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2,400 lose IBM jobs, labor group says

Bloomberg News / March 3, 2010

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NEW YORK - International Business Machines Corp., the world’s largest computer-services provider, fired about 2,400 workers, mostly in the United States, according to an employee advocacy group.

The cuts this week occurred around the country and across several divisions, said Lee Conrad, national director of Alliance@IBM, which represents some employees. The group, which said Monday that almost 500 jobs were cut, has been updating the number as it receives more severance documents.

“We’re getting reports from employees that they’re training the overseas replacements as they are getting cut,’’ Conrad said. IBM fired 10,400 people in the United States and Canada last year, he said.

Expenses for workforce reductions at IBM probably will be in the same range this year as in the past two years, according to a person familiar with the plans. Work has shifted overseas as the company coped with sales drops in three of the past four quarters. Most of the reorganization costs this year will be from Europe and Asia, said the person, who declined to be identified because the information isn’t public.

“We continually remix our skills and structure to meet the changing needs of our clients,’’ Doug Shelton, a spokesman for Armonk, New York-based IBM, said Monday in an interview. He declined to comment further yesterday.

The cuts represent less than 1 percent of IBM’s workforce of 399,409 as of Dec. 31.

They come less than two months after IBM said full-year profit will be at least $11 a share, up from a previous forecast of $10 to $11.

Alliance@IBM is affiliated with the Communications Workers of America and is seeking union recognition at IBM. The group verified the job losses through employees’ severance documents.