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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Ford Focus Goes Global In Massive Cost-Savings Gamble

December 7, 2010 3:39 am

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. on Monday started high-volume production of its new Focus compact at its Saarlouis factory in Germany, the company said. Early U.S. production of the car is now under way at a factory near Detroit, with the Focus due in U.S. showrooms early next year. The car, designed in Europe for sale in 120 markets around the globe, will be built in mid-2011 in St.

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Kraft Seeks Injunction Against Starbucks

December 6, 2010 4:14 am

NORTHFIELD, Illinois (AP) — Kraft Foods is seeking a preliminary injunction against Starbucks, saying Monday that the coffee chain violated terms of a distribution deal. The two businesses began arbitration proceedings late last month as Kraft tried to prevent Starbucks from ending an agreement to distribute and promote its packaged coffee in stores.

Factory Orders Slipped In October On Cooled Demand

December 6, 2010 4:00 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories fell in October by the largest amount in five months, reflecting a big drop in demand for aircraft. Factory orders declined 0.9 percent in October, the Commerce Department reported Friday. It was the first setback since June and the biggest decline since a 1.

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U.S., South Korea Sign Job-Creating Trade Agreement

December 6, 2010 3:51 am | by Julie Pace and Ken Thomas, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. and South Korea have reached an agreement on America's largest trade pact in more than a decade, a highly coveted deal the Obama administration hopes will boost U.S. exports and create tens of thousands of jobs at home. After a week of marathon negotiations, representatives from both countries broke through a stalemate Friday morning on outstanding issues related to the automobile industry, which have been a sticking point in the talks.

Mazda CEO: Ford Hasn't Abandoned Us

December 6, 2010 3:41 am | by Tomoko A. Hosaka, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese automaker Mazda remains committed to its 30-year-old technical and strategic alliance with Ford although the US company is no longer its top shareholder, Mazda's chief said Monday. Ford cut its stake in Mazda from 11 percent to 3.5 percent last month, marking a symbolic shift in a longtime U.

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American Voices: How Would You Jumpstart The Economy?

December 6, 2010 3:40 am

The Associated Press asked people around the country to share their ideas on jump-starting the economy. Some responses: More stimulus: Carolyn Morrison is a Wake County, N.C., school board member who has spent more than 45 years in education. The public school she attended as a child in Lumberton, N.

Union Ratifies Pratt & Whitney Plant Closures

December 6, 2010 3:39 am

WALLINGFORD, Connecticut (AP) — Members of the Machinists union have overwhelmingly ratified a new contract with jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney that allows the company to shut two plants it has targeted for more than a year, while preserving jobs insisted on by the union. Workers voted 2,609-198 Sunday to accept the pact with the subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

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GM Pays $4 Billion Into Underfunded Pension Plans

December 3, 2010 3:56 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. took another step toward cleaning up its balance sheet on Thursday when it pumped $4 billion in cash into its underfunded U.S. pension plans. The company made the payment two weeks after a historic initial public stock offering that was worth a total of $23 billion, and it comes just 17 months after the automaker exited a government-funded bankruptcy restructuring.

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Samsung Chairman Promotes Son To President Role

December 3, 2010 3:45 am | by Kelly Olsen, AP Business Writer

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A scion of the family that founded the sprawling Samsung conglomerate has been promoted to president at the flagship electronics business, sending its shares to a record high. The elevation of Lee Jae-yong, 42, from executive vice president at Samsung Electronics Co.

Wall Street Whimpers As Unemployment Rises In November

December 3, 2010 3:43 am | by David K. Randall, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — An unexpected increase in the U.S. unemployment rate and slower than expected job growth has darkened the mood ahead of Friday's opening on Wall Street. The unemployment rate climbed to a seven month high in November as employers added only 39,000 jobs. Economists had expected that 145,000 were added last month.

One Killed, One Injured In Scaffolding Fall

December 3, 2010 3:41 am

HOWARD, Wis. (AP) — One worker was killed and another injured when they fell from scaffolding at a Green Bay area paper company Thursday. Officials say the two men were employed by Faith Technologies, a contractor at Hattiesburg Paper Co. in Howard. The Brown County medical examiner's office identifies the worker who died as 41-year-old Michael Leroy of Appleton.

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Transportation Department To Make Rearview Cameras Mandatory

December 3, 2010 3:40 am | by Ken Thomas, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rearview cameras could become more common in future cars and trucks under new rules the government was proposing Friday to address concerns about drivers unintentionally backing over children. The Transportation Department was offering new requirements to improve rear visibility in cars by the 2014 model year.

Homeowners Finally Getting Repairs In Drywall Debacle

December 3, 2010 3:37 am | by Cain Burdeau, Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A pilot program to fix homes that were built with tainted drywall made by a major Chinese manufacturer is progressing well and will likely expand, a federal judge said Thursday. U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon said a test program to repair up to 300 homes in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi made with drywall made by Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co.

Fiji Bends To Military Regime, Reopens Bottling Plant

December 1, 2010 3:52 am

SUVA, Fiji (AP) — Fiji Water reopened its operations in the South Pacific nation of Fiji on Wednesday — just two days after closing its bottling plant and laying off 400 workers in a row over a major government tax increase. The U.S.-owned company said after meeting with Fiji's leaders it has agreed to "comply" with the hefty tax hike imposed on it by Fiji's military-led regime.

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Workforce Productivity Could Lead To More Jobs

December 1, 2010 3:48 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The work force was more productive in the summer than originally thought, reflecting the fact that the economy produced more goods and services than first estimated. Despite the revision, the efficiency of U.S. workers is increasing at a much slower pace than last year and economists say that could signal more hiring in the near future.

Electronics Maker Buys Last Of City's Former GM Plants

December 1, 2010 3:43 am

ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) — An Indianapolis electronics company says it will buy a former General Motors plant in Anderson as part of an expansion that will create up to 100 jobs by 2013. Northwind Electronics LLC makes electrical systems for work vehicles. CEO Phillip Berry says the company currently employs 10 people in Indianapolis and had been looking for possible locations for expansion.

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Manufacturing Rallies For 16th Straight Month Of Growth

December 1, 2010 3:37 am | by The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The manufacturing sector likely grew in November for the 16th straight month, though at a slightly slower pace than the previous month. Still, the continued expansion of manufacturing is a good sign for the economy. The factory sector led the nation out of recession late last year, but many economists have feared that its growth would end when companies finish replenishing their stockpiles of goods.

Toyota Sues The 'Old GM' Over Nummi Abandonment

December 1, 2010 3:32 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota is suing the company handling bankrupt General Motors' assets, demanding $73 million in damages from the shuttering of a joint-venture California plant. Toyota Motor Corp. spokesman Paul Nolasco said Tuesday the lawsuit was filed Nov. 24 for research and development costs that weren't recouped because of the shuttering of New United Motor Manufacturing Inc.

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Photo Of The Day: The Rally To Save Jobs

December 1, 2010 3:28 am

Steve Zemantic, a carpenter at Pratt & Whitney East Hartford holds up a sign at a rally near headquarters in East Hartford, Conn., Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010. The jet engine maker says it will shut two plants when its labor contract expires Sunday. The last strike against Pratt & Whitney was an 11-day walkout in December 2001.

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Applied Settles Industrial Theft Charges From Samsung

November 30, 2010 4:19 am

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Applied Materials Inc. has settled industrial theft claims from Samsung Electronics Co., agreeing to give the South Korean electronics company discounts on purchases of semiconductor manufacturing equipment for three years. Applied, a U.S. company which makes equipment for chip manufacturers, says the settlement announced Tuesday resolves claims and potential litigation over the "alleged acquisition, misappropriation and misuse" of Samsung computer chip technology.

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