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    Highlights for week ending January 19, 2002
  • CBS MarketWatch: More distress seen at major U.S. firms. Advisor says accountants will pore through books. Excerpts: "Banker fully expects accountants and investors to take a closer look at IBM, and other Dow-traded companies, for any signs of creative bookkeeping. Banker, more than a decade ago, worked for IBM as director of treasury operations for IBM World Trade Corp., specializing in subsidiary units in Latin America, Asia and the Far East. He also was a senior treasury consultant at IBM headquarters in Armonk, N.Y." ... "'IBM will crack, and so will Microsoft ,' says Banker. 'The gun-shy accountants will make sure of that.'"

  • Public Citizen: Electricity, Commodities Deregulation Allowed Enron to Loot Billions from Lenders, Shareholders, Employees and Consumsers. Excerpt: "Buried amid the rubble of Enron’s fallen house of cards are the political ties that allowed this greedy company to rip off the public and its own employees, who saw their retirement accounts vanish overnight — even as top executives were bailing out and walking away with hundreds of millions of dollars," said report author Tyson Slocum, research director for Public Citizen’s Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program. "There’s an object lesson here for those who decry government regulation: Absent a strong regulatory presence, greed prevails and consumers get the shaft. We’ve seen it time and time again."

  • In reply to a union basher, Jamshyd Taylor answers the question "Exactly what good did the UAW do for all the Ford workers being laid off?

  • President Bush Bypasses Congress to Appoint Scalia Labor's Top Lawyer. Excerpts: "President Bush on Friday installed Eugene Scalia, who has a record of extreme positions opposing worker protections, as the U.S. Department of Labor’s top lawyer."...

    "As the Labor Department’s chief lawyer, Scalia will be responsible for enforcing more than 180 laws that provide basic worker protections in areas such as safety and health, minimum wages, equal employment opportunity and pension security. The AFL-CIO and other allies of working families strongly opposed Bush’s nomination of Scalia, who has worked to kill or weaken worker safety standards nationally as well as in California, North Carolina and Washington."

    "While 1.8 million workers a year suffer painful “ergonomic” injuries on the job caused by repetitive or poorly designed work and heavy lifting, Scalia, son of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, has termed the science of ergonomics 'junk science par excellence' and 'quackery.' AFL-CIO President John Sweeney called Bush’s appointment of Scalia 'a slap in the face of American workers'."

  • Dr. Dobb's Journal editorial: Strike One... (commenting on the Boeing engineers' union strike of 2000). Excerpt: "In February 2000, 17,000-plus frustrated Boeing scientists, engineers, and software developers walked off the job for 40 days until management caved in to worker demands. What the engineers got in return for ending the strike were wage increases of 17 percent over three years, signing bonuses to return to work, management's promise not to cut health benefits, a greater voice in company decisions, and company-neutral union elections. What is significant about this job action, however, is that it was the largest strike by white-collar technical professionals in American history."

  • IBM: IBM announces fourth-quarter 2001 results.

  • New York Times: Enron Avoided Income Taxes in 4 of 5 Years. Excerpt: "Enron avoided taxes for another big reason: deductions for stock options. When executives exercise stock options the company takes a deduction on its corporate income tax return equal to the profit realized by the executive, even though it is not required to show an expense on its profit-and-loss statement to shareholders. The benefits to the company can be great, particularly if a soaring stock price leads to the exercise of large numbers of options. That was true at Enron when its shares were soaring in 1998 through 2000."
  • Communications Workers of America: Bush Reverses Decision to Close U.S. Department of Labor's Women's Bureau Regional offices.

  • USA Today: Polaroid retirees lose benefits. Excerpt: "After taking early retirement from Polaroid, Karl Farmer called the company to ask how his first severance check would arrive. He was stunned to find out it wasn't coming at all. Polaroid abruptly halted severance payments to those who were laid off or retired early, and health subsidies for roughly 5,000 retirees, days before declaring bankruptcy Oct. 12. Despite the cutbacks, the company moved ahead with plans to give top executives millions of dollars in retention bonuses."

  • "Lou_Shadow" comments on the possible departure of Larry Ricciardo and Lou Gerstner.
"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have too much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." — Franklin D. Roosevelt
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