IBM Corp. is again reducing its U.S. employment count, and some employees from the Midwest said they received word this week that their jobs will end.
It is not yet known whether any Minnesota workers in Rochester will be affected.
Workers on that campus have weathered several downsizings and worry that a new round of job cuts is coming. Some workers told union leaders that those affected could reach several hundred.
But state officials said they have not been notified of any large layoffs, as is required by law.
IBM spokesman Ian Colley declined to comment, saying IBM did not address rumors.
In a statement, however, Colley explained that IBM announced earlier this month that it has taken a $600 million charge for “workforce rebalancing.”
“This equates to several thousand people,” he said.
Despite pending layoffs, the statement further said that IBM hired 45,000 people last year and has 15,000 job openings around the world. The company employs 400,000 people worldwide.
The new hires are “for new skills in growth areas such as cloud, analytics, security, and social and mobile technologies,” the statement said. “As we have in recent years, and as our clients would expect, IBM continues to remix its skills to match current and emerging client requirements.”
IBM Rochester, which employs between 2,500 and 2,900 people making servers and other equipment, has significantly downsized over the years as operations shifted and some jobs moved to Mexico and elsewhere.
IBM employees belonging to the support group Alliance@IBM told their leadership Wednesday that some 200 IBM jobs in Dubuque, Iowa, and unknown numbers from Minnesota and Washington state will be affected by the most recent round of cuts. Some jobs are allegedly going to India, while other jobs are simply being phased out.
Lee Conrad, national coordinator for Alliance@IBM, said in a phone interview Wednesday that “IBM job cuts are hitting everywhere today inside the United States. So we are still trying to verify an exact count.”
He added that concern is high for Rochester because it “has been getting hammered a lot in the last few years as IBM has been moving out of hardware.”
Bill Hahn, dislocated worker coordinator for the Minnesota Workforce Center in Rochester, said he is keeping an eye open for any new downsizing.
His office is helping to retrain more than 150 IBM workers displaced from past layoffs, he said. Now he is waiting to learn if he’ll need to provide more help. “They don’t notify us about anything. They are very tight-lipped,” Hahn said of IBM.
If additional employment services are needed, Hahn said his office is ready to help. It recently received two new job training grants from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.