Boeing Rocket Machinists Strike

Boeing said about 1,500 machinists at its rocket business walked off the job in California, Florida and Alabama.

Talks broke down after a federal mediator was unable to broker an agreement between Chicago-based Boeing and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, union officials said. Boeing's proposal would raise workers' health care costs and eliminate retiree medical benefits for new employees, they said.

The strike could delay the launch of a Delta rocket carrying a NASA weather satellite, Boeing said.


Creditors Ask for Ross Papers

Collins & Aikman creditors plan to ask the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Detroit to allow them to review any communications that billionaire investor Wilbur Ross may have had with the bankrupt auto-parts supplier's customers and rivals before talks proceed on a potential sale. WL Ross can object to the request.

Examining the documents will show whether WL Ross "acted in any manner that may chill bidding," said Thomas Radom, the creditors' lawyer. WL Ross said last month it will form a venture with Lear's automotive-interiors business to purchase other auto-parts suppliers.

GM Workers to Vote on Deal

General Motors auto workers will begin voting today on a proposal that would have workers and retirees pay more for their health care, in a test case for U.S. automakers, who say they can't afford the hard-won union benefits of the past. GM and the United Auto Workers reached the tentative agreement on health care last month, but it must be ratified by UAW members. The UAW has asked local unions to finish voting by Nov. 10, UAW spokesman Paul Krell said.


Temporary Pay Cuts Discussed

Northwest Airlines flight attendants would accept temporary pay cuts worth roughly $117 million to buy time to reach a permanent agreement, the Professional Flight Attendants Association said, and the airline said it will try to reach temporary deals with two other unions as well. A Nov. 16 bankruptcy court hearing is planned on Northwest's request to cancel its union contracts. The airline's larger unions have said that is not enough time to negotiate permanent cuts.

Details were still being worked out, but the flight attendants' package might include pay cuts of 20 to 25 percent, according to a message PFAA posted on its Web site. Because they would expire after three months, the cuts are not subject to a membership vote, the message said.

Delta Projects Profit in 2007

Delta Air Lines, which expects a loss of more than $2 billion this year, said it will return to profitability two years from now if, among other things, it can wring huge concessions from its pilots and jet fuel gets cheaper.

The Atlanta-based airline's projection of a $498 million profit in 2007, which would be its first yearly profit since 2000, was included in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Delta's ability to meet the projections in its business plan depends on several factors. One is its ability to cut annual labor costs by $930 million. Delta's business plan also assumes that the average price of jet fuel will be $2.01 per gallon for the rest of the year and $1.73 a gallon in 2006 and 2007.


Hamburger Patties Tied to E. Coli

Quaker Maid Meats of Reading, Pa., is recalling more than 40 tons of hamburger patties in 12 states because of possible E. coli contamination. The three- and five-pound boxes of Philly-Gourmet brand patties were made July 19. They have the packaging codes 2005A, 2005B, 2005C or 2005D and "Est. 2748" inside the U.S. Department of Agriculture mark of inspection.

The boxes were distributed to grocery stores in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Prudential Financial, one of the largest U.S. life insurers, said its third-quarter profit rose 58 percent, to $737 million from $467 million in the comparable period a year earlier. Revenue rose 18 percent, to $5.93 billion from $5.04 billion.

Duke Energy, the largest U.S. utility owner, said third-quarter profit plummeted 89 percent, to $41 million. It blamed a write-down of its wholesale power and trading unit. Revenue fell 40 percent, to $3.03 billion, as the company quit counting sales from a gas-processing joint venture in which Duke reduced its stake.

Cigna, a health insurer, said its third-quarter profit declined 16 percent, to $259 million from $208 million. In the year-earlier quarter, it had higher one-time gains. Revenue declined 10 percent, to $4.02 billion.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.

John Myers, left, protests with fellow Boeing machinists in Cape Canaveral, Fla.