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Business news briefs — April 3

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LOCAL BUSINESS

Women’s program April 16

The Greater Akron Chamber’s KNOW program (Knowledgeable Network of Women) will feature speaker and former NASA engineer Maureen Zappala at an event on leadership April 16 at Portage Country Club in Akron.

A New York City native, Zappala moved to Cleveland in 1983 for employment at NASA’s Lewis Research Center after graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in mechanical engineering.

Registration will be at 11 a.m. with the program from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the club at 240 N. Portage Path. For reservations, call 330-376-5550 or go to ­www.­­greater­akronchamber.org.

Deadline is noon April 11.

LABOR

UAW membership rises

A filing with the U.S. Department of Labor shows the United Auto Workers’ membership grew by nearly 9,000 people last year. UAW’s membership in 2013 was 391,415, compared to 382,513 in 2012. The union has been steadily adding members since 2009, when General Motors and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy.

The auto industry has recovered from the bottom five years ago, but the UAW still faces many challenges. Dues collected, which are the union’s main source of income, have fallen more than 40 percent since 2006. And membership is a fraction what it was in 1979, when the UAW had 1.5 million members. The union failed in February to rally enough support to organize Volkswagen’s factory in Chattanooga, Tenn., even with the passive support of Volkswagen’s management.

JOBS

AT&T to hire 3,000 workers

AT&T plans to hire more than 3,000 retail sales and sales management employees nationwide over the next several months, company officials announced. The new employees are needed to meet increased customer demand in the company’s growing retail business, officials said.

Currently, AT&T is seeking nearly 200 new employees in Ohio, including 80 retail workers. AT&T employed nearly 7,000 people in Ohio during the fourth quarter of 2013, and hired more than 930 in 2013, a spokeswoman said.

UTILITIES

Chemical leaks at Perry plant

The operator of a Northeast Ohio nuclear power plant says a refrigerant leaked from equipment in a building on the site, prompting air monitoring for the chemical.

A FirstEnergy Corp. spokeswoman told the Plain Dealer an undetermined amount of the chemical escaped Wednesday as workers were starting routine maintenance at a facility near the reactor building at the Perry nuclear plant along Lake Erie. The leak occurred at a building that contains charcoal beds to absorb radio­active gases.

No one was hurt, but the building was deemed off-limits. Air monitors were called to check for trichloroethylene, a chemical from the refrigerant that can be a neurotoxin in high concentrations.

Such problems are required to be reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Perry is about 35 miles northeast of Cleveland.

REAL ESTATE

Mortgage rates hardly move

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate for the 30-year loan ticked up to 4.41 percent from 4.40 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage increased to 3.47 percent from 3.42 percent.

Compiled from staff and wire reports


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