Business briefs: American cutting flights from NY, DC after merger

January 16, 2014 

DALLAS -- American Airlines and US Airways will drop year-round, daily nonstop flights from Washington's Reagan National Airport to Detroit, San Diego and 15 other cities because of the deal they made to win government approval of their merger.

Flights to Manatee-Sarasota will not be affected.

They will end nonstop flights from New York's LaGuardia Airport to Atlanta, Cleveland and Minneapolis. American will no longer provide daily service from Reagan National to Augusta, Ga., Detroit, Fayetteville, N.C., Islip, N.Y., Jacksonville, N.C., Little Rock, Ark., Minneapolis, Minn., Montreal, Myrtle Beach, S.C., Nassau, Bahamas, Omaha, Neb., San Diego, Savannah, Ga., Tallahassee and Wilmington, N.C.

In Florida, they will discontinue daily flights to Fort Walton Beach, Pensacola, Tallahassee. Flights to Fort Myers will also be adjusted to a seasonal schedule. American will add service from LaGuardia to 10 other cities.

The combined company, American Airlines Group Inc., announced the changes Wednesday.

American and US Airways are giving up some takeoff and landing rights in New York and Washington under a deal that settled a government lawsuit against their merger.

Justice Department clears Mosaic-CF Industries deal

The U.S. Department of Justice has approved Mosaic Co's $1.4 billion purchase of CF Industries' Florida phosphate business, Mosaic said Wednesday.

The deal, which still requires other regulatory approvals, gives Mosaic, the world's biggest producer of phosphate fertilizer products, a bigger hold on North American sales, according to wire reports. Some analysts speculated that it may raise competition concerns.

The price includes $200 million to cover the closure and long-term care of phosphogypsum stacks, a radioactive by-product of phosphate production, under CF's current Florida operations.

Minnesota-based Mosaic, which operates other phosphate facilities nearby, would acquire the South Pasture phosphate mine and plant, a phosphate manufacturing plant and ammonia terminal and warehouse facilities.

Once the deal closes, Illinois-based CF will focus on nitrogen production.

Mosaic and CF shares dipped slightly after normal trading hours.

Wal-Mart charged with labor violations

WASHINGTON -- Federal officials have filed a formal complaint charging that Wal-Mart violated the rights of protesting and striking workers last year.

The National Labor Relations Board says Wal-Mart illegally fired, disciplined or threatened more than 60 employees in 14 states for participating in legally protected activities to complain about wages and working conditions.

The labor board's general counsel first laid out the charges last Novem

ber, but held off on filing a complaint while trying to work out a settlement with Wal-Mart. The company has insisted its actions were legal and justified.

The complaint will go before an administrative law judge. If Wal-Mart is found liable, it could be required to award workers back pay, reinstatement and reverse any disciplinary action.

J.C. Penney to cut 2,000 jobs, close 33 stores

PLANO, Texas -- Department-store operator J.C. Penney says it will cut 2,000 jobs and close 33 stores as it tries to turn around results.

The Bradenton store will not be affected.

The news comes after J.C. Penney this month said it was pleased with holiday results but declined to give sales figures. A strong November and December is crucial to retailers since it can account for up to 40 percent of annual sales.

The cuts should save more than $65 million annually. The company will take $26 million in charges in the third quarter and $17 million afterward. Penney has 116,000 staffers. All the job cuts are related to the store closings.

Penney is trying to recover from a sales spiral that occurred under former CEO Ron Johnson. The company brought back former CEO Mike Ullman in April.

Staff and wire reports

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