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The Baltimore Sun

State sends letters on extra jobless aid

The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation said yesterday that it was sending letters to those eligible for an extra seven weeks of unemployment benefits. The typical unemployment benefit runs 26 weeks, and Congress extended that last summer by 13 weeks. More recently, lawmakers tacked on another seven weeks as part of emergency relief legislation. The first week for these extended benefits is the week that ended Nov. 29. State officials said those eligible should wait until they receive the letter before contacting the claims center. Those who quit their jobs, rather than being laid off, are not eligible for benefits.

Eileen Ambrose

Southwest workers picket at BWI

About 70 Southwest Airlines ground workers staged an informational picket in front of Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport for nearly three hours yesterday in support of a cost-of-living wage increase. The members of Transport Workers Union Local 555, which has 353 members in Baltimore, agreed to stock options in lieu of wage increases in 2005 but said the stocks aren't worth enough. The workers will have picketed at 18 airports by the end of the weekend. Southwest and the workers are to meet with mediators next week. Southwest is BWI's largest carrier.

Andrea K. Walker

Delta offers severance to most

ATLANTA: Delta Air Lines Inc., the world's biggest carrier, will offer voluntary severance payouts to a majority of the 75,000 employees at Delta and Northwest's mainline operations as part of a plan to cut an unspecified number of jobs, executives said yesterday. Chief Executive Richard Anderson and President Ed Bastian said in a memo to employees that the program is similar to one earlier this year that Delta used to trim about 4,000 jobs. Northwest had cut jobs before being acquired by Delta on Oct. 29. The executives said the cuts are necessary because Delta will be reducing systemwide capacity in 2009 by 6 percent to 8 percent; the weak economy has eroded demand for seats on airplanes. While the company did not say how many jobs it is seeking to cut, it said its goal is to achieve all necessary reductions through attrition, limited hiring and the introduction of the voluntary severance programs. Spokeswoman Betsy Talton said the majority of mainline employees are eligible to apply for the severance payouts, though she could not provide a specific number. Shares of Delta added 53 cents, or 5.3 percent, to close at $10.50.

Associated Press

KB gets court OK to pay its workers

WILMINGTON, Del.: A bankruptcy judge granted yesterday KB Toys Inc.'s requests to use its existing cash management system and continue paying its workers as it prepares for going-out-of-business sales. The nation's largest mall-based toy retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday and said it will begin liquidation sales. Judge Kevin Carey granted all of the Pittsfield, Mass., company's "first-day motions," including a request to use cash collateral on liens to pay operating expenses. But he said he wants more details on the company's bankruptcy plan and set a second hearing Dec. 18. Filing for Chapter 11 protection rather than Chapter 7 liquidation allows a company to retain more control as it sells off assets.

Associated Press

Regulators shut 2 banks in Ga., Texas

NEW YORK : Regulators closed Haven Trust Bank in Georgia and Sanderson State Bank in Texas yesterday, bringing to 25 the number of U.S. bank failures this year. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver of Duluth, Ga.-based Haven Trust Bank and Sanderson, Texas-based Sanderson State. Haven Trust had assets of $572 million and deposits of $515 million as of Dec. 8. Sanderson State had assets of $37 million and deposits of $27.9 million as of Dec. 3. BB&T; Corp., a large regional bank based in Winston-Salem, N.C., agreed to assume all of Haven Trust's deposits. BB&T; also will buy about $55 million of the failed bank's assets; the FDIC will retain the rest for later disposition. The four branches of Haven Trust Bank will reopen Monday as BB&T; branches, and deposits will continue to be insured by the FDIC. Pecos County State Bank, based in Fort Stockton, Texas, agreed to assume all of Sanderson State Bank's deposits.

Associated Press

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