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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Judge: Terror Payment Lawsuits Against Chiquita Can Continue

June 3, 2011 9:40 am | by Curt Anderson, AP Legal Affairs Writer

MIAMI (AP) — A federal judge refused Friday to dismiss lawsuits filed by thousands of Colombians against produce seller Chiquita Brands International over its payments to a right-wing paramilitary group responsible for killing and terrorizing civilians during Colombia's lengthy civil conflict.

CSB: Hoeganaes Must Redesign Plant To Stop Deaths

June 3, 2011 9:26 am | by Travis Loller, Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal agency investigating a fatal fire at a Middle Tennessee chemical plant said a corroded pipe leaking hydrogen gas caused an explosion that ignited combustible iron dust there. A total of four workers have died this year after being critically burned in fires at the Hoeganaes (HAY'-gan-eez) plant in Gallatin, with the latest one occurring last week.

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Sikorsky To Lay Off Almost 400 N.Y. Workers

June 3, 2011 9:13 am

BIG FLATS, N.Y. (AP) — Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. is laying off nearly 400 workers at its factory in upstate New York because of what the company says is a lull in orders for military helicopters. The announcement Thursday by the Stratford, Conn.-based subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. didn't divulge the number of jobs being cut, but a notice filed with the state Department of Labor lists the number of layoffs as 386.

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Aluminum Plant Manager Pleads Guilty To EPA Fraud

June 3, 2011 9:10 am

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — A former manager at a northwestern Indiana aluminum plant has pleaded guilty to charges that he knew about employees lying on reports in order to cover up air pollution violations. Charles Woodworth of Crown Point made the plea Thursday in federal court in Hammond.

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Chevy Volt Gets Highest Safety Rating From NHTSA

June 3, 2011 9:08 am

DETROIT (AP) — The Chevrolet Volt electric car has won a five-star safety rating from the U.S. government. The five-star rating is the top one given by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. General Motors, the car's maker, says the Volt was judged under tougher standards for 2011 models that include a simulated 20 mile-per-hour side crash into a pole.

Obama: Economy Still Facing 'Headwinds' In Recovery

June 3, 2011 9:05 am | by Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — President Barack Obama says the U.S. economy is still facing challenges and it is going to take more time to mend the wounds inflicted by the recession. Obama spoke at a Chrysler plant in Ohio against the backdrop of a dismal jobs report released Friday that shows the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.

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Three Boeing Employees Agree To Testify Against NLRB

June 3, 2011 4:50 am | by Meg Kinnard, Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Three employees at Boeing Co.'s plant in North Charleston, S.C. want roles in a lawsuit filed by the National Labor Relations Board, claiming they are sure to lose their jobs if the federal agency is successful and work on the 787 passenger jet returns to Washington state.

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European E. Coli Highlights Gaps In U.S. Food Safety

June 3, 2011 4:44 am | by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nasty form of E. coli hitting Europe points out gaps in the U.S. food safety system that raise concern that similar outbreaks might happen here. It's impossible to test for every illness-causing form of E. coli, even the kinds we already know about. Today, the food industry and health authorities focus mostly on a single strain of the bacteria that until now was considered the most dangerous.

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Obama To Visit Ohio, Celebrate Auto Industry's Rebound

June 3, 2011 4:41 am | by Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is drawing attention to the auto industry's rebound, visiting a Chrysler plant in politically important Ohio as he seeks to highlight a rare bright spot in the sluggish economic recovery. Obama was to travel to Toledo on Friday, making the latest in a string of domestic trips to promote his economic agenda and defend the much maligned government bailouts to Chrysler and General Motors.

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Mazda Plans To Stop Building Cars In The U.S.

June 3, 2011 4:31 am

TOKYO (AP) — Mazda Motor Corp. plans to leave its joint venture with Ford Motor Co. and stop building cars in the U.S., the Nikkei financial daily reported Friday. Mazda and Ford operate the AutoAlliance International plant in Michigan as a 50-50 partnership. Citing unnamed company sources, the Nikkei said Mazda is considering selling its stake to Ford as the Japanese automaker tries to restructure its global production.

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Jobless Rate Rises To 9.1 Percent, AAM Responds

June 3, 2011 4:28 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — American employers hired only 54,000 new workers in May, the fewest in eight months, and the unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent. The Labor Department report offered startling evidence that the U.S. economy is slowing, hampered by high gas prices and natural disasters in Japan that have hurt U.

Chrysler Ready To Sever Ties With U.S. Government

June 3, 2011 4:24 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler Group LLC, newly profitable and confident in its revamped products, will soon sever its ties with the U.S. government after most — but not all — of the bailout loans it got two years ago are repaid. Italian automaker Fiat SpA agreed late Thursday to buy the U.

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RockTenn To Close Three Previous Smurfit-Stone Plants

June 2, 2011 9:33 am

NORCROSS, Ga. (AP) — RockTenn Co. will close three corrugated container plants that it picked up in its acquisition of Smurfit-Stone, the packaging manufacturer said Thursday, as it eliminates redundant operations to cut costs The plants in Birmingham, Ala., Jonesboro, Ark., and Santa Fe Springs, Calif.

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Manufacturers Push For Legalization Of Body Liquefaction

June 2, 2011 9:00 am | by Kantele Franko, Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Hal Shimp didn't want a traditional send-off after death. He didn't want a big, somber service, and he certainly didn't want to be buried. When the 91-year-old World War II veteran died in February after a cancer battle, his body tissue was dissolved using heat and lye, turning it into a liquid that could be poured down a drain and a dry bone residue given to relatives, who plan to scatter it when they plant a tree in his honor.

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Ford Developing Its Smallest Engine Ever

June 2, 2011 8:46 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. plans to introduce its smallest engine ever by 2013, part of the race to improve fuel economy across the industry. Ford said Thursday it's working on a one-liter, three-cylinder engine that will be available in small cars globally. Ford didn't say which cars will get the engine, but it plans to release more details this fall.

Fewer Applying For Unemployment Benefits

June 2, 2011 8:43 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, but applications remain stuck at a level that signals weak job growth. The number of applications for unemployment benefits dropped by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 422,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the third drop in four weeks.

Second Hoeganaes Employee Dies From Fire Injuries

June 2, 2011 8:37 am

GALLATIN, Tenn. (AP) — Two employees have died from injuries received in a fire at a Gallatin factory, bringing the total number of workers killed in accidents at the Hoeganaes Corp. plant this year to four. Meanwhile, investigators said Wednesday evening they have reached no definitive conclusions about the cause of three accidents at the facility this year.

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Businesses Cut Back On Factory Orders In April

June 2, 2011 8:35 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Businesses cut back on their orders for heavy machinery, computers and autos in April, partly because the March earthquake in Japan has made components parts harder to come by. Orders to U.S. factories fell 1.2 percent in April and a measure that signals business investment dropped 2.

Indy 500 Hopes To Foster Another Century Of Innovation

June 1, 2011 9:34 am | by Michael Marot, AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis Motor Speedway has not changed its master plan in the last century. It is still a test facility at heart. Engineers have spent 100 years improving engines, modifying fuel mixtures, and designing new safety features, and now the 2.5-mile is ready to roll into its second century as a high-tech proving ground for the American automotive industry.

Toyota's U.S. Sales Fell 33 Percent On Earthquake Shortages

June 1, 2011 9:06 am

DETROIT (AP) — Toyota says its U.S. sales fell 33 percent in May because of earthquake-related vehicle shortages. Toyota said sales of all Toyota and Lexus cars but one — the new Scion tC — declined from last May. Among SUVs and trucks, only the Tacoma pickup saw sales increase over last May.

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