Ground broken for Hilton hotel
The earth is moving at the East End redevelopment project in Akron.
The construction is near the former Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. headquarters complex off East Market Street in East Akron.
Bulldozers and other heavy equipment have broken ground where an $18 million, 135-room Hilton Garden Inn hotel will be built. The hotel is going up on a former parking lot between Cook Street and Kelly Avenue near the Ganley auto dealership.
Work on the five-story hotel is expected to be finished by next summer.
Cuts planned at Warren plant
About 60 workers at Warren Steel Holdings in Warren were told their hours would be reduced and their wages cut. Workers make steel products at a melt shop and casting facility.
Company officials informed employees, who attended the meeting at Kent State University’s Trumbull Campus in Champion, that orders had fallen sharply. Workers asked to remain anonymous as they feared disciplinary action.
A caster, who said he had a role in managing a crew at the facility, will lose $150 per week in pay. Although only 60 or so employees attended the meeting, the caster said there are more than 100 working at Warren Steel Holdings who will be affected.
Company officials could not be reached.
Volkswagen breaks sales mark
Volkswagen’s nine-month sales topped 7 million vehicles for the first time as demand in China more than offset a decline in Europe. Deliveries rose 4.8 percent to 7.03 million cars and trucks, the German company said. September sales gained 7 percent to 856,900 vehicles.
The maker of VW, Audi and Porsche vehicles is relying on growth in China, the world’s largest auto market, to balance slumping demand in Europe, where sales are set to drop for a sixth straight year. VW has a goal of passing General Motors and Toyota by 2018 to become the world’s biggest auto manufacturer.
Toyota to reduce Prius price
Toyota is reducing the price of its plug-in Prius models to try to boost sales and meet a California mandate as automakers find that cost is critical to U.S. consumers’ willingness to buy rechargeable autos.
The world’s largest seller of hybrid autos is trimming the base price of the 2014 Prius Plug-in to $29,990, a $2,010 reduction, while the top-end Advanced grade gets a 12 percent cut to $34,905. The new versions also get a $2,500 U.S. tax credit.
The company in August began offering reduced lease and loan deals for its battery-powered RAV4 crossover to spur its sales. Honda, Nissan and General Motors have all turned to discounted leases, price cuts or both for rechargeable models.
Toyota is under particular pressure to sell as many plug-in hybrids and battery-only vehicles as possible in California to comply with the state’s Zero-Emission Vehicle program.
Labor discussion in Tennessee
Volkswagen and its German labor leaders are proposing a solution to a United Auto Workers effort to organize a Tennessee plant. The proposal is commonplace in Europe but has yet to be tried in the U.S. auto industry.
The senior labor representative at Volkswagen in Germany, Bernd Osterloh, is planning a trip to the United States to suggest a compromise in the UAW’s drive to organize a foreign-owned auto plant in the American South.
He is expected to push for a German-style works council in the plant — a committee of hourly and salaried employees that gives labor a voice at the management table.
A works council is not like a U.S. union, which can negotiate contracts and authorize strikes. But it does have the advantage of being a familiar form of labor relations for a German car company like VW. One question in Chattanooga is whether the 1,600 workers would need to belong to a union like the UAW to join a council.
FedEx adds temporary workers
FedEx Corp., operator of the world’s largest cargo airline, plans to hire more temporary workers than last year during the peak holiday season amid increased customer demand.
FedEx hired about 20,000 seasonal workers in 2012 and expects to add more this year. The company will also increase hours for its 300,000 existing employees during the holidays. FedEx beat profit estimates in its most recent quarter after cutting air capacity to Asia and moving lower priority packages to cheaper transportation methods, such as ocean shipping.
Compiled from staff and wire reports