Friday, February 24, 2006

National Public Radio, Morning Edition, February 23, 2006, Thursday

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Call Center Outsourcing Slows

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SHOW: Morning Edition 11:00 PM EST

February 23, 2006 Thursday

HEADLINE: Call Center Outsourcing Slows



Over the past few years, some U.S. companies have been closing their domestic call centers and relocating them to low-wage countries like India. Researchers say many more companies are resisting that trend.
Despite huge savings, these companies say some call center jobs are ill-suited to overseas workers. Many companies have found an alternative to outsourcing: hiring workers who answer calls from their homes.
NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
Unidentified Man: Honda Accord. And what color is it?
JIM ZARROLI reporting:
Every day of the year, the call center at AAA of Northern New Jersey receives at least 500 calls. Many come from stranded motorists whose cars have broken down.
Executive Vice President David Hughes says roadside assistance is one of the most important things the company does.
Mr. DAVID HUGHES (Executive Vice President, AAA of New Jersey): If you're stuck on the side of the road, it's the most important thing we do. AAA is known for road service, among other things, but that's what members usually refer to when they talk about AAA.
ZARROLI: Hughes says that in busy times, or at night, the calls that come in to New Jersey are routed through AAA headquarters in Florida. It would be a lot cheaper to route calls through India, or the Philippines, but Hughes says that's something the company has never considered.
Mr. HUGHES: One of the downsides is location. People aren't familiar with New Jersey roads and highways. Now that's not to say that people in South Florida aren't either, but I think the learning curve on someone in another country might be a bit slower.
ZARROLI: It's a view that is shared by a lot of companies, says Rosemary Batt, Associate Professor of Human Resource Studies at Cornell University, who recently surveyed almost 500 call centers. Batt says there's been a steady trickle of companies sending call center jobs to places like India, places where English is widely spoken and there's a glut of educated workers.
But she says the number of outsourced jobs is still small. There are some four million call center jobs in the United States, compared to about 400,000 in India. What's more, she says, many companies are reluctant to take outsourcing too far.
Professor ROSEMARY BATT (Human Resource Studies, Cornell University):
The pattern we saw is that companies tend to outsource simple transactions that involve repetitive work, such as credit card activation or telemarketing or simple retail-type sales.
ZARROLI: Batt says that in many of these jobs, workers are required to stick closely to a script so there's little risk they'll say the wrong thing. Batt says companies have been much more reluctant to outsource jobs that require more complex interactions, such as business to business calls.
Professor BATT
: And even in the mass market, they keep in-house transactions that involve some level of complexity, and particularly transactions in which a service inquiry can be turned into a sale.
ZARROLI: Companies, she says, are simply reluctant to give up too much control over the call center process, and that is slowing the trend of outsourcing.
For companies that want to stay close to home and still save money, one alternative is a practice called home sourcing.
Mr. JOHN MILLER (Willow CSN Employee): And your email address is still the same?
ZARROLI: In his bedroom in Poughkeepsie, New York, John Miller is on the phone taking orders for a large office supply retailer. Miller was trained as a chef but now works for a company called Willow CSN, which contracts him out to other companies for call center work. He can do the job using his home PC and a separate phone.
Mr. MILLER: Well, you don't have to leave your house, you know. You don't have to worry about getting dressed for, all clothes for work and dry cleaning bills and food bills, and being stuck in traffic. And you can wake up ten minutes before you go to work, turn your computer on, grab a cup of coffee, and, you know, just go to work.
ZARROLI: When Miller gets lonely working by himself all day he can log on to a chat room for Willow employees.
The office supply company that Miller is answering calls for can listen in on him anytime it wants, so it can monitor his job performance. Angie Selden is CEO of Willow, one of a handful of home-sourcing companies that have opened in recent years. She says using home-based workers costs companies a lot less than building their own call centers.
Ms. ANGIE SELDEN (CEO, Willow CSN): First and foremost, there is a significant cost savings over internal call centers for companies in the U.S.
The second is that the quality of the people that we can attract is far superior to any bricks and mortar call center, whether its off-shore or whether its on-shore in the United States.
ZARROLI: Selden says there's a huge workforce of educated entrepreneurial people in the United States who live in rural areas or can't leave home because they're disabled or care for sick relatives. As long as they have a DSL line, she says, they can do call center work.
In the long run, many of these companies could still save more money by sending these jobs overseas. But companies like Willow are helping them cut costs without having to do that.
Jim Zarroli, NPR News.

Business Wire, February 22, 2006, Wednesday

Copyright 2006 Business Wire, Inc.
Business Wire

February 22, 2006 Wednesday 2:35 PM GMT

DISTRIBUTION: Business Editors

HEADLINE: Bear Stearns Names Pamela Kimmet Global Head of Human Resources

DATELINE: NEW YORK Feb. 22, 2006

Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. announced today that Pamela Kimmet will be joining the firm in March as a senior managing director and global head of Human Resources. With more than 25 years of experience in human resources administration, Ms. Kimmet possesses a deep understanding of the financial services industry and has significant benefits and compensation expertise. She will report to Samuel Molinaro, executive vice president and chief financial officer.
Commenting on the hire, Mr. Molinaro said, "At Bear Stearns we fully appreciate that our 12,000 employees are our most important asset, and we are extremely pleased to have Pam lead our human resources effort. Her extensive knowledge and experience will help us continue to attract, develop and retain the top talent in the industry."
Ms. Kimmet joins Bear Stearns from Lucent Technologies, where she has headed that firm's global human resources organization since 2001. Prior to joining Lucent in 2000 as vice president in charge of compensation, benefits and health services, Ms. Kimmet led the compensation and benefits team for Citigroup, where she supported the successful integration of these programs and their administration following the 1998 merger of Citibank and Travelers Group. Before joining Citibank in 1994, she spent 14 years with General Motors, where she held increasingly responsible roles in various human resources positions across the corporation. Ms. Kimmet earned an MBA from Michigan State University through the school's Advanced Management Program, and holds a BS in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University.
Founded in 1923, Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. is a leading investment banking and securities trading and brokerage firm, and the major subsidiary of The Bear Stearns Companies Inc. (NYSE:BSC). With approximately $54.3 billion in total capital, Bear Stearns serves governments, corporations, institutions and individuals worldwide. The company's business includes corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions, institutional equities and fixed income sales and trading, securities research, private client services, derivatives, foreign exchange and futures sales and trading, asset management and custody services. Through Bear, Stearns Securities Corp., it offers financing, securities lending, clearing and technology solutions to hedge funds, broker-dealers and investment advisors. Headquartered in New York City, the company has approximately 12,000 employees worldwide. For additional information about Bear Stearns, please visit the firm's website at

CONTACT: Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. Russell Sherman, 212-272-5219


The New York Times, February 21, 2006, Tuesday

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
The New York Times

February 21, 2006 Tuesday
Late Edition - Final

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

HEADLINE: In Wireless World, Cingular Bucks the Antiunion Trend


Cingular Wireless and Vodafone engaged in a furious bidding war two years ago to acquire AT&T Wireless. Rooting for Cingular was an unexpected fan, Kelvin Banks, a single father working at an AT&T customer service center in Jackson, Miss.
Mr. Banks was moved by a little-publicized fact about Cingular: it has had relatively warm relations with unions.
The day after the company won a $41 billion auction for AT&T Wireless, Mr. Banks contacted labor officials and helped to pull off a rare but significant union organizing success story in the digital age.
Since July 2005, the Communications Workers of America has unionized 16,500 former AT&T Wireless workers at Cingular Wireless retail stores and call centers nationwide -- a move that runs counter to the longstanding trend in the telecommunications industry and American workplaces in general. And many of those Cingular shops are in the South, where unionizing efforts have been difficult historically.
Cingular's wireless competitors have fought, at times fiercely, against unionization, arguing that an organized labor force would hobble their ability to move workers, cut costs and make changes necessary to compete in a high-tech industry. They often assert that unions ultimately hurt the workers they claim to protect.
But the growth of Cingular into the nation's largest wireless carrier -- with a nearly fully unionized labor force -- has challenged those assumptions and given a new spark to organized labor, said Harry C. Katz, dean of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University.
''The fact Cingular does well even in the face of unionization helps rebut the argument that unions aren't viable in a technologically sophisticated and dynamic industry,'' Mr. Katz said.
That said, he noted that the union's success remained particular to Cingular. ''It has not contributed to a noticeable rebirth more broadly,'' Mr. Katz said. ''Whether there will be a larger resurgence -- that remains to be seen.''
From the union's perspective, the success at Cingular shows what it can accomplish when it tries to organize at a company that is not averse to organized labor.
At communications and public utility companies, the percentage of unionized workers dropped to 21.8 percent in 2002, from 42.4 percent in 1983 (using the most recent available data organized by those categories), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To a large extent, the decline reflects the industry's deregulation and the shrinking work force at the heavily unionized Baby Bells.
By comparison, the percentage of unionized workers in service industries over all fell to 5.7 percent in 2002, from 7.7 percent in 1983, according to the bureau.
On Wall Street, telecommunications industry analysts said the financial impact of Cingular's union contracts was not yet clear. But ''there's not a perception on Wall Street that it's a problem,'' said Jeffrey Halpern, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company.
He noted that a unionized work force did not appear to have hindered Cingular's ability to cut costs or streamline its staffing, though the company lagged its competitors in some areas, like retention of new subscribers.
About 225,000 people, including managers, work in the wireless industry, and around 39,000 of them belong to a union. Nearly all of these workers are at Cingular. (The cable operators, with a work force of around 176,000, including managers and union-eligible workers, had about 7,000 union workers as of last year.)
The C.W.A. has been successful in organizing stores and centers around the country, a few hundred workers at a time. Last month, it organized 1,288 Cingular customer service workers in Orlando, Fla. In December, the union added 158 Cingular workers in Hawaii, 400 in Pennsylvania, 121 in Colorado, 51 in Iowa, and 36 in Illinois.
Mr. Banks said the idea of organizing the call center in Jackson was unthinkable when it was still part of AT&T Wireless because workers considered that company ''very antiunion.''
So ''it was a real big deal'' when the union was certified last March, after winning the support of roughly 60 percent of some 500 workers, said Mr. Banks, the union's shop steward in Jackson.
Union officials said that what set Cingular apart from other wireless carriers and cable companies was, quite simply, that it was not actively antiunion. To be sure, the company and the union have clashed in numerous contract negotiations. But Cingular has not tried to dissuade employees from joining the union. At places like Jackson, for instance, the company did not lobby employees to reject a union or argue that doing so would hurt them and the company.
Instead, Cingular has sent the message that labor can be an ally.
The partnership with the union ''provides us a competitive advantage,'' said Lew Walker, Cingular's vice president for human resources, operations and labor relations. ''We do believe it has a positive bottom line impact on the company.''
Mr. Walker said the company had benefited by getting the union's support with politicians and regulators, including its endorsement for the acquisition of AT&T Wireless. He also said Cingular had benefited in being the wireless carrier of choice among other unions and organizations that want to patronize a union-friendly company, though he declined to specify how much revenue came from those entities.
Cingular's acceptance of unions may also be attributable to tradition at SBC Communications, which merged with AT&T last year and adopted the AT&T name. It owns 60 percent of Cingular, with the remainder owned by the BellSouth Corporation.
Critical to the union's success is its strategy of fighting for ''neutrality agreements'' -- accords under which companies promise not to try to dissuade nonunion employees from organizing, said Rosemary Batt, an associate professor of human resource studies at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell. Such agreements were in place at SBC and Cingular.
Of course, neutrality alone does not guarantee success, said Edward Sabol, organizing director for the communications workers. The union, he said, still has had to win majority support in each bargaining unit, within 60 days of officially beginning organizing campaigns. But he said that effort is much easier without challenges from the company.
And the union has not always been successful, even with a neutrality agreement. Despite such an agreement with Verizon Wireless, which expired in 2004, the C.W.A. failed to organize workers at that company.
The union asserts that, despite the agreement, Verizon Wireless continued to discourage workers from joining.
Indeed, in December a federal administrative law judge in Washington issued a ruling that Verizon Wireless broke federal labor law in 2003 and 2004 by discouraging union organizing at a call center in Orangeburg, N.Y. The judge ordered Verizon to post a notice at a call center in Wilmington, N.C., where the work from Orangeburg had been moved, saying the company would cease activities like prohibiting workers from discussing unions on their break time.
Verizon said it was appealing the decision, which it claims to have lost on technical grounds. More generally, the company argues that its workers rejected a union because they were treated better and were paid more than unionized Cingular workers.
Last April, Verizon Wireless published a comparison showing that its average salaries were 33 percent to 44 percent higher than several thousand Cingular employees in some bargaining units. But the union disputes these figures, arguing they are not representative of the overall picture.
As for the former AT&T Wireless workers, they say joining the union offers some job protection. Last September, about 70 percent of the roughly 950 workers at a Cingular customer service center in Oklahoma City pledged support for the union, in part, said Michael Ahern, the chief union steward at the call center, because the workers were concerned about job security under the new management.
Mr. Ahern said that Cingular had been very strict about imposing quality standards on call center employees. He said that employees were regularly dismissed for failing to answer phone calls quickly enough to fill their quota, while trying to solve customer problems and be empathic.
Mr. Ahern said neither the union nor the management was happy with the rate of job turnover, and that both sides were negotiating on ways to retain workers, who might be able to meet the requirements with more training. Mr. Ahern said the union succeeded in getting workers a guarantee of a twice-a-year salary increase, compared with once-a-year performance-based raises at AT&T Wireless.
As a result, he said, more workers are beginning to trust the idea of a union, something that many would not have considered under a previous employer.
''It's changing,'' he said. But ''it's been slow.''


GRAPHIC: Photo: Kelvin Banks has helped with efforts to unionize Cingular communications workers in Jackson, Miss. (Photo by Suzi Altman for The New York Times)(pg. C2)GraphUnion membership for wage and salary workers employed byGraph tracks union membership for wage and salary workers employed by the following since 1985:All industriesWired telecommunications carriersUtilities industry(Sources by Bureau of Labor Statistics via Moody's C1)

The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York), February 16, 2006 Thursday

Copyright 2006 Post-Standard
All Rights Reserved.
The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York)

February 16, 2006 Thursday
Correction Appended



BYLINE: E.W. "Ted" Furze

City resident E.W. "Ted" Furze wrote the following about the Feb. 3, 1939, fire that destroyed the Collins Block and killed nine Syracuse firefighters and the annual firefighters ceremony on that date that honors all city firefighters killed in the line of duty. Neighbors had stories about both of these events on Feb. 2 and 9.

I was born Jan. 7, 1938.
So when the first alarm came in a little after 1 a.m. Feb. 3, 1939, I was only 1 and asleep in my crib. However, growing up, as the grandson of the Syracuse fire chief, Edward W. Gieselman, the tragedy was always there. It took an awful toll on my grandfather and our whole family.
I knew some of the names - Jimmy Diamond - and of course, Charlie Boynton, my grandfather's assistant chief and his best friend on the department for 42 years.
At Bellevue Jr. High School, one of the teachers was Rosemary Dugan, who lost her father. She is faithful in her attendance at every wreath-laying ceremony.
My sister Joan, nine years older than I, always remembers the look of grief on grandpa's face; "the first time she ever saw a man cry," (she recalled).
My grandparents always spoke so fondly of Charlie and Libby Boynton, and I know they missed him terribly. On a few occasions, I remember grandma mentioning, perhaps with regret, that Ada Keep's restaurant was in the (destroyed) building.
In the 1970s, I was talking with my uncle, Walter T. Gieselman. He had been a young lawyer in Jacob Smith's office Suite 411 in the SA&K Building overlooking the State Tower Building and the site of the Collins Block behind it. Walter said that "dad" (grandpa to me) had fought the fire all night. It was a bitter cold night, and a lot of water had been poured on the conflagration and it froze on the wooden beams. In the morning the fire was extinguished.
Then, Walter claimed that he talked grandpa into going around the corner to his fire chief's office in room 212 of City Hall, leaving his good friend and assistant, Charlie Boynton, in charge.
Eight men were in the basement when the building collapsed under the weight of the ice on the burned out wooden structure.
Grandpa visited each of the eight homes and families of the fallen fireman.
Three days later, on Feb. 6, Charlie Boynton had a heart attack at home and died. He was buried from St. Anthony's Church on Feb. 9, 1939. This is documented in a letter from Edward W. Gieselman, fire chief, to Roland B. Marvin, mayor, and dated Feb. 11, 1939. The letter praises his friend and 42-year colleague. I don't know the purpose of the letter, but I do know that my grandfather had a falling out with Mayor Marvin and Public Safety Commissioner Bill Rapp (also police chief at one point). I believe (it was) over the "Widows and Orphans Fund."
It was well known that grandpa stood up for his men. Before he retired in 1941, or within two years, he had the monument to Valor erected in Fayette Park (now known as Firemen's Park).
I gave a photo of my grandfather in his chief's uniform at the dedication of the memorial monument. I noticed that with characteristic humility the monument had a small inscription "Edward W. Gieselman, Fire Chief" in the lower right corner on the front of the monument.
Recently, the fire department added the names of the other firemen who have been killed in the line of duty over the whole history of the department. In so doing they added two stone plaques with the names on both ends of the monument, thus covering up my grandfather's name, as if to rewrite history and eliminate his 42 years of dedicated service.
When grandpa joined the SFD in 1897, they spent all day and night at the fire station, only coming home for the noon meal, and one night a month off. He was responsible for motorizing the department from old "Tommy" and the other horses that pulled the apparatus to trucks.
When I was a boy, he would take me downtown, and everyone stopped him, and called him "chief" even during the decade of his retirement. Every time he drove past a firehouse, he would give his familiar beep-beep on the horn, and all the fireman sitting out front would wave at him.
When we would drive out by State Fair and Hiawatha Boulevard, he would proudly point out the red brick tower he had erected for the firemen's training. The Syracuse Fire Department Web page credits Chief Hanlon with establishing the training center. He resurrected it after it had fallen into disuse, and it was used to store trucks.
When he died in September 1952, a large number of uniformed firemen marched through my Uncle Walter's house to pay their final respects, and then stood at attention on the front lawn as we were leaving for the cemetery.
Over the past several years I have turned over boxes of his papers and memorabilia to the SFD, including a hand-written thank-you note to him from Libby Boynton.
The Syracuse Fire Department even built the fire station on Fabius and West streets, right where he and my mother and the family lived until 1925.
I respectfully request that the Syracuse Fire Department and the city of Syracuse consider some appropriate recognition of a half-century of devotion and his public service to this community.
E.W. "Ted" Furze, of Westcott Street, holds a history degree from LeMoyne College and a certificate in labor-management relations from Cornell University. He works as a private consultant, and has worked has a director of development and public relations at LeMoyne College and executive director of the CNY Community Foundation.

February 16, 2006
A guest column today in some editions of Neighbors refers to Edward W. Gieselman, chief of the Syracuse Fire Department at the time of the Collins Block tragedy in 1939. The column suggests that Gieselman's name was covered by stone plaques bearing the names of the area's fallen firefighters; the plaques were added to the monument in Fireman's Park recently. In fact, Gieselman's name still is visible at the bottom of the monument. For an explanation, see Ted Furze's letter to the editor today on A-13, the Reader's Page.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Palm Beach Post, February 15, 2006, Wednesday

Former monk writes book about monastery life
By Lady Hereford
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 15, 2006

As a cloistered monk in one of the Catholic Church's strictest orders, Joseph Kossmann spent nearly two decades in silence.
Kossmann later left the monastery, and he has much to say about his experiences in the Carthusian Order and life in the only Carthusian monastery in the United States.
His self-published book, Sounds of Silence... a monk's journey, guides readers through his calling to the religious life, his training at a monastery in Spain and his life at the Carthusian monastery in Vermont. Sounds of Silence is available in bookstores and on the Web site
"It is a very elite group of men that I was very privileged to be a part of," said Kossmann, a suburban Lantana resident who writes under the pen name Father Benedict.
Benedict was the name Kossmann chose when he joined the group of hermit monks. "In Latin, Benedict means 'blessed one,' and I felt particularly blessed by having been given a calling to the Carthusian life," he wrote in his book.
The Carthusians at first turned Kossmann away, saying he was too young. However, Kossmann, a New York City native who grew up in upstate New York, had been committed to pursuing the religious life from the time he was in high school.
He persisted, and the Carthusians accepted him in 1962. He was 21.
At that time, Kossmann was given the choice of training at one of several Carthusian monasteries in Europe. He chose an extremely rustic community in Jerez, Spain. "I wanted to do the most I could in the strictest environment," he wrote.
He remained there until 1971, when he transferred to the monastery, or charterhouse, in rural Vermont. He earned the position of novice master and was responsible for instructing new members in the Carthusian way of life. He also held the title of vocation director and professor of theology, among other positions.
In 1978, he took a leave of absence from the charterhouse. It became permanent. "I think I just outgrew the life," Kossmann said. "I was very young when I entered, and I probably didn't understand all of the consequences.
"I felt overworked, and I was just tired. It was time."
Kossmann traveled for a few years and worked in parishes, but he said he didn't feel called to be a parish priest. He moved to Ithaca, N.Y., to be near his mother, and he earned a master's degree in labor relations from Cornell University. He also taught Spanish, French and Latin in a Catholic high school.
Kossmann eventually made a short-lived return to the cloistered life when he spent about a year with a group of Marionite monks translating religious documents.
He later joined the Camaldolese order in Ohio. "I was extremely happy there," he said.
He left the group a few years later after he had a heart attack. He returned to upstate New York and remained there until his mother's death.
He married his wife, Nettie, eight years ago, and they moved to Florida.
He now works three days a week as a security officer at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach and is a member of Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Lantana.
Kossmann plans to write a second book about his life since leaving the Carthusians. "I wanted to tell my story," he said. "I wanted people to be aware that material things aren't everything. I wanted to point out the spiritual side of life."
What are your hobbies?
Writing, traveling, gardening and caring for their dog Rudolph. He also reads a great deal. "I love to read nonfiction. I love history."
What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?
"My mom used to say, 'I did it my way.' Her advice would be to be yourself and do it your own way. She always left us to find our own paths."
For what would you like to be remembered?
"I'd like people to say, 'He was a good man. He was a spiritual person.' "

Virginian-Pilot (Hampton Roads, Virginia), February 12, 2006, Sunday

Mr. Wright (or more of the same?) for teamsters
By JEREMIAH MCWILLIAMS, The Virginian-Pilot © February 12, 2006

At 7 on a brisk morning Tuesday, James Wright was at work, chatting with truck drivers milling around a Chesapeake parking lot full of big rigs near Ford Motor Co.’s assembly plant.
“I like to get started early,” he said.
That’s good, because Wright, 40, has a lot to do. He is the new president of Teamsters Local 822, one of the largest unions in Hampton Roads. After taking over on an interim basis, Wright is putting his stamp on the 2,300-member union local. Former President David Vinson resigned abruptly in October to take a labor relations position in California.
“It’s a quantum leap from any other position because you’re responsible for everybody,” said Wright, who has held a variety of elected offices at Local 822 since 1994. He sat among law books in the Teamsters’ nondescript building, tucked between a Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon and a Veterans of Foreign Wars post near The Gallery at Military Circle. “Night and day, it’s an uphill battle.
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-->“Fortunately, I have a very understanding wife,” he added.
It took a decade for Wright to reach the local union’s top spot. In 1994, he was one of seven candidates casting themselves as reformers who defeated Local 822’s old guard. Until last year, he filled a variety of support roles – trustee, vice president and, most recently, secretary/treasurer – as Vinson held onto the president’s office for three consecutive terms and part of a fourth.
Challengers to that 1994 slate came and went, and everyone else from the original crew faded from union leadership. Wright remained. Now, he’s trying to come to grips with the demands of his new job.
His top challenge is attracting new members amid a two-decade slide in unions’ share of the national work force.
He must also negotiate with representatives of formidable Fortune 500 companies, including UPS and Smithfield Foods, while preventing a repeat of an in-house financial fraud and staving off opponents determined to replace him in fall elections.
Some say Wright already shows a style different from that of his predecessor.
He’s “more visible, more accessible,” said Dwight Riddick, a Teamster shop steward at Allied Systems Ltd., which transports F-150 pickup trucks and other vehicles. “We’ve always seen James over here. Now that he took over as president, he’s over here even more. He will call you back if he’s busy.”
Said Wright: “It’s a 24-hour job … to the point where, at 11 or 12, I have to turn my phone off.”
Wright studied electrical engineering at Norfolk State University, but as a newlywed he stopped 19 credit-hours short of a degree and began work at UPS. He quickly became active in the Teamsters, becoming a shop steward in 1991 and moving up to trustee in 1994. Union bylaws make the secretary/treasurer and three trustees largely responsible for overseeing the union local’s finances.
“I’m still the kind of guy who likes to go out and see the membership and address people’s concerns,” he said.
According to longtime colleague Lisa DelDonna, Wright is quiet and self-controlled in labor-management bargaining sessions.
“He’s always very fair,” said DelDonna, who campaigned alongside Wright in 1994 and won her vice presidential race. “Sometimes you say, 'James, you’re a little too nice.’ I have no qualms with snapping and losing my cool. He doesn’t. When he goes in with management, he’s always very professional.”
Wright said that style reflects confidence in his abilities. “When I go to management, nine times out of 10 it gets resolved pretty quickly,” he said. His talks with managers cover issues such as pay, discipline, working hours and safety conditions.
“I understand the contract,” he added. “My thing is, you can disagree, but you don’t have to be disagreeable. When I’m right, they usually don’t buck me. It’s a respect factor. It’s a credibility factor.”
Wright is often at work at 6 a.m., driving to the union office or Teamsters’ workplaces from his home in Virginia Beach. He is directly involved as business agent, or contract negotiator, with a half-dozen companies, including UPS and Roadway Express.
“I’m going to have to retrain myself,” Wright said. “As a president you have to delegate stuff. Right now I don’t delegate anything.”
Teamsters Local 822 collected more than $745,000 in dues and agency fees in 2004 and spent about $256,000 on representational activities, according to filings with the U.S. Department of Labor. Wright, who puts his salary at $72,000, said the local has grown by about 600 members since 1994.
“Trying to grow, trying to get new members in” is one of the toughest challenges the Teamsters face, Wright said.
Earlier in its history, Local 822 was not afraid to flex its muscle, even when it boasted fewer members. In 1975, the union and 11 Portsmouth police officers sued the city in an attempt to cut off its supply of federal money unless officials agreed to collective bargaining.
In 1976, the local grabbed headlines for calling a strike among Norfolk school bus drivers that turned violent. The strike led to allegations of assault and felony charges against two individuals for throwing rocks at a moving bus.
In 1997, local Teamsters participated in a massive national strike at UPS, pushing for higher wages, health and safety improvements and more control over the company’s pension plan. As business agent, Wright worked to keep picketing workers under control, making sure they weren’t obstructing traffic or drinking alcohol. Even in the thick of the two-week strike, DelDonna remembered, Wright urged demonstrators to keep their cool against strike-breakers.
“He would tell you in a gentlemanly manner, 'You should watch what you say to those people,’” she said. “'Remember, you will have to go back and work with those people.’”
Now, with no major labor-management battles brewing, Teamsters Local 822 has settled into a quiet period. Wright estimates that a union meeting might attract 40 or 45 people – better than last year but still only about 2 percent of members.
“There’s a lot of apathy out there,” Wright said. “It’s sad.”
The fortunes of unions in the United States have declined in recent decades. The share of workers represented by unions dropped from 20.1 percent in 1983 to 12.5 percent last year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unions have been affected by the loss of manufacturing jobs and outsourcing of work to nations that pay lower wages.
With unions representing 4.8 percent of workers in the state, Virginia tied with Arkansas for the third-lowest-percentage in the nation last year, behind South Carolina and North Carolina.
James P. Hoffa, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, has called unions’ losses an “annual hemorrhaging.”
“It’s a huge problem,” said Lee H. Adler, who teaches labor and employment law at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations in Ithaca, N.Y. “It’s been on a steady downhill decline from 1953 to now. It’s a different picture you see … in terms of power, in terms of ability to control labor markets, in terms of ability to influence politicians.”
Not everyone is pleased with Local 822’s leadership. A group of opposition candidates is trying to capitalize on frustrations with the leadership of David Vinson, who was criticized by some union members as aloof to their interests and sometimes overbearing on a personal level.
They portray Wright’s presidency as more of the same.
Ray Hardison, a package car and feeder driver who has worked at UPS for 17 years, is spearheading the “Rank and File Slate.” The group is preparing to run a full-fledged campaign to unseat Wright this fall.
“We’re in this because we’re all disgusted with the lack of representation and the weakness that this union has produced in the last decade,” Hardison said. “I don’t think the companies have ever been more confident than they are now in their ability to reign over the local, and that’s got to be turned around.”
Hardison says he doesn’t want to get involved in “James-bashing.” Still, he points out that Wright was an elected union official when Marcia Huizenga, a former bookkeeper and office manager, stole more than $47,000 from the local by writing 77 extra paychecks to herself between 1999 and 2003. She pleaded guilty to embezzlement in November. Her sentencing in federal court is scheduled for Thursday.
The scam wasn’t discovered until an auditor from the international union found it during a regularly scheduled audit in July 2003.
Wright was vice president when the fraud occurred.
“Oh, you had to ask me about that,” Wright said when asked how Huizenga pulled it off. “It was a huge surprise. I don’t know.”
Wright said that all the money has been recouped, and that payroll check-writing is now done by an outside firm. The union local has replaced its outside auditor as well.
“I was working here at the time, and I’ve taken full responsibility,” Wright said. “But we’ve put those safeguards in place, and I’ve aggressively pursued it.”
Wright has had some success in winning over some one-time opponents. Robert Candler, who ran unsuccessfully against Wright for the vice presidency in 2000, now sings Wright’s praises.
“I wish the best for James,” he said. “I hope he can throw a ticket together that will keep him in there.”
Wright said his competitors underestimate the challenges of leading the union, comparing the coming race to his first one.
“The opponents we beat said, 'You just don’t know what you’re doing.’ To some extent, they were right,” he said. “You can’t just wake up in the morning and say you want to be president of the union. It’s like me saying I want to be a heart surgeon.”
News researcher Jakon Hays contributed to this report.
Reach Jeremiah McWilliams at (757) 446-2344 or

Star-Gazette (Elmira, New York), February 14, 2006, Tuesday

Love global style Around the world, rituals differ and Valentine's Day is just coming into vogue
February 14, 2006

Most Americans associate Valentine's Day with chocolate, roses and assorted heart-shaped gifts. We also tend to incorporate our dating traditions into our Valentine's Day plans.But dating customs can be radically different around the world. In many countries, traditional courtship rituals are being influenced by Western ideas as well as the Internet. No matter how different the dating customs are from country to country, one thing is universal: Each country has specific rules, some of which are easier to bend than others.For this story, six people now living in the Southern Tier discuss the dating customs and Valentine's Day traditions in their home countries.

Hiroaki Kawanobe, 26, of Elmira College is a Japanese scholar. He's teaching Japanese courses as well as taking classes himself. A native of Japan, he lives on the college's campus. Kawanobe says that Japanese dating rituals have changed over the past few decades."Dating is getting more Americanized, meaning it's more common for people to meet and decide to go out. For years, the omiai was the way people got together," Kawanobe says.The omiai is a custom where two people are introduced with the sole purpose of getting married. Usually, the meeting is arranged by the couple's parents and serves as an initial blind date. The word "omiai" is used to describe the entire courtship process as well as the first meeting between the couple, often with the couple's parents present."This is how my Mom and Dad met," Kawanobe says. "The omiai still takes place today, but (it's not as common). About 50 years ago, everybody did it."Kawanobe says that when people do meet and decide to go out together, gender roles are much more prescribed than those in America."It's OK for a woman to ask out a man, but it's much more common for men to ask women out. In Japan, the man's only job, traditionally, is to work, to provide for the family. But this has been changing, little by little. Men don't do chores, clean up, run errands or go shopping. This, too, has been changing, little by little. Women do all this. (As a result,) men don't buy many gifts. If they do buy gifts for Valentine's Day, they buy the same types of gifts as Americans: Japan is known for its chocolate. We have 'White Day,' which is basically where men return gifts to women who gave chocolate or gifts. Moreover, Valentine's Day is a good day to confess love from women to men with chocolate," Kawanobe says.Kawanobe says the most drastic difference he's found in American dating practices is the commonality of public displays of affection."Our country is pretty private. I couldn't believe it when I (saw) people kissing in public here. You just don't see that in Japan."

Monica Dudzinska-Sayres, 38, of Elmira grew up in Warsaw, Poland. When she came to Elmira in 1991, she immediately noticed differences in dating rituals."In Poland, guys and girls would sit together, hang out together, just go out together in groups. Here, I couldn't understand why guys and girls were always so separated. It was much more formal here," Dudzinska-Sayres says."In Poland, if you were interested in somebody, there was more of a process of getting to know each other as friends first, before (official) dates. You'd go to coffee places and would talk for hours. There was definitely more talking involved in Poland," Dudzinska-Sayres says.Body language and physical contact also were much different."We're just more physical in Poland: People kiss on the cheeks, kiss hands, touch on the shoulder. It's much more open there, where in America, that physical contact is seen as not appropriate," Dudzinska-Sayres explains.She says Valentine's Day really wasn't celebrated in Poland until the late 1980s. What she remembers is celebrating International Women's Day in March."As a little girl, I remember Dad getting flowers for Mom (on International Women's Day). When I was very young, she would get a red or white carnation, for the Polish flag, but then that changed when the whole political system changed," Dudzinska-Sayres says.Dudzinska-Sayres' husband is American; she remembers the day she met him at happy hour at the now-closed Elmira bar Chuck Clark's. "My biggest problem here when I came to this country was the language barrier. There are just so many idioms! I carried a dictionary everywhere I went, but so many terms like 'happy hour' weren't in there! That day (at Chuck Clark's) my husband, I remember, was the only person who took his time to talk to me. Everyone else was just trying to talk louder to me when I didn't understand something!"Dudzinska-Sayres and her husband have been married for 11 years and have an 8-year-old daughter. She still has family in Poland and travels back to her hometown about once a year.

Ernest Gborglah, 24, is a senior at Mansfield University. Gborglah says that dating customs are going through drastic changes in Ghana, mostly because of the Internet."Before the Internet, a man (would have) to approach a woman through their family. Meetings and marriages were arranged; normally the man and woman (would have) no say on it. If the family thinks you're old enough to marry, then you do. But because of Western influences, things are changing," Gborglah says.He adds that Western influences such as television, radio and the Internet have not only changed dating practices, but also have altered communication between parents and children."Children are now finding they have the power to make their own choices. And it's easier for more people to travel out of the country. Now if my father wants to arrange a lady for me, we just say no. Most parents are not even trying. But we're (more likely) to communicate with them about it. Parents might put you in the frame of mind to be thinking of a certain person: She is nice, well brought up, would make a good wife, (etc.) and we might pursue that person," he says.Gborglah says one of the main differences in dating customs between Ghana and America is the intention of the actual dates."In Ghana when you start dating a woman, it's assumed you'll marry her. (It's common for a woman to ask) 'Do you love me?' on a first date," he says.He also says that gender roles are more pronounced in Ghana, which, in turn, influences dating practices."In America, women tell you they like you. A woman can't tell you she likes you in Ghana; you'd think she was cheap," Gborglah says. "The casual dating in America shocked me, because I just hadn't seen that before. Here, somebody (single) can have children. In Ghana, you'd be forced to marry. There are single parents there, but they almost always get married first, then get divorced."Gborglah says Valentine's Day is celebrated in Ghana, but it's a relatively new tradition: "When the radio came around in the early '90s, that's when Valentine's Day became popular. The radio hypes it so much, and tells you (that) you must give gifts. Almost everyone wears red. We give anything that's red, (as well as) chocolate. The most common gift, probably, is artificial flowers."

Olga Chernetskaya, 22, is a senior at Mansfield University. She says she sees two main differences between American and Russian dating practices."In Russia, guys are more active to date girls. Girls usually don't make the first move; girls usually don't call first," Chernetskaya says.The role of women in the United States is probably what surprised her the most when she came to Mansfield University."I was shocked when I saw girls making first steps with guys. This would be hard for me to do. ... I think I have changed a little bit in that way, but not much!" she says.Chernetskaya also was surprised by physical displays of affection, but not in the same way that Hiroaki Kawanobe was:"People here aren't as physical or as public as they are at home. In Russia, it's more common to show your emotions and hold hands. ... Sometimes, here, you don't know that people are together as a couple!"Chernetskaya has a special affection for Valentine's Day because it is also her birthday. She says she usually gets double the presents for double the occasion."On Valentine's Day, people usually celebrate by going somewhere, like a cafe. And (typical gifts are) jewelry, chocolate or small toys. And like here, people wear red," she says.

Bo Pederson, 38, of Cornell University is a third-year graduate student in psychology. His home city is Copenhagen. Pederson says dating isn't as structured in Denmark."Often you'll hang with friends at home and drink lots of beer and then go out to bars or a private party. I guess sometimes you'd ask friends where (a certain romantic interest) would be hanging out, so you can make sure to meet him/her by 'coincidence.' There was never really a tradition of going 'out on a date,' (having) dinner, (seeing) a movie and all that. But it is becoming more popular by now - especially with the Internet dating services.Pederson says that gender roles do play into dating: "Men generally make the first move. But, of course, woman can provoke that move in various ways with smiles, eye contact, etc. I guess it would be too direct for women to call men. Unless they can find something neutral and innocent to call about."Pederson comments on the perception of gay relationships in Denmark: "Copenhagen has a pretty happening gay scene, but the further you get out to the rural west, the more conservative people would be about this subject ... The Danish state church is divided in the debate about whether they should give homosexuals their blessings. (But) gay marriage has been legal for many years."

Anil Germain De Costa, 24, of Cornell University is a second-year graduate student at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. De Costa says that dating in Bangalore, his home city, has completely changed in the past six years."India is pretty traditional, unlike the U.S. where you can just go and ask a girl/guy out directly. Typically back home, people wait and get to know the person through a friend before making the bold step of asking them out. It is really a big thing to ask someone out!" De Costa says."It's always been about getting to know the person reasonably well before asking them out. Even parents were much against the idea of dating when you were in college, as people always felt that when you had to study, (dating was a) distraction. Only once you got a job and were old enough (should you) start dating," he adds. "The concept of dating is becoming a lot more popular. ... Consequently, parents have also become a lot more accepting of the concept of dating. One of the biggest changes that I have seen is people mixing together, in terms of religion and caste."De Costa says he's seen a tremendous Western influence from cable television, the Internet and call centers on dating practices in India."'Friends' was a huge hit, and you (may) have noticed how dating is treated in a very Western way. ... The concept of friends becoming more important and taking center stage at adolescence rather than family is a Western concept, as opposed to the Indian/Asian value of family being first."De Costa says this Western influence can also be seen in Feb. 14 celebrations: "Valentine's Day which was never celebrated until four or five years ago has now become a big event. Now you have hotels and clubs holding Valentine's Day events and parties."De Costa explains how employment at call centers is changing the dating scene in India:"The call centers are your typical technical support: airline lost baggage claim, banking help desks - the Dells, HSBCs, IBM and Accenture - that have invested heavily in Bangalore. Call centers now pay graduates - who might have previously earned perhaps 3000-4000 rupees a month ($60-$80) and hence hardly had anything to save and spend on themselves - these call centers pay them around 8000-1000 rupees a month ($180 - $200). Hence, they have a lot more disposable income - which they spend on themselves rather than save. Malls and coffeehouses on the lines of Starbucks have given these couples a place to hang out and spend time by themselves."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

MARKETPLACE (Minnesota Public Radio), February 15, 2005, Wednesday

You can listen to the broadcast at--

Copyright 2006 Minnesota Public Radio.
All Rights Reserved

SHOW: Marketplace 6:30 AM EST SYND

February 15, 2006 Wednesday

HEADLINE: Breakaway union from AFL-CIO launches campaign to turn low-wage hotel work into middle-class jobs



KAI RYSSDAL, anchor:
This is MARKETPLACE from American Public Media. I'm Kai Ryssdal.
Last summer, the AFL-CIO split in two. Breakaway unions said the venerable labor federation, this country's biggest, wasn't paying enough attention to organizing workers. They called themselves the `change-to-win' coalition. Today, they announced the first big test of their strategy and that slogan. They launched a campaign to turn low-wage hotel work into middle-class jobs. MARKETPLACE's Hillary Wicai reports the coalition has been laying the foundation for this push for quite a while.
HILLARY WICAI reporting:
The unions of change-to-win including the teamsters and the service workers are supporting their federation partner Unite Here. That union represents some 60,000 workers at about 400 hotels, whose contracts are already expired or are set to expire this year. They've watched as the hotel chains like Marriott, Hilton, Starwood and Intercontinental have grown and gone global. The union has been working for about five years to get the expiration dates to coincide. It gives workers more bargaining power when negotiating. A company hurts more if dozens of its hotel staffs are taking job actions vs. just one. Unite Here vice president John Wilhelm says they have the leverage to do this.
Mr. JOHN WILHELM: They can't move our jobs overseas which is an enormous opportunity.
WICAI: Kate Bronson Brenner is director of Labor Education Research at Cornell University. She says this contract campaign is winnable.
Ms. KATE BRONSON BRENNER [misspelled]: This is an industry where the workers are ripe for organizing. There are a lot of nonunion hotels. Every contract victory sets the stage for unorganized workers in the industry to be organized.
WICAI: But don't expect the hotel industry to roll over and start dishing out middle-class wages. Joseph McInerney of the American Hotel and Lodging Association says Unite Here is mistaken to try and nationalize this issue.
Mr. JOSEPH McINERNEY: It should be a very local issue because wages, pensions and health care are all local issues, and we should negotiate on a local basis like we have throughout the years.
WICAI: The campaign called `Hotel Workers Rising' starts this evening in San Francisco and has rallies planned later this week in LA, Chicago and Boston. I'm Hillary Wicai for MARKETPLACE.

Sacramento Bee (California), February 15, 2006, Wednesday

Copyright 2006 Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Copyright 2006 Sacramento Bee (California)
Sacramento Bee (California)

February 15, 2006, Wednesday

HEADLINE: Construction unions to drop AFL-CIO affiliation

BYLINE: By Rachel Osterman


In yet another schism within organized labor, two large, nationwide construction unions announced Tuesday they will pull out of the AFL-CIO's Building and Construction Trades Department in an effort to build clout at the bargaining table.
Citing dissatisfaction with the AFL-CIO's construction governing body, the two unions representing laborers and operating engineers said they will form a rival National Construction Association to more efficiently resolve disputes and organize new workers. The Teamsters, as well as unions representing carpenters, bricklayers and ironworkers, also will join the new group, bringing the total membership to 2 million workers nationwide, according to Laborers' International Union of North America president Terence O'Sullivan.
"While the construction economy has grown, living and work standards for construction workers have fallen," O'Sullivan said during a telephone press conference Tuesday. "We're creating a new organization that's committed to change."
On Tuesday, the head of the California division of the AFL-CIO's building trades department expressed concern that the split could actually worsen tensions between different construction unions.
"It weakens all building trades unions; it's in our interest to form alliances and work together," said California president Bob Balgenorth. "If there isn't a mechanism to resolve jurisdictional disputes, there will be chaos on the job sites, and I hope that's not where they are going."
The pullout comes after five other unions quit the AFL-CIO last year to start the Change to Win Federation, in part as a response to the decades-long slip in union membership nationally. The construction unions are not severing all ties to the AFL-CIO but are forming their own construction alliance.
In the construction industry, unions represented just 13.1 percent of workers in 2005, down from the 40 percent it held in 1973, O'Sullivan said.
The AFL-CIO's building trades department and its local councils have historically determined which unions can do which type of work on local construction sites. But the laborers union and others have complained that the department uses outdated criteria for making its decisions.
In Northern California, the largest of the breakaway construction unions -- those representing carpenters, laborers and operating engineers -- already collaborate through a formal alliance. Officials with those groups said the new NCA likely won't change their relationship with other unions or employers.
"It looks to me like the national level is kind of following suit to what we're doing here in Northern California, where we've already found a way to resolve jurisdictional disputes quickly," said Cindy Tuttle, political director of Local 3 of the Operating Engineers.
And it was on the national level where experts predicted that Tuesday's announcement will have the greatest impact.
"If you look at a construction site, the three unions that are pretty much there from the start of the project until the end are the operating engineers, the carpenters and the laborers," said Cornell University labor professor Richard Hurd. "If they coordinate in organizing, they may have control of the (job) site."
To see more of The Sacramento Bee, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to Copyright (c) 2006, The Sacramento Bee, Calif.
Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.
For information on republishing this content, contact us at (800) 661-2511 (U.S.), (213) 237-4914 (worldwide), fax (213) 237-6515, or e-mail

The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York), February 13, 2006, Monday

Copyright 2006 Post-Standard
All Rights Reserved.
The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York)

February 13, 2006 Monday



BYLINE: Nancy Buczek Sapna Kollali David L. Shaw Fred A. Mohr

Syracuse University students may want to think twice before they send an e-mail or post something on the Internet that could be interpreted by university officials as violating SU's code of student conduct.
Juanita Perez Williams , director of SU's Office of Judicial Affairs, issued a statement Thursday about its policy on student use of the Web site following an article in SU's student-run newspaper, The Daily Orange. The article detailed how four students said they were punished by the university after creating and participating in a page on the site that maligned their professor.
"The Office of Judicial Affairs does not conduct investigations," Williams said in the statement. "Rather, we review complaints referred to our attention, determine whether there is sufficient evidence to substantiate a violation of the Code of Student Conduct, and, if so, proceed with the judicial process."
Examples of evidence Williams cited include e-mail, instant messages and information gathered from was created in 2004 as an online directory for college students to create their own Web sites and connect to other students.
- Nancy Buczek
Doors show displeasure
The membership of the Onondaga Community College Federation of Teachers and Administrators is working without a contract - again, as bright orange signs on some professors' office doors declare.
The union's most recent five-year contract with the college expired Aug. 31. When its contract expired in 2000, it took 12 months for college and union negotiators to reach an agreement. The signs are a way for union members to express annoyance that an agreement hasn't been reached, said union President Kathy Perry .
"At OCC, we have a long history of working without contracts for a year, year and a half. So it's sort of too early for people to get too upset," Perry said.
Negotiators are using an interest-based bargaining technique, a tactic in which both parties identify problems and work to solve them together, rather than going into negotiations with proposals, Perry said.
A facilitator from Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations is working with the group, she said.
"We had gotten to the point where we just weren't making any progress at all," Perry said. She declined to talk about what issues were on the table.
Another meeting is planned for Feb. 20, and a third might be set up before spring break, which begins March 20.
"It would be nice to have it done by the end of the year," Perry said. "We'll see."
- Nancy Buczek
66 going to Gulf Coast
Hamilton College 's Alternative Spring Break program will send 66 students to Louisiana and Mississippi in March to help Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
ASB is a student-run organization that sends students to the South every year during spring break for community service projects. It began in 1993, when students helped Habitat for Humanity during Hurricane Andrew relief efforts in Miami.
This year's student groups will work with United Way and The Nature Conservancy, both in New Orleans; Louisiana State University and the Boys &Girls Clubs, both in Baton Rouge; Triangle of Hope Ministries in Bogalusa, La.; and Heritage Conservation Network in Biloxi, Miss.
To help raise money for the trip and offset the cost for volunteers, ASB is holding a Not-So-Silent Auction March 2. Silent bidding will take place all day, with a dinner and live auction beginning at 6 p.m. in the Annex.
Anyone interested in donating money or goods to be auctioned can contact Sharon Hakim at
- Sapna Kollali
A whale of a time
Nine Hobart and William Smith Colleges students spent two weeks of their holiday break in West Maui, Hawaii, conducting humpback whale research with a group of scientists from the University of Hawaii.
Sophomore Samantha Wason, of Manlius, and professor Uta Wolfe, of the psychology faculty, were among the group.
Students worked with researchers from the Dolphin Institute to study humpbacks' behavior, song, social organization and migration patterns.
They helped gather photographic and biopsy data for an international humpback whale population project. The program was a first for the Geneva colleges.
- David L. Shaw
Course leads to book
Two teachers at the State University College at Oswego who created a course on how to help children deal with grief wound up writing a book on the subject.
"Counseling Children and Adolescents through Grief and Loss" was written by Jody Fiorini and Jodi Mullen , assistant professors of counseling and psychological services at Oswego.
Fiorini said the topic topped a professional development survey the two conducted several years ago. But when they couldn't find a textbook suitable for a counselor course, they decided to write their own.
In addition to death or divorce, their book discusses coping with entering foster care, moving to a new town and school, and having a parent leave for military deployment, said Mullen.
The authors will sign copies of their book at 7 p.m. March 23 at river's end bookstore in Oswego.
- Fred A. Mohr
Speeding up the process
Cayuga Community College in Auburn is offering a Fast Forward liberal arts sequence to high school students.
The program allows students to attain junior status at a four-year college after one year at CCC.
First, high school students must complete five college-level courses at their high school through the Cayuga Advantage program. Once they obtain their high school diploma, they enroll full time for a year in CCC's liberal arts program.
They pick up two or three more courses during the college's January term and summer breaks, allowing them to earn an associate's degree in liberal arts in one year.
If students have coordinated their course selection with their intended transfer school, then they enroll in a four-year college or university as a junior.
The Fast Forward program makes the goal of a bachelor's degree, career entry or graduate school a reality not only sooner, but at far less expense for tuition, room and board.
Details are available from the college admissions office at 255-1743.
- David L. Shaw

The Business Review (Albany), February 12, 2006, Sunday

Please note: the quote is not accurately represented. Honda does not have a UAW or CAW workforce [correction by Arthur Wheaton]

New York is not on 'auto' in competition for foreign carmakers' business
By Joel stashenko
The Business Review (Albany)
Updated: 7:00 p.m. ET Feb. 12, 2006

Officially, the Toyota Motor Corp. is not building a new engine or assembly plant anywhere in North America.

But the company's soaring sales and market share--it may supplant General Motors in 2006 as the biggest automaker in the world--have states jockeying to be the site of new anticipated Toyota plants just the same.

Not New York. While an often sharp-elbowed competitor among states seeking chip and nanotechnology investments, in particular, New York has been invisible while Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and others try to entice Toyota with incentive packages.

Ohio Gov. Bob Taft is offering free land and $30 million in incentives for Toyota to put a plant in his state. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Gran?holm is also wooing Toyota, but so far is not making her state's offer public.

Empire State Development, New York state's chief economic development arm, said it is constantly on the lookout for companies that it can lure to New York. But auto manufacturers do not appear to be particularly good prospects for the state right now, ESD spokeswoman Deborah Wetzel said.

"High technology is one of the governor's and ESD's continuing focuses," Wetzel said. "We will continue to work on nanotech. We think the likelihood of getting an auto assembly plant is relatively low because of a variety of issues. However, we will always go after any significant job creation project in a significant industry that would consider a New York location."

Experts said New York is hampered in the automaker sweepstakes by many of the same factors that companies already operating in the state complain about: High taxes, high energy costs and high workers' compensation premiums chief among them.

"I have heard no discussion on some heavy manufacturing investment in New York," said David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich.

"Certainly, there is a perception of New York as a high-cost, high-tax state." Shrinking sector Relatively few New Yorkers are employed in the manufacture of automobiles or auto parts.

The state Department of Labor said 37,488 New Yorkers were in auto manufacturing in 2004, the last year figures are available for.

That was down from more than 45,000 in 2000.

The annual income level of those workers, however, showed why states vie so strenuously for auto industry jobs: $62,258 in 2004.

In the Capital Region, 780 workers were classified in transportation manufacturing job titles.

They had an annual average income of $49,563, the Department of Labor said. The largest auto industry presence in the Capital Region vanished when the Ford Motor Co. closed its plant in Green Island in 1989.

The plant, since demolished, employed 1,500 people at its peak. New York state is currently offering incentives to an auto manufacturer, but it is in an effort to save jobs, not attract new ones.

Delphi Corp.'s 3,800-worker plant in Lockport, the largest employer in Niagara County, is imperiled by the company's financial difficulties.

Part of a $20 million incentive package the state is proposing to keep the company in New York is predicated on the state Legislature approving a workers' compensation reform plan proposed by Gov. George Pataki.

American Axle Co. is also in a cost-cutting mode nationally due to General Motor's woes and is reportedly looking at savings in the operation of its two western New York plants.

Matter of course Places like Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois already have the rail and highway networks and other infrastructure auto plants need to operate, said Kim Hill, assistant director of the economics and business group at the Center for Automotive Research.

"The infrastructure of different industries is in place in some states and not in place in other places," Hill said. "Sometimes, there is an infrastructure in place that almost behooves these states to go after each and every one of these investment opportunities that they hear about."

Hill said he is sometimes asked why Michigan isn't more of a factor in pursuit of high-technology industries, such as the nanosciences.

"I say, 'It's probably because Massachusetts isn't really chasing after the auto industry,'" Hill said.

Daniel Natarelli, president and CEO of Specialty Silicone Products Inc. in Ballston Spa, said New York state officials, their counterparts in other states and auto company executives all know that costs for manufacturers are as much as a third higher in New York than the national average because of high taxes, energy and other factors.

"They know that by passing on this inordinate amount of costs to the auto industry, which is very sensitive to cost, New York is going to be a tough place to woo an auto company," Natarelli said.

Conversely, nanotechnology seems so promising to New York officials right now "because high-tech means high-margin and maybe you have less competition.

You don't get into the commodity frame-of-mind that you're in with the auto industry."

Specialty Silicone makes high-end silicone windshield wipers for the automotive aftermarket.

Arthur Wheaton of the Institute for Industry Studies at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, said New York's perception as a union-friendly state also probably detracts from its attractiveness as host to new auto plants.

Foreign manufacturers are not dead-set against hiring unionized workers--Mitsubishi, Honda and Toyota all have contracts with some United Auto Workers or Canadian Auto Workers employees in North America--but most new production from international makers has gone to less union-friendly, "right-to-work" southern states, Wheaton said.

"New York has one of the highest labor percentages for a unionized work force," Wheaton said.

"Some of the companies have shied away from the higher-unionized states." Sam Williams, community action program director for the UAW's New York and New Jersey region, said the union's efforts have been focused on fending off threats to its members' jobs at Delphi and in other plants instead of attracting new production facilities to New York.

"Our concern is to make sure the facilities stay where they are," he said.

2006 The Business Review (Albany)

The Washington Post, February 12, 2006, Sunday

Copyright 2006 The Washington Post
The Washington Post

February 12, 2006 Sunday
Final Edition

SECTION: Sunday Arts; N01

LENGTH: 2389 words

HEADLINE: The Price of 'Freedomland';
A Child Goes Missing. A Mother Blames a Black Man. One Writer Goes On a Long, Dark Journey.

BYLINE: Wil Haygood, Washington Post Staff Writer


The boy wonder burst onto the scene in the 1970s when he was all of 24 years old, with a tough, highly praised novel and soulful screenplays soon to follow. Richard Price was a hip white cat, who dug Gil Scott-Heron and Curtis Mayfield, and who used to sit in Times Square movie houses and watch "Mean Streets" over and over. That was Martin Scorsese's movie, all about crime, and the wicked, poetic, jumpy streets of New York.
Cinema back then had a kind of nasty film-noir magnetism. Some new directors were out and about, pointing their cameras in dark places. "The biggest compliment I could give a movie back then," says Price, "was, 'Now that I've seen it, I have to go write.' "
His first novel, "The Wanderers," about a teenage gang in the Bronx, was published in 1974. Two years later came "Bloodbrothers," about an 18-year-old who feels trapped by his working-class life. Both were on screen by decade's end. (Others got those screenwriting jobs). In succeeding years there would come more novels, and screenplays, too: "The Color of Money" and "Sea of Love" in the '80s and "Night and the City" in 1992.
A new movie, "Freedomland" -- from his own novel and screenplay -- opens nationwide this coming weekend. It stars Samuel L. Jackson, Julianne Moore and Edie Falco. It's about a missing child and a mother. The mother is white and she claims that her child has been snatched by a black man. So it's about taboos and history and folks who stand behind screen doors and believe what they want to believe, no matter what. "It's about the American flu -- racism," says Price.
The screenwriter first sniffed the story in the deep South, then came North and reimagined it on the streets of New Jersey.
He's rather thin and wide-eyed. Nearly Warholian. The black hair goes in various directions. Price has earned himself a fine home on the east side of Manhattan, decorated by Judith Hudson, his artist wife. Books are everywhere in his study, first editions in bookcases that rise to the ceiling. He collects them and reads them. "You go to used-book stores and they have these little sections with books under glass," says Price.
Lately he's been into Carson McCullers.
Price was still a young man when he reached a point that he could live solely by his writing. It's a rarity in American letters and he knows it. "All serious writers have to do something else," he says. "I don't know of any novelists who have kids who can take care of everything just from novels."
His 1992 novel, "Clockers," about teenage New Jersey crack dealers, was a critical success that captured the anxious cultural conversation about drugs, youth and the inner city. Price wrote the screenplay and Spike Lee directed the movie, which came out in 1995. But Lee fooled with it a lot. Price is diplomatic: "Spike does some amazing visual things with his movies." Then -- enough said -- he hunches his shoulders.
After he finished working on "Clockers," Price found himself without a writing project lined up.
It was the fall of 1994. He saw the flickers on a TV screen. Susan Smith, a white woman in South Carolina, was staring, teary-eyed, into TV cameras. Some deranged soul -- a black man -- had taken her kids, vanished, she wanted them back, Jesus.
The search played out on national TV. Like any parent, Price hugged his two young daughters, Genevieve and Anne, that much closer. He couldn't take his eyes off Susan Smith and the horror of it all. "Willard Scott was so upset once he couldn't even deliver the weather," remembers Price.
The town was Union, S.C. Price had never heard of the place. Oddly, he felt like bolting.
That night he tossed and turned in bed. "I spent all night Hamleting about it: To go, or not to go."
Next morning he grabbed some legal pads and pens, kissed his wife and daughters, and got himself out to La Guardia.
He's not a journalist in the old-fashioned sense of the word. He didn't have plans to immediately write about the unfolding drama. "I went to South Carolina without any portfolio," he says.
Upon arrival, he realized he had no feel for the South -- for sweet potato pie and folks helloing him out of the clear blue. A couple of journalists realized he was the dude who wrote "Clockers" and Price made friends quick. He went to the news conferences, asked questions and poked his head into buildings. "Everything in South Carolina seemed amazing to me," Price says. "Even the sides you could get at McDonald's. I was agog getting off the airplane. Susan Smith's whole story was right out of Dreiser."
He was there during the manhunt. The pain in the air fascinated him, how it seemed to bruise everything. He took a motel room out on a highway. At night he scribbled away on his legal pad.
Then the truth heaved up from the throat of Susan Smith: She had lied. There was no black guy. She put her two little boys -- one 3 years old, the other 14 months -- in her car and let the car roll into a lake, where they drowned. She would give her reasons -- she was depressed, her lover had abandoned her -- and a nation had to swallow hard.
But for many blacks, it was another case blazing up from the embers of history. A boogeyman with black skin.
It was the terror of it all that fascinated Price. How the drop of blood -- black guy, black guy, black guy! -- had contaminated the whole pool of water.
Price -- who returned to South Carolina for Smith's trial, in which she was convicted and sentenced to life in prison -- saw Smith as standing in the eye of a storm where sex and race converge. "You say a black guy did it, and it comes out so fast," says Price. "You don't even know you said it. What are you gonna say? A Bangladeshi guy did it?"
"I wanted to bring back with me why she had blamed this phantom black guy. People bought into it across the country."
The novelist had his tale.
And while he didn't know rural Southern towns, he did know the urban North.
"What happens if some white lady says, 'My kid got jacked in the projects?' What happens during the four to five days before she confesses?"
The novelist had his "Freedomland."
He created a detective, Lorenzo Council, who wears a porkpie hat, who knows the housing projects, who digs Al Green, who gets a call about a carjacking.
And he created Brenda Martin -- willowy, pale, spooky. But the novelist gave her something else: heart, layers, a thirst for love. She listens to soul singer Ann Peebles, who had a hit, "I Can't Stand the Rain." Back in the '70s.
Price spent nearly three years on the novel.
He is one of the few white novelists who write fully and energetically about black life. "Northern white writers sometimes see black people as another species," he says. "I think the white writer sometimes says, 'No, no, that's a hornet's nest.' Maybe even thinking it's cultural piracy. Whereas the white Southern writer says, 'I know blacks. I grew up with blacks. We were friends.' "
While working on "Freedomland," he hung out with homicide detectives in Jersey City. "You do what Damon Runyon did, hang out. I believe in hang time."
"He does his homework," says Detective Calvin Hart, whom Price befriended a decade ago while researching "Clockers" and chatted up while working on "Freedomland."
Hart recalls the day his superiors told him a writer was coming over to the Curries Woods housing projects of Jersey City to talk with him. "I said, 'Oh my, somebody I'm going to have to take out to lunch.' It was Richard, this little Jewish white guy. I said, when I first saw him, 'Damn, he looks like one of the guys I have to be chasing around the projects.' "
"Freedomland" was published in 1998. Critics adored the novel and Price holed up to write the screenplay.
For five years, though, the script languished. In Hollywood, things either languish or get made; sometimes the rhyme eludes the reason.
Years passed. Price, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter (for "The Color of Money"), mulled the idiosyncrasies of Hollywood. Of how a movie idea is hot one day, one week, only to vanish the next. "I was a prolific screenwriter in the late '80s and early '90s," says Price. "Hollywood had room for the $25 million movie then. And the movie could be about darker, edgier subjects. It could be about subjects that might not pack 'em in at the movie houses in Iowa."
So "Night and the City" got made, "Clockers" got made.
He stopped hearing anything about "Freedomland" making it to the screen.
Julianne Moore saw the script in 2000, wanted in the worst way to play Brenda Martin, but time passed. "I'd run into Richard at parties and ask, 'Is it gonna happen?' " remembers Moore.
The Brenda Martin character -- pulled from the whisperings of Susan Smith -- was not as coldblooded as Smith, which is what attracted Moore. "Susan Smith is psychotic," says Moore. "Brenda Martin has been ravaged by grief. She's self-punishing. She's loved in the community."
Price's saga, in both novel and script, is told in a zigzag motion. Jumping from the housing project to the white woman to the black detective to the woman whose activist group looks for missing children, the changing perspective is nostalgic for Price. "Everybody knows the '70s were the great day of independent filmmaking. The urban movies then were not beholden to a linear narrative. It was just one vignette after another."
When Price stopped hearing anything from Hollywood about "Freedomland," he turned it into a play. An old-fashioned theatrical drama. Toni Morrison invited him to come to Princeton, where she teaches, and stage it with a roomful of student actors. (One day, Hart, his detective friend, was invited to come have a look-see. Big, tough Hart came in hauling first editions of Morrison's books. Anyone who knows Morrison knows that's a no-no. "You should have seen it," remembers Price, guffawing. "Calvin with those books. Morrison doing a slow burn, half grin and half scowl. She signed them though.")
Then one day the phone rang. It was Joe Roth, head of Revolution Studios. "We're gonna make 'Freedomland,' " he said.
Price was back in the game.
Price was born in the Bronx in 1949. His dad drove a taxi and his mom had a small hosiery store. His only sibling, a brother, works for Con Edison, the New York power company.
Price went to the well-regarded Bronx High School of Science. "The alternative was to go to some big public school and get my ass kicked every day."
The housing project where his family lived didn't have the stigma of today's projects. He recalls World War II vets raising families. Maybe there were some knife fights, but he doesn't remember gunfire. "In the '50s and '60s, housing projects worked," Price says.
Raised modestly -- his was never a stone-broke Bronx family -- he's quick to give a buck. "I'll throw a track meet for the kids in the projects," says Hart, "and Richard will buy the food. He's been like that since I met him."
Price was accepted into Cornell and majored in labor relations. "For me," he says, "growing up and going into Manhattan was like being one of the Clampetts. So Ithaca was like Eden."
During his summers away from college he worked in construction. After Cornell, he got into the graduate writing program at Columbia. A short story of his got noticed, got sent to an agent, became "The Wanderers."
His daughter Anne is at Yale, and daughter Gen attends the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Price teaches at Yale, so "I can see my daughter once a week." Gen acts, and appears in "Freedomland."
Price also writes for "The Wire," an HBO drama set in Baltimore. He wrote a part for Gen last season. "Last year she played someone buying cocaine," Price says. "She said, 'Geez, Dad, thanks.' This year I got her playing a crackhead."
He loves movies. But he doesn't feel that the industry -- old, old song -- always loves him back because it has gotten harder to get projects to the screen.
"I don't know where Spike Lee gets his money to make movies," he says. "I bet it's harder now." He's sighing. He goes on: "They can't afford to make cheap movies. I don't know why. I don't read Variety. But movies are geared toward big budgets. And the big budget story has to be simpler. Paul Schrader [who wrote "Taxi Driver"] once said to me that someone at a studio told him, 'Tone down the nuances.' "
And yet Price admits he roots for the town, the industry. "You keep wanting for Hollywood to say, 'Let's make smaller movies about people.' "
Roth, the Revolution Studios head and "Freedomland" director, also laments some of the changes across Hollywood. "I remember when a movie like 'Dog Day Afternoon' was considered mainstream."
Many smaller movies do find outlets, Roth allows, within subdivisions of big movie studios. It is the marketing and advertising for those movies, many contend, that get short shrift.
Roth and his eclectic cast -- Moore, Jackson, Falco, Ron Eldard and Aunjanue Ellis -- filmed "Freedomland," for the most part, in an old housing project in Yonkers, N.Y. Much of the movie takes place at night, with a palette dark and hard and nearly brittle.
The $30 million film shoot was quick, done in a little more than 40 days. Price says he marveled at watching Jackson, Moore and Falco work. Falco -- unrecognizable to those who know her only as Carmela Soprano -- plays Karen Collucci, an activist leading a search party for the child. Falco is black-haired, intense, at times acting with nothing save silences. "You can say movies are superficial to books," Price says. "But no. It's a trade-off. What a movie can give you is faces."
He has no idea how "Freedomland" will do, but he likes it, is grateful the project was retrieved.
Like Theodore Dreiser, who wrote about the poor and the desperate, he seems to bleed for his work.
"I wake up every morning," Price says, "and ask myself, 'What have you done for me lately?' I'm in low-key panic most of the time."
He's at work on a new novel, one rooted in the streets of Manhattan. Some poor kids and well-off kids, coming to blows. It's about class and culture, about what one group might believe about the other, beliefs leading to murder. It's about the bruises that hang in the air.

The Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin), February 11, 2006, Saturday

Copyright 2006 Madison Newspapers, Inc.
The Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin)

February 11, 2006 Saturday



Few figures have contributed more to the debate about corporate globalization than Jose Bove, the French farmer whose dismantling of a McDonald's restaurant that was under construction near his sheep farm was something of a "shot heard round the world" in the struggle against the homogenization of food, culture and lifestyles.
While his assault on the local manifestation of the restaurant chain that has come to symbolize the one-size-fits-all character of globalization was a blunt act, Bove is known in France and abroad as a thoughtful theorist and strategist. His critique of the World Trade Organization's pro-corporate agenda has done much to alert activists around the world to the threats posed to workers, farmers, communities and democracy by WTO moves that allow multinational firms to disregard the laws and traditions of countries in which they operate.
But Bove, who has been a frequent visitor to the United States since he played an important part in the 1999 anti-WTO demonstrations in Seattle, is no longer welcome in George W. Bush's America.
When he arrived Wednesday at New York's JFK Airport on a trip that was supposed to take him to Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations for events sponsored by Cornell's Global Labor Institute, Bove was stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents who told him he was suddenly "ineligible" to enter the United States.
Before the night was done, Bove was hustled onto an Air France flight that returned him to his homeland.
Why can't Bove, one of the most influential political activists on the planet, speak in the United States? According to Bove, the agents told him he was being denied entry because of his past prosecutions for "moral crimes."
Bove's "crimes" may have been motivated by a deep sense of morality. But they were, more precisely, political acts, usually involving nonviolent civil disobedience or symbolic gestures meant to raise the awareness of the French regarding globalization -- most notably the 1999 dismantling of the restaurant McDonald's was developing in Millau, a community in southern France that is not far from the cooperative farm where Bove has lived and worked for decades.
And Bove's political views are not in sync with those of a president who used his recent State of the Union address to talk up his commitment to globalization with a corporate face.
Bove does not for a second believe that the U.S. officials who blocked his entry were concerned about morality, or particular "crimes." Rather, he suggested to reporters on Wednesday evening, the militantly pro-free trade Bush administration has found a new avenue to constrain the debate about its policies. "I think this administration is crazy," Bove explained. "They don't want any discussion that can affect all the things going on with globalization. They don't want people coming from outside to discuss it."
Coming at a time when the Bush administration faces scrutiny for warrantless wiretapping and other assaults on basic liberties, when new evidence of domestic spying on dissidents surfaces on a regular basis, and when we just witnessed the removal of anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan from the Capitol before the president delivered his State of the Union address, Bove's claim is hardly unreasonable.
Certainly, it is a matter that merits a congressional inquiry -- not just into this incident but into the whole question of whether customs and border operations have, like so many other functions of the federal government, been abused for political purposes by an administration that is far more committed to advancing the agenda of its corporate contributors than it is to respecting the rule of law.

GRAPHIC: Photo of Jose Bove

Newsday (New York), February 10, 2006, Friday

Copyright 2006 Newsday, Inc.
Newsday (New York)

February 10, 2006 Friday


HEADLINE: Bashing farmer's detainment by U.S. officials

BYLINE: BY JOSEPH MALLIA. STAFF WRITER; This story was supplemented with wire service reports.

Labor and anti-globalization activists yesterday criticized U.S. Border Protection officials who detained French farmer Jose Bove this week at Kennedy Airport, then sent him back to France and prevented him from attending an international labor conference in Manhattan.
Bove, who shot to international prominence after he and other sheep farmers dismantled a McDonald's under construction in southern France in 1999, now travels the world as an advocate of local food production. In addition to a 6- month jail term for destroying the McDonald's, he also has been jailed for ripping up genetically modified crops.
Bove should have been allowed entry to speak at the Cornell University-sponsored conference, said Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor research at Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
"This was a matter of curtailing academic freedom, free association and open debate," said Bronfenbrenner, coordinator of this week's Global Unions Conference where Bove was scheduled as keynote speaker.
Bove, 52, participated anyway by speakerphone in yesterday's conference discussions, titled Fighting the Commodification of Food, and The Struggle Against Monsanto in Europe, said William Kramer, a conference official.
"He was on the phone with at least 100 people, and he was very enthusiastic. Not at all depressed" at being turned away, Kramer said. Bove will seek U.S. government permission to return to the United States in June, he said.
Customs and Border Protection officials have refused comment on why Bove was denied admission on Wednesday.
This story was supplemented with wire service reports.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri), February 10, 2006, Friday

Please note that comments by Sean Sweeney in this and other papers appear to be vindicated by articles appearing in the Guardian (UK) -- see the last paragraph at --,,1708375,00.html

Copyright 2006 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Inc.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri)

February 10, 2006 Friday


HEADLINE: French critic of Monsanto biotech products is denied entry to U.S.



A French farmer arriving in New York to give a speech critical of Monsanto Co. was denied entry to the U.S. this week on the ground that he had lied on entry forms about committing "moral crimes," a farmers group said Thursday.
Jose Bove, a leader in the anti-globalization movement, was scheduled to speak at conferences in New York City and at Cornell University. But he was sent back to France after landing Wednesday at Kennedy International Airport, according to the farm group and Cornell.
Reuters news service reported that the French Foreign Ministry said Bove had been refused for a mistaken response to a question about his criminal record. Bove is the farmer who gained notoriety several years ago for leading an attack that damaged a McDonald's in southern France. He is a critic of genetically modified food and was scheduled to speak in New York about a campaign by European farmers against Monsanto, of Creve Coeur, Mo., the global leader in engineered food.
A French Foreign Ministry spokesman said Bove made a mistake in understanding when he responded to a question on an immigration form by saying he did not have a criminal record, Reuters reported. Bove thought the question referred only to the U.S. justice system, the spokesman said.
Via Campesina, an international farmers organization, said that Bove "was sent back to France after U.S. immigration officials maintained he had lied on his application about prior prosecutions for moral crimes."
Officials at the Customs and Border Protection agency could not be reached for comment.
Organizers of the Cornell conference were displeased about losing a main speaker. Sean Sweeney, director of Cornell's Global Labor Institute, said, "This is a huge conference here talking about focusing on the large multinational corporations. Monsanto is one. It has enormous influence on the politics of the world."
Part of Bove's speech was called, "Via Campesina takes on Monsanto." Via Campesina describes itself as an organization of farm workers and peasants from around the world.
Monsanto spokesman Chris Horner declined to comment other than to say, "There are a lot of activist groups out there that bash Monsanto to further their own agenda."
A national farm group denounced Bove's deportation, contending that he was being denied the opportunity to speak by a government that supports genetically modified food.
"He's a peaceful person, and no one would think of fearing him being in this country except for large companies like Monsanto," said George Naylor, an Iowa farmer and president of the National Farm Family Coalition.
Naylor said Bove had been briefly detained in December in Hong Kong after arriving for a World Trade Organization gathering.

NOTES: Nation

PHOTO - Bove