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Business news briefs — March 5


Possible pension cuts

Current and retired members of the Teamsters union are invited to a meeting Saturday morning in Richfield to discuss potential changes in pension law that could cut benefits to current and upcoming retirees.

The meeting, sponsored by Teamsters for a Democratic Union, starts 10 a.m. at the Days Inn, 4742 Brecksville Road, in Richfield. The speaker will be Ann Curry Thompson, an attorney who specializes in pension law.

The union-affiliated TDU said potential changes in pension law could cut pensions for already retired Teamsters.

Parker contract OK’d

Union workers at Parker Hannifin’s Gear Pump Division in Youngstown are getting a raise and eventually will pay more for their health care.

They approved a new contract this week after a vote last week ended in a tie.

In a 77-46 tally, the workers, members of United Steelworkers of America Local 2332, approved the deal, which will last into January of 2018. Their previous contract expired in February, but the parties had an extension to collectively bargain until the end of this month.

Under the new agreement, workers will receive a 3 percent raise, and will have to pay more in health-care costs in the fourth year of the contract, starting one month before it expires, according to a USW representative.

“This is nowhere near a concessionary agreement,” said Jim Lee, a union representative who helped negotiate the deal. “It’s a very fair agreement.”

Workers were split on a contract vote last week. Under that deal, two to three positions would have been combined or eliminated, Lee said.

But those stipulations were removed before the new vote. All other terms remained the same, Lee said. A company spokesman did not return requests for an interview.

The division produces hydraulic gear pumps for a variety of industries.

— Youngstown Vindicator


CEO buys GE stock

Jeffrey R. Immelt, the chief executive of General Electric, said he spent his whole 2013 cash bonus on GE stock. Immelt bought about 105,000 shares on Monday for a little more than $2.6 million, according to a company filing.


No government help

Chrysler is withdrawing a request for financial backing from federal and provincial governments in Canada and will use its own funds for production of minivans and other vehicles in Windsor and Brampton, Ontario.

The development of the next version of its minivan will be located in Windsor, Chrysler said. A Brampton facility will also benefit from substantial upgrades on both the Chrysler 300, and the Dodge Charger and Challenger. Chrysler had been negotiating with Canadian officials for loans to help it prepare those facilities for the next stage of production. Last month, executives said talks with government officials were “not even close.”


Dow loses 36 points

Calm returned to the stock market Wednesday after two days of volatile trading. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index traded within a range of about five points, or about a quarter of a percentage point for the whole day, before ending a fraction lower. Investors weighed a tepid hiring survey, some strong company earnings and falling oil prices.

Stocks plunged Monday, then surged to a record high on Tuesday as tensions in Ukraine flared, then eased.

“We’re returning to normality,” said John Manley, chief equity strategist at Wells Fargo Fund Management. “What the market now trades on is fundamentals, and the fundamentals are still good.”

The S&P 500 index fell 0.10 point, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,873.81. Its close on Tuesday of 1,873.91 was a record high. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 35.70 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,360.18. The Nasdaq rose six points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,357.97.

Energy stocks were the biggest losers Wednesday. Oil dropped for a second day as tensions eased in Ukraine. Exxon Mobil fell $2.72, or 2.8 percent, to $93.80, making it one of the biggest decliners in the S&P 500. The company plans to cut capital spending by 6 percent this year and said production will rise 2 percent.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.


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