business

Business & Labor
10:17 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Bowling Green Corvette Plant Workers Authorize Strike Over Safety Issues

Workers at the GM Corvette Assembly plant in Bowling Green could go on strike following a Tuesday vote.
Credit GM

Workers at the General Motors plant in Kentucky that assembles Corvettes have voted to authorize a strike over lingering safety concerns. But a local union leader says he hopes the dispute can be resolved without a walkout.

Union members voted to give union leaders the green light to call a strike if necessary. About 800 union workers were eligible to cast ballots.

Eldon Renaud, president of United Auto Workers Local 2164, says the issues involved include safety and quality control.

He says there have been several "near misses" that could have led to serious injuries for assembly line workers at the Bowling Green plant.

Renaud says he hopes the strike-authorization vote leads to stepped up negotiations.

The plant says worker safety and quality of its products are at the forefront of every decision. It says it's confident management and the union can work together.

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Business
5:13 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Beshear: Kentucky Can Become Next Automotive Powerhouse

Kentucky is home to several car manufacturing facilities, including the Toyota plant in Georgetown.
Credit Toyota

Gov. Steve Beshear said Monday he wants Kentucky to be as synonymous with the auto industry as Detroit.

The Democratic governor announced the formation of the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association to promote Kentucky as an automotive hub.

Beshear emphasized the association is not a state agency, but it will get some state money for marketing purposes. Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Larry Hayes will be the group's chairman.

Board members include representatives from Toyota, Ford, General Motors and various automotive supply companies.

Beshear said Kentucky ranks third in the country in light vehicle production. Kentucky's automotive exports reached a record $5.5 billion last year.

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Politics/Business
8:12 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Kentucky Senate Approves Measure Creating Public-Private Partnerships for Infrastructure Projects

A bill that would permit private corporations to partner with government to finance infrastructure projects is one step closer to becoming law.

Filed by Rep. Leslie Combs, House Bill 407 passed the Senate by a 27-9 vote, and would allow local governments to partner with businesses to fund infrastructure projects.

Dissenting members worried that the legislation would afford private companies too much influence on public projects, and expressed concern over accountability of the process.

Sen. Perry Clark cited a Brookings Institute study that says public private partnerships, or “P3’s,” aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

“They have over a two-thirds failure rate," the Louisville Democrat said. "Of the construction roads, they looked at 11 of them that were completed, seven of those ended in bankruptcy, and several of them ended in foreclosure. Oftentimes it was at great cost to the taxpayers that had to foot the difference.”

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Business
8:29 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Reports: Obama Will Move To Expand Overtime Pay

Punching a time card: It's still one way of tracking hours worked. President Obama believes more workers need to be able to add overtime to their pay.
Armin Weigel dpa/Landov

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 12:37 pm

The Obama administration's push to put income inequality atop the domestic political agenda has another battlefront.

According to The New York Times, the president "this week will seek to force American businesses to pay more overtime to millions of workers, the latest move by his administration to confront corporations that have had soaring profits even as wages have stagnated."

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Business/Politics
8:48 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Louisville Mayor Pushing Local Option Sales Tax, but Faces Opposition from Fellow Democrats

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is continuing his push for the local option sales tax, which would let communities vote on temporary sales tax increases to fund projects.

The Democratic mayor is facing opposition to the plan, but not from where you might expect. Much of the criticism of the effort comes from the political left.

In a 15-minute pitch in Frankfort, Fischer extolled the civic virtues of a sales tax that he says would be used to fund local projects chosen by committee and placed on a ballot before voters.

“We need additional capital sources," the mayor told his audience. "In the case of Louisville, 11 years ago four percent of our general fund was for pensions. Today it’s 15 percent. So it’s like a business, we’ve had an 11 percent increase in our expenses, but we haven’t been able to raise our prices; that is, we haven’t had a tax increase.”

But fellow Louisvillian and fellow Democrat Rep. Jim Wayne cited a study that showed the local option means lower income residents would pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than wealthier residents.

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Business
3:42 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Bowling Green Landmark Leaving Historic Downtown Home for New Location

Mariah's 1818 restaurant is moving to a new location in Bowling Green, upcoming some longtime fans.
Credit Abbey Oldham

A well-known Bowling Green restaurant is moving from its historic downtown location after being purchased by a new owner.

Mariah’s 1818 restaurant is headed to the Hitcents Park Plaza, in a different part of the city’s downtown. The restaurant was purchased by the MR Group Monday, and will be one of five restaurants opening in the plaza.

Bowling Green natives have taken to Mariah’s Facebook page to share their feelings on the move. Although there are some who support the change, many are sharing feelings of disappointment, saying that the Mariah’s Moore House location is what creates the beloved atmosphere of the restaurant, and that the new location simply won’t be the same.

Some accused the purchasing group of not understanding the historical significance of Mariah’s Restaurant and its location and what it means to the community.

Mariah’s responded on their Facebook page, saying the new location will provide more space and necessary updates which will better serve the community.

Mariah’s will be opened in the current location through March 31 and will open its new doors in April.

Business
8:38 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Commission Approves Agreements on Hancock County Smelter

Century Aluminum Smelter in Hawesville, Ky.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission has approved agreements that Century Aluminum of Kentucky says are necessary to keep operating a western Kentucky smelter.  

The agreements allow the smelter to be supplied power purchased on the open market by Kenergy Corp. rather than power generated by Big Rivers Electric Corp.

The PSC said in its order Thursday that the agreements are substantially the same as those it approved in August for the Century smelter in Hawesville.

The Hawesville smelter has about 700 employees and the Sebree smelter about 500.

Big Rivers has a pending rate increase request to compensate for revenue it will lose when it is no longer producing power sold to the Sebree smelter. In October, Big Rivers was granted a rate adjustment to compensate for lost revenue from the Hawesville smelter.

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Business
4:27 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Auto Manufacturer Bringing Facility, 75 Jobs to Hardin County

A global auto manufacturer is building a facility in Elizabethtown and creating 75 new jobs.

Hendrickson USA LLC creates suspension systems and components for heavy-duty vehicles. The $20 million facility will be built at T.J. Patterson Industrial Park in Hardin County.

Construction on the 100,000-square-foot building is expected to be complete later this year.

Economy
3:19 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Kentucky Economic Group Says Minimum Wage Boost Would Have Wide-Reaching Positive Impacts

Kentucky's minimum wage currently stands at $7.25 an hour.

An economic think-tank says a raise in the minimum wage would benefit reduce child poverty and help about a quarter of Kentucky workers.

The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy says a $10.10 an hour minimum wage would lead to a boost in consumer spending. That, they say, would spur job creation, and allow low-income families to make ends meet.

Opponents argue higher wages would force layoffs or cause businesses to raise prices. But center director Jason Bailey says it would actually keep employees in what are currently lower-paying jobs. That cuts the costs businesses pay to hire and train new workers.

“The lack of consumer spending is a big impediment to additional hiring; that additional money in people’s pockets, low-wage workers’ pockets at this time, money that they will then spend, could actually result in a small job gain," Bailey said.

Bailey supports a bill filed by House Speaker Greg Stumbo that would raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10. A new Public Policy Polling survey shows that 57 percent of Kentuckians support the idea.

Stumbo’s measure would also require pay equity for women, who earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.

Business
3:02 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

As Overseas Costs Rise, More U.S. Companies Are 'Reshoring'

Paul Gibson works on the Geo-Spring hybrid water heater at General Electric's Louisville, Ky., plant. For many years, GE outsourced manufacturing of the water heater to a company in China. But in 2009, it decided to bring production back to the U.S.
Jackie Northam NPR

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 12:17 pm

For decades, American companies have been sending their manufacturing work overseas. Extremely low wages in places like China, Vietnam and the Philippines reduced costs and translated into cheaper prices for consumers wanting flat-screen TVs, dishwashers and a range of gadgets.

But now a growing number of American companies are reversing that trend, bringing manufacturing back to the United States in a trend known as "reshoring."

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