Today: Cloudy and cooler with periods of rain. Diminishing rain chances this afternoon. High in the low to mid 60s but falling into the upper 40s lower 50s by late afternoon. Very windy with a NW wind in the afternoon, 20-30 mph.
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Wacker Plant Hit With Lawsuit
At least 10 people, who completed a year-and-half-long program at the Wacker Institute, are now suing the Wacker-Chemie company. They claim they were promised a job, but were never able to start work or get a paycheck. They say they were supposed to start this past April.
"It wasn't just that I was let down, but I also let down my family," says graduate James Loemker.
Loemker has a wife and kids. He's like many who graduated from the Wacker Institute.
"A lot of us took out loans, some of us were sleeping in our cars," says Loemker.
They were hoping to work as chemical operators at the Wacker plant in Charleston, Tennessee making polysilicon.
The employee offer letter says if they finished the program, the students would be given a job at the plant - but that never happened.
"When it came time to hold up their end, they told us it'll be years basically don't call us, we'll call you," says Loemker.
Court records we obtained Thursday say the students were promised an annual salary of about $50,000 and a signing bonus of $3,000.
"I bought a house in Cleveland. I moved from East Ridge, I took out loans, I ended my career that I had for 7 years with another local employer," says Michael Bridges.
Wacker released a statement Thursday saying, "Throughout our 100-year history, Wacker has demonstrated a strong commitment to our people, to the environment, and to society. Our products, as well as our internal policies and procedures, reflect this fundamental commitment. We want to assure the community that Wacker remains committed to our investment in Bradley County, and our employment goals to support economic growth in the region through construction and operation of our facility. Wacker has always been a flexible, market oriented company, and in this instance, we had to adjust our construction timeline and our growth strategy due to the prevailing global economic and market conditions facing the polysilicon industry. Although we were able to preserve the jobs of our employees, we were unable to offer employment to the students at the present time. Nonetheless, we remain confident that the skills and education these students gained during their advanced technical training at Chattanooga State Community College will be of future value and can benefit them greatly, whether they ultimately join the Wacker Team, or whether their careers take them elsewhere. “
Wacker says the plant in Charleston opens in 2015. Wacker wouldn't comment when we asked if there are classes happening right now at the Wacker Institute. But, a Chattanooga state employee told us there is still chemical engineering classes offered at the college.
By Jerry Askin
More Business News
Last Update on March 12, 2014 07:32 GMT
MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- Asian stock markets sank today as recent falls in Chinese copper and iron prices added to jitters that the world's No. 2 economy is continuing to slow.
Market angst about China's economy has been fueled by weak exports for February, the government last week allowing the first-ever default in the domestic corporate bond market and the central bank permitting the tightly controlled yuan currency to weaken. China's economic growth of 7.7 percent last year was the lowest in two decades.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell below $100 a barrel. The dollar gained against the yen and was unchanged against the euro.
DETROIT (AP) -- There could be some legal potholes ahead for General Motors over its handling of a deadly defect in certain compact cars.
Word leaked of a criminal investigation yesterday and two congressional committees have opened probes into the matter.
The Justice Department is investigating whether GM broke any laws with its slow response to a problem with ignition switches in compact cars from model years 2003 to 2007. That's according to a person briefed on the matter. The probe is said to be handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York.
Spokesmen for the Justice Department and GM would not comment. The investigation was first reported by Bloomberg News.
At issue is why GM waited until February to recall 1.6 million older-model compact cars worldwide, even though it admitted knowing about the problem for a decade. The faulty ignition switches have been linked to 31 crashes and 13 deaths.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A plan to phase out government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and instead use mainly private insurers to backstop home loans has advanced in Congress.
The agreement by two key senators and a White House endorsement sent shares of Fannie and Freddie sinking Tuesday. Fannie stock fell $1.79, or more than 30 percent, to $4.03. Freddie dropped $1.48, or 26.8 percent, to $4.04.
The plan would create a new government insurance fund. Investors would pay fees in exchange for insurance on mortgage securities they buy. The government would become a last-resort loan guarantor.
President Barack Obama proposed an overhaul of Fannie and Freddie last year, but Congress has struggled to craft legislation. The government rescued the two mortgage giants with a $187 billion bailout, which they have repaid.
401 (k) FEES
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Labor Department has proposed a new rule that would make it easier for those with 401(k) retirement plans and their employers to locate just what fees and expenses are attached.
Department officials say the rule would update a 2012 rule on the same subject. But many disclosure forms offered since then have become too lengthy, complex and confusing.
There is a public comment period of 90 days. Then, the department will hold focus groups on the proposed new rule with those from financial firms offering such plans, with a particular focus on pension plans with fewer than 100 participants.
CHICAGO (AP) -- The agency that oversees public transportation in Chicago is suing American Airlines.
The suit claims that the airline has falsely claimed to buy "vast amounts of jet fuel" from a small office in a rural community to avoid paying tens of millions of dollars in taxes in the nation's third-largest city, where the actual work is done.
The lawsuit comes a year after the same agency -- the Regional Transportation Agency -- accused United Airlines in a lawsuit of doing the same thing in the same small town.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Deborah Hersman, the chairman of the nation's transportation accident investigations board, is leaving to become the president and CEO of the National Safety Council.
Hersman blogged that her nearly 10 years at the National Transportation Safety Board have been "a great ride," but she is moving on to the second "dream job" of her career.
She was on-scene for more than 20 accident investigations, including the crash of an Asiana Airlines jet in San Francisco last July.
Under Hersman, the five-member board has called for a ban on all cellphone use while driving, including hands-free calling, and lowering the legal limit for drivers' blood alcohol to combat drunken driving. She is particularly known for championing protections for children, including on planes.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration has halted operations at a Delaware cheese plant after an outbreak of listeria linked to the company's cheese killed one person and sickened seven others.
This is only the second time the FDA has shut down a plant after gaining that authority in a 2011 food safety law. The agency says that its inspectors found unsanitary conditions at Roos Foods in Kenton, Del., including a badly leaking roof and rusting and deteriorating equipment.
The FDA says it took the action because food manufactured by the company could cause "serious adverse health consequences or death to humans."
The company has already recalled a large variety of its products, including many cheeses in its Amigo, Anita, Mexicana, and Santa Rosa de Lima brands.
MEN'S WEARHOUSE-JOS. A BANK
NEW YORK (AP) -- It's time to suit up: Men's Wearhouse is buying Jos. A. Bank for $1.8 billion.
Men's Wearhouse Inc. will pay $65 per share, a 5 percent premium to Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc.'s closing price Monday of $61.83.
The agreement ends a months-long back and forth that began in October when Jos. A. Bank offered to buy its larger rival for $2.3 billion. Men's Wearhouse scoffed at that offer, and turned the tables, offering to buy its rival for $1.54 billion.
By early March Men's Wearhouse had an offer of $63.50 per share on the table but said it may raise the bid to $65 per share if some conditions were met.
The combined company will be the fourth-biggest U.S. men's clothing retailer with more than 1,700 U.S. stores and about $3.5 billion in sales.
The transaction is expected to close by the third quarter.
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Caesars Entertainment Corp. has reported a large quarterly loss after taking a hefty impairment charge.
The casino corporation said Tuesday it took goodwill and asset-impairment charges because of the continuing slump in Atlantic City and expectations that some of its property holdings may not last as long as expected. The company took nearly $2 billion in impairment charges for the quarter.
The Las Vegas-based company, which runs the Caesars, Harrah's, and Horseshoe brands, has struggled since the recession, and has not posted a profit since 2009.
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