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International Business Machines Corporation Message Board

  • Puppy_Play Puppy_Play Feb 5, 2001 3:43 PM Flag

    Re: IBM=retirement theft

    People would be far less dependent on Social Security if corporations like IBM were not allowed to renig on their private pension promises...

    As an IBM shareholder, please consider worrying a little bit more about what IBM is doing to increase and hoard their massive pension surplus. Shareholder resolutions related to this critical issue can be found at\resolutions.htm

    Janet Krueger
    IEBAC (IBM Employee Benefits Action Coalition)
    507 529 8777 ext 110

    P.S. As an IBM shareholder, I am also outraged at the fact that the corporation is now charging the older retirees who built this company a larger and larger share of their medical expenses. Just one example: my dad just turned 78 and worked at IBM for 33 years. Effective in April, to retain the same medical coverage, his co-payment will go from nothing to $252/month. This is terrible treatment for retirees on fixed incomes!!!

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    • Janet,

      There's got to be something that you're not telling. My father retired with well over 30 years in IBM and his impact is nowhere near that.

      As far as changes in IBM... How many people do you think would be willing to trade their 401K and VPP (not saying they are related, but they are part of the total compensation package) to get the pension plan that was in effect when they hired on? Things change... And overall, in my opinion, most, if not all, employees are better off than when they started.

      • 3 Replies to jetskiman123
      • -- There's got to be something that you're not telling. My father retired with well over 30 years in IBM and his impact is nowhere near that.

        My dad still has both a spouse and an adult dependent. That makes him a little exceptional, although more retirees than you might think either had a child late in life, ended up with dependent grandchildren, or had a child with disabilities that prevent that child from ever becoming completely independent. At the time my dad retired, IBM promised health care coverage, for him and all his dependents, for life. Does the fact that your dad has been hit several less make the wrong being done any less???

        -- As far as changes in IBM... How many people do you think would be willing to trade their 401K and VPP (not saying they are related, but they are part of the total compensation package) to get the pension plan that was in effect when they hired on? Things change... And overall, in my opinion, most, if not all, employees are better off than when they started.

        The 401K was started and funded as a completely different program. It was NOT done as a trade, and the fact that it exists doesn't make IBM any less of a thief. As far as VPP, I know of many employees who were involuntarily left without raises for years (at the same time as their medical co-pay was introduced and then increased) in exchange for the once a year variable payment based on factors they could neither control nor impact; many did NOT end up better off than before VPP!!! But there again, whether they are, or are not, better off has nothing to do with whether or not IBM should be allowed to break pension promises...

        If employees are truly so much better off, why has IBM virtually eliminated the annual opinion surveys??? Could it be because IBM truly doesn't give a ****???

      • How in the hell can you say with a stright face that IBMers are better off then when they started... #1 My 401k is MY 401k not IBM they only match a small amount.. I control the investment direction and the amount.. NOT IBM.. #2 My pension has been cut by %50 since 1992.. so do not give me that RA.. RA.. BS on how much better it is... I have been at IBM for Over 20 years and it i snot the change i mind it is the destruction to the employees I mind...

      • When did IBM introduce 401K?
        What is VPP? Is that similar to defere salary and is vary from year to year? and when did it introduce?

    • I do so much agree with yo puppy play. You cannot let companies do the savings plan when they (IBM) have spent so much time and effort to screw the employees out of the money that they help create.. If some of you out there thing priviteazation of your retirement is the wise and right thing to do THINK AGAIN.. as long as a company holds your money the will do what they can to use your money for thier purposes and screw you in the long run... Companies do not give a shit about the employees.. It is the stockholders that scare them.. You better save your own money if you wait for a company to do it, you are just kidding yourself.. NUF SAID!

    • The employee or retiree contribution has gone up because the cost of MEDICAL CARE has GONE UP.
      The company (IBM) now pays more than ever for this benefit, more per individual than it did when your Daddy was employed.
      The villan is not IBM, it is the cost of the good health care your Daddy has enjoyed.

      I retired from IBM after 30 years. I now pay for health coverage. I adjusted my expectations for this benefit based on what is happening to heath care costs, not what I expect IBM to provide. If you and your Daddy thought the free ride health benefit was for ever without qualifications, then you did not understand the plan. Your ignorance, sorry.
      I am a stockholder also.
      I don't expect the companies I invest in to do any more than deliver positive earnings. Not carry the cost of ever-increasing health care.

      • 2 Replies to canner01
      • Thanks for adding your input. There are several sides to every story. This board tends to focus on only one side (the IBM is a big bad monster side). It's nice seeing other views.

      • IBM didn't start talking about ceilings for their share of medical health insurance until long after many of these people retired. How were they supposed to guess, before they retired, when IBM was promising to take care of them for life, that IBM would renig on that promise years down the road???

        I'm glad to hear you were able to 'adjust your expectations', but many of the older retirees just didn't have the luxury of a crystal ball.

        Why should it be unreasonable to expect the companies you invest in to BOTH deliver positive earnings AND honor long-standing promises to employees and retirees???

        And if a company cannot keep promises to employees and retirees, what makes you think promises to customers and shareholders will be treated any differently???

        Is it too late for IBM to reinstitute ethics? I sure hope not... Because I don't believe there is a long term future without them.

    • I do give credit where it due, and hold individual acountable when need to.

      I think you are correct about the # of employees, I think 10yr ago, the number was 200K+ to day it is 300K+. That say, betwee the 200K to the 300K how many people lose their jobs?

      I think you can give credit before LVG to now, the stock price is 4x higher (I don't have actual number so it maybe higher or lower but increase a lot that is fact)

      I just put things in prespective if this company focus was shift from Customers/Employees/Stockholder to Stockholder/..../Customers/.../Employees.....

    • IBM was a leader, like GE is a leader, like Ford/GM is a leader.... Leaders should set standard for others to follow. Leaders should do the right things and not the things that others do..... I do not say that other company do not do some of the negative things that IBM did to it workers/retirees..... etc ... however that does not make what IBM did is right or justifiable.....

      If you do read other posts on other board about Moral/Ethical, many of us feel it is declining over the last few decade..... What happen at IBM and what IBM executives did is a contribute factor to this negative change in our society..... If you do not care or don't believe that the moral/ethical is rolling down hill, then that your opinion... I, on the other hand, do feel this negative change and do want the trend to stop and then reverse, and that is my opinion....

    • If your question is how many people who had skills in current/growing elements of the business, I'd say very very few.

      If your question was how many people who had outdated skills or who didn't contribute to the new direction the company was going, I'd say tens of thousands. But that's common for most companies who want to stay in business.

    • You are correct... IBM "WAS" a leader, the emphisis on "WAS". The consent decree held IBM back until the rest of the industry caught up and/or passed it by. During the past several years, IBM was MUCH closed to being bankrupt than to being a leader.

      Would I rather the company be bankrupt or give up 10% of my pension (which was more than made up by other programs).... Er... let me see... I think I'll vote for IBM staying in business because 90% is better than N-O-T-H-I-N-G!

    • Jetskiman: Do you happen to think that opinion is just opinion, it is how people feel.... fact is fact, an it can be represent or missrepresent.... And I do agree when people missrepresent of facts, either to support the company or otherwise, there should be consequesences, terminated if you will, but it have to go both ways....

    • -- A perfect example is Puppy Play. She made s statement that implied how bad of a hit IBM retirees were talking on medical. When challenged with the truth, she back peddled and admitted that the circumstance she referenced was very unique. Tacticts like that hurts their cause more than anything. people don't really know what to believe. I know the 50% hit in pension is total BS!

      I didn't back peddle. I don't know of any retiree who has been out for over 10 years who wasn't hit up for at least $100/month. This is NOT pocket change to a retiree on a fixed income. And there are others who were hit as hard as my dad...

      As for the pension theft, in my case it was well over 50%, and I have real numbers to substantiate it. Anyone wanting to see copies of benefits letters, written by IBM HR, to substantiate this, feel free to give me call.

      You can choose to believe a real person, with a real location and actual documentation, or you can believe someone who claims to have run his numbers, but still can't sign his posts with an actual name... Someone here is clearly telling fairy tales, and I don't think it's me!!!

      Janet Krueger
      Rochester, Minnesota
      507 529 8777 ext 110

    • -- Fair enough, I can't disagree with the point that IBM has reduced benefits, modified pension plans and cancelled programs that employees enjoyed. But these were done within the context of employment agreements. Most elements of these agreements are subject to change, based on market conditions and the company's ability to fund. If that funding impacts earnings, to the degree it did, then the funding is reduced. HR does not run successful businesses. Finance, HR, marketing,etc do in concert.

      The question of whether all of the benefits reductions that have been done were legal, and whether they fit within the context of employment agreements, will be settled in the courts. Several lawsuits are now working their way through the court system, claiming that IBM actively discriminates against older employees. They are also being charged with violating several other aspects of ERISA laws regarding pension changes. Time will tell just how far out of bounds they've strayed!

      The fact that IBM is actively being sued, and has been unable to get these cases thrown out of court despite having access to some of the most expensive legal attorneys, should be a big concern to shareholders...

      Anyone wanting more details can feel free to give me a call.

      Oh, and before the trolls attack, let me be very clear on why I am posting this here. I am NOT suggesting everyone panic sell their stock, because I don't think the company is beyond redemption, at least not yet. I do think shareholders have a responsibility to intervene, and help put the company back on track. Look hard at your proxy statement when it comes. Don't just vote the BOD party line on everything...

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