UPS, Union Told to Negotiate

United Parcel Service and the union representing its 2,500 pilots were ordered by a federal mediator to resume contract talks.

The National Mediation Board scheduled negotiations between the company and the Independent Pilots Association for Sept. 15 and 16.

The pilots voted last week to allow union leaders to seek an end to talks, which began in October 2002. They also approved a strike if an agreement with the company can't be reached. UPS has said there is no immediate threat of a strike. Talks between the two sides were recessed June 23.


Seligman Seeks to Block Probe

J. & W. Seligman, a New York- based money management firm, asked a federal judge to block New York state Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer from widening an investigation of mutual fund trading abuses to focus on fees.

Seligman said it recently settled a complaint by Spitzer and the Securities and Exchange Commission that Seligman let investors engage in market timing. The firm said Spitzer is now demanding oversight of its fees and that only the SEC has that authority. In settlements with other mutual fund firms, Spitzer successfully obtained lower fees.


Government Utilities Win Ruling

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that federal energy regulators can't force Bonneville Power Administration and other government-owned utilities to pay refunds for overcharging during the California energy crisis because the utilities are not subject to regulation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which had ordered the payments.

The government utilities had accounted for nearly 30 percent of electricity sales in California markets in 2000 and 2001, when wholesale power prices soared and electricity shortages caused outages.


More Shelter Charges Expected

The prosecutor handling the case against eight former KPMG partners charged with fraud in the sale of abusive tax shelters said he expects charges against at least 12 more people in the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin S. Weddle said a new indictment could be obtained within three months. KPMG agreed last week to pay $456 million to avoid criminal prosecution over its sale of the tax shelters.


Food Processor Recalled

Ultimate Chopper is recalling about 1.5 million food processors because of a malfunction that allows the product to operate without its lid and pose injury risks, including amputation. For more information, visit or


S&P Downgrades Northwest

Standard & Poor's downgraded Northwest Airlines' long-term debt further into junk status, to CCC- from CCC+. The nation's fourth-largest carrier warned last week that it is running out of time to avoid filing for bankruptcy protection as fuel costs increase.

United to File Exit Plan Today

United Airlines is "steadily marching towards emergence" from Chapter 11 and intends to file its long-awaited reorganization plan today, the parent company of the nation's No. 2 carrier said in a report to bankruptcy court.

Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based UAL Corp. said the filing will start a months-long bankruptcy exit process, keeping it on target to emerge in early 2006.

T-bill rates fell. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday decreased to 3.435 percent from 3.495 percent last week. Rates on six-month bills fell to 3.57 percent from 3.705 percent. The annualized return to investors is 3.513 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,913.17, and 3.686 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,819.52. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable-rate mortgages, fell to 3.77 percent last week from 3.88 percent the previous week.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.

Northwest Airlines has said it is running out of time to avoid filing for Chapter 11 protection.