IBM Fires More Than 1,000 in North America, Group Says

IBM Cuts More Than 1,000 Workers, Group Says
The International Business Machines Corp. in New York. Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg

International Business Machines Corp., the world’s largest computer-services provider, fired more than 1,000 workers in North America this week, according to an employee advocacy group.

The job reductions are mostly in the U.S., with some in Canada, said Lee Conrad, national coordinator of Alliance@IBM, which has been trying to organize IBM employees. The group is continuing to update the number as it receives severance documents from workers notified with what IBM calls “resource actions,” Conrad said. Redundant employees may apply for other positions within IBM, the documents show.

Doug Shelton, a spokesman for Armonk, New York-based IBM, declined to provide a number, citing company policy and the “competitive nature of our business.”

The cuts would represent about 0.2 percent of IBM’s global workforce, which totaled 433,362 at the end of 2011, according to the annual report filed today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company stopped providing a geographic breakdown of its employees in 2009. At the end of 2008, U.S. staff accounted for 115,000 of its 398,455 employees, according to its annual report that year.

“IBM is constantly rebalancing its workforce,” Shelton said today. “That means reducing in some areas and hiring in others -- based on shifts in technology and client demand. This allows IBM to remain competitive and relevant in an industry that is constantly changing.”

IBM rose less than 1 percent to $197.98 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 7.7 percent this year.

Alliance@IBM is affiliated with the Communications Workers of America and is seeking union recognition at IBM.

Information Week reported yesterday that more than 250 jobs had been cut at IBM.

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