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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Boeing Workers Approve 4-Year Contract Extension

December 8, 2011 4:46 am | by Gene Johnson, Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — Applause and cheers rang out after Unionized Boeing Machinists voted overwhelmingly to approve a four-year contract extension — a deal that grants the company labor peace and likely ends a federal complaint that had become a hot topic for Republican presidential candidates.

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Flash Fire At KY Plastics Factory Injures 4

December 8, 2011 4:43 am

HENDERSON, Ky. (AP) — Four people were injured Wednesday in western Kentucky in a flash fire inside a plastics factory. The accident happened shortly before 2 p.m. CST at Polymer Partners LLC in Henderson, The Gleaner reported (http://bit.ly/tpSElH ). Company President Blaise Codispoti said in a statement that two of the workers injured were taken to University of Louisville Hospital and one to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

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Humbled Netflix CEO Still Talking Big

December 7, 2011 8:59 am | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — To hear Netflix CEO Reed Hastings tell it, the bone-headed decisions that have dragged down the Internet's leading video subscription service during the past five months eventually will be forgotten like a bad movie made by a great film director. Shaking off the stigma of a massive flop won't be easy, a challenge Hastings acknowledged late Tuesday when he spoke at a UBS investor conference in New York.

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Buick Adds New Smallest Car, Verano

December 7, 2011 8:56 am | by Ann M. Job, For The Associated Press

"Nice car." The words finally registered the third time the young man in the parking garage said them. With surprise, I acknowledged his comment. Then he asked, "It's a Lincoln, right?" No, the 2012 Verano is a Buick, not a Lincoln. But yes, it is a decidedly nice car with pleasing styling, quiet interior, decent fuel mileage and noteworthy ride and handling.

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UAW Chief Says No Target Picked For Organizing

December 7, 2011 8:54 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Top officials of the United Auto Workers have decided against picking a target company for an effort to sign up workers at U.S. factories owned by foreign automakers. Union President Bob King tells The Associated Press that the UAW executive board will wait to see the automakers' reactions to union demands to respect workers' rights before making any decision.

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Chicago Office To Help Immigrant Business Owners

December 7, 2011 8:52 am | by Sophia Tareen, Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago officials launched a new department Tuesday focused on helping immigrant business owners, a move Mayor Rahm Emanuel billed as a step toward making Chicago "the most immigrant-friendly city in the world." The Office of New Americans is a modest step: It's a one-person department focused on improving access to existing services, instead of providing new ones, at least at first.

Former RV Exec Sentenced For Fraud

December 7, 2011 8:50 am

GOSHEN, Ind. (AP) — A former executive of a recreational vehicle company in northern Indiana has been sentenced to 41 years in federal prison for falsifying company financial reports. Mark Schwartzhoff pleaded guilty last month to wire fraud charges for his actions when he was vice president of finance at Goshen-based Dutchmen Manufacturing.

U.S. Prods Europe On Debt Crisis

December 7, 2011 8:47 am | by Ben Feller, Martin Crutsinger, Associated Press

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is darting across Europe with a stark message: The continent's leaders must act quickly and convincingly to defuse a debt crisis that is threatening the global economy. His visit this week comes on the eve of a summit of European leaders Friday that could yield a plan for resolving the crisis.

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Solar Company SunPower To Cut Jobs

December 7, 2011 4:34 am | by The Associated Press

Solar power company SunPower Corp. will cut about 125 jobs, or 2 percent of its workforce, as the company faces a global solar power market where prices and demand are stagnating. SunPower filed a disclosure with federal regulators Tuesday that said the job cuts were part of a companywide restructuring plan its management approved on Nov.

Olympus Vows To Go After Erring Executives

December 7, 2011 4:33 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Olympus Corp. vowed Wednesday to go after erring executives involved in an elaborate scheme to hide $1.5 billion of investment losses. The Japanese camera and medical equipment maker said it will investigate some 70 people including former and current board members, auditors and other officials for their possible involvement in the deception that has become one of Japan's biggest corporate scandals.

Deal Could Yield Years Of Labor Peace For Boeing

December 7, 2011 4:31 am | by Gene Johnson, Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — Some unionized workers at Boeing say they hope their vote Wednesday on a four-year contract extension augurs a new, peaceful era in their relations with the company. The Machinists union announced last week that it reached a tentative deal following secret talks initiated by the company.

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AL Considers Inmates To Replace Immigrant Labor

December 7, 2011 4:30 am | by Jay Reeves, Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Alabama agriculture officials are considering whether prisoners can fill a chronic labor shortage the farm agency blames on the state's new law against illegal immigration. Brett Hall, a deputy commissioner with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, said planting season is coming up in south Alabama, and some growers fear most of their usual workers have left the state because of the law.

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Coolant Leak Likely Caused Volt Fires

December 7, 2011 4:28 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — The liquid solution that cools the Chevrolet Volt's batteries is the likely cause of fires that broke out inside the electric car after government crash tests, a person briefed on the matter said. Engineers at General Motors Co., which makes the much-celebrated car, are working on structural changes to strengthen the car's T-shaped battery pack, the person said.

Saab Says Its Salvage Process Is In Jeopardy

December 7, 2011 4:25 am | by Malin Rising, Associated Press

STOCKHOLM (AP) — The owner of Saab Automobile says its court-appointed administrator doesn't think the cash-strapped car company has a future and has applied to end the salvage process. Saab, owned by the Netherlands-based Swedish Automobile N.V., said Wednesday the court has given it less than a week to come up with a plan or be declared bankrupt.

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Bal Seal Plans $45M CO Plant

December 6, 2011 8:28 am

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A California-based manufacturer plans to build a new plant in Colorado Springs. Bal Seal Engineering announced the $45 million project on Tuesday. It expects to hire 210 people to work in the plant when it's finished in early 2013. Bal Seal is a privately-held company based in Foothill Ranch, Calif.

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The Dodge Dart Makes A Comeback

December 6, 2011 8:24 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — The Dodge Dart, a 1960s compact car that gearheads turned into street racers, is making a comeback. Chrysler said Tuesday that it will use the Dart name for a new compact car based on Italian technology that it will introduce in the U.S. next year. The Dart, which is expected to get 40 miles per gallon of gas on the highway, is an extremely important car for Chrysler Group LLC, which currently has outdated offerings in the fast-growing compact car market.

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Microsoft, Hitachi Announce Venture In Fargo

December 6, 2011 8:22 am | by Dave Kolpack, Associated Press

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A worldwide consulting and technology services company that plans to join forces with Microsoft Corp. says it was attracted to Fargo partly by the way residents reacted to a record-setting flood in 2009. Microsoft officials announced Monday that Hitachi Consulting has been selected to help develop new software for the Microsoft business group based in Fargo.

Ford Invests $128M To Shift Production To OH

December 6, 2011 8:19 am | by Thomas J. Sheeran, Associated Press

AVON LAKE, Ohio (AP) — Ford Motor Co. says its $128 million investment at an Ohio plant will protect nearly 2,000 jobs and shift medium-duty truck production from Mexico. Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik), on hand Tuesday at the Ford plant in Avon Lake west of Cleveland, says it shows manufacturing is reviving.

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Verizon Nixes Google Wallet In New Phone

December 6, 2011 8:16 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Verizon Wireless is blocking Google's new flagship phone from supporting Google's attempt to make the smartphone the credit card of the future. In blocking the Google Wallet software from running on the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Verizon Wireless said Tuesday that it was waiting to provide a wallet application until it can offer "the best security and user experience.

EU In Antitrust Probe Of Apple, e-Book Publishers

December 6, 2011 8:11 am | by Gabriele Steinhauser, AP Business Writer

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's antitrust watchdog is probing whether Apple helped five major publishing houses illegally raise prices for e-books when it launched its iPad tablet and iBookstore in 2010. The probe, announced Tuesday by the European Commission, offers a glimpse into the fierce fight for shares of the growing e-book market, especially as Apple has tried to take on Amazon and its Kindle e-book reader.

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