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IBM Layoffs Put Workers on Edge – Communities, Unions, Too

Image: IBM Layoffs Put Workers on Edge – Communities, Unions, Too Worker at the IBM plant in Essex Junction, Vt., works on making microchips. Gov. Peter Shumlin says IBM has notified him that a nationwide reorganization will mean job losses in Vermont, where the company employs more than 4,000 people at its plants in Chittenden County.

By Clyde Hughes   |   Thursday, 13 Jun 2013 07:28 AM

Announced layoffs at computer giant IBM this week have communities around the country and Canada bracing for impact as workers, labor unions and communities scramble to figure out how it will affect them.

The Poughkeepsie Journal reported Wednesday that 697 will be cut in Dutchess County, New York alone. County executive Marc Molinaro told the newspaper that the layoffs are "further indication that the national and state economy remains uncertain. What is certain is that too many families will have been given devastating news today."

Douglas Shelton, an IBM spokesman, issued a statement to the Poughkeepsie Journal. While never confirming the layoff, he said the company needed to "remix our skills so IBM can lead in these high-value segments in both emerging markets and in more mature markets."

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"Change is constant in the technology industry and transformation is an essential feature of our business model," Shelton said in the reported statement. "Consequently, some level of workforce remix is a constant requirement for our business. Given the competitive nature of our industry, we do not publicly discuss the details of staffing plans. IBM is investing in growth areas for the future: Big Data, cloud computing, social business and the growing mobile computing opportunity."

The Associated Press reported that the labor organization Alliance @ IBM announced on its website that 121 jobs will be eliminated from IBM's storage systems development division. Associated Press said the website contained individual reports of layoffs in Vermont, Massachusetts, New York and North Carolina.

Workers from around the country commenting on the website said that there were cuts at IBM facilities in Columbia, Mo.; Tucson, Ariz. and Austin, Texas, as well.

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Canadian television's CTV reported that IBM Ottawa employers learned that layoffs there will affect roughly 200 workers at its Riverside facility. The station said IBM is one of Ottawa's largest private sector employers.

IBM, headquarter in Armonk, N.Y., is one of the world's largest computer technology and informational technology corporations. The company can trace its roots back to the 19th century. IBM sells and manufactures computer hardware and software, and offers consulting.

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