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Complaint against Cablevision; other business briefs


Complaint against Cablevision

The National Labor Relations Board has told Cablevision Systems Corp. it plans to file a complaint against the company in a dispute over union representation of about 300 employees in Brooklyn, officials confirmed Thursday. NLRB spokeswoman Nancy Cleeland said the federal agency would only file the complaint if its proposal for settlement talks is rejected. The NLRB is responding to the Communications Workers of America, which accuses Cablevision of bad-faith bargaining and wrongfully terminating 22 workers. CWA and Cablevision have been negotiating their first contract since technicians voted in January 2012 to join the union. Cablevision spokeswoman Sarah Chaikin Thursday called CWA's allegations "factually inaccurate and woefully out of date." Cablevision has previously said it rehired the 22 affected workers and has participated in contract talks. Chaikin also said "it would be outrageous" if the NLRB dismissed a request from some Cablevision employees in Brooklyn to hold a vote on whether to decertify the union. CWA official Chris Calabrese urged Cablevision "to stop repeated and outrageous violations of federal labor law, and to come to the bargaining table and negotiate in good faith." Earlier this week, Cablevision turned down NLRB talks aimed at settling a separate union dispute in the Bronx. The Bethpage-based company, which owns Newsday, is overwhelmingly nonunion but some Newsday employees are represented by the Teamsters union. -- James T. Madore


Airlines' on-time data declines

Airlines are struggling to get planes to the gate on time. The government said Thursday that 80.3 percent of flights by U.S. carriers arrived on time in January and February. That's down from a record 84.9 percent during last year's storm-free winter. Hawaiian Airlines had the best on-time rating in February at 91.8 percent. Delta was best among the nation's five largest airlines, at 86.2 percent. A flight is still considered on time if it arrives within 15 minutes of its scheduled time.

Cold slows spring clothes buys

So much for new spring shorts and T-shirts. As cold weather lingered across most of the country, Americans shopped modestly in March. U.S. retailers reported a key revenue figure rose slightly during the month, as shoppers held back on spending because of the cold weather across the nation, particularly the Midwest and East Coast, and continued fears about the economy. According to a preliminary tally of 15 retailers by the International Council of Shopping Centers, revenue in stores open at least a year rose just 1.4 percent, or 2.2 percent excluding drugstores. That was below expectations, said Michael Niemira, chief economist at the ICSC.

Burger King CEO to head Heinz

The new owners of Heinz are tapping Burger King CEO Bernardo Hees as the company's next top executive, a move that installs one of their own at the helm of the ketchup maker. It also signals other big changes could be in store for 144-year-old Heinz. The Pittsburgh-based company announced in February it was being acquired and taken private by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, a private investment firm run by Brazilian billionaires. The firms noted at the time that Berkshire would act as a financing partner while 3G would run the company. The appointment is further evidence that Heinz will be an active investment by 3G, in contrast to Buffett's traditionally more passive approach. Hees, a 43-year-old Brazilian who is a partner at 3G, became CEO of Burger King after the firm bought the struggling hamburger chain in 2010. He slashed costs, revamped the chain's menu and launched a major marketing campaign to challenge longtime rival McDonald's.

-- AP

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