Staffing shakeup at IBM Buffalo Billion project

Until recently, staffing agency Career Connection Inc. was the largest employer at IBM’s Buffalo office. But, last week, CEO Jessica Killgore told employees – including roughly 85 in Buffalo – they would be abruptly transferred to other companies, also IBM subcontractors. The move followed “a series of painful business challenges and unfavorable events encountered during the last two years,” Killgore wrote in an email to staff last Monday. “We feel it is imperative to take extreme action.”

Gov. Cuomo lured IBM to town with $55 million from the Buffalo Billion. In exchange, state officials promised, the company would create 500 high-paying, high-tech jobs. So far, however, most of the people there work relatively low-paying call center jobs and aren’t employed by IBM directly, but by subcontractors – like CCI.

CCI was a “proven commodity,” IBM executives told state officials two years ago, when making their pitch for a $58 million state IT contract. “This is somebody we’ve worked with for years,” one executive said. IBM won the contract, which was mostly staffed by contractors from CCI.  Former CCI employees, however, complained of poor training and the company’s relentless nickel-and-diming. Workers’ final paychecks, for instance, were cut to minimum wage if they quit or were fired within six months.

Are you a CCI employee affected by the restructuring? We’d like to hear from you. You can contact reporter Charlotte Keith at