JetBlue pilots decide to join a union

April 22
AVIATION
Pilots at JetBlue vote to join union

JetBlue Airways pilots voted to join the Air Line Pilots Association, ending the carrier’s status as the biggest U.S. airline without a union.

ALPA won support from 71 percent of pilots eligible to vote, according to the union. Once the National Mediation Board authorizes the union as the pilots’ representative, JetBlue and the union will organize committees to craft a contract, airline chief executive Dave Barger said in a statement.

“JetBlue pilots have voted for ALPA representation so that we have the ability to improve our professional careers,” said Gustavo Rivera and Rocky Durham, co-chairmen of the organizing committee at the airline.

JetBlue shares fell nearly 2 percent to close at $8.59. Now the fifth-largest U.S. carrier, JetBlue began flying in 2000 and has long cast itself as a model of labor relations in an industry known for discord.

The airline said it has 2,529 pilots, while ALPA said the total was more than 2,600.

It was the third such vote by JetBlue pilots, who turned down the creation of an independent bargaining unit in 2009 and again in 2011.

— Bloomberg News

INSIDER TRADING case
Appeals court critical of execs’ convictions

A U.S. appeals court panel was critical of a judge for making it too easy to convict two hedge fund managers of insider trading, lending support to their claims that their verdict was unfair and possibly unraveling other government cases if the court rules in their favor.

Level Global Investors co-founder Anthony Chiasson and former Diamondback Capital Management portfolio manager Todd Newman argued that their convictions should be overturned because jurors weren’t required to find that the traders knew that the source of their illegal tip received a benefit. The government said jurors only needed to find that the men knew it was material nonpublic information and that the tipper was breaching a fiduciary duty by revealing it.

A decision by the three-
member panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit
favoring the fund managers could imperil the conviction of SAC Capital Advisors fund manager Michael Steinberg, whose jury got the same instructions as
Chiasson’s and Newman’s.

— Bloomberg News

Also in Business

Canada’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals International said it and activist investor Bill Ackman made an unsolicited $47 billion bid to buy Botox maker Allergan. Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management, Allergan’s largest shareholder with a 9.7 percent stake, disclosed in a filing Monday that it is supporting the bid.

Video subscriber growth and the Winter Olympics helped Comcast’s first-quarter profit of 68 cents a share, excluding some items, beat analysts’ estimates of 64 cents. The largest U.S. cable company also said revenue rose to $17.4 billion, topping analysts’ predictions of $17 billion. Comcast added 24,000 TV customers in the quarter to reach a total of 22.6 million. The quarter’s increase also was partially driven by $1.1 billion in revenue from the Olympics, which aired on Comcast’s NBC channels.

McDonald’s said sales at established U.S. locations fell 1.7 percent in the first quarter as guest counts declined. Sales rose 1.4 percent at established locations in Europe and 0.8 percent in the unit encompassing Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Overall, global sales edged up 0.5 percent. Profit fell to $1.2 billion and revenue edged up to $6.7 billion, shy of the $6.71 billion that Wall Street expected.

AT&T reported that quarterly revenue rose by 3.6 percent, boosted by the popularity of a new handset pricing model that charges customers for devices separately from their wireless plans. The No. 2 U.S. mobile provider earned $3.65 billion and revenue rose to $32.48 billion, compared with Wall Street expectations of $32.47 billion. AT&T added 625,000 postpaid net wireless subscribers in the quarter.

Duke Energy said removing all of the company’s coal ash from North Carolina’s rivers and lakes would take decades and cost up to $10 billion, with the state’s electricity customers likely footing nearly all the bill. Paul Newton, Duke’s North Carolina president, told state lawmakers in Raleigh that the company needs flexibility to consider more cost-efficient options that include leaving much of its 100 million tons of toxic ash in place after covering with giant tarps and soil. State officials say all 33 of Duke’s unlined dumps are contaminating groundwater.

The Navajo Nation, facing a high prevalence of diabetes on the country’s largest reservation, considered a 2 percent sales tax on chips, cookies and sodas to spur tribal members to ditch junk food. But the effort failed in a 13 to 7 Tribal Council vote in favor of it. The tax needed 16 votes to pass. The measure still has widespread support, and advocates said they plan to revive it, with the hope of making the tribe one of the first governments to enact a junk-food tax.

— From news services

Coming Today

10 a.m.: New-home sales for March.

Earnings: Apple, Boeing, Delta Air Lines, Facebook, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Procter & Gamble.

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