Thursday, January 30, 2003

Business digest

From wire reports

Pilots union blasts plan as breakup

CHICAGO - United Airlines' pilots union lashed out Wednesday at the company's emerging strategy in bankruptcy, saying its plans for a new discount carrier would amount to a breakup of United and vowing to fight it "by every lawful means."

CEO Glenn Tilton is to present the new business plan at a board meeting today.

While United has not disclosed details of the plan, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday that it aims to reduce the number of its pilots and flight attendants by up to 25 percent and implement a two-tier pay structure.

Bank One plans 700 layoffs, 400 new hires

CHICAGO - Bank One Corp., one of the nation's largest banking companies, is laying off 700 people in Chicago as it closes its retail call center here and consolidates other operations, the company said Wednesday.

The total number of jobs cut will be 300 because Chicago-based Bank One will hire 400 people at similar facilities in other parts of the country.

Bank One expects its expenses to rise as it upgrades branches and spends more on health insurance.

EarthLink's loss is less than last year's

ATLANTA - EarthLink Inc. reported a smaller fourth-quarter loss Wednesday, a day after announcing it was trimming its work force by 25 percent.

For the period ending Dec. 31, the company lost $36.9 million, or 24 cents a share, compared with a loss of $80.1 million, or 55 cents a share, for the same period a year ago.

Revenue for Atlanta-based EarthLink was $347.9 million, compared with $327.2 million in the same three-month period a year ago.

EarthLink is third in market share, behind America Online and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Internet service.

Postal goal: early retirements

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Postal Service is seeking authority to offer early retirement to workers whose jobs are eliminated by automation.

In a letter to the Office of Personnel Management, the agency said that it expects automation to eliminate about 16,000 jobs by the end of the fiscal year.

Most of that reduction can be accomplished through attrition

Stricter accounting proposed in Britain

LONDON - The British government introduced new accounting rules Wednesday in a bid to shore up investor confidence after the Enron and WorldCom collapses in the United States.

The package would to create a single authoritative regulator with responsibility for setting accounting and auditing standards and establish a new independent audit inspection unit to monitor the audits of listed companies, major charities and pension funds.

Chip firm's patent claim is revived

WASHINGTON - Rambus Inc. shares rose 57 percent after a U.S. appeals court boosted the memory-chip designer's effort to collect as much as $840 million in patent royalties from semiconductor makers.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed a jury's finding that the chip designer committed fraud while pursuing patents for high-speed chips that became an industry standard. The panel revived Rambus's patent-infringement claim against Infineon Technologies AG.

Rambus sued Infineon and Hynix Semiconductor Inc. and Micron Technology Inc. after they refused to sign licensing agreements.

Caterpillar reducing 500 salaried jobs

PEORIA, Ill. - Caterpillar Inc. is eliminating about 500 jobs as part of an effort to streamline operations at several plants. The employees can seek positions elsewhere in the company, Caterpillar said.

The action will affect salaried and management jobs With 70,000 workers worldwide, the cuts represent less than 1 percent of its work force.

The job reduction will affect plants within the large power systems division, including at Lafayette, Ind.

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