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IBM Begins Layoffs, Questions Arise About Pact With New York

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the fire-ten-hire-three dept.

IBM 182

dcblogs writes with news that the rumored IBM layoffs have begun. "IBM is laying off U.S. employees this week as part of a $1B restructuring, and is apparently trying keep the exact number of cuts secret. The Alliance@IBM, the main source of layoff information at IBM, says the company has stopped including in its resource action documents, given to cut employees, the number of employees selected for a job cut. The union calls it a 'disturbing development.' Meanwhile, two days prior to the layoffs, NY Governor Cuomo announced that it reached a new minimum staffing level agreement with IBM to 'maintain 3,100 high-tech jobs in the Hudson Valley and surrounding areas.' The governor's office did not say how many IBM jobs are now there, but others put estimate it at around 7,000. Lee Conrad, a national coordinator for the Alliance, said the governor's announcement raises some questions for workers and the region. 'Yes, you're trying to protect 3,100 jobs but what about the other 3,900 jobs?' The Alliance estimates that anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 U.S. workers could be impacted by the latest round of layoffs. IBM says it has more than 3,000 open positions in the U.S., and says the cuts are part of a 'rebalancing' as it shifts investments into new areas of technology, such as cognitive computing." Alliance@IBM has a page collecting reports from people terminated today.

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182 comments

International is their first name...maybe India? (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 2 months ago | (#46363283)

i i i...black sabbath intro

Re:International is their first name...maybe India (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363421)

Obviously, these jobs were cut because there were not enough skilled STEM employees available. This is a clear sign we need more H1Bs.

seriously drop the M for machines and change the I (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363749)

seriously drop the M for machines and change the I to India

Re:seriously drop the M for machines and change th (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46364127)

M isn't for Machine's it's Math. The more you know yada yada

Re:International is their first name...maybe India (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 months ago | (#46363759)

'3000 open positions' .. 'cognitive computing' -- "So do you know how to be replaced by an outsourced position? If so, you're temporarily hired! Welcome to our new 'cognitive computing team'."

Re:International is their first name...maybe India (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363867)

Maybe they tought Watson to program?

Re:International is their first name...maybe India (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363923)

Maybe they tought Watson to program?

You guys are bitching that the tech firms are hiring the Indians and look at yourselves ... you can't even spell correctly !

Re:International is their first name...maybe India (1, Troll)

sexconker (1179573) | about 2 months ago | (#46363997)

Maybe they tought Watson to program?

You guys are bitching that the tech firms are hiring the Indians and look at yourselves ... you can't even spell correctly !

That "and" should be "yet". The ellipsis should be a hyphen or a semicolon. There shouldn't be a space before the exclamation mark.

We'll keep your resume on file, AC.

India already got hit. (2)

Jaywalk (94910) | about 2 months ago | (#46364739)

That's funny (as well as being a good point) but India already got hit with layoffs [wraltechwire.com]. Labor laws in India being what they are, the layoff's there were harsher with employees given hours to return their laptops and leave the premises.

Re:International is their first name...maybe India (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46364373)

Wrong group dumbass, thatwould have been Ozzie in his solo career. Black Sabbath did not release Crazy Train, it came out in the 80's which is AFTER Ozzie was kicked out of the group.

Why bother? (3, Interesting)

LordNimon (85072) | about 2 months ago | (#46363319)

Frankly, I'll never understand why anyone would apply for a job at IBM, unless he's already desperate. Here in Austin, I know plenty of people who have left IBM over the past few years, most of them willingly. I don't know anyone who has joined IBM in the last 10 years.

Re:Why bother? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363449)

They might be worth working for in the R&D department, given that they seem to be one of the few American companies left that does genuine R&D rather than mislabeled product development work. (Note: I'm basing this solely off of one IBM employee's research presentation.)

Re:Why bother? (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 2 months ago | (#46364511)

IBM has cut back heavily on blue sky R&D. Everything done in the last 10 years or so has been required to have some business case to get funding. If anything, I think MS research is the last institution where people can be fully employed doing whatever interests them.

I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46364029)

There are a lot. I've worked for them for a year and a bit and a bunch of people started around the same time in development and services. The hiring for Watson is just starting and getting a lot of attention.

Re:Why bother? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 months ago | (#46364415)

IBM is frankly a whole other class of employer from what people are used to. Or at least, they used to be. Yes, the corporate culture is awful and stifling. It's still a job. IBM regularly hires with one hand and fires with the other, like most big corps.

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46364943)

I went to an ivy league school and a lot of my more, er um, let's say, 'financially oriented' "friends" took consulting jobs at IBM. I still don't know how you can do consulting fresh out of college but apparently you can.

Re:Why bother? (2)

Sheik Yerbouti (96423) | about 2 months ago | (#46365331)

So this!

IBM Is a terrible company and a completely poisoned culture. You would have to be a masochist with low self esteem to agree to work for them. If you work there and aren't looking for a job you might be the last chump holding the bag.

I know tons of people that left IBM here in Colorado and the ones still working there, the really hardcore types that bleed blue, even they are completely broken and miserable and ready to move on. Some after 20+ years. I would not agree to work for them under any circumstance.

This has been going on since 1994 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363323)

Indian Business Machines (IBM) has been doing this since the early 90s.

When I was a newbie in '94, the old timers pointed out the brown skin folks and said, "They are new. Get out while you can."

I left.

Boca was shut down down a couple of months later.

Indian Business Machines sent a LOT of work overseas and some to Austin, TX. The work that was sent to TX is now being sent to India; while the work that was sent to India before, is going to Indonesia.

They are always going for the cheapest labor and if you think that you are too smart to be replaced, I have news for you: you are replaceable. Suck it!

There are 7 BILLION people on this planet and you can be replaced. With the Internet we WILL find them to replace you!

Just say'in.

Re:This has been going on since 1994 (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 months ago | (#46363513)

Ok fine, you don't want to hire local talent? You can't sell your products/services locally! Move your headquarters to one of those hellpit countries.

I think this would be a reasonable way to balance workforce/workload.

Re:This has been going on since 1994 (2)

uncqual (836337) | about 2 months ago | (#46363959)

You do realize that IBM really is an international company and has a lot of US employees don't you? If they hired only American workers, using your logic, every other country would refuse to let IBM sell products in their country. This, of course, would require IBM (and Apple, and GE, and Facebook, and Google, and Intel, and AMD, and...) to split into two independent companies - the US company and the International company. The former would sell overpriced and lame (due to the lack of volume/revenue from the local market to spend on R&D) products to the US. The latter would develop innovative products and sell them to the rest of the first world and the developing economies - and this would be good how?

One interesting question is, what percentage of revenue and profit come from the US market and what percentage of employe salaries and benefits goes to IBM's US employees. Certainly if that is around "in balance" there's little room for complaint (many years ago, I looked at this when they were publishing numbers of employees and revenue by region and it was clear that the US employees were sucking money out of other countries - but I have no idea how it is now and if it's just correcting for past abuses of feathering US employee's nests at the expense of unemployment in other countries).

Re:This has been going on since 1994 (-1, Troll)

sexconker (1179573) | about 2 months ago | (#46364019)

You do realize that IBM really is an international company and has a lot of US employees don't you? If they hired only American workers, using your logic, every other country would refuse to let IBM sell products in their country

What products would that be, exactly?
IBM hasn't made anything worthwhile in a decade. They're strictly a "business solutions" firm shitting out half-working software that costs too much and covers too little of anyone's use case.

Re:This has been going on since 1994 (1)

kbolino (920292) | about 2 months ago | (#46365061)

You can't sell your products/services locally!

You can do this right now, it's called a boycott.

IBM is not a great place to work. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363333)

They're constantly looking to move jobs from areas of relatively high pay (USA, England, Australia, etc.) to areas of relatively low pay (India, Philippines, China, etc.) Which is all well and good if the standard of work were maintained - but it's not. They pay peanuts, and they get monkeys - I've worked with some fantastically competent people from India and China, but the salary they'd command back home is more than IBM is prepared to pay.

I remember an anecdote of a change on a major financial company's test mainframe. It included, amongst other things, an IPL (Initial Program Load - the mainframe equivalent of the three finger salute.) The Chinese staff IPLed the production mainframe. The financial company blew its lid over that, and demanded the work be moved back to their home country, which it duly was ... and two years later, it was back in China again to save money.

I contracted for them for a while. They don't allow an increase in rates (if you want more money, go elsewhere, and you may be able to get back in later on), whilst frequently demanding that you take extra days off so they can balance the books, with next to no notice, and often unilaterally cutting your rate by 10%. Suffice to say that, if I were told about a contract at IBM, my response would be akin to Jack's in Halting State.

There are companies I would happily work at again if given the chance. Then there are companies I would only work at if I were desperate. IBM is in the latter group, despite (or perhaps because of?) their name.

Re:IBM is not a great place to work. (2, Interesting)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 months ago | (#46363541)

If these companies aren't willing to hire local talent and pay living wages, then maybe we should start placing embargoes on their goods and services.

Re:IBM is not a great place to work. (1, Interesting)

udachny (2454394) | about 2 months ago | (#46363671)

Ha ha ha ha, so would you only do it to IBM or would you also do it to companies that produce goods that are imported into USA from other countries, like iPads for example, but not only that. Pretty much EVERYTHING you consume is produces somewhere else, why don't you "place an embargo" on everything that is imported then?

Do you know why? Because currently USA ends up NOT paying for ANYTHING it imports. USA prints worthless US dollars and Treasuries and the foreigners take that garbage and exchange it for the good stuff that they create, they give away things that Americans want and they only take worthless paper as a 'payment', but it's not a payment. You can't actually exchange that paper for anything worthwhile produced in USA, so it's actually just paper.

You are not going to embargo anything, it's going to be the exact opposite - the rest of the world will embargo the US dollar eventually. You should pray they don't do it sooner, cause that will hit right where it hurts.

Re:IBM is not a great place to work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46364755)

They would be Ukrained(ex-president Viktor Yanukovych) if they embargo the US dollar

How do you get worthwhile things? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46365105)

You said you can't use paper money to get worthwhile things in the USA. So how do you get those worthwhile things?

Re:IBM is not a great place to work. (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 months ago | (#46363761)

Go for it. Strap that JATO unit to Wile E. Coy-US-Economy's back as he already plunges towards the ground.

The more you tighten your grip, Governor Cuomo, the more tech star companies will slip throuh your fingers.

Re:IBM is not a great place to work. (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 2 months ago | (#46363789)

That would need a government in the colloquial meaning of the word.
As it happens, your government is a Corporation of which IBM is one
of the constituents. Doesn't have to be that way. Change can happen,
and relatively quickly at that too. Just needs a bit of momentum.

Re:IBM is not a great place to work. (1)

kbolino (920292) | about 2 months ago | (#46365047)

Change can happen, and relatively quickly at that too. Just needs a bit of momentum.

We are just one proletarian revolution away from utopia.

Re:IBM is not a great place to work. (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#46363859)

If these companies aren't willing to hire local talent and pay living wages, then maybe we should start placing embargoes on their goods and services.

We tried that in the 1930s. The result was an even deeper depression and a world war. If you embargo other countries, they retaliate and embargo you as well. Trade collapses, unemployment skyrockets, and elections are won by demagogues that blame all the problems on foreigners (like you are doing here).

Re:IBM is not a great place to work. (4, Informative)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 2 months ago | (#46364075)

You're taking an overly simplified lesson from the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act.

1) It was beyond extreme. It raised the average tariff to 60%. Nobody is talking about anything near that. Even before Smoot-Hawley we had average tariffs of 40%, which is way beyond what anyone is seriously talking about nowadays.

2) Even as devout of a free trader as Milton Friedman said that Smoot-Hawley had only a minor effect on the Great Depression. It's significance has been greatly exagerrated.

3) If tariffs are necessarily a bad idea, then why did the US prosper so much for so long with high tariffs that started when Hamilton was the Secretary of the Treasury? (see Hamilton's "Report on Manufactures").

4) The US at the time Smoot-Hawley was passed was in the opposite situation as today. It was a net exporter, so retaliatory tariffs had a greater effect than our tariffs, and reduced demand for US products. Today the US is a net importer, which means the effect would be reversed, and increase demand.

Re:IBM is not a great place to work. (1)

kbolino (920292) | about 2 months ago | (#46365051)

If tariffs are necessarily a bad idea, then why did the US prosper so much for so long with high tariffs that started when Hamilton was the Secretary of the Treasury?

No income tax, no inheritance tax, no property tax, no sales tax, ...

Re:IBM is not a great place to work. (2)

anubi (640541) | about 2 months ago | (#46365095)

I feel what we are seeing right now is the inevitable result of a Congress, lobbied by special interests, passing law benefiting ownership rights and protection rackets of artificially mandated monopolies instead of passing law rewarding job creation.

We now have an entire nation not very gainfully employed. We outsource our core technologies and manufacturing, instead spending our resources on Finance, Insurance, Real Estate and Entertainment.

Oooh! Game time! Gotta Go...

Re:IBM is not a great place to work. (2)

khchung (462899) | about 2 months ago | (#46364573)

They're constantly looking to move jobs from areas of relatively high pay (USA, England, Australia, etc.) to areas of relatively low pay (India, Philippines, China, etc.) Which is all well and good if the standard of work were maintained - but it's not. They pay peanuts, and they get monkeys - I've worked with some fantastically competent people from India and China, but the salary they'd command back home is more than IBM is prepared to pay.

THIS is the reason offshoring will never give you good results, NOT because of some inherent incompetence of the people in the other country, but because the company is unwilling to pay for good talent!

I have seen this mentality more than I cared to - "offshoring is to cut cost, so we can't pay enough for qualified people!"

I mean, this is CRAZY. All businesses complained about the difficulty in finding talent. Considering that the USA (for example), is only about 5% of world's population, while India and China combined have like 40%, even if the portion of qualified people in those 2 countries are just 1/10 compared to the US, it would mean, but raw numbers, there are almost (80%) just as many qualified people there as in the US!

But of course, being talented as they are (and 10x as rare in their country compared to as in the US), they would command a higher pay relative to their countries average worker, but that "higher" pay would still be significantly LESS than what the same qualified staff in US would be taking.

It would still be a win-win situation, to have a bigger talent pool, just as highly qualified staff, etc, etc. But NO, offshore is a LOW COST resource pool, we CAN'T pay anyone that much more than the average salary! Yeah, the insanity of HR everywhere, we pay the average salary but want the top-tiered employees, and only those with passion, too!

anon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46364601)

Get a clue! IBM India was hit with layoffs earlier this month. So was Malaysia, Belgium, Argentina, Brazil, Netherlands, Norway, France, Italy, and Scotland. No one is immune from the wrath of Big Blue.

Re: IBM is not a great place to work. (if you stil (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46364811)

I work at IBM in a low cost country (but none of those you mentioned), and I love it, it is really an empowering company that leverages the skills of those willing to, providing the tools, the mentoring and the environment to develop.

Nevertheless, I think that is not the case in the US and in some other countries that managed to be left behind in the tech skills race, as in the West Europe.

US workers have completely lost pace in hard skills development but the quietus resides in the fact that most of the population in the US/UK dont know any foreign language, and those who do, they are not techies.

Dust off the books and you'll get back in business, US.

Re: IBM is not a great place to work. (if you sti (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46365027)

Open your eyes, dude :-) the best talent in the US has left IBM in the last decade, for companies like Google and even MSFT. There are a few skilled lifers left, but IBM, like Battlestar Galactica, has her back broken really bad. She will never jump again.
The 2014 layoffs in Bangalore caught every one by surprise. Open your eyes, your site will be next before you see it coming.

well... indeed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46365213)

yep, it is true indeed, I know some key bright people in the US that moved to MSFT and FB, however couple things, on the one hand IBM is mirroring the market, meaning diversity at every place and every level, hence improving business practices and costumes in Geos that are not so attractive from the biz standpoint, and would otherwise find more difficult to develop. Then we have the possibility of the corp laying me off sometime in the future, and that is actually something we need to live with, if the time comes... well... I now speak 3 languages, taken lessons from a massive amount of subjects, gotten certifications from IBM and others, ie Oracle, acquired experience of global operations, team leadership, personal work-life balance, etc... and all that have to be worth some money not only for IBM

Tor is building an anonymous instant messenger (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363347)

Tor is building an anonymous instant messenger

"Forget the $16 billion romance between Facebook and WhatsApp. There's a new messaging tool worth watching[1].

Tor[2], the team behind the world's leading online anonymity service, is developing a new anonymous instant messenger client, according to documents[3] produced at the Tor 2014 Winter Developers Meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland."

http://slashdot.org/submission... [slashdot.org]

[1] http://www.dailydot.com/techno... [dailydot.com]
[2] https://www.torproject.org/ [torproject.org]
[3] https://trac.torproject.org/pr... [torproject.org]

Alliance@IBM (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363359)

The 90's called. They want their web page back.

Layoff information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363371)

Isn't there a federal law requiring notification to all affected by a layoff of the number of people in each position (job title)
and their ages? In the past, IBM has provided this, and I'm sure it wasn't because they wanted to be nice. Surely the
requirement hasn't gone away.... how have their lawyers managed to circumvent it?

Re:Layoff information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363423)

IBM's fifth amendment rights...

Re: Layoff information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363599)

Yes, its called an MLE ( mass layoff event ) they are required to notify the government if it envolves more than 50 people, I'm not sure if they must inform the public though? Seems most companies do, so it's kinda weird that they aren't... Politics? I'll bet some elected rep doesn't want their constituents to know about huge layoffs in their district?

Re:Layoff information (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363621)

No. There isn't.

There is a federal law that requires government be notified 60 days prior to a mass layoff. Nothing in the law requires disclosure of the number of employees affected.

New York, New York. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363405)

I am suprised IBM kept any jobs open in New York state. I would love to see what sweatheart tax break they were given that no other business received.

cognitive computing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363407)

ohhhhh it's Her fault...

Hey (2)

The Cat (19816) | about 2 months ago | (#46363483)

How about if you assholes retrain the 3000 people for the 3000 open positions?

Assholes.

Re:Hey (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363885)

How about you consider the fact that the 3,900 jobs lost are in New York whereas the 3,000 jobs are in "the US", meaning it would require relocations that many are not willing to do?

People bash IBM a lot, fine that's fair, but there has not been a single company I've ever heard of that did not offer open external hire positions as internal hire options too. But relocations are not easy on people.

Try using a bit more logic before you start trash-talking.

Re:Hey (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 2 months ago | (#46364119)

Try using a bit more logic before you start trash-talking.

People who live in glass houses ...

Your "open external hire positions as internal hire options" isn't what the OP was talking about - he specifically wrote retrain.

Re:Hey (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 months ago | (#46363971)

How about if you assholes retrain the 3000 people for the 3000 open positions?

They would like to "retrain" them to open positions with a 50% pay cut . . .

New Acronym Definition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363491)

International Business Managers....consulting and management is the core business. Computers and software at IBM just fool the customers into thinking there is a product to purchase.

"Protecting jobs" at the expense of what? (1, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 months ago | (#46363517)

This entire idea that any jobs should be protected is idiotic. If a job doesn't make economic sense it should be eliminated, that's the entire point of progress - eliminating inefficient jobs so that production can become more economical, as in cheaper, thus providing lower prices.

If IBM employees cannot provide enough economic value to the market for the market to pay the company enough to offset their cost and provide for profits on top of it, then those jobs have no business existing and any government agreements and controls are no better than any other form of welfare, it reduces the market efficiency, reduces economic activity, mis-allocates resources, forces up prices that would otherwise come down, prevents the work force from being restructured thus preventing other businesses and by extension the market (buying customers) from the dividend of having a company restructured, preventing prices from falling.

This entire idea that government must protect jobs is both immoral and economically ignorant and stupid. Unions don't exist to protect the rights of everybody, they exist to protect the entitlements of the union members, destroying the competition from low skilled workers that can work for lower wages, this also means higher prices for no reason except government corruption whatsoever.

Excellent response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363821)

I could not agree more that such "job protection" is against everything the government should be standing for.

Re:"Protecting jobs" at the expense of what? (1)

Third Position (1725934) | about 2 months ago | (#46363843)

In principle, I agree. But that only holds true as long as management is correctly evaluating what and who is performing efficiently. Judging from IBM's performance and stock price, management is not doing so hot at making that judgement.

That's also a nice thing about markets. They not only punish inefficiency, they also punish stupid management. It may take a while, but eventually the chickens come home to roost.

While government shouldn't protect the inefficient employees, it shouldn't protect incompetent management, either.

Also, economic efficiency isn't everything. Would you be comfortable offshoring industries our national defense is dependent on, even if economic efficiencies could be obtained by doing so?

Re:"Protecting jobs" at the expense of what? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 months ago | (#46364263)

I am against central governments as a general principle, so I have no interest in any form of protectionism. I say: race to the bottom, race to the bottom, race to the bottom, race to the bottom, so that I can have as low prices as possible and save as much money as possible, thus allowing me to save and invest more, creating more economic activity via the very fact of saving and investing (be it in my own business, which is what I prefer or in other people's businesses either directly, buying companies or indirectly, allowing banks to allocate investment pools for businesses to be able to take legitimate business loans).

I don't have a national interest in anything whatsoever, I have no purpose for the State itself. Localise governments as much as possible, allow localities to compete against each other, this would lower the very NEED for 'national defence' because there wouldn't be a nation to defend or to attack in the first place and wars couldn't be as gigantic and bloody as they are today.

Of-course given that we do not live in the world that I prefer, we have what we have, I would say that central governments as they exist have authority to implement one (1) and only single thing legitimately: protecting individual freedoms of people by preventing an attack from a foreign invader. But this absolutely does not mean that government has to subsidise any particular field of study or generally any industry. Economic efficiency is everything, there is nothing more important than economic efficiency FOR PEACE on this planet if not for anything else.

AFAIC the self serving profit motive is the most moral and economically sound approach to running an economy and by extension a society. As to 'offshoring industries', again, AFAIC there wouldn't be as much offshoring of ANY industries if the governments did not grow to the size and did not usurp all this unauthorised power over individuals.

The reason for offshoring is inefficiency DICTATED by governments! Income taxes prevent savings and create special treatment of different groups of people (some are taxed more, some are less, it allows for a powerful political slogan -let's tax the other guy more than you). Business regulations are simply taxes in a different form. Inflation is the most insidious tax of all - stealing the value of your savings of your money in the first place.

The problem that you are referring to and are addressing is the problem of government doing things it shouldn't be doing, but it does them because the mob cheers for it. Well you know what, AFAIC the mob should PAY for this damage it causes with its cheering and voting and the payment comes in many forms, including the destroyed economy, which will force a restructuring and will put the mob on a leash it should be on.

Re:"Protecting jobs" at the expense of what? (1)

SpankiMonki (3493987) | about 2 months ago | (#46363895)

This entire idea that any jobs should be protected is idiotic. If a job doesn't make economic sense it should be eliminated, that's the entire point of progress - eliminating inefficient jobs so that production can become more economical, as in cheaper, thus providing lower prices.

So what would be the proper way to deal with countries that subsidize their workforces? Aren't such countries essentially dumping cheap labor onto the world market? Wouldn't some kind of government action be the only way to effectively address such foul play? Or are you aware of some sort of approach that wouldn't require government intervention?

Re:"Protecting jobs" at the expense of what? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 months ago | (#46364309)

What do you mean "dumping"? That concept is as wrong in this context as it is in all other contexts where it is applied, where government interferes with the free market rewarding a more efficient company by providing it with a larger market share.

AFAIC Standard Oil, Alcoa Aluminum, etc., they weren't broken down because they were bad for the customers in any way, even the courts case for Alcoa itself explicitly declared that the reason for breaking the company down is because others couldn't compete on price. So the purpose that government serves is to raise prices artificially, there is no such thing as dumping, and even when a limited amount of that occurs (sales, reduced prices, holiday sales, whatever) it's a temporary phenomena. All products and services and labour have a market clearing price. Reduce the costs sufficiently and the product, the service, the labour will be bought and used. The entire point is to use the cheapest resources available thus allowing people to pay the lowest prices possible, giving opportunity to the new businesses to arise based on the savings that occur once the prices for the existing goods and services are lowered.

Of-course in case of USA and many other countries, Japan, many European countries, certain places in South Amerca, etc., the mob, the government is dead set to prevent prices from falling, whatever it takes, they have "inflation targets", of-course they understate inflation by factors and they hide the real levels of it, the reason is they are the biggest debtors and they rely on larger and larger tax collections, and I guess if you allow the prices to come down, the taxes will be lower in fact, so a double whammy for the insanely huge governments that people allow above themselves in this world.

There is no such thing as "dumping cheap labour". Labour is human time, people sell their time, the market allows better distribution of labour and resources, we are much better off using the cheapest resources that exist. Of-course the actual problem is the PAYMENT and in case of places like the USA the payment comes from inflation - money printing, not productive capacity.

Re:"Protecting jobs" at the expense of what? (1)

SpankiMonki (3493987) | about 2 months ago | (#46365003)

So...your answer to "Aren't such countries essentially dumping cheap labor onto the world market?" is "no". Thanks.

Care to answer my other questions? (I'm not trying to be a dick...I really would like to hear how you would address the problem of subsidized labor)

Re:"Protecting jobs" at the expense of what? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 months ago | (#46365089)

To subsidise something you have to pool the money from somewhere else, what exactly are you talking about, when you talk about 'subsidisation' in this sense?

Let's turn to the progressives favourite target: WalMart. They claim that WM uses a government subsidy to run its business, as if WM is running the government itself in the first place and as if WM is enforcing the payroll taxes and runs the 'Treasury' (should be known as the department of Debt, not of Treasure, there is only debt there, no treasure of any kind) and the Federal Reserve (what a funny name - a reserve, should be known as the money counterfeiting operation).

WM is not running the IRS, it's not collecting payroll taxes, in fact if there were no payroll taxes the WM workers could have higher salaries. WM is not running the Fed and Treasury, it's not placing the USA gov't into debt. The fact that WM provides entry level jobs that people with college education and people with families apply for does not change what WM is doing - providing entry level jobs.

Just because the USA gov't destroyed the USA economy with the Treasury, IRS, Fed, FDIC, all of the departments, the welfare state, the military industrial complex and all the wars, that doesn't change the fact: WM built a business where it only makes financial sense to hire people at the lowest possible salary and people who are applying there now are not entitled to run a family on a WM job. Those jobs should be for teenagers, maybe for college students, for entry level employees, maybe for new immigrants with no skills, for people with no skills and no other qualifications.

There is this belief, that WM is supposed to provide a high standard of living to a person, whose only job is to be a clerk at a store, no less in an economy that produces NOTHING of what WM sells, it's all imported. The production was outsourced for the same exact reasons that IBM outsources the jobs: lower taxes, lower regulation costs (same as lower taxes), less government, that's all it is.

Less gov't = more individual freedom. So you are saying: government subsidises workers. Which workers? Chinese government does not subsidise anybody, there are no government pensions for past peasants who are now gainfully employed at factories that /. loves to bash, there is no gov't medical insurance, there is nothing that gov't does there, people there save their own money, they save 50% of their incomes. If Chinese gov't wasn't destroying its own currency by subsidising (vendor financing) USA consumption, the Chinese workers would already be wealthier relatively speaking than most Westerners at this point.

So what does it mean: subsidising? Money printing? Yes, the Chinese are printing Chinese fiat and they are buying USA fiat and debt, yes, but this subsidises the USA consumers, not Chinese workers. This will stop and you will learn what it means not to be subsidised by the Chinese gov't transferring the productivity of the Chinese workers into your WalMarts.

Re:"Protecting jobs" at the expense of what? (1)

khchung (462899) | about 2 months ago | (#46364653)

So what would be the proper way to deal with countries that subsidize their workforces?

You mean, like providing education, health care, law enforcement, etc to the people, so the "workforce" don't have to pay for private teachers, medicine, or private guards? Or infrastructures like roads, mass transit trains, electricity, clean water, broadband internet, etc, so the workforce don't have to live near the company, buy electric generators, etc? Or lower tax rate, which is effectively higher pay?

Where do you draw the line?

Re:"Protecting jobs" at the expense of what? (1)

Uberbah (647458) | about 2 months ago | (#46364395)

This entire idea that any jobs should be protected is idiotic.

Entirely depends on why the job is being eliminated. The proverbial buggy whip manufacturers during the rise of the automobile? Maybe you guys should look into a second career. The company board threatens workers to accept massive cuts or move their their jobs moved to Bangladesh? Fuck those greedy shitbag motherfuckers.

Re:"Protecting jobs" at the expense of what? (2)

udachny (2454394) | about 2 months ago | (#46364457)

(same guy, backup account for such cases were I can no longer leave comments with my primary account, you know, /. moderation and all)

Fuck those greedy shitbag motherfuckers.

- I hope you do mean the customers, right? The BUYERS of the product, because the market (in this case being IBM) RESPONDS to customer demand. If IBM could increase its market share and thus sell more units of whatever by RAISING prices on their goods, they would.

IBM, like any other company, responds to the desires of the market and it is trying to serve as much market as possible, and clearly IBM (and other companies, but not you) realises that to do that it needs to LOWER prices, or at least (in the age of huge government created inflation) by not raising prices as much.

So the "greedy shitbag motherfuckers" are the clients, people who buy the products. You disagree? Do you ever buy a MORE expensive product rather than a LESS expensive product if you can discriminate that way? Do you shop on Amazon? Do you go to stores on sale days? Do you shop at WalMart or really any store that imports goods rather than selling American made (ha, find me that)?

So it is YOU, who is a "greedy shitbag motherfucker", but I don't blame you for wanting to pay less, I actually agree with that, I am ALSO a "greedy shitbag motherfucker", I want to pay less. I want to save money, I want to use it to grow my business or maybe to buy more stuff.

But of-course you don't really think before you put that garbage into comments, so don't worry about it, it's not really directed at you, I am just generally replying to nonsense, I guess cause somebody has to do it.

Re:"Protecting jobs" at the expense of what? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46364475)

While I agree that's how it should work, in the real world it doesn't. Companies lay people off, expecting the remaining staff to essentially produce at the same level. And while one would think that would reduce prices (lower opex should translate into lower priced product) that's rarely the case. Instead it usually goes into company profits, so the company can look better to shareholders and its stock price increases.
Don't be fooled into thinking IBM needs to layoff all these people to remain competitive it had a $6 billion profit in 2013.

Re:"Protecting jobs" at the expense of what? (1, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 months ago | (#46364587)

So you know better than IBM what it needs? You think are can make financial decisions for the company? You think 6,000,000,000 in profits should not be allocated to the investors in the company (that's their salary), you think that IBM is making a bad decision there, yes? So if IBM is making a bad financial and business decision, then it will come back to bite IBM in the ass and a better competitor will eat their cake, so where is the government's role in any of it?

AFAIC IBM could fire 99.999% of their people if they could still satisfy their customer demand and they would be absolutely right to do it, if they could achieve that. Who are you to tell a business or anybody how they should run their company unless you are also an investor? You are a nobody, you want the government to assert power over private companies and over people, you are a dickless dictator, because you won't do your bidding with your own hands, you are going to send in the goons to do it.

Re:"Protecting jobs" at the expense of what? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46365289)

You are truly clueless, and I laugh at your naivety. Put down your copy of Atlas Shrugged and open your eyes.

The robber barons appreciate you and every idiot like you consistently going to bat for them despite it going directly against your own interests. (And ours) You're the real problem with the world these days: a sheep thinking he's a wolf, doing nothing but baaaaaing uselessly as the wolves complete their conquest unopposed.

Re:"Protecting jobs" at the expense of what? (4, Insightful)

khchung (462899) | about 2 months ago | (#46364627)

If IBM employees cannot provide enough economic value to the market for the market to pay the company enough to offset their cost and provide for profits on top of it, then those jobs have no business existing

If companies stop at that, I think most people would be fine with it.

But with the endless chase for ever MORE PROFIT, it is not enough for an employee to generate enough value to offset their own cost + profit, they have to generate more value than their hypothetical offshore counterpart.

So if you cost $100 and generate $120 value, but the other guy in India cost $20 and generated only $25, well, the company can hire 5 India guy to generate $125 for the same cost of $100, so bye bye to your job.

YOU would think that the guy in India is crap, producing only $25 value, less than a quarter of yours, but you are in fact competing with 5 of them, which combined to give more value to the company than you could!

Re:"Protecting jobs" at the expense of what? (1, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 months ago | (#46365029)

So if you cost $100 and generate $120 value, but the other guy in India cost $20 and generated only $25, well, the company can hire 5 India guy to generate $125 for the same cost of $100, so bye bye to your job.

YOU would think that the guy in India is crap, producing only $25 value, less than a quarter of yours, but you are in fact competing with 5 of them, which combined to give more value to the company than you could!

- I don't see what the problem is, that's exactly what should happen!

Every cent counts, every dollar that can be made by reducing cost of production and increasing efficiency should be made! Where is the problem that you are complaining about?

If your problem is that you are uncompetitive at your taxation levels and your inflation levels with people in India, then your problem is not with the IBM, it is with your government.

Stop paying taxes. [wikipedia.org]

Re:"Protecting jobs" at the expense of what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46365269)

Ah, roman_mir, staunch defender of all things corporate.

Tell me, do you ever get off big business' dick long enough to read the bilge you write? If so, make sure to wipe your mouth first.

H1 visas and STEM... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363539)

circle starts here, jerks

Time for outsourcing tax? (3, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 months ago | (#46363545)

Time for outsourcing tax?

Better to at least keep the jobs hear other then paying for all of the welfare for the people out of work.

Re:Time for outsourcing tax? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 months ago | (#46364047)

This is a very good idea.

We could use it to pay for STEM degree tax exemptions for Middle Class American citizens and their kids.

Another Tax? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46364227)

What I don't get is people don't seem to realize that all the recent tax increases is causing job losses. We were told it would cause job losses and here they are. We were also told raising minimum wage would increase unemployment amongst youth, and we currently have that AND are trying to increase it again.

So sure, lets add yet another tax. Its worked so well in the past.

Better to just cut the H1B visas. (1)

Jaywalk (94910) | about 2 months ago | (#46364769)

An outsourcing tax would just result in jinking with the books so that it wasn't "really" outsourcing and any money generated would just go to the government. If they had to cut H1B visas they'd have to hire regular employees.

does mass-layoff law apply? (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 2 months ago | (#46363665)

The law [dol.gov]says over 49 people at one site.

Re:does mass-layoff law apply? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 2 months ago | (#46364159)

Laws don't apply to major campaign contributors and other puppeteers. If they did, half of Wall St. would have traded bespoke suits for orange jumpsuits.

Agreement - jobs for whom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363687)

Gov. Cuomo's press release says, "Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today a major agreement today with IBM that will maintain 3,100 high-tech jobs in the Hudson Valley and surrounding areas. The company has committed to increase its minimum job commitment to the state by 750 jobs, and maintain the 3,100 jobs through at least the end of 2016."

3,100 jobs for whom? For people already living in New York? Or for people that IBM will fly in from India?

Layoff with positions open, why not offer training (0)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | about 2 months ago | (#46363693)

Why is IBM throwing people away instead of re-training them?

FAIL, both morally and strategically.

Re:Layoff with positions open, why not offer train (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363739)

Why retrain a $125k/year 50 year old senior engineer when you can hire a $28,000 L1 or H1B with more recent and relevant education on new technology? It's perfectly legal, and you can get 5 engineers for the price of one old codger who can't handle change.

Re:Layoff with positions open, why not offer train (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 months ago | (#46364055)

There is a lot of truth to that, however some of those old codgers have knowledge and skill sets you can't find anymore.

There are a few new tech companies that have seeded their start up with poached old codgers from some of these companies. The result is a much greater depth of technical knowledge. And that has resulted in some products that are profoundly more innovative.

Re:Layoff with positions open, why not offer train (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 2 months ago | (#46364191)

more recent and relevant education on new technology ... one old codger who can't handle change

There must be some fancy Latin phrase for "reasoning by stereotype". In legalese it's "assumes facts not in evidence". In plain English it's called spouting bullshit.

Re:Layoff with positions open, why not offer train (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363769)

Won't someone think of the shareholders! Oh, and the bonuses.

Re:Layoff with positions open, why not offer train (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 months ago | (#46364027)

Why is IBM throwing people away instead of re-training them?

My guess it that they are dumping hardware folks, and hiring software folks.

just keeps going downhill (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46363721)

I did an internship in college at IBM in the summer of 2001 and it was awesome. But by the time I graduated they weren't hiring at that location anymore. And a couple years later they sold that whole facility to Hitachi (when they decided to get out of the hard-drive business). Looks like they've just kept going downhill since then. I'm kinda glad they didn't give me an offer :)

What percentage (0)

niftymitch (1625721) | about 2 months ago | (#46363835)

What percentage will be tracked
back to the affordable health care act
and by who.

IBM is a massive company but with wide and
sometimes conflicting product lines. We will
have to wait to see what this does.

Some lay offs with "rich" packages have resulted
in valuable startups. Time will tell.

I can now see what is coming to MY company (1)

gabrieltss (64078) | about 2 months ago | (#46363847)

My company hired IBM for an "assessment" and for "process improvement" - yeah now we are sending IT work offshore - I see where OUR jobs are headed... The same place all these IBM folks are going - to the unemployment line!

This isn't what IBM says it's doing (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 2 months ago | (#46363887)

This isn't what IBM says it's doing...

"IBM layoffs expected. Instead, IBM adds 500 positions."
http://www.csmonitor.com/Busin... [csmonitor.com]

I guess it's time for the yearly Communication Workers of America local 1701 to try to unionize IBM again under the name "Alliance@IBM". Don't they usually wait until March for this same old song and dance? Why's it early this year?

Re:This isn't what IBM says it's doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46364767)

Multiple reports of massive layoffs in Australia, US, Brazil, Taiwan and India. I don't care about Alliance@IBM (I'm not in the US) but the layoffs are a reality. Mostly folks in hardware and software groups. Consulting and outsourcing have some reports of layoffs too, but in much smaller numbers. The option positions are in outsourcing. Some probably in the new 'Watson' business unit too.

Just because corporations lie all the time (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 months ago | (#46364031)

Just because corporations lie all the time, it doesn't mean they won't stop lying someday ...

IBM is well known for outsourcing and abusing H1-B and to a lesser extent L1 and L2 visas.

Mind you, Microsoft is worse.

IBM is Dying, and Lying - Cringely gets it (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46364069)

Read his latest blog posting on their tailspin:
http://www.cringely.com/2014/01/23/ibm-sells-intel-server-business-company-doomed/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ibm-sells-intel-server-business-company-doomed

I got laid off from IBM almost 7 years ago, and my initial reaction was "Free at last!" Luckily I found a good job where I worked before them, and using the tech I learned at IBM. Typically, they sent my job to one of their cheap facilities in Brazil, and expected me to bring those guys up to speed in my last 30 days ... yeah, right.

My former manager told me a couple years later that the client, a rather large auto company working through a big gummint bailout, got fed up with the scant tech knowledge of the platform, and communications problems (on our "team" phone chats before I left, all the Brazilians used Skype, and there was an annoying constant buzzing sound from that, never mind the thickly accented English I could barely understand, if at all), and demanded the work be done back in the US by the guy I mentored.

I think Cringe is dead on in his analysis: IBM is run by short-sighted, selfish management that is only looking to the next quarter's numbers, and how soon they can bail out with golden parachutes as they eat up the seed corn. They have even been calculating just how much they can break contracts and labor laws weighing the short-term profits against the penalties and fines they have to pay when caught out by customers or the law.

Free at last!

Here's the real story (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46365183)

IBMer here posting as AC, yeah I know but. (I do have 5 digit Slashdot ID.)

So I didn't get RA'd today but would eventually if I stayed, which I will not.

The real issue here is the boneheaded "Road to 2015 [zdnet.com]" where Ginny Rometti and her predecessor Sam Palmisano pulled one of the most Kafkaesque things I've ever seen at IBM. To net it out, they promised Wall Street that they would reach $20 EPS by 2015, through a combination of profits and stock buybacks. They also promised $20B in revenue growth. That drove the share price immediately from ~$120 to >$200, although it's down to $180 now. But needless to say, all the execs with compensation tied to share price were sweetly remunerated for this. In a true irony, the decision to do this in the first place was because they had successfully done it with a prior $10/EPS goal a few years before, mostly via cost reductions, not value delivery.... so essentially they were doubling down on behavior that was arguably stupid the first time.

Now it's 2014 and revenue has actually been flat or DOWN since that Road to 2015 proclamation. What does IBM do? Do they say, "Well, we didn't make the revenue number so we can't achieve the EPS target"? Hell no -- they reaffirm the EPS target as though the revenue doesn't matter. So to get there, the whole organization is now run like a hedge fund, comparing numbers on a spreadsheet to define strategy. Naturally that dictates a decision to raise all your prices and slash your expenses. And that means screwing over the customers AND the employees, including the good ones -- which are still the vast majority. Wages are flat, annual bonuses have gone from 15% to 8% to nothing this year. Expense reimbursements (phone, home office, Internet) have been discontinued, and they even changed 401k matching from per-paycheck to year-end, so they get to play with the money all year, and deny it to anyone not actively employed on December 15. (Of course this makes layoffs all the more attractive.)

The result is the quality of stuff from IBM has gone to complete shit. I am not exaggerating. There simply aren't enough qualified people to deliver on the brand promise that created the "You'll never get fired for buying IBM" mantra. Honestly our technical debt in every important area scares the hell out of me, and customers are catching on. Every decision is based on, "Is there a contract that needs this?" rather than, "Is this the right way to develop product/services?"

Look, I'm no armchair quarterback and I don't expect any organization to be perfect. Criticizing execs is the classic lazy crutch of the worker. But this is simply the complete raping of an historic American company. We stood for something. Yes the international part was central to it, and we embraced it -- I've been to every part of the planet and met people so talented it is humbling. But now it's just geo-arbitrage and, as some have mentioned, not the top quality talent pursuit that used to be our hallmark. Make it cheap, do just enough to barely keep the customers from fleeing, and dammit MAKE THAT $20 EPS NUMBER IN 2015.

IBM has too much clout and too many government contracts to crater completely... but the crisis is coming and it's not going to be pretty. Ginny and her clique are going to oversee the hollowing out of IBM, and that's not good for anyone, even them. They'll get rich and move on like Palmisano did, but their legacy will be the destruction of IBM.

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