Union sues in federal court to block right-to-work law

INDIANAPOLIS – Union members went to federal court Wednesday to ask a judge to block Indiana’s new right-to-work law from being enforced, the first lawsuit and latest conflict over the divisive legislation.

The filing by the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 names Gov. Mitch Daniels, Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Labor Commissioner Lori Torres. A draft copy of the lawsuit provided to The Associated Press by the union, which has 4,000 members in northern Indiana, claims the right-to-work law contains multiple violations of both the state and federal constitutions.

The union said it also will seek a temporary restraining order to block the law for 10 days until a judge can decide on its longer-term fate. A hearing could be held as early as Monday.

Daniels signed the right-to-work legislation into law last month, making Indiana the 23rd state to ban unions from collecting mandatory fees for representation. Indiana was the first in the generally union-friendly Rust Belt to pass such legislation, and the first nationally in about a decade. 

Investors take trading break one day after Dow hit 13,000

NEW YORK – A day after the Dow temporarily crossed the 13,000 mark, investors took a break.

Stocks closed lower Wednesday for the first time in four trading days. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 27.02 points to finish at 12,938.67. On Tuesday, it briefly passed 13,000 for the first time since May 2008.

Some investors worried about the details of a bailout deal reached for Greece this week. But analysts said investors were mostly in a holding pattern after seeing the market hit an important psychological mark.

“The market is pausing for the next slew of good news,” said Doug Cote, chief market strategist at ING Investment Management.

Today, the government will give the latest reading on unemployment claims. They have been declining steadily and fell last week to 348,000, the lowest since March 2008.

The Dow has lost ground on just four of the past 11 trading days. It’s been trading at or near four-year highs for three weeks and is up 6 percent this year. Strong corporate earnings have been a key factor, Cote said.

On Wednesday, the Dow traded in a range of just 63 points. Over the past year, it has had smaller trading ranges on only nine other days. The average daily range over that time has been 181 points. 

Solyndra failing, but workers getting $370,000 in bonuses

WILMINGTON, Del. – A Delaware bankruptcy judge has approved close to $370,000 in bonuses for certain employees of Solyndra LLC, a solar panel manufacturer that received a half-billion-dollar loan from the federal government before declaring bankruptcy.

Fremont, Calif.-based Solyndra had sought to award bonuses of up to $500,000 for as many as 21 employees, but scaled back its request after discussions with its official creditors committee. The judge approved the revised bonus request after a hearing Wednesday.

Solyndra, which has failed to find a buyer to operate the company as a going concern, says it needs to retain key employees with the expertise needed for an orderly liquidation of its remaining assets and wind-down of the company. 

Fuller Brush Co. asks court to let it reorganize business

GREAT BEND, Kan. – Fuller Brush Co. is filing for bankruptcy protection, more than a century after its fleet of Fuller Brush Men popularized door-to-door selling in the U.S.

The 106-year-old company with 180 employees expects to cut costs and discontinue some unprofitable products to emerge a leaner, more profitable company. Fuller Brush’s assets and debts each amount to $10 million to $50 million.

The company sells personal care and household cleaning products directly and through retailers such as Byerly’s and Home Depot.

Private equity firm Buckingham Capital Partners bought the company from CPAC Inc. in 1997.

It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

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