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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

ArcelorMittal To Revive Ind. Blast Furance

January 29, 2010 3:55 am

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (AP) — Company and union officials say steel maker ArcelorMittal is planning to restart a blast furnace at a northwestern Indiana mill in a move that could put hundreds of workers back on the job. The company says it is increasing production at the East Chicago plant in response to improving market demand.

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U.S. Wages, Benefits Rise Slightly In 4Q

January 29, 2010 3:47 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wages and benefits paid to U.S. workers posted a modest gain in the fourth quarter, ending a year in which recession-battered workers saw their compensation rise by the smallest amount on records going back more than a quarter-century. The anemic gains have raised concerns about the durability of the economic recovery.

Obama Offers Tax Credits To Hiring Companies

January 29, 2010 3:45 am | by Charles Babington and Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) — A key House Republican leader said the GOP expects President Barack Obama to do more listening than talking when he huddles privately with lawmakers Friday at a retreat in Baltimore. Obama wants to offer tax credits to companies that hire new workers, a plan that drew a cool reception from Congress last month despite the nation's double-digit unemployment rate.

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Toyota Fixes Accelerator Problem, But Sales May Still Slip

January 29, 2010 3:42 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. says it has figured out how to fix a problem with sticking accelerator pedals and will update employees with details. The company said in an e-mail to workers Thursday night that it presented a remedy to federal regulators. The e-mail obtained by The Associated Press says that plans are being developed on a variety of fronts.

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Feds: Series Of DuPont Leaks Unrelated

January 29, 2010 3:41 am | by John Raby, Associated Press Writer

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Three recent chemical leaks at a DuPont plant, one of which killed a worker, don't appear to be related, a federal investigator said Thursday. U.S. Chemical Safety Board investigator Johnnie Banks promised a thorough investigation into the leaks, which prompted the plant's temporary shutdown over the weekend.

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Oracle Looks To Hire 2,000 After Sun Acquisition

January 27, 2010 4:04 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Oracle Corp. is planning to hire 2,000 sales and engineering employees, which will outnumber the cuts it is making at its latest acquisition, Sun Microsystems Inc., The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison told the newspaper that his company, the leader in proprietary database software, is charting a new course with its $7.

Caterpillar Expects Strong 2010 Despite 4Q Tumble

January 27, 2010 3:57 am

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Caterpillar said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter profit tumbled as its dealer inventories dwindled, the same reason the company expects sales and revenue to rebound this year. Leading the way will be China and other developing countries where the world's biggest mining and construction equipment company has seen an increasing share of its business go.

Indiana Unions Push for 'Green' Manufacturing Jobs

January 27, 2010 3:43 am

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Union workers are joining with environmentalists in calling on state lawmakers to pass legislation they say would bring new "green" manufacturing jobs to Indiana. Members of the Blue Green Alliance held a news conference Tuesday at the Statehouse to urge state lawmakers to pass legislation requiring that the state get a certain percentage of its electricity from renewable sources.

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Boeing Gives Cautious 2010 Outlook For 787 Delays

January 27, 2010 3:41 am | by Joshua Freed, AP Business Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Boeing is giving a cautious outlook for 2010 after dealing with program delays and declining orders in 2009. The airplane maker and defense contractor expects to earn $3.70 to $4 per share. Wall Street analysts were expecting $4.26. Boeing says the guidance accounts for lower production of its 777 aircraft, some smaller defense programs, and "market risks.

Toyota Idles 6 American Plants Due To Faulty Cars

January 27, 2010 3:40 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) — The faulty gas pedals that prompted Toyota to suspend U.S. sales of eight of its most popular models — including the Camry, America's best-selling car — are also in its vehicles sold in Europe, an official with the automaker said Wednesday. Toyota Motor Corp.

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Toyota Idling Could Hurt Quality-Based Reputation

January 27, 2010 3:38 am | by Dan Strumpf, AP Auto Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Toyota's suspension of U.S. sales on an unprecedented scale to fix faulty gas pedals deals a blow to the automaker's reputation for quality and endangers its fledgling earnings recovery. The suspect parts are made by a U.S. supplier, but they are also found in its European-made vehicles, an official with the automaker said Wednesday.

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Mueller Industries Fined $638,000 For Unsafe Operations

January 26, 2010 3:41 am

FULTON, Miss. (AP) — Federal labor officials are recommending that three Mueller Industries subsidiaries in Mississippi pay $638,000 in fines for allegedly exposing employees to unsafe working conditions. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the companies in Fulton for 128 alleged violations.

Oshkosh Corp. Tallies Up $325 Million In Military Contracts

January 26, 2010 3:27 am

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) — The defense arm of Oshkosh Corp. has received two hefty military orders for spare parts and repair kits for its new class of mine-resistant trucks. Oshkosh Defense said Monday the deals with the U.S. Army are worth more than $325 million. The parts are for M-ATVs, which are all-terrain military vehicles that are specially designed for the rougher terrain of Afghani battlefields.

Federal Investigation At DuPont After Leaks, Worker Death

January 26, 2010 3:22 am

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The U.S. Chemical Safety Board says a four-member team of investigators is heading to DuPont's idled chemical plant in Belle. The board says it expects the team to be on site Tuesday to start investigating a series of leaks that resulted in the death of one worker and the operation's temporary shutdown over the weekend.

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GM Returns To Building Electric Motors In-House

January 26, 2010 3:21 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Corp. is back in the electric motor business. The automaker said Tuesday that starting in 2013, it plans to build its own electric motors for hybrid and electric vehicles. GM has been getting electric motors for those vehicles from suppliers, but wants to make the motors in-house in order to lower costs and improve quality and reliability.

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U.S. Sodexo Workers Demand French Protections, Benefits

January 25, 2010 11:09 am | by Fannie Dassie, Associated Press Writer

PARIS (AP) — A group of U.S. employees at French food services giant Sodexo on Monday demanded workplace protections in North America similar to those their colleagues in France enjoy. Their tactics were viewed with curiosity in France, where it is more common to see French labor unions pressing for more rights from big American employers.

Ford Adds 1,200 Jobs To Chicago Assembly Line

January 25, 2010 11:06 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — A person briefed on the matter says Ford Motor Co. will add 1,200 jobs at its Chicago assembly plant to build the new Ford Explorer starting later this year. The company and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn are scheduled to make the announcement on Tuesday at the factory. Quinn told reporters in Chicago on Monday that an unspecified company would be announcing 1,200 new jobs in Illinois.

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DuPont Idles Plants After Recent Series Of Accidents

January 25, 2010 3:44 am

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — State and county officials say DuPont is planning safety checks that are expected to temporarily idle most manufacturing at its Belle chemical plant. Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper and a spokesman for Gov. Joe Manchin confirmed DuPont's plans Saturday afternoon.

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Bubble Wrap Now 'Over The Hill,' Still Fun As Ever

January 25, 2010 3:42 am | by David Porter, Associated Press Writer

SADDLE BROOK, N.J. (AP) — People have walked to the altar dressed in it, protected their garden plants with it, even put it on display at highbrow art museums. Mostly, they like the sound it makes when they destroy it, piece by piece, which largely explains the appeal of Bubble Wrap, the stress reducer disguised as package cushioning that maintains an inexplicable hold on pop culture.

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More Melamine-Tainted Milk In China's QA Nightmare

January 25, 2010 3:38 am

BEIJING (AP) — Melamine-tainted dairy products were pulled from convenience store shelves in southern China more than a year after hundreds of thousands of children had been sickened in a massive milk safety scandal, a government spokeswoman said Monday. The announcement calls into question the effectiveness of a crackdown launched by Chinese officials to improve product safety after a number of scandals, including the contamination of baby formula in 2008 and the recent discovery of the toxic metal cadmium in cheap jewelry.

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