Miami-Dade School District and the United Teachers of Dade yesterday agreed to settle a labor dispute before the holidays. Under the deal, all employees making more than $20,000 per year would take between two and five days of unpaid leave by June. They will be partially recompensated by extra paid days off next school year. The school board and the teacher's union are scheduled to review the deal in January.
A Reuters poll of economists finds consumer confidence rose from 83.9 in November to 85.7 in December. The improved outlook is linked to a rebounding stock market and growing optimism about an economic recovery in 2002.
Reuters reports that Wal-Mart is considering expansion opportunities in Europe and Asia. Since 1991, the retail giant has opened or acquired 1,159 stores in nine foreign countries. Second-quarter operating profits for international stores grew 43% compared to a 4.8% increase for U.S. stores.
The New York Times examines the meat-packing industry's increasing reliance on foreign-born workers. The newspaper notes that many analysts believe a crackdown on hiring these workers, fueled by the Tyson Foods indictment, could disrupt the nation's food industry. Rural sociology professor William Heffernan agrees: "In the communities where these plants are located, there isn't an alternative work force."
More consumers are buying online this holiday season, prompting analysts to declare that Web shopping has become a mainstream activity. Online sales totaled a record $1.5 billion for the week ending Dec. 2.