Cablevision replaces union workers
Cablevision Systems Corp. on Wednesday permanently replaced some unionized cable technicians in Brooklyn after they refused to work. The technicians are members of Local 1109 of the Communications Workers of America, which is negotiating its first contract with Cablevision. The company, in a statement, said, "A small number of Brooklyn technicians refused to work yesterday after several requests to return to their jobs. Therefore, Cablevision took legal and appropriate steps to maintain adequate staffing and ensure its Brooklyn operations are not disrupted." Chris Shelton, president of CWA District 1, which includes Local 1109, said Cablevision's "firing" of 23 technicians violated federal law because the technicians were engaged in the "protected activity" of showing support for union negotiators. In January, CWA won an election to represent the technicians, which number about 270. Cablevision's cable workforce is overwhelmingly nonunion. The Bethpage-based company owns Newsday, where unions represent some workers. -- James T. Madore
Facebook beats forecasts
Facebook delivered fourth-quarter results above Wall Street's expectations on Wednesday and sought to show that it has finally transformed into a "mobile company." But its stock dropped sharply in after-hours trading as investors placed more significance on the company's growing expenses rather than on its increasing user base and higher advertising revenue. "Everything was slightly better than expected," said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. "I don't see anything here that would make me want to sell the stock." Nonetheless, Facebook's stock fell $1.34 cents to $29.90 in after-hours trading following the earnings report. Facebook grew its revenue and increased the proportion of revenue that comes from mobile advertising -- a closely watched figure. But expenses also grew sharply. Facebook Inc. earned $64 million, or 3 cents per share, in the October-December period. That's down from $360 million, or 14 cents per share, a year earlier when it was still a privately held company. Revenue rose 40 percent to $1.59 billion from $1.13 billion.
U.S. hiring up for January
A private survey shows U.S. businesses increased hiring in January compared with a revised December reading. Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that employers added 192,000 jobs in January. That is more than December's revised number of 185,000, which had initially been reported at 215,000. The ADP report is derived from actual payroll data and tracks total nonfarm private employment each month. The increase in hiring occurred after Congress and the Obama administration reached an agreement on Jan. 1 to avoid sharp tax increases and across-the-board government spending cuts. The ADP report showed that most of the gains came from small businesses with 49 or fewer employers.
Eurozone economy perking up
The euro area's economy is showing modest signs of improvement, as new figures Wednesday indicated more consumer optimism and steadier bank finances. Weak demand for bank loans, however, made it clear the recovery was still some way off. The European Union's economic sentiment indicator, which mixes business and consumer outlooks, rose by 1.4 points in January to 89.2 for the 17 EU countries that use the euro. It was the third straight monthly increase. The jump was fed by increased confidence among consumers and from businesses in the construction and service sectors. Sentiment in industry and retail trade remained broadly flat. The survey is one hopeful sign as the eurozone struggles to get out of a recession that saw its economy shrink in the second and third quarters of 2012.