A “longtimebeemer” warns that “There is no safe place.”

Another Big Blue worker says internal transfer “freeze” means a “RA” is near. In IBM speak, RA means “resource action” which translates as layoffs.

And Alliance@IBM says sources have told it that heads will begin rolling Feb. 26 as part of “Project Apollo.” (Layoffs last year were labeled “Project Phoenix.”)

Many IBMers in North Carolina already are on edge as they wait to see if the sale of the x86 server business to Lenovo goes through for $2.3 billion. They also know IBM has already sliced its Tar Heel work force by 30 percent over the past few years to around 9,500. What’s next?

Analyst Toni Sacconaghi of Bernstein Research wrote about the upcoming job cuts, which IBM said two weeks ago were coming as part of a $1 billion rebalancing, as reprinted by Barron’s:

“We expect IBM to repurchase $15B or more of its shares this year, and rebalance its workforce by at least 13,000 heads.”

He calculates Big Blue pays $70,000 in expenses related to every worker cut. 

The union is calling for IBMers to “stop” Roadmap 2015, which is IBM’s stated commitment to reach $20 per share in earnings by 2015. (WRALTechWire recaps 2015 in a story published Wednesday complete with several IBM slides explaining the strategy.)

Warning from Union

Late Wednesday, Lee Conrad, who heads the union seeking to represent Big Blue workers through Alliance@IBM, issued an alert based on what Alliance is being told by IBMers who are brave enough to pass on documents and news that could cost them their heads.

“Sources inside IBM have told the Alliance@IBM to expect a resource action/job cuts on or about February 26th in North America,” Conrad wrote.

“Code named Project Apollo, the dates for the process are as follows:

  • “Deadline for selection: January 24th (as we reported earlier)
  • “Notification materials to management: Feb. 22nd
  • “Package info for each affected employee sent to management: Feb 25th.
  • “Notification date for New York and Vermont: Feb. 26th.

“Be aware that other locations and business units will have job cuts but will probably fall below threshold that triggers WARN notification.”

WARN or not …

The WARN notice is a reference to federal guidelines that require companies to inform local governments about layoff actions, but – somehow – IBM manages to avoid disclosing its cuts with “RAs” affecting people in dribs and drabs.

But the bottom-line numbers are real.

“Project Phoenix,” as the big rebalancing of 2013 with $1 billion in associated costs, led to at least 3,500 layoffs in North America alone. And hundreds of those occurred in RTP.

All the layoff talk led to some interesting posts on the Alliance@IBM website.

“There is no safe place. I worked in SWG for many years and there were many layoffs there even though there was money being made. I suspect this layoff will include people from all divisions,” wrote “longtimebeemer,” referring to his/her workgroup.

“Just saw an email that there is a freeze on transfers into GBS NA till April 30th. This means the RA lists are being prepared! Good luck to all,” added” Anonymous.”

[IBM ARCHIVE: Check out more than a decade of IBM stories as reported in WRALTechWire.]