Updated Aug. 22, 2014 at 8:15 a.m.

Lenovo exec, a former IBMer, says union claim about massive Big Blue layoffs in '05 is 'not true'

Published: 2014-08-22 07:57:00
Updated: 2014-08-22 08:15:37


Alliance at IBM, which is seeking to represent Big Blue employees, on Thursday issued a statement in which it warned current IBMers who will transition to Lenovo as part of the $2.3 billion x86 server transaction, about layoffs.

The group claimed big layoffs were part of the initial IBM-Lenovo PC deal in 2005. But a senior Lenovo executive and a former IBMer involved in that deal says the union's claim is "not true."

"And by the way, after the last IBM to Lenovo deal 30% of the IBM workers were terminated," the union declared in its statement which comes a week after the U.S. government granted approval of the deal. The Chinese government also has given its OK.

Some 2,000 IBM workers in the research Triangle area will be transferred to Lenovo once the deal closes. Both companies expect a formal closing to occur before the end of the year.

Lenovo           WRAL TechWire contacted Ray Gorman, executive director of external communications for Lenovo, about the union's claim. Gorman worked for IBM and was part of the PC group transferred to Lenovo in 2005 when Lenovo acquired IBM's Raleigh-based PC division.

"Not true," Gorman said.

"Lenovo conducted layoffs in 2008 as the worldwide economy tanked. Former IBM employees who joined Lenovo when the PC deal closed in 2005 were not specifically targeted as part of the resource action in 2008."

Lenovo is also on the record as assuring IBMers that they will have jobs at Lenovo when the deal closes. (Read WRAL TechWire coverage online.

IBM's x86 server business operates globally

What Alliance Said -  In Full

The union's statement follows:

"It is official. The sale of the x86 servers, blade network and maintenance operations to Chinese company Lenovo for $2.3billion has been approved by the US government. 7500 IBM workers worldwide will transfer out of IBM, at least 2500 here in the US. That brings the estimated IBM US employee population to about 81,500. If the sale of the STG plants in Vermont and NY to Global Foundries had gone through the US employee population would have dipped down to under 80,000.

"When the first news of the sale broke in March, IBM's employees in China went on strike.See news here: english.sina.com/china/2014/0311/682387.html 

"Although the strike failed the workers who have agreed to transfer to Lenovo will receive $6000.

"And IBM US employees? They will get NO transfer incentive.

"While the IBM China strikers did not get all their demands they did get $6000.

"Staying silent in the US is no solution.

"And by the way, after the last IBM to Lenovo deal 30% of the IBM workers were terminated.

"Now that the deal is approved IBM US workers should demand a transfer incentive bonus and a freeze on job cuts.

"Remaining silent is no option."

 WRAL TechWire Coverage

IBM has said it would not talk about what benefits it is offering to workers affected by the transfer.

WRAL TechWire also provided coverage of the Chinese protests, including two reports that can be read online in our archives: about the payments{[/a}} and {{a href="blogpost-13478621"}}about some workers declining the transfer offer.

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