IBM union calls work stoppage to protest layoffs

A labor union of IBM workers is calling for a 15-minute work stoppage on Tuesday to protest layoffs at the company.

An IBM labor union is calling for a 15-minute work stoppage to protest job cuts at the company.

The stoppage is scheduled for Tuesday at 3 p.m. Eastern Time across the U.S. Workers at IBM in Italy are also planning a similar action in support of the U.S. employees.

The union, Alliance@IBM, is asking employees to stop work for 15 minutes, including leaving phones and instant messages unanswered.

"Tell IBM to stop abandoning good U.S. jobs," Alliance@IBM wrote on its Web site.

A recent posting on the Robert X. Cringely blog at suggesting that IBM might lay off about 150,000 U.S. employees may have contributed to concern about impending job cuts at the company. The posting set off a flurry of comments across the Web.

On a newsgroup on the Alliance@IBM Web site, several IBM employees posted a note they received from management calling Cringely's blog posting inaccurate and based on gross exaggerations. The letter confirms that the company has recently implemented a "focused resource reduction in the U.S." but says that IBM currently only has about 130,000 employees in the U.S.

Alliance@IBM said in early May that IBM recently laid off more than 1,300 U.S. workers from its global services division.

Over the past few years, IBM has quickly grown its operations in India and China and some employees may fear that growth will come at the expense of the U.S. operations.

As of Jan. 1, IBM had 53,000 employees in India.

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