UPDATE: 200 IBM employees in Dubuque lose jobs - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: 200 IBM employees in Dubuque lose jobs

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Rick Dickinson, CEO of the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation, confirmed approximately 200 people at IBM in Dubuque lost their jobs  Wednesday.

He said meetings started this morning to tell people they no longer had jobs.  They will be offered severance packages, he said.

"When it comes to losing a job, for the person, it's 100 percent," Dickinson said. "But the fact of that matter is, 200 jobs lost at IBM is three-tenths of one percent of our job market.  It'll have negligible impact on our economy," he said.

He also said that there are plenty of job openings in Dubuque for those people, and the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation will work closely with the City of Dubuque to help those who lost their jobs today.

As for IBM, Dickinson said he thinks the number of people they employ is now somewhere around 600-700, which is about half of the 1,300 jobs they promised when they came to Dubuque.

Dickinson said they hit that 1,300 number in the fall of 2011, and have seen that number decrease ever since.  He attributes that, in part, to the fact that IBM has seen 11 straight quarters of declining revenue. 

When it comes to the incentives they were given when they brought the company to Dubuque, Dickinson said they've closed out all their incentives with the State of Iowa.  And the incentives they receive from the City of Dubuque depend on the number of employees they have.  Dickinson said they'll adjust that when they receive the newest census from IBM, which he said will come out in early February.

The other silver lining, Dickinson said, is that IBM just signed a five-year extension on their lease of the building, meaning they won't be going anywhere for the next few years. 

"They're 50 percent of where we'd hoped they'd be, but even at that, they're the largest global service technology center established in the past ten years," he said.

Clint Roswell, director of external communication for IBM North America, confirmed IBM is laying people off Wednesday in Dubuque, but he would not specify the amount.

He also issued this statement:

"At a time when IBM is aggressively transforming, the company continues to rebalance its workforce to meet the changing requirements of its clients and to lead in new, high value segments of the IT industry, including cloud, analytics, mobile, security, social and cognitive computing. This is not new news. IBM announced a $600 million workforce rebalancing charge in 4Q, 2014.

"IBM is meeting its commitments for the incentives by hiring and training new employees, creating a higher skilled workforce and creating new jobs. All funding was used in full compliance with job requirements. And that is the point – the incentives go to employers who train their employees and bring jobs to the state."

Lee Conrad, national coordinator for Alliance@IBM, a union seeking to represent IBM workers, also confirmed the layoffs in Dubuque.  He said cuts are happening nationally, but "we don't know the scope of this thing yet."

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ORIGINAL STORY:

Some IBM workers in Dubuque are being laid off today, though the scope of the cuts is unknown, according to more than five independent, local sources.

The layoffs seem to be part of a company-wide reduction, according to several other business publications and a union representing some IBM workers.

Current and laid-off employees confirmed the layoffs to TH Media, though none would go on the record with their claims.

Tom Coffas, IBM Dubuque's operations manager, did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Alliance@IBM, a union seeking to represent IBM workers, also is reporting layoffs at other company branches nationwide. The group historically has been accurate in its reporting of layoffs.

It's unclear how many Dubuque employees will be laid off or whether the layoffs will meet reporting requirements established by Iowa Workforce Development. IWD officials this afternoon said they had not received any notification from IBM.

Forbes reported early this week that layoffs could hit more than 100,000 – a quarter of the company's total workforce – but IBM officials disputed those claims.

Calling it "ridiculous" and "baseless," IBM on Monday dismissed a report that said the technology giant plans to lay off 1 in 4 of its workers, or 100,000 people.

The company "flatly denies" the Forbes report, IBM spokesman Ian Colley said in a phone interview. IBM previously has announced layoffs affecting "several thousand people," only "a small fraction" of the number predicted last week by a blogger on Forbes.com, IBM said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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