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Northwest Airlines may not be able to count on White House intervention if its pilots strike at the end of the week.

The climate is considerably different from a year and a half ago when President Clinton stopped a minutes-old strike by pilots at American Airlines. Back then, there was little outcry from congressional Democrats with close labor ties. In addition, American's independent pilots union had no AFL-CIO affiliation as the Northwest pilots do.

The 1920s law governing airlines and railroads makes it easy for Clinton to step in if mediation fails. The law says the president can halt a strike for 60 days when it threatens "substantially to interrupt interstate commerce to a degree such as to deprive any section of the country of essential transportation service."

Seven Republican governors, including Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson, already have written the president to say that a strike would be disastrous for their states.

Wendy's won't join Pepsi generation
NEW YORK (AP) -- Wendy's has named Coca-Cola its exclusive soda for the next decade, locking Pepsi out just as it had made some inroads with the hamburger chain, the Wall Street Journal reported today.

Wendy's International Inc. no longer will let franchisees choose either Coke or Pepsi products for their restaurants. Hundreds of Wendy's restaurants that serve Pepsi have been ordered to eventually switch to Coke, the Journal reported.

The move is a major blow to PepsiCo Inc.'s bid to crack Coca-Cola Co.'s dominance in the fountain soft-drinks market, where Coke's 65 percent market share dwarfs Pepsi's 25 percent share.

Atlanta-based Coke for years has supplied Wendy's 900 company-owned restaurants in the United States as well as most of its 3,700 franchises. But Pepsi officials had persuaded some franchisees to switch to their products.

Terms of the Coke agreement weren't announced, but Wendy's chairman and chief executive, Gordon Teter, said in a letter to franchisees that Coke will pour $42 million into Wendy's national advertising campaign in the first year.

Wendy's is based in Dublin, Ohio, and Pepsi is based in Purchase.

Gasoline prices continue to fall
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Gasoline prices continued their yearlong slump, dipping more than a penny per gallon over the past two weeks, an industry analyst said Sunday.

The average pump price of gasoline nationwide, including all grades and taxes, was $1.095 per gallon on Friday, according to the Lundberg Survey of 10,000 stations. That was down 1.24 cents from Aug. 7, Trilby Lundberg said.

In about a third of U.S. cities surveyed, the price of self-serve regular gas -- the type most used -- had dropped to under $1 per gallon, she added.

At self-service pumps, the average price for regular gasoline was $1.0368 per gallon, mid-grade was $1.1440 and premium was $1.2280.

At full-service pumps, regular was $1.4729, mid-grade was $1.5602 and premium was $1.6352.

In other business news
About 6,300 operators, customer service representatives and technicians for Southern New England Telecommunications Corp. went on strike Sunday after negotiations between company executives and union leaders were cut off.

A federal mediator ordered U S West and the Communications Workers of America back to the bargaining table Sunday as the union accused the company of having no intention of negotiating to end the dispute.

Hyundai Motor Co. officials and unionists at the South Korea carmaker's plant in Ulsan City reached a breakthrough agreement on layoffs today, a company official said.

This week in business
Here are the major business and economic events scheduled for this week:

Tuesday -- The National Association of Realtors will release figures on existing home sales for July, and the Conference Board will release results of its monthly survey on consumer confidence.

Wednesday -- The Commerce Department will report on durable goods orders for July.

Thursday -- Second-quarter, revised gross domestic product and corporate profits will be announced by the Commerce Department, and the Labor Department will release weekly jobless claims.

Friday -- The Commerce Department will release data on personal income for July.

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