Chains agree to end 'no-poaching' pacts

Eight fast-food chains — including Burger King, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s and Denny’s — will no longer enforce “no-poaching” pacts that ban their franchisees from hiring each other’s employees, under the terms of settlements filed in court by Washington state’s attorney general.

The eight chains join 15 others — among them McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr. — that had agreed to similar terms in recent months. Together, the agreements ban enforcement nationwide of no-poaching pacts among most of the major fast-food companies that have a presence in Washington, the state’s attorney general, Bob Ferguson, said Thursday.

The 23 chains that have settled account for more than 67,000 U.S. locations and have millions of workers among them, the attorney general’s office said.

Restaurant Brands International, which owns the Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons chains, said in a statement Thursday that “none of our new franchise agreements for our brands across North America include no-solicitation and no-hiring provisions” and that existing North American franchisees “will no longer enforce these provisions.”

Papa John’s and Pizza Hut discontinued no-poaching practices within the last year. A&W ended its use of the hiring restrictions shortly after Ferguson launched his probe, according to his office.

Prices rose in August on gasoline, housing

Consumer prices rose 2.7 percent in August from a year earlier, with higher housing and gasoline costs driving most of the increase.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the consumer price index advanced 0.2 percent on a monthly basis. Despite the monthly gain, annual inflation softened from the 2.9 percent pace set for the 12 months that ended in July.

Average hourly wages climbed at 2.9 percent for the 12 months that ended in August, outpacing inflation slightly.

Core prices, which exclude the volatile food and energy categories, rose 0.1 percent in August and 2.2 percent from a year ago.

In the single largest expenditure category, housing, related expenses climbed 0.3 percent in August and 3.4 percent at an annual rate. Gas prices jumped 3 percent last month and 20.3 percent on the year. Food costs ticked up 0.1 percent last month. Clothing prices plunged 1.6 percent last month; new-vehicle costs were unchanged.

Associated Press

GM recalls more than
1 million trucks, SUVs

General Motors is recalling more than 1 million big pickup trucks and SUVs in the United States because of power-assisted steering problems that have been cited in a number of crashes.

GM says the power steering can fail momentarily during a voltage drop and suddenly return, mainly during low-speed turns. Such a failure increases the risk of a crash. The company says it has 30 reports of crashes. The reports list two injuries and no deaths.

The recall covers the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups, as well as Chevy Tahoe and Suburban SUVs. Also affected are 2015 Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon SUVs.

Dealers will update the power steering software at no cost to owners. No date has been set to notify customers, but GM says the software is available now, so owners can contact dealers to schedule repairs.

Associated Press

Also in Business

Magazine and broadcasting company Meredith is laying off 200 more people as it continues to cut costs after buying Time Inc. this year. Meredith spokesman Art Slusark said Thursday that most of the job cuts are in the New York area, but 25 will be cut in Alabama and another 15 will be cut at the headquarters in Des Moines. Since the Time acquisition, Meredith has cut about 1,800 jobs, and 800 employees have left the company. Meredith also announced it would merge two of its cooking magazines — Cooking Light and EatingWell — into one publication that will be printed 10 times a year.

Walmart is snapping up a popular app for grocery deliveries in Mexico. The retailer agreed to buy Cornershop, which also offers a shopping-delivery service in Chile, for $225 million. Walmart will sell Cornershop's operations in Mexico to its local subsidiary, Walmex. The transaction is expected to close this year. Walmex is Mexico's biggest supermarket chain.

From news reports