IBM Lays Off Multiple Columbia Workers

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COLUMBIA - The head of IBM's national employees union confirmed to KOMU 8 News Thursday IBM has laid off multiple Columbia employees as part of a global restructuring plan.

Lee Conrad is the national coordinator of Alliance@IBM, the IBM Employees Union. He said he spoke to multiple Columbia IBM employees who had been laid off this week. Conrad said the cuts will continue in the Columbia office, with more workers possibly be laid off Monday. He could not confirm the number of employees that had been laid off, although he believes estimates are around 10 people so far.

Many IBM personnel did not return KOMU 8's calls before IBM issued a statement through spokesperson Scott Cook.

The statement said, "While it is IBM's practice not to comment, we can say that the Columbia delivery center has become a key component as IBM fulfills its commitment to its customers to provide the best in information technology services possible. IBM remains committed to the continued success of the center."

The city of Columbia offered IBM $28 million in tax credits and job training funds as part of their contract. 

Part of that contract details how IBM gets those credits as they hire more employees. In May 2010, IBM originally announced it would hire up to 800 people by the end of 2012. KOMU 8 News later learned that IBM actually agreed to hire 600 people by the end of 2015--fewer employees and a much later date it did not publicize widely.

IBM has never confirmed how many employees it actually hired at the Columbia delivery center. The company reported 469 employees at the center as of June 30, 2012.