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

Alliance@IBM 'suspends campaigns', claiming job cuts 'took their toll'

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 services, to lower-cost overseas operations.

Lee Conrad, national coordinator for the Alliance@IBM, yesterday wrote to its brothers and sisters, telling them the “union organising campaign at IBM has been suspended".

“Years of job cuts and membership losses have taken their toll. IBM executive management steamrolled over employees and their families,” he added in the missive.

In the 1980s, IBM had 230,000 staff based in the US but this figure has fallen to 71,000, the union claimed. The company hasn’t provided clarity on its local headcount for roughly five years.

“We tried to push back when we could but we didn’t have enough people power to change the working conditions or stop the massive job cuts or offshoring at IBM,” said Conrad.

The union is understood to have only 200 paying members across the local workforce in the States, down from a peak of 400.

But Alliance@IBM, part of the Communication Workers of America, has helped to shine a light on the happenings at the veteran technology organisation for employees, and tried to garner support for action.

IBM went through a massive restructure last year and made some redundancies - it budgeted to reduce the global workforce by 6,500. The company, like all of its fellow veteran tech firms, is failing to offset falling revenues with cloudy stuff.

For the past 14 quarters - not including financials for calendar Q4 - IBM revenues have declined.

As for Alliance@IBM, Conrad is reportedly going to provide a place on the web for employees to share information and is building a new website. ®

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