IBM Increases U.S. Layoffs: 1,790 Jobs Cut In 2012 So Far, Group Says

Virginia Rometty

IBM’s new CEO Ginny Rometty has a growth plan she calls “Roadmap 2015.”

Employees are calling it “Roadkill 2015,” according to a former IBMer.

IBM has laid off at least 1,790 jobs in the U.S. and Canada in 2012 so far, says Lee Conrad, national coordinator for the IBM employee watchdog group, [email protected]. Conrad worked for IBM for 26 years before joining [email protected] in 2000.

While IBM doesn’t report its U.S. workforce numbers, [email protected] keeps a running total of displaced workers based on the paperwork given to laid-off workers.  This job cut occurred on Feb. 27, and was at first thought to affect about 1,000 people. Conrad expects to soon validate more, over 1,800.

Even more alarming is that IBM is structuring these layoffs so that they aren’t obligated to report them per the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) of 1988, which would give employees 60 days notice. The WARN act is not activated if 50 to 499 workers lose their jobs and that number is less than 33 per cent of the employer’s total.

“This is a good size job cut. IBM is not telling anyone how many jobs it cut in specific areas. They are terminating people just under the threshold to trigger a WARN notification,” says Conrad. “At a certain site, they might fire 495, so those workers get 30 days notice, not 60. We’ve been calling for transparency. IBM should be required tell shareholders, employees, and communities, especially if they are cutting jobs every quarter.”

Conrad says that IBM is directly moving most of these jobs offshore. In 2007, IBM employed 121,000 people in the U.S. By the fall of 2009, when it stopped reporting headcount, it had 105,000 in the U.S.

Today, it employees about 96,000 in the U.S., [email protected] estimates. But the company’s total number of employees worldwide has grown to 426,751 in 2010, the last reported figure. This compares to 399,409 in 2009.

IBM is particularly targeting higher paid, long term and older workers in these layoffs, Conrad says, “Though they throw just enough young people out to keep from getting sued.”

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