ProBuild picketers move to Denver
The ongoing strike against ProBuild by Teamsters Local 673 moved west this week when the Chicago-area union started picketing the company’s Denver headquarters. Sign-carrying teamsters began marching along the road in front of ProBuild’s corporate office building on Aug. 31 and plan to continue at least through Labor Day weekend.
Roger Kohler, principal of Teamsters Local 673, said the Denver picketing was timed to coincide with Labor Day. “We hope to [generate] some publicity there,” he said.
“ProBuild has worked earnestly to develop a mutually beneficial agreement with our Teamsters employees,” said ProBuild spokeswoman Carolyn Atkinson. “ProBuild presented its last, best and final offer to union representatives, and we remain hopeful that we will come to an agreement soon. Our No. 1 priority is to serve our customers and ProBuild continues to operate at pre-strike levels in Illinois to ensure our customers’ needs are met”.
Drivers and warehouse workers went on strike July 28 at ProBuild locations in Yorkville and Wheaton, Ill. Multiple negotiation sessions over health benefits, guaranteed hours and other issues have failed, despite the assistance of a federal mediator.
Kohler said that some of the picketers are union members from the Denver area. “We sent one [teamster] out, and we’re working with the Denver Teamsters Local,” Kohler said.
Deere sells wind energy business
Moline, Ill.-based Deere & Co. has signed an agreement to sell John Deere Renewables, its wind energy business, to Exelon Generation Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Exelon Corp. Deere expects the transaction will close in 2010.
John Deere Renewables includes 36 completed projects in eight states with an operational capacity of 735 megawatts. The agreement includes the completed projects plus others in development.
“As Deere sharpens its own strategic focus, we have concluded that the company’s resources are best invested in growing our core equipment businesses around the world,” said Samuel R. Allen, Deere & Co. chairman and CEO. “We have chosen to place the wind portfolio with Exelon in part due to its demonstrated leadership in the energy industry.”
Deere said the $900 million sale, including earn-out provisions, will result in an after-tax charge of about $25 million in its fourth-quarter results.
Consumer Confidence bounces slightly in August
The Consumer Confidence Index increased slightly to 53.5 in August, up from 51.0 in July, but down from 54.1 in August 2009.
The Conference Board’s index (1985=100) increased with the short-term outlook, according to director Lynn Franco. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions, however, was less favorable as employment concerns continue to weigh heavily on consumers’ attitudes. Expectations about future business and labor market conditions have brightened somewhat, but overall, consumers remain apprehensive about the future. All in all, consumers are about as confident today as they were a year ago.”
The Present Situation Index decreased to 24.9 from 26.4. The Expectations Index increased to 72.5 from 67.5 last month.
Consumers were also less pessimistic about future job prospects. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased to 14.6% from 14.2%, while those anticipating fewer jobs decreased to 19.4% from 20.9%. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes held steady at 10.6%.