American Airlines may find it necessary to return to the negotiating table with its unions after rank-and-file members balked at some of the concessions their leaders agreed to last week, The Wall Street Journal reported. The concessions, amounting to $1.8 billion a year, are aimed at keeping the world's largest carrier out of bankruptcy. But the Journal said the pay and benefits givebacks "have run into so much resistance" that union leaders are asking for changes, especially to the six-year duration of the deal. A spokesman for American said it "needs" ratification by all three unions - pilots, ground crews, and flight attendants - but otherwise preferred not to discuss the situation.
In behalf of Philip Morris USA, lawyers for 37 states and US territories filed a friend-of-the-court brief Monday asking an Illinois court to reduce the $12 billion bond for the cigarettemaker. Philip Morris, a unit of Altria Group, must pay that amount if it wants to appeal the $10 billion penalty assessed in a successful class-action suit against its "light" cigarettes last month. But the company says that could leave it bankrupt and unable to pay the states its share of the landmark 1998 tobacco settlement. Its next $2.6 billion installment is due April 15.
Office Depot Inc. said it has agreed to pay at least $872 million for the Guilbert office-supply unit of French conglomerate Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR). The acquisition would allow Office Depot to overtake Staples as the world's biggest retail office-supply chain. The sale is part of a major restructuring at PPR, which controls the Gucci fashion label and is focusing on retail luxury goods. Office Depot is based in Delray Beach, Fla.