Union: Deal reached with General Mills

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Union leaders say they’ve reached a tentative contract agreement for more than 500 workers at General Mills’ processing plant in Cedar Rapids.

Local 110 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union said Friday that the contract could be ratified as soon as Thursday. Details on the agreement have not been publicly released.

Officials say 99% of the workers who voted Wednesday said no to a previous company offer.

The two sides have been negotiating since January, when workers voted for the union representation.

The union also announced Friday that nearly 700 workers at the Quaker Oats processing plant in Cedar Rapids have ratified a new contract. It calls for hourly wage increases totaling 10 percent through four years.

Stocks push past trade-war confusion

NEW YORK — Stocks wobbled between small gains and losses through Friday amid conflicting signals about the progress being made by U.S. and Chinese negotiators in their trade war.

The S&P 500 and Treasury yields fell after President Donald Trump said he had not agreed to roll back any tariffs, but a late push in the afternoon returned indexes to record heights. The S&P 500 closed out a fifth straight week of gains, which matches its longest winning streak in the last two years.

NEWARK, N.J. — Amtrak on Friday reported record ridership and revenue figures for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, leading officials to predict the heavily subsidized railroad could eliminate operating losses as soon as next year.

The government-owned passenger railroad said it provided 32.5 million passenger trips, an increase of about 800,000 over the previous fiscal year. Ridership numbers were affected the past two years by summer repair work at New York’s Penn Station that forced some service cutbacks.

Total operating revenue rose more than 3% to $3.3 billion with an operating loss of just under $30 million. That’s the smallest loss in Amtrak’s 48-year history. Amtrak reported an operating loss of about $170 million in 2018.

BURLINGTON, Mass. — Massachusetts authorities have identified the Buffalo Wild Wings employee who died after breathing in fumes from a powerful cleaning agent at the restaurant.

Ryan Baldera, 32, the general manager, was overcome by the fumes and died after being rushed to a local hospital Thursday night. At least 10 people were hospitalized.

Officials responded to reports of a chemical reaction in the kitchen area. Authorities evacuated the Burlington restaurant and urged anyone inside at the time to get medical treatment, if needed.

A Buffalo Wild Wings statement says the company is “shocked and saddened” and working with the franchisee and authorities.

Tech to fight election misinformation in UK

LONDON — Internet companies say they will fight misinformation ahead of next month’s general election in the United Kingdom, but bogus online claims and deceptive political ads remain a threat due to government inaction.

Facebook, Google and Twitter say they’re taking steps to prevent the spread of content that could mislead voters. Misinformation played a role in Britain’s 2016 vote to leave the European Union, as well as the 2016 election in the U.S.

$800 million in aid to farmers hit by storms

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The federal government is sending $800 million in aid to farmers in three southern states that were devastated by last year’s hurricanes.

Nearly half that money will go to Florida, where timber farmers suffered catastrophic losses when Hurricane Michael came ashore in October 2018 and destroyed 2.8 million acres of commercially grown trees. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the funding also will help Alabama and Georgia cover hurricane losses in the timber, cattle and poultry industries.

Higher sales age for e-cigarettes sought

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Friday his administration will pursue raising the minimum age to purchase electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21 in upcoming plans to combat youth vaping.

Trump said U.S. health officials will release their plans for restricting e-cigarettes next week. The administration was widely expected to unveil a ban on most flavored e-cigarettes this week. That approach was intended to combat underage vaping.

World Bank delivers warning on Lebanon

BEIRUT — The World Bank’s regional director says Lebanon needs to form a new Cabinet “within a week” to prevent further degradation and loss of confidence in its economy.

Saroj Kumar Jha said told The Associated Press Friday that the World Bank observed in recent weeks increasing risks to Lebanon’s economic and financial stability.

The Associated Press

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