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Activists, state lawmakers call for “accountability” from IBM

TOWN OF POUGHKEEPSIE – Activists and area state lawmakers, Democrat and Republican, gathered near one of IBM’s facility to voice displeasure with layoffs despite state subsidies of almost $1 billion to the Armonk-headquartered company.

They called the IBM grants “corporate welfare” and promoted transparency and accountability for large corporations.

The activists said Big Blue has laid off or outsourced an estimated 4,000 jobs in New York.

Senator Terry Gipson (D, Rhinebeck) has his own idea as to how to spend that kind of money in the future.

“I think we’d be better off taking a lot of that money that we’re giving IBM and other corporations like that and then investing it in the entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them create jobs. I have a bill Hire New York that does just that,” Gipson said.

After the politicians had spoken, a few of IBM’s former employees, who have been directly affected by the company’s actions as of late were eager to tell their stories.

One of the former employees was William Costein, a 31-year IBM employee, who was recently laid off and has become active on the subjects of corporate welfare, outsourcing and according to him, age discrimination, being employed by IBM.

He said that within days of being laid off he saw an ad for the same job after he was told he could not get his job back.

“The public should demand to know what the employment figures are of American citizens, they should demand to know what the visa labor participants are because they’re simply replacing American workers,” Costein said.

Other state lawmakers to join the protest included Senator Gregory Ball, a Republican, also Assembly Members Frank Skartados, and Didi Barrett, both Democrats and Republican Kiernan Michael Lalor

.