More IBM Job Losses Expected This Week
April 14, 2014 Dan Burger
IBM is sharpening the knife and plans to slice additional jobs as soon as next week, according to Lee Conrad, who has been organizing the Alliance@IBM local chapter of the Communications Workers of America union for decades.
As of Friday evening, Conrad estimated 500 employees at the Burlington, Vermont, chip plant would be terminated beginning April 14 or 15. These job losses have been expected since a report in February. Conrad was also expecting IBM job losses in New York to hit home with 250 employees this week. That number allows IBM to stay beneath the level that triggers the WARN Act. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act was put into place in the United States to protect workers, their families, and communities by requiring employers with 100 or more employees to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs.
“IBM likes to play games with the WARN notifications by keeping just under the threshold for reporting at the big IBM sites,” Conrad told IT Jungle in 2013 when IBM terminated 3,000 people in the United States and Canada. “They give employees 30 to 90 days before they technically have to be out of the building, which allows them to report a number at the end of a 30-day period that is part of the larger group of job cuts and stay under the threshold. It’s a matrix with people in various locations reporting to a department that consolidates those employees at possibly a location where there are no job losses.”
“States and governors should demand companies be transparent because these types of cuts affect the economy,” Conrad said. “And you’d think the federal government would like to know when a couple thousand employees have been cut.”
Near the end of February, Conrad pointed out, New York governor Andrew Cuomo was publicly hailing an economic-development pact that would save IBM jobs. So much for making hay while the sun shines. The sun isn’t shining anymore.
On February 24, as part of an investment in high-tech research and manufacturing in the state, Cuomo announced an arrangement with IBM that guaranteed the company would keep at least 3,100 high-tech workers in the state through 2016. The agreement was between IBM, New York State, and the State University of New York College Nanoscale Science and Engineering. The deal called for IBM to maintain 2,350 high-tech jobs in the Hudson Valley and another 750 in semiconductor plants and research facilities. IBM also agreed to create another 500 jobs in the Buffalo IT Innovation and Commercialization Hub. The state is investing $55 million to create this facility, and IBM will be the first occupant.