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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TW Perry thinks beyond “green”
Gaithersburg, Md.-based pro dealer TW Perry is promoting understanding of green building and environmentally friendly materials with a back-to-basics educational program.
The six-unit TW Perry has received chain-of-custody certification by both the Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and it recently hosted its third annual Green Building Workshop. According to CEO Michael Cassidy, as the company’s green education programs grow, they will focus on product application.
"We have done a lot of education on green," said Cassidy. "The next step is how to actually use the materials correctly."
According to Cassidy, good building technique and installation knowledge are bigger parts of the total green equation than the actual materials used.
"It’s not wind turbines, and it’s not solar panels, and it’s not collected rain water. It’s not fuel cells," he said. "It’s good basic building technique. Because an incredibly well recycled, super-environmental product that’s installed the wrong way will have a negative effect."
TW Perry’s Mike Moore, VP materials management, said the green education is a service to its customers — and an important service. "It’s educating our customers about positioning themselves to survive," he said. "The codes are changing, and they have to adapt. Green education is about using new materials that are coming out in the right way, and it’s positioning them to be a leader in their market."
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