About 700 IBM employees in East Fishkill and 100 in Poughkeepsie lost their jobs this week, according to former employees and more layoffs are still expected. Sources said 85 percent of those let go Tuesday are 40 or older.
Just one week ago, IBM announced breathtaking profits and earnings. Fourth-quarter income from continuing operations was $4.4 billion compared with $4.0 billion one year earlier, an increase of 12 percent. This included: record revenue of $103.6 billion; record pre-tax profit of $16.7 billion; record earnings per share of $8.93;record free cash flow of $14.3 billion, up $1.9 billion, excluding Global Financing receivables.
“A strong fourth quarter capped an outstanding year,” said Samuel J. Palmisano, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer. “In 2008 IBM performed well in an extremely difficult economic environment.”
Another IBM worker said last week that while IBM shows stunning profits, "none of that money trickles down to the employees."
The feeling among many employees is that IBM is not the company it once was when it comes to caring for their employees.
A worker said that on Tuesday at approximately 9 a.m., a supervisor announced "the layoff has begun." "She had a list, and she said she stopped counting at 350 people, because it's just too much," that employee said. "She said there's plenty more."
This comes after weeks of rumours and denials by big bosses at IBM. When asked recently if there were any layoffs coming, IBM spokesmen repeatedly said that the company will not comment on rumors or speculation. That's fine, but this was neither - it was fact.
Lee Conrad, national coordinator for Alliance@IBM, an IBM employee group trying to organize a union for IBM employees,said that the job cuts came only days before Feb. 1, 2009.
Coincidentally, that is when a new state law, the New York WARN Act, goes into effect requiring employers to notify workers 90 days in advance of losing their jobs. "They're sidestepping that."
Longtime employees losing jobs, short term employees not, crying, confusion, secrecy, denial,strategically avoiding the law.
IBM gave their employees many benefits over the years. But there was one benefit that they would not agree to give them, the forbidden fruit......and in the end, it was what they needed most.
A contract would have addressed layoffs, how they were announced and how they would be administered.
With this type of treatment to look forward to, you may see IBM employees begin to realize that their only way to gain respect and a voice is to form a union.