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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

American Crystal, Union Talks Set To Continue

October 14, 2011 9:14 am

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Negotiations between American Crystal Sugar Co. and its union workers are scheduled to resume later this month. A federal mediation service in Minneapolis announced Friday that talks have been scheduled for Oct. 24. The time and place was not disclosed. About 1,300 union workers have been locked out since Aug.

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Auto, Steel Workers Split Over S. Korea Trade Pact

October 14, 2011 9:10 am | by Kathy Barks Hoffman, Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Many manufacturers and agribusinesses support a new trade deal with South Korea, one reason President Barack Obama and his counterpart from that nation are heading to suburban Detroit on Friday to tour a General Motors plant where cars are being built with South Korean parts.

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EPA Fines MRI Manufacturing For Hazardous Waste

October 14, 2011 9:08 am

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined medical device maker MRI Manufacturing and Research $30,000 for improper management of hazardous waste at its Tucson plant. The materials at MRI Manufacturing were industrial solvents used to make devices such as tubing for catheters.

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Carhartt Plans $11M Facility Upgrade

October 14, 2011 5:05 am

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Carhartt Inc. will invest more than $11 million to upgrade its Hopkins County facility and expects to add more than 150 employees to its existing workforce there of 550. Carhartt will upgrade technology, equipment and conveyor systems at the facility in Hanson, with work expected to be complete by 2014.

Pratt & Whitney Boosts Its Bet On Jet Engines

October 14, 2011 5:03 am | by Joshua Freed, AP Business Writer

Pratt & Whitney is boosting its investment in jet engines for commercial planes, spending $1.5 billion to buy out Rolls-Royce from a joint venture that makes engines for the Airbus A320. At the same time, the move by Rolls essentially has the British engine-maker sitting out the current generation of smaller commercial planes and biding its time until later in this decade when the new generation comes along.

Thailand Flooding Continues To Halt Automakers

October 14, 2011 5:01 am

TOKYO, Oct. 14 (Kyodo) — Toyota Motor Corp. said Friday it has decided to extend its production suspension at its three plants in Thailand through Oct. 22 due to flooding that has disrupted its supply chain. While the flooding has not had a direct impact on its plants or employees, the automaker has decided to extend the production halt as some parts suppliers are experiencing delays, it said.

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Suzuki Accuses VW Of Breaching Alliance

October 14, 2011 4:57 am | by Tomoko A. Hosaka, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Suzuki Motor Corp. said Friday that Volkswagen AG has committed numerous breaches of their 2009 alliance to develop green cars and wants the German automaker to return its Suzuki shares. Volkswagen owns 19.9 percent of Suzuki under a hybrid and electric car partnership inked two years ago that never got off the ground and has unraveled into a public feud.

GE Plans Largest U.S. Solar Factory

October 14, 2011 4:55 am | by Jonathan Fahey, AP Energy Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — General Electric Co. will build the largest solar factory in the U.S. near Denver. The company, which had announced in April it would build the factory, said Thursday it had selected Aurora, Colo., a suburb east of Denver, as the location. GE is a leader in manufacturing natural gas turbines and wind turbines, but it had mostly stayed away from solar until it acquired PrimeStar Solar, a small panel maker, earlier this year.

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Metals Fall On Economic Uncertainty

October 14, 2011 4:53 am | by Christopher Leonard, AP Business Writer

Copper and platinum prices fell Thursday after the government reported that claims for unemployment benefits remained high last week. Prices of industrial metals are closely tied to economic growth. Signs of weakness in the economy, such as high levels of unemployment claims, tend to push their prices lower.

Wilson Trailer To Lay Off IA, MO Workers

October 13, 2011 6:58 am

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Wilson Trailer Co. is laying off 68 workers at its plants in Sioux City and Moberly, Mo., citing a slowdown in the national economy and bad weather in crop-producing states. The Sioux City-based company produces livestock, grain, flatbed and gooseneck trailers.

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KY Plant Hit With Record Air Quality Fine

October 13, 2011 6:52 am

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville environmental officials say a pigment-manufacturing plant in the city's Rubbertown district will pay a record $668,000 fine over air quality violations. The city Air Pollution Control District said Wednesday that Eckart America has agreed to pay the fine plus an unspecified amount to be determined.

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Ford, Chrysler Targeted For Misleading Advertising

October 13, 2011 6:49 am

TORONTO — A U.S. consumer group has filed complaints against two of the largest American automakers over advertising claims that their vehicles are made in the United States, even though they're assembled in Canada. The Made in the USA Foundation says it has filed two complaints with the U.

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Chicago Ford Workers Reject Contract

October 13, 2011 6:47 am

CHICAGO (AP) — Workers at a Chicago Ford plant have overwhelmingly rejected a tentative four-year contract agreement. Grant Morton is chairman of the United Auto Workers Union local at the Torrence Avenue plant. He says 77 percent of the more than 2,300 workers voted against the contract.

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Hispanics Skip Work To Protest Immigration Law

October 13, 2011 6:45 am | by Jay Reeves, Associated Press

ALBERTVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Along Main Street in this small Alabama town, the Mexican restaurant was closed, lights were out at a Hispanic-owned grocery store and even a bank catering to Spanish speakers was dark. Nearby, the usual hum of a chicken processing plant was silent. Businesses dependent on immigrant labor were shuttered Wednesday as workers took the day off to protest the state's strict new immigration law.

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Fewer Job Openings Posted In August

October 13, 2011 6:43 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers advertised fewer jobs in August than the previous month. Some may have pulled back on hiring plans in the face of wild stock market swings and renewed recession fears. Companies and governments posted 3.1 million job openings in August, down from 3.

Furniture Maker To Open VA Plant

October 12, 2011 9:09 am

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Furniture maker Albany Industries is planning to establish its first Virginia operation in Galax, creating 335 jobs. Gov. Bob McDonnell said Wednesday that the company will invest $2.5 million for the project. Albany Industries will revitalize a vacant property that formerly served as the B.

Thailand Flooding Stalls Auto Production

October 12, 2011 9:07 am

NAGOYA, Oct. 12 (Kyodo) — Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday it has decided to extend the suspension of vehicle production in Thailand through Saturday due to disruptions to its supply chain caused by devastating flooding. Regarding operations from next Monday, Japan's largest automaker said it will decide after monitoring developments.

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IN Official Happy With Solar Plant Progress

October 12, 2011 9:05 am

TIPTON, Ind. (AP) — A local official says a solar panel manufacturer planning a major factory in central Indiana has kept up its commitments even as some residents worry about its future after the high-profile bankruptcy of a competitor. Abound Solar plans to start production at an unfinished factory near Tipton during 2013 and eventually employ 800 to 1,000 people with a $400 million federal loan guarantee.

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First 747-8 To Be Delivered Wednesday

October 12, 2011 9:03 am

CHICAGO (AP) — Boeing says it will finally deliver its new 747-8 freighter plane after resolving a contract dispute with its first customer, Cargolux, a cargo hauler based in Luxembourg. The revamped cargo plane was supposed to go to Cargolux last month. Cargolux isn't wasting time putting the plane to work.

Chevrolet Plans All-Electric Spark In 2013

October 12, 2011 9:00 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Chevrolet plans to roll out a Spark mini-car that runs entirely on electricity beginning in 2013, a move that will add to General Motors Co.'s electric car fleet. The Detroit automaker said Wednesday that the Spark EV will be sold in limited quantities in certain U.

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