Roughly 2 dozen picketers, current and former IBM workers raising signs that read "America\u2019s future is not offshore" and "Offshore CEO Sam Palmisano," alerted shareholders attending the company\u2019s annual meeting April 27 that offshore outsourcing would be on the table.Inside the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Sam Palmisano, IBM\u2019s chairman, president and CEO, defended the outsourcing strategy, which has gained a high profile after reports said executives discussed moving a large number of U.S.-based jobs to countries such as India.Palmisano stressed IBM\u2019s strength as a global business and said it needs to "look at a global skills pool around the world." He pointed to $25 million the company has set aside for the Human Capital Alliance, a skills retraining program, although he acknowledged that the effort is just beginning.However, it was apparent from the chairman\u2019s remarks extolling the benefits of open markets and global free trade that IBM is not turning back from offshoring. "Most people recognize that you can\u2019t lock down jobs, businesses and skills, and you can\u2019t lock down nations," Palmisano said. And he warned that in managing an enterprise such as IBM, there can be "no emotional attachment to the things that don\u2019t represent your future."That lack of emotional attachment, to employees in particular, rankles with longtime IBMers who say they have seen a shift in the corporate culture.Bill Costine, an IBM AIX system support employee in Fishkill, N.Y., took part in the demonstration in front of the convention center. Costine says that he feels his job is relatively safe for now because it requires face-to-face interaction with U.S.-based hardware engineers. But others are vulnerable. "Any help desk job, any programming job, any software development job, anything that doesn\u2019t involve face-to-face transactions with your customer" is vulnerable, he says.