Blain Supply begins headquarters addition
The supplier to Blain’s Farm & Fleet has begun construction on a 43,000-sq.-ft. addition to its Janesville, Wis., headquarters, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
Blain Supply serves 34 Blains’ Farm & Fleet stores in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa.
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Golden Hammer winner wins again
3M’s Cubitron II abrasives technology platform has won the TechAmerica Foundation’s American Technology Award in the manufacturing category at the Foundation’s annual awards dinner held in Washington, D.C.
The Foundation’s awards — also known as "Termans" in honor of Frederick Terman, the late Stanford University engineering professor who is widely regarded as the father of Silicon Valley — are presented annually to signify American industry’s best technological achievements in various categories.
Cubitron II represents a radical advance in cutting and grinding processes, according to Minneapolis-based 3M. It combines several of 3M’s core technology platforms to create precision-shaped, uniformly sized, ceramic-based oxide triangles that are oriented with their cutting edges facing the work surface. The result is faster and higher-quality performance, together with ergonomic and safety benefits, and a reduction in the need for abrasive waste disposal.
"3M is honored by the recognition and very pleased that its technology is contributing to a safer and more productive environment in this important sector of manufacturing," said Robert Cowan, manufacturing technology manager for 3M Abrasive Systems Division.
At the 2011 Golden Hammer Awards ceremony, 3M received the Golden Hammer Vendor Award in Cleaning Supplies. The company also received a "Committee Choice" award, selected by the retail committee, for "Category Management."
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Supreme Court blocks massive job discrimination suit against Wal-Mart
In a ruling that may mean new limits on class-action suits, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled for Wal-Mart Stores in the largest sex-discrimination lawsuit in history, as it put the brakes on a massive job discrimination lawsuit against the chain.
In a ruling that was not unexpected, the justices overturned a U.S. appeals court ruling that more than a million female employees nationwide could join in the lawsuit, which accused Wal-Mart of paying women less and giving them fewer promotions. The Supreme Court agreed with Wal-Mart that the class-action certification violated federal rules for such lawsuits. It accepted Wal-Mart’s main argument that the female employees in different jobs at 3,400 different stores nationwide and with different supervisors do not have enough in common to be lumped together in a single class-action lawsuit.
The justices said the lawyers arguing the case failed to point to a common corporate policy that led to gender discrimination against workers at thousands of Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores across the country. The court ruled unanimously on some aspects of the case and divided on others.
With billions of dollars at stake, the ruling was big victory for Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private employer.
The case was one of the most closely watched Supreme Court business disputes in some time, in part because the justices hadn’t looked at the standards for certifying a class-action suit in more than 10 years.
The Supreme Court only decided whether the 10-year-old lawsuit could proceed to trial as a group, not the merits of the sex-discrimination allegations at the heart of the case.
Commenting on the ruling, the lawn firm Seyfarth Shaw posted on its Workplace Class Action blog: "The new roadmap is decidedly more favorable to employers than before. Employers should be upbeat in terms of the Supreme Court’s articulation of the required showings plaintiffs must make in the future to certify an employment discrimination class action. In short, the bar has been raised."
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