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Several days ago, diarist TechBob posted a diary about how Hewlett Packard was implementing a scaled model for pay reductions more favorable to lower salaried employees as a method for trying to avoid laying off 20,000 workers.  I was impressed in this one shining beam of gratitude for the common worker at the expense of the bosses.  But of more importance, I was comforted because my mom works for Agilent Technologies, a former HP division spun off in 1999, several years after my mom started working at HP.

Well the bad news came yesterday, and I heard about it a few hours ago.  Nice way to be greeted when you arrive home from Rutgers University for a weekend, the first time at home since winter break finished.  Times are tough for everyone, but after this glimmer of hope I read on Thursday, I thought it would be fine.  But as things get worse and worse, more and more will be affected.

Now before anyone even goes "there" by suggesting that since my mom worked at Agilent Technologies and technically not HP, and thus the cost-reduction structure doesn't translate, know that I realize that.  But when she started, she was an employee of HP.  Also understand that the amount my mom's salary was reduced was exactly as much as the corporate memo stated - 5%.  That is, before she heard the bad news on Friday.

But it gets worse.  You can't even blame the evil boss, because he's also being laid off; they're downsizing to only one group of the tasks that my mom's boss and she worked on.  He's been there for 30 years, however, so he should be fine with a retirement package.  Our family?  Not so much.

I take comfort in knowing that it could be A LOT worse.  My mom has her position until June 30th, which gives some time to start looking for something else.  We have some savings from my grandfather's (my mom's dad) inheritance that can last a while, but my mom had planned on using that for retirement because without it she would never be able to retire.  So we are still fortunate and I was raised up to realize that there is always someone who is worse off than you, so be thankful for what you have.  But it still sucks.  How many diaries like this have we seen in the past few weeks?  Far too many.  And there will be even more in the near and far future.

If anyone has the link to the Daily Kos job postings site, it would be immensely appreciated.  I know I've seen it around but I forget the link.

I'll leave you with this positing from TechBob:

Is it time for progressives to show HP some love?  I know I'll buy from Costco over Sam's when I shop because I know how they treat their employees and vendors.  Is this a significant development or just window dressing PR?

We should look into that last sentence and find the true answer.

Originally posted to mconvente on Sat Feb 21, 2009 at 01:08 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hope for the best, everyone (16+ / 0-)

    We have to get this fixed for my family and yours, my friends and yours, our fellow American and world citizens.  That's why I voted for this man.


    "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world" - Archimedes

    by mconvente on Sat Feb 21, 2009 at 01:12:17 PM PST

    •  Sorry to hear about your mom (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mconvente, mattc129

      It looks like this is news that many of us will be hearing in one form or another in the coming months. It's pretty terrifying.

      Glad to hear that your family has a cushion. You are indeed lucky in that regard.

      I trust Barack Obama.

      by casperr on Sat Feb 21, 2009 at 04:59:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As I said in the HP diary posted on Thursday. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente, JeffW, mattc129, second alto

    I think HP's plan to cut wages across the board in order to prevent layoffs is a big deal. But I'm not certain it's cause for celebration.

    To me, it smacks of what the auto companies have been doing to their union labor - demanding concessions in compensation in order to keep their jobs.

    Now, it's great that no one is allegedly going to lose their job, but what happens when the market continues to shrink? Will HP demand further pay cuts or begin a series of layoffs?

    I suppose I'd feel better if there was some indication that employees were given the opportunity to participate in this decision.

    Moreover, according to the memo:


    Additional efficiencies, including changes to the US 401(k) plan and the share ownership plan, will also be implemented.

    So not only will pay be decreased, but benefits will be impacted as well.

    I'm surprised how many people are immediately willing to laud such an arbitrary decision.  I recall how furious I was when Circuit City - God rest its ugly soul - decided to fire its top performing employees with a provision that they could be hired back at a lower wage.  This plan appears at first glance to put lipstick on that pig.

    "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." JFK - January 20, 1961

    by rontun on Sat Feb 21, 2009 at 01:14:42 PM PST

  •  How many HP workers wouldn't be laid off (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, mconvente, mattc129
    if the greedy @sshat CEO hadn't collected an $11+ mil bonus?

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Sat Feb 21, 2009 at 01:18:25 PM PST

  •  Here ya go... (10+ / 0-)

    good luck to your mom, and the rest of your family.

    Kossacks Networking

    "What, then, is the legacy of the Royal Navy? I shall tell you. Rum, Buggery, and the lash! Good Day, Sirs." - Sir Winston Churchill

    by Dingodude on Sat Feb 21, 2009 at 01:20:06 PM PST

  •  It hasn't been an HP company (7+ / 0-)

    for ten years. I'm sorry, but HP has no role in the management of Agilent. Agilent has it's own stock symbol, and it's own management. They are separate companies. Period. I don't see how you can pin this on HP.

  •  I wasn't entirely on-board with that diary, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, ladybug53

    as evidenced by this comment:

    What's HP been drinking?

    During the Carla Fiorini era, HP had the highest percentage of contract workers in the business world, with 98% of all employees working under insecure contract status.

    And HP was well-known for nailing their employees for items damaged by ESD (electro-static discharge), even if the employee took all prudent and proscribed precautions. Some of these high-tech circuit boards cost $50,000 or more, and the employee was made to pay for it by withholding part of their paychecks, sometimes for decades. Management would claim that the employee was negligent, even if, in fact, they were not, and there was no real way to appeal this ruling.

    I've had friends who were charged with training their East Indian replacement before they were released. This was common practice.

    I like what I read here. Has the most repressive high-tech cattle pen in the business turned a corner ?

    and this comment:

    Can't say, but I'll mention this much

    All this doesn't sound like anything that would happen at HP only a few short years ago. I'd say that they would make the kind of decisions that would benefit management the most, while punishing their workforce to the maximum.

    Worked in their shadow (or they worked in ours) in Redmond, WA when I was with Microsoft, and HP had a baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad reputation. We used to kid around about banishing each other to Hewlett Packard when we did something wrong lol . .

    I take all this as a good sign.

    STMR = Still Too Many Republicans

    by thenekkidtruth on Sat Feb 21, 2009 at 02:07:15 PM PST

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