Archive for Sunday, March 30, 2003

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March 30, 2003

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Dallas: Some American Airlines workers agree to pay cuts

American Airlines reached tentative agreements with several small labor groups to reduce wages Saturday as a key union leader warned workers that the cuts will be deeper if the world's largest airline fails to avoid bankruptcy.

American reached tentative agreements with more than 2,250 stock clerks, dispatchers, maintenance specialists and meteorologists, the Transport Workers Union said. About 16,000 baggage handlers reached an agreement Thursday, and talks were continuing with representatives of about 39,000 pilots, flight attendants and mechanics.

American, which has about 99,000 employees, says it must cut its labor costs by $1.8 billion per year to avoid bankruptcy.

Qatar: Two Marines killed in Humvee accidents

Two U.S. Marines were killed in separate accidents in Iraq, one when he was hit by a Humvee during a firefight, Central Command said today.

The battle with Iraqi soldiers took place Friday night, when a member of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force was struck by the vehicle. The Marine was evacuated to a medical unit in southern Iraq and died.

The second Marine, also from the 1st Expeditionary Force, drowned Saturday morning after his Humvee rolled over into a canal, the statement said. Marines tried unsuccessfully for a half-hour to revive him.

The names of the two Marines were withheld pending notification of family members.

Illinois: Jury awards $250 million in U.S. Steel asbestos case

A jury awarded $250 million to a retired steelworker who claimed U.S. Steel exposed him to asbestos that caused his lung cancer.

Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron said he might issue an order later regarding the punitive damages. In addition to $50 million in compensatory damages, the jury ordered U.S. Steel to pay Roby Whittington $200 million in punitive damages for failing to warn him about the risk of asbestos.

Attorney Ed Matushek said the company probably would appeal.

Whittington, 70, had worked at U.S. Steel's mill in Gary, Ind., from 1950 to 1981. He now has breathing problems and cannot walk long distances, said his attorney, Randall Bono. Bono argued that U.S. Steel knew about the dangers of asbestos years before Whittington worked there.

Washington: Asian-American lawyers split on affirmative action case

Asian-American lawyers have taken a strong stand on university affirmative action in the case to be heard by the Supreme Court this week -- and on opposite sides of the issue.

The Asian American Legal Foundation based in Northern California agrees with the white plaintiffs and urges the court to end race-based admissions policies.

But National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, a coalition of 25 Asian rights groups, sides with the University of Michigan and urges the court to preserve affirmative action.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday in the Michigan case.

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