Bell, unions reach local accordBell Atlantic Corp. and two...

BUSINESS DIGEST

September 04, 1992

Bell, unions reach local accord

Bell Atlantic Corp. and two unions representing 52,000 workers have reached agreement on local issues, such as administration of work rules and overtime, completing collective bargaining between the two sides that began almost three months ago. A general settlement on wages and benefits was reached Aug. 23.

The new contracts for the Communications Workers of America, which represent 40,000 workers -- about 8,500 in Maryland -- and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents about 12,000 workers, is expected to be presented to the unions' members for ratification. The deadline for ratification is Oct. 6.

Stock prices decline

The stock market declined slightly today, reacting warily to evidence of unexpected new weakness in the economy.

The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials dropped 4.60 to 3,287.60 in the first half hour.

The Labor Department reported this morning that nonfarm payroll employment fell by 83,000 last month.

The news was taken as a strong sign that the economy was still struggling to gather forward momentum as summer draws toward a close.

It sent interest rates tumbling in the credit markets amid expectations that the Federal Reserve would ease credit conditions further.

But brokers said stock traders' response was more equivocal, influenced by worries about economic growth prospects.

Andrew pounds GEICO earnings

GEICO Corp. says after-tax losses from Hurricane Andrew could reach $13 million to $14 million and reduce third-quarter earnings by 18 cents to 19 cents a share.

The company, based in Chevy Chase, estimates that its gross losses from Andrew could be as much as $50 million, about five times the losses from Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Most of the losses were in Florida. Last year, GEICO reported third-quarter earnings of 77 cents a share.

Fire on Wall Street

Fire engulfed a five-story brick building in the Wall Street area this morning, temporarily stopping two subway lines and delaying the start of trading on the American Stock Exchange as 165 firefighters battled the blaze, officials said.

The fire, whose cause has not yet been determined, engulfed the building at 120 Cedar Street that houses an indoor golf driving range, two restaurants and a textile manufacturer.

Crop Genetics rents in Columbia

Crop Genetics International says it has rented 75,000 square feet at Rivers Corporate Park in Columbia for a headquarters and new factory for environmentally safe bioinsecticides.

The company will move in next year after $4 million worth of improvements.

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