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IBM cuts nationwide near 1,000

By Bob Freund

freund@postbulletin.com

; The scope of long-rumored job cuts in IBM Corp.'s computer-design division now appears to approach 1,000 nationwide.

About 150 of those layoffs were taking place Thursday at IBM Rochester.

Officially, IBM Corp. is not disclosing the big picture.

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"We are not confirming specific numbers," spokeswoman Carol Makovich said this morning.

However, a list of affected positions given to employees to comply with federal regulations shows 948 jobs involved in the Server Group, the main business unit taking action on Thursday.

The list was supplied anonymously to the Post-Bulletin and it is not clear if it is complete.

Rumors about a large layoff have been swirling for weeks. Some employees and observers were floating numbers above 1,000 at Rochester alone.

The company itself is giving no indication of potential future job actions, although its top executive has set a target of $1 billion to $2 billion a year in cost cuts or efficiencies for the foreseeable future.

Thursday's "resource action" took out employees for projects that had been eliminated, as well as those being cut for cost reasons, or "restructuring."

The list, which included all Server Group sites, showed heavy numbers of software engineers being let go at both staff and higher levels.

At least four of IBM's "distinguished engineers" -- who have been honored companywide for outstanding innovation -- also lost jobs, along with several managers at the director level.

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The job toll also included specialists in marketing, finance, human resources and other staff slots, according to the list.

The layoffs also hit plants at Endicott and Poughkeepsie, N.Y.. Beaverton, Ore., Austin, Texas. Most, but not all, were related to the Server Group action.

At Endicott, 220 employees, or about 5 percent of the workers lost jobs, said IBM spokesman Todd Martin.

An IBM employee at that plant, speaking on condition of anonymity, said company officials held a meeting Thursday morning and announced that 1,000 workers in IBM's server group would be cut.

The Endicott plant's software duties for IBM's iSeries servers and zSeries mainframes will be consolidated at IBM plants in Poughkeepsie and Rochester, respectively, with about 80 workers at Endicott to be offered jobs at those facilities, the IBM employee said.

IBM Rochester spokesman Tim Dallman confirmed that some software design work for iSeries servers is being transferred to the local development site, but declined to discuss numbers of employees involved.

In Poughkeepsie, 144 employees were cut, about 2 percent of the total work force of 6,100, said plant spokesman Steve Cole.

In San Jose, Calif., the company slashed more than 200 jobs, mainly in its Storage Systems Group, said an employee speaking on condition of anonymity.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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