Business & Finance

United Airlines accepted the recommendation of a 37 percent pay increase for its unionized mechanics, raising hopes that they would not carry out a threatened strike Feb. 20. The recommendation, from an emergency board appointed by President Bush, would give the mechanics their first raise since 1994. For its part, the union representing United's 13,000 mechanics has yet to schedule a vote on accepting the recommendation but expects one within two weeks. Negotiations for a new contract with the carrier are stalled. United, which reports losses of $15 million a day since Sept. 11, originally had sought to freeze mechanics' pay until it returned to profitability.

Procter & Gamble announced 1,400 job cuts in its newly acquired Clairol division as it integrates the hair-care business into its operations. The layoffs represent 35 percent of Clairol's workforce. P&G bought Clairol last year from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. for $4.95 billion, mainly because of its hair-coloring products.

Agere Systems, a leading maker of semiconductors and a spinoff from Lucent Technologies, said it also will lay off 1,400 workers as part of a plan to close two plants and sell a third. The Allentown, Pa.-based company remains the major supplier of communications chips to Lucent, which set it free last year, as well as to Apple Computer and Cisco Systems.

Stanley Marcus, who died in Dallas, turned a humble local department store that catered to cowboys and rural women into a nationally famous chain that symbolizes elegance and luxury. In 1926, he took over Neiman Marcus, a retail outlet founded by his father, sister, and brother-in- law, and made it a pioneer in such areas as gift-wrapping, in-store fashion shows, and high-end merchandise. His 1974 autobiography, "Minding the Store: A Memoir," was a best-seller.

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