Wal-Mart says protests low
The United Food & Commercial Workers International Union had planned more than 1,000 demonstrations online and at Wal-Mart stores around the country Friday to protest wages, benefits and treatment of employees.
The protests failed to reduce traffic at the world’s largest retailer. Wal-Mart said Friday that it had larger crowds than last year and drew about 22 million customers Thursday. The retailer said in a statement that it has sold more than 1.3 million televisions, 1.3 million dolls and 250,000 bicycles since its promotions began at 8 p.m. Thursday. Wal-Mart said only “a few dozen” protests took place at stores Thursday night.
In Paramount, Calif., authorities arrested a small group of protesters Friday outside a Walmart. Elizabeth Brennan of Warehouse Workers United said nine people, including three employees, were arrested shortly after noon for blocking the street outside the store. At one point, however, more than 1,000 people blocked traffic, Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker told KNBC-TV.
Mediation set in dispute
Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio and locked-out members of Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 175 in Dayton will meet with a federal mediator Monday, the company said.
Vectren spokeswoman Chase Kelley said the meeting was aimed at “continuing the dialogue and see if we can get our people back to work.” On Nov. 16, workers set up informational pickets at utility locations around Dayton after a lockout by the company. Vectren said the union rejected its last offer for a new contract for nearly 130 members. Vectren added that it put staff in place to “ensure safe, reliable natural gas service continues for its customers.”
Schwab CEO seeks reform
Charles Schwab Corp., the fifth-biggest provider of U.S. money market funds, called for a compromise in the industry’s showdown with regulators that would impose what is called a floating share value on institutional products that invest in corporate debt.
Regulators should allow funds that invest only in U.S. government-backed securities, and prime funds that cater to smaller investors, to keep the traditional $1 constant share value because they are less at risk of credit losses and investor runs, Chief Executive Officer Walter Bettinger wrote Friday in an opinion article for the Wall Street Journal. Separating retail and institutional investors would be “manageable,” Bettinger said.
Regulators and asset managers have debated rules for money-market mutual funds since September 2008, when the collapse of the $62.5 billion Reserve Primary Fund triggered a wider investor run on prime money funds and helped freeze global credit markets. An overhaul backed by Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Schapiro and opposed by fund companies was withdrawn in August after three commissioners signaled they would reject the plan, which included floating share prices.
Bettinger has roots that include founding retirement business Hampton Co. in Bath Township that Schwab bought in 1995. In 2008, Bettinger was promoted to chief executive of the San Francisco-based business.
Same-day delivery studied
Emboldened by rapid growth in e-commerce shipping, the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service is moving to start a premium service for the Internet shopper seeking instant gratification: same-day package delivery. Teaming up with retailers, the post office will start service in San Francisco on Dec. 12. If things run smoothly, the program will expand next year to Boston, Chicago and New York. It follows similar efforts by eBay, Amazon.com, and most recently Wal-Mart, which charges a $10 flat rate.
Compiled from staff and wire reports.