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Carpenters protest non-union labor; GM hiring 1,500

| Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Carpenters protest non-union work at mall

Rich Stumme said he doesn't have a labor dispute with the Greater Pennsylvania Regional Council of Carpenters, yet his company, Cajota Contracting LP of Irwin, is the apparent target of a sign “Shame on Simon Property Group” that the union installed at the entrance of Ross Park Mall along McKnight Road in Ross. “I have not done any work at Ross Park Mall. I just completed work at South Hills Village Shopping Center in Upper St. Clair — also owned by Simon — where my non-union, open-shop company was employed,” he said. “I guess I'm a whipping boy for the union because I won't have my company be unionized because I am financially unable to match their union wages or benefits,” he said. Walter Waterkotte, executive secretary treasurer of the Carpenters, said, “We are not targeting Mr. Stumme or his company. Neither his name or that of his company are on the sign.” The sign is informational to let the region know Simon is doing business, he said. A spokesman for Simon declined to comment.

Wal-Mart, American Express team on prepaid card

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and American Express are rolling out a prepaid card that they say offers services designed to help customers manage and control everyday finances. The two companies said Monday that Bluebird, which began during a pilot program last year, will have no minimum balance and no monthly, annual or overdraft fees. The only fees will be within a user's control, such as out-of-network ATM withdrawals by consumers who don't use direct deposit. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and American Express Co. say the card is an alternative to debit and checking accounts and will include such features as the ability to deposit a check to a Bluebird account by taking a picture with a smart phone.

GM hiring 1,500 for computer center near Detroit

General Motors plans to hire up to 1,500 workers to staff a new computer technology center outside Detroit. It is part of a move to bring 90 percent of information technology in-house, which GM believes will make the company more nimble and efficient. The carmaker has said it plans to hire 10,000 people at four new technology centers in the next three to five years. The centers will help get breakthrough ideas into the company's cars and trucks, GM said.

Other business news

• AccessAbilities Inc. will host an employment open house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 23 and 24. The event will take place at its headquarters at 2900 Seminary Drive, Greensburg. The social services organization, which works with people with disabilities, is looking for support staff. Qualified applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent, a valid Pennsylvania driver's license and proof of insurance and vehicle registration. AccessAbilities' pay ranges from $9 to $11 an hour. Applicants should complete an application online at under the “Careers” tab.

• Target Corp. said Monday it plans to hire 80,000 to 90,000 seasonal workers across the country for the holiday season, down from the 92,000 it hired last year. The decline is in keeping with the retailer's cautious view of the upcoming holiday season. The National Retail Federation said last week that it expects its strongest holiday season since the recession, forecasting a sales increase of 4.1 percent, higher than the 10-year average of 3.5 percent.

• Consumers can bring old bills, tax returns and other documents that may contain identifying information to a free shredding event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 20 at Advantage Credit Counseling Service Inc.'s headquarters at 2403 Sidney St., South Side. Educational materials about protecting against identity theft will be distributed. Old cellphones can be donated there to the Verizon Hope Line, which recycles and refurbishes them to help domestic violence victims.

• A proposed public meeting scheduled by UPMC to review its 10-year master plan for its Oakland campus, scheduled for Wednesday, has been canceled. No reason for the cancellation or when the meeting will be held for residents and property owners in Oakland has been announced.

— Staff and wire reports

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