Internal report to UPI employees circa 1992 from former UPI executive Steve Geimann:
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UPI's computer and communications operations are in brand new home today. But getting there has been just a bit harrowing.
The move to Alexandria is just about completed. Technicians and programmers for IDR have switched all UPI bureaus to the new facility, which has four new-generation VAX computers. They're smaller in size but combined they have much greater capacity than the three VAX computers we've used in Vienna, Va.
At Alexandria, IDR joins another Infotech company, Micro Research, Inc., If you call and someone answers 'Micro-Research' you don't have the wrong number. In fact, there seems to be some question about whether IDR will continue to be known by that name, or if it will become MRI.
While system-wide outages were brief during the move, individual bureaus had lengthy periods of downtime. And the Tymnet and Telenet dial-in services were down for long stretches.
The UPI Customer Service desk also moved to the Alexandria facility.
Here are some phone numbers. Please make a note on your livespikes, or on your bureau bulletin boards:
Customer Service in the U.S................. 800-876-8741 (unchanged). Customer Service outside the U.S............ 703-824-8727 IDR Control................................. 703-824-9114 IDR-Micro Research main number.............. 703-824-0161
On other corporate fronts, a check will be delivered to Comprehensive Benefits Service Co. by the first part of next week to pay for expenses incurred prior to the sale.
This means those long-delayed payments, some dating back to May, will be resolved within the next week. A single check will be sent to Comprehensive, which in turn will settle with individual accounts.
In the normal course of business, Comprehensive sent n-e-w UPI the first bill for claims since the June 28, 1992, takeover by Middle East Broadcasting Centre Ltd. This will be processed shortly.
During the week, we discovered the proof of claim forms sent by a Oregon company working on behalf of o-l-d UPI had some incorrect data reflecting debts owed to employees. A message was transmitted during the week, indicating the problem was caused by an incorrect calculation of the outstanding liabiulities.
Among the biggest errors: "priority employee" category, which included in the amount pay to employees during the 90 days before the Aug. 28, 1991, bankruptcy filing. In fact, employees got regular paychecks during this period and no regular pay is still outstanding.
Another possible change is in the "unsecured accrued vacation" class. These figures were based on the times sheets as of mid-September, and may not reflect all times sheets for the pre-petition period.
In any event, if the dollar amounts are decreased, new forms will be prepared and a new deadline will be set for sending in the forms.
Remember: All pre-petition debts will be paid a-f-t-e-r the post-petition administration claims are paid. These claims include lawyers fees, employee vacations and so forth, that were n-o-t paid prior to the sale. What's left over after these claims are settled will be applied to the pre-petition debts.
Free Trade Accord Wins International Teamwork
When President Bush announced the long-awaited accord on the North American Free Trade Agreement Wednesday, UPI was ready with White House reporter Helen Thomas handling the main lead and an extensive package of sidebars from the United States, Mexico and Canada. Treasury reporter Jeff Bater wrote the U.S. reaction story, zeroing in on opposition by labor leaders and key Democratics to the agreement they fear will cause job flight to Mexico and turn U.S. industrial centers into ghost towns.
Harvey Rice, who had planned Mexico City's coverage days before the Bush announcement, filed an analysis story on how the trade pact is expected to shake up Mexican industry and force social change in the poorest of the three North American nations. Rice also worked up two context pieces on the trade positions between the three countries and the steps that remain before the agreement takes effect. Andrew Downie talked to Mexican businessmen to get reaction and hit the streets around the capital, where he interviewed a man who wanted to know more about the agreement but could not read. Mexico City also contributed sidebars on President Carlos Salinas and the Mexican stock market, which recorded unexpectedly modest gains after the agreement was unveiled.
In Ottawa, Mike Lewis explored the hot debate among Canadian politicians and the business community over the impact of the pact amid charges that Ontario already has suffered job losses as a result of the earlier U.S.-Canada trade agreement.
Hari Krishnan in Dallas reported Texas could become one of the largest beneficiaries in terms of increased trade with Mexico and the resulting job gains. Detroit's Melanie Deeds focused on the Big Three automakers' disappointment that only vehicles containing a large portion of North American parts will qualify for tariff cuts. In Washington Science Editor Doug Levy examined environmentalists' concerns that the free trade agreement may allow businesses to take advantage of lax environment enforcement in Mexico.
Unipressers Never Forget
Here's an item from two categories: Diligence in nailing down a story and Unipresser don't forget.
Acting on a tip given the national desk by former North Carolina Unipresser & Jim & Tammy Faye watcher June Preston, Du's Jerry Wolffe came up with a solid story Tuesday night on the death in Michigan of Kevin Whittum, the young disabled man Bakker used to raise millions.
Wolffe called Preston, who gave him the number of Bakker's attorney where he left a ca had Broadcast Sports Writer Chris Nagi here breaking in on the 5p-1a shift and had him drop turnarounds and get onmtrak and the NTSB, who both promised quick callbacks.
"Eye called newport news police who confirmed there were injuries and we attributed number to broadcahat with waiting we were on the wire around 11p, long before CNN had details. Saw on desk that Amtrak fax arrived here 2a edt and onite freshened story. chrs.
On August 6th, our personnel staff in mexico city buo grew when oniter editor Gina Sandoval gave birth to a healthy boy, Mario ed 3.2 kilograms (7.04 pounds). Mother and son were reported healthy.