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Not an answer to your question I know...
Unfortunately that is not always the case. Most graphic programs that are configured for working with the web have a batch processing tool.
I utilize Fireworks and just had a project with 170 images that started off at 24MB each from a CD, eek! I had to create three sizes of each image; thumb 125px/large 400px/x-large 760px.
I had to do them in groups of 10 because system resources were borderline. It worked like a charm though and saved a heck of a lot of time optimizing images. I was able to specify quality levels for each of the 3 images which gave me maximum compression across the board. They turned out great!
Stick all the images in a directory. cd into it. then
$> gimp *.jpg
That will open them all at once. Though you may want to use PageOne's example and do them in batches.
From there you'll have to do them one buy one but, it's simple and quick.
Right click the image, chose image > scale image, pop in your desired width/height Ctrl s to save, then close and move on...