Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire


White House refrain sought in port talks

LOS ANGELES >> A group of California legislators urged the Bush administration yesterday to stay out of stalled negotiations between shippers and West Coast dockworkers.

At a state legislative hearing convened in Wilmington, near the Port of Los Angeles, various state and federal representatives urged the Bush administration to respect the collective bargaining rights of members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

"The White House ought to be very concerned when the Legislature of the fifth largest economy in the world is concerned about federal intervention," state Sen. Richard Alarcon, D-Los Angeles, said after the hearing. "It could affect our economy and the national economy."

11 companies cannot swear by financials

WASHINGTON >> Eleven big companies have told the Securities and Exchange Commission their executives are unable to attest to the accuracy of their recent financial reports under a new government order.

Not surprisingly, they include companies embroiled in accounting scandals of recent months: Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc., which have become two of the biggest corporate bankruptcies in U.S. history, as well as bankrupt Adelphia Communications Corp.

The unprecedented requirement for CEOs and chief financial officers to certify company finances has so far uncovered no new accounting irregularities like those that brought down Enron and WorldCom and rattled investors.

More than 700 of the nation's biggest companies had filed sworn statements from their top executives vouching for the accuracy of recent financial reports by yesterday, two days after the government deadline.

Also not certifying their financial reports: bankrupt steelmaker LTV Corp., Dynegy Inc., ACT Manufacturing Inc., Adams Resources & Energy Inc., Alaska Air Group Inc., Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc., McLeodUSA Inc. and TruServ Corp.

Mediator called into Boeing labor talks

The Boeing Co. and the machinists union that represents 26,000 of its workers said yesterday they had brought a federal mediator into their negotiations after the talks bogged down over pensions and the use of overseas contractors.

Facing a Sept. 1 deadline, Boeing and the union have been bargaining for more than two weeks and have focused on the union's calls for job security and larger pensions. The two sides said they would bargain continually through the deadline in main sessions and side meetings.

Boeing has laid off nearly half of its machinists since 1990, and the union is pressing Boeing to promise in a new contract to hire a specific number of machinists based on the company's revenue or aircraft deliveries. Union officials say they are angry that Boeing, after reducing its work force by more than 20,000 over the last year, has given more work to contractors overseas.


Caribbean leaders discuss revitalization

CASTRIES, St. Lucia >> Jamaica's prime minister urged the Caribbean Community to set up a fund that could, if needed, be used to bail out fellow nations in the event of economic turmoil.

Jamaican Premier P.J. Patterson said yesterday at the St. Lucia summit that, as the Guyana-based organization pushes for a single market economy in the Caribbean, it should also look after the individual economies of its 15 member states. In the past year, the Caribbean has been hit hard by the U.S. recession and a drop in tourism. Additionally, the region's agricultural sector has had to deal with a drought and trade rules that eliminated preferential quotas on its exports.

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