Dirt Diggers Network: Digest No. 24
November 22, 2002

Editor: Philip Mattera

1. Labor websites target Tenet Healthcare and Lufthansa

2. New EDGAR website touts its full-text searching capability

3. Club 100: The biggest soft money donors at the state level

4. Forbes releases latest list of top private companies: Cargill still on top

5. Class bias at Morgan Stanley

6. Research job opening at Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy Program [omitted from web archive]


1. New labor websites target Tenet Healthcare and Lufthansa

Labor unions are increasingly using standalone websites as a way of

publicizing campaigns directed against individual companies. Here are two

of the newest:

TenetMonitor <www.tenetmonitor.com>  focuses on Tenet Healthcare Corp.,

the for-profit hospital chain that is currently being investigated both by

federal Medicare regulators and the SEC. The site, created by the Service

Employees International Union, says its aim is the scrutinize the corporate

conduct of Tenet and "the impact of its practices on consumers, communities,

health care workers, investors and other members of the public." SEIU says

it has been working to challenge the way Tenet is driving up costs and

driving down the quality of care in hospitals.

Lufthansa-unbalanced <www.lufthansa-unbalanced.org>, set up by the Hotel

Employees Restaurant Employees International Union, focuses on labor issues

at the German airline's U.S. catering and food processing workers. The main

sections of the site are: Sexual Assault and Harrassment; Worker

Exploitation; Health and Safety Violations; and Labor Disputes.


2. New EDGAR website touts its full-text searching capability

There is a new entry in the lineup of free websites offering access to the SEC's

EDGAR database of public company filings. Created by Inverito Inc. and still

in a beta version, EDGAR IQ <http://www.edgariq.com> requires Macromedia Flash

to be installed on your computer to see the search menus, which are bare-bones.

Inverito brags about the site's full-text searching capability. Your moderator did a

few quick searches and found the site to be reasonably effective. Unlike

10-K Wizard <www.tenkwizard.com>, the current leader in full-text searching, EDGAR

IQ allows you to go from the hit to the full document without paying a subscription fee.


3. Club 100: The biggest soft money donors at the state level

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act is supposed to abolish the raising and

spending of soft money contributions by the national political parties. Both

Democrats and Republicans are reportedly looking for ways to circumvent that

law, but at the same time, there is increased focus on political giving at the

state level. The Center for Public Integrity <http://www.public-i.org> has just

released a report called Club 100 on the individuals who have already been

spending freely to influence state legislation. The report includes a list

of the 102 individuals who contributed $100,000 or more to state party

organizations in the 2000 election cycle.


4. Forbes releases latest list of top private companies: Cargill still on top

Forbes magazine has released its annual list of the largest private companies

in the United States <http://www.forbes.com/home/2002/11/07/privateland.html>.

Cargill, the agribusiness giant that also owns North Star Steel and other

industrial operations, once again topped the list, with revenues of just over

$50 billion. A feature on Cargill accompanying the list says that the company

is in the process of focusing more on food. CEO Warren Staley told Forbes:

"To grow our opportunities we have to shrink our sandbox...That means telling

our businesses, 'We won't starve you, but we may shoot you.'"


5. Class bias at Morgan Stanley

It should come as no surprise that stock analysts at investment banks don't

like unions, but it is rare that the bias is explicitly stated. A November 14, 2002

Morgan Stanley report on U.S. investment strategy contains a section

titled "Look for the union label...and run the other way." The article begins:

"At the risk of encouraging the ghost of Joe Hill to come back and haunt us,

we suspect investors should avoid heavily unionized industries today more than

usual. From a long-term perspective, unionized areas likes the autos, steel,

rails, and airlines have not been market-leading industries, and today, heavily

unionized industries stand directly in whatever the opposite of the sweet

spot is."

The report goes on to argue that heavily unionized companies face "rigidity

in labor costs, processes, and pension requirements," and that this fact

"while perhaps beneficial to employees, may prove toxic to shareholders."


Philip Mattera