Fresh IBM "resource action" underway across North America - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

by Noel Sederstrom, KTTC News Director

Fresh IBM "resource action" underway across North America


ROCHESTER (KTTC-DT) -- Computer giant IBM is engaged in a new round of job cuts at its Rochester complex Monday, an exercise said to be underway across all of its North American operations.  IBM calls the process "resource actions" and in the past has described the periodic layoffs and forced retirements as part of its global business model.

One IBM employee in Toronto told KTTC NewsCenter that he was in shock, and had worked for Big Blue for 32 years.  He said his manager told him that the job action was "not confined to his work unit, but was North America-wide."  He estimated that 5% of the IBM employees at his location were affected.

On a pro-union blog created by the Communications Workers of America, laid-off IBMers from work sites all over the U.S. have been reporting in with what they know--there are job actions underway not only in Rochester and Toronto, but also in Burlington, VT; Nashville, TN; Atlanta, GA; Poughkeepsie, NY; Tucson, AZ; Littleton, MA; San Jose, CA; Raleigh, NC; Boulder, CO; and Beaverton, OR.

"We remix our skills and structure to meet the changing needs of our clients," said Doug Shelton, an IBM spokesman based at company headquarters in Armonk, New York.  Shelton declined to provide further information about the process.

One Rochester woman described the process to KTTC NewsCenter, saying that her husband had been threatened with termination but instead chose retirement as the best possible outcome in his own situation.  She said others in his work area had also been marked for termination, and all were near retirement age.  The notifications seemed to be occurring every three or four minutes in a methodical way.  All are unwilling to speak publicly about their situations, for fear of losing generous severance packages. 

The IBM units reportedly involved in this latest "resource action" are the Systems & Technology Group (STG), the Software Group (SWG), ISC, GTS and GBS units.  There is bitterness among some people being forced out of IBM who believe their jobs are being shifted overseas.

"Yup - got my pink slip today too. Not that surprised - a couple others on my team got it too. I just better not have to talk to anyone in India today!" said Susan, in a posting from Oregon.

Last year, IBM engaged in a similar round of cutbacks that affected hundreds of employees in the Rochester area.  The company refused to disclose exactly how many were impacted.

The cuts underway now seem to have a familiar framework; last day will be March 31, and maximum severance package being offered is 26 weeks to the most senior IBMers.

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