Andy Mattes, the senior vice president of EDS Americas, addressed employee concerns about salary cuts and layoffs -- and warned workers not to talk to the news media -- in a podcast obtained by NBCDFW.com.
"A., this is not easy, and we as a management team appreciate that," Mattes said in the podcast. "B., if you're impacted, that is painful, and there is nothing that I can tell you that's going to make that pain go away."
Mattes began the employee town hall with a "legal disclaimer" that "anything that I do or say may or may not resemble the truth when it comes to forward-looking statements."
Mattes also urged employees to not speak with the media about their concerns. An EDS employee anonymously told NBCDFW.com last week that his salary was being cut by one-third.
"People have been leaking stuff into the news," Mattes said. "I can only urge you to keep the conversation that we're having here amongst ourselves. The more we can keep it amongst ourselves, the more open we can talk. If we have to get the feeling that everything that we do will show up in the newspapers tomorrow, you'll get whitewashed statements."
But several EDS employees said they feel information is already being whitewashed for themselves, as well as customers and potential clients. They said the warning against speaking to the news media is intended to keep issues of morale and the potential impact on customers quiet.
Employees say morale is low, anxiety is high and productivity is down as many workers spend part of their days on task and part of it searching for new employment.
Workers said they fear every day that they will receive a tap on the shoulder -- or an e-mail -- informing them their services are no longer required.
"HP will transition IT resources from Plano, Texas, to other locations..." the company said in a statement. "All affected will be given the opportunity and financial support to relocate to other HP offices."
But employees described it as a take-it or leave-it offer from a company that is asking some employees to risk relocation while at the same time cutting salaries of EDS workers up to nearly 50 percent in some cases.
In the podcast townhall meeting about the company's new job architecture, Mattes said 20 percent of HP-EDS employees regionally have been impacted by the salary cuts.
He repeatedly said the changes are painful, but necessary and would have been worse years from now if the company had not taken steps to restructure in this economy.
HP spokesmen confirmed the 150 job relocations but offered no comment on Mattes' statements in the podcast or on questions about cuts and other issues.