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IBM Offers to Send Laid-Off Staff to Other Countries

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the employees-aren't-people dept.

IBM 493

TheAmit writes to tell us that many recently laid off IBM employees have been offered jobs if they will only move somewhere it is cheap to employ them. IBM's new Project Match program offers some financial assistance for moving and immigration help for visas. "However, the move has not gone well with the IBM staff union. Slamming the offer, a union spokesperson said that not only were jobs being shipped overseas, but Big Blue was trying to export the people for peanuts too. He added that at a time of rising unemployment IBM should be looking to keep both the work and the workers in the United States. "

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Let the CEO's work from India (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26758675)

on low pay and see how long that idea will last.

Re:Let the CEO's work from India (4, Insightful)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758791)

That really is a brilliant idea. If they want to show leadership, they should do just that. See the chart at the bottom of this page [ibm.com] . What does $5.8 million come out to in Indian wages? (Sure that. a termination package, but I think it gives a hint.)

Re:Let the CEO's work from India (5, Insightful)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759157)

If they wanted to avoid criminal charges for treason, they should be forced to do that. Unfortunately it's not defined that way in the US, although perhaps "aid and comfort to our enemies" might entail employing them and moving our industrial base to their countries.

This country is an expensive place to live and work because, as a democratic society, we've voted ourselves a lot of cruft. Some of it is good, some of it is excess. There is a price however, and the price is wages.

Corporations want to circumvent this cruft by simply moving away from the problem (while simultaneously leeching the benefits of it, by maintaining themselves in the US). They leech on our society, using it to protect them while they grow their businesses, taking full advantage of what the country has to offer...while simultaneously selling it out. If it isn't stopped, we'll bleed dry.

Hopefully people will look at this statement from IBM and say "I don't want to live in China, there's no bill of rights, their legal system doesn't work well [for us], there is no personal freedom, and it's barely a democracy."
s/China/wherever/g

Then ask why it is that IBM, who is based in Armonk, NY, should be able to make a profit by undermining our democracy - bypassing laws our government created to benefit us, because they don't really want to pay for it.

I may agree with them that there's a lot of inefficiencies and excess in some of the things that drive our wages up. But the proper solution is to work within the system, not erode it.

art imitating life (4, Funny)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758679)

So all those laid-off engineers will get a job in sales? [dilbert.com]

Good job I don't get to place purchase orders where I work!

'Engineers'. (1, Troll)

Shturmovik (632314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759539)

"Network Engineer". (Technician.) "Software Engineer". (Programmer.) If they don't have an bona fide engineering degree from a legitimate university, or if they don't drive trains or maintain a ship's engines, then they already are in sales...every day they try to sell themselves as something they're not.

I can't believe (5, Insightful)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758689)

that this is going to go well for IBM. Management is openly admitting that their present American workforce has the skills they need; it is just a question of cheap labor. This is not the time for a company to be picking this sort of fight.

Re:I can't believe (4, Insightful)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758769)

You're right. They should just lay them off and hire new people overseas. That's a much better way to treat them.

Re:I can't believe (5, Insightful)

Lulfas (1140109) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758805)

They are doing the same thing, in effect. They already laid them off, now they want to move them somewhere else so they can get the joys of paying them 5 dollars an hour but not have to figure out what Ishmael is saying.

Re:I can't believe (2, Interesting)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758883)

To be fair countries that have lower wages also have lower costs of living so it balances out. This is why Polish people can come to the UK and live and send what would be considered a decent amount of cash back home.

I would consider taking on the offer. Keeping a job with a view of coming back when the economy is better and getting to see the world isn't a bad deal.

Regarding the comment above saying this proves that Americans have the skills but IBM is just being cheap. That could be but companies do have to lay off people with valuable skills sometimes like when the economy is on life support.

Re:I can't believe (5, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759031)

To be fair countries that have lower wages also have lower costs of living so it balances out.

No it doesn't. When you come back home, you'll be totally broke, because the money you earned overseas is almost worthless.

This is why Polish people can come to the UK and live and send what would be considered a decent amount of cash back home.

You've just described the opposite situation! Of course it makes sense for people from poorer countries to go work in wealthier countries. But that's not the situation being discussed here.

Re:I can't believe (1)

enjerth (892959) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759255)

This is why Polish people can come to the UK and live and send what would be considered a decent amount of cash back home.

You've just described the opposite situation! Of course it makes sense for people from poorer countries to go work in wealthier countries. But that's not the situation being discussed here.

I believe the point was that after paying living expenses here they can send a modest amount of money overseas, where it's comparatively a boatload of money, to support their family.

Re:I can't believe (0)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759541)

If you have a home you rent it out and you come back and have your home and everything else. Then you only need money to live on day to day while in India and you get that from your wage so where's the problem?

No one is saying you go to India to bring money back home. The point is that, yes the wage will be lower, but you'll also pay a lot less for things. So it's not like you're losing out by doing a stint in India and in fact if you stay within the company you'll probably become more valuable by making connections in India and perhaps even picking up the local language which will mean a higher wage on the states side.

Re:I can't believe (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759127)

It doesn't track one for one.
These countries don't have a middle class.
To live the same lifestyle, you will need to still make more then the typical local.
Now, if tyou want to move to a 3rd world country and live like crap, then sure.

Re:I can't believe (4, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758849)

which they would if they could get equivalent work;which they can't.

Typically outsourcing works becasue you can get a many to one ration and still save money.

I executives I know that have done, or looking at doings outsourcing talk about being able to get 5 engineers for every single American engineers and save money.
Management needs to be there, and it needs to break the project done into several smaller projects to take advantage of i. Even after that it's still half the cost.

Personally, Corporations tax rate should be based on the percentage of people that work out of country.
100% of your work force in the US? then no corporate taxes. Base it upon work, not hired employees.

Re:I can't believe (2, Informative)

novakyu (636495) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759249)

Personally, Corporations tax rate should be based on the percentage of people that work out of country.
100% of your work force in the US? then no corporate taxes. Base it upon work, not hired employees.

So, on that scale, a foreign company doing business in U.S. will pay outrageous taxes because most of their employees are in their home country, i.e. not the U.S.? Geez, that's going to bring investors who are desperately needed especially during an economic downturn.

I don't think you thought your plan through—just like most plans that involves getting the government to meddle in private businesses.

Re:I can't believe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26759251)

Your spllings and grammers is dog shits bad.

Re:I can't believe (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759349)

I think it's the right line of thinking, but putting on my evil corporate leadership that I'd say: contract work. No one in my company would be located outside of the US, but some people who aren't in my company will do all the work for me.

In essence corporate taxes are being paid through employee wages and benefits. But it doesn't quite cover all the cost advantages. In one company I worked, the employer considered my liability to be roughly 2.5x my salary. This included my benefits, the building I worked in, the equipment I used, etc. All of which are cheaper elsewhere.

Re:I can't believe (1)

dhall (1252) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759511)

> Personally, Corporations tax rate should be based on the percentage of people that work out of country. 100% of your work force in the US? then no corporate taxes. Base it upon work, not hired employees.

Strangely a simple but elegant solution that is catchy enough that even a politician might consider it. What IBM is doing is effectively negating any argument they would have in hiring ANY H1-B's. They obviously have the qualified workers, they don't don't want to pay them.

This corporate tax gimmick is pretty decent considering the US is considered to have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the "free" world. Unfortunately a law like this might be easy to circumnavigate by using shells and third party contractors.

Re:I can't believe (4, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758897)

>>>They should just lay them off and hire new people overseas. That's a much better way to treat them.

I hope that was sarcasm. Speaking for myself, I'd rather accept a job overseas than be sitting on my ass (like I'm doing now). You can always continue the U.S. job search from India, and then when you find a U.S. job (if you find a U.S. job), you quit India and come back home.

Re:I can't believe (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758987)

I hope that was sarcasm. Speaking for myself, I'd rather accept a job overseas than be sitting on my ass (like I'm doing now). You can always continue the U.S. job search from India, and then when you find a U.S. job (if you find a U.S. job), you quit India and come back home.

Sure if your single and you rent and your life fits in a cardboard box, go for it, its little more than a plane ticket. Try doing it when you own a home and have a family. The financial costs alone, never mind the stress...

Last time I moved it cost over 20k. (And that's not with an expensive moving company... that's just all the hits from real estate fees, lawyers fees, inspections, etc ad nauseum.) To move with a moving company, probably would have been closer to 40k+. Do that twice in a couple years... you'd probably be further ahead not moving and spending the time unemployed.

Re:I can't believe (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26759485)

Why the hell should I move to India? I payed taxes for 25 years to live in THIS country! I fought in two wars and numerous conflicts for "freedom". I gave up 8 years of my life for my "country". Why don't they ship all the Indians back? Doesn't anyone else see the danger in this double think?

Re:I can't believe (-1, Troll)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759043)

But could you imagine your entire existence being spent surrounded by telephone tech support people? You know, the ones with the accent so thick you could cut it with a chainsaw?

They'd have to pay me $25/hr to live there, even if a 4 bedroom house did rent for $50 a month.

Re:I can't believe (1, Insightful)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758829)

Management is openly admitting that their present American workforce has the skills they need; it is just a question of cheap labor. This is not the time for a company to be picking this sort of fight.

Should they let a real Indian company win the business on cheaper contract costs, and then lay off those people?

Nobody likes it when companies cut expenses, but everybody likes to buy stuff for cheap.

Re:I can't believe (1)

caethlong (1330061) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758901)

This is exactly the time to be picking this sort of fight I'm afraid =)

Don't think so (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759393)

I could be wrong, it wouldn't be the first time, but coming at this time, this is the sort of decision that can ignite an explosive backlash. Part of the art of public relations is understanding when the rules are changing.

Re:I can't believe (0, Redundant)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759009)

What are they supposed to do? There's cheaper labor available overseas that can do the same work for less (and with a lower cost of living so the relative pay is probably much closer than most people believe). They're hemorrhaging money at the moment and moving jobs to locations with lower cost of living is a real way to save money. It sucks for those employed but that's just the facts of the situation.

Makes me glad I work for a defense contractor (can't be shipped overseas, at least not easily) in the middle of no-where (much lower cost of living than where most software development takes place). Speaking of which, why don't companies move their development to places within the US with lower cost of living? If you can save $15k per engineer simply because it costs less for housing I would think it would be worth it to large companies.

Re:I can't believe (2, Insightful)

composer777 (175489) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759441)

They aren't against Union wages, they are against American wages. They can pay about 10% of what they do in a major US city if they move operations to India. It's not so much about what they are supposed to do. IBM is acting as expected, in accordance with their institutional goals of profit above all else. I think a better question is what WE'RE supposed to do, and how long we're going to put up with their behavior. The first thing we should do is demand that they give the 140 million in tax incentives back. The incentives were given to them for the explicit purpose of keeping workers in the US.

Re:I can't believe (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26759183)

And what we going to do? Throw rocks at them?

If they don't get any money from Obama's Bailout package, they don't need to be accountable for anything they do.

Like if the Big Blue touches the package money then they won't be able to pay their executives more than 500 grand/year, can't send them to Spas, have to "buy American" and all the communist BS Obama wrote on that package. But if they don't get any taxpayers money they can just do whatever they want to do, the old good Laissez-Faire capitalist way.

Re:I can't believe (1)

AxelTorvalds (544851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759519)

Isn't this really about H1Bs and such?

It's a sensational headline, that's for sure, but for the vast vast majority of Americans in the work force, with families and roots in America it's not even remotely an option. If you're here in the US on an H1B then it's a different kind of issue.

Also, FWIW, if it really is labor costs alone (and it probably is,) this is about as perfect a time as there is. When you have GM going to congress begging for money while their laborers are making near $80k a year with gold plated benefits, the public is as open to it as ever.

Back Home (4, Insightful)

CambodiaSam (1153015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758691)

What if that happens to be your home?

I know IBM must employ a lot of workers on visas. Are they targeting that group?

Re:Back Home (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26758861)

Other companies have done it in the past. Told all their visa employees that they could either stay and risk getting laid off, or go back to their home countries for a fraction of the wages.

You know, that went well with everyone but the visa employees.

Americans felt that 'go home you towelhead' feeling swell up within them and were happy, partly because they were not the ones being touched. Managers felt happy because they could lay someone off this way and show some savings they were required to.

Govt had gotten the full taxes (including social security and medicare ) out of them, so the system was happy. They were liable for lease breakage fees, so the apartment owners were happy. They had bought stuff here and spent their salary here so the shops were happy.

The visa employees did not have any rights or votes, so no one really cared about them or their plans or inconveniences. Afterall, how dare they live any more comfortably than out of a suitcase? Who told them to lease an apartment? Who told them to buy a car? a home?

all the comany is required to do is buy them a return ticket on the slaveship (or return flight).

Re:Back Home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26759239)

Good point... if that is the case, looks like a smart move.. go back where you came from... get a good deal... reloc and stuff...

Obviously (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26758697)

Americans workers would like to work in America for American wages. However, are they also willing to pay the prices of American made products?

Re:Obviously (2, Interesting)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758913)

Americans workers would like to work in America for American wages. However, are they also willing to pay the prices of American made products?

If certain employees' salaries weren't so outrageously high, would American-made products really be that much more expensive ?

Re:Obviously (1, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758979)

If certain employees' salaries weren't so outrageously high, would American-made products really be that much more expensive ?

I'm sorry, I don't see the relationship. I think you're under the mistaken impression that we still make things here in the US. Certainly we create technology, we manipulate money, we have a service industry, but make things? Very few things that come from Asia can be replaced with American products, even more expensive ones.

Re:Obviously (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759375)

How did you get modded up? America is still a manufacturing powerhouse (we're #1 in the world in manufactured goods [industryweek.com] ). However, we employ less people due to automation and other efficiencies.

Re:Obviously (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759085)

If certain employees' salaries weren't so outrageously high, would American-made products really be that much more expensive ?

Yes, they would. And who are these "certain employees"?

Re:Obviously (1)

novakyu (636495) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759313)

If certain employees' salaries weren't so outrageously high, would American-made products really be that much more expensive ?

Yes, they would. And who are these "certain employees"?

Unionized workers, of course. Haven't you heard about the troubles of American auto makers?

People like to fuss over high salaries of executives, but for most companies (I'm not sure if I'm willing to speak for investment bankers that decided spend much of the government bailout money on their executives), their salary is a very tiny fraction of the total gross revenue or the salaries of all those unionized workers (especially those ones who can't be fired because of the union, even though they contribute nothing to the company).

Here's a thought: we get rid of the unions (especially for white collar workers and people who work for wages substantially higher than the minimum wage), let the moochers get off of the companies, and let's see if America looks like a good place to build a productive workforce.

Re:Obviously (1)

mad_clown (207335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759119)

Are you suggesting that CEO wages (rather than massive legacy costs associated with union agreements) are the chief driving force behind the high price of American goods?

Re:Obviously (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759175)

If certain employees' salaries weren't so outrageously high, would American-made products really be that much more expensive ?

and how many of the Japanese cars the geek so admires were built in the low-wage states of the Mississippi Delta?

Re:Obviously (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758933)

However, are they also willing to pay the prices of American made products?

Americans have grown to feel entitled to a certain standard of living that is disproportionate event to other Western nations. This is because we've been buying on credit. What Americans need to do is live with fewer toys. And, perhaps if we pay the price for American made toys, we will appreciate them more.

Re:Obviously (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759413)

If I had to grow up playing with this stuff [toysmadeinamerica.com] I'd have grown up craving anything not made in the US. GI Joes (Hasbro - made in China), Playmobile (Germany), Battle Beasts (Japan), Erector set (France) was the stuff I grew up with, with occasional wooden stuff made in the US. Hell I had a huge box full of wooden blocks used as toys. Parents aren't going to buy their kids something they won't use, simply because it was made in the USA
Cheap plastics from overseas and electronics are the toys of choice today.

$$$ Just saying how it is.

Re:Obviously (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759443)

Can't even believe I left off Lego (Denmark). I think the point I was trying to make was why shy away from toys that promote creativity and thinking simply because they aren't made in the US?

Re:Obviously (2, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758945)

As recent events tend to point out... no. People want cheaper stuff and that comes from overseas.

I know it's a bit off-topic but I feel that our own government is making this worse as time goes on. The only way to reverse the loss of jobs is to start cutting government agencies and military spending while giving tax breaks to all Americans. If I wasn't getting nearly 40% of my income taken out each month, I'd gladly take a 30% pay cut which would be more like a 10% pay raise in cost of living adjustment. (my math is probably all wrong, but it's not the point of the matter.) If American companies didn't have to pay all their employees 40% more than a country with less gouging taxes in order to maintain their quality of life, more jobs would stay here because it would cost the company less.

Re:Obviously (4, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759061)

The US has the lowest effective tax rates in the world among developed countries, mostly because of the lack of nationalized health care.

The reason wages are higher in the US vs. other countries has much more to do with worker productivity and demand for labor than anything to do with tax rates.

Re:Obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26759193)

The reason wages are higher in the US vs. other countries has much more to do with worker productivity and demand for labor than anything to do with tax rates.

Or a grossly overvalued currency.
Do you really think running several years a billion dollar trade deficit will work out in the end ?

Re:Obviously (4, Insightful)

urbanriot (924981) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758973)

You deserve the 5 points of insightful, you hit the nail right on the head. As a computer reseller, people don't so much care about quality or the fact that we assemble our computers here in Canada... they want whatever's cheapest and they'll morally validate their decisions however they can.

we all want highest quality for lowest price (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759317)

why does that instinct require moral validation?

that is an instinct which has driven the entire history of human innovation and technological progress

the guy who goes "say, i could make a mechanical loom powered by a waterwheel, and sell yarn at $1/ yard rather than $10/ yard" does you a service. of course, he also puts 5 human yarnspinners out of work

but based on some sort of "moral validation" argument, we should not pursue technological progress. we shouldn't, in order to continue employing the human yarnspinners, and to continue paying $10/ yard for yarn

no, sorry, not going to happen

this "moral validation" argument is hollow, and is really just an argument for luddites, and an absurd one at that, since we are both sitting at computer keyboards, arguing over fiber optic cables: innovations that would otherwise be impossible, innovations that, ironically, some of which happened at ibm

innovation is something that flows directly from human laziness and cheapness. we want more for less. and our minds are such that we can actually dream up ways to make that happen with novel organizational structures, energy sources, and bizarre new materials

so i say, fuck "moral validation", fuck the yarnspinners, and fuck the out of work american ibmers

progress isn't all fun and games, and is often cruel. but one of those laid off ibmers will innovate the next big thing that will employ the children of those laid off ibmers, and none of them will question the principle of creative destruction, and they will look at their father's mode of employment the way we look at blacksmithing jobs and chimney sweeping

Mod parent up! (0, Troll)

TopSpin (753) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759103)

Where the **** are my mod points when I need them.

You want to 'protect' American jobs? Get your savior to fulfill his campaign promises to the unions [barackobama.com] and stand up to Europe, Asia and the rest and start restricting and/or banning imports. Renegotiate NAFTA.

For instance, when the euros start yelling about 'buy American' language in the Obama payoff bill [buffalonews.com] you'll need to grow a pair and ignore it.

Don't bitch when the prices double or triple, and whatever you do DO NOT ask yourself if IBM is actually right and if so why.

Re:Obviously (1)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759219)

If quality American made products hadn't become such a niche market that they have become difficult to find and outrageously expensive, I would be more than happy to buy them more regularly. This is why free trade is fake. Tariffs are in my opinion a necessary evil and do good things when administered with care (an unpopular position for me to take as a Libertarian). We can't possibly compete in our own back yard when the US dollar can buy a whole lot more in China than it can here.

Re:Obviously (2, Interesting)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759507)

If I pay the price of an American made product, will that extra expense make it back to my pocket on my paycheck? Or will it end up in the CEO's pocket?

Open Source just doesn't pay the bills. (-1, Flamebait)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758699)

Hey, how long can you keep a bunch of people around to write free Linux, free Java and free whatever else IBM makes. IBM would almost be better off resurrecting OS/2.

Re:Open Source just doesn't pay the bills. (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759247)

Hey, how long can you keep a bunch of people around to write free Linux, free Java

Do0d, where ya been? Software *wants* to be free, man.

first emigrant (1)

ters a-zA-Z0-9$_.+!* (1177175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758723)

They wont have to worry about big brother in a lot of those places+living wage=land of opportunity

Same situation (3, Interesting)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758751)

I'm waiting to find out if my job will be moved to a country where the "cost of a comparable person" is 1/3 what it is in the US. Even in that situation I'm not sure how I feel about this politically and morally. How ever as the unemployment rate goes up, and more white collar high paying jobs move else where, I believe this will become a hot topic politically.

There are many ways I see this as a bad sign for the US. Innovation happens where the engineering talent is located. If the worlds best engineers are no longer heading to the US (for high paying jobs) then the US will not longer be the center of innovation it has been for the last 50 years.

Re:Same situation (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758765)

If that was true, why is IBM trying to get American engineers to move overseas?

Re:Same situation (2, Interesting)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758935)

I would assume that the cost of moving an employee across the world is probably cheaper than recruiting and training a new employee who knows absolutely nothing about the work they'll be doing.

They'll get the best of both worlds. An employee who is already trained, and has an established work history, at the price of a overseas employee.

Tragedy of the Commons (1)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758959)

If that was true, why is IBM trying to get American engineers to move overseas?

IBM is just looking to cut costs. They are not looking at what is in the best interests of the US economically or strategically (militarily speaking). Read the wikipedia entry on "Tragedy of the Commons." [wikipedia.org]

Since shortly before World War II the US has in general been the destination of choice for the best minds in the world. Don't believe that? Look up the birth country and nationality of people who worked on the Manhattan Project. [wikipedia.org] If that had not been the case Nazi's would have had atomic weapons first and this would be written in German.

It is definitely in the US's best interest to have high paying engineering and design jobs here. But that might not be in the best interest of IBM's profits.

Re:Tragedy of the Commons (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759289)

As I understand it, World War II started without the US, and many of the minds on the Manhattan Project fled to the US to specifically avoid the Nazi regime. Niels Bohr, for example, was nearly arrested and escaped to London. His underling Heisenburg, however, remained and participated in the Nazi nuclear program.

So yes, very shortly before WWII, the US was an attractive place for intellectuals, compared to Hitler.

Re:Same situation (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758983)

Because then IBM wouldn't have to pay Uncle Sam 30-40% of your wage in taxes. They can give that to a country that doesn't wallet rape their employees.

Re:Same situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26759223)

the employee pays income tax, not the employer.

dipshit.

Re:Same situation (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759503)

I don't know where you work, but I never get to touch that money. I'm sure I could file for 99 exceptions and get it all in my paycheck if I really tried, but you're missing the point. (...and frankly you are trying to argue semantics.) Companies have to pay their employees over top of what they are taxed so they can live. The company is most certainly paying someone more money when they live in a high tax region. I know when I lived in Chicago, taxes were crazy. I demanded more salary because I needed the extra money in my pocket to eat and live. I moved to Ohio and I practically got a raise for moving because I wasn't paying as much in taxes.

Re:Same situation (1)

DiegoBravo (324012) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759231)

Actually most countries do take the percentages you wrote (or even more); IMHO the main difference is that none of them throws that money in "wars of terror" nor contributions for a dubious selection of big banks.

Re:Same situation (1, Insightful)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759027)

These jobs were already moving overseas. Now IBM's offering their existing employees a chance to keep their jobs, plus assistance with travel, visas, etc., provided they're willing to move with the jobs and accept local wages (along with a corresponding decrease in cost-of-living). This can only be seen as an improvement for their American engineers compared to the original plan.

Obviously IBM is also benefiting from the arrangement, since they manage to keep some of their trained employees, but they had already committed to relocating the jobs -- and hiring local engineers to fill them -- at the time the offer was made.

Re:Same situation (1)

thej1nx (763573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759395)

Innovation, as per perception, happens where ever the Management(owner is located) since it doesn't matters who conceived the idea, but rather who marketed it successfully. I don't see a problem with where the engineers are located, as long as American companies are still their paymasters, and thus the owner of their ideas.

And millions of people in the third world immigrate all the time to find better opportunities than available at home. Americans can either adapt and do the same, or choose to be stubborn and be a burden on your Government/country by expecting it to mollycoddle you and provide a job for you locally, despite the economic crisis.

The reason why an average American hates the idea of working elsewhere, is because the places where the jobs are, have a lower standard(and by extension, cost) of living. Which is understandable. That was why the world's best Engineers were trying to head for USA in the first place.

But let us face it, it can only be good for the rest of the world at least. America has the largest hoard of nukes in the world. It *could* have been using some of that nuclear material for generating power and selling it to the rest of the world and still have plenty left for its defense. Power is the primary requirement for industrialization and for exploiting resources. But so far, there was nothing in it for America, to actually help those countries. So far it has shared the technology and nuclear resources only with countries such as Japan, where it had military bases and thus a significant American population and an interest. The rest have been deprived based possibly on the policy that it is better to keep them poor, and thus the products sold from those countries, to be cheap. A starving man cannot bargain well. With a large number of Americans living in those countries too, this will change and it can only improve the lives of those poor millions.

Some of you might call it a pipe-dream, but I think Americans would a show more empathy to the problems of those third-world countries, if they had to actually, you know, live there. It might make the rest of the world, a bit better place to live in. Every dark cloud has a silver lining and all that.

And it would only probably improve their knowledge of geography. Please send Palin first.

Long Ago (2, Funny)

Mastodon (757726) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758801)

It was once well known that IBM stands for "I've Been Moved."

Employment in other countries. (5, Interesting)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758835)

I have a few tech friends from India and it's funny because one of them said that on a yearly salary in the US, they could retire comfortably back home. Fact is, a dollar goes really far in other countries and companies could probably provide an even better standard of living for their employees if they were located in other countries. Now, I'm not saying that this is the ideal situation. Just that the reality for some companies is that they cannot or will have trouble surviving/remaining competitive when another company, based in a cheaper location, can undercut them by a significant amount. It's not simply a matter of CEOs fattening their profit margins but that eventually, efficiency will take over. What I believe will happen, is that an economic homeostasis will occur (over several decades) whether we like it or not.

Ah, pay me no heed as I'm just ranting.

Re:Employment in other countries. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26759557)

did your friend also say that the yearly salary
should be a minimum of one million dollars.

with 100k you won't even get a proper house in
places where IT companies exist.

Slashdot full of socialists and statists? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26758905)

This is the FREE MARKET doing what it does best. Listen folks, I like you, I really do, it's fun to have socialists and statists around to make fun of, but if your skills are not valuable enough to retain a job here, then either you should learn new skills or you should take the offer and MOVE.

Re:Slashdot full of socialists and statists? (1, Flamebait)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758995)

This is the FREE MARKET doing what it does best.

And that means what? I think relatively few people value economic systems more than they value economic sucess. If strict adherence to free market is going to get us into a depression (which it won't, but bear with me) then to hell with free markets comrade. The only reason to be in favor of free markets is because you think it will make more money for everyone/you. And of course you wouldn't be such a capitalist if it was your job on the line.

Re:Slashdot full of socialists and statists? (1)

novakyu (636495) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759451)

If strict adherence to free market is going to get us into a depression (which it won't, but bear with me) then to hell with free markets comrade.

To me, free market is more about fundamental individual rights than any perception of prosperity. Yes, free market tends to be the most efficient economic system, but that's a by-product, not the final goal (for me).

The culture and governmental system in which a free market can survive and thrive as it ought to is the same culture and governmental system that respects the most fundamental of individual rights: self-ownership, as in no one may force you to do anything you don't want to do, except in the case what you want to do interferes with this fundamental right of others.

A lot of statists are claiming that this recession is the proof that free market doesn't work, but, if they bothered being honest with themselves, well, they would have seen that we didn't have an actual free market in the first place—around 2000s. U.S. passed that stage around 50 years ago, when the government started meddling in everything with its regulations and "equal opportunity" bills. Yes, I see the intentions behind some of these bills were good, but you know what the road to hell is paved with.

If I could have all the riches of the world but could not do what I actually want to do (without infringing the rights of others), well, I would rather work as a poor graduate student doing what I want to do and believing what I want to believe—as I, in fact, do.

Re:Slashdot full of socialists and statists? (1, Interesting)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759141)

This is the FREE MARKET doing what it does best.

Yes. Fuck people over. If this is what the free market is best at, then maybe we should rethink the idea?

This is what happens... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26758911)

... when USA unionizes itself out of jobs.

Re:This is what happens... (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759015)

Yeah, you know all those tech worker unions.

Unions aren't to blame (1)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759117)

I don't like unions, but in this they are blameless. IBM doesn't really have a union - it has a small group that wants to unionize it, and so far hasn't met with much success.

Re:This is what happens... (1)

Ironica (124657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759481)

Unionization has been on the decline for decades. It does not explain this phenomenon.

Can we start shooting them as traitors yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26758915)

I mean really. Now they are trying to weaken our country by stealing our skilled workers.

Goodbye union (0, Troll)

ladydi89 (1159055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758929)

I hate unions. I think this is hilarious. It makes a real statement about how americans are still valued, but our expectations are screwed up when it comes to wages vs. cost of living. We all want to be billionaires, but we want all of our goods and services cheap. That is an unrealistic expectation and just plain bad math. The unions that preach the BS are driving companies into the ground. It's no wonder they outsource.

Re:Goodbye union (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759189)

The unions that preach the BS are driving companies into the ground. It's no wonder they outsource.

The unions are driving companies into the ground? What utter nonsense. The management is responsible for a company. Unions don't run companies or have anything to do with the management of them.

Last time I checked, there are plenty of companies that are failing that are not unionized at all. Is it the union's fault that those companies are failing?

Re:Goodbye union (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26759457)

Unions are driving *many* companies into the ground. Unions play a huge role in how companies are run. They decide a set pay rate and benefits package of each class of employee for instance (which removes incentive to work hard and make more than your peers) and they also place artificial limits on productivity in manufacturing environments by setting maximum quotas. In many states employees are forced to join unions and can't be fired based on their union status. Unions aren't necessarily bad, it's forced union shops that take management decisions out of the hands of the owners and management that really drive a company into the ground.

Re:Goodbye union (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26759351)

Odd logic you seem to use, isn't it.

That almost all the outsourced labor is non-union labor would not imply to me that the cause was unionization. Could you explain that to me?

Virtually all the textile work was non-union before it went to India and Bangladesh. Literally all the programming jobs that were outsourced over the last 15 years have been non-union (the very few union programmers had healthy jobs until Boeing started having trouble). And tech support, let me think, I don't know of any company that had unionized tech support, and that's one area that seems 100% outsourced these days.

Of course, fast food is an area that's non-union and not outsourced. And it's no wonder - how can you do that long distance?

[Posted anonymously, since I'm an "at will" employee and not interested in a career change.]

Sign here. (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758957)

Our culture has put such a premium on the price of goods, at the expense of quality, that it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone when (like all other resources), labor also finds itself subjugated to this rule. You are now on the dollar menu, Citizen. Ah, but let us rail against our evil corporate overlords instead--it's so much easier to blame anyone but ourselves for this. Labor is dead in this country. You've got "at will" employment, anti-union legislation, and did you know we are the only industrialized country on the planet without a Labor party? Our entire culture has been split up and sold off piece by piece thanks to "intellectual property". You don't own your car, your home, or anything that costs more than about $5,000 these days, stuck paying student loans for the next thirty years, with debt-collection law changes now on the books that make starting over an impossible proposition. We call ourselves a "capitalist" society where the individual has the power and the choice, but tell me dear reader, when was the last time you bought something that didn't come with a contract or a legal document stating what you could and could not do? Want to watch a movie? Read the FBI warning. Use a computer? Read the End User Licensing Agreement. Drive a car? You'll need insurance and a car loan for that. Live in a house? An apartment? Sign here please. You can't even enter a building without "giving consent to search", no cameras or recording devices please (except for us, see the black globes?). Freedom? Where, pray tell, is your freedom?

One Nation, Under Contract. Please sign on the dotted line.

Interesting (1)

spectro (80839) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758969)

If I was 20 years younger and with no debt I would jump on it.

Brazil.... hmmmmm... they work hard, but they also party hard

Who is IBM competing with? (3, Insightful)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758981)

IBM is gaming their stock price not competing. If they wanted o compete they would want a highly paid domestic workforce that would buy their customers products thus making their customers flush with cash and wanting to buy some more IBM consulting.

Has IBM announced consulting price-cuts to go along with their now lower wages? If not then they're really not competing. They're just trying to get a larger profit margin out of their current pricing scheme. We should start calling bull on this sort of thing. Let's change the headline to:

"IBM hopes to raise stock price by sending laid-off staff to other countries where the can rehire them for cheaper thus boosting their profit margins."

Making the best of a bad situation? (4, Insightful)

mad_clown (207335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26758985)

The general reaction seems to be that IBM is in the wrong here.

I think it's also possible to interpret this as a sign that IBM recognizes that the people it's laying off are both a valuable resource that it doesn't want to lose as well as a resource that it cannot afford to keep paying. The union's reaction, of course, is hardly surprising of course -- it has its own interests in mind.

Naturally, this offer isn't one that will appeal to everyone. Obviously laid-off employees with families probably aren't in a position that they can just uproot and move to another country. For others, though, I can see this being an intriguing opportunity.

I know that if I were in this position -- laid-off, facing unemployment, and offered the chance to go live overseas and stay in the company, I'd seriously consider it.

TFA calls it an "innovative" solution. That seems about right. It's not perfect and it's clearly not motivated by altruism, but it might actually work out for some people.

Geez, that is one HELLUVA big International... (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759001)

Bowel Movement, IBM....

Now, can we FINALLY get (at reduced labor costs) an Open Source version of SmartSuite? If you DO NOT agree, I will campaign the hell out of EVERY Indian i can get eartime from and show them SmartSuite and let them know a lot of IBM know-how is heading their way. Japan, YEARS ago, got to have SmartSuite as "Super Office", and they (and other countries) got to have the Lotus Approach database as a fucking stand-alone product. But, all these years, i've been grousing, crying, bellyaching, kvetching, moaning and more, hoping.

But, you know, if Indian programmers are willing to come to the US and live 5 to a room, set up a start-up for USD $11,000 a year annual income, in a 2-room apartment, and forgo bonuses, right here in the US, then surely this could be a great cultural (shocking one, albeit) to 'merkuns willing to give India whirl. Hell, it might help broaden the view of the world even MORE than ever. And, when these people return to the USA, maybe they can help moderate and bring better control to this country so that never again do we remain blind, myopic, stupid, and the world's number one target. But, for now, the current administration will have to try to resolve those problems. In the meantime, I'd love to see SmartSuite alone or with combination of OpenOffice.org gain traction in Linuxland, and see SmartSuite head (back) to the Mac platform, too. Apple, are you listening? This could be a chance opportunity here.

I have a suggestion... (0, Flamebait)

PatSand (642139) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759005)

Let the great minds in HR and upper management that thought of this go over there (at prevailing local wages) and take a year to set things up. No pay differential, no hazard pay, etc. and let them try to pay for their mortgage and kids education back here in the U.S.

If this is such a "great opportunity" they should lead the way by example.

For those people getting laid off, this is probably the worst insult possible: we want you but at 3rd-world wages.

I suggest those people proposing this immediately get their pay adjusted to 3rd-world wage rates here in the U.S. and see how it feels.

I guess IBM now stands for "Idiots, Bozos, and Morons"

Truly Pathetic!

in 2-3 years (3, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759047)

ibm will be an indian company

i have spoken to an employee of ibm, who lives and works in the hudson valley (ibm's historical stomping grounds), and he is being relocated to bangalore under this exact program. he is indian anyways, so not that huge of a deal, and he even looks forward to the massive decrease in cost of living

but he's done a lot of recent improvements on his home, like installing 45K worth of solar panels (not including the 10K new york state gives him for doing that), and now he has to sell his home in the current real estate environment. ugh. i don't think this ibm program has a home value relief program?

according to him, ibm had already planned the move in semisecrecy for years, on a 10-20 year timetable. but the worldwide economic recession has meant a rapid acceleration of the process

Power of the buyer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26759073)

As a buyer of goods and services you have a lot of power.

If you don't like IBM, don't do business with them. Dont cooperate with their consultant, don't advise anyone to buy their hardware, don't use IBM software.

For me, IBM is not a company I do business with. For this reason as well as others.

A U S T R A L I A ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26759081)

Sorry but with kdawson away Slashdot isn't linking everything with Australia right now which I find distressing so I thought I'd give it a shot.

How about this: "Maybe IBM can send their laid off staff to Australia. That's what the Brits did a long time ago". What? Oh...

Yes, I agree, that would make Australia look like a dumping ground for rejects, and the whole point of the work of Aussie-promoters like kdawson and Zonk is the re-branding of the object of their affections as the 'United States of Australia'.

Therefore I should say "Maybe IBM Australia can send its laid-off staff to other countries because IBM Australia staff are the cream of the crop and all other countries will be begging for Aussie IBMers to come and show them how it's really done".

Yeah, that's better.

Sigh, I so wish kdawson was here.

William Gibson Archologies anyone? (1)

lemur666 (313121) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759123)

I'm honestly surprised corporations aren't simply going into countries with cheap labor and building their own "company towns" where they can bring workers for all over the world.

Back in the day plenty of companies would just build towns out of nothing, in the middle of nowhere, and move people in to work at their factory / mine / chip fab plant. [ibm.com]

So in this day of cheap airfare and 'free' telecommunications, why haven't we seen the same idea Globalized?

Or maybe we are...

Life without borders (0, Troll)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759129)

I don't recognize national borders. I'm trying to live my life without considering them. Perhaps this union guy from IBM should try to live his life the same way.

Re:Life without borders (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759261)

I don't recognize national borders. I'm trying to live my life without considering them.

I'll buy that when I can hop to any country and get a job. As it stands I have to get permission from the government of that country and -only- if a corporation is in some way sponsoring me (barring familial relations, and even those get treated like shit a lot.)

Corporations can float freely between countries, paying lipservice to treaties and laws. People are barred entry unless they carry sponsorships and permission. And I'm sure India/China/etc. will be damned before they let millions of Americans come and take jobs in their country before their citizens, even if they -are- sponsored.

It's not just India... (3, Informative)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759187)

I live in Vancouver, Canada. I used to work for a software company here that was acquired by a company headquartered in Washington, DC. In the summer of 2006, once the 'merger' was complete those of us that worked in Vancouver were given an option: Move across the continent and to a new country and join the DC head office, or be let go. The majority of us chose to stay and found ourselves unemployed.

Re:It's not just India... (1)

dhall (1252) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759547)

Vancouver to DC is a little different than say Poughkeepsie, NY to Bangalore.

IBM "Union" (2, Informative)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759321)

For those that don't know, there isn't one. I believe what the summary is referring to (and possibly the article itself, which of course I didn't read) is Alliance@IBM [allianceibm.org] , a ... well, rumor site that gets a lot of disgruntled workers on it.

IBM has a ton of international employees but I believe the largest percentage of employees is in the US. It'd be interesting to compare, say, HP, IBM, Intel, etc., with percentages of employees and where they work, etc.

I guess, in order to make people REALLY happy, they should have just laid off workers and said goodbye for good, huh? Offering to re-locate and stay employed, pfffft, how stupid. Right.

Why don't they just import cheap labour? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26759329)

Instead of exporting work, they should import cheap labor. In the light of recent history, holding (light brown) people indefinitely against their will is perfectly legal in US. That means Companies would only have to offer free relocation to a cheap housing on company campus (where they already have full access control and security force).

And may I remind you, this sort of arrangement has been used in US before, and India is known to have Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Consolation, of sorts (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759331)

At least they seem to be trying.

EDS was like this too, in the good old days. They always had a job for you if your current customer went away, but you may have to move a LONG way away.

Just one question from me (1)

certain death (947081) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759347)

Why should I, as an American Citizen, have to move to a foreign country just to keep the same job I had here and get paid less for doing it and have to work more hours?!? I don't see how this is ok, nor do I plan on being converted to seeing it as ok.

Re:Just one question from me (2, Insightful)

sigmabody (1099541) | more than 5 years ago | (#26759483)

Nobody is forcing you, the self-importance filled "American Citizen", to move abroad, work abroad, or take any job less than what You the Great want to make. IBM is moving the position overseas; you have the option to follow it, not the requirement. It's hard to fault IBM; the cost of employing people in the US is egregiously high compared to other countries, and the international business laws offer no strong disincentive for doing so. Regardless, though, nobody will be forcing You to take a job paying less than you want; there may just not be many jobs up to Your standards soon, though.

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