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    Highlights for week ending August 31, 2002
  • Poughkeepsie Journal: IBM cut 1,000 jobs overseas. Excerpt: "According to the Information Technology Professionals Association in Reading, United Kingdom, IBM announced at the end of April it wanted 1,000 ''redundancies,'' the British term for layoffs."

  • From Linda Guyer: The Alliance is planning to send a complete package of information to the EEOC about age bias in "permanent layoffs". This package will include an analysis of the disparate impact as well as other information. If anyone would like to submit any factual information that you may have that would help our case, please send it to mrs_adm@yahoo.com. I'd still encourage individuals to please file with the EEOC, the more complaints they get, the more likely they are to investigate IBM.

  • Boston Globe: Reforming labor law is still a work in progress. Excerpts: "Corporate reform proposals are ignoring a critical block of victims - American workers and their families. They are paying a huge price for trusting business executives to protect their interests, but current proposals fail to protect them from abuses that have led to dramatic losses in jobs, retirement income, professional and personal identity, and voice in the workplace." ... "The view that the corporation exists only to enrich its stockholders has been accepted for too long. Corporate failure to similarly value other objectives - including the well-being of employees and their community - has helped produce today's scandals. Any reform package that fails to give employees the power to monitor executive behavior and protect their human capital investments fails to complete the job."

  • Business Week: Working Life. By Michelle Conlin. Commentary: Workers, Beware of Brave New Health Plans. Excerpts: "Get ready for the Big Shift, Round Two. First, during the 1980s, CEOs deftly phased out rich defined-benefit pensions and moved workers into you're-on-your-own 401(k)s, shredding a major safety net even as they locked in lifetime benefits for themselves. The move promised the rank and file a chance to make big money in the stock market, but it has also enabled companies to cut 22% of their retirement spending since 1986, according to the Labor Dept. Warning labels about the risks of employees becoming their own investment managers--or about how much less companies would be contributing--were often missing from the promotional brochures. Now, health benefits are in the crosshairs. Faced with soaring increases of 13% and more in runaway costs--and with no relief in sight--companies for the past year have been shifting more of the bill onto workers in the form of higher deductibles, co-pays, and premiums. If the labor market continues to weaken, companies could be even more emboldened to shift more risk, responsibility, and management for health care onto employees."

  • CFO Magazine: Honey, I Shrunk The 401(k). The bear market has clobbered 401(k) accounts--and could spark a revival of defined benefit plans. Excerpts: "That rumbling sound you hear in the distance is the growing chorus of very disgruntled employees who now realize that 401(k) account balances can shrink as well as grow--and who have discovered that they're not very good at managing them, anyway. They're calling for a return of the old-fashioned defined benefit plan, or for one of the new pension hybrids that meld features of defined benefit and defined contribution plans."

  • Texans for Public Justice: Gov. Perry Misdiagnoses Causes of Doctors’ Insurance Woes. Misdiagnosis Prompts Prescriptions That Would Harm Patients. Excerpt: "Fortunately, the evidence shows that medical malpractice claims and pay outs are not increasing at the alarming rates that CALA and the Governor would lead us to believe,” McDonald said. “Doctors should join consumers to demand that the state stop insurers from price gouging across the board—in the auto, home and health insurance markets. Abandoning patients and abolishing their rights is a reckless prescription for affordable insurance.” As in the mid-1980s, the insurance industry priced its liability policies relatively low during the 1990’s stock market bubble to maximize the revenues that it could reinvest on Wall Street. Now that the bubble has burst, this cash-strapped industry seeks to blame the civil justice system for its own management failures."

  • "cmohre" offers advice for working IBMers. Excerpt: "Looks like life at ibm has gone from very bad to it couldn't get any worse. Please, do yourselves favor, get the heck out. Do not wait until ibm management kicks you out. Start looking for a new position now. Jobs are scarce, and with more ibm layoffs in the near future, it's only going to get tougher. I have been gone from ibm for a month and have never been happier."

  • Business Week: The New Pinch from Pensions. Companies must pour billions into retiree plans after betting on stocks. Excerpts: "Amid the wreckage of the worst bear market in at least three decades,hemorrhaging corporate pension plans are rapidly becoming Wall Street's biggest new worry. They have lost hundreds of billions of dollars, and now companies face the end of their long-running holiday from writing checks to the plans. Over the next 18 months or so, companies ranging from General Motors to United Technologies face having to pump billions into their plans to comply with federal laws to protect pensioners."

  • H1-B News: Current News About H-1B and Work Visas.

  • eWeek: CWA Calls for Repeal of H1-B Program. Excerpt: "Claiming that the H1-B visa program has "proven to be abusive of domestic workers in several ways," the Communications Workers of America union has passed a resolution condemning program abuses and called for the program's immediate repeal. The CWA has had reservations about the visa program in past years, union officials said, but the straw that broke the camel's back was President Bush's FY 2003 budget proposal, which proposes the elimination of a technical skills training program for American workers that is funded by the $1,000 fees paid by employers that file for H1-Bs. The Bush administration wants to shift some $138 million out of the current H1-B visa-generated training account and apply it, and all future funds, to faster processing of permanent foreign labor certifications—a move the CWA derided in its resolution as adding "insult to injury".

 

Articles about corporate governance:

  • Salon: The feeling is mutual. After Enron, the accounting industry was dinged for conflicts of interest. But what about the mutual fund managers? Excerpt: "The giant mutual funds are serving two masters. As owners of huge amounts of stock, it is their job to hold incompetent or self-interested management accountable. But there are massive fees coming their way when corporate executives award them 401K and pension fund assets to invest. For instance, the nation's largest mutual fund, Fidelity, which owns 5.3 percent of Tyco's stock, also earned $2 million in 1999 for its part in running Tyco's 401K plans. Indeed, last year over 50 percent of Fidelity's $9.8 billion in revenues was generated by administering 401K plans and other employee benefit services for some 11,000 companies, including Philip Morris, Shell, IBM, Monsanto and Ford."

  • Salon: How to spend $67 billion. What would you do with all the money squandered by corporate America? Excerpt: " The total amount of sweetheart insider loans doled out to John Rigas (Adelphia), Bernie Ebbers (WorldCom), Stephen Hilbert (Conseco), Dennis Kozlowski (Tyco) and Ken Lay (Enron) was $3.9 billion. With $3.9 billion, you could...
"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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