Friday, February 18, 2005

The New York Times, February 17, 2005, Thursday

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
The New York Times

February 17, 2005 Thursday
Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section C; Column 2; Business/Financial Desk; Pg. 1

HEADLINE: A Folksy Lawyer With a High-Powered Client


The first four weeks of the trial of Bernard J. Ebbers, the former chief executive of WorldCom, have moved like mud. Witness after witness has testified about a blizzard of arcane accounting details and their various roles in the $11 billion fraud that sank the telecommunications company in 2002.
Like the jury, Mr. Ebbers's lawyer, Reid H. Weingarten, has endured the hours of tedious testimony. With his weathered briefcase, slightly askew necktie and affable demeanor, Mr. Weingarten has listened intently at times and appeared lost in thought at others.
But Mr. Weingarten was anything but casual yesterday when he began cross-examining the government's star witness, WorldCom's former chief financial officer, Scott D. Sullivan.
Defending Mr. Ebbers, who is accused of conspiracy, securities fraud and filing false reports with regulators, may be Mr. Weingarten's biggest challenge ever. But in his questioning of Mr. Sullivan -- who thus far has been imperturbable -- he showed why he has earned a reputation as one of the country's best defense lawyers.
From the outset, he attacked Mr. Sullivan's credibility, forcing him to admit that he lied to his co-workers, his friends, shareholders, auditors and WorldCom's board. Mr. Weingarten also added a burst of theatrics to the otherwise plodding testimony. After Mr. Sullivan conceded that he misled the company's board, Mr. Weingarten asked him, ''So you looked those 12 people in the eye and lied your head off?''
Judge Barbara S. Jones jumped in. ''O.K., Mr. Weingarten,'' she said, as if to wag a finger. The courtroom burst out in laughter.
The episode, though, was typical of Mr. Weingarten's strategy of acting more like a basketball coach than a big-time litigator. He bounces on the balls of his feet, often pointing his glasses for emphasis. And in asking the simplest of questions, he sounds sincere without being condescending.
''Trial lawyers are performers, and you start with a certain set of tools and with a certain personality, and then you hone it,'' said John Carroll, a partner at the Clifford Chance law firm in New York, who first met Mr. Weingarten more than a decade ago. ''A lot of guys in court come across as more academic. Reid talks to people, he comes across in a very down-to-earth way.''
The strategy has worked well for Mr. Weingarten, who declined to comment for this article. Last year, he won an acquittal for Mark A. Belnick, the former general counsel at Tyco International who was accused of larceny and fraud. He has also successfully defended Mike Espy, the former secretary of agriculture, and Ron Carey, the former head of the Teamsters. He now represents Richard L. Causey, Enron's former chief accounting officer.
But he has suffered defeats, too, during his nearly two decades at Steptoe & Johnson in Washington. One of his more notable losses came in 2003 when a federal jury convicted Franklin Brown, the former chief counsel of Rite Aid, of conspiracy and other charges.
Mr. Weingarten, colleagues say, likes to take on hard cases, and the one against Mr. Ebbers may be the hardest. Prosecutors have spent years building their case against Mr. Ebbers and have already won guilty pleas from five former WorldCom executives for their role in the fraud that led WorldCom to declare bankruptcy, from which it emerged as MCI last April.
On Sunday, Verizon Communications agreed to buy MCI for $6.7 billion, a sad if fitting coda for a company that was once worth nearly $150 billion at market.
Four of those former WorldCom executives have testified against Mr. Ebbers, including his close confidant, Mr. Sullivan. Throughout the trial, Mr. Weingarten has not questioned whether the fraud took place. Rather, he has said it was perpetrated by Mr. Sullivan and his deputies and that Mr. Ebbers was a big-picture strategist who left the accounting to subordinates.
His central strategy has been to attack Mr. Sullivan's truthfulness; Mr. Sullivan is cooperating with the government in hopes of reducing his own sentence for participating in the fraud.
In questioning Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Weingarten repeatedly emphasized one of the biggest potential flaws in the government's case: at all the meetings where Mr. Sullivan said he told Mr. Ebbers about the accounting fraud, they were the only two present. Mr. Sullivan said on the stand yesterday that ''those conversations were always Bernie and I.''
No written or taped record of those meetings have been shown at the trial, a fact that could well be crucial to the defense.
''The true hallmark of a master at this is somebody who masters all the facts and then figures out where to focus the attention,'' said James M. Cole, a former colleague in the Justice Department and a partner at the law firm Bryan Cave. ''He is discerning enough to know what matters.''
Mr. Weingarten, lawyers say, is adept at using his folksy manner to play to the jury. In closing arguments during Mr. Belnick's trial, he summarized the prosecutors' charge that Mr. Belnick helped cover up a payment to a Tyco board member. But rather than revisiting the testimony of Frank Walsh, the Tyco director who received the payment, Mr. Weingarten instead showed that he empathized with a weary jury. ''I mean, I am Walshed out,'' he said. ''You heard about that yesterday.'' The jury acquitted Mr. Belnick.
Mr. Weingarten has a hands-on approach to his cases and relies less than most well-known lawyers on his subordinates, according to colleagues who say his strengths are his opening and closing statements.
An hour before opening statements in the Ebbers trial, Mr. Weingarten sat alone in a corner of the cafeteria at the federal courthouse in New York. Clutching a bottle of juice with his eyes half closed, he appeared to be quietly rehearsing his lines. By the time he rose before the jury, he was telling them a story they appeared to comprehend, not merely reciting the arcane accounting details or convoluted legal arguments.
He deftly compared the prosecution's case to a docudrama where, if facts do not fit the case, ''you just leave them out.''
Mr. Weingarten's easygoing style harks back to the years when he was, in his words, ''a child of the 60's.'' Born in Newark in 1950, the son of a grocer, he was an avid basketball player and attended Cornell University, where he studied philosophy and labor relations. He took a year off from college to travel, for a trip down the Amazon and another across the Sahara.
He first entered the courtroom three decades ago after answering an ad for a job in the district attorney's office in Dauphin County, in eastern Pennsylvania, while he was finishing his last year at Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pa.
His boss at the time, Roy Zimmerman, promised him that if he stayed for two years, he would turn him into a trial lawyer.
Mr. Weingarten left that office in 1977 to take a job with the Justice Department's new Public Integrity Section. During the following decade, Mr. Weingarten helped convict several politicians who ran afoul of the law, including the former South Carolina congressman John W. Jenrette.
He also played a role in the Iran-Contra investigations.
It was at the Justice Department that Mr. Weingarten also met his best friend, Eric H. Holder, who went on to become deputy attorney general in 1997. Their friendship led to speculation that Mr. Weingarten had an unfair advantage defending clients being pursued by the government, accusations that Mr. Weingarten has dismissed.
Mr. Weingarten and Mr. Holder, who now works at Covington & Burling in Washington, helped form the See Forever Foundation, an organization that established a charter school in Washington focused on helping disadvantaged children. Mr. Weingarten has also coached the basketball team at the school and taught Western philosophy there.
''He's a firm believer that we need to create systems that create fair opportunities,'' said David Domenici, the foundation's executive director. In his philosophy class, Mr. Weingarten ''did everything to make the class relevant to kids growing up in the city. He posed questions and the dilemmas in them.''
The question facing jurors is whether Mr. Weingarten can convince them that Mr. Ebbers, the man who presided over WorldCom's startling rise, was somehow unaware of its downfall.

THE SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, February 17, 2005, Thursday

Copyright 2005 Seattle Post-Intelligencer

February 17, 2005, Thursday FINAL




BODY: A DOZEN YEARS have passed since a behind-the-scenes NBA power broker named Gary Bettman stepped off the fast track at what was then the hottest pro sports league and signed on as commander in chief of the coldest.
"When I first heard about it," said Pat Williams, general manager of the NBA's Orlando Magic at the time, "I sent the guy a puck. And I heard he spent all day at his desk trying to figure out how to open it up."
Bettman is working at it still - while the sport he was supposed to build burns to the ground.
It made little difference that this farce of a negotiation between the NHL's rock-headed owners and clueless players ended with Bettman's announcement yesterday that the season was finished. It's pointless, too, arguing about winners and losers - whenever the game gets back on its skates. Everybody lost, fans most of all.
What might be instructive, though, is to recall how this game of "chicken" began. It might be the best way to keep it from happening again.
That was early in 1993, when Bettman was NBA commissioner David Stern's right-hand man, praised by insiders for helping develop and sell the salary cap that brought relative labor peace to pro basketball. He was well-paid, well thought of, and loved going to work every day. And when friends like Williams asked Bettman why he would give all that up, Bettman answered, "I couldn't resist the chance to become commissioner of a sport with the upside potential that hockey has."
The reason it had so much potential, of course, was because of how far hockey lagged behind the three other major team sports.
Bettman was not a "hockey guy" - his first real exposure came during pickup games while he was an undergraduate studying labor relations at Cornell in the 1970s. But he was a marketing whiz, and he had a plan.
Viewed strictly from the supply side, that plan was a rousing success. The number of franchises increased from 21 to 30, revenues quadrupled from $400 million to more than $2 billion, and players' salaries more than tripled from $558,000 in Bettman's first season to $1.8 million in the last one.
But all that expansion came at a considerable cost. Bettman locked out the players and wound up canceling almost half the 1994-95 season in a failed bid to get a salary cap and luxury tax. Then, he passed on a chance to opt out of the agreement two more times - in 1995 and 1997 - rather than endanger the league's expansion plans.
New arenas were going up, the Nagano Olympics offered worldwide exposure and multimillion-dollar expansion fees were lining the owners' pockets. It was easy to get swept up in the notion that once the NHL blanketed the U.S. map from coast to coast and locked up a big TV deal, enough money would flow in to cover up all the mistakes.
Not being a "hockey guy," though, Bettman made a fatal miscalculation. He grew the game recklessly and watched his owners lavish profligate contracts on players, assuming that demand would eventually catch up with a suddenly bountiful supply. The opposite turned out to be true.
The NHL landed one big TV contract with ABC/ESPN in 1999 - a five-year, $600-million deal - but ratings were minuscule. That's why the two-year deal with NBC signed in 2004 doesn't include rights fees, only revenue sharing. The flow of cash has slowed to a trickle.
The knocks against hockey when Bettman took over were its fascination with fighting, its limited regional appeal and blue-collar roots, even the fact that the puck is hard to follow on the small screen.
Now, fisticuffs are down. But gone, too, are a handful of franchises in hockey-mad Canada and the wide-open style of play that made Wayne Gretzky a household name. They've been replaced by Sun Belt towns with no hockey roots and little developing affection for the plodding, clutch-and-grab version of the game being peddled.
During the weekend, when Bettman briefly lifted a ban on owners speaking out, one of his staunchest supporters dared wonder whether the rush to expand had come at the expense of the product.
"We might be better off to stop chasing growth and revenue and play just high-quality hockey and let its popularity take care of itself," Peter Karmanos Jr., the outspoken owner of the Carolina Hurricanes, told The New York Times.
"We're not a public corporation," he added. "We don't have to have compounded annual growth."
They won't have to worry about that, at least not for the foreseeable future. No matter when, or in what form the NHL returns, it won't find people clamoring to get back under the tent.
"You hear how certain people believe that the hardcore fan will definitely return, that the damage isn't irreparable," Flyers captain Keith Primeau said in Philadelphia.
"I think that's a huge miscalculation or judgment in error of who and what your fan base is. That, I think, is going to alarm a lot of people when the doors are reopened." Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Reach him at

The Capital (Annapolis, MD), February 14, 2005, Monday

Copyright 2005 Capital-Gazette Communications, Inc.
The Capital (Annapolis, MD)

February 14, 2005 Monday


HEADLINE: Animosity grows towards Arabs, Muslims

BYLINE: REEM DUGHLY, Severna Park High School

"Go back to where you came from." These seven words hit me with unbelievable force leaving me winded as I stood at the gas station register with my father. For a moment I was unable to comprehend what was said or even recognize that it was directed at me. What did this man mean, go back to where I came from? Where did I come from? Millersville, Md., which I had called home for the past nine years? Waterloo, Iowa, where I had grown up for eight years? Philadelphia, where I was born? Then I realized what had warranted this greeting as well as the string of expletives that followed it: my race and religion.
This is just one incident of many highlighting the increased animosity towards Arab and Muslim Americans following the tragedy of 9/11 and the wars both in Afghanistan and Iraq. These tragic circumstances have brought Muslim and Arab Americans to the forefront of American society, to be scrutinized for the actions of an entire people. The majority of people, uneducated about the Muslim religion and the Arab culture, have grown to fear them. Today, the words "Muslim" and "Arab" are often associated with terrorism, leading to mass stereotyping and intolerance.
Often times I walk through the hallways of my high school, an institution known for its prestigious academics, and hear words of ignorance and prejudice that leave me awestruck. Exclamations such as "We should just nuke all those Muslims!" have grown increasingly common, as students base their judgments on stereotypes, failing to put a human face to the race and religion they so readily condemn.
Unfortunately, this sentiment also remains apparent outside the confines of high school walls. Prior to the political developments involving Muslim and Arab Americans, people felt comfortable questioning my mother or myself about the religious headscarf she wears. Now, however, walking through stores we are sometimes met with the whispers and angry glances of strangers, who allow fear to dictate their judgments.
Although aware of this increased animosity towards Muslim and Arab Americans, I had not truly considered how such prejudice could affect my life. I was rudely awakened to my situation when I began applying to colleges just a few months ago. Presented with a number of essay topics, many of which dealt with diversity, I felt that being of a different cultural background, I would be well equipped to write a unique essay. When I offered these essay questions to my parents, however, they refused to let me write them for fear that my cultural background and religious beliefs would leave me vulnerable to the prejudices of others.
When I explained this dilemma to my friends, they
were genuinely appalled, for they could not fathom the growing ill will towards Muslim and Arab Americans. Unfortunately, this sentiment appears to be becoming the norm.
According to a recent study at Cornell University, 44 percent of Americans believe that restrictions should be placed on the civil liberties of Muslim Americans.
The poll was commissioned by the Media and Society Research Group, in Cornell's Department of Communication, and supervised by the Survey Research Institute, in Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
The results were based on 715 telephone interviews of respondents across the United States, and the poll has a margin of error of 3.6 percent. The response, reminiscent of the days of World War II and Japanese internment camps, brings to light American society's underlying fear of Muslims and Arabs.
Sadly, this attitude towards Muslim and Arab Americans will persist, as people continue to feed their fears with intolerance and hatred. Misconceptions will continue to grow until they are dispelled by truth, which currently falls on ears overflowing with stereotypes.
I believe that a change to this situation can only be brought about through education and the search for truth. Thereby, I encourage you, the reader, to question the information presented to you by the media and examine your own beliefs prior to passing judgment on a people outside your boundaries of familiarity. Through the unanimous application of this social and self-discovery, a true sense of tolerance may be restored to society, allowing our individual differences to unite us.

In These Times, February 14, 2005, Monday

Copyright 2005 Institute for Public Affairs
In These Times

February 14, 2005
Correction Appended


HEADLINE: The Fight for Our Future

BYLINE: By Christopher Hayes

HERE'S SOMETHING TO CONSIDER: IT'S a concrete possibility we will wake up one morning and there won't be a single American labor union left. For 30 straight years, American organized labor has been hemorrhaging members, power and influence. [Fifty years ago, 35 percent of workers belonged to unions, today just 12 percent do (and only 9 percent in the public sector).] There are already 22 states in which "right-to-work" rules effectively outlaw collective bargaining; the National Labor Relations Board, entrusted with the sacred duty of protecting the human right to organize, has been turned into just another way station for GOP corporatist hacks; and the American manufacturing sector, once the backbone of the movement, has been eviscerated by globalization.
Faced with the possibility of permanent irrelevance, different factions of the AFL-CIO have recently been engaged in a knock-down, drag-out fight over what is to be done. Despite occasional coverage in the mainstream media, this has drawn just a smattering of attention in liberal publications and the blogosphere. But progressives everywhere need to realize that they have a powerful stake in its outcome: Without the American labor movement there is no American left, and the debate taking place right now could very well determine if the movement survives.
So for those of you who've spent the last year following electoral politics (and subsequently sitting shiva for the republic), what follows is a guide to the key points of contention, the major players and what to expect in the months to come.

So what's all this hubbub about the AFL-CIO possibly breaking up?
Last summer Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the largest and fastest-growing union in the AFL-CIO, threatened to leave the AFL-CIO unless the federation undertook drastic structural reforms -- by merging smaller unions to form larger ones and strictly enforcing jurisdictional lines. The announcement caused a stir, not the least because it happened during the heat of the presidential election, when labor was supposed to be presenting a united front. After SEIU made its announcement, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) announced that it would leave the federation if Stern got his way, so the AFL-CIO stands to lose either SEIU or the Machinists, or -- if things go badly enough -- both.

Stern's announcement seems like it came out of nowhere; had SEIU hinted before that it was dissatisfied with the AFL-CIO?
Yes. The current dissension actually began back in 2003 when, as reported in these pages by David Moberg, the heads of five unions (including Stern) formed the New Unity Partnership (NUP) (see "Organize, Strategize, Revitalize," February 16, 2004). The NUP argued that the union movement was dangerously close to extinction, and needed to make drastic changes. In a strategy memo leaked to the press, the NUP envisioned a labor movement radically altered in structure. As in the trade-union system in Europe, they proposed that each union "be assigned a unique occupation and/or and industry sector(s) to concentrate its growth efforts." The NUP called for the AFL-CIO to sharply focus its efforts on "strategic growth," and called on unions to devote 77 percent of their resources to recruiting new members.

How did the labor movement react to the NUP proposal?
While some hailed the NUP for its bold leadership, the proposal also triggered a backlash. Labor leaders didn't take too kindly to five union presidents appointing themselves as labor's saviors. Steelworkers President Leo Gerard, who derided them as "five guys sitting around and talking," said, "They don't represent the labor movement."
In general, people had a hard time figuring out what exactly the five union heads -- Stern, Doug McCarron of the Carpenters, Bruce Raynor of the textile workers (UNITE), John Wilhelm of the hotel workers (HERE) and Terrence O'Sullivan of the Laborers -- had in common. They weren't all the biggest unions, they weren't in the same industry and they didn't share the same politics: While Stern ended up endorsing Howard Dean, McCarron gave his support to Bush. Stern said they were all "radicals about growth," but many saw it as an alliance of convenience designed to unseat AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and seize the reins of the federation.
But whatever unions thought about the merits of NUP's proposal, it lit a fire under a labor movement that desperately needed it, and set the terms for much of the current debate about structural reform of the AFL-CIO.

What's happening now?
In November, Sweeney sent a letter to all of the federation's affiliates, requesting they submit a list of issues they felt must be addressed, as well as proposals for reform. So far, about a dozen unions have sent responses, with many more on the way. Both SEIU ( and the AFL-CIO ( have posted these proposals on their Web sites along with commentary from union members.
What was once just a debate about the pros and cons of the NUP platform has now morphed into a tangled landscape of proposals, alliances and rivalries (see below). The NUP has officially been disbanded because, Stern says, "We all don't agree on our proposals." This all comes in the lead-up to the AFL-CIO's quadrennial convention, which will take place in Chicago in July. There have been whispers for some time that someone from the NUP coalition would challenge Sweeney for the presidency, but as of yet, no one has declared his candidacy. (For a while, Wilhem, co-president of the recently merged UNITE HERE, was rumored to be the guy, but he recently denied he'd run.)

So what does SEIU want to see happen?
The agenda is spelled out most precisely in SEIU's 10-point plan "Unite to Win." It features a number of suggestions that are fairly non-controversial: The labor movement should launch a campaign to unionize Wal-Mart, it should focus political energy on resuscitating enforcement of statutes that protect the right to organize, and it must build strength in regions of the country historically hostile to organized labor.
The signature proposal -- inherited from the NUP, and also the most controversial -- is to drastically reduce the total number of unions (from the current 58 to about 15) and to organize each of these new megaunions around a single industry or sector. It's not a new idea. Once upon a time, Teamsters drove trucks, United Auto Workers built cars and Steelworkers worked with steel. Today Teamsters are truck drivers, but they're also bakers and industrial printers. Social workers in Chicago belong to the UAW and the majority of the Steelworkers don't work with steel. This creeping "general unionism" is largely a result of the fact that as the unionized workforce has shrunk and the legal protections have been eviscerated, unions have sought to bolster their sagging numbers through mergers with other unions outside their core sectors and organizing campaigns in far-flung fields.
"Frankly, there is no rational process here," says University of Illinois at Chicago's Bob Bruno, associate professor at the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations. "Everybody's going after everyone. If you breathe and you have a job, then we'll organize you and that hasn't proven to be a very efficient way of doing things. It hasn't built power and it certainly hasn't raised class consciousness."
Stern and others think this diffusion of worker power across various institutions, particularly within a given trade, makes it impossible to leverage industry-wide power to properly fight today's massive global corporations. Stern points to the current labor crisis in the airline industry where unions representing pilots, flight attendants and machinists are often pitted against each other to "vote in contradiction to interests of the other workers to cut pensions." Stern notes that "under the current system there's no way for workers to fight back together unless the institutions they belong to are willing to band together."
In addition to competition during contract negotiations, unions are also competing to organize the same pools of workers, particularly in the fast-growing healthcare sector, where more than 30 unions are active. SEIU notes, "In 13 of the 15 major sectors of the economy there are at least four significant unions, and in nine of those sectors there are at least six unions."
SEIU itself has reorganized, replacing metropolitan locals with members from disparate trades with regional locals composed of members from a single industry. The union has had success leveraging this collective power within an industry to reach a kind of density "tipping point," after which they're able to secure representation for a large number of workers. And, as they never fail to point out, with 800,000 new members in the past eight years, SEIU is the nation's fastest-growing union, so they must be doing something right.

That sounds like it makes sense. Why is it so controversial?
Well for one thing, fewer unions mean fewer union presidents, and leaders aren't about to merge themselves out of a job. More substantively, it's unclear just who gets to decide which unions merge. The idea of arranged marriages isn't very popular. American Federation of Teachers President Edward J. McElroy put it this way in an interview with Business Week: "Making decisions about mergers is a democratic process that deals with members of unions. For any organization, the AFL-CIO or individual unions, to point a finger and say, 'This union or that should merge,' strikes me as totally antidemocratic. Those are the kinds of decisions individual workers should make. To say to those people, 'This union is not functioning the way we think it should be,' that isn't right."
You'll notice that McElroy used the phrase "antidemocratic," which, if you start reading the literature of SEIU critics, is one of the most common complaints. Those who have taken up the mantle of "union democracy" argue that SEIU's approach, both in its own practices and in what it's proposing, is top-down, technocratic and fundamentally inimical to the values of bottom-up representation that the labor movement should embody. They ridicule Stern for wanting to mirror the structures of the very corporations the movement is fighting (which Stern himself says is one of his aims), where directives are issued by executives and passed down the hierarchy to those at the bottom.
At a conference at Queens College last year, Gregory Junemann, President of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), a small, specialized union that would cease to exist under SEIU's proposal, offered this thinly veiled critique of SEIU and its agenda: "My members are not chess pieces to be maneuvered, nor marionettes waiting to be mobilized. These are real people, and it's their union."
Stern says the rank and file has voted for every strategic move SEIU has pursued, but critics point out that members at locals in San Francisco and Rhode Island started decertification drives after controversial mergers backed by the International were pushed through.
In a response to a reference to "union democracy," Stern posted the following to the SEIU's blog:
Workers want their lives to be changed. They want strength and a voice, not some purist, intellectual, historical, mythical democracy. Workers can win when they are united, and leaders who stand in the way of change screaming "democracy" are failing to understand how workers exercise the limited power they have in a country where only 8.2 percent of the private sector are in unions.
It's rhetoric like this that pisses a lot of people off. Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), who has a legendary beef with Stern, says "Andy put his foot in his mouth [when he spoke about AFL-CIO reform during the Democratic National Convention last summer], and I thought it was a disgrace." Stern generally tends to inspire strong feelings among both supporters and critics. A typical anti-Stern tract on the web is titled "Why the SEIU's Andy Stern is Full of Shit."

So what do the unions who disagree with Stern say should be done?
It varies. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) recommends setting up voluntary coalition bodies that can serve the purpose of industry-wide organizing while avoiding forced mergers. The Machinists say the AFL-CIO should start its own TV network to get labor's message out, and create a centralized database of health claims to drive down costs. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) focuses its platform on making unions more responsive to their current members, increasing training for shop stewards and increasing strike capacity by providing more funds to pay striking workers (something the Steelworkers also endorse).
CWA organizer and writer Steve Early, who has probably been one of Stern's most vocal critics, maintains that only by reinvigorating participation and militancy at the local level can the movement grow. In other words, where Stern argues that rapid growth is a necessary precondition for meaningful union democracy, Early argues that meaningful union democracy is a necessary precondition for rapid growth.
AFSCME, on the other hand, takes the position that becoming more politically effective is the key to reviving the movement. "Whether you do mergers or not, whether you reassert jurisdictional lines or not, whether you have 15 or 50 members of the Executive Committee, those things are important," says Paul Booth, an assistant to the union's president, Gerald McEntee. "But they don't make as much of a difference as winning or losing in politics makes." AFSCME wants the AFLCIO to focus its efforts on the one thing it's been undeniably successful at: political mobilization of its members. Under Sweeney, labor has increased turnout of union household voters in each of the last three presidential elections.
What's clear is that while NUP and SEIU have successfully initiated and framed the debate, one that even critics such as Booth call "healthy, stimulating, appropriate and welcome," they no longer own it.

What happens next?
In mid-February and early March, the AFL-CIO Executive Council will discuss the various proposals. In the spring, they are expected to issue recommendations, which will likely be voted on at the convention in July.
What's going to happen at the convention is anybody's guess. Sweeney says he's "looking at the issues that are common in a number of these reports as potential areas where we could start early to build a consensus." (In a 15-minute interview, Sweeney, who has the unenviable job of refereeing the impending fracas, used the word "consensus" almost a dozen times.) There are some basic agreements. The parts of the AFL-CIO constitution that are designed to enforce jurisdiction and stop unions from poaching each other's workers are totally dysfunctional, and it is generally agreed that the AFL-CIO needs to focus its mission and play fewer roles better.
The threat of an SEIU exodus still hangs over the convention, but while many fret about the impact of a split in the house of labor, or a high-visibility, rancorous battle at the convention, the real danger is too much consensus and complacency at the cost of change. For all the enmity that the NUP and Stern have inspired, were it not for them, there would likely be no concentrated discussion about the future of the movement. Sweeney, to his credit, has lowered the temperature and quieted talk of an insurgency by moving the debate inside the AFL-CIO's tent. But while everyone pats themselves on the back for "having the debate" and builds alliances for floor votes, the original sense of urgency is slowly being lost, replaced by quibbles about the fine points of AFL-CIO bureaucracy.
"It's converted from a debate about substance to a debate about something like the per capita tax," says Cornell labor professor Rick Hurd.
The worst possible outcome is one that seems increasingly likely: watered-down reform, palatable to all the parties involved. That might be the only way to keep the AFL-CIO together, but keeping the AFLCIO together is not the point. Revitalizing the labor movement is.

CORRECTION-DATE: February 28, 2005

Two errors appeared in "The Fight for Our Future" (February 14). A figure of 9 percent for private sector labor enrollment was incorrectly labeled as "public sector." In addition, John Sweeney did not establish the AFL-CIO's Organizing Institute; it was formed in 1989 and was in operation when he was elected to the AFL-CIO presidency in 1996.

GRAPHIC: Picture 1, no caption, BURKE UZZLE / ZUMA PRESS; Picture 2, Andy Stern, president of SEIU, says, "Workers want their lives to be changed.", JIM WEST / ZUMA PRESS; Picture 3, Gerald McEntee, president of AFSCME, says, "Andy put his foot in his mouth, and that was a mistake.", GREG WHITESELL / UPI

University Wire, February 14, 2005, Monday

Copyright 2005 Cornell Daily Sun via U-Wire
University Wire

February 14, 2005 Monday

HEADLINE: Union leaders gather at Cornell U. to discuss projects

BYLINE: By Olivia Oran, Cornell Daily Sun; SOURCE: Cornell U.


British and Australian labor leaders gathered Saturday for an informal discussion about the status of labor unions in their respective countries. The talk, at Cornell University, was co-
sponsored by the Office of Labor Education Research, the Cornell Organization for Labor Action and the Student Coalition Advocating Labor Education.
Paul Nowak, the national organizer for the United Kingdom's Trades Union Congress, spoke on the situation of labor unions in Britain. British union membership has decreased from the past; while unions in 1979 had more than 12.5 million members, they now have only 6.5 million. This drop is due largely to the passage of anti-trade legislation, high unemployment rates, changes in the economy and shifts in the nature of jobs, as well as internal problems within unions, Nowak said.
"Unions didn't respond to changes in the economy, because they had thought that waiting for labor-friendly governments would be OK," he said.
A self-described optimist, Nowak said he has more confidence about the future of unions than he did in the past. Union membership has begun to steady with a rate of about 20,000 new members a year, as Nowak has focused on organizing and getting members active through a project he calls "New Unionism."
Speaking on the challenges that British unions face, Nowak said unions should focus their energy on increasing membership within the private sector to avoid becoming solely "a public sector interest group."
The slow pace of growth in union membership is another significant problem for unions, Nowak said, as are limited resources.
Nowak said he is hopeful about the future of British labor unions, as the union-friendly Labour Party prime minister Tony Blair is widely expected to win a third term in May.
However, Nowak emphasized that unions cannot rely solely on their government to increase membership but must organize themselves.
"We need to work on what we do and not get bogged down in the minutia of what Blair does or doesn't do," he said.
Natalie Bradbury, organizer for Australia's Health Services Union, and Darryl Watkins, assistant secretary for the Flight Attendant's Association of Australia, criticized the Australian government for weakening the unions' "award system," which ensures minimum wage and working conditions for employees. Although Australia's largely pro-union Labor Party controlled the government from the 1980s to 1996, the country's current government has initiated regressive union laws.
Bradbury and Watkins said the most important political issues in Australia affecting union members are the possibility of corporate collapse in which employees are left without entitlements, as well as the government's attack on Medicare, Australia's universal health care system. Australia's unions also hope to establish a living minimum wage, a plan they have worked on for years.
"Our goals are on organizing and developing our training institutions," Watkins said. "We want to reinvigorate the movement and involve more young people to increase union density," he said.
Members of Cornell's student labor groups also discussed their projects. COLA member Elliot Singer '08 said the organization is working on a labor newspaper to be released in March. They are also trying to convince Cornell to remove Cintas uniform company from campus, as the company has a history of discriminating against women. COLA member Dana Ford said, "There is no standard that schools have for companies. We have gotten the administration to create a committee. No other school has a purchasing policy, so we are very excited."
(C) 2005 Cornell Daily Sun via U-WIRE

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock), February 13, 2005, Sunday

Copyright 2005 Little Rock Newspapers, Inc.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock)

February 13, 2005 Sunday


HEADLINE: Second union joins Wal-Mart critics' ranks


When Wal-Mart launched a Web site promoting itself as a good employer, it wasn't surprising that the company's labor union critics would react. But the biggest response came from a union that isn't even trying to organize Wal-Mart workers.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. unveiled its "Wal-Mart Facts" Web site Jan. 13. Less than two weeks later, the Service Employees International Union responded in kind with "Wal-Mart Fact Checker," a site that portrays the Bentonville-based retailer as a stingy employer.
Historically, when Wal-Mart tussles with a union, it goes up against the United Food and Commercial Workers union. That organization, known as the UFCW, has tried to organize Wal-Mart workers for decades with little success.
The increasingly high profile of the service workers' union, known as SEIU, represents a significant shift in Wal-Mart's ongoing struggle against organized labor. Now the nation's biggest employer is facing a two-pronged attack by unions. While the UFCW tries to organize Wal-Mart workers, SEIU says it will pressure Wal-Mart to improve employee benefits through national information campaigns.
SEIU represents about 1.7 million service-sector workers, like janitors and nurses' assistants. The union has no interest in representing any of Wal-Mart's 1.5 million employees, but cannot afford to ignore the company, said Gina Glantz, head of SEIU's Wal-Mart campaign.
"The Wal-Mart business model affects all workers," Glantz said. "It begins to set a standard that is a standard under which workers suffer from low wages and little access to benefits."
Such criticism sparked Wal-Mart to undertake a national public relations campaign to "set the record straight." The advertising portrays many of Wal-Mart's critics as motivated by self-interest.
Company spokesman Sarah Clark characterized SEIU's new Web site as a sort of knee-jerk reaction to Wal-Mart's new effort.
"We are not surprised by this reaction," Clark said. "They are simply in the reactionary mode, and we are in the doer mode. We believe we are in the best position to share the real facts about our company, and we will allow our facts to stand alone."
SEIU has a key advantage in campaigning against Wal-Mart - since SEUI's members don't work for Wal-Mart, their jobs are not at risk when they criticize the company or promote collective bargaining.
On Wednesday, Wal-Mart announced it will close a store in Canada where the UFCW was negotiating a contract of behalf of 190 workers who joined the union in August. It would have been the first UFCW contract with Wal-Mart. A company spokesman said Wal-Mart could not meet demands the UFCW was making for employees at the store in Jonquiere, Quebec.
Wal-Mart's site is at www. SEIU's site is at walmart.
The two Web sites seem as different as a photo and its negative. Each contradicts the other's assertions. For example, Wal-Mart highlights its charitable giving while the SEIU criticizes the Walton family's giving when compared to other wealthy philanthropists like Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corp.
One thing is clear - now that SEIU has entered the fray, Wal-Mart is facing the largest and fastest-growing union in the country, said Richard Hurd, professor of industrial and labor relations at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.
"The SEIU is pretty much the healthiest union financially and a union that's very aggressive," Hurd said.
The UFCW claims about 1.4 million members to- day, compared to SEIU's 1.7 million, according to the unions.
During the 1990s, SEIU grew in numbers while the UFCW stagnated, Hurd said. That's largely because the SEIU invests far more than most other unions on organizing new workers, he said.
The two unions operate with different styles as well, Hurd said. SEIU boosts membership by getting workers involved in protests or other efforts. The UFCW, by contrast, prefers to go after employers, using boycotts or other means to pressure them into letting workers join the union, Hurd said.
Because the SEIU effort is constrained to a publicity campaign, it will likely have a limited effect on Wal-Mart, said Ulysses Yannas, a retail analyst with Buckman, Buckman & Reid, an investment firm in New Jersey that does not own any stock in Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart has proven to be almost immune from such campaigns in the past, Yannas said. The company's core customer group of lower-income shoppers will continue to spend money there based on one factor alone - price.
"As long as [Wal-Mart] can continue to manage the company the way that they do, as long as they continue to offer the lowest price, people will continue shopping," he said.
The SEIU campaign would only be a risk for Wal-Mart's bottom line if it ultimately helps organize the retailer's employees, Yannas said.
Whether that happens depends on the extent of coordination between the SEIU and the UFCW as they both deal with the Bentonville giant, Hurd said.
So far, coordination seems limited.
SEIU's Glantz said the two unions are not coordinating efforts at all on SEIU's Wal-Mart Web site. A UFCW spokesman did not return calls seeking comment.

The New York Times, February 12, 2005, Sunday

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
The New York Times

February 12, 2005 Saturday
Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section D; Column 3; Sports Desk; HOCKEY; Pg. 1

For the Players Union, a Resolute Hockey Man



Bob Goodenow, the executive director of the National Hockey League Players' Association, disagreed when it was suggested Friday that he and Commissioner Gary Bettman might be playing a dangerous game of chicken, in which daredevil drivers steer cars toward each other at high speeds.
If neither driver swerves, each would end up suffering.
''I don't believe it's a game of chicken,'' Goodenow said. ''Both sides know what's at stake and what's going on here.''
What is going on is the possibility that the N.H.L. will be the first North American sports league to lose an entire season because of a labor dispute.
Unless collective bargaining resumes in the next few days, Bettman is expected to cancel the season early next week. The aftermath could leave a much different business and great bitterness.
''I don't think anyone can really quantify what the effects of all this will be,'' Goodenow said. ''We're obviously going into uncharted waters, unfortunately. It certainly won't be good to start with. But maybe it will be a catharsis of sorts. Maybe out of something bad comes something good.''
Since Bettman shut down the league Sept. 16, at the start of training camp, the issue has been the same: the owners want a salary cap and a fixed relationship between revenue and payroll. The players say they will not accept a cap but have offered a 24 percent salary rollback among other concessions to help owners curtail spending.
Goodenow stressed, as Bettman often has, that this is not a personality conflict between two strong-willed lawyers with Ivy League backgrounds.
''It's an ongoing business thing between the players and the league and the history of the league and the relationships between the 700 players and the 30 team owners,'' Goodenow said. ''Unfortunately, both sides are stuck. There isn't a way. But we'll have to try to find it.''
Goodenow's introduction to hockey's off-ice power plays came early. After playing hockey at the junior level, at Harvard and for a minor league team, Goodenow went to law school at the University of Detroit and worked as a clerk for a lawyer in suburban Detroit in 1978.
One of the clients was Dale McCourt, who played five seasons with the Red Wings. McCourt fought back when an arbitrator assigned him to the Los Angeles Kings as compensation when Detroit signed goalie Rogie Vachon as a free agent.
Goodenow helped research the federal case, which was headed for the United States Supreme Court before it was settled out of court. McCourt remained a Red Wing and Goodenow was impressed.
''It sure gave me a tremendous insight about how the dynamics of the legal system could be applied to sport in a dramatic and exciting way,'' Goodenow said. ''To experience that as a young law student was very intriguing and exhilarating.''
Goodenow, 52, grew up in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, home of the Ford Motor Company, in an era when that area was more influenced by unions than it is now. The local labor icons were Walter Reuther, who was president of the United Auto Workers, and Jimmy Hoffa, who was president of the Teamsters union.
Goodenow's grandfather was a union bricklayer, but his father was a manager for a pharmaceutical company who bargained against a Teamsters local. Before Goodenow became a player agent, he worked for a fire-equipment company near Pittsburgh and successfully resisted an organizing drive by the Teamsters.
Mark Howe, a boyhood friend who later became one of his clients, said Goodenow's background was one of the reasons he replaced Alan Eagleson as executive director of the union in 1992.
Goodenow's adversary, Bettman, also 52, studied labor relations at Cornell and law at New York University. He became commissioner in 1993 after working under David Stern at the National Basketball Association. One of Bettman's N.B.A. duties was to oversee the league's salary cap.
Goodenow has red hair and the sturdy build of a former athlete. When he played alongside Howe on a team called the Junior Wings, his left orbital bone was crushed by a cross-check, requiring surgery. Five of his upper teeth are false.
Goodenow was a captain at Harvard and tried out for the Washington Capitals expansion team in 1975. While growing up, he watched ''Hockey Night in Canada'' on television, attended games at Olympia Stadium in Detroit and idolized Howe's father, Gordie.
''My first hero was Gordie Howe,'' Goodenow said. ''I was fortunate to get to know him as a young boy. He made a lasting impression on me, the way he handled himself, the things he would say, his general demeanor and outlook.''
Goodenow also has bonds with less-celebrated hockey figures. Goodenow's son, Joe, was a youth-league teammate of Mike Danton, who pleaded guilty in July to charges of conspiring to kill his agent and former coach, David Frost.
Danton played for the St. Louis Blues last season and Goodenow dined with Frost and Danton after a game just a few nights before Danton's arrest in April. Goodenow, who is perceptive and can read subtle cues in group discussions, said he never had an inkling of the hostility between Danton and Frost.
He said they discussed mostly hockey that night. ''We talked about the penalty kill and the game,'' Goodenow said, shrugging and shaking his head. Calling Danton by his former name, Goodenow said, ''I like Mike Jefferson,'' but abruptly said he did not wish to discuss the subject further.
He was more effusive regarding Bettman, the hockey culture and other people's perceptions of him. When Goodenow led a 10-day strike in 1992, just before the Stanley Cup playoffs were to begin, it was reported that the players -- who had been working under terms of an expired collective-bargaining agreement -- were wavering in their support of the walkout. Instead, Goodenow won concessions from the league, and John Ziegler, N.H.L. president, resigned.
In 1994, when Bettman ordered a lockout that lasted 103 days, it was widely perceived that Goodenow had been defeated because he had made so many concessions. Now, even Bettman concedes that the union got the better of that deal; the average salary has grown to $1.83 million last season from $558,00 in 1993-94, Bettman's first season.
''People know me,'' Goodenow said. ''They shouldn't underestimate me or overestimate me.''
Goodenow was asked about the perception by some in hockey that Bettman has never grasped the mentality of hockey players and underestimates their determination when confronted.
Earlier this week, Bettman expressed puzzlement over the union's rejection of a ''philosophical concept'' of a salary cap. ''You've got to respect it,'' Bettman said of the union position.
Goodenow said that he did not think Bettman underestimated the culture of hockey and that he tried hard to appreciate it.
''I think Gary tries to understand the players,'' Goodenow said. ''There are some things there that he might be able to have a little better focus on. But I'm sure he would say the same thing about me.''

Atlanta Journal and Constitution, February 8, 2005, Tuesday

Copyright 2005 Atlanta Journal and Constitution
Atlanta Journal and Constitution

February 8, 2005, Tuesday

HEADLINE: Carpenters union hires stand-ins for picket lines

BYLINE: By Mike Tierney


On a clear, crisp midmorning ripe for choreographed hell-raising, they are gathered at one of Atlanta's most recognized street corners.
Most are jobless, many homeless, but none hapless. Two hours of work -- and 16 bucks, guaranteed income -- await.
A car pulls up to the curb at Five Points and unloads picket signs just outside 34 Peachtree Building, target of today's demonstrations.
"You guys working or going home?" Chris Freitag booms in a New Yawk accent. His business card says "Special Projects Representative -- Southeastern Carpenters Regional Council." That means protest maestro for the labor union of wood artisans, nearly all of whom are elsewhere with their saws and their drills while stand-ins march.
This is payday for the protesters. Freitag shouts, "If you're working two hours today, you get paid for four."
A cheer erupts. Arms, several covered by tattered clothing, are raised jubilantly. Freitag smiles and says, to nobody in particular, "Money talks."
So does noise -- lots of it, day after day -- believes the council, which represents carpenters in Georgia and both Carolinas. Clapping and chanting, the hired oral hit men prey on high-rises under renovation. The annoyance factor is much higher when buildings are occupied. The pickets mostly march downtown, where crowded walkways guarantee a substantial audience.
The union's aim: to compel contractors to pay what it considers fair wages.
It's an unusual strategy in the labor movement -- asking not that union workers be hired, only that workers collect union-level wages.
The council generally endorses at least $ 20 an hour, about $ 5 more than the average hourly wage for a metro Atlanta carpenter, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Although council leaders say it's not among their goals, raising the pay scale for all area carpenters ultimately could make it more cost-effective to hire union.
Some labor activists question the council's use of for-hire pickets. Others say the union's building-by-building strategy offers short-term gains but doesn't ensure union contracts -- or even union-standard wages -- on future jobs.
But proponents say it's just the sort of kick-in-the-pants innovation the American labor movement needs.
Council leaders maintain the unorthodox methods are making inroads in an anti-union city in an anti-union state in an anti-union region of the country. Strategist Steve Shelton, Freitag's boss, claims 81 percent of downtown high-rise rehab work through December involved contractors paying at least some carpenters what the union considers fair wages and benefits, up substantially from 23 percent when sidewalks out front of those buildings were quieter.
Mary Hill, vice president of construction for the regional office of international developer Hines, says the union has made its mark.
"They have obviously had a dramatic impact on area wages," she says.
Some building owners and managers question the union's figures.
While the council takes credit for improved compensation at the Georgia-Pacific building, for example, a company spokeswoman says G-P made no changes after meeting with union leaders. The company merely confirmed paying what the union defines as area standard wages and benefits, she says.
An oval of marchers, borrowing from the American soldiers' cadence call, shout, "I don't know but I've been told ... One Park Tower is a big rathole."
Inside the 30-story tower at 34 Peachtree, home to local operations of giant companies such as MCI and Sprint, leasing and property manager Paul Kelly sighs. He is caught in the crossfire of a battle of wills, both sides seemingly entrenched. Only two negotiations between the carpenters union and the building owners have been held, the latter a few months ago.
Kelly says the union's wage goals are unreasonable given that the building's office space rents for about $ 10 a square foot, down 50 percent from two years ago and down substantially from downtown's real estate heyday in the 1980s.
The owner has no choice but to hire contractors based largely on the lowest bid, which usually means below-union wages, he says.
Two tenants cite the pickets as a reason they may move, Kelly says, and the pace of new rentals has flattened.
He finds it especially galling that the rabble-rousers aren't carpenters, saying, "Those guys are doing so well (with their jobs), they cannot afford to leave them to come down here."
Freitag counters, "To get the point across, we've got to use some abrasive tactics that are not going to make everybody happy."
The union's success in raising wages so far is "not because the (contractors) have had a change of heart all of a sudden," Freitag says. "It's because they don't want a hundred of us in front of the building."
Mike Murrell, owner of the restaurant that bears his name on the ground floor of 34 Peachtree, has been caught in the fray. The constant references to rats raises unpleasant suggestions to diners, he says.
"People come in to enjoy their lunch, and they have to listen to all of that? I support unions, but it seems like they have a personal vendetta," he says. "They want to fight you."
Shelton says he modeled the campaign on similar ones in Phoenix and San Diego. The driver here, he says, is that carpenters' pay has not improved appreciably in two decades, despite the union's push for better wages.
"I did it the Southern way and got nowhere," says the South Carolina native. "You kick and kick and kick, and wages keep going down, and it's a race to the bottom."
The Southeastern arm of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America has allotted $ 1.2 million for such activities this year, including $ 500,000 for the surrogate sign-carriers. The project is funded by $ 20 monthly dues from members -- nearly 2,000 of whom live in metro Atlanta -- and from a portion of each paycheck the union gets when it signs a contract for a job.
Only a small fraction of local carpenters belong to the union.
It's a tough time for the labor movement -- economically and politically -- and it needs to try fresh, bold approaches, union leaders and experts agree.
"Some people find that tactic (of hiring nonunion marchers) a little strange. I don't have a problem with that," says Richard Ray, president of the Georgia AFL-CIO, the state branch of the national union heavyweight. The carpenters' council is not affiliated with AFL-CIO.
Regarding the council's stated aim of raising wages, rather than pushing for union contracts, Ray says unions are "facing a challenging environment."
"We take any victory that we can."
Yet some contend the carpenters union must go beyond piecemeal wage commitments from building owners and develop a broader plan to grow membership and strengthen its ability to secure contracts.
"I'm sure the union's long-time goal is a bargaining agreement," says Lance Compa, who teaches labor law at the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations in Ithaca, N.Y. "It seems like they've started out on a step-by-step basis."
Union carpenters benefit indirectly from increased pay, the analysts say. If contractors are willing to observe an area standard wage, they might then decide to hire union members, knowing those workers are skilled and licensed.
The council, having expanded from its downtown core to Midtown, is eyeing activity as far north as Buckhead, even the Perimeter. Targets near a MARTA rail stop are ideal to provide the usual crew of pickets a way to get to work, Freitag says. But he's willing to hire homemakers with midday hours to spare in these more residential areas.
Shelton insists the sign-waving and slogan-chanting is a last resort. "We show up for a demonstration when we get no response" to the offer of a meeting with building owners and managers, he says.
"What are we supposed to do? Accept it and go away?"
He acknowledges the blueprint has not been universally applauded in the labor movement. He does not care. "The results," he says, "speak for themselves."

Business Wire, February 8, 2005, Tuesday

Copyright 2005 Business Wire, Inc.
Business Wire

February 8, 2005 Tuesday 2:17 PM GMT

DISTRIBUTION: Business Editors; Financial Editors

HEADLINE: Criterion Research Group Hires Former Standard & Poor's Financial Services Analyst Erik J. Eisenstein


Criterion Research Group, LLC, an independent research firm covering both corporate equities and debt, today announced that banking analyst Erik J. Eisenstein has joined the firm to cover the equity and fixed income securities of regional banks and thrifts.
Mr. Eisenstein, 35, was most recently a senior industry analyst at Standard & Poor's U.S. Equity Research, where he covered regional banks, thrifts, and an assortment of mortgage and diversified financial companies from 2000 to 2005. From 1997 to 2000, he was an insurance underwriter and underwriting manager for American International Group. Prior to that, Mr. Eisenstein was an attorney in private practice.
"Erik is well-known as an insightful and articulate analyst," said Neil Baron, Chairman of Criterion Research Group. "He is exceptionally bright and perceptive, and has the diverse and distinguished background we look for. He is a great fit for us."
Mr. Eisenstein holds an MBA with a finance concentration from New York University's Stern School of Business. He also earned a law degree at the Duke University School of Law and a
bachelor's degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University.
About Criterion Research Group:
New York-based Criterion is an independent firm providing fundamental research on the stocks and bonds of companies in various industries including Healthcare, Telecom, Cable, Banking, Insurance, Power and Utilities, Homeland Security and Diversified Industrials. Criterion also provides an earnings quality model developed in conjunction with three Wharton accounting professors that ranks 5000 companies based on the accrual (or non-cash) component of their earnings. Criterion's earnings quality model is predictive of equity returns, bond spreads, earnings restatements, class actions and SEC enforcement proceedings. The firm was founded in November 2002 by Neil Baron and James Nadler, who oversaw the development of Fitch Investor's Service into a major bond-rating agency. Criterion's research is entirely subscription based. Institutional investors interested in subscribing can visit or contact Jeff Kagan at (212) 286-5981 or

CONTACT: Starkman & Associates Steven DiMattia, 212-252-8545, ext. 11 OR J. Todd Smith, 212-252-8545, ext. 24

Los Angeles Times, February 2, 2005, Wednesday

Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times
All Rights Reserved
Los Angeles Times

February 2, 2005 Wednesday
Home Edition

SECTION: CALIFORNIA; Metro; Metro Desk; Part B; Pg. 10

Jessica Govea Thorbourne, 58; Organizer for UFW Sounded Alarm on Pesticides

BYLINE: Elaine Woo, Times Staff Writer

Jessica Govea Thorbourne, a charismatic organizer for the United Farm Workers union, who raised early alarms about fieldworkers' exposure to dangerous pesticides and led table grape boycotts in Canada that helped win acceptance for the union at home, died Jan. 23 of breast cancer at a rehabilitation center in West Orange, N.J. She was 58.
Govea Thorbourne worked closely with UFW co-founder Cesar Chavez for 16 years, beginning when she was 19. Two years later she was directing crucial boycotts in Canada that helped the union win one of its first contracts with a California grape grower and ultimately settle with the entire industry.
She also led voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives for a number of Democratic candidates, including presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy during his California Democratic primary campaign, Gov. Jerry Brown, Sen. Alan Cranston and Art Torres, who served 20 years in the California Legislature before becoming the first Latino chairman of the state Democratic Party.
She later moved to the East Coast and spent the last two decades as a
labor educator, teaching organizing skills at Rutgers and Cornell universities.
Govea Thorbourne's contributions to the farmworker movement have been largely unheralded, but stories such as hers "are really the true history of the union," Jerry Cohen, the UFW's general counsel from 1967 to 1981, told The Times this week. "She is like the heart and soul of the union when it was at its best."
Born in Porterville, Calif., Govea Thorbourne went to work in the fields with her parents when she was only 4. She spent every summer until she was 15 in backbreaking toil, filling bags with cotton bolls, scrambling on her knees to pick up prunes that been shaken from trees, and clipping bunches of grapes from row after row of vines while trying to avoid the wasps that hovered over the fruit.
A childhood photo of her shows a smiling, pigtailed girl in a white shirt and denim pants leaning on a shovel, but Govea Thorbourne's memories of those days were far from sunny. Her skin would itch and burn, which she at first thought was caused by the heat but later attributed to the pesticides that covered the plants she touched every day. "The thing I hated most, though, was that there was no toilet. I just had to find a place and hope no one could see," she said in the 2001 book "We Were There, Too," which profiles reformers whose activism took root during their youth.
Her father, Juan Govea, was a respected leader of the Mexican American community in Bakersfield when Cesar Chavez and Fred Ross Sr. recruited him to help organize local workers for their Community Service Organization, a precursor of the UFW. Govea Thorbourne accompanied her father as he went door to door, listening to people's stories of the struggles they encountered in their jobs, at government offices and in their children's schools.
"My father never talked down to people. He listened carefully and spoke respectfully," she said. "I learned a lot about organizing just from listening to these conversations."
By age 9 she was helping her father turn out leaflets about the Community Service Organization meetings and reciting patriotic poems at rallies. At 12, she was president of the Junior CSO and led other farmworker children in a successful petition drive for a neighborhood park after her best friend was killed by a speeding truck while taking her siblings to a park three miles away. "That was the first time she led an organizing campaign," said Fred Ross Jr., a fellow organizer who worked for the UFW from 1966 to 1977.
After she graduated from Bakersfield High School, Govea Thorbourne joined the National Farm Workers Assn. (later renamed the United Farm Workers), which Chavez had formed in 1962. She was a caseworker helping union families when three women came to her for help dealing with rashes, headaches and dizzy spells. They were told their problems were caused by heat exhaustion, but Govea Thorbourne believed the cause was pesticide poisoning.
At first, union leaders did not pay much attention to the alarms she was trying to raise, but she persisted until they "finally made pesticides an issue," Cohen said.
The adverse effects of pesticide exposure became a central part of the story UFW organizers told to build support for the boycotts. The issue received national attention when then-Sen. Walter F. Mondale (D-Minn.) made pesticides a focus of Senate hearings on migrant workers in 1969.
"When we won contracts with the grape industry," Cohen said, "we put in clauses to protect farmworkers from pesticide. Jessica was the first to raise the issue in an insistent manner."
Govea Thorbourne was only 21 when she and Marshall Ganz were sent to Canada in 1968 to enlist consumers there in the union's fight against growers.
"She earned a real following up there," said Ganz, now a lecturer in public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
"She was a gifted speaker ... and she could sing [the farmworkers' story] as well as speak it," he added, recalling songs she sang that conveyed the longing and sadness in the workers' lives.
By winning broad-based support among students, labor and churches, Govea Thorbourne and Ganz drew millions of Canadians in Toronto and Montreal -- then among the top five markets for California table grapes -- into the boycott, which gave the UFW critical leverage in its fight for recognition at the bargaining table.
"The boycott they led was one of the most effective and key in settling the grape strike," said Eliseo Medina, a former UFW board member who is now a national officer of the Service Employees International Union. "Mind you, when the boycott began, there was no formula for how to do a boycott. Marshall and Jessica invented the formula, and many of us learned from that."
Govea Thorbourne would later serve as national director of organizing for the union and in 1977 became a member of the UFW's executive board. Years later, as an educator, she would often tell the young union workers she was training that she was not even sure where Canada was when she volunteered to go there.
"People who were thinking they could never do something like this drew strength from hearing her talk. She was very humble," said Ken Margulies, who worked closely with her as director of training programs for labor organizers at Cornell's School of Industrial Labor Relations.
At Cornell she worked extensively with Chinese-speaking members of Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union, which represents healthcare workers. She also helped train coffee-processing workers in El Salvador in the early 1990s.
Although she could not prove the connection, she believed that her cancer, which was diagnosed in 1993, was caused by her exposure to pesticides as a youth working in the fields, according to her husband, Kenneth Thorbourne Jr., whom she married in 1987.
She also is survived by her mother, Margaret Govea; two sisters; and two brothers.
Her husband said that, despite her suspicions about the origins of her illness, she was never bitter about her fate and continued to work until last fall, when the cancer spread to her brain.

Buffalo News (New York), January 31,2005, Monday

Copyright 2005 Buffalo News
Buffalo News

January 31, 2005, Monday

HEADLINE: Mentoring program for students expanding

BYLINE: By Fred O. Williams


The rest of the week, Angela Pettigrew is a sophomore at City Honors high school.
But on Thursday afternoons, she works on a membership database for WNYCOSH, a workplace safety group in Buffalo.
"It's helped me learn more on the computer," says Pettigrew, who plans to become an engineer.
The 15-year-old is one of 10 Buffalo high school students in a mentorship program organized by the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.
Formed in 2002 to help students prepare for the working world, the program is now seeking to expand by attracting more employers and college-student mentors.
The mentoring program is aimed at students seeking a skilled, living-wage job after graduation, as well as the college-bound, said Angela Jordan, president of the CBTU's Buffalo Chapter.
"Some children just don't fit that (college-bound) program," she said. "We thought, 'What can we do to help them?' "
Students are teamed with a two mentors; a CBTU member and a student from the University at Buffalo or Buffalo State College. They earn a stipend of $ 10 an hour for up to four hours of work a week. Employers include the United Way, Veterans Administration Hospital and Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
Students also attend monthly talks on topics like labor law and workplace safety. The students write papers on the presentations and submit them to mentors for feedback on writing skills, Jordan said.
Usually employers pay the stipend, but some organizations that lack openings for youth workers have contributed cash to the program instead, supporting a student's work at another employer, Jordan said.
CBTU chapters in other upstate cities are looking to copy the program. In Buffalo, the organization hopes to triple the number of high school students enrolled by adding to the list of employer sponsors as well as mentors.
Pettigrew is one of two students in the program working at WNYCOSH, short for Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health. The other, Hutch-Tech senior Domonique Bulls, works in the group's "sweat free schools" anti-sweatshop initiative.
Pettigrew is learning use of publishing software and preparing to take on the task of putting out the group's member newsletter, said Brian Brown-Cashdollar, project director at WNYCOSH.
Through word-of-mouth the program has no shortage of interested students, having received over 200 applications for the current school year, Jordan said.
People interested in becoming sponsors or mentors can e-mail, or write to CBTU, PO Box 707, Buffalo, N.Y. 14215.

The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York), January 27, 2005, Thursday

The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York)

January 27, 2005 Thursday

SECTION: BUSINESS; Learn to work; Pg. C2



Please tell me what labor relations professionals do. What sort of training do they get?
A) People working in labor relations serve as a link between employees and management. This area is a specialty within human resources.
Generally, labor relations specialists work for unionized companies or government agencies. Their goal is to keep their work force as satisfied and productive as possible.
Government labor relations specialists may administer labor regulations or do research. Some work for unions or may serve as independent consultants.
Labor relations specialists work in many areas of union-management relations, including background research for contract negotiations, employee grievances and interpretation of contracts. Labor relations personnel must keep up with developments in labor law and must meet regularly with elected union officials.
Most labor relations specialists have a college degree, although the field does not have a prescribed avenue of training. Some enter the field through a specialized undergraduate or graduate degree program.
Universities such as Cornell offer programs in industrial relations, labor relations or human resources. These programs usually confer a bachelor's degree in industrial relations and labor studies.
Some schools offer interdisciplinary bachelor's degrees in business administration with a major in management and labor relations. Others prepare for the field with a liberal-arts education, including psychology, sociology, economics, political science and business administration.
It is also common for union leaders and negotiators from the rank and file, elected to positions such as shop steward or head of a grievance committee, to represent the union on a professional basis. Many choose to get further education to enhance their labor relations careers.
For those who want to be managers, law degrees, master's degrees in business administration and graduate study in labor/industrial relations are particularly valuable.
Cornell University offers a widely recognized program in its School of Industrial and Labor Relations, The program includes undergraduate and graduate degrees for traditional students and for professionals wishing to advance their careers.
LeMoyne College offers an undergraduate degree in industrial relations and human resource management, www.lemoyne.
edu. reports that an entry-level labor relations specialist at a company with 1,000 employees makes a median salary of $48,000 in the Syracuse labor market; a manager with seven years' experience makes about $93,000.
Learn to Work is produced by the RLS Career Center. Readers may submit questions regarding educational options to HELP, RLS Career Center, 770 James Street, Syracuse, NY 13203 and by e-mail at

Chicago Tribune, January 26, 2005, Wednesday

Copyright 2005 Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune

January 26, 2005, Wednesday

Human Rights Watch targets meat, poultry producers in new report

BYLINE: By Stephen Franklin


In a blistering report on conditions facing workers in the nation's meat and poultry industries, a human-rights-advocacy group Tuesday said that companies systematically abuse workers' rights as the government fails to uphold them.
"It is unnatural that so much danger should be normal in someone's life," said Lance Compa, a Cornell University labor law expert and the author of the 175-page report, speaking at a news conference in Chicago.
The report was presented by Human Rights Watch, a group in based in New York that monitors rights around the globe.
Though based on interviews with workers and others at a beef-packing plant in Nebraska, a hog-slaughtering facility in North Carolina and a poultry-processing facility in Arkansas, Compa said, the report's findings apply across the board to the 500,000-worker industry.
Packinghouse workers, according to the report, regularly suffer life-threatening on-the-job dangers with little training or adequate equipment, are discouraged by companies from reporting their injuries and are pressured not to join unions.
A massive influx of immigrants, some in the U.S. illegally, has also created a workforce either unaware of its rights because of language difficulties or fretful about speaking out and being deported, Compa added.
"There is a culture of fear in many of these plants," Compa said.
The American Meat Institute, the leading trade organization for the nation's meat and poultry companies, promptly rejected the report, saying it was "replete with falsehoods and baseless claims."
In a separate interview, J. Patrick Boyle, the trade group's president and CEO, said packinghouse companies have not taken advantage of undocumented workers and have gone beyond required procedures to ferret out workers with fake identification cards.
As for workers' safety, he said, injury levels have been dropping since the early 1990s and "continue on the same decline."
The report said changes in 2002 in the way the government counts injuries in the packing houses have helped cover up the problem. But government officials disagreed.
"Overall injuries have dropped, and it is consistent with the pattern," said Kate Newman, a safety and health official in Washington, D.C., with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Human Rights Watch report pointed to Tyson Foods Inc., the world's largest meat and poultry producer, as a company that has tried "to keep unions out of its plants" and quoted an employee at an Arkansas poultry plant who said workers are "too scared" to talk about unions.
But Tyson officials, noting that one-third of their 90,000 hourly workers belong to unions, issued a statement rejecting the report's claims. The company also pointed to a document describing workers' rights, which it said it had released on Monday and would be posted in all of its facilities in the U.S.
In the case of Smithfield Foods Inc., the world's largest pork producer, the Human Rights Watch report cited a more than 10-year struggle by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union to organize the company's nearly 6,000-worker facility in Tar Heel, N.C.
An immigrant worker from Central America was quoted in the Human Rights Watch report as recalling a meeting in Tar Heel at which a company official told Latino workers that they should call the police if union organizers come to their houses.
A National Labor Relations Board judge ruled in 2000 that the company had violated the Tar Heel workers' organizing rights, but the company appealed the decision. After a lengthy delay, the NLRB last month upheld that ruling, prompting Smithfield to file an appeal in the federal courts.
"The company likes to follow the will of its employees, and up until now they haven't voted a union in," said Dennis Treacy, a Smithfield spokesman, who also disputed the report's claim that the company discourages workers from reporting their injuries.
"We don't turn our faces away from on-the-job injuries," he said. "We are very proud of our safety record."
But Loraine Ramos, an immigrant from Honduras and former employee at the Tar Heel plant who now works for the UFCW, painted a different portrait at the press conference.
A five-year veteran at the plant, she said she was hurt on the job two years ago, "because I didn't have any experience and I didn't know what I was doing."
She said her right hand was briefly caught in the plant's conveyor belt, leaving her with a scar. Still suffering from her injury, a year later she refused another job, she explained, because she did know how to do it.
Though known for its focus on human rights globally, Human Rights Watch is one of several organizations that have looked at the state of American packinghouse workers' rights, said Jamie Fellner, head of the U.S. program for the organization.
"Human-rights violations should not be tolerated, wherever they are," she said.

The New York Times, January 26, 2005, Wednesday

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
The New York Times

January 26, 2005 Wednesday
Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section A; Column 1; National Desk; Pg. 13

Rights Group Condemns Meatpackers On Job Safety


For the first time, Human Rights Watch has issued a report that harshly criticizes a single industry in the United States, concluding that working conditions among the nation's meatpackers and slaughterhouses are so bad that they violate basic human rights.
The report, released yesterday, frequently echoes Upton Sinclair's classic on the industry, ''The Jungle.'' It finds that jobs in many beef, pork and poultry plants are sufficiently dangerous to breach international agreements promising a safe workplace.
The report notes that meatpacking's injury rate is more than three times that of American private industry over all: 20 injuries per 100 meatpacking workers in 2001, as against 5.7 in all industry.
It describes plants where exhausted employees slice into carcasses at a frenzied pace hour after hour, often suffering injuries from a slip of the knife or from repeating a single motion more than 10,000 times a day. It tells of workers' being asphyxiated by fumes from decaying matter, of legs cut off, of hands crushed.
''Meatpacking is the most dangerous factory job in America,'' said the report's author, Lance Compa, who teaches industrial and labor relations at Cornell and is a former union organizer and negotiator. ''Dangerous conditions are cheaper for companies, and the government does next to nothing.''
Responding to that criticism, Richard Fairfax, director of enforcement for the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said the agency vigorously oversaw the industry for excessive line speed and other problems.
''We have a strong enforcement program'' in meatpacking, Mr. Fairfax said, ''and a strong compliance assistance program.''
The industry itself dismissed the report's conclusions, noting that the number of reported injuries was declining and saying packing companies did their utmost to make their plants safe.
J. Patrick Boyle, president of the American Meat Institute, said the report was ''replete with falsehoods and baseless claims.''
''In fact,'' Mr. Boyle said, ''there are so many refutable claims and irresponsible accusations contained in this 175-page report that it would take another 175 pages to correct the errors.''
The industry also disputed two other conclusions of the report: that packing companies violate human rights by suppressing employees' efforts to organize, often firing those who support a union, and that they flout international agreements by taking advantage of workers' immigration status -- in some plants, two-thirds of the workers are illegal immigrants -- to subject them to inferior treatment.
''Every country has its horrors, and this industry is one of the horrors in the United States,'' said Jamie Fellner, director of the United States program for Human Rights Watch, a private watchdog based in New York that most often investigates abuses abroad. ''One of the goals of Human Rights Watch is to promote the understanding that workers' rights are human rights. The right to organize and the right to have a safe place to work are human rights no less than the right not to be tortured.''
The report, ''Blood, Sweat and Fear: Workers' Rights in U.S. Meat and Poultry Plants,'' focuses on three companies: Tyson Foods for poultry, Smithfield Foods for pork, and Nebraska Beef. Mr. Compa based the report on interviews with workers, company responses, regulatory reports, court testimony going back over the past decade and judicial rulings.
''Nearly every worker interviewed for this report bore physical signs of a serious injury suffered from working in a meat or poultry plant,'' the report says. ''Meat and poultry industry employers set up the workplaces and practices that create these dangers, but they treat the resulting mayhem as a normal, natural part of the production process, not as what it is -- repeated violations of international human rights standards.''
The report also says that to save themselves money, companies frequently pressure injured employees not to file workers' compensation claims.
Officials of Nebraska Beef did not respond to telephone inquiries seeking comment about the report.
But Gary Mickelson, a spokesman for Tyson, said: ''We're disappointed by the report's misleading conclusions, but not surprised given the author's extensive ties to organized labor. Ensuring our team members are treated fairly is an integral part of the way we do business.''
Dennis Treacy, Smithfield's vice president for environmental, community and government affairs, faulted the report for dealing at length with what an administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board found to be dozens of labor law violations eight years ago against workers trying to unionize the company's pork processing plant in Tar Heel, N.C.
''They make no mention of the current situation of our plants or anybody else's,'' Mr. Treacy said. ''We're proud of our plants.''
He said that worker safety was one of Smithfield's highest priorities and that the company was appealing a ruling by the labor relations board that upheld the judge's decision.
That decision found violations, described in the report, that included dismissal of pro-union workers, stationing sheriff's deputies at plant gates to intimidate workers and orchestrating a physical assault on union supporters.
In issuing the report, Human Rights Watch called on federal safety officials to increase enforcement and slow the line speed in packing plants, urged state officials to enforce workers' compensation laws more vigorously, and sought strengthened enforcement against companies' firing and intimidating workers who want to unionize.

UPI, January 26, 2005, Wednesday

Copyright 2005 U.P.I.
All Rights Reserved


January 26, 2005 Wednesday 4:51 PM EST

Analysis: Is meatpacking a 'jungle'?



President Teddy Roosevelt supposedly threw his breakfast sausages out a window after reading Upton Sinclair's book "The Jungle," which exposed corruption and abuses in the meatpacking industry at the turn of the century.
One hundred years later the American Meat Institute, an industry trade group, finds itself denying a scathing report alleging "systematic human rights violations" at U.S. meat and poultry plants.
A 175-page report, "Blood, Sweat, and Fear: Workers' Rights in U.S. Meat and Poultry plants," released by Human Rights Watch Tuesday examined beef packing in Nebraska, hog slaughtering in North Carolina and chicken processing in Arkansas and reported unnecessarily hazardous work conditions and exploitation of immigrant labor.
The report by the privately funded human-rights organization accused large meat companies of using intimidation, reprisals, threats and fear of deportation to take advantage of immigrant workers -- calling working conditions a violation of basic human rights.
American Meat Institute President and Chief Executive Officer J. Patrick Boyle said the report was so far off the mark he would need 175 pages to correct the "falsehoods and baseless claims."
"Meat packing is the most dangerous factory job in America," said Lance Compa, the report's author who teaches labor and industrial relations at Cornell University. "Dangerous conditions are cheaper for companies -- and the government does next to nothing."
The report used three plants operated by Omaha-based Nebraska Beef Ltd., Smithfield Foods pork plant in Tar Heel, N.C., and a Tyson Foods poultry plant in Arkansas as case studies to show how the increased speed of production, close-quarter working conditions, poor training and insufficient safety programs have made meat processing so hazardous.
Tyson, the world's largest processor of chicken, beef and pork, released a worker's "Team Member Bill of Rights" one day before the Human Rights Watch report. The bill promised the right to a safe, non-discriminatory workplace, fair compensation and the right to organize and bargain collectively for Tyson's 114,000 employees.
Tyson Foods Chairman and CEO John Tyson said the bill of rights "reinforces the practices we've long supported and communicated at our plants." U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns helped develop a similar Meatpacking Industry Bill of Rights for Nebraska plants when he was governor in 2000.
Human Rights Watch says conditions at some plants remain horrendous.
"On each work shift workers made up to 30,000 hard-cutting motions with sharp knives, causing massive repetitive motion injuries and frequent lacerations," Human Rights Watch said. The report said workers often failed to receive compensation for workplace injuries because of companies' delay, denial or failure to report injuries and that workers who file claims faced retaliation.
"A century after Upton Sinclair wrote 'The Jungle,' workers in the meatpacking industry still face serious injuries," said Jamie Fellner, director of the U.S. Program at Human Rights Watch. "Public agencies try to protect consumers from tainted meat, but do little to protect workers from unsafe conditions."
Sinclair's "The Jungle" described hopeless living and working conditions of a family of Lithuanian immigrants in the graft-ridden Chicago stockyards at the end of the 19th century. Public outrage after the book was published led to passage of the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.
In the 21st century immigrants in meat-processing plants are more likely to be from Mexico and Central and Latin America.
The report said Smithfield Foods fired union supporters, threatened to close the North Carolina plant and stationed police at plant gates during a union election in 1997. Smithfield appealed after the National Labor Relations Board ordered a new election and created an internal company security force in 2000.
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney praised Human Rights Watch for opening a window on the meatpacking industry.
"Meatpacking workers not only do some of the most dangerous work in America, but they are also systematically denied basic protections and rights when it comes to health and safety, immigrant workers' rights, workers' compensation and the freedom to form a union to lift their lives," Sweeney said. "Working at breakneck speeds in the extremely dangerous and dirty work of beef, pork and poultry processing, meatpacking workers experience extraordinarily high rates of injury and death on the job."
The report recommended uniform rules including ergonomics standards to protect workplace health and safety, workers' compensation benefits, enforcement of existing labor law to bring it into compliance with international standards, enactment of the Employee Free Choice Act and federal legislation to protect workers when they attempt to organize.
"It's especially frightening for those of us from Central America. Where we come from, the police shoot trade unionists," a pork-plant worker from El Salvador told researchers.
The American Meat Institute denied meatpacking had extraordinarily high rates of injury or that injuries were underreported.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which monitors workplace safety, has not had a significant complaint against a meatpacker for decades, AMI's Boyle said in a statement.
He said the speed of the line at meat plants monitored by the USDA's Food and Safety Inspection Service had not changed appreciably in 15 years. "We have a strong enforcement program and a strong compliance assistance program," OSHA's director of enforcement told The New York Times.
AMI said the report intentionally mislead readers and cited the meatpacking industry as a leader in U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service efforts to stop undocumented immigrants from working illegally in the United States.
"The speed of the lines, the pace of the cutting motions, the force that is required to cut through tissue and sinew and muscle and so on is really punishing," said Compa, a labor-rights researcher. "Our credibility is in the details, which show the systematic violations of human rights in this industry."
(Please send comments to

PR Newswire US, January 25, 2005, Tuesday

Copyright 2005 PR Newswire Association LLC.
All Rights Reserved.
PR Newswire US

January 25, 2005 Tuesday

Paget Alves Appointed to GTECH's Board of Directors


WEST GREENWICH, R.I., Jan. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- GTECH Holdings Corporation (NYSE:GTK) announced today that Paget L. Alves has been appointed to serve as a director on the Company's Board of Directors. In connection with the appointment, the Company also announced that the size of its Board of Directors has been increased from eight members to nine members. Mr. Alves will be nominated for election to GTECH's Board of Directors at the Company's 2005 Annual Shareholders' Meeting.
"Paget brings more than 20 years of telecommunications industry leadership, and operational, financial, strategic, and public company expertise to GTECH's Board of Directors," said Robert M. Dewey, Jr., GTECH Board Chairman. "His vast experience and independent perspective will clearly benefit GTECH as we continue to build the Company for the future."
Over the past several years, Mr. Alves has served in senior leadership capacities for a variety of telecommunications/technology companies including Sprint, PointOne Telecommunications, Centennial Communications, Murata Business Systems, and IBM.
Mr. Alves currently serves as President of Strategic Markets, a business unit of the Sprint Business Solutions division, with responsibility for Sprint's 100 largest business customers, systems integrators, international customers, access and wholesale carriers, and cable ventures.
Mr. Alves holds both a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Cornell Law School.
Certain statements contained in this press release are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Company identifies forward-looking statements by words such as "may," "will," "should," "could," "expect," "plan," "anticipate," "intend," "believe," "estimate," "continue," or similar words that refer to the future. Such statements include, without limitation, statements relating to the prospects and financial outlook for the Company, which reflect management assumptions regarding: (i) the future prospects for and stability of the lottery industry and other businesses in which the Company is engaged or expects to be engaged, (ii) the future operating and financial performance of the Company (including, without limitation, expected future growth in revenues, profit margins and earnings per share), and (iii) the ability of the Company to retain existing business and to obtain and retain new business. Such forward looking statements reflect management's assessment based on information currently available, but are not guarantees and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in the forward looking statements.
These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those set forth above, in the Company's subsequent press releases and on reports by the Company on Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K, and other reports and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as risks and uncertainties respecting: (i) the potential impact of extensive and evolving government regulations upon the Company's business; (ii) the ability of the Company to continue to retain and extend its existing contracts and win new contracts; (iii) the possibility of slower than expected growth or declines in sales of lottery and gaming goods and services by the Company or the Company's customers; (iv) exposure to foreign currency fluctuations; (v) risks and uncertainties inherent in doing business in foreign jurisdictions; (vi) the relatively large percentage of the Company's revenues attributable to a relatively small number of the Company's customers; (vii) the possibility of significant fluctuation of quarterly operating results; (viii) the intensity of competition in the lottery and gaming industries; (ix) the possibility of substantial penalties under and/or termination of the Company's contracts; (x) the ability of the Company to respond to technological change and to satisfy the future technological demands of its customers; (xi) opposition to expansion of lottery and gaming; (xii) the Company's ability to attract and retain key employees; and (xiii) the possibility of adverse determinations in pending legal proceedings.
GTECH, a leading global information technology company with over $1 billion in revenues and more than 5,400 people in over 50 countries, provides software, networks, and professional services that power high-performance, transaction processing solutions. The Company's core market is the lottery industry, with a growing presence in commercial gaming technology and financial services transaction processing. For more information about the Company, please visit GTECH's website at .
Robert K. Vincent
Public Affairs
GTECH Corporation
CONTACT: Robert K. Vincent, Public Affairs of GTECH Corporation,
+1-401-392-7452Web site: