Archive for June, 2010

Boeing machinists pass contract, avoid strike (AP)

Sunday, June 27th, 2010 | Finance News

ST. LOUIS – Boeing workers in St. Louis have agreed to a contract with the plane manufacturer, avoiding a strike that would have gone into effect Monday if the deal had been rejected.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said the contract passed Sunday by a vote of 1,237 to 838. The union had said its workers in St. Louis were prepared to strike starting at midnight Monday if the vote had failed.

The main contention against the four-and-a-half year proposal was a clause that would place workers hired after January 2012 in a retirement plan based on company contributions instead of in a traditional pension.

Union spokesman Tom Pinksi said that clause remained in place after the second round of negotiations. However, the approved contract removed language that would have dropped an employee's dependent health care coverage if the worker took a medical leave of absence for more than six months. The new contract allows for 30 months of coverage.

A Boeing spokesman didn't immediately return a message left seeking comment on Sunday.

The contract covers 2,533 Boeing workers, most of them in St. Louis, and operations in Maryland and elsewhere. The workers make the FA-18 Super Hornet fighter jet, EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft and the F-15 Strike Eagle ground attack strike fighter as well as parts for the C-17 Air Force cargo plane, which is assembled at the Long Beach plant.

Earlier this month, a monthlong strike by Boeing workers at the Chicago-based company's C-17 Long Beach plant in California ended after workers approved a contract there. The strike had shut down production of the military cargo jets.

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Royal Dutch Shell: deep drilling must continue (AP)

Sunday, June 27th, 2010 | Finance News

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – Royal Dutch Shell says rising demand means deep-water drilling must continue, but that competitor British Petroleum's massive Gulf of Mexico spill offers lessons.

At a business and political forum in Cape Town, Royal Dutch Shell PLC chief executive Peter Voser said Sunday: "Given the rise in the population and rise in developing world of energy needs, we will have to develop those resources in deep waters ...."

Voser says his company's safety guidelines are in line with U.S. proposals made in the wake of the BP spill.

Voser says, "I think for some companies there will be some learning from this."

Shell Oil, Royal Dutch Shell's U.S. arm, has been affected by the U.S. government's suspension of proposed exploratory Arctic Ocean drilling.

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World leaders pledging to reduce global deficits (AP)

Sunday, June 27th, 2010 | Finance News

TORONTO – World leaders are lining up behind a bold pledge to cut budget deficits in half by 2013.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, host of a summit of the world's 20 top industrial and developing nations, said at Sunday's session that it's "imperative that we get our fiscal house in order."

The deficit-cutting goal would mean cutting the red ink in half by 2013, as a percentage of the overall economy — and getting the total debt stabilized by 2015.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

TORONTO (AP) — World economic powers are struggling to manage the global recovery after surviving the worst financial crisis in decades.

Leaders of the Group of 20 leading industrial and major developing countries, wrapping up their summit Sunday, are agreeing on separate strategies to sustain the fledgling economic comeback.

The United States insisted that stimulus spending is needed to bolster the rebound. But other countries, worried about a Greek-style debt crisis, prefer cutting government spending and raising taxes to attack ballooning deficits.

While these conferences regularly attract protests against the trend toward economic globalization, demonstrations on Saturday turned violent in downtown Toronto. Police made more than 400 arrests after demonstrators broke off from a crowd of peaceful protesters, setting fire to four police cruisers and smashing windows. Police used shields, clubs, tear gas and pepper spray to push back the protesters who tried to head toward the security fence surrounding the summit site.

Officials planned a final round of talks on global imbalances and tighter standards for the banking system. The goal is to avoid the kind of financial crisis that struck in the fall of 2008 — and brought about the summit.

Leaders of the older Group of Eight industrial powers believed that the expanded collection of nations, which includes major developing countries including China, Brazil and India, was a better forum to develop a broad economic strategy.

Reaching a consensus, however, has proved difficult.

Mindful that open signs of dissension could worry financial markets, the G-20 leaders sought to minimize their differences. They agreed that deficits must be tamed in the long term, but that different countries may use different tactics in the short term, depending on their levels of indebtedness.

The U.S. did receive some support for its warnings against cutting government stimulus too quickly.

"If we act hastily, if we are excessive in adopting the new fiscal policy adjustments, we could jeopardize the growth we have achieved," said Brazil's economic minister, Guido Mantega.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters that President Barack Obama "clearly talked about the risks of debt and deficit" in the U.S.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said leaders understood they must work together to make sure the global recovery stays on track.



Summit site:

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