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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Labor Board Ruling Allows Group Claims In Court

January 9, 2012 8:23 am | by Michele Salcedo, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Employers can't require workers to sign arbitration agreements that prevent them from pursuing group claims in court, the National Labor Relations Board said Friday, in a decision that some experts say could have wide repercussions. The NLRB said agreements that required private sector workers to make claims only as individuals and only to an arbitrator violated their right to join together in "concerted action" under the National Labor Relations Act.

Chevrolet Aims Concept Cars At Millennials

January 9, 2012 8:20 am | by David Runk, Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — Chevrolet is aiming a pair of concept cars at the growing number of drivers in the Millennial generation, giving them a look Monday at what the outside of the coupes might look like and asking them to help design the interiors. The General Motors Co. brand unveiled the Code 130R and Tru 140S at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Judge Warns He May Toss DuPont Lawsuits

January 9, 2012 8:19 am | by Vicki Smith, Associated Press

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Fourteen families who blame ailments ranging from rashes to cancer on long-term exposure to a former DuPont zinc-smelting plant have until March 15 to produce new evidence or risk seeing the case thrown out. Harrison County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Bedell warned in a ruling last week that he is likely to grant DuPont's motion for summary judgment and dismissal if the plaintiffs can't produce more substantial evidence or testimony from an expert witness who says their injuries were caused by pollution from the plant.


Gadget Sales To Top $1 Trillion In 2012

January 9, 2012 8:17 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Developing countries like China and India will drive global sales of consumer electronics above $1 trillion this year for the first time, even as cash-strapped shoppers in the U.S. and Western Europe ease off spending for high-tech gear, industry analysts said Sunday.

Hyundai Elantra Wins Car Of Year

January 9, 2012 4:26 am | by Jeff Karoub, Tom Krisher, AP Business Writers

DETROIT (AP) — The Hyundai Elantra edged out the Ford Focus and Volkwagen Passat Monday to win the 2012 North American Car of the Year award. The prestigious industry award was announced at the start of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which hosts media previews this week and opens to the public on Saturday.


Feds Cancel $730M Loan For MI Steel Project

January 9, 2012 4:22 am

DEARBORN, Michigan (AP) — The U.S. Energy Department won't follow through on a planned $730 million loan to the North American arm of one of Russia's largest steel companies to modernize its Detroit-area plant. The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press reported Friday that the conditional loan for the Severstal North America project in Dearborn won't be finalized.


Obama To Promote Insourcing Of Jobs

January 9, 2012 4:20 am | by Ken Thomas, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is highlighting companies that have returned jobs to the U.S. and he says that's one more way of putting people back to work. The White House plans a forum Wednesday, called "Insourcing American Jobs," that will bring together business leaders who shifted work back home.

Detroit Auto Show To Open Amid Hopes For Better Sales

January 9, 2012 4:19 am

DETROIT, Jan. 9 (Kyodo) — Coming out of another tough economic year, automakers will kick off the annual North American International Auto Show on Monday in Detroit, emphasizing their confidence in the future with vehicles targeted at consumers expected to buy more vehicles. Though the industry is expected to focus on fuel economy and the environment as they did in last year's show, forecasts for improved sales in 2012 have given carmakers the needed boost to promote their products.


KS Leaders Split In Response To Boeing

January 9, 2012 4:14 am | by John Hanna, Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Some Kansas officials felt betrayed when they learned Boeing Co. was contemplating closing its defense plant in Wichita, and the area's congressman says he's researching whether the company can be held to promises to bring thousands of jobs to the Sunflower State. But the state's leaders are pursuing another path, too, insisting that Wichita still will be able to define itself as the aircraft manufacturing capital of the world even without the Boeing plant.


Plane-Maker Says Lost Contract Supports 1,400 Jobs

January 9, 2012 4:09 am | by Roxana Hegeman, Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A dispute between two companies over a halted $354 million contract for an Air Force light air support plane spilled into the public arena Friday, with the rivals arguing about how many people they would employ for the project and which one had the better U.S.-built airplane.


Toyota's New Car Sales Fall 6 Percent In U.S.

January 6, 2012 8:27 am

NEW YORK, Jan. 4 (Kyodo) — Toyota Motor Corp. saw its new car sales in the United States fall 6.7 percent in 2011, down for the fourth straight year, but its U.S. rivals enjoyed double-digit growth as overall sales in the market increased, according to data released Wednesday by a U.S.

Kia Completes $100M Plant Expansion

January 6, 2012 8:25 am

WEST POINT, Ga. (AP) — A $100 million expansion of the Kia Motors plant in West Point has been completed, according to executives with Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia Inc. The expansion, which included the addition of employees, increased the plant's capacity to a total of 360,000 vehicles per year, company officials said.


Cooper Tire, Locked-Out Union Clash Over Talks

January 6, 2012 8:23 am

FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) — Locked-out tire company workers in at Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. in Ohio are in a new dispute with management — about whether it backed out of new talks. Union leaders at Cooper Tire say they were set to sit down with the company next Thursday but now Cooper won't meet with them.


OSHA Proposes $90K In Fines For NY Manufacturer

January 6, 2012 8:21 am

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Federal safety inspectors are proposing $90,000 in fines against a western New York manufacturer, saying inspectors found several potential hazards at the plant. The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration says Friday that the findings are the result of an October inspection of the Gray Metal Products plant in Avon, in Livingston County 20 miles south of Rochester.


Police: 2 Dead In GA Food Plant Shooting

January 6, 2012 8:18 am

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — An employee opened fire outside a northeastern Georgia food processing plant Thursday, fatally shooting his wife before killing himself, authorities said. The Richmond County Sheriff's Office did not immediately say what prompted the slaying and suicide at FPL Food in Augusta, Ga.


China Heavy-Lift Chopper Receives Certification

January 6, 2012 8:16 am

BEIJING (AP) — China's civil aviation authority on Thursday cleared the country's biggest-ever helicopter for domestic use, its state-owned manufacturer said. The 13.8-ton AC313 is the latest advance for China's ambitious aerospace industry that spans military jets, commercial airliners, and even a manned space flight program.

Woodford Gives Up Fight To Head Olympus, Will Sue

January 6, 2012 4:02 am | by Malcolm Foster, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — The former Olympus Corp. CEO who blew the whistle on dubious spending at the Japanese camera and medical equipment maker said Friday he is giving up his fight to regain the presidency and plans to sue the company. Michael Woodford said he decided to drop his bid when he realized he didn't have the support of Japanese institutional investors, whom he blamed for tacitly allowing the current board to stay on despite acknowledging a massive cover-up.

Panel: Plant Owners Failed To Act Before Accidents

January 6, 2012 3:58 am | by Travis Loller, Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Officials at a Tennessee metal powders factory where five people died in accidents last year knew about the explosive danger of dust that coated much of the plant but did little to reduce the risk, a federal investigative agency concluded. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board on Thursday released its final report on three accidents over the first five months of 2011 at a Hoeganaes Corp.


Unemployment Rate Falls To 8.5 Percent

January 6, 2012 3:57 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — A burst of hiring in December pushed the unemployment rate to its lowest level in nearly three years, giving the economy a boost at the end of 2011. The Labor Department said Friday that employers added a net 200,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell to 8.

Hawker Beechcraft Lawsuit Halts Air Force Work

January 6, 2012 3:54 am | by Roxana Hegeman, Associated Press

WICHITA, Kansas (AP) — The U.S. Air Force has halted work on a $354 million contract for light air-support turboprops after Hawker Beechcraft Corp. filed a lawsuit claiming its own aircraft was wrongly excluded from the selection process. The contract was awarded Dec. 22 to Nevada-based Sierra Nevada Corp.


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