Tonight: Clear skies with a low in the low/mid 40s. 30s possible north and mountains. North wind 5-10.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny, breezy and a little cooler with a high in the mid 60s. Wind from the North 10-15 mph.
Wednesday ... More...
Wacker Plant Hit With Lawsuit
At least 10 people, who completed a year-and-half-long program at the Wacker Institute, are now suing the Wacker-Chemie company. They claim they were promised a job, but were never able to start work or get a paycheck. They say they were supposed to start this past April.
"It wasn't just that I was let down, but I also let down my family," says graduate James Loemker.
Loemker has a wife and kids. He's like many who graduated from the Wacker Institute.
"A lot of us took out loans, some of us were sleeping in our cars," says Loemker.
They were hoping to work as chemical operators at the Wacker plant in Charleston, Tennessee making polysilicon.
The employee offer letter says if they finished the program, the students would be given a job at the plant - but that never happened.
"When it came time to hold up their end, they told us it'll be years basically don't call us, we'll call you," says Loemker.
Court records we obtained Thursday say the students were promised an annual salary of about $50,000 and a signing bonus of $3,000.
"I bought a house in Cleveland. I moved from East Ridge, I took out loans, I ended my career that I had for 7 years with another local employer," says Michael Bridges.
Wacker released a statement Thursday saying, "Throughout our 100-year history, Wacker has demonstrated a strong commitment to our people, to the environment, and to society. Our products, as well as our internal policies and procedures, reflect this fundamental commitment. We want to assure the community that Wacker remains committed to our investment in Bradley County, and our employment goals to support economic growth in the region through construction and operation of our facility. Wacker has always been a flexible, market oriented company, and in this instance, we had to adjust our construction timeline and our growth strategy due to the prevailing global economic and market conditions facing the polysilicon industry. Although we were able to preserve the jobs of our employees, we were unable to offer employment to the students at the present time. Nonetheless, we remain confident that the skills and education these students gained during their advanced technical training at Chattanooga State Community College will be of future value and can benefit them greatly, whether they ultimately join the Wacker Team, or whether their careers take them elsewhere. “
Wacker says the plant in Charleston opens in 2015. Wacker wouldn't comment when we asked if there are classes happening right now at the Wacker Institute. But, a Chattanooga state employee told us there is still chemical engineering classes offered at the college.
By Jerry Askin
More Business News
Last Update on October 21, 2014 17:19 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. homes sold in September at their fastest clip this year, yet the housing market has yet to fully shake off a slowdown that began in the middle of 2013.
The National Association of Realtors says sales of existing homes rose 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.17 million. Still, the sales rate has dropped 1.7 percent over the past 12 months.
Investors have retreated from the market over the past year. Their departures are being offset by existing homeowners who are upgrading to more expensive properties or downsizing after having raised their children.
Rising prices through much of 2013, weak income growth and tighter credit standards have priced out many would-be buyers. Median home prices rose 5.6 percent over the past 12 months to $209,700.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Staples is looking into a potential credit card data breach and has been in touch with law enforcement officials about the issue.
The office supplies retailer said Tuesday that if it turns up any data discrepancies during its investigation, customers won't be responsible for fraudulent activity on their credit cards as long as it is reported in a timely manner.
"We take the protection of customer information very seriously, and are working to resolve the situation," spokesman Mark Cautela said in a statement.
Earlier this month Sears Holdings Corp. reported a breach at its Kmart stores that started last month, saying some customers' credit and debit cards may have been compromised. Other breaches have occurred at retailers including Target Corp., Supervalu Inc. and Home Depot Inc..
Shares of Staples Inc., based in Framingham, Massachusetts, slipped 3 cents to $12.27 in midday trading. Its shares have fallen 23 percent over the past year.
UNDATED (AP) -- Coca-Cola and McDonald's are reporting declining profits.
Coke says its third-quarter net income was $2.11 billion, down 14 percent as beverage volume rose 1 percent, thanks to an increase in non-carbonated drinks. The world's biggest beverage maker also announced a new plan that it said will reduce costs by $3 billion a year by 2019. For this year, the company said it expects earnings per share to miss its long-term target.
McDonald's saw customer traffic fall around the world. Sales took a big hit in Asia, where a major supplier was shown on TV repackaging expired beef. In the U.S., McDonald's is fighting to hold onto customers amid shifting tastes toward food people consider more wholesome.
For the quarter, revenue declined to just under $7 billion, falling short of Wall Street expectations.
Also reporting results this morning, Verizon Communications reported lower net income but higher revenue in its third quarter, helped by strong wireless subscriber growth and demand for its FiOS Internet services.
Higher cigarette prices helped cigarette maker Reynolds American's net income rise 2.2 percent in its third quarter.
MORTGAGE RISK RULES
WASHINGTON (AP) -- New U.S. rules aimed at getting banks to take on more of the risk when they package and sell mortgage securities are being relaxed with an eye to spurring broader home lending.
Federal regulators have dropped a key requirement: a 20 percent down payment from the borrower if a bank didn't hold at least 5 percent of the mortgage securities tied to those loans on its books.
The long-delayed final rules unveiled Tuesday by six federal agencies include the less stringent condition that borrowers not carry excessive debt relative to their income.
The board of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. voted 4-1 Tuesday to adopt the rules.
The rules, proposed in stricter form in 2011, were mandated by the overhaul law enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Unemployment rates fell in 31 U.S. states in September, including many currently embroiled in tough political campaigns. The report is the final data on state unemployment before the midterm elections Nov. 4.
The Labor Department says that unemployment rates rose in 8 states and were unchanged in 11 states. That is the smallest number of states to see an increase since April.
Employers added jobs in 39 states and cut jobs in 10. South Dakota's job count changed little.
Colorado and Kentucky, two states with hard-fought Senate campaigns, experienced the biggest declines in unemployment. Colorado's fell to 4.7 percent from 5.1 percent, and Kentucky's rate dropped to 6.7 percent from 7.1 percent.
Nationwide, the unemployment rate declined to 5.9 percent in September, from 6.1 percent the previous month.
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- A North Carolina company is recalling nearly 12,000 boxes of pain relief tablets sold at Dollar Tree stores because some cartons contain a different medication that could cause allergic reactions.
Greensboro-based Contract Packaging Resources Inc. says it mistakenly placed bottles of ibuprofen inside boxes sold at Dollar Tree stores nationwide as Assured brand naproxen sodium tablets.
Some consumers buy naproxen sodium pain relievers because of allergies to ibuprofen. The packaging company says reactions that can include hives or life-threatening respiratory problems, but it hasn't received any reports of adverse reactions.
Consumers who bought 15-count boxes of 220mg Assured brand naproxen sodium tablets may return them to the store of purchase or call 336-252-3422.
CVS develops tobacco-free prescription network
First, CVS Health pulled tobacco from its store shelves. Now, it plans to make some customers think twice about filling prescriptions at other stores that still sell smokes.
The nation's second-largest drugstore chain is developing a new tobacco-free pharmacy network for clients of its Caremark pharmacy benefits management business.
The network would slap an extra co-payment on patients who fill their prescriptions at stores that still sell tobacco. That payment won't apply to prescriptions filled in the tobacco-free network, which would include CVS and Target locations nationally, as well as other pharmacies that abstain. Target Corp. gave up tobacco sales in 1996.
CVS national rivals Walgreen Co. and Rite Aid Corp. still sell tobacco.
The tobacco-free network will only be used by the pharmacy-benefit management customers that choose it.
DALLAS (AP) -- Kimberly-Clark plans to eliminate up to 1,300 jobs as part of restructuring efforts aimed at reducing costs and making its business more efficient.
The consumer products company has 58,000 workers worldwide, according to its website.
Kimberly-Clark Corp. said Tuesday that it anticipates restructuring costs between $130 million and $160 million, after taxes. The company -- whose brands include Kleenex and Huggies -- foresees between $120 million and $140 million in savings by the end of 2017.
The restructuring is expected to be completed by 2016's end.
Kimberly-Clark also cut its 2014 adjusted profit forecast to account for the spinoff of its health care business. The Dallas company now expects an adjusted profit between $5.93 and $6.03 per share, down from its prior range of $6 to $6.15 per share. Analysts polled by FactSet expect $6.06 per share.
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