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

Posted January 27, 2009 12:01 a.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.