Employees of Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM Corp. who are members of the Alliance@IBM, CWA Local 1701, have a sharp message for management to deliver at IBM's annual meeting today. Alliance members are passing out leaflets to shareholders as they arrive and address the meeting on key shareholder proposals. Following the meeting, they are joining members of the Programmers Guild, Jobs with Justice and other union supporters in a rally opposing the offshoring of American jobs by U.S. high tech companies

There are two critical issues for IBM employees and former employees--the loss of jobs through IBM's increased focus on outsourcing and cost cutting that has hit retirees hard, says Lee Conrad, national coordinator for the Alliance. 

"IBM has admitted that thousands of jobs are being sent offshore to India, China, Brazil and other countries, with plans to increase this outsourcing. This raises serious concerns about the long term job prospects for workers in the United States, and also about the need to ensure that customers have the quality service they expect to receive from IBM," he says.

Conrad cites the decision by Dell Inc., which recently announced it was shifting some of its corporate customer service work back to the United States from India, to address a huge volume of customer complaints.

One of the proposals that shareholders will take up calls for a special review of IBM's executive compensation policies to determine whether they create an undue incentive to make short-sighted decisions--including a over-reliance of offshore employees--by linking the compensation of senior executives to measures of performance that include net earnings, cash flow and earnings per share.

That proposal, submitted by James J. Mangi, Alliance secretary, was initially rejected by IBM; the Securities & Exchange Commission then determined that shareholders should have the opportunity to discuss the issue.

Source: Communications Workers of America

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