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Archive for Saturday, March 10, 2001

Business Briefcase

March 10, 2001

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President steps in to block mechanics strike

President Bush blocked any mechanics strike against Northwest Airlines for at least 60 days Friday, citing the need to protect the economy and "the hardworking people of America" from travel disruptions.

The mechanics had threatened to walk off the job at 11:01 p.m. Monday when a 30-day cooling-off period was to expire, affecting flights across the United States and abroad.

Northwest, based in Eagan, Minn., carried 59 million passengers last year and has more than 2,600 daily flights.

Bush's order establishes an emergency board that has 30 days to propose a settlement. It then gives the parties another 30 days to resolve the dispute. If that fails, Congress could impose a settlement.

The mechanics union was unhappy with the move. However, the airline welcomed the president's intervention.

The union represents about 10,000 Northwest mechanics, cleaners and custodians.




Bankruptcy
TWA official urges sale of airline to American

A top Trans World Airlines Inc. official urged a judge Friday to approve the planned sale of the troubled airline's assets to AMR Corp.'s American Airlines instead of a group backed by billionaire Carl Icahn.

In a hearing before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Peter Walsh, TWA chief financial officer Michael Palumbo testified the American bid would protect future employee health and retirement benefits, while Icahn's offer would not.

Icahn's $1.1 billion bid would keep TWA operating as an independent airline, while American would absorb much of TWA's operations and employees with its $772 million bid.

TWA selected American's offer as its preferred bid on Wednesday.




Agriculture
Kansas reporting hay shortage

Hay shortages across Kansas have feedlot operators and livestock producers scrambling to find alternative feeds for their animals months before the new hay crop will be ready for harvest.

At least 45 percent of the state is reporting hay supplies as short to very short, Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service reported this week.

That is in line with the situation Steve Hessman, hay market analyst for the state, is also seeing across the state.

While there is still an adequate supply of dairy-quality alfalfa hay, many other types of hay are unavailable in parts of the state.

Kansas went into the winter with some of the lowest hay stocks in almost a decade, said Tom Morgan, president of Morgan Consulting Group, a Paola consulting firm that helps farmers market or acquire hay.

The Dec. 1 hay inventory in Kansas was 4.5 million tons down 22 percent from a year earlier.

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