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Archive for Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Briefcase

February 19, 2002

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Financial markets closed

Financial and commodity markets were closed Monday in observance of Presidents Day. They are scheduled to reopen today.

Labor: Southwest plans to hire

Southwest Airlines, which bucked the trend of layoffs and flight reductions after Sept. 11, plans to hire about 4,000 workers this year.

The help-wanted sign at Southwest contrasts with grim personnel news from other airlines.

Dallas-based Southwest is the only major U.S. airline still making money. The largest carriers, American and United, lost $3.8 billion between them last year.

But Southwest was not immune to the slowdown in business travel that started in 2001 or the steep decline in travel after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. It put growth plans on hold and delayed aircraft orders.

In December, Southwest announced it would take two new Boeing 737s  the first additions to its fleet since the terrorist attacks. But the hiring plans are Southwest's strongest indication that it believes it can regain its previous double-digit growth.

Southwest, which has 33,000 employees, says it plans to hire 250 pilots, 1,200 flight attendants and 2,600 other workers.

Aviation: Airline, mechanics reach tentative deal before strike

United Airlines announced a tentative contract agreement with the union representing its 12,800 mechanics and aircraft cleaners Monday, less than 36 hours before a strike deadline.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers scheduled a March 5 ratification vote by mechanics on an agreement it said includes improvements on retroactive pay and retirement benefits.

The announcement came on the fourth day of urgent talks following the mechanics' rejection of United's contract offer last week. The mechanics were preparing to walk off the job at 11:01 a.m. Wednesday if no settlement was reached.

"Our negotiating team and United's labor committee of the board of directors have accepted the terms of the IAM's proposal," said Jack Creighton, chairman and chief executive of United parent UAL Corp.

Nebraska: Livestock auction business closes after 100 years

After nearly 100 years of business, Third City Livestock Commission Co. of Grand Island, Neb., conducted its last livestock auction Monday.

Thomas E. Bradstreet started the business in 1905, and by the early 1900s, Third City was second only to Kansas City in sales of horses and mules, said co-owner Ken Carnes, 56, of Aurora.

Clothing stores: Abercrombie suit dismissed, American Eagle announces

Teen apparel maker American Eagle Outfitters Inc. on Monday said an appeals court had upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a lawsuit filed by rival Abercrombie & Fitch Co. alleging that the retailer had copied its clothing designs.

American Eagle, based in Warrendale, Pa., said the Sixth Circuit Courth of Appeals on Friday affirmed a lower court decision to dismiss the 1998 case.

Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle stores are located in downtown Lawrence. American Eagle also has a distribution center in Ottawa.

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