POUGHKEEPSIE — IBM employees will learn whether or not they're out of a job Feb. 26, according to the Alliance@IBM, an employee organization.
Big Blue announced the coming layoffs on a conference call in January, but didn't offer details — saying only that they would happen by the end of the first quarter to help boost earnings for the year.
With the job cuts perhaps three weeks away, state legislators and worker advocates want to see the multinational company held accountable for the tax breaks it receives. They spoke during a small rally Thursday afternoon at Coppola's on 9 in Poughkeepsie, less than a mile from IBM's sprawling Poughkeepsie plant, protesting the fact that IBM gets taxpayer dollars and is still laying off local workers.
Assemblyman Kieran Lalor, R-Fishkill, called for clawbacks for companies who receive public money but do not create and keep as many jobs as originally promised.
IBM has received close to $1 billion in taxpayer subsidies, according to the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation. The Orange County Industrial Development Agency provides IBM a payment-in-lieu-of-tax arrangement for its Sterling Forest site.
700 let go last year
Last year, the company laid off about 700 people in Dutchess County. Bill Costine of Beacon, who attended Thursday's event, was one of them. He worked for IBM for 31 years. Another ex-IBMer, Carolyn Phillips of Poughkeepsie, said her condo in Wappingers Falls fell into foreclosure after IBM laid her off in 2007. She was briefly rehired by an IBM contractor, but was laid off by that company, too.
Emily Goldstein of the Alliance for a Greater New York said at the event that the Just and Open Business Subsidies (JOBS) Act would require industrial development agencies to claw back money if companies that receive benefits don't fulfill job-creation goals. The bill has been introduced in the state Assembly, she said.
Company cites investments
IBM spokesman Doug Shelton wrote in an email that the company continues to meet all New York state requirements and make significant investments in Dutchess County. The company's investments in New York include about $1.5 billion in capital and research and development funding in its East Fishkill plant and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University of Albany.
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