back to article IBM union: OK guys, you've beaten us down, we give in

The sole unionised outpost trying to give a voice to IBM workers Stateside has frozen campaigns, citing sustained job cuts and a resulting drop in membership as the reasons. Alliance@IBM was set up in 1999 to organise protests against redundancies as Big Blue started to move more roles, particularly in manufacturing and …

  1. MyffyW Silver badge

    I sympathise with those seeing their jobs offshored and outsourced, but I suspect traditional union organisation isn't going to win the case against.

    The answer, I think, is to build one's own abilities - not purely technical ones - that are generally not available from an offshore provider. It could be using you proximity to the customer to better understand their requirements. It might be the ability to concisely outline a problem or proposition in both technical and business language. It might be the ability to work with colleagues across language and cultural divides.

    Of course I might be wrong, and 2016 will see me living as an off-grid ukulele luthier.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      if the thing your skilled in suddenly off-shores its a bit tricky reskill in some other desirable skill at short notice to the same standard you where in the last skill to command a similar salary. As an example who will employ a (senior in age) just skilled bod and pay them senior bod money when they can get a fresh un tarnished new bod full of the new tricks learnt in our education establishments at junior bod money?

  2. TeeCee Gold badge

    Like anyone really cared.....

    Using their own figures, they've managed to get 200 members out of a current workforce of 71,000.

    You can't claim to represent the views of a workforce when you can't even get a paltry 1% of them to give enough of a stuff to join you....

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't work for IBM . . .

    . . . but I know quite a few here in the UK and, based on their stories here and news about how their US cousins are treated, it wouldn't surprise me if a large fraction of the workforce were too scared to risk being identified as part of such a thing. As well as large numbers just recognizing that no union is going to make any difference in an organization that treats staff as cannon fodder.

    Numbers don't always tell the full story.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't work for IBM . . .

      ...and I never did. But I did work for another large US IT company in the UK. In that company many workers thought that joining a union would be a good idea and something they wanted to do but they feared reprisals and discrimination if they did. Although the company made soothing noises that union membership would not affect career prospects the truth became apparent over a period of time that this was a lie. This caused union membership to be to be low and dwindle over time so becoming ineffective. The remaining members always seemed to be at the top of the list when lay-offs occurred. So the b'stards won in the end.

      Workers Councils - don't make me laugh!

  4. Alistair

    Alliance @ IBM

    I've managed to get away from IBM. There was a time (a Loooooooooong time ago) when I believed that it would be good to have IBM on your resume. After my time there I'm not so sure. Sad really, considering what the brothers did with the company through the 60's, 70's and early 80's. After that, well. The stock market runs the company now, so ...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good riddance. I don't work for IBM anymore but when I did I was irritated by this thorn in the side claiming to represent IBMers. The reason IBM doesn't have a union is because they don't need one. IBM's HR policies can do far more than any union can. He was an IBMer that didn't fit and so he left. I was let go in a divestiture to another company but like most people I don't feel bitter. He, not IBM, is the cause of his bitterness.

    1. quite_remarkable

      Not sure where you get your 'like most people I don't feel bitter' from. All the folks that I know that got divested absolutely hate IBM and wouldn't piss on it if it was on fire.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > Not sure where you get your 'like most people I don't feel bitter' from. All the folks that I know

        > that got divested absolutely hate IBM and wouldn't piss on it if it was on fire.

        *I* would, if I could piss gasoline...

        My thought on an IBM union was that it could only *hurt* IBM, and anything that could hurt IBM was a good thing in my book...

        My disappointment is there's no major IBM competitor where I live, otherwise I'd definitely be working for them, making it my life's work to kick IBM's ass each and every day. But then again, there's not much of ANYTHING left in the Poughkeepsie area (AKA, "New Detroit").

  6. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Met a few IBM technical bods

    even the good ones were ... henpecked...

    The managers were a different kettle of smooth bull.

  7. Mr_Smith

    IBM only cut the deadwood

    The media are quick to bash IBM however with such a large headcount they had to 'redeploy' those with outdated skills, IT people owe it to themselves to keep technical skills current it's not IBM role.

    The transformation has been painful, however many of us are still proud IBMers and once we catch up with cloudy tech we will lead once again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: IBM only cut the deadwood

      IBM hasn't cut the deadwood, they're the lichen that survive and play the game and will be he last ones there.

      All the good sellers that I've known in IBM are all leaving or actively job hunting, the best part of this is that it seems the IBM Execs are all still there, so I guess that the reason for 17 quarters of losses will continue until there's no one left.

      The strategy of rush to the cloud has been at the expense of core systems, that sales people are still expected to sell.

      I look forward to the day that the axe is chopping the deadwood out of the management chain, at which stage IBM will probably be in the black the following quarter.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's no money in IT anymore...

    Software is now expected to be free (beer). Hardware is pretty close to that as well... If you can figure out how to make a living, let me know.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    20 years ago IBM was great, 10 yeas ago OK, now it's godawful

    I used to work for IBM, and I have a few friends left there. Mostly people who like the comfy, non-demanding job, or people who couldn't get a job elsewhere.

    IBM management is awful and clueless. A union might have helped them see the light. Now it won't happen, and that's unfortunate.

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