Tonight: Scattered evening t-showers, then a better chance of showers and storms late tonight. Lows near 70.
Thursday: ... 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 July 23, 2014 17:22 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The International Monetary Fund has shaved its forecast for U.S. economic growth this year, mostly because of a sharp contraction in the first quarter.
But the global lending organization still expects that growth accelerated in the April-June quarter and will remain healthy for the rest of this year and next.
The IMF projects growth will be just 1.7 percent this year, down from a 2 percent estimate in June. That would make 2014 the weakest year since the recession ended in June 2009.
The IMF's outlook is more pessimistic than the Federal Reserve, which expects growth of at least 2.1 percent. But it matches most other economists.
The Fund also urged the U.S. government to take steps to boost growth, including encouraging more Americans to find jobs and lifting productivity.
RETAIL SALES-ANNUAL FORECAST
NEW YORK (AP) -- The nation's largest retail trade group is paring its annual sales forecast because of slower-than-expected growth during the first half of the year tied to winter storms and lingering economic woes.
The Washington-based National Retail Federation says Wednesday that it now expects retail sales will rise 3.6 percent this year to $3.2 trillion, instead of its original prediction of 4.1 percent released in early February.
The figures include sales in stores and online but exclude automotive sales and sales at gas stations and restaurants.
Retailers now are heading into the back-to-school shopping season, the second-largest shopping period behind the winter holidays.
SEC-MONEY MARKET FUNDS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Regulators have voted narrowly to end a longtime staple of the investment industry -- the fixed $1 share price for money-market mutual funds -- at least for some money funds used by big investors.
The idea is to minimize the risk of a mass withdrawal from the funds during a financial panic.
The Securities and Exchange Commission also is letting money funds block withdrawals when their assets fall below certain levels or impose fees for withdrawals.
The new rules were adopted Wednesday on a 3-2 vote. They were opposed by one Democratic and one Republican commissioner.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate has advanced an election-year bill limiting tax breaks for U.S. companies that move operations overseas. But big hurdles remain.
The Senate voted 93-7 Wednesday to begin debating the bill, which would prevent companies from deducting expenses related to moving operations to a foreign country. The bill would offer tax credits to companies that move operations to the U.S. from overseas.
Senate Democratic leaders say the bill would end senseless tax breaks for companies that ship jobs abroad. Republicans say the bill is an election-year ploy that has no chance of becoming law. They note that a similar bill failed two years ago.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Federal Aviation Administration says it will continue its ban on U.S. airline flights to Tel Aviv while assessing the danger of rocket attacks.
The agency said Wednesday it is working closely with the Israeli government to review new information they have provided and to determine whether safety concerns have been resolved.
FAA instituted the flight prohibition on Tuesday in response to a rocket strike that landed about a mile from the airport.
The directive applies only to U.S. operators, and has no authority over foreign airlines operating to or from the airport.
But European airlines are also avoiding Tel Aviv, after the European Aviation Safety Agency on Tuesday recommended doing so.
On Wednesday, Germany's two largest airlines, Lufthansa and Air Berlin, extended their cancellations through Thursday. Air France said it was suspending its flights "until further notice."
BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union's executive is proposing legislation to curb the energy use of households and firms by almost one third by 2030 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower its dependence on gas imports, particularly those from Russia.
The Commission proposed Wednesday to increase energy efficiency by 30 percent, an upward revision of its earlier target of 20 percent by 2020.
Energy savings can be achieved by improving building insulation, upgrading heating systems or lowering the electricity need of new appliances like fridges.
The Commission says that for one additional percent in energy savings, EU gas imports are expected to fall 2.6 percent.
It estimates reaching the target will require investments of 89 billion euros ($132 billion) annually across the 28-nation bloc.
The proposal still requires approval from EU governments.
BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union is giving Lithuania the green light to adopt the euro currency starting next year.
Ministers from the 28-nation bloc on Wednesday cleared the final legal hurdle for Lithuania to become the 19th member of the currency zone encompassing some 330 million people. The country had been given preliminary approval in June.
Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius said adopting the euro will strengthen the Baltic nation's economy.
Alluding to the tensions with Russia over Ukraine, he added deeper integration with western Europe "means greater security as well."
Lithuania's Baltic neighbors, Estonia and Latvia, are already members of the euro. All three countries achieved independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
The euro is just emerging from years of financial stress following debt problems in a number of countries.
LONDON (AP) -- Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline has cut its full-year earnings expectations as it says its second-quarter profits were hit by currency moves and a fall in sales of its respiratory drugs.
The company said Wednesday it expects 2014 earnings per share to be broadly similar to last year. It had previously forecast growth of between 4 and 8 percent.
GSK said second-quarter revenue fell 16 percent to 5.6 billion pounds ($9.5 billion) from 6.6 billion pounds in the same quarter in the previous year. Profit attributable to shareholders dropped from 1.05 billion pounds a year earlier to 654 million pounds.
The firm, which remains troubled by a high-profile bribery investigation in China, said sales there were down 20 percent.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee has endorsed former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald to be the new secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The panel unanimously backed McDonald on Wednesday, one day after a nomination hearing in which he faced no opposition.
Senators said they are eager for McDonald to begin work at the beleaguered agency, which has been plagued by treatment delays and falsified records at VA hospitals and clinics nationwide.
McDonald has pledged to "transform" the VA and address a series of "systematic failures," including patient access to health care, transparency, accountability and integrity.
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