An IBM spokesman, John Bukovinsky, declined to say how many workers were affected by the latest cuts, but said the cuts "aren't really any kind of a company-wide action" and added that they're not aimed at limiting expenses at the firm.
"They're not cost-cuts at all," he said.
He also said cuts "won't be anything close to 1 percent" of the company's total work force of 316,303 at the beginning of the year.
Notices sent this week to employees in everything from sales to services and manufacturing identified the affected as "selected for permanent layoff" as part of a broad "skills resources transition" at IBM.
Lee Conrad, a former IBM employee and now a national organizer for the Alliance at IBM, a unit of the Communications Workers of America, estimates "about 1,000" workers have been affected by the cuts in the past week and calls the company's "secretive" cuts a "shell game." "IBM needs to come out and say exactly what they're doing," he said.
The latest cuts are in addition to layoffs affecting some 1,500 workers at IBM's Global Services division, one of its fastest-growing units, that officials confirmed last week.
Last year, Big Blue expanded its work force by 2.9 percent, according to company filings, and Mr. Bukovinsky said that "we expect to end the year with more people than we started the year."