Verizon landline workers picketing along East Coast

Thousands of Verizon land line workers took to picket lines Monday from Massachusetts to Virginia, fighting management demands for contract givebacks and disputing that their work is unprofitable.

Verizon Communication Inc. countered that its 45,000 unionized workers in the East should not expect the kind of compensation they were paid when the phone company was a monopoly – and when no one questioned whether a household needed a landline.

The company used managers to replace workers Monday, but said demonstrators had caused some service disruptions by keeping the managers from getting in; it did not provide details.

Verizon also said it was investigating several instances of possible sabotage by employees, including fiber-optic lines being cut. It said the damage affected phone, Internet and TV service in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

Union spokeswoman Candice Johnson said the union “does not condone illegal action of any kind.”

Strikers claimed two demonstrators were hit by a replacement worker’s car near Buffalo.

Johnson and company spokesman Richard Young said management and labor met face-to-face Monday in New York. They had no word on progress.

The contract expired at midnight Saturday.


Live Nation makes profit, beats analyst expectations

Concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment Inc. made a profit in the second quarter, reversing a loss from a year ago, by doing away with fire-sale discounts and instead adjusting prices to accommodate both superfans and casual concertgoers.

As a result, it generated more revenue from higher-priced seats closest to the stage, while drawing in more fans to the cheap seats in the back.

Concert attendance went up 13 percent in North America and people who visited its amphitheaters spent 3 percent more than last year, at $19.21 each, on beer, food and parking.

The results announced Monday beat analyst expectations for a break-even quarter.


MGM sees improvement for second quarter in row

Casino operator MGM Resorts International said Monday it swung to a profit in the second quarter as the company benefited from taking a controlling stake in its China venture.

The company’s adjusted net loss was narrower than analysts expected as both gambling and hotel room revenue rose.

The positive results came after the market closed.

MGM shares fell 24 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $11.30 in aftermarket trading, after closing the day down nearly 9 percent at $11.54.

Still, MGM’s results mark the first two consecutive sequential quarters of operational improvement since the downturn, said CEO Jim Murren in a call with investors.

“This, combined with very positive forward trends that we are currently seeing, leads us to believe that the signs of the recovery” in Las Vegas are consistent, he said.


Tyson Foods’ earnings fall as chicken feed cost rises

Tyson Foods Inc. said Monday that its profit fell 21 percent for its third fiscal quarter on higher grain costs and lagging results from its chicken business.

An oversupply in the poultry industry has kept prices depressed. Poultry demand has remained stubbornly low as cash-strapped families cut back on restaurant dining and prepared meals that once underpinned chicken sales.

At the same time, the cost of feeding a chicken has soared more than 10 cents a pound since 2009 because of sharply higher corn and soybean costs, according to the Springdale, Ark., company.