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Business news briefs — July 31

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LOCAL BUSINESS

B&W wins contract at plant

Babcock & Wilcox Co.’s Power Generation Group Inc. in Barberton is part of a joint venture that has been awarded a $110 million contract to replace auxiliary equipment at a coal-fired power plant in Ottumwa, Iowa.

Several dozen existing employees at B&W’s Power Generation Group in Barberton will focus on the project over the next six months. The Power Generation Group will be involved with designing and supplying the boiler’s pressure parts, as well as supplying construction services.

B&W is a large area employer, with about 1,800 employees in Summit County; about 1,400 of those workers are in the Power Generation Group’s facilities in Barberton and Copley Township.

The joint venture is between B&W’s Power Generation Group and architectural, engineering and construction firm Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co. Inc. The Ottumwa (Iowa) Generating Station power plant is owned by the Interstate Power and Light Co.

Tentative deal at Bridgestone

The United Steelworkers union announced a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract with Bridgestone Corp. covering 4,500 workers at six facilities. The previous contract had expired last Saturday.

The union called the contract a “step forward” in a posting on its website. News about the contract from Bridgestone was not posted on its corporate site nor its Bridgestone Americas subsidiary website.

The Steelworkers said the contract covers workers in Akron as well as plants in Des Moines, Iowa; Russellville, Ark.; LaVergne, Tenn.; Warren County, Tenn., and Bloomington, Ill.

The union said ratification votes are expected to take place over the next two weeks.

Separately, the union said a tentative deal was reached covering 2,500 members at B.F. Goodrich operations in North America that are owned by France-based Michelin.

PUBLISHING

Plain Dealer cuts 50 news jobs

The Cleveland Plain Dealer eliminated about 50 journalists, or one-third of its newsroom staff, according to the union that represents the staffers.

The journalists were given notice Tuesday afternoon to expect phone calls Wednesday morning whether to report for work or that they were laid off.

Harlan Spector, chairman of the Plain Dealer unit of Local 1 of The Newspaper Guild, said “it’s a terrible day for the newsroom employees who have been through this before in 2008 and anybody who’s been through a mass layoff knows how awful it is. Beyond that, it’s also a sad day for Cleveland journalism.”

The Plain Dealer previously announced that it would transition in August to three-day home delivery — on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays — while still printing seven days a week and beefing up its digital Cleveland.com news coverage on the Internet. The newspaper also said it would be cutting one-third of its newsroom staff. The paper said it would also have what it called a bonus edition delivered on Saturdays.

Spector said he was among a group of journalists who volunteered to be laid off, and to his knowledge, the paper was accepting those layoffs. About half of the expected 50 layoffs were volunteers.

In a posting on its website earlier this year announcing the upcoming changes, Plain Dealer management said, “The way people can and want to receive news and information is changing rapidly. We must drive innovation, capitalize on the tremendous strengths of our existing organizations, preserve high-quality journalism and marketing solutions, and provide greater efficiency and flexibility ... through print and digital applications.”

Plastics News to leave Akron

Trade publication Plastics News, published by Crain Communications and based in Akron’s Merriman Valley, will be moving operations to Detroit by the end of the year, a public relations person for Crain confirmed Wednesday.

Spokesman Jim Parks said the move will allow Crain to centralize some services at the corporate office. About 30 people work for Plastics News, said Parks. Parks said some employees might be offered the opportunity to move, but “there will be impacts felt for sure” in Akron.

Another publication, Waste & Recycling News, which was based in Akron until its operations were moved to Detroit in 2011, will cease publication on Aug. 5, said Parks. Tire Business and Rubber & Plastics News will continue to be based in Akron, said Parks.

EARNINGS

Profit drop at Volkswagen

German automaker Volkswagen AG said net profit fell 50 percent in the second quarter. Profit was down to 2.85 billion euros from 5.70 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue rose 8.5 percent to 52.1 billion euros.

Compiled from staff and wire reports


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