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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Solar Cell Plant Will Hire 250

July 19, 2011 8:59 am

HENDERSON, N.C. (AP) — A small North Carolina company with big backers plans to build a solar cell manufacturing plant employing more than 250 people after getting a promise of up to $18 million of tax breaks and other incentives. Gov. Bev Perdue's office on Tuesday announced Durham-based Semprius Inc.

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IL Governor Must Pay Worker Raises

July 19, 2011 8:56 am

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn violated the union contract with 30,000 state workers by refusing to give them a pay raise due July 1, an arbitrator ruled Tuesday. Edwin Benn ordered Quinn to start paying the 2 percent increase and provide back pay within 30 days. "As a matter of contract, the state cannot simply refuse to pay the increase," Benn wrote in his opinion.

Chrysler Suspends Workers Caught Drinking On TV

July 19, 2011 8:50 am

DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler Group LLC has suspended nine workers for allegedly drinking and smoking marijuana before their shifts at a Michigan plant. Detroit television station WJBK-TV aired a story about the workers at the Trenton Engine Plant last week. Chrysler says it identified the workers using the station's video.

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Rush Tracking Systems and Sky-Trax, Inc. Announce Merger

July 19, 2011 6:20 am

KANSAS CITY , Kans. and NEW CASTLE, Del. – Rush Tracking Systems ( www.rushtrackingsystems.com ) and Sky-Trax, Inc. ( www.sky-trax.com ) announce they have merged to form a vertically integrated provider of smart truck tracking systems for manufacturing and warehousing environments, solidifying the combined companies’ market leadership.

J&J 2Q Profits Down 20 Percent

July 19, 2011 5:20 am | by Linda A. Johnson, AP Business Writer

Health care giant Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday that its second-quarter profit fell nearly 20 percent due to restructuring, recall and litigation costs and higher spending on overhead and research. The results still topped Wall Street expectations. The maker of Band-Aids, biologic medicines and birth control pills said its net income was $2.

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Harley's Second-Quarter Profits Doubled

July 19, 2011 5:18 am

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (AP) — Fueled by its first U.S. sales increase in more than four years, Harley-Davidson's second-quarter profit more than doubled, easily beating Wall Street's expectations. The iconic motorcycle maker also boosted its shipment forecast for 2011 and its shares rose $1.

Tablets Shift PC Industry

July 19, 2011 5:17 am | by Jordan Robertson, AP Technology Writer

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The personal computer industry needs a jumpstart — and it's counting on a rescue from emerging markets and a late-to-the-party push into tablet computers. The U.S. and European PC markets have entered a dangerous new phase: Fewer people are buying new PCs because of economic anxiety, market saturation and the rise of seductive new gadgets such as Apple's iPad.

AP Study Shows Western States Lag In Recovery

July 19, 2011 5:13 am | by Martin Crutsinger, Mike Schneider, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Western states hit hardest by the housing crisis are feeling the greatest economic stress two years after the recession ended, according to The Associated Press's monthly analysis. Depressed home prices and high rates of foreclosures have limited job growth in Arizona, California and Nevada.

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Cisco Will Cut 6,500 Jobs

July 19, 2011 5:11 am | by Rachel Metz, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Cisco Systems Inc., the world's largest maker of computer-networking gear, is reducing its work force by about 9 percent to reduce costs and raise profits as the company tries to become more competitive. Monday's announcement to cut 6,500 of its roughly 73,000 worldwide employees follows up on a plan disclosed in May to eliminate thousands of jobs.

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MI Governer Sees Immigrants As Key To Economy

July 19, 2011 5:08 am | by Kathy Barks Hoffman, Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan has seen the results of what immigrants can do to help the economy through companies such as Meijer Inc., Masco Corp. and Dow Chemical Co., and should be attracting more immigrants who can repeat those successes, Gov. Rick Snyder said Monday. Speaking at a conference on immigration and Michigan's economy at Wayne State University, the governor pointed out that the Meijer retail chain was founded by a Dutch immigrant, the building products maker Masco by an Armenian immigrant and Dow by a Canadian.

BDI Opens New Branch In Los Angeles

July 18, 2011 10:24 am

BDI (Bearing Distributors Inc.), headquartered in Cleveland, OH, announces the opening of a new branch in Los Angeles.  BDI Branch #80 is located at 14263 Proctor Ave., Unit F, La Puente, CA 91746. Tel: 626/709-4995; Fax: 626/333-4207. The newly opened office is overseen by Gabe Duchene, a five-year BDI veteran who has relocated to Los Angeles from the company’s Cleveland headquarters.

ND Ends Decade With More Than 430,000 Workers

July 18, 2011 9:22 am

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A Job Service analysis shows that North Dakota ended the decade with more than 430,000 workers. That's up more than 61,000 since the year 2000 and an increase equal to the population of Bismarck, the state's second-biggest city. Job Service says about 15,000 jobs remain unfilled in the state that's enjoying a robust economy led by its booming oil patch and healthy agriculture markets.

A123 Systems Celebrates 1,000th Hire

July 18, 2011 9:20 am

ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) — A Detroit-area company that makes batteries for electric vehicles is celebrating its latest milestone with some high-profile people. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and some Michigan members of Congress have been invited to A123 Systems in Romulus on Monday.

Allen Family Foods Will Lay Off Workers

July 18, 2011 9:17 am

CORDOVA, Md. (AP) — Allen Family Foods will lay off 28 employees at its processing plant in Cordova, Md., according to an official from Maryland's Talbot County. Paige Bethke, director of economic development for Talbot County, says the layoffs Friday were related to market conditions and not to the company's ongoing bankruptcy reorganization.

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HTC Says Ruling Finds It Violated Apple Patents

July 18, 2011 9:16 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp. said it believes it has a strong case for an appeal of a U.S. International Trade Commission ruling that HTC violated two Apple Inc. patents. HTC said it does not yet have the full ruling and analysis to determine the details of the findings, but General Counsel Grace Lei said, "We are highly confident we have a strong case for the ITC appeals process and are fully prepared to defend ourselves using all means possible," in a release dated Saturday.

Businesses See Surge After New DUI Laws

July 18, 2011 9:11 am

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Companies that provide ignition-locking devices for vehicles are preparing for a surge in business after a new state law requiring more drivers to use them went into effect on July 1. The demand for ignition interlock systems began even before Kansas enacted the law that requires more people to install the devices after being convicted of drunken driving, The Salina Journal reported Monday.

GM Plans $328M Update For MI Plant

July 18, 2011 9:08 am

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — General Motors plans to spend $328 million to update a factory in Flint, Mich., to build the next generation of full-size pickup trucks. The investment will pay for equipment to build the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks, which are due in showrooms early in 2013.

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Warehouse Worker Pinned Under Crate Dies

July 18, 2011 5:45 am

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Federal investigators are looking into a warehouse accident in which a worker was killed when she was pinned under a 1,500-pound crate. The San Antonio Express-News reported Friday that investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were dispatched to Con-Way Freight after 49-year-old Marissa Garcia was killed.

CO Wind Energy Company Plans First Plant

July 18, 2011 5:20 am

NEWTON, Kan. (AP) — A Colorado company that has developed a new kind of wind energy turbine will build its first manufacturing plant in south-central Kansas. Executives of New Millennium Wind Energy joined Gov. Sam Brownback and other officials in the city of Newton on Friday to announce the development.

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Whirpool Laying Off 350 IA Workers

July 18, 2011 5:15 am

AMANA, Iowa (AP) — Whirlpool Corp. is laying off 350 workers from its refrigerator plant in Iowa. Kristine Vernier, spokeswoman for the Benton Harbor, Mich.-based company, told KGAN-TV that 300 permanent workers and 50 summer workers are losing their jobs. Workers were told of the layoffs on Friday.

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