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    Highlights for week ending August 10, 2002
  • Burlington (Vermont) Free Press: Former IBM employees say age factor in layoffs. Excerpts: "Griffiths and 769 others received their last paychecks Monday, 60 days after IBM announced the job cuts to ease expenses during a worldwide technology slump. James Leas, an IBM engineer, and Earl Mongeon, a union activist and manufacturing employee at IBM, set up a table Monday and displayed a chart outside DBM showing why they thought IBM had terminated more jobs held by older people than younger people. The chart was compiled by an anonymous IBMer who also lost his job and used an IBM report to track engineers and technicians fired June 4 in IBM's Worldwide Semiconductor Group. According to the chart, 67 percent of those in the 61 to 65 age category were laid off versus 20 percent for those workers in the 31 to 35 age category." If link is broken, view Adobe Acrobat version [PDF--225 KB].

  • Burlington Free Press: AG's office investigates IBM complaints. Excerpt: "The Vermont Attorney General is investigating age discrimination complaints by former employees of IBM Corp. in Essex Junction, said Kate Hayes, an assistant attorney general in the civil rights unit. Hayes said Tuesday that she had received three claims against IBM stemming from its layoff of 770 employees, announced June 4. Normally, the office receives fewer than 15 age discrimination complaints per year." If link is broken, view Adobe Acrobat version [PDF--224 KB].

  • "rosiethemba" uses a "disparate impact" calculator to suggest "Legal Evidence of Age Discrimination by IBM" for the Map SWG layoff. See part two.

  • Business Week: IBM's Palmisano Sets His Course. But if the new CEO stumbles in integrating PwC's low-margin consulting business, IBM's stock -- and his reputation -- could take a beating.

  • Business Week: Shrewd Move, Big Blue. Buying PwC Consulting gives it a full range of services

  • eWeek: IT Workers on Way to Joining Unions? Excerpts: "'We probably added 20 percent of our membership in the last couple of months,' said Linda Guyer, union president of Alliance@IBM and a project manager in the software division of IBM's Endicott, N.Y., site. Alliance@ IBM, formed in 1999, now represents about 5,000 out of some 120,000 IBM workers in the United States." ... "One thing that may push U.S. IT workers to join unions is that unions are helping IT workers in countries that have strong labor movements. A case in point: Hewlett-Packard Co. must jump through hoops before it can lay off 5,900 Europeans. In both France and Germany, HP is required to secure approval of layoff plans from work councils before any IT worker loses his or her job. That approval won't come easily. In mid-July, about 300 Compaq Computer Corp. employees staged anti-HP rallies in German cities.

  • Business Week: Less Gold in the Golden Years? Excerpt: "Even without Wall Street's woes, it's becoming clear that a majority of middle-aged folks may face greater financial pressures in retirement than their parents did. Many upper- and middle-class workers were mauled by the market decline, but the retirement prospects of far more families have been hurt by changes in the Social Security and private pension systems. (In 1998, the bottom 90% of households accounted for just 18% of stock market wealth.)"

  • Physicians for a National Health Program is a single issue organization advocating a universal, comprehensive single-payer national health care program. Visit the PNHP Web site for information.

  • A dialog between IBM Global Services and PricewaterhouseCoopers employees is taking place on Vault's IGS bulletin board. The following are links to two of the postings:

Articles about corporate governance:

  • New York Times: G.M. Plans to List Its Stock Options as Expenses. Excerpt: "The treatment of stock options has been a central issue in the recent crisis in the accounting industry and the debate over corporate bookkeeping. Most companies have not treated options as an expense because it is not mandatory and doing so reduces profits. Critics who believe that accounting standards should be changed have said the growing use of options has inflated the paper value of companies. 'Options are a huge cost for many corporations and a huge benefit to executives,' wrote Warren E. Buffett, chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, in a recent Op-Ed article in The New York Times. 'No wonder, then, that they have fought ferociously to avoid making a charge against their earnings.'"

  • Reuters: Buffett sees changes in corp. pension assumptions.

  • Washington Post: Accounting Board Resuming Debate on Option Rules.

  • Business Week: Can You Trust Your Fund Company? Labor activists claim conflicts of interest lead mutual funds to side with corporate management at the expense of shareholders. Excerpt: " "This is a core conflict of interest on Wall Street," charges William Patterson, head of the AFL-CIO Office of Investments. "Fidelity gets paid to run 401(k)s for companies like Enron, so it won't vote against their interests." Fidelity Chief of Administration David Weinstein says Fidelity makes proxy decisions based only on shareholder interests. The shareholder activist campaign is part of Labor's larger effort to alter the rubber-stamp approach to investing that's common among many institutional stockholders. The union's argument, which has gained support after the recent spate of corporate scandals, is that institutions such as pension and mutual funds uncritically vote with management on everything from poison pills to huge executive pay plans."

  • San Francisco Chronicle: CEO pay defies hard times. Excerpt: "With the stock market now in tatters -- and with a growing movement to book options as a business expense -- it's a fairly safe bet that fewer and fewer execs will be walking off with enough cash to bankroll a developing nation. But they won't be hurting either. In Ellison's case, he took home more money last year than any other businessman in history -- a whopping $706 million. This was all from exercising millions of stock options just weeks before Oracle said it had missed sales targets, causing its share price to tumble."
"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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