In the Region NLRB to try to block homecoming protests...

BUSINESS DIGEST

April 14, 2001

In the Region

NLRB to try to block homecoming protests, Hopkins officials say

The National Labor Relations Board will go to federal court next week to block protesting hospital service workers from disrupting Johns Hopkins University homecoming events next weekend, university officials said yesterday.

The workers, members of District 1199E-DC of the Service Employees International Union, are seeking new contracts at Johns Hopkins and Sinai hospitals, and at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. They have staged two one-day strikes this year and plan a three-day strike next weekend, along with leafleting and other activities at Hopkins' homecoming.

University spokesman Dennis O'Shea said the Hopkins turned to the NLRB because the university and hospital are separate organizations, and "the university is not a party to the dispute." He said university officials are willing to meet with the union to work out ground rules for campus protests that would not disrupt activities. Robert Moore, president of 1199E-DC, said he would be happy to meet with the university, and that the union had no plans for disruption.

Work is begun to widen bay's Brewerton Channel

Work began yesterday on a project to widen the Brewerton Channel, one of three key dredging projects advocated by Maryland port officials and the ship pilots who navigate Chesapeake Bay.

The $18.4 million project will widen the western five miles of the channel - at the mouth of the Patapsco River - from 450 feet to 600 feet to make it safer for two large cargo ships pass each other in the channel. About 2.5 million cubic yards of dredged material from the project will be deposited at Poplar Island.

Other projects planned for this year include straightening the S-shaped Tolchester Channel, which connects the port to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, and improving some Baltimore harbor anchorages and channels to accommodate larger ships.

John Yuhanick inaugurates PR firm bearing his name

John T. Yuhanick has opened his own public relations and events management agency in Baltimore, John Yuhanick Associates Inc.

Yuhanick had been president of the public relations division of John Marks Associates for five years. Before that, he was president and owner of BB&Y Inc. of Baltimore, a public relations and media affairs firm that merged with John Marks Associates in 1995. He also was an account executive who handled marketing for WBAL-TV for seven years.

Elsewhere

Calif. retirement fund saw assets drop $9 billion in Feb.

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) lost $9 billion in February, led by a $6.7 billion drop in its U.S. stocks, according to information published on its Web site.

The largest U.S. public fund's 5.3 percent decline in assets is equivalent to $7,500 for each of the 1.2 million state and local employees it covers. But the dip won't affect payouts, CalPERS said.

The fund was worth $165 billion at the end of 2000.

Ford, Nissan, Mazda, Kia top-rated in crash test

Vehicles of Ford Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co., Mazda Motor Corp. and Kia Motor Co. all received top ratings in the latest frontal crash tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Ford's Windstar minivan received the only five-star ratings for both driver and passenger sides in front-impact tests. Nissan's Frontier 4x2 pickup and Kia's Sephia car won five stars for the front seat passenger side. Ford's Escape sport utility vehicle and the similar Mazda Tribute had top driver-side ratings in the frontal test.

Of 17 models in the rollover ratings, four received two-stars: Ford's Ranger Extended Cab 4x4 pickup truck and the similar Mazda B-Series pickup, and Toyota Motor Corp.'s Tacoma Extended Cab 4x4 pickup and 4Runner 4x2 sport utility.

This column was compiled from reports by Sun staff writers, the Associated Press, Bloomberg News and Reuters.

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