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Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno
One for all, all for one

Welcome To Our Mutual Support Community Web Site

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Eliminati meetups - May 7,8,9

Inviting both the new 2019 class, as well as older members to help mentor.

Meetups are a place to process our group experiences with leaving Intel.  We have captured many lessons on our https://pdx-tie.org website from such talks.  Come join us for a session.

May 7 - 1:00pm
Ava Roasteria - Timberland
In the Cedar Hills Market of Choice shopping center

May 8 - 6:30pm 
Hillsboro Brookwood Library
Upstairs in the conference room area

May 9 - 2:00pm
Hop Cycle Brewery, Banks Oregon
Extra parking along street or by the HW Store
(Hop Cycle is a business started by an Intel retiree)

Eliminati members in other geographies are asked to just organize and host meetups as well.  

Friday, March 29, 2019

Message To all Intel Corp. Employees
Who Will be Losing Their Jobs Soon

As reported in the OregonianLive article entitled Intel lays off hundreds of tech administrators, It is apparent that hundreds of Intel Corp. employees are about to loose their job.

Note that signing a severance waver with your employer, does not negate you legal rights to file a discrimination complaints with the EEOC. If you are 40 years old or older Intel Corp. must provide you with a copy of the OWBPA report, indicating the job functions and ages of all laid off employees.

The OWBPA, which is part of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), safeguards older workers' employee benefits from age discrimination. Among other things, this means that employers must take certain precautions when seeking a release from older workers that waives rights under the ADEA

Please also refer to this article on our web site:


Protect your civil rights if you know that you have been a victim of discrimination in the workplace.
OWBPA reports are mandated to be distributed to affected employees who are of age 40+, by Federal laws and therefore, are not considered company confidential for that reason.

If you received a OWBPA report please consider sharing the content with the editors of PDX-TIE.ORG.

Also consider joining our internal mailing list, by following this link:http://www.pdx-tie.org/2016/05/how-to-join-pdx-tiegooglegroupscom.html


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Bipartisan Bill Protecting Older Workers From Age Discrimination is Announced in U.S. Congress

Two days ago we received an official press release, stating that a bipartisan group of House members are introducing a new bill that will correct the distortions in current age-discrimination laws. This is a small step forward towards leveling the playing field, for enforcement of fair employment practices in the U.S. labor market.

As you may already know, particularly if you are a regular reader of this web site, we have been pushing and advocating for revisions in civil rights protection and enforcement laws, associated with age discrimination, for the last three and a half years. Our specific emphasis is on effective enforcement and fair monetary recovery for victims of age discrimination -- issues that are very poorly defined in current laws and were never revised to match today's job market demographics. We have been working with members of Congress and Senate and their staff by providing education and support materials that we made available to them over the last three years.

Note that law changes relevant to age discrimination have been blocked in both the U.S Congress and the U.S. Senate for over a decade, chiefly due to political gridlock. With the new bi-partisan support for the new bill, the chances of seeing the final bill turning into law are better than ever.

See summary sheet at: Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act

All the best,

--Dr. Flywheel

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                     
February 14, 2019

Democratic Press Office, 202-226-0853                                                                                                        

Scott, Sensenbrenner Lead Bipartisan Group of House Members to Introduce Bill Protecting Older Workers from Age Discrimination

WASHINGTON – Today, Representatives Bobby Scott (VA-03), chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, and Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) introduced the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA), a proposal to strengthen anti-discrimination protections for older workers. They were joined by Representatives Alma Adams (NC-12), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Mark Takano (CA-41), Will Hurd (TX-23), John Katko (NY-24), and Glenn Grothman (WI-06). The bipartisan legislation is a companion to a Senate bill of the same name introduced by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

In 2009, the Supreme Court’s decision in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc. weakened protections against age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Under Gross, plaintiffs seeking to prove age discrimination in employment are required to demonstrate that age was the sole motivating factor for the employer’s adverse action. POWADA returns legal standards to the pre-2009 evidentiary threshold to ensure all claims of discrimination are adjudicated fairly.

“Discrimination shuts too many people out of good paying jobs. All Americans – regardless of their age – should be able to go to work every day knowing that they are protected from discrimination. The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act would ensure there are no additional barriers for older Americans when making a discrimination claim compared to any other protected class. This legislation is a step toward restoring the rights of older workers,” said Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03), Committee on Education and Labor.

“Older Americans should be valued because of their experiences, not viewed as a liability due to their age. This bipartisan legislation will restore fairness in the workplace for our more seasoned workers, providing them the peace of mind that they will not be unfairly fired from their job because of age discrimination. I’m proud to reintroduce this bill with my friend, Congressman Bobby Scott, and am grateful for his continued leadership on this effort,” said Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05).

“Americans are living and working longer, and we must do all we can to make sure they are protected from age discrimination. Oregon’s population is one of the most rapidly aging in the country, and I have heard from workers who believe they have been dismissed or denied employment because of their age. We cannot allow employers to violate the civil rights of older workers who are striving to provide for themselves and their families. The bipartisan Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act is an important step to protect older workers from discrimination in the workplace,” said Chairwoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services.

“Discrimination based on age, race or gender has no place in today’s workplace. I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce this bipartisan bill that ensures equitable standards for fighting unlawful employment practices based on discrimination, so all of our nation’s workers can continue to support their families and help our businesses and economy thrive,” said Congressman Will Hurd (TX-23), a strong voice for South and West Texas seniors in Congress.

“Congress must stand strongly against all forms of discrimination, including against older Americans. The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) will ensure that older workers will be fairly treated in the job market, returning the legal standard for proving discrimination back to its original intent. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that the law once again makes clear that there is no place for disparate treatment based on age in the workforce,” said Chairwoman Alma Adams (NC-12), Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.

“Older Americans are entitled to the right to work and should not be subjected to discrimination during the hiring process. This legislation strengthens protections against the discrimination of older workers in the hiring process, giving them the safeguards, they deserve. I will continue to advocate for the rights of American workers and am proud to support this initiative this Congress,” said Congressman John Katko (NY-24).

“We commend these lawmakers for sponsoring this crucial legislation. Too many older workers have been victims of unfair age discrimination and are denied a fair shake in our justice system. The time for Congress to act is now,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer.

The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act amends four laws—the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and theRehabilitation Act. It was previously introduced during the 115th Congress.

For the full text of H.R.1230, the Protecting Older Workers against Discrimination Act, click here.

For a fact sheet on the Protecting Older Workers against Discrimination Act, click here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Ageism in the Workplace Affects Multiple Generations
-- Time to Sound the Alarm Bells --

The Millennials' Trap

By taking workers who are older than 40 but younger than retirement age (67) out of the workforce, or even by just forcing their income to be significantly reduced, the major burden of maintaining the economy for the general population, over the next few decades, will fall on the "millennial" generation.

It looks like age discrimination in the workplace is finally getting more public exposure. The video clip below, taken from the CBS "This Morning" program, provides a glimpse to this incredibly important issue, currently affecting mostly workers who are 40 years old or older. Seemingly, only older workers are being directly affected at the present time; however as we examine the facts more closely, we can see that the dire side effects of age discrimination are going to dominate the economy of all generations of Americans equally badly. In addition, let us not forget that everyone gets older day-by-day and the process of aging is irreversible. It is clear that employers lay off older workers in order to reduce the cost of labor and not because such workers do not bring great value to the business.

(Click on the above image to play the embedded video clip in your browser)

Studies of company layoffs, conducted over that last few years indicate that among workers older than 40 years, women are further affected than men as they get laid off at an earlier age. The most insidious aspect of age-based layoffs is the skewed statistics of executive layoffs. While most workers as well as low and mid-level managers are subject to age-based layoffs, the "executive class" in most companies enjoys great on-the-job longevity and even reaps benefits from employee layoffs. Such executive benefits are realized in the form "efficiency bonuses" that executives receive, due to their initiation of "head cutting" actions...

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is the Federal agency, in charge of enforcing anti-discrimination laws in employment, seems to be very weak in pursuing age-based discrimination cases. However, the real culprit is the U.S. Congress, controlled by highly paid "special interest" lobbyists who insured that laws protecting age-based discrimination would remain weak and very difficult to enforce. Though there were several attempts to revise the laws and update the compensation that can be awarded to proven victims of age-discrimination, a long succession of proposed Bills to revise the applicable laws have met their silent death in the U.S. Senate. The latest of these proposed Bills in Congress is H.R.6811 - Age Discrimination in Employment Parity Act of 2018. A similar U.S. Senate Bill S.443 - Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act remains buried in committee...

Among other things, the compensation levels awarded to age-discrimination victims remained unchanged since 1967. Due to the significant inflation that the U.S. economy underwent since 1967, the compensation amounts set for victims by the existing laws look completely ridiculous by today's standards and have never been indexed or revised. Consequently, very few employment attorneys are willing to take on the case of age-discrimination victims, since the litigation costs would typically exceed the monetary recovery expected after successful litigation. The outcome of keeping the current laws very weak, outdated and unchanged, results in employers firing older employees en-mass and with almost complete impunity. Legal challenges are very rare and Government enforcement of the laws through the EEOC is a long and convoluted process. Without a "sheriff" in town, employers are left unchecked to violate civil rights of older workers at will.

World Leading Economies 2030 GDP Projections
(click on image to expand detail)

Considering the demographic trends of the U.S. population over the next 20 years, we are going to see tremendous unemployment and poverty replacing the relative prosperity that we see today. As more older employees are forced out of the workforce or delegated to take significantly lower paying jobs, the U.S. economy, which is predominantly controlled by consumer spending (see table below), is bound to sink to levels never seen before. Considering that there are credible predictions for China (and very likely, also India) replacing the U.S. as the world leading economies by 2030, we have very little time to prepare for the future.

(click on image to expand detail)

You do not need to be an economist to understand that unemployed or low-paid workers may not have extra money to spend and consequently consumer spending will be sharply curtailed. This growing portion of the population will also not be able to contribute much to government revenue in the form of tax payments to finance necessary public services. Consequently, it is not hard to predict that a regenerative process of sinking of the U.S. economy is bound to happen sooner or later, if employment policies that utilize age discrimination are going to be left unchecked due to legislative neglect. Demographic trends cannot be waved off or ignored in the same manner as climate change, obviously they are mankind made...

(click on image to expand detail)

By taking workers who are older than 40 but younger than retirement age (67) out of the workforce, or even by just forcing their income to be significantly reduced, the major burden of maintaining the economy for the general population, over the next few decades, will fall on the "millennial" generation.

(click on image to expand detail)

Millennials currently form about 35% of the U.S. workforce and many of them are already heavily burdened by student debt. Expecting millennials to pay the tax money required to support the needs of a significantly growing older population is not only an unfair concept, but it also works against the common sense of enabling older workers to continue earning money to cover their needs on their own, all while paying taxes on their earned income.

Age discrimination in employment is therefore a corrosive practice that affects not only older workers; it affects younger workers and their economic future prospects, just as much.

It is time to break the glass and push the alarm button now, before a major crisis is hitting us in the face. Call your U.S. representatives and tell them that the time has come to install fairness and common sense into the U.S. labor policies and protect our civil rights.

--Dr. Flywheel

Additional References:

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Intel Corp.
The “Headless Chicken” Syndrome

We have a good reason to believe that Brian Krzanich (BK) resignation from Intel Corp. was a “Roger Stone” style diversionary PR stunt, chosen by the Intel Board of Directors to protect the stock price from negative effect of vacating the top executive position. While supposedly, BK resigned his position as CEO due to ethical violation of company rules, in reality, BK was responsible for significant blunders that kept sinking the company position as a leader of the semiconductor manufacturing business.

The fact that Intel has not filled the CEO position since June 2018, indicates one or more of these points:
  1. No reasonable candidate is willing stick their head in the mess that is left behind BK’s legacy.
  2. The Board of Directors is complicit in letting BK run the company unchecked for such a long time and any well qualified candidate who interviewed with the board, figured out that they will be working against the tide and without backup.
  3. The Board of Directors is aware that CEO replacement will not solve the problems that Intel Corp. is facing, because the problems are much more profound and involve general lack of trust within the organization. Consequently, they are only focusing on damage control and can live with an interim CEO who is “absolved” of long-term responsibilities.
  4. The U.S. economy is currently running in full swing. The Board of Directors is focusing on “making hay while the Sun is shining”. A new CEO, particularly one who comes from the “outside” may come up with demands for radical changes to the internal organizations and consequently put the current stock price at risk. It is likely that the Board prefers to maintain the status quo over any "revolutionary" actions.

Brian Krazanich replaced the late Paul Otellini as Intel Corp. CEO in May 2013. Although presenting himself as an “engineer” in practice, BK had a very short engineering experience and very quickly, after being hired as a “process engineer” (a manufacturing position) at the New Mexico Fab, he shifted to a management track, where the rest of his career at Intel Corp. was spent. Most of BK career growth took place as a manager at the Technology and Manufacturing Group (TMG), which operates the silicon manufacturing lines (known as the "Fabs"). BK had no background in circuit design, electrical engineering, systems engineering, or software engineering which together, create the actual IP value of today's computer systems products.

For many decades since its foundation, Intel Corp. held itself to high standards of transparency by keeping low overhead and sharing information with all of its employees. As part of this exercise of transparency, the company annually conducted an employee feedback study known as the Organization Health Survey (OHS). The OHS presented employees with a large number of questions, asking them to grade the company performance over a wide range of issues. The OHS goal was to give managers a realistic assessment of the efficacy of management practices. The results of the OHS were published and distributed to employees, as a matter of course, followed by a public discussion of the issues exposed by the annual OHS. As the late Paul Otellini used to say "OHS goal is to keep Intel Corp. management in tune with company employees".

In 2013 (the first year in which BK was the CEO), Intel Corp. "C-Suite" issued a message to employees that the pending, annual OHS will not be conducted for that year. This was supposedly, because BK was in his position for less than a full year. This was the first time that the OHS was not run, since inception of the practice at Intel Corp.

In 2014, though the OHS questioner was distributed to employees on time, executive management refused to publish the OHS results for the first time in the history of the company. The only points that were exposed, came out of the personal blog that Richard Taylor (head of Intel HR at at the time) published on Planet Blue, the internal employee social network. The major issues mentioned on that blog included the fact that the OHS revealed significant trust issues among corporate entities, as well as lack of trust between managers and technical leaders, serving within the same business units.

Since Richard Taylor’s blog was open to all employees, his comments about the OHS received a flood of comments and questions. Like other company employees, I contributed a few of these comments at the time. My comments specifically addressed the growing lack of knowledge and many times complete ignorance of significant technical issues on the part of company managers at all levels. I also mentioned the systemic diminishing of the authority bestowed upon technical leaders and the overt effort to cut their numbers in company ranks, while staffing a growing number of manager positions. At the time, we did not know that BK and his cronies were planning to lay off a large number of employees in 2015; however, in retrospective, it becomes clear that the ground work was already set for this action to happen.

Interestingly, the 2015 mass layoffs were heavily skewed to exclude managers, compared to employees in individual contributor positions. This fact is clearly demonstrated by the OWBPA report filed by Intel Corp. in June of 2015.

(click on image to expand detail)

2014 was the year in which during the course of my work as the systems architect of the Electrical Validation department, I had first row view of the 14nm process yield failures. Upon closer look and a thorough investigation I came to the conclusion that the systems used for engineering audit of the wafers coming out of the Fabs were ineffective for determining a cause-effect correlation. Establishing such correlation is a fundamental requirement for effective failure analysis and subsequent correction of mass manufacturing production flaws. While 20th Century methodologies were sufficient to monitor silicon defects and determine corrective actions for fixing silicon production flaws for many generations of Intel silicon products, it became apparent that these methods have reach their limit at the time that the last 22nm fabrication process (Haswell family of CPUs) was used at the Fabs.

Looking at the vast amounts of data coming out of the production monitoring systems, I was astonished to find out that no-one on the engineering side of the company, knew how to effectively use the collected data for proper analysis as well as how to apply the analysis towards fixing outstanding yield problems. Further, it was shocking to find out that most of the petabytes (millions of gigabytes) of data was never seriously examined or utilized. In fact, most of the collected data was  unfit and useless for engineering analysis. After years of inertia this revelation was the first indication of a systemic failure. A Laissez-faire approach to running a critical part of the business suddenly falling into obsolescence, mostly due to lack of scrutiny and common sense among managers.

In an effort to correct the situation I began working on an initiative to revise the procedures and the methodologies used for identification of root-causes in silicon wafer failures for the 14nm and the upcoming 10nm fabrication processes. In concerted cooperation with other engineering leaders I devised 21st Century methodology, specifically using “big data” and artificial intelligence techniques for collection, organization, and analysis of silicon wafer failure handling. The foundation for this framework became internally known as the INTELligence Initiative.

While it took a significant amount of time to educate and convince people that the methodology change is critical for success, a significant number of technical leaders within the engineering organizations at Intel Corp. became convinced that the new direction that I proposed is the right way to go. Further prototyping and application of the methodology were applied to real-life data demonstrating significant success. The only objections, came from high level managers, who had no technical background and were risk averse. The message that I received at the time was “go ahead and implement your solution, if you are successful, we will support you...”.

The INTELligence Initiative and all the process improvements that I was leading at the time, went on the chopping block after the 2015 mass layoffs. C-Suite executives enjoyed their bonuses at the end of 2015 and the orchestra continued to play while the boat was sinking.

Though my immersion in the analysis of the 14nm production problems allowed me to understand the depth of trouble that hat the company was in, I was still convinced that commonsense would prevail and the new methodology would be adopted to help the recovery process. Now, four years later, I see that the common sense never floated to the top, because the Intel Corp. organization became increasingly dysfunctional, year after year.

It is now the end of 2018, BK is no longer the CEO, many thousands of experienced Intel Corp. employees had been permanently laid off in 2015 and 2016 and most of them do not wish to ever return to employment with Intel Crop.

Let us do a reality check as of end of October 2018:
  • BK received the dubious credential of being the “First Intel Corp. CEO to Break Moore’s Law”, an attribute that he certainly worked hard to earn...
  • BK appointed more Vice Presidents during his tenure as CEO, than any one of his predecessors. The question remains open: "What does the company have to show for this generosity?"
  • Intel Corp. has trouble finding competent people who are willing to work for the company, due to its diminished reputation as a fair employer.
  • The employee trust issues that were revealed in the 2014 OHS have never been attended to and the employee scare tactics, subsequently employed by BK for more than four years, further eroded chances of repair.
  • Intel Corp. sustained tremendous production yield problems with its 14nm silicon production processes while other semiconductor manufacturers, including Global Foundries, TSMC and Samsung proceed to offer reliable 14nm, 12nm 10nm and 7nm products.
  • Intel lost its place as the number one semiconductor manufacturer in the world, more than likely, forever.
  • AMD business success due to its reliance on external Fabs is capitalizing on Intel Corp. failure to lead in manufacturing technologies and product intellectual property development.
  • While still fighting yield problems with the so called “mature” 14nm process current industry news give the impression that the 10nm silicon manufacturing process will never see the light of day, due to both technical and economical factors.
  • Apparently the pressure on the limping 14nm production process is so bad that Intel Corp. is moving the system integration “Chip-set” parts back into the older 22nm production line.
  • Intel Corp. began selling assets, to offset losses. The latest such action is apparently, the sell off of the memory business, back to Micron Technology, for $1.5 billion
My analysis is that Intel Corp. is facing a plethora of technical problems that are real. However, the overwhelming problem for the company is the presence of incompetent management at all levels, in addition to lack of trust and cooperation inside business units and absence of leadership direction. The current production yield problems are only a symptom of the underlying organizational weakness and lack of leadership resolve. I define this phenomenon as the “headless chicken syndrome”.

--Dr. Flywheel