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A Week's Worth: Quick takes on the world of work and money

Dow drops before inching back, produce labels you can trust, a rise in workplace harassment.

By Robert Kilborn / March 24, 2008



Stocks plunged early last week, then rallied after the latest rate cut by the Federal Reserve. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.34 percent.

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Maybe all this alarm over global warming doesn't have as many people caught up in it as previously assumed. At least not if it leads to higher fuel taxes as a way of trying to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Forty-eight percent of respondents told a survey by the National Center for Public Policy Research they oppose even a 1-cent hike in gasoline levies. Only 18 percent said they were willing to pay the 50-cent-a-gallon increase proposed by US Rep. John Dingell (D) of Michigan.

Generally, you can trust "organically grown" labels when you're buying meat, poultry, or produce at the supermarket, advises ShopSmart magazine, a publication of Consumers Union. Its editors say such items often are worth paying extra for. But not always. For example, organic certification standards have yet to be developed for seafood. Other labels to be cautious about: "Free-Range" or "Natural" on poultry and meats and "Shade-Grown" in the case of coffee.

Women in the workplace say they're noticing an increase in sexually explicit remarks and they don't appreciate it. Boston-based Novations Group, a consulting firm, says female respondents to its recent survey reported a 17 percent jump between 2006 and 2007 in what they consider the most common form of harassment. In all, 42 percent of the women in the poll said they'd endured inappropriate comments last year.

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