IBM to make year's first cuts at Hudson Valley facilities

January 07, 1993|By New York Times News Service

International Business Machines Corp. announced yesterday that its first payroll cuts for 1993 would be at three operations in the Hudson Valley of New York state, where up to 3,500 jobs will be eliminated.

The company stressed that it would encourage workers at the IBM operations in East Fishkill, Poughkeepsie and Kingston, N.Y., to leave voluntarily, offering incentives of up to a year's salary, medical benefits and retraining. But company officials said the cutbacks might well include layoffs, a historic break with the company's no-layoff policy.

"We may not be able to do it all voluntarily," said James Ruderman, an IBM spokesman. "We've been very candid with workers about that."

The cuts are focused on IBM's mainframe computer business and the semiconductor chips used in these big machines, for which sales have slipped as customers have moved to increasingly powerful and less-expensive work stations and desktop computers.

And trimming the work force in the Hudson Valley represents the first specific step by IBM to achieve its plan of cutting 25,000 jobs worldwide in 1993, a plan the company announced last month.

Analysts noted that when IBM expanded and invested with abandonin the 1980s, reaching a peak employment of 407,000 in 1986, it was the mainframe business that got much of the money and the people. Today the IBM payroll is down to 300,000, but further cuts are required to bring expenses into line with a growing number of cost-efficient rivals.

IBM employs 21,500 people at the three Hudson Valley operations; East Fishkill, with 9,200 workers, is the largest.

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