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HP Cuts Workforce By 5%, Looks To Probe GM Hires

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the picking-teams dept.

HP 304

dcblogs writes "Hewlett-Packard's reduced its workforce last year by 17,800 employees, more than half-way to its restructuring goal. But some key IT workers left unexpectedly and have taken jobs with HP customer, General Motors. GM, which outsourced its IT for years to EDS, announced plans last year to in-source its IT. HP acquired EDS in 2008. On Nov. 30, 18 employees of HP's Global Information Technology Organization in Austin 'resigned en masse and without notice' and 'immediately began working for General Motors in Austin in GM's new IT Innovation Center,' according to court papers. HP is asking the court for approval to depose some of the exiting workers to determine whether employment contracts were violated. 'HP expects that additional resignations will follow as the departed employees will likely seek to build out their teams by filling in with subordinate employees from HP,' the company said."

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oh the hp way... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457161)

It used to be 'treat employees with respect'. Now it seems to be more like 'be such a crappy place to work that people leave, then sue them...'

So.... (5, Insightful)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#42457173)

..."you can't leave unless WE fire you". Nice way to build loyalty!

Re:So.... (4, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#42457227)

Sadly the probably signed an agreement to not do what they did, even though HP was public about their intentions.
But Fuck HP for going after them.

Re:So.... (3, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 2 years ago | (#42458175)

I'd like to respectfully disagree about insulting HP for this. When you're trimming a department, you sometimes have contractual obligations that require you to retain _some_ of the department or group, to support existing services. When they all leave en masse, it can put a very large hole in your infrastructure: when someone leaving poaches from their former group, it's usually a contract violation, written into the contract _precisely_ to protect assets a company has invested in and built up over time.

I've been involved, numerous times, in cleaning up after that kind of loss of personnel. The loss of institutional knowledge can be devastating: there may be no one left who knows _why_ things were done certain ways, and it can really endanger ongoing services and other contracts to lose that much of a key department without some kind of plan. And while I can't speak for HP, there are few things as devastating to the surviving remnant, who may believe in what they do or may really need the job to feed their families and keep medical insurance, when the "elite few" depart and leave them holding the undocumented remnants of their work.

And if I ever do a departure interview with one such departing member of a horde who says "there is no documentation, just read the code!" I'm going to warn the staff who organize bids for my company that our hourly rates need to double, and explain why.

Re:So.... (5, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#42457263)

Nah, it's not about loyalty. HP saw that workers ended up with a positive outcome, and reflexively concluded that it must have been illegal. Refer to legal department, sue. Workers are never allowed a positive outcome, this is how you know you're doing business correctly. Business as taught in school, of course.

Re:So.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457581)

I never heard this in any of my compsci or mba classes & if I had I would have made a complaint to school officials.

The sad part is most ppl in management positions at these larger/middle-aged tech companies don't have much business knowledge or any sort of formal training in business or ethics however what they do have is extensive "experience" for which people mistake for wisdom, character and intelligence.

Re:So.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457733)

Workers are never allowed a positive outcome, this is how you know you're doing business correctly. Business as taught in school, of course.

I went to a state university with one of the best business schools in the country, and I was never taught anything even remotely consistent with that. It's bad business.

Re:So.... (5, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#42458219)

Strange how business school graduates exhibit this activity, while others unexposed to this culture still cling to ancient habits like "keeping one's word".

Re:So.... (4, Interesting)

undeadbill (2490070) | about 2 years ago | (#42457949)

HP should be so lucky that these people left instead of, say, unionizing. Of course, they could be compelled to return, in which case unionizing might be their only recourse. Texas is a pretty messed up state for worker rights, and you can literally sign away your right to work in that state as part of an employment agreement, and it would be legally enforced there.

My own Texas employment experience, which was thankfully brief (under two weeks)- A 'very large travel company' from TX acquired a startup I worked for in CA, and tried to get me to sign agreements that literally sold away all previous, current, and future intellectual property rights to the new company in perpetuity. They also wanted me to give them the right to know everything about my past, my political affiliations past and present, and to have their approval to become politically involved in anything in the future. They also wanted me to agree not to work in my industry again if I left employment, even if they fired me. Apparently, this is all legal in TX, where courts have already decided that ANY agreement between employer and employee is legal and binding, and that there is no concept of duress or pressure to sign. None of that is legal in CA. I walked out because I refused to sign, they refused to negotiate, and then they made noises about suing me for having been employed without signing their agreement. Ultimately, they screwed up my ISO shares six ways from Sunday as a way of getting back at me.

My experience was an eye opener to how many states operate, and it made me very thankful to be in a state where employees can't be forced to sign away their rights in exchange for employment.

Re:So.... (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#42458239)

So, we were talking about HP and suddenly we get an Aesop about how California is morally superior to Texas? Conclusion: unions are great. Is this performance art or paid shilling?

Re:So.... (3)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#42457301)

No, it's "you can't leave without notice", and it generally works both ways (although I don't know what HPs contracts are like, specifically).

It's the trade-off between "at will" and contract employment. "At Will" employees can leave without notice, but can also be fired the same way. In general, workers with a contract cannot be fired without notice (or wages in lieu of notice), but must also give notice before they leave.

Wanting to be able to resign without notice, but also requiring your employer to give you notice before getting rid of you, is wanting to have your cake and eat it too.

Re:So.... (0)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 2 years ago | (#42457437)

I have zero respect for any two-weeks notice thing, unless an actual contract was signed. And, I do not mean a coerced "contract", either. "Well, Bob, I think you have the job. If you'll just sign all these forms, you're hired!" That is coercion.

The boss always has the right to fire you or lay you off without notice. Likewise, I always have the right to call in, and tell them that I've quit. Doesn't much matter what a million bosses have all agreed to, there is nothing binding on the worker.

Re:So.... (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | about 2 years ago | (#42457789)

You have a point, but I will say that 2 weeks is a nice way to do it if you don't want to burn the bridge. Call it professional curtousy if the experience up to that point wasn't negative (remember, many of us leave not because we hate our current employer but because we seek something new or bigger).

But yes, if your employer has been horrible and the bridge is on fire already then yes there is no true obligation.

Not notice. (2)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#42457501)

Recruitment seems to be the issue here. FTFA: "In the case of the two IT managers, HP alleges that their hiring agreements included a clause that prevents them from soliciting HP employees."

Re:Not notice. (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#42457555)

Ahh, the summary was less clear. I've seen plenty of contracts like that, and am under one currently. Really, I consider that a fairly reasonable clause (assuming it has a sane time-limit). I don't know if it's been tested in court in the US, but my gut feel is that the employees are screwed. When you sign a contract, you really need to read it, and live with the consequences if you break it.

That said, all the signs show that HP is pretty desperate, quite possibly as screwed as the employees it's suing, and even if it wins these cases, it's not likely to make a difference.

Re:Not notice. (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#42457595)

Of course, the 2 managers who had the "no recruit" clauses could simply say that they weren't involved in planning the move - that they were actually recruited by the other 16 HP employees who plotted the whole move on their own. And HP's lawyers would then look for evidence in the form of emails and testimony to suggest otherwise.

Re:Not notice. (1)

nagasrinivas (1700232) | about 2 years ago | (#42457649)

I don't event think you need a "no recruit" clause. A Non-compete clause is enough and event that is implicit.
When employed I can't work against my employer with the tools the employer provides me. In this case employees joining their vendors based on the relationship that the company built.
This wasn't (at least as HP puts it) a simple case of employees finding something better - it was them joining their client and thus costing them the business. They should have taken a cooling off period or taken an approval from HP.

Re:Not notice. (1)

swalve (1980968) | about 2 years ago | (#42457731)

But GM was already planning on firing HP and in-sourcing their IT. Maybe GM violated their contract, maybe not. But these employees didn't cost HP any business. They had already lost it. And those workers were probably going to get the boot when the GM contract ended anyway.

what was GM to do hire new to GM people and not th (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#42457643)

what was GM to do hire new to GM people and not the people who have been on site under the old outsource? People who know the site and how stuff works?

this just part of why outsourcing sucks and some of the pit falls others are people being bounced site to site / client to client some times with out your control / input.

Not having full control over who makes it on site.

The paper work gap / time off gap that happens with when the same people stay on site but the outsource companie changes.

Re:what was GM to do hire new to GM people and not (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#42457719)

what was GM to do hire new to GM people and not the people who have been on site under the old outsource? People who know the site and how stuff works?

Yep. That's part of the price to pay when it comes from doing a big transition like this, and something that the people managing the transition should have accounted for when it came to calculating time frames and costs.

this just part of why outsourcing sucks and some of the pit falls others are people being bounced site to site / client to client some times with out your control / input.

Not having full control over who makes it on site.

Totally agree. But the fault for that lies with GM, who were the ones who chose to out-source then in-source, not with HP.

win-win, no? (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#42457185)

Employees don't want to work for HP anymore, and HP gets closer to its "restructuring targets" without even having to fire them!

Re:win-win, no? (5, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#42457199)

The problem is that the employees you would rather keep are the ones that are most likely to leave a dysfunctional employer.

 

Re:win-win, no? (5, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#42457403)

I have to wonder whether HP management even cares at this point. I get the impression that meeting short term attrition goals is considered more important than long term viability.

Re:win-win, no? (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42457479)

I have to wonder whether HP management even cares at this point. I get the impression that meeting short term attrition goals is considered more important than long term viability.

During the first downsizing craze of the 1990s this was known as "dumbsizing".

Did they offer a VSI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457409)

Did they offer another VSI? Back in 2005 this Voluntary Severance Initiative (VSI) notice with enhanced severance was offered to several employees.

It's no secret, see: http://www.utsandiego.com/uniontrib/20050430/news_1b30hp.html [utsandiego.com] and http://www.utsandiego.com/uniontrib/20050505/news_1b5hp.html [utsandiego.com] .

For the employee offered VSI, the gamble was clear: take VSI and voluntarily leave the company with enhanced severance pay, or decline VSI but take a risk at whether or not the employee would get a workforce reduction (WFR) notice later on, with less severance pay.

Well, I took VSI back in 2005 because they offered it to me, and before I accepted it I asked the manager I was reporting to and even a section manager about it, no one could tell me for sure whether or not I was going to be WFR'd if I declined VSI. The best I got was "I would hate to lose someone like you", but no nothing definite such as "you can decline VSI, you are safe from WFR". A year or so after I had VSI'd from HP, I heard unofficial rumors that those without college degrees were part of the total employees that were VSI'd regardless of their length of service at HP. Well guess what? I have some college experience but no degree, I guess I made the right choice in the short term, since I might have very well have been WFR'd at some point after VSI. I don't know for sure, of course, but that's the conclusion I can draw.

What about returning as a contractor? That's possible. If I recall correctly, it is a six month or one year waiting period before a VSI'd (or WFR'd) employee can return back as a contractor. But even returning back to HP as an External Temporary Worker (ETW) on a contract assignment from an agency is a maximum of 24 months, after which one must take a minimum of 100 days off. What that means: the employee effectively loses their job after the 24 months maximum and must reapply for another contract assignment after the 100 days is up (compare/contrast vs. Qualcomm where I am aware that the contract employee must remain offsite for 90 days after their maximum term, but in many cases they can return right back to their job after that).

Or, did they just do a WFR this time around? With a WFR there is no voluntary severance option, they are just notified they are part of a workforce reduction.

Re:Did they offer a VSI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457583)

It's illegal for them to say "you're safe," so a "we'd hate to lose you" is the best you are going to get.

Re:Did they offer a VSI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457601)

Wow, those are some terribly abusive rules that make whoever is taking those "contracts" sound like mice jumping for cheese. 100 days off, 90 days off property, 24 months on, wtf kind of borderline personality asshat came up with that shit...

Prime grazing area (4, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#42457187)

If I were a recruiter I'd look at HP as a wonderful place, bountiful and full of talent ready and in fact desperate to be harvested.

Re:Prime grazing area (5, Informative)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 years ago | (#42457195)

. . . except, of course, if you are looking for competent high level managers . . .

Re:Prime grazing area (3, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#42457209)

Especially at the board of directors level.

The employees left due to how they were treated (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457201)

I know three of the people who left and I had heard of their terrible work environment for months once HP got hold of EDS. GM offered several a good deal to come over since they were all experienced with their systems, gave them significant pay raises, decent benefits and control of their own group. Who wouldn't leave?

what goes around ... (0)

noshellswill (598066) | about 2 years ago | (#42457219)

So firing-frenzy HP gets fyucked in the a**whole ... and by Amerikas car company ... the po' po' pooz. The gay printer-ink caballero will get little sympathy as what goes around comes around.

Re:what goes around ... (3, Insightful)

Detritusher (1031752) | about 2 years ago | (#42457339)

What language was this originally written in?

Re:what goes around ... (3, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42457491)

What language was this originally written in?

I think it's what you get when you babelfish English into Neanderthal and then back to English.

HP is like IBM (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457229)

HP is like IBM, they have a reputation of being a company that decades ago you wanted to work for. However like IBM their present reputation is that of a company that you only work for because you /have/ to work for them. Nobody wants to work for HP anymore, and they bloody well know it.

They are wholly dependent upon the bad economy for keeping employees and the moment the economy perks up they know damn well they are looking at a mass exodus of talent. This is a shot across the bow aimed at internal employees and doesn't have a damn thing to do with GM.

HP will spend millions more in expenses for lawsuits to send the message across than it ever would have to spent to retain these same employee by treating them right to begin with and consider the money well spent. A telling sign on these things are really viewed is how the accounting is listed on taxes and investor statements for the government.

Re:HP is like IBM (0)

dpilot (134227) | about 2 years ago | (#42457287)

My current printer is an HP LaserJet. It's getting old, but still works. Whenever it does get too long in the tooth, what is the best brand for (non ink jet) printers these days?

Sounds like it sure isn't HP. Stuff like that at the top can only filter down, and mess the rest.

Re:HP is like IBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457307)

Canon, Kyocera, Ricoh. They have supplied laser printer mechanisms to HP since HP started laser printers. Japanese quality is still unbeatable, while HP has destroyed quality in order to properly commit suicide.

Re:HP is like IBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457395)

For small capacity/desktop laser printers, try Samsung. The toner is pretty cheap too.

Samsung Boycott (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42458033)

Sorry. Samsung boycott in this household. They think they can take over every single consumer electronics segment (TV, phones, laptops, etc) by copying whomever, and that doesn't sit well with me.

Re:HP is like IBM (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457529)

For personal-ish use (home/school/small business), I've had pretty good luck with both Brother and Samsung. They aren't quite as tanklike as the HP 4 series, but a decent b&w network printer for ~$100 is hard to pass up. Samsung seems to be built a bit stronger than Brother but is slightly more expensive and the drivers are not as convenient in my experience (not unworkable, but not quite as smooth as Brother either). We print from a mix of linux and osx mostly, windows about once a year.

Texas is a right to work state (0)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | about 2 years ago | (#42457241)

Obviously it doesn't apply here.

Re:Texas is a right to work state (2)

mbone (558574) | about 2 years ago | (#42457289)

D'uh, don't you know that right to work is a management right, not a worker right.

Re:Texas is a right to work state (-1, Troll)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 years ago | (#42457407)

Wrong

Right to work means a union can not prevent an employee who isn't in the union from working at a company that has unionized employees.

It prevents unions from taking over and running the show and requires non-union employees be treated exactly the same as unionized employees regardless of their union status.

It takes power away from unions and gives it to all workers. Management has nothing to do with it.

Thanks for continuing to perpetuate the ignorance.

Re:Texas is a right to work state (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457543)

That power was created by the union's solidarity. Your statements are ludicrously deceitful.

Re:Texas is a right to work state (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#42457579)

Agree. People shouldn't be able to choose. It affects union power too much.

Re:Texas is a right to work state (1)

swalve (1980968) | about 2 years ago | (#42457763)

If they want to choose to not belong to the union, then the union shouldn't be required to represent them. That's where "right to work" laws are flawed.

Re:Texas is a right to work state (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457623)

No, that power was created by ethical legislation.

Your ignorance and faith in corruption is astounding.

Re:Texas is a right to work state (3, Insightful)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#42457793)

Sadly, no, just profoundly ignorant...

So here's the chain of events and absolutely, "Right to Work" is an employers right not a workers. In a right to work state, all employees get the same benefits as union employees, without belonging to the union. At first it looks like gravy for the nonunion employees, until everyone has their hand out for union advantages without paying dues. The union goes tits up, and then there is no union and everyone works for Walmart wages and benefits. Employer wins, employees suck gas. "Right to Work" is an employers benefit, and any idiot who can't smell his own ass on the griddle needs to go back to school or get his nose fixed.

Re:Texas is a right to work state (1)

bbushvt (1839406) | about 2 years ago | (#42457855)

It takes power away from unions and gives it all to the corporations.

There I fixed it for you.

Google, FB HIRING ! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457293)

HPers, you have been shafted for the last 10 years. Time to get your resume ready and then quit for those who know how to do things. I hear Google, FB needs qualified Unix personell. Refresh your basic computer science theory and they will gladly hire you.

Just go to their websites and apply today ? Why do you waste time at a terminally sick corporation run by clueless MBAs ? Join real engineers, join Google !

We've all talked about it at some point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457315)

These guys actually did it, told their bosses to f' themselves and went to go work somewhere else. +1 to humane IT environments, too many people have landed in whipped IT departments with shitty management who doesn't understand anything about IT, running it, or creating in it. If we're gonna sit behind a computer all day, might as well wear jeans and sneakers right?

Carly Fiona Destroyed HP (4, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 2 years ago | (#42457317)

Fiona destroyed HP. She turned the company from an engineering and design heavyweight into a commodity hardware business.

Short term profits resulted and after a year or two and the death of the real engineering progress was complete they began the long slow slide into irrelevance. The fact is we live in a complex world economy where you innovate or die. HP stopped innovating because it was "too expensive". Yes they wiped out all those expensive engineering salaries and boosted short term profit. And several years down the line when HP hasn't innovated anything you see a huge dramatic loss of profit.

You don't want to be in the commodity business, there's no profit in it. You want to be in the innovative cutting edge area where you can charge premium profit margins (ask apple). Being in that space costs money and lots of engineering resources. HP surrendered that market under the leadership of Fiona. HP's board of directors has been a collection of has-been CEO's that are riding the company into oblivion since before Fiona was hired. The Hewlett and Packard families were railroaded a long time ago, the only ones left are trying to milk the cash out of HP before it deteriorates into nothingness.

HP could have owned the smartphone market and dozens of other highly profitable sectors had they spent the money on engineering and development instead of deciding that they only wanted to do printers and computers.

Re:Carly Fiona Destroyed HP (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457379)

The ironic thing is that the HP Way specifically mandated that "HP wants to contribute". So Bill and Dave even WROTE IT DOWN that it is silly to run a me-too business. They knew this would destroy profits to a level that HP can't live with. So they advised to "contribute to innovation in technology and products".

But then, Dave allowed the MBAs to take over. He did not have the analytical genius to see that MBA types are clueless when it comes to technology buildup, to ironing out issues, to strategically develop some principle into a competitive edge and a huge income stream. You need to have been an R&D engineer yourself to have a proper understanding of "what it takes" to make something from "idea" to "hugely successful product line". All the MBAs can do is to fine-tune operations; they are 100% incapable of identifying and nurturing great new stuff.
They essentially hate deep experts, because these people are expensive and they challenge the power position of the MBAs. So the deep experts (think of PA RISC systems engineering, compiler builders, kernel developers) have long quit for Google, M$ and the like. What is left are drones who can barely maintain, but certainly not innovate.
Carly had a cruel sense of humor when she put "invent" onto the HP logo.

Re:Carly Fiona Destroyed HP (2)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 2 years ago | (#42457521)

"First thing we do, we kill all the MBA's"

  - Henry The Sixth, part 2 act 4, scene 2, retranslated from the original Klingon

Re:Carly Fiona Destroyed HP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457389)

It's Carly Fiorina

Re:Carly Fiona Destroyed HP (1)

nagasrinivas (1700232) | about 2 years ago | (#42457691)

Ok - here is Fiona [mi9.com]

Re:Carly Fiona Destroyed HP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42458213)

Having just watched Shrek 3, I didn't even notice the error in the original post...

Re:Carly Fiona Destroyed HP (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457391)

Fiorina - not Fiona.

Re:Carly Fiona Destroyed HP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457399)

HP could have owned the smartphone market and dozens of other highly profitable sectors

Yeah, it would have been real easy. They should've owned search, e-commerce and social networking too.

Re:Carly Fiona Destroyed HP (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42457515)

the only ones left are trying to milk the cash out of HP before it deteriorates into nothingness.

Isn't that the standard view of what corporations are for these days?

Optimize for short-term profit at the expense of long-term profit, then bail out when the company takes a dive. Except this time it's the employees rather than the execs that are bailing...

and buy Credit Default Swaps (1)

decora (1710862) | about 2 years ago | (#42457657)

against your own company, and laugh at the SEC and CFTC and the New York State Insurance Commission and any other regulatory body, because they are prohibited by law from doing anything even remotely related to Credit Default Swaps.

then when your company tanks, cash in your CDS contracts and move to the caymans

Re:and buy Credit Default Swaps (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#42457839)

Just hope that the issuer of the CDS doesn't go tits up when you try to collect.

Re:Carly Fiona Destroyed HP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457559)

It's Carleton "Carly" S. Fiorina.

One of her biggest mistakes, IMHO, was apparently to Win In The Low End.

It's a no brainer: by winning in the low end (over competitors like Canon, Espon, Lexmark, Brother) the company eventually gets a reputation for... you guessed it... being a low end company!

And it shows.

I still have one of their earlier deskjets, heavier, good print quality, and one of those reputed as able to being stood on and not break. To this day, the paper feed mechanism feeds pages without problems, though envelopes may need a slight manual push to print properly. Everything looks like it was built to last, from the print mechanism, to the roller, to the print mechanism holding the ink cartridges, even the paper output tray and drying arms.

Now, I also have one of their cheaper shoebox style All-in-Ones. It feels cheap, like I can break off the flimsy paper output tray if I just push down too hard, like the scanner cover is built out of lightweight cheap plastic, out of the box it couldn't feed #10 envelopes worth a damn without jamming for envelope printing (and ink gets wasted by printing on the roller!), and the overall text printing quality isn't any signficantly better than the deskjet printer, though I suppose the photo printing is a bit better. Print cartridges do not last as long as the older deskjet printer, likely because they have less ink from the start. Scanning is decent but the flatbed scanner is up to Letter/A4 page length only.

And, I also have an HP Fax. Paper jams easily after a few days of non-use, and the flimsy plastic output tray seems as if it will break off over time. It gets used so infrequently the ink cartridges often dry up from lack of use in less than a couple of months time of no printing. It's scrollfed only, so I can only feed pages at a time.

Given the quality of the shoebox style All-in-One and the HP Fax, I'd easily consider HP competitor products if they could match HP text print and photo quality, and if the ink cartridges were cheaper rather than even more expensive than HP. HP inks are still cheaper than the ones I've seen from Canon and Epson.

Non-compete? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457335)

They probably consider it a violation of their non-compete clause, since they left HP and immediately went to work for a former customer doing exactly what they were at HP. In otherwords, competing against HP. Since Texas is a screwed up Republican state, the workers likely have zero protection from this and are likely screwed.

Re:Non-compete? (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 years ago | (#42457431)

... So you think you should be able to sign a contract agreeing to certain terms, then blow them off at your descretion, basically doing what benefits you whenever you want and expecting them to also do what benefits you?

Self entitled fuck wad. Don't agree to the terms of employment if you don't mean to stand by them.

Re:Non-compete? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457507)

In most civilized countries...

People can work wherever they want.
You can not contractually stop people from working and make gainful employment. That would be called slavery. Slavery is illegal.

Re:Non-compete? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42457525)

... So you think you should be able to sign a contract agreeing to certain terms, then blow them off at your descretion, basically doing what benefits you whenever you want and expecting them to also do what benefits you?

Self entitled fuck wad. Don't agree to the terms of employment if you don't mean to stand by them.

I don't think a breach of contract has been established. If it had, HP wouldn't need the depositions they're requesting.

and give up your facebook password... (1)

decora (1710862) | about 2 years ago | (#42457675)

if every company on the entire planet requires you to sign some kind of oppressive contract before you can work there, then we might as well repeal the 14th amendment.

i imagine that some douchebags in the Old South had 'contracts' with their slaves, making them mark an 'X' on their own bill of sale and other such myopic horse shit.

they never 'got it' until Sherman came down and burned their fucking empire into the ground but whatever.

Re:Non-compete? (1)

Wansu (846) | about 2 years ago | (#42457743)

  Don't agree to the terms of employment if you don't mean to stand by them.

Such terms of employment are industry standard. For most of the rank and file, you sign or you don't work. Sure, these have been ruled null and void in court in this state or that but nobody wants to be the test case. It's an intimidation tactic.

Re:Non-compete? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42458243)

I will rearrange what they did in terms you can understand. Imagine each of these employees as being their own corporation. They are looking out for their own interest and fuck the laws and everyone (and everything) else. There. Now you understand. Why is it that when corporations fuck over employees, its all good "just business", but its not "just business" when employees do exactly the same thing? They changed the agreement in the middle of the game. I've seen large corporations do this all the time. They aren't fuck wads, they are shrewd businessmen (and women). The idea that they must be made to swear fealty to another corporate entity is preposterous. You don't see the glass, aluminum or plastic manufacturers that supply to coca-cola be required to swear fealty to coca-cola. HP is merely their customer. They can seek other customers who can provide longer term business, better terms, etc. Why is it people look at business to business transactions differently than employee to business transactions? Certainly when it comes to expectations, businesses to employees are all business, but when it comes to expectations, employees to business can't be all business?

Re:Non-compete? (1)

whitelabrat (469237) | about 2 years ago | (#42457487)

Bah. Non-competes are bullshit lawyer scare tactics. It's very difficult to win these cases in court. If HP wants to persue this they're just Trolling for some money from GM because apparently they can keep good employees or make money any other way.

Re:Non-compete? (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 years ago | (#42457597)

They're not competing against HP, since their not providing their services as employees at a company to other potential clients of HP's. If GM were offering to provide IT to other companies, they'd be competing, but not so with the way this sounds like it went. Also, Texas is not as crazy Republican as you think. Yes, it's swung red the last few elections, but particularly in Austin it's very blue, and Texas is an employment at-will state, which should go a long ways towards protecting the employees in an action of this sort.

Where I imagine they may have run afoul is that they may have signed a contract to not recruit from within HP if they jumped ship (a fairly common clause to see in employment contracts), and considering 18 of them left at the same time, it's very possible that some of them are, in fact, in violation of such a clause, assuming it was in their contracts.

IANAL though, so I may very well be talking out of my ass.

Re:Non-compete? (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 years ago | (#42457609)

What I would give for an edit button to correct the obvious typos...

since they're not providing their services*

Re:Non-compete? (1)

Bremic (2703997) | about 2 years ago | (#42457933)

This kind of reminds me when back in the late '90s I went for a job at Telstra, which at the time was the only real provider of land lines to any house or business in the country. Their employment contract stated that I was not allowed to work for any customer of Telstra if I stopped working there for any reason for 12 months after finishing employment. Between 12 and 24 months I could only take a job with Telstra's permission.

I asked about the fact that pretty much every single business in the country was a customer of Telstra due to the fact that they owned all the phone lines. The HR person told me that was not their concern and if I wanted to work there I would need to agree to their terms.

I didn't sign that contract, and didn't work there. I never heard of them actually trying to enforce that contract, but they didn't care what it did the their employees.

Supreme Court of Canada (5, Insightful)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 2 years ago | (#42457347)

The supreme court of Canada recently made a very radical decision I think regarding a bunch of guys who left a big bank here. Basically the court decision was that people can work wherever the hell they want for whomever will have them. The court seems to have completely tossed out the idea of an employee having any kind of non-compete as violating their right to work. But the decision went much further. It wasn't just about working for the competition or even stealing former employees but the court even said stealing old clients and their phone numbers was fine as long as it was reasonable that the employee could have remembered that data. So if an employee even wrote some names and numbers down it was fine as long as it was a reasonably memorable list. In the particular case the employees were dealing with a fairly small elite clientele so the bank really lost big time. Again the court said that you can't make an employee forget stuff.

This of course is a Canadian supreme court case but I went to a lecture given by a supreme court justice who said that most supreme courts look to other supreme courts around the world that are based upon the English system of law as the same sort of cases tend to crop up in the various courts at similar times. So without a doubt the US courts will at least glance at this outstanding decision supporting workers rights.

To me the answer is quite simple. What is HP doing for any employee the day they leave? Absolutely nothing. So what should an ex-HP employee do for HP after they leave? Absolutely nothing. As for any contract. You could sign a slavery contract but any court would toss it out in a second. The key to a contract is that there is an exchange. If I promise to give you a gift of $1,000,000 tomorrow for absolutely nothing on your part you can't actually sue me when I don't deliver. There has to be an exchange. When the employee stops paying the employee the contract has ended regardless of what extra bits HP might wish for. I suspect that this will be going to the supreme court in the US as people will think that it is "unfair" for the employees to be so disloyal and some lower courts might be so foolish as to fall for this argument. But the law is not about fairness. It is about rules; and contract law is fairly old and boring that way. So it will be interesting to see how this all turns out. Personally I was surprised to see our supreme court side so thoroughly with the little guy when the other side was one of the biggest banks in Canada.

Re:Supreme Court of Canada (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#42457619)

So without a doubt the US courts will at least glance at this outstanding decision supporting workers rights.

I live in the US and was born here.

let me just say

HAHAHAHAHA!

you don't know the US very well, do you?

workers rights? we STOMPED on unions' rights to go on strike in some messed up midwest state. and we were PROUD of how we stomped on our fellow american's rights.

all that we fought for in the early part of the last century (unions and fairness in work) is circling the drain. erosion, year by year, of our rights is the direction we are headed in.

good for canada that you have sense. we, it seems, do not. we pray to money and capitalism and think anything that gets in the way of a company's right is bad for america.

Re:Supreme Court of Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42458053)

Actually, I'd be pretty confident in saying that in at least *some* jurisdictions in the US, non-compete clauses are ineffective.

I'd also be confident in not guessing Texas of all places to be one of those jurisdictions.

I have a relative who moved there and discovered first, that her employer was correct in telling her she had no right to a bathroom break all day long, and second, that there is no landlord-tenant law restricting what landlords can put in a lease (she was irritated that her landlord would traipse through her house, sometimes with relatives in tow, and look through her fridge and books and stuff for no apparant reason - a right given in the lease).

Re:Supreme Court of Canada (1)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#42458091)

I used to be worried about "1984"... clearly that wasn't dystopian enough. "Big Brother" today, is a tetraploid circus geek wearing a dirty diaper and a choke collar in the greasy hands of a Corporate Carnival Barker. They don't change the diaper, they just keep shoving more of the Bill of Rights into it to prevent leakage. The stench is ungodly, but Rupert Murdoch had it bottled and sells it to Click-Heads during the FOX Infotainment commercial breaks... and they swear its Chanel No.5. I keep hearing "Karn Evil 9" off the "Brain Salad Surgery" album playing in the background, and think maybe its the anthem for our time. When did we slip into the Bizzaro Universe. We worship a dead 'B' Actor made in the shape of "Howdy Doody" as the model of a modern President and Statesman, and the closest thing we have to a liberal today, is waging wars, gutting the constitution, and can't bring himself to say "Let's legalize pot, tax it, and gut organized crime."

This train is so far off the rails I can't see them anymore. I'm tired. I can't watch millions of idiots doing the poopy dance any more, my headache is reaching critical mass... I think my head may explode.

Re:Supreme Court of Canada (1)

Moridineas (213502) | about 2 years ago | (#42458221)

all that we fought for in the early part of the last century (unions and fairness in work) is circling the drain. erosion, year by year, of our rights is the direction we are headed in.

What union are you a part of?

Re:Supreme Court of Canada (3, Informative)

sribe (304414) | about 2 years ago | (#42457775)

The supreme court of Canada recently made a very radical decision I think regarding a bunch of guys who left a big bank here. Basically the court decision was that people can work wherever the hell they want for whomever will have them.

FYI, here in the U.S., the state of California, home to the greatest concentration of tech companies, works pretty much this way. Other states still allow non-compete contracts to stand as they're written, but California severely restricts their enforcement.

Re:Supreme Court of Canada (1)

undeadbill (2490070) | about 2 years ago | (#42457853)

And recruiters wonder why it is so hard to hire experienced staff from CA to work in other states.

Re:Supreme Court of Canada (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#42457803)

To me the answer is quite simple. What is HP doing for any employee the day they leave? Absolutely nothing. So what should an ex-HP employee do for HP after they leave? Absolutely nothing. As for any contract. (...) There has to be an exchange. When the employee stops paying the employee the contract has ended regardless of what extra bits HP might wish for.

Just because there isn't a taxi meter running it doesn't mean you don't have obligations. Consider say a fixed-bid delivery, would you accept that after working six months then two days before handover the client says "Actually, we've changed our minds. And since we've got nothing, we'll give nothing. Have a nice day!" or would you be calling the lawyers about a breach of contract? It was part of the contract when you signed it, you were given consideration for it even if "delivery" of your non-compete comes later.

Re:Supreme Court of Canada (1)

truesaer (135079) | about 2 years ago | (#42458157)

Having looked into this issue once in Texas, I found it is generally the case that non-compete agreements are not enforceable for at-will employees. There may be special circumstances depending on what kind of trade secrets they might know and what exactly they're doing for GM.

But honestly, I bet this is just a shot across GM's bow...pressuring them to avoid hiring away more of their employees to save the hassle of getting sued.

I wonder how many were originally GM employees? (4, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#42457421)

When my company outsourced, our top IT people were rebadged as HP and remained onsite. They are still valuable employees who know the company intimately, and should we ever insource, they'd be the first employees we'd rehire. This isn't rocket science.

Employment at Will (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457429)

HP's employment contract is typical boilderplate "Employment at Will" means they can terminate you at Will, you can leave at Will. just don't take any trade secrets (in IT outsourcing? Really)

They're just trying to throw fear into the next batch thinking about leaving.

The worker contracts were examined (3, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | about 2 years ago | (#42457449)

You can bet serious money that GM had its lawyers look very carefully at the employee contracts, at least for the 18 leaders (or the most important of them). Not to say they might not lose in court, but I am sure that GM thinks the contracts allow for this.

Note that GM is (was) a client of HP. This is an unusual thing to do a client; it basically guarantees that HP will never get GM's IT business again. I would not be at all surprised if GM has some major issues with EDS; they may even have a suit planned. (I.e., I bet that this particular bridge has already been burned, so HP has no reason not to get what they can out of the ruins of the relationship.)

Re:The worker contracts were examined (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457749)

It is very likely GM felt it was well worth the penalty they are going to pay for stealing the 18 employees. (Contracts always include an anti-poaching clause).
GM probably offered HP/EDS a wackload of cash to do it nicely and was refused. (HP doesn't want them to go inhouse) and know GM will only go with a smooth transition. The lawsuit will likely net HP more than GM offered.

But for GM they get a solid base that know the product, and can continue to slowely poach the rest of the team legally, after they are let go/quit.

Of course they leave (3, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#42457459)

When there's no job security, employees will start looking for alternatives.

Re:Of course they leave (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 years ago | (#42457587)

When there's no job security, employees will start looking for alternatives.

Sure... the increase in risk for their employees, means that the increase in risks involved in getting a new job are less of an increase in risk than before.

If there's little increase in risk, why not go for the bigger reward, if one's available?

GM Hires? (2)

drainbramage (588291) | about 2 years ago | (#42457509)

Genetically Modified?
Getting probed?
I thought my hiring process was rough.

Re:GM Hires? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42458011)

I assumed HP was trying to figure out who the hot steaming mess that seams to be their general management.

Good for them (4, Insightful)

dave562 (969951) | about 2 years ago | (#42457519)

As IT professionals, we are one of the few sectors this economy with any job portability. After years of dealing with the specter of outsourcing hanging over our heads, I say kudos to the ex-HP, current GM employees. If companies respect IT talent and want to keep it, the ought to start treating IT employees better.

I think we have all, at one point or another during our careers, thought something along the lines of... "If I leave this place, they are going to be in trouble and have a real hard time replacing me." or "This place sucks, I am going to go somewhere else where I will get better (pay, benefits, respect, etc)"

What does HP DO anymore, anyway? (4, Interesting)

dtjohnson (102237) | about 2 years ago | (#42457553)

Orignally, they started by making world-standard test equipment. Now, that would be Fluke. Later, they provided high-quality 'mini' computer-and-terminal systems to medium-size businesses. That business is long-gone. They used to make high-quality desktop computer systems. Now, they still 'sell' computers but they don't seem to have much to do with the hardware and software but just put the H-P badge on plastic junk. Asus is probably the rough equivalent, now, of what HP used to be in computers. In printers, HP invented 'inkjet' printers but have long-since lost their lead to Canon and Epson. They invented the first 'laserjet' relatively inexpensive desktop laser printer but have lost most of that business as well. So what exactly is HP's business these days? Calculators? I guess they still sell a couple models of those but their products were designed decades ago and are probably pretty much legacy business now. As a company, HP is the victim of years of horrible mismanagement at the top. Even if we assume that they have somehow, against all odds, managed to develop some actual management ability from within, can a company as broken as HP ever recover? The workers jumping to GM are just carving out a little piece of what's left of HP for themselves to preserve their jobs. Can anyone blame them?

Re:What does HP DO anymore, anyway? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#42457589)

even agilent has gone downhill.

I collect older HP test gear (stuff that I can afford, used market) and the older fixable stuff is great. older fluke and tektronix is great.

new of almost ANYONE kind of sucks.

but HP sold off their test gear groups and so that's that. HP once had a great name for this (and other areas) but they sold it off!

Re:What does HP DO anymore, anyway? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#42457651)

I smell a business opportunity.

Re:What does HP DO anymore, anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42458189)

HP still sells calculators but this is only after Fiorina had originally shut down the business and lost a lot of the engineers who possessed decades of knowledge of how to make great calculators. To top things off, the calculators are now manufactured in China and it shows. Anyone familiar with the rock-solid, old HP calculators will know that something is wrong with the new calculators the instant they pick one up and feel it in their hands.

LSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457591)

LSD is a psychoactive narcotic and should not be ingested in large quantities.

HP Managers should refrain from their LSD addictions before making Corporate decisions.

QED

Wait... (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#42457753)

So HP lays off almost 20,000 people.
They have several employees that have worked to do outsourced work for GM.
GM announces they will no longer outsource the work that these employees were doing. They will do it in-house now.
HP Employees conclude from this, that they will soon lose their jobs, as the contract will get cut.
They smartly apply at the very place they've been doing work for... and easily get the jobs because they clearly know how to do them.
Nothing in violation of their contracts had to happen here. Those employees jobs were in clear jeopardy. If HP doesn't want their employees looking for work, they need to make them feel secure. This was obviously not happening.

Shocking, it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457843)

Inevitable when a company grows too big for its own good, when productivity takes a back seat to showing off how much money you have [imgur.com] .

HP that is what you get. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42457911)

Bought EDS. ROFLMAO

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