A “resource action,” or layoffs, are underway at IBM (NYSE: IBM) under the name “Project Chrome,” workers are telling the Alliance@IBM Union.

“Bloodbath today,” wrote an IBMer in Columbia, Mo. “Me? Yes, RA’d.”

“At a time when IBM is aggressively transforming, the company continues to rebalance its workforce to meet the changing requirements of its clients and to lead in new, high value segments of the IT industry, including cloud, analytics, mobile, security, social and cognitive computing. This is not new news,” IBM said in a statement. “IBM announced a $600 million workforce rebalancing charge in 4Q, 2014.”

The cuts include 202 at an IBM operation in Dubuque, Iowa. Some 600-650 employees will be left there after the layoffs take effect Feb. 27, according to state officials.

The term “RA’d” is IBM worker-speak for laid off as a result of a resource action.

One of the first posts Wednesday came from RTP. Earlier this week IBM acknowledged cuts would be made under a reorganization costing $600 million.

“My last day is Feb 27th,” the RTP poster self-identified as a “project manager,” wrote at the Alliance web site.

The worker noted he had received a performance rating of “3” – the lowest on IBM’s system kown as PBC or “personal business commitments.”

Some workers have said PBCs are to be used in determining which workers are cut and have said managers are under pressure to increase the number of “3”s given. 

Two workers noted they received “3”s and were let go.


WRAL TechWire coverage of IBM restructuring:

  • IBM to cut thousands as it hires 15,000 in growth areas
  • IBM denies report of 100,000 layoffs
  • Even union is wary of 100,000 layoff report
  • IBM launches major restructuring
  • Inside the reorganization: The new business units
     

Noted one worker:

“The cuts have started in the US and are quickly spreading. I received my call this morning. I received a 3 rating for the first time in my entire career. It was completely unfounded with no documentation to substantiate. 18 years with the company and they totally betray and demoralize before they let you go,”

Wrote another worker: “Was RAd today. Technical Solutions Seller, in STG software defined infrastructure (IBM Platform group). Getting 30 days notice. then severance package.”

Workers have posted concerns at the site about whether they would receive severance packages or be dismissed outright as a result of so-called PIP, or Performance Improvement Plan. 

“RA’d today after 18 1/2 yrs. Last day Feb 27th Recently blind-sided by a 3 rating on PBC,” an IBMer complained.

“Total fabrication full of inaccurate and false reasons stated. Work from home in NY State. Division GTS. Role Architect Have not seen it yet but apparently the standard package—1 week per year max 26 weeks. What I don’t get is why rate me a 3 and then lay me off? No mention of PIP. I wonder if it is to ensure I won’t be hired if I find another position within IBM? … I will survive.”

IBM denied a report at Forbes.com last week that Big Blue would cut more than 100,000 workers. However, the company acknowledged that thousands of cuts would be made.

Early Wednesday, posts began to appear about cuts, some of which were made in Australia.

“Reports are coming in on IBM job cuts from around the country and in various business units,” said Lee Conrad, a retired IBmer and the national coordinator of Alliance@IBM.

“We will continue to update the job cut reports comment section all day.”

So what do laid-off workers receive?

Noted one worker before the resource action began:

“There is an RA. As far as the numbers I can’t comment. Anyone who got a 3 [in personal performance review, what IBM calls PBC, with 3 being lowest] will be RA’d. The Severence package given depends on whether this is your first PBC rating of 3 or your second.

“Severance for first 3 is 1 week for every 6 months up to 26 weeks. Severence for people with consecutive 3’s is half so up to 13 weeks total. Notifications tomorrow and everyone gone by end of February. …

“Waiting for my call tomorrow. Glad the torment will finally be over!”

Worker comments can be read at: http://www.endicottalliance.org/jobcutsreports.php

Restructuring, hiring at same time

IBM employs more than 400,000 people worldwide. Of those, fewer than 10,000 work in North Carolina and well under 100,000 in the U.S.

IBM no longer reports employment numbers by country.

The cuts are coming as IBM undertakes a major restructuring. The company also has more than 15,000 openings in ares where IBM is shifting resources to exploit areas such as cloud computing, software, services and analytics.

The cuts are being implemented at a much smaller scale than had been reported by Forbes.

“This rumor is ridiculous, and off by a factor of more than 10,” wrote Doug Shelton, director of corporate communications, in an email to WRAL TechWire when asked about the report in Forbes about a 26 percent work force cut – or more than 100,000 of IBM’s some 420,000 employees.

“If anyone had checked information readily available from our public earnings statements, or had simply asked us, they would know this. A blogger writing under an assumed name did neither and passed off irresponsible speculation as fact, not for the first time..

“IBM has already announced the company would take a $600 million charge for restructuring. The company also has about 15,000 job openings around the world for new skills in growth areas such as cloud, analytics, security, and social and mobile technologies.”