Thread regarding Northwestern Mutual layoffs

The Expense Initiative - March 2017 Layoffs

As covered in the Bus Journal back in Jan... Source Below:

Schlifske referred to his announcement in September 2016 that NM was eliminating 100 jobs by the end of 2016 and planned to cut hundreds more in 2017. The “expense initiative” is necessary due to low interest rates that jeopardize the company’s position as a low-cost producer of life insurance, the company’s chief investment officer previously told the Business Journal.


by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h
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Well Schlifske has show his true colors on this one. The 2017 form 5500 has been filed with the Department of Labor. According to company records, 638 employees were laid off during the March time frame in 2017, and 155 in November. However there have been several other layoff groups in 2017 and into 2018, but those numbers aren’t known yet. That’s 793 employees in those two months, and yet according to form 5500 the company only shed 382 employees. While hundreds of workers were losing their jobs, the company was still hiring and in many cases hiring direct replacements for laid off workers. How sad to see this once great company ruined by Schlifske.

plan number is 003 and EIN number is 390509570

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-6fbco

It’s just laughable that NM calls this the expense initiative because from what I see there’s no money saving happening. The money is just being spent on new buildings in Milwaukee and company acquisitions in New York. It’s also hilarious that whoever controls the budget for the Franklin Fitness Center couldn’t get new ellipticals when the old ones broke down. The company received used ones from the WAC. That’s just pathetic.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-41lqu

In the IT, executives seem to want to give everyone a job title with engineer in it. When in fact most of these jobs are System Admin or Systems Analyst jobs. Executives clearly don't understand the type of work happening in the IT department. Using engineer in the job title increases the wage for that position.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-3wxmj

I've also heard reports that the company actually raised the salary range for many jobs.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-3wxms

When the CEO announced the variable pay for 2016, I found it interesting that there was no round of applause at the town hall. The CEO and executives think the employees are stupid, but in fact the employees know exactly what is happening.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-35rwd

See OPEIU website Local 35. There is an update on bargaining and the use of temps, contractors,etc

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-2omgu

Lame answer to reporter's question regarding NM layoffs, and lame attempt by the reporter. There's a reason why interviews like this are rare with Mr. Schlifske, he doesn't want to get asked any tough questions about continued layoffs and offshoring of jobs.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-1Wwlw

I'm wondering if this could be project based employees, but then also wonder why so many in Infrastructure & Ops department. What happens to these people when the projects end?

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-1laag

I recently saw the layoff printout from the November layoffs and saw an odd division name called IO Flex Staff under the Infrastructure & Ops department. Does anyone know what that means and why some many people would be under that division? Normally I'd think of flex staff as contractors, but I don't know why NM would report contractors in the printout to show which employees were laid off.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-1lywz

This is true that they are posting the positions as people leave. In addition, they are allowing the contractors to apply before they look at the existing NM staff that is interested. Looks like they are cleaning house at NM employee's expense. We were told that there is no difference been the contracted employees and NM employees. Mr. Zore had it together. This new leadership should be ashamed of themselves.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-1apjq

The executives making the decisions about these layoffs are clueless. They get rid of very talented people who know the business and the systems, and then wonder why there’s a system outage daily. When they need an expert to fix an issue, someone then figures out that NM laid off the employees who could fix the issue. This is very frustrating to watch.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-1aodi

This company was run much better under Ed Zore. When the recession hit, he made sure that employees were repositioned in the company when certain areas needed to trim positions. If people needed to be let go, then contractor positions were eliminated. Under the current CEO, John Schlifske, some employees have been given a layoff notice and before they even leave, their job is posted on the NM website. Where the heck did the integrity of this company go.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-1aghu

In addition to the layoffs, some of the people in their 50's and 60's are being forced to retire. They eliminate your current job and give you another job. You only have a set amount of time to met the expectations. If you don't, you better retire or face termination. Not all of the expectations are measurable by metrics. They watch you. Everything you say is picked apart. You can't win.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-Wdqm

There is definitely some age discrimination going on here. Eighty five percent of the LearnVest employees are in their 20s and 30s, and none were let go. Yet the layoffs continue at NM. Some people are reporting that about 1,400 people have been laid off now. This company should also be required to show how many of these jobs were filled with offshore contractors.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-Wsqe

People are being eliminated before they hit the 55 and 20 years of service mark which would make them eligible for NM healthcare. Then they have no choice other than Cobra or Obamacare. For some people a short time more (months in some cases) would have made them eligible for NM healthcare. The price of NM healthcare is very high unless you have 35+ years. At any rate it is not a good thing.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-Ukvz

If you are around 55 and take early retirement, forget about getting affordable retiree health care. The monthly premium for family coverage is around $1,500+. If you’re a single income family and take early retirement, there’s a good chance you’ll end up on Medicaid to have any health insurance.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-Ugnq

The LearnVest acquisition is a little odd. First NM executives claimed it was because of their technology, but the only tech LearnVest has is a website. I don’t think one website is worth $250,000,000. Then NM executives claimed it was to acquire the people. Who spends $250,000,000 to acquire 290 people. Almost three years later NM has nothing worth $250,000,000 to show for that investment.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-Upoa

Yes I heard about the investment people also, but also heard that those people were let go because of making risky investments that lost money. I also saw a web article somewhere referring to this. NM did report a 210 million dollar capital loss in 2016.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-Usgg

We heard that there were isolated pockets of people being walked out prior to the announcement. These people reportedly worked in investment areas. At this point, LearnVest was on board and NM staff was no longer needed.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-Svrt

It’s interesting that the CEO’s message came out the same day or the day before the media released the story. Apparently the CEO wasn’t planning on being transparent with employees, and it wasn’t until someone leaked the story to the media that he decided to say something.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-Seqe

For some reason this CEO would rather have offshore contractors.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-Mqbo

When you say NM employees, I’m not sure which employees or how many you’re referring to. The general employee population wasn’t aware of the layoff until the CEO recorded a message to the employees in September 2016.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-Mxtw

When this all started which was actually before the September 2016 announcement, NM employees were told that they could continue to work as contractors after being laid off. Very few were able to do so. Now working as a contractor is not an option if you get the severance package.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-Lbii

It's unfortunate that in this modern society we continue to have discussions about discrimination, and in this case age discrimination. I think the CEO and executives of NM want contractors even more. When this is all done, it wouldn’t surprise me if NM is 50 percent contractors. I’m not sure why the company didn’t offer employees a chance to stay on as contractors.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-Knaa

Northwestern clearly wants younger people. Younger people save the company money. They have less vacation time, the company pays a smaller percentage to their pension plans and they take less time off for disabilities. If you are older and don't take a hint when they ask you when you are retiring, you are given extra work sometimes 2 jobs. Nothing you do is right. You are slow or make too many errors while younger people are being left alone. The word is 1000 more people will be laid off starting in January.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-Ikwk

There doesn't seem to be any clear strategy at this company. The company added 130 employees in 2012, 65 in 2013, 227 in 2014, and 365 in 2015. That's a whopping 787 employees in a very slow economy. In 2015, 289 of the new employees were due to the LearnVest acquisition.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-Gmvw

Unfortunately the older workers are being laid off in greater numbers. Of the 640 employees let go, or receiving a notice at the end of March, 59 percent were in their 50s and 60s. Companies like Northwestern Mutual claim that diversity is part of the culture, yet I never hear them mention having an Employee Resource Group for older workers.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-Gveu

Those of us in the 55+ age range are being asked when we will retire. As people leave, they are hiring "temp" staff to do the work. The work is not eliminated.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-Ejmf

Based on current spending habits, company executives are not being fiscally responsible with policyholder money. Two new towers in downtown Milwaukee for $600 million, $250 million to acquire startup company LearnVest, new airplane hangar, and a new corporate jet. The CEO wants people to believe that times are tough and the company needs to save money by laying off employees. Really.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-wafx

It's disappointing that the CEO and executives don't take personal accountability for this mess. Low interest rates have been the norm since 2008/2009 but apparently the executive team has been asleep at the wheel. It’s more likely that the company just isn’t being honest. The CEO claims to be eliminating jobs, but in reality hundreds of jobs are being outsourced to India. As of March 2017 the company has laid off 640 employees and the layoffs continue.

by | Post ID: @PrgkD0h-wtow

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