they decided that each department needed a 50% cut in staff. This was calculated on actual staff, not on people actually being there.

          One department should have 4 people. It was 2 people understaffed, so they fired one. Person got a nice handshake to leave. I believe several months (7 or 8) pay.

          That person was re-hired after a month. I would not be surprised ig that person was hired with a higher pay then before.

        • by bryan1945 (301828)

          Would have be great to be a fly on the wall when the executive in charge of that decision found out what happened. And then when his boss found out what happened.

      • The longer people on the payroll, the more they cost - if you don't generate more for the company than you cost, why should they keep you on staff?

        That attitude is fine - as long as management is never tries to exploit employee loyalty to work for less than market rates. Goose and gander as it were...

      • by vlm (69642)

        Keep 5% extra on staff if you're expecting 5% growth next year and it takes weeks to years to get up to speed.

        Dump people if you predict permanent long term economic decline.

        Hmm, which future outcome are they apparently publicly predicting, and should I therefore buy or sell IBM stock?

        Its not so much a current or historical thing as a future prediction.

        Say it costs on average half a years pay in severance and half a year's pay in recruiting costs. You're betting that you won't need to hire people for expan

        • by vlm (69642)

          Ohh another real world example, happened to a friend and coworker of mine.

          Multimillion dollar service contract (maybe low 9 figures total?) depends on department being ready to hit ground running to even submit a qualified bid, much less to win. Department also needs regulatory approval for the tariff (yes, this was telecom). Regulatory approval and contract negotiations took over 3 years after my buddy was hired. Much solitaire played for full salary. Wish I was there! They literally did Nothing busi

        • by bws111 (1216812)

          The problem IBM has is not too much staff, it is that the staff is shall we say 'mature'. They had a huge hiring boom in the late 70's through middle 80's. In the 90's it was apparent that they had too much staff, so they cut a whole lot. However, they only cut people who were no longer needed, they did not cut older people and replace them with younger ones (which would open up a whole different set of problems).

          In spite of some things you read from bitter people, working at IBM is a pretty good job.

        • by bloodhawk (813939)
          They aren't dumping people because they predict a downturn, they are dumping people in costly western countries and hiring in cheaper countries. It is more of a cost restructure to do the same (or more work) but with significantly cheaper resources thereby giving them there targetted increase in profitability. Not saying it is good or that it will work, but purely on the accounting side it is a pretty basic cost reduction concept.
      • Cutting people that aren't as profitable is one way to continue doing well by business standards. The longer people on the payroll contributing their lives to make the owners rich, the more they cost - if you don't generate more profit for the company than people in third world countries who are willing to work for 1/10th to 1/300th of what it costs to keep you, why should the greedy bastards keep you on staff when they can cut you and improve their bottom line?

        FTFY

      • by Luckyo (1726890)

        Loyalty and experience of working in that particular company.

        If you ever got out of your hypothetical slogan ivory tower and actually worked with new company recruits in any field that requires high levels of education and by extension a lot of specialist workplace training, you'd know that first few months is essentially figuring out if the person matches your needs. Then you spend a year or so apprenticing the person to someone experienced and letting him learn the ropes of how company works.
        Then you have

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        What part of 'offers participants 70% of their pay for working 60% of their schedule.' do you not understand. Just because you are a ruthless unthinking schmuck does not mean IBM is.

        It's called job sharing. People who aren't as greedy and have enough sharing employment opportunities with others.

        Basically IBM is being very smart 21st century smart, by establishing the principle of job sharing they can in fact increase the size of the labour force without substantially increasing cost. In terms of sales

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      they can't think of anything useful for them to do.

      putting all engineer eggs in one corporation basket like that has a tendency to end up like that... it seems the lead layer doesn't just scale up like that, don't want duplicates of things going on in-house I suppose being part of the problem, so even if you have them on the payroll it's hard to justify using them for some project x which doesn't have a viable route to a viable product or it's too much like product y.

      it's old geezers anyways, people who are

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        Who wants to retire? You sit in your house. Alone. Nothing to do. Better to just keep going into the office, and sharing your knowledge/skills.

        • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:37PM (#39871875)

          Difference between education and training:

          Educated guy has stuff to think about and do; hobbies; lasts a lifetime.

          Trained guy has nothing to do but go to work, nothing to do at home but watch TV, maybe drink.

          I've seen both types retire... uneducated retirement isn't pretty and they don't live long, educated guys have a freaking blast after retirement.

          • by couchslug (175151)

            "educated guys have a freaking blast after retirement."

            Fuck yes.

            BTW, joining the military is a screaming deal. I'm retired after 26 years, debt-free, and with low overhead. "But people who join the military often have lower lifetime incomes that civilians!" No shit. If I don't feel like working, I don't have to. Beats "dying in harness" like an old plow mule any day.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:41PM (#39871923)

          Who wants to retire? You sit in your house. Alone. Nothing to do. Better to just keep going into the office, and sharing your knowledge/skills.

          Who wants to work? You sit in your cubicle. With your fellow cow orkers. You've got things to do - things so odious that others have to actually pay you to valuable money to do it. Better to just sit in your house, working on some project that you, personally, found so interesting you'd do it even though nobody's paying you, and share your knowledge/skills.

      • by vlm (69642)

        putting all engineer eggs in one corporation basket

        it's old geezers anyways, people who are nearly able to retire anyways. this way they would know exactly how their retirement would go and when they would move to it.

        Those quotes don't go together.

        Prevailing wisdom is IBM is a tech company, this plan applies to people who are retiring next year so they're about 64, right? However the prevailing belief is pro football quarterbacks, heck, pro football linemen have longer professional careers than techies, so you'll never be hired after age 40 ever again. This would seem to imply the only people getting this offer are in finance, accounting, HR, receptionists, blah blah. Cant apply to anyone in tech because everyone in

    • by P-niiice (1703362)
      Too many english speakers on the payroll, most likely.
    • by S77IM (1371931) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:25PM (#39871723)

      They've painted themselves into a corner. They experienced rapid "growth" by decreasing the bottom line. Now investors expect that, and so in order to keep up, they must continue aggressively decreasing the bottom line. If they stop, their stock price will drop as growth slows dramatically. It sucks for all involved, because eventually they'll run out of bottom line to cut, and then everybody's screwed except the investors (and executives) who sell just before that happens.

      This is exactly the sort of thing Steve Jobs was talking about in the quote about bean-counters taking over the company and loss of product focus. Making enterprise software on an IBM scale, and doing it well enough to grow constantly, is really super hard. Short-term gains through off-shoring are easy.

        -- 77IM

      • They've painted themselves into a corner. They experienced rapid "growth" by decreasing the bottom line. Now investors expect that, and so in order to keep up, they must continue aggressively decreasing the bottom line. If they stop, their stock price will drop as growth slows dramatically. It sucks for all involved, because eventually they'll run out of bottom line to cut, and then everybody's screwed except the investors (and executives) who sell just before that happens.
        -- 77IM

        To borrow a phrase "I don't think that word means what you think it does".

        While growth may indeed cause the bottom line to decrease (ie hiring more people, opening a new office, or buying new equipment (growing the business) costs money and reduces (decreases) the amount of cash you have left (the bottom line)), generally investors want to see an INCREASE in the bottom line -they want more money, not less. If you are "aggressively decreasing the bottom line" you are doing it all wrong.

      • This is exactly the sort of thing Steve Jobs was talking about in the quote about bean-counters taking over the company and loss of product focus.

        Obviously you didn't read the thing Steve Jobs was talking about (or didn't retain the point he was making)... it wasn't bean-counters running the show that he found problematic, specifically it was salespeople running the show. More generally, it was non-product people running the show.

        I know the zeitgeist on slashdot is to hate beancounters, but I think that'

    • by crazyjj (2598719) *

      Why the heck does IBM need to cut so many jobs? They're actually doing rather well by all business standards.

      Because that's how companies up their short-term profits these days, of course. Any CEO knows that you don't boost profits by making stuff and selling it or any of that nonsense, you just cut costs by firing more workers and making the existing workers pick up the slack (hey, where are they going to go in this economy?). And it's all about the short-term profits. Up those numbers for next quarter and you get a bonus. Sure, it may hurt your company in the long-term, but you'll be long gone with your golden p

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      The airlines did it so they could dump the retirement benefits they had agreed to onto the US taxpayer which of course saved them a shitload of money. it was a nice scam, get the employees to agree to all these cuts in return for benefits and then don't actually provide the benefits. As for IBM? They are just showing why the USA is a corpse, they are shedding as many USA jobs as they can because you can hire someone in India and China for a pittance compared to a US worker.

      This is why I have been saying for

  • Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Antony T Curtis (89990) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:13PM (#39871561) Homepage Journal

    I had thought that IBM had a problem with attrition among their mainframe programmers: More of them dying though natural causes than entering the field.

  • crossover point (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vlm (69642) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:15PM (#39871601)

    If IBM were not closing in the US and moving completely to China and India as fast as they can, just like GE and a zillion other companies, lets figure out the crossover point:
    Assume one months pay per year of employment.
    This is guarantee of 70% of 18 months or about one years pay. Along with 18 months of health insurance, I'd assume.
    So if you have more than 12 years in, you should risk it, you'll probably come out ahead. Less than 12 years in, you'd be better off taking the offer.

    Most likely they're going to downsize every american citizen in their corporation, so you do appear to be better off taking the offer because its not a random distribution.

    I'm also curious in salaried positions if you're expected to put in 50 hours per week for a "40 hour schedule", then what does 60% of schedule even mean, like you no longer work Monday and Friday at all, or you're still expected to put in 50 hours per week, except now on a imaginary "24 hour schedule"?

    And a message for the last F500 employee in america, please remember to shut off the lights on your way out of the office...

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      Pretty soon if you want to keep your job, you will need to accept a salary equal to what an Indian software engineer would get. ($20,000)

      • by vlm (69642)

        If they'll accept the same level of software "quality", and if they'll accept made up resume stuffing and imaginary degrees, and if they'd accept everything taking 5 times as long as having a $60K local do it, I'd take that offer. Heck I'd take three or four of those jobs simultaneously. Now we're talkin...

      • by lgw (121541)

        My first software job paid less than that (in America). You have to get your start somewhere. But Indian software engineers (who aren't just out of colege) make more than that these days, in my experience. $30k, or more if in Bangalore (where costs of living can exceed Silly Valley).

        Eventually it will be a global market, and you will have to work for about the same salary regardless of where, but the cost of living (and standard of living, at least for programmers) is rising quite fast in places like Ind

    • by dubbreak (623656)

      I'm also curious in salaried positions if you're expected to put in 50 hours per week for a "40 hour schedule", then what does 60% of schedule even mean, like you no longer work Monday and Friday at all, or you're still expected to put in 50 hours per week, except now on a imaginary "24 hour schedule"?

      I'm curious as well. It's not like IBM employees bill for every minute of overtime (especially where I live which falls under legislation lobbied by EA that excludes software developers from requiring overtime pay). My wife, a nurse, gets overtime in 15 minute increments (works 1-15 extra minutes gets paid for 15, 16-30 gets paid for 30 etc). If she was on a 60% schedule it would be explicit and any overtime would be paid out. Maybe they'll work a 3 day week? Sounds good to me, plus I put money you'd get a

  • What a crock of shit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:15PM (#39871603)

    My father was just released from them last year. He was a senior level engineer 3 years away from retiring, and then they come out with this?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by GungaDan (195739)

      "Hallo! My name is anonymous coward. You sacked my father. Prepare to learn Mandarin."

    • Buddy of mine retired last May. Within a week or so, "See mans" came out with a voluntary retirement program. If he'd stayed 30 more days, he could've been eligible for 3 months pay for retiring just the same. It's hard to know these things ahead of time.

      Sorry for your dad, bud...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:23PM (#39871691)

    I work for a large company where the senior folks have an attractive retirement plan. Since work is slowing down and there are fewer exciting projects to work on, more of these folks are deciding to leave. They can decide to pull the ripcord rather abruptly with an email saying they've decided to burn up their remaining vacation pay while waiting for their retirement package to be processed. It kind of sucks to need to talk with someone who is the sole holder of some technical data to find out they had announced their retirement the week before and are now gone.

    On top of how their abrupt departure can leave some of us more junior people stranded, a lot of these guys don't know HOW to retire. They're so fully part of the Borg that once they separate, they have no idea what to do with themselves. Some come back eighteen months later as consultants or part time employees. Others sit at home and whither away. I don't think is as much a problem for Gen X'ers and younger, as we've got so much going on in our outside lives we can't wait to be free to pursue those interests. However, a lot of the senior people have given so much time to the company they're lost without it... institutionalized, if you will.

    Yeah, I think this is a great idea, whether it's to initiate a RIF or not.

    • by SecurityGuy (217807) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @03:03PM (#39872185)

      It kind of sucks to need to talk with someone who is the sole holder of some technical data to find out they had announced their retirement the week before and are now gone.

      This is something many companies do badly, and one reason they may feel they have too many people on the payroll. They have no depth. They're a collection of single points of failure where every single one of them is guaranteed to fail, many in the next decade or so.

      If your company has experienced employees who are the only holders of technical (or other) knowledge that is worth keeping, the time to worry about it is before they leave. It's before they get near retirement age. It's before your formerly gruntled employees become dis-. Really, the time to preserve it is not too long after it's become valuable.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      On top of how their abrupt departure can leave some of us more junior people stranded, a lot of these guys don't know HOW to retire. They're so fully part of the Borg that once they separate, they have no idea what to do with themselves. Some come back eighteen months later as consultants or part time employees. Others sit at home and whither away. I don't think is as much a problem for Gen X'ers and younger, as we've got so much going on in our outside lives we can't wait to be free to pursue those interes

    • More likely they come back as consultants or part time employees because they're asked to and there's a need that they can fill that you more junior people aren't filling, not because they don't know what to do with themselves.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      If I made good money at a more comfortable schedule and didn't mind my job on those terms, why not consult or part-time?

  • by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:32PM (#39871807)
    This is purely anecdotal, but from experiences with past co-workers who have been in the IBM trenches, it apparently isn't unheard of to get sacked a few months out from retirement at IBM, thus losing benefits or full retirement or whatever. So I'm guessing to those at IBM in the throes of fear of being sacked, this is perhaps an out to prevent being completely screwed and perhaps from an MBA standpoint a moral stabilizer (or destabilizer depending on your business unit).

    Any IBM'ers feel free to chime in? My story is simply hearsay so I'd be interested in knowing how it really is under the various tentacles of that hydra.
    • by cosm (1072588)
      *morale, not moral; In terms of corporate morality, well that's all subjective :)
    • by pak9rabid (1011935) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:40PM (#39871911)
      This happened to a good friend of my father's back in the '90s. He was a loyal employee of 27 years and they canned him right before retirement. Seems to be (or was) business as usual up there.
    • Nortel did this as well, and got hit with a lawsuit by all the people they laid off just a few months or years from retirement. Nortel lost.

      This happened a few years before my father was laid off in 2002, so although he no longer went in or did any work, he was "bridged" over to retirement age (a year and a half), at which point the pension kicked in.

      Of course, we know what happened to the pension last year...

  • by kungfugleek (1314949) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:43PM (#39871949)
    That's an empty promise. IBM will just keep forcing them to work overtime and now only pay them 70% of their salary.
  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @03:03PM (#39872191)

    Ran "Guaranteed employment through Dec. 31, 2013 and offers participants 70% of their pay for working 60% of their schedule" through Google's Bullshit Translator and got back "We'll promise to keep you on for another year if you'll agree to a 30% pay cut."

  • Or, will "those who were responsible for the sacking, have been sacked" . . .?

    Back in the early 90's, when IBM nearly cratered, then CEO John Akers hatched a plan to break up the company, because he didn't know else what to do.

    Akers got the boot, Lou Gerstner came in, and reversed the break up.

    IBM is undergoing an ambitious plan for growth up to 2015, and these cutbacks are part of the plan. We'll know in 2015, if it worked. If it doesn't. Well, those planners will be getting the 70% / 60% offers.

    • by niks42 (768188)
      In what way was the breakup reversed? Thinking of Toshiba - LCDs, Lenovo - Thinkpads, Hitachi - Storage, Cisco - Networking Hardware, AT&T (WAN), Lexmark (printers) ..all companies that took over product lines. Thinking of the manufacturing plants that were sold off.
  • Get real. What do you think a retirement / pension "guarantee" ever was? And what happened to those promises? Chapter 7, that's what happened. Look at all the workers who were promised future benefits in lieu of today's pay and then none of it ever materialized.

    IBM is like, the MOST cynical place to work after Intel, which IS the WORST place to work, ever.

  • Is that in IBM and so many other companies, the C-level staff changes, the Board changes, the employees turn over but the top people in HR NEVER DO. And no one even really knows who they are, what their plans are, who they're accountable to or what their direction is. Their job seems to amount to nothing more than creative and stealthy ways to fire people.

    To all the libertarians here who are cheering, I'd ask "Why do the HR tools even have jobs if they've done such an astonishingly bad job at OVER hiring in

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