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by 01.02.2009
Posted In: Business at 11:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Holidays = Anti-FAIL for Local Business

The Business Courier reported today that many downtown business performed better than expected this holiday season, saying that many didn't perform as well as last year but their revised expectations were met or exceeded. This was attributed to the public's increased support of local businesses.

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by 11.18.2010
Posted In: News, Media, Business, Community at 03:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 

Callinan Quiet on Enquirer Rumors

Journalism-related Web sites have been abuzz this week with rumors that Editor Tom Callinan is about to leave his job at The Enquirer. Callinan is keeping mum for now, but one of his rumored replacements says he will remain in California and not return to Cincinnati.

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by 12.03.2009
Posted In: Media, Financial Crisis, Business at 04:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 

More Enquirer Furloughs on the Way

2010 already is beginning to look a lot like 2009 at The Cincinnati Enquirer.

In a memo issued Dec. 1, an executive with The Gannett Co., The Enquirer’s Virginia-based owner, wrote that newspaper employees must take another five-day, unpaid furlough within the first quarter of the year. Bob Dickey, Gannett’s U.S. community publishing president, blamed the continuing weak economy.

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by 10.15.2008
Posted In: News, Business at 05:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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For Cintas, It's Business As Usual

Two proposals by institutional shareholders designed to increase independent oversight at Cintas Corp. failed to gain a majority of votes Tuesday at the company’s annual meeting.

The proposals included one by the North Carolina Retirement Systems, which represents the pension investments of unionized North Carolina state government workers. It sought to have an independent chairman — unconnected to the Farmer family — appointed to the board of directors to enhance oversight and improve the company’s abysmal safety record.

The other proposal sought an advisory shareholder vote on executive pay.

As the meeting was conducted, more than 300 protesters comprised of Cintas workers from across the nation and their local supporters rallied outside of the company’s Mason headquarters (pictured above), demanding an end to what they described as egregiously unsafe working conditions at the uniform supplier’s industrial laundries.

A proposal by another institutional shareholder — CtW Investment Group — was also defeated that would have blocked the appointment of David Phillips to the Cintas board due to what it described as an undisclosed conflict of interest and weak leadership in his role as the company’s Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee chairman.

(See my recent news article "Cintas Under a Microscope" for background on these shareholder proposals.)

Cintas didn’t reveal the vote totals for board appointments. CtW representatives said about 35 percent of outside shareholders opposed Phillips’ appointment, which amounted to a “vote of no confidence.”

CtW had alleged that in his role as committee chairman, “Mr. Phillips bears responsibility for many of the company’s questionable governance practices, which include … inadequate response to legitimate governance concerns."

Further, CtW disliked that Phillips serves as trustee of Cincinnati Works, which received more than $200,000 in charitable contributions from foundations controlled by Cintas insiders and affiliates.

Each of the proposals had been endorsed by the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE), an organization trying to unionize Cintas workers for more than five years.

Some Cintas employees who were given proxies by shareholders were denied access to the annual meeting, according to UNITE.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited at least 10 Cintas facilities nationwide in just over a year for safety violations, including one that resulted in the death of a worker. Since 2003 Cintas has been cited for more than 170 OSHA violations in its facilities, including more than 70 citations that OSHA deemed could cause “death or serious physical harm."

(Photo of protest outside Cintas annual meeting on Oct. 15 by Cameron Knight. See more photos here)

 
 
by Danny Cross 05.08.2012
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

City Council is considering increasing cab fares prior to the World Choir Games in July as part of an overhaul of the city’s taxi industry. During a Rules and Government Operations Committee meeting Monday, Councilman Wendell Young described the industry as having little regulation and often undesirable experiences, The Enquirer reports. Council last spring removed a city rule that made it illegal to hail a cab. Among the recommendations expected to be made are the standardization of rates, an increase in the number of permanent taxi stands and the visible display of a Customer Bill of Rights.

The two men hired to beat a Columbia Tusculum man over a property dispute admitted in court yesterday to having been paid by Robert Fritzsch to whoop on Tom Nies Jr. The beaters will avoid jail time in exchange for testifying against Fritzsch. The beating was allegedly a retaliation after a court ordered the removal of Fritzsch's addition to his home that blocked the river view of Nies' house. 

Robert Chase is a member of Ohio’s oil and gas commission, in addition to operating a private consulting firm that deals with many of the private companies interested in making mass money off the state’s drilling leases. The Ohio Ethics Commission this week warned Chase that such consulting work could present a conflict of interest, though Chase says he’s not surprised and that he knows what his ethical responsibilities are.

NBC has picked up a sitcom set in Cincinnati starring Anne Heche, who reportedly plays an Indian Hill housewife who believes she can channel God after surviving an accident involving nearly choking on a sandwich (with humorous results?). The show, which will have a 13-episode first season, is titled Save Me.

The Obama administration might be hinting at considering same-sex marriage rights during a second term, but the folks down in North Carolina are having none of it: A state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and civil unions is on today’s ballot, despite the existence of a state statute that already outlaws it.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is busting Mitt Romney up for choosing not to address a woman’s suggestion that Obama should be tried for treason.

During an event near Cleveland yesterday, a woman asked Romney if he thinks President Obama is "operating outside the structure of our Constitution," and "should be tried for treason."

Romney did not respond to the treason comment, but instead criticized Obama's recent comments on the Supreme Court -- drawing a rebuke from the Obama campaign.

Romney says he doesn’t correct all the questions that are asked of him and that he obviously doesn’t believe Obama should be tried for treason. USA Today pointed out that the incident is similar to one that occurred during the 2008 election, which John McCain handled quite differently:

It was one of the defining moments of the 2008 presidential campaign: A woman at a rally for Republican John McCain, while asking McCain a question, called Democratic contender Barack Obama "an Arab" who couldn't be trusted.

McCain took the microphone and said, "No ma'am. He's a decent family man ... who I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues." McCain's response symbolized his discomfort with the volatile crowds he was seeing as his campaign faded during the final days of the 2008 race.

A study suggests that fighting obesity will necessitate a broader approach than blaming the individual, likely involving schools, workplaces, health care providers and fast-food restaurants.

Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson has apologized for pretending to have a degree in computer science. Thompson says he’ll update his resume but has no plans to step down.

The U.S. could make a $1.5 billion profit on its bailout of insurance company American International Group, Inc. At least that’s what the Government Accountability Office says.

Google’s driverless cars have received their permits in Nevada. What's next? Drive down every single street in America and photographing it?

 
 
by Andy Brownfield 08.28.2012
 
 
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Romney/Mandel Event Mandatory For Miners?

Romney campaign, Murray Energy dispute who made call to close mine for event

Earlier this month presumed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appeared at a coal mine in Beallsville, Ohio to denounce President Barack Obama’s “war on coal” against a powerful backdrop: hundreds of coal miners dusted with the black powder that their work entails.

But what wasn’t made apparent at the time is that those workers were pulled from the mines prematurely and not paid for the time they didn’t work.

According to emails and phone calls received by WWVA-AM West Virginia talk show host David Blomquist, miners said they were told that attendance at the Romney event would be mandatory and unpaid.


As first reported by The Plain Dealer in Cleveland on Tuesday, mine owner Murray Energy Chief Financial Officer Rob Moore told Blomquist that managers “communicated to our workforce that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend.” He said that people who did now show up to the event, which organizers say drew 1,500 miners and family members, were not penalized for their absence.


Blomquist said during the radio show that current and former employees had called and emailed him saying they feel they were forced to go, had to take off a day without pay and a roll call was taken, which caused some employees to believe they would lose their jobs if they didn’t show up.


“Just for the record, if we did not go, we knew what would happen,” Blomquist read from an email he had received. “It is wrong what we were made to do because of the outcome if we don’t.”


The Columbus Dispatch reported that Murray Energy Corp. founder Robert Murray attended the Tuesday breakfast hosted by the Ohio delegation to the Republican National Convention. Murray told the newspaper that the decision to close the mine was made at the request of the Secret Service.


Murray disputed the report that miners weren’t paid for the day, saying they were compensated for the hours they spend underground, from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. The mine was re-opened for a second shift at 4 p.m.


“They were all there voluntarily,” Murray said of the miners who attended the Romney event, which was also attended by Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman and Ohio Treasurer and Senate candidate Josh Mandel.


“You don’t pay people to go voluntarily to a political event. If I would’ve paid them you would be saying you want it the other way. This is all a bunch of nonsense,” Murray told The Dispatch. Federal law prohibits the paying of private employees to attend a political event.


Murray blames layoffs at some of his mines on Obama’s policies. His companies have had a history of environmental and safety violations, and its Political Action Committee has held fundraisers for and donated to Republican causes.

Romney’s Ohio campaign spokesman disputed that the Secret Service had the mine shut down, telling The Dispatch in an email that “It was Murray Energy’s decision to close the Century Mine, not the campaign’s or the Secret Services.” His comment echoes what Murray CFO Moore said on the radio show, that management wanted to attend the event and they couldn’t have miners underground without management present.


For his part, radio host Blomquist took issue with the fact that the miners lost out on a full eight hours of pay because of a political event.

“My whole point is that nobody should be pressured into attending anyone’s political event,” he told The Plain Dealer. “If they shut the mine down, why should they lose a day’s pay? There are some guys that just want to go to work, feed their family and go home.”


 
 
by Hannah McCartney 06.22.2012
Posted In: News, Business, Foreign Relations at 10:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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U.S.-Africa Business Conference Concludes Today

Two-day summit follows the annual African Growth and Opportunity Act forum in D.C.

The two-day U.S.-Africa Business Conference, which took place at the Westin Cincinnati Hotel in downtown Cincinnati, wraps up today, concluding a summit congregating business experts from across the world to discuss business concerns related to energy, transportation, water and sanitation. 

The conference, organized by the U.S. State Department, is intended to serve as a forum for Cincinnati area companies to connect with African business leaders in hopes of creating longstanding partnerships while helping African nations improve economy and infrastructure. It follows the annual African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) forum which took place in Washington, D.C. June 14-15. The U.S.-Africa Business Conference is intended as a way to expand on the AGOA, offering U.S. businesses a platform to showcase business expertise to potential African clients and highlight investment opportunities in Africa for U.S. exporters and investors, according to the U.S. Department of State.

Federal agencies that have participated in the conference include the Departments of State, Transportation, Energy and Agriculture, U.S. Agency for International Development, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. Commercial Service-Cincinnati and the Environmental Protection Agency.

According to the U.S. State Department, Cincinnati was selected as the 2012 conference location due to its "potential to increase commercial partnerships with Africa at local, state and regional levels." The conference includes site visits to GE Aviation, CVG International Airport, EPA Testing and Evaluation Facility, Cincinnati State Renewable Energy Labs, Duke Energy Envision Center and others.
 

 
 
by 03.16.2011
Posted In: Business, Public Transit, Labor Unions, News at 03:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Transit Workers OK New Contract

A labor impasse between managers of Greater Cincinnati's Metro bus system and its transit workers appears to be near an end.

Members of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 627 voted Tuesday to accept a new three-year labor contract with the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA). The final tally was 409-49.

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by 10.22.2009
Posted In: News, Police, Public Policy, Business at 03:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 

Don't Taze My Chest, Bro

After widespread criticism from human rights groups, the maker of the Taser electrical stun gun is now advising law enforcement agencies to avoid shooting people in the chest with the weapon.

Taser International, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., recommended the change in a revised training manual issued Oct. 12. The company stated there’s an “extremely low” risk of ill effects from a shot to the chest, but added it’s better to use caution.

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by 06.17.2010
Posted In: Environment, Business, Climate Change at 04:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Boehner's Ties to BP

Just as the White House is criticizing one Republican lawmaker for apologizing to BP, it's been revealed that a local GOP leader has extensive stock holdings in BP and other oil companies.

The Associated Press is reporting that U.S. Rep. John Boehner (R-West Chester), the House minority leader, bought dozens of stocks in December including shares in BP, Exxon, Chevron, ConocoPhilips and Occidental. Each of the stocks is valued between $15,001 and $50,000, according to annual financial disclosure reports released Wednesday.

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