Business & Finance

It was not yet clear how the Justice Department would react to special administrator Paul Volcker's rescue plan for troubled auditor Arthur Andersen LLP. The former Federal Reserve chairman, appointed by Andersen last month, wants to replace its top management with an independent board that he would lead. But the plan would only work, he said, if the government drops criminal charges against Andersen for destroying Enron Corp. documents, and a cap is placed on liabilities from civil suits. Volcker said he needed an answer within days. The Chicago-based accounting firm has lost more than 70 clients since Jan. 1 and most of its foreign affiliates are working on mergers with big-name rivals.

United Airlines announced it is calling back 1,300 laid-off employees and hiring 900 more, as the industry moves to restore flight schedules decimated by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The recall will affect workers at United's hubs in Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington. Beginning June 7, United will have about 1,900 daily flights, compared with 2,400 before the attacks.

Unionized employees of Bombardier Inc., the world's third-largest maker of civilian aircraft, rejected a 65-cent-an-hour contract offer and authorized a strike at the most "opportune" moment. The move affects 8,000 workers, who have been without a contract since last Nov. 30.

A massive restructuring that will include 11,000 layoffs is expected to be announced as soon as today by Consignia, the former British postal service, newspapers in London reported. Company executives said in January that Consignia was losing more than $1 million a day. The company announced its intention Dec. 12 to eliminate 30,000 jobs – on top of 10,000 cut earlier in the year – but later withdrew the plan in view of stiff opposition from unions.

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