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IBM Employee Group Plans Work Stoppage Today

[email protected] officials, who called for the protest, say they believe IBM is looking to replace thousands of U.S. workers with lower paid employees in offshore locations such as India.
A group of dissident IBM workers is asking their colleagues to put down their phones and walk away from their keyboards for 15 minutes today to protest job cuts at the technology giant.

The group, [email protected], is asking co-workers to participate in the job action in order to "tell IBM to stop abandoning good U.S. jobs." It's calling for the protest to begin at 3:00 p.m. and end at 3:15 p.m. eastern time Tuesday.

[email protected] officials said they believe IBM is looking to replace thousands of U.S. workers with lower paid employees in offshore locations such as India. Earlier this month, IBM eliminated 1,300 positions in the United States across various parts of the company.

Last week, a Web site operated by the Public Broadcasting Service reported that IBM planned to terminate 150,000 U.S. workers. The report, however, was widely ridiculed by many industry analysts, most of whom noted that the number actually exceeds IBM's headcount in the country.

IBM officials have said the 1,300 job cuts were part of ongoing workforce rebalancing efforts, and noted that the company plans to add workers at some U.S. facilities this year. IBM, for instance, plans to build a new call center in Indiana that will employ up to 500.

Beyond calling for protests, [email protected] for the past several years has been pushing to unionize the 130,000 employees that work for IBM in the United States. But its efforts have met with little success. To date, the group has been unable to muster sufficient support for a union vote.

Whether the planned job action will have much of an impact on IBM's operations also is highly questionable. Last week, an anti-offshoring rally by IBM workers in New York State drew no more than eight workers at any given time, according to local media reports.

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