IBM subcontractor stiffs employees on pay

Former employees of Career Connection Inc., until recently the largest employer at IBM’s Buffalo office, were told Thursday that the company cannot afford to pay them for their final week of work.

In response to our report on WGRZ, IBM said the company has “promptly taken action making sure the employees receive all the money they are owed for their work on the IBM account.” The affected employees will be paid by IBM.

“My goal is to accumulate sufficient cash to fund the payroll for the week ended March 30, 2018,” Career Connection Inc.’s CEO, Jessica Killgore, wrote in an email to former employees, “although I cannot yet provide assurance as to whether this will be possible or the timing of any payment.”

Kilgore also wrote that CCI plans to sue a group of former employees she blames for the company’s financial problems, which she attributed to “severe financial challenges due to a combination of unfavorable business events and actions taken by the former executive management team that we believe were fraudulent.”

If the company wins its legal action, Kilgore said, any financial settlement would go towards the unpaid wages.

CCI announced a few weeks ago that it was going out of business and abruptly transferred its employees to other IBM subcontractors.

The developments are the latest in a series of upheavals at IBM’s office downtown, paid for with $55 million from Gov. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative. State officials said the investment would create 500 high-paying, high-tech jobs. But, so far, most of the people there work in modestly-paid call center jobs, as contractors – not direct IBM employees.

On top of the Buffalo Billion funding, IBM has a $58 million state contract to provide tech support to state agencies, which has been plagued by under-staffing, poor training, and high turnover.