Saturday, October 5, 2013

IBM Medicare The Value of Keeping Promises

I keep thinking about Rhee's response to my email and how what Human Resources is doing is nothing more than a maneuver to steal from the elderly earned IBM services. I need to rant.
There is an implied message in the literature we received that we are lucky to get anyting from IBM.  It had nothing to do with luck. The employment contract we had with IBM was a promise to defer payment of services earned so that we could receive a long term payout over our lifetimes in the form of health benefits.  Somewhere along the way we even started to believe that we are "lucky" to have the benefits.  Never forget - you earned them. We worked hard to earn them and we were given a promise that we would be paid those earnings over our lifetimes. It is simple what is happening. IBM is breaking the promise.
Although there was no legal contract there was a social contract between the employee and the company.  It was a moral commitment between both parties.  We provided high quality work and IBM put part of our earned services in a “benefits bank”.  It was a handshake deal and IBM agreed to be morally obligated to fulfill the promise.  The IBM Human Resources community has now decided to break the promise and Ginni is letting them do it.  The board of directors is no less complicit. Shame on all of them. We kept our end of the deal.
The value of keeping a promise is measured in moral terms.  The cost of breaking a promise is measured by lost ethics.  IBM worked harder to keep their ethical bank account higher than any other corporation in the global marketplace.  Business conduct was the cornerstone of IBM’s success.  It is what made IBM a superpower in the corporate world.  Whether an eroding of ethics occurs in customer interactions or in human resource support it erodes IBM superpower standing and eventually erodes the very fabric of the organization.    Stealing earned services away from retirees is undeniably a major erosion no matter how much lipstick is applied.  It is likely a symptom of a broader IBM collapse.
The most important aspect of this rant is to remind you that we worked for most of our careers during an era of trust and that makes me feel "lucky". 

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