News In Brief

Shaky firms can cancel union pacts, court rules

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that companies on the verge of bankruptcy can cancel union contracts, if a US bankruptcy judge rules the companies' solvency is at stake. The move was denounced by labor unions recently when it occurred in the beleaguered airline industry.

The court also ruled that the Internal Revenue Service may levy gift taxes against interest-free loans made by one family member to another. The 7-to-2 ruling upheld a lower-court decision that the interest-free loan by parents of hundreds of thousands of dollars to their son and a family business is a taxable gift.

The IRS has cases involving more than $5.5 million transferred by wealthy family members to less affluent relatives. The high-court ruling is expected to reduce such transfers of money.

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