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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Ford: UAW Deal Raises Yearly Costs Minimally

October 20, 2011 9:25 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — A new contract between Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto Workers union will raise the automaker's labor costs by less than 1 percent a year, reaching a company goal of holding costs fairly steady, executives said Thursday. The four-year deal will raise costs by $280 million this year and around $80 million per year after that, but the increases will be offset by higher factory efficiency, other wage and benefit changes, and by hiring more workers at lower wages, the executives told reporters and industry analysts.


Fire Engulfs AR Fake Fingernail Factory

October 20, 2011 9:23 am

MAUMELLE, Ark. (AP) — A factory that produces artificial fingernails and related products in central Arkansas caught fire Thursday morning, prompting employees to evacuate the plant and several nearby small businesses. The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said 40,000 gallons of acetone was burning at the Onyx Laboratories plant in Maumelle, just north of Little Rock.


China Rare Earths Supplier Suspends Production

October 20, 2011 9:21 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — China's biggest producer of rare earths is suspending production for one month in hopes of boosting slumping prices of the exotic minerals used in mobile phones and other high-tech products. This week's move by Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth (Group) Hi-Tech might fuel tensions with the United States and Europe.


FDA Blames Dirty Equipment In Listeria Outbreak

October 20, 2011 9:17 am | by Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pools of water on the floor and old, hard-to-clean equipment at a Colorado farm's cantaloupe-packing facility were probably to blame for the deadliest outbreak of foodborne illness in 25 years, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday. Government investigators found positive samples of listeria bacteria on equipment in the Jensen Farms packing facility and on fruit that had been held there.

Green Mountain Plans VT Expansion

October 19, 2011 9:26 am

WATERBURY, Vt. (AP) — Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc., which faced sharp criticism from hedge fund manager David Einhorn earlier this week, said Tuesday that it may add about 400 workers in Vermont over the next year to 18 months. The maker of the Keurig single-cup coffee machines says it could add 30 percent more employees in Vermont as it looks to lease more office space and expand new plants.


GE To Add 160 Jobs In PA, Invest $136M

October 19, 2011 9:23 am | by The Associated Press

ERIE, Pa. (AP) — General Electric Co.'s GE Transportation unit said Tuesday that it will hire about 160 new employees in Erie, Pa. by the end of the year and invest $136 million in manufacturing improvements and site upgrades at the unit's headquarters. The company said it plans to hire the production workers by the end of the year to meet rising demand for mining equipment in the United States and worldwide.


Chrysler's Largest UAW Local Approves New Contract

October 19, 2011 9:21 am

DETROIT (AP) — Workers at Chrysler's largest United Auto Workers local have voted in favor of a new four-year contract. Committeeman Bobby Jackson says United Auto Workers Local 685 in Kokomo, Ind., voted for the deal on Tuesday. Vote totals were not available. The vote is a sign that the contract is likely to be approved in voting that ends next week.


Home Building Jumps 15 Percent In September

October 19, 2011 9:19 am | by Derek Kravitz, AP Real Estate Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Home builders started projects in September at the fastest pace in 17 months, a hopeful sign for the economy. Most of the gain was driven by a surge in volatile apartment construction. That could help create jobs and boost economic growth, but it doesn't signal a comeback for the depressed housing market.


Tiny U.S. Phone Company Is Getting iPhone

October 19, 2011 9:18 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple Inc. said Tuesday that C Spire Wireless, the country's eighth-largest phone company, will start selling the iPhone 4S in a few weeks. That's a major coup for the small company, which provides service in Mississippi and surrounding states. So far, only the three biggest carriers sell the iPhone in the U.

Canada Objects To 'Buy American' In Jobs Bill

October 19, 2011 9:14 am

TORONTO (AP) — Canada's trade minister said Tuesday he's concerned about comments by the U.S. ambassador to Canada defending the "Buy American" provisions in President Barack Obama's jobs bill. Similar provisions in a bill two years ago became a major irritant in trade relations between the United States and Canada, its largest trading partner In a speech Tuesday, Ambassador David Jacobson said the "Buy American" provisions are necessary if parts of the bill have any chance of passage through a fractious U.

Sealevel To Provide GE With COM Express Carrier Designs

October 19, 2011 7:27 am

Sealevel Systems, Inc. has announced that it will provide advanced custom carrier board designs for GE’s family of COM Express embedded processor modules. Sealevel, known for its expertise in I/O and connectivity, will design and manufacture high performance custom carrier boards and industrial computers based on the GE Intelligent Platforms COM Express modules for GE Intelligent Platforms’ OEM customers.

Chrysler Plans $165M MI Plant Investment

October 19, 2011 4:33 am

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — A body shop will be added to Chrysler's Sterling Heights Assembly Plant as part of a $165 million investment. Chrysler Group LLC says Tuesday in a release that the new body shop will add more than a million square feet to the plant and will build future products starting in 2013.


Report: 64,000 In MA Have "Clean Energy" Jobs

October 19, 2011 4:31 am

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts energy officials are pointing to what they say is significant job growth in the state's renewable energy sector. A report released Tuesday by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center estimates there are now more than 64,000 people in the state working in the so-called "clean energy" economy — or about 1.

Fire Damages IA Farm Equipment Plant

October 19, 2011 4:29 am

CLEGHORN, Iowa (AP) — A fire has caused significant damage to a farm equipment plant in the northwest Iowa town of Cleghorn. According to KTIV-TV ( ), the fire broke out early Tuesday morning at Wetherell Manufacturing, which makes hydraulic cylinders and sprayers for farm equipment.


In Rare Miss, Apple 4Q Earnings Disappoint

October 19, 2011 4:27 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple Inc. failed to set a new sales record in the last three months of founder and CEO Steve Jobs' life. Its financial results came in below expectations on Tuesday — a rare miss for the company. After several record quarters, the July-to-September period saw Apple biding its time, with no new iPhone or iPad releases.

NV Exec Guilty Of Embezzling $2M From Sparks Firm

October 19, 2011 4:25 am

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The former chief financial officer for a door lock manufacturer in Sparks faces up to 67 years in prison after pleading guilty to embezzling $2.5 million. U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden says Juan Ramon Cabezas pleaded guilty on Tuesday to mail fraud, tax evasion, aggravated identity theft, money laundering and bank fraud.

Ford Workers Ratify New Contract With UAW

October 19, 2011 4:23 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers

DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co.'s U.S. factory workers approved a new four-year labor contract Tuesday that promises profit-sharing checks and billions in U.S. plant investments but keeps the company's labor costs under control. The United Auto Worker talks are closely watched because they set the pay for 112,000 workers at the Detroit Three large automakers as well as workers at auto parts suppliers and at U.


RV Supplier Plans IN Expansion

October 18, 2011 9:18 am

GOSHEN, Ind. (AP) — A recreational vehicle parts supplier plans to expand its operations in northern Indiana and potentially add more than 300 workers in the coming months. Drew Industries Inc. announced Tuesday that two of its subsidiaries would increase manufacturing in Goshen and Middlebury.

RIM Reveals New Generation Of BlackBerrys

October 18, 2011 9:16 am

SAN FRANCISCO — Just days after the worst service outage in its history, Research In Motion was expected to unveil a new generation of BlackBerrys Tuesday at a software developer's conference in San Francisco. RIM (TSX:RIM) has struggled through several major setbacks in recent months and the conference gives the Waterloo, Ont.

Fitch Lowers Fiat Credit Ratings On Chrysler Risk

October 18, 2011 9:14 am

MILAN (AP) — The Fitch ratings agency has downgraded the credit rating of Italian automaker Fiat SpA because of risks linked to its combination with U.S. automaker Chrysler Group LLC. Fitch said Tuesday that Fiat's own operations may be disrupted by financial difficulties at Chrysler at a time when Fiat is under pressure at its standalone business.


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