BUSINESS AND LABOR
The Teamsters strike against United Parcel Service forced thousands of American businesses to scramble for other ways to ship their goods and supplies last week.
Pay, pensions and part-time work are the main sticking points between UPS and the union that represent nearly two-thirds of UPS’ 302,000 employees in the United States.
The walkout against the Atlanta-based company, which accounts for about 80 percent of the nation’s package deliveries, sent shippers to an overloaded Federal Express Corp. and other UPS rivals. The U.S. Postal Service, which saw a 20 percent increase in parcels last week, imposed a limit of four parcels per window customer.
UPS and Teamster negotiators returned to the bargaining table Thursday, but the company said its last offer remained its final offer, and the union insisted that its members won’t return to work unless the company creates more full-time jobs and drops its pension proposal.
“We certainly welcome the opportunity to talk, said UPS CEO James. P. Kelly. “We hope to get this resolved. However, we do have an excellent last, best and final offer on the table.”
Teamster president Ron Carey suggested that the company was seeking to “undermine this union” by refusing to negotiate on the union’s key issues.
“If they’d just put their pen where their mouth is we could get this thing settled,” he said.
As a sign of how desperate Apple Computer has become, the ailing computer maker said Wednesday that it had turned to its long-time nemesis to help it stay afloat.
Apple’s legendary co-founder Steve Jobs announced that software giant Microsoft will buy $150 million in nonvoting Apple stock, about 4.5 percent of Apple’s market value. In addition, Microsoft will pay Apple an undisclosed amount for a cross-licensing agreement that allows both companies to share each other’s patent licenses. Microsoft has also committed to developing key Macintosh software over the next five years.
“You’ve got to be kidding!” exclaimed one audience member at the MacWorld Expo in Boston, where the latest twist in Apple’s roller-coaster saga was announced.
The move stunned passionate Mac users, who consider Apple a crucial buffer against Micosoft chief executive Bill Gates’ domination of the computer industry.
But Jobs was serious.
“We have to let go of the notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft needs to lose,” Jobs told the crowd. “The competition between Microsoft and Apple is over as far as I’m concerned.”
Death in Guam
A Korean Air jet carrying 254 people crashed into a Guam hillside early Wednesday and burned. There were 28 survivors.
The pilot of Flight 801, a Boeing 747 from Seoul, appeared to have taken the jet straight into the hill, rather than having lost control, a lead investigator said later in the week.
“Controlled flight into terrain is usually an error on someone’s part, and it does have all the earmarks of controlled flight into terrain,” NTSB board member George Black said at the crash site.
The investigation was complicated by widely differing survivor accounts. Some said the plane shook wildly in the moments before the crash and a flight attendant said she saw flames. Others said there was no sign of trouble until impact.
“I still hear the screaming children in my mind and I am still in shock,” said passenger Hong Seong, an American businessman, who suffered a collapsed lung in the crash.
SCIENCE AND MEDICINE
Brain pacemaker The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved a “deep brain” implant that promises to ease the uncontrollable tremors experienced by thousands of patients with Parkinson’s disease or “essential tremors.”
The implant, which has been available in Europe for several years, emits a steady stream of electrical pulses into the thalamus, a walnut-sized region deep in the brain.
It is then connected by wire under the skin to a pacemaker implanted in the chest. Upon activation, the pacemaker sends a steady stream of tiny electrical pulses to the brain, blocking the tremor. It can be turned on or off by the patient.
About 2 million Americans experience “essential tremor,” a little understood neurological disorder that usually runs in families. It can cause severe shaking, but few other symptoms.
Parkinson’s affects an estimated 500,000 to 1 million Americans, causing tremors, rigidity, slowness or difficulty in moving about.
The $25,000 implant is made by “Activa Tremor Control System.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Compiled by News Editor Kevin Graman from wire reports