|US: Companies Tap Pension Plans
To Fund Executive Benefits
by ELLEN E. SCHULTZ and THEO FRANCIS, The Wall Street Journal
August 4th, 2008
In recent years, companies from Intel Corp. to CenturyTel Inc. collectively have moved hundreds of millions of dollars of obligations for executive benefits into rank-and-file pension plans. This lets companies capture tax breaks intended for pensions of regular workers and use them to pay for executives' supplemental benefits and compensation.
|US: OSHA Seeks $8.7 Million Fine Against Sugar Company
by SHAILA DEWAN, The New York Times
July 26th, 2008
Imperial Sugar, the owner of a refinery near Savannah where 13 workers died in a sugar dust explosion in February, knew of safety hazards at the plant as early as 2002 but did nothing, and should pay more than $8.7 million for safety violations, the head of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Friday.
|US: Toxic Smoke and Mirrors|
by Jim Morris, Mother Jones
Filed in federal District Court in Cleveland, their claim joined thousands of others pending against welding-products manufacturers in state and federal courts. (Employers have not been among the targets because lawyers generally concluded they were ignorant of the metal's dangers.)
|US: Workers on Hunger Strike Say They Were Misled on Visas
by JULIA PRESTON, The New York Times
June 7th, 2008
The Indian workers say they were deceived by Signal International and labor recruiters when they paid as much as $20,000 for visas they believed would allow them to work and live permanently with their families in the United States. In fact, the H-2B visas are for short-term contracts.
|GLOBAL: Union Takes Anti-Buyout Campaign Worldwide
by MICHAEL J. de la MERCED, The New York Times
June 4th, 2008
Beginning Wednesday, the Service Employees International Union, one of the country’s biggest unions, will call upon people to attend protests on July 17 in 100 cities in 25 countries. The rallying cry will be: Take back the economy from buyout firms that the union says have exploited tax loopholes to amass great wealth at others’ expense.
|US: In Stock Plan, Employees See Stacked Deck
by MARY WILLIAMS WALSH, The New York Times
May 29th, 2008
Now that many U.S. Sugar workers are reaching retirement age, though, the company has been cashing them out of the retirement plan at a much lower price than they could have received. Unknown to them, an outside investor was offering to buy the company — and their shares — for far more. Longtime employees say they have lost out on tens of thousands of dollars each and millions of dollars as a group, while insiders of the company came out ahead.
|RUSSIA: As Gazprom Goes, So Goes Russia|
by Andrew E. Kramer, New York Times
May 11th, 2008
Gazprom and the Russian government have long had a close relationship, but the revolving door between them is spinning especially fast this year. But Gazprom also epitomizes the risks of state capitalism: waste and inefficiency.
|MEXICO: Pemex Oozes Corruption|
by Diego Cevallos , IPS
May 7th, 2008
Funds belonging to the Mexican state oil monopoly, Pemex, have paid in recent years for liposuction treatment for the wife of the company's chief executive, a presidential candidate's campaign, contracts with firms facing legal action, and the whims of trade union leaders who are not required to account for their expenses.
|US: Working Life (High and Low)
by STEVEN GREENHOUSE, The New York Times
April 20th, 2008
Jean called it “a great deal for FedEx. They don’t have to pay for trucks, for the insurance, for fuel, for maintenance, for tires,” she said. “We have to pay for all those things. And they don’t have to pay our Social Security.”
|US: America for Sale: 2 Outcomes When Foreigners Buy Factories
by PETER S. GOODMAN, The New York Times
April 7th, 2008
As foreign buyers descend upon the United States, capturing widening swaths of the industrial landscape and putting millions of Americans to work for new owners, these two cities offer sharply competing narratives for a nation still uneasy about being on the selling end of the global economy.
|US: Families Sue Chiquita in Deaths of 5 Men
by CARMEN GENTILE, The New York Times
March 17th, 2008
Last week, Ms. Julin, who has remarried, and the widows of the four other men filed a lawsuit against Chiquita Brands International Inc., saying the company contributed to their husbands’ deaths by financing the leftist group.
|US: Workers Sue Gulf Coast Company That Imported Them|
by ADAM NOSSITER, The New York Times
March 11th, 2008
A group of 500 foreign welders and pipefitters brought in to work at Gulf Coast oil rig yards after Hurricane Katrina said Monday that they had sued their employer, claiming they were lured with false promises of permanent-resident status, forced to live in inhumane conditions and then threatened when they protested.
|CAYMAN ISLANDS: Top Iraq contractor skirts US taxes offshore
by Farah Stockman, The Boston Globe
March 6th, 2008
Kellogg Brown & Root, the nation's top Iraq war contractor and until last year a subsidiary of Halliburton Corp., has avoided paying hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicare and Social Security taxes by hiring workers through shell companies based in this tropical tax haven.