September 13, 2013

Briefcase

Trader Joe's to stop offering part-timers health benefits

Trader Joe's Co., the closely held grocery store chain with a store in Portland, will end health benefits for part-time workers next year, directing them instead to new insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act.

Employees with fewer than 30 hours a week will no longer be given health coverage as of Jan. 1, and instead will get a $500 payment to help them buy insurance elsewhere, the Monrovia, Calif.-based company said today in an emailed statement.

The move makes Trader Joe's the latest U.S. employer to cut benefits or reduce hours in response to the 2010 act, which requires companies to offer affordable coverage to full-time workers starting in 2014. Trader Joe's, the owner of about 400 stores, said most of the affected employees will find a better deal on the health-law exchanges.

Twitter Inc. says it's filed papers for planned IPO

Twitter is going public. The short-messaging service says it has filed confidential documents for an initial public offering of stock.

San Francisco-based Twitter Inc. posted on its official Twitter account that it has "confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO."

30-year mortgage rate holds steady at 4.57%

Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages held steady this week, hovering near two-year highs. But rates could change quickly next week when the Federal Reserve addresses its bond purchase program.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan was unchanged from last week at 4.57 percent, just below the two-year high of 4.58 percent reached Aug. 22.

The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage held at 3.59 percent. The two-year high of 3.60 percent was hit on Aug. 22.

Alert United Airlines buyers get $5 tickets thanks to error

United Airlines was selling some tickets on Thursday for as little as $5 before shutting down bookings on its website.

Some customers were able to buy tickets before the airline stopped accepting orders on the website.

The company says the mistake was due to an error in filing the fares, not a problem with the website.

United has not yet decided whether it will honor the tickets.

Millions of dehumidifiers recalled after fires reported

More than 2 million dehumidifiers are being recalled after dozens of reports of fires and more than $2 million in property damage.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the dehumidifiers could overheat and catch fire. They were manufactured by Gree Electric Appliances and carried the brand names of Danby, De'Longhi, Fedders, Fellini, Frigidaire, Gree, Kenmore, Norpole, Premiere, Seabreeze, SoleusAir and SuperClima.

They were sold nationwide at major retailers including Home Depot, Kmart and Lowe's between January 2005 and August of this year.

- From news services reports

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