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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Unions Add Members As Jobs Return

January 27, 2012 8:05 am | by Sam Hananel, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Union membership grew slightly last year, giving labor leaders hope that a period of steep declines has finally bottomed out. The number of unionized workers increased by about 50,000 to nearly 14.8 million members in 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

North America Boosts Ford In 4Q

January 27, 2012 8:01 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — For Ford, there's no place like home. North America propped up the company in the fourth quarter as the European debt crisis and flooding in Thailand hurt profits elsewhere. Ford Motor Co.'s shares took an initial hit after the company missed Wall Street's expectations, but moderated once the company promised better — if still bumpy — results in 2012.


More Seek Unemployment, But Trend Is Positive

January 27, 2012 4:12 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to a seasonally adjusted 377,000, up from a nearly four-year low the previous week. But the longer-term trend is pointing to a healthier job market. Applications have trended down over the past few months.


Court Delays Ruling On Honda Suit

January 27, 2012 4:10 am | by Linda Deutsch, AP Special Correspondent

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An unusual small claims lawsuit by a Honda hybrid owner took another complicated turn Wednesday with additional arguments that prompted a commissioner to delay a ruling for more consideration. Superior Court Commissioner Douglas Carnahan said he was aware of "a media blitz on this case," and wanted to be clear on all of the issues raised by Honda owner Heather Peters.

Labor Board Chief To Push Organizing Rules

January 27, 2012 4:07 am | by Sam Hananel, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the National Labor Relations Board plans to push for new rules that would give unions a boost in organizing members, despite an outcry from Republicans and business groups who say the board is going too far. Mark Pearce said he hopes the board will propose the rules soon, now that it has a full component of five members.

Toyo Tire Recalls Nearly 69,000 Tires

January 27, 2012 4:06 am

CYPRESS, Calif. (AP) — Cypress-based Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. is recalling nearly 69,000 tires because of a possible kink near the rim area that could cause a crack and lead to tire failure. A statement on the company's website says the recall involves the Toyo Extensa A/S tires that were manufactured at the Toyo Tires plant in Georgia and have a "Made in U.


Down The Apple Food Chain, Some Worry

January 27, 2012 4:02 am | by Bernard Condon, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — If you like Apple's stock, you're going to love its suppliers. The companies that make iPhone casings, chips for the iPad and other components are attracting so many investors, they're making the stock of the beloved tech juggernaut look like it's gathering dust. Many are virtual unknowns, sporting names like TriQuint Semiconductor, Aphenol and the hopeful-sounding Skyworks Solutions, but that may be why they're doing so well.

CA Car Makers Support New 'Clean Car' Regs

January 27, 2012 3:59 am | by Jason Dearen, Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Automakers expressed qualified support for California's proposed rules to require carmakers to build more electric and other less-polluting hybrid cars and trucks by 2025. Companies including Ford Motor Corp., Chrysler Group LLC, General Motors Co., Nissan Motor Co.


Navigate The Changing Market: FMA’s 2012 Annual Conference

January 26, 2012 8:54 am

Compelling and educational keynote addresses covering the vital role of manufacturing in the economy, new technology, and tactics to identify and target new markets and customers, highlight The FABRICATOR® 's Leadership Summit: 7th Annual Metal Matters, February 29-March 2, the premier conference for the metal fabricating industry.

Ex-Head Of Breast Implant Maker Arrested

January 26, 2012 8:35 am | by Jamey Keaten, Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — The former head of a French company at the center of a breast implant scandal affecting tens of thousands of women worldwide was arrested along with his former deputy Thursday in southeast France, officials said. Jean-Claude Mas, who founded and ran the now-defunct implant maker Poly Implant Prothese, was detained as part of a judicial investigation in the southeastern city of Marseille into manslaughter and involuntary injuries, an official said.


CAT 4Q Profit Tops Wall St. View

January 26, 2012 8:33 am | by Bree Fowler, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Caterpillar Inc. said Thursday that its fourth-quarter profit jumped 60 percent, boosted by pent-up demand for new equipment and continuing growth in developing countries. The performance of the world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment is an indicator of the strength of the global economy.

Leaders Look To China's Investments Abroad

January 26, 2012 8:31 am | by Frank Jordans, Associated Press

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — Chinese investment abroad is drawing scrutiny as global leaders increasingly look to China to prop up the world economy, even as some remain wary of the country's dominance. The head of one of China's biggest private equity firms said Thursday that foreign prejudice about Chinese investment is unfair and that Chinese investors are still learning a game that much of the world has been playing for decades.

PA Company Fined $93K For GA Plant

January 26, 2012 8:28 am

RYDAL, Ga. (AP) — A Pennsylvania company is being fined $93,000 for what federal officials say are safety and health violations at a Georgia manufacturing plant. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Wednesday that Morgantown, Pa.-based Morgan Corp. failed to provide welding screens for workers and did not give employees training on how to use hazardous chemicals, among other infractions.


CA Poised To Vote On 'Clean Car' Regs

January 26, 2012 8:24 am | by Jason Dearen, Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The head of California's air quality board on Thursday called proposed rules that would require automakers to build less-polluting cars and trucks by 2025 a historic move for a cleaner environment. California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols said she hopes the rules to require that vehicles emit about 75 percent less smog-producing pollutants will "lead the nation and the world.

IN Could Be 23rd Right-To-Work State

January 26, 2012 8:21 am | by Tom LoBianco, Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — In the end, they just didn't have the votes. For two legislative sessions, Indiana Democrats fought the divisive labor measure known as right-to-work. They offered amendments aimed at changing the bill. They sought to put the issue before voters in a referendum.

Nissan Announces $2B Plant In Mexico

January 25, 2012 7:59 am

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Nissan Motor Co. announced Wednesday it is investing $2 billion to build a new manufacturing plant in Mexico. It will be the Japanese company's third in the country, helping it serve markets throughout the Americas. Construction of the plant in the northern state of Aguascalientes will begin this summer and production should start by the end of next year, according to a company statement.


Alcoa To Expand Alloy Production For Aircraft

January 25, 2012 7:56 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Alcoa will build a new plant in Indiana and expand two other facilities to increase production of aluminum-lithium alloys to meet rising demand from the aerospace industry. The aluminum company, which operates out of Pittsburgh, has begun work on a 115,000-square-foot plant near its current facility at Lafayette, Ind.


Japan Posts First Trade Deficit Since 1980

January 25, 2012 7:54 am | by Eric Talmadge, Malcolm Foster, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — The devastating March tsunami and shift of manufacturing overseas plunged Japan's trade account into the red for the first time since 1980. Experts said the years of Japan running massive trade surpluses are likely over. The 2.49 trillion yen ($32 billion) deficit for 2011 reflected a surge in energy imports to cover shortfalls caused by the disaster.

Apple Doubles iPhone Sales In 1Q

January 25, 2012 7:53 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — The iPhone is taking over Apple. For the first time, the device that changed how people use mobile phones, accounts for more than half of the behemoth company's sales. Apple Inc. on Tuesday said it sold 37 million iPhones in the last three months of 2011, vastly exceeding analyst estimates and propelling the company to record quarterly results.

Boeing 4Q Profit Up As Deliveries Take Off

January 25, 2012 7:51 am | by Joshua Freed, AP Business Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Quicker deliveries of Boeing's commercial airplanes helped it report a 20-percent jump in fourth-quarter profits, and offset sluggish growth in its defense business. However, its shares fell because of a weaker 2012 earnings outlook than analysts expected. Boeing Co.


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