IBM cuts more than 1,000 jobs; RTP impact unknown

Posted January 27, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— IBM workers in the Triangle, where Big Blue employs more people than in any other spot in the world, experienced another round of job cuts Tuesday.

Lee Conrad, of Alliance@IBM, an employee-rights organization, said the company would cut about 1,200 jobs in systems technology nationwide.

He did not know how many of those cuts would come at RTP.

IBM sign at RTP RTP impact of IBM cuts unknown

Members of the hardware group were expected to be hit hard Tuesday. Much of IBM’s server work is done in the Triangle.

One Triangle employee told's Local Tech Wire that he had accepted a buyout offer: Full pay for five months plus $2,500 in retraining funds.

Multiple sources told WRAL that IBM workers “selected” to participate in a “resource action” – IBM's term for layoffs – met one-on-one with supervisors and were told the news.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) employs some 400,000 people worldwide, including 11,000 in RTP.

Conrad said he expected positions to be eliminated in software, research and human resources departments as well.

The news of more cuts comes less than a week after IBM cut more than 2,800 employees in its sales and distribution group and its software group. The number is based on documents acquired by Alliance@IBM.

“I didn’t receive my layoff notice Monday, but I have a 15-minute, one-on-one meeting with my manager (Tuesday), when I assume I’ll be told one way or the other,” a Triangle IBM veteran said.

Word spread quickly among IBM employees and former workers on Monday.

“They are having one-on-ones with first-line managers (on Tuesday),” one recently laid-off IBM worker said, citing information from colleagues still working at the company. “Apparently, this is (happening) all over STG, which includes servers, retail solutions and other groups.”

Another worker said, “I had confirmation today that (a Lotus group) will do layoffs (Tuesday) in RTP. I’m hoping for the best, but it seems like nobody is safe.”

IBM typically declines to comment about layoffs, even after they have occurred.

Spokesman Doug Shelton told Reuters on Monday that layoffs were made last week, but declined to say how many.

WRAL reported last week that the cuts were made, but noted that John Buscemi, another IBM spokesman, denied rumors of as many as 16,000 layoffs taking place.

“IBM manages its workload and its talent on a global basis,” Buscemi said last Wednesday. “However, today's announcement affects North America.”

The job cuts were launched after IBM had exceeded Wall Street expectations for profits in its quarterly financial report the previous day.


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  • haggis basher Jan 28, 2009

    "but it's a reflection on our economy, not IBM or any other company that is forced to downsize to keep the lights on."
    No its not. The Corporation made record profits last year and has more than enough cash in hand to survive a lean year or two. Its outsourcing plain and simple. Until someone makes it attractive to keep jobs here they are all on their way to China.

  • sneakysboy Jan 27, 2009

    As a former IBM'r. whose wife still works for IBM...the whole thing sucks, but it's a reflection on our economy, not IBM or any other company that is forced to downsize to keep the lights on.

  • lornadoone Jan 27, 2009

    whatelse & wrx - that makes sense.

  • starglow2005 Jan 27, 2009

    "Anything said that is not directly from IBM is a rumor and should be reported that way." mylumineux

    Uh.... why don't you tell all those people who found out today that they're losing their jobs that it's just a rumor since IBM isn't talking.

  • joliverdent Jan 27, 2009

    Why do you keep posting comments from this Union Organizer? IBM never was, never will be unionized as they have continually paid higher wages, benefits, etc. that what a Union could possibly attain for the employees. IBM used to have a policy of not laying off employees, just reshifting workload around. Now that the technology has advanced so rapidly, they can't retain that policy and still be one of the most profitable Corporations in the world. It's difficult for those affected but just a new industry reality. Overseas labor has caused this imbalance. It's time for the good old USA to embargo some of these products to bring jobs back so we don't have to put the burden of the backs of Americans. Our do nothing Congress could really solve some of this imbalance by reducing Corporate taxes that cause Corporations to look overseas to survive!

  • mylumineux Jan 27, 2009

    I am surprised to see WRAL and the other local news agencies quoting Alliance at IBM representatives. That organization is not sanctioned by IBM, or its employees. There is not a union at IBM. Nor does that organization have any facts. They are basing their information on hearsay from anonymous sources, who may or may not be IBMers and who may or may not be providing facts (IBMers who've been let go are encouraged to go to the Alliance site and provide them with "information.").

    I personally don't think it is wise for IBM to take the "we're not talking stance," especially in the Web 2.0 age, however, at this point, they are not disclosing, so the story ends there. Anything said that is not directly from IBM is a rumor and should be reported that way.

  • wrx44 Jan 27, 2009

    lornadoone, probably about 16000 overall, 1000 in RTP.

  • jenstog Jan 27, 2009

    SubwayScoundrel: yeah... my husband's a part timer at home depot and also works full time at his 'career' job. I think he looks out of place there too. Times are so tough that he has to do both and we still don't make enough for our lifestyle. Not to say we're not grateful for him having jobs!

  • whatelseisnew Jan 27, 2009

    lornadoone - last week they axed 2800, this week 1000 or more, they are not done, there are more coming. The word is there will also be cuts in other countries. So far the company has not stated what is the final number of cuts in this go around. Even when this round is done, there will likely be more later in the year. Sometimes they cut a few thousand and then buy another company.

  • jr1brown Jan 27, 2009

    IBM folks, quit playing the "blame game". Each of you had a part or stake in their game. Most people don't want to face reality and keep their heads buried in the sand and then they are SHOCKED when they get the axe. Same goes for Nortel. I've been there and had it done to me twice so quit whining!