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GREEN GOES SO NICE WITH PINK

YOU HATE to see anybody get fired, but shed no tears for Frank Biondi Jr., who was ousted this month as chairman and chief executive of Universal Studios.

He's getting a severance package valued at around $30 million in cash.

And, anyway, he's accustomed to the pink slip. Biondi had been fired as chief executive at Home Box Office in 1984 before taking a top entertainment job at Coca-Cola and then being hired as Viacom's No. 2.

Viacom fired him three years ago and -- oh, yes -- handed him a $15 million check on his way out the door.

And don't punch anybody

THE HOLIDAY season often means going to a work-related party, situations ripe for mistakes, gaffes and other embarrassments. Executive Communications Group, a consulting firm, has some tips for people who want to leave a party feeling better than when they came in:

Prepare for the party as if you were going to a business meeting. Know your audience and what their point of view will be. Plan to chat about something besides shop talk, but avoid the no-nos like religion, politics and whether or not there'll be a corporate downsizing in the coming year. Don't spend your time complaining about your job or family problems.

And limit how much you drink, which will make the rest of these tips easier to remember.

Do you know the pay in San Jose?

THE SAN JOSE, Calif., city council has adopted the nation's highest minimum wage, saying workers need to be guaranteed a "living wage" as costs soar in Silicon Valley.

The council voted 7-3 to require city contractors to pay employees at least $9.50 an hour with health benefits and $10.75 if benefits aren't provided.

San Jose's new rates are $3 an hour less than what supporters had been seeking, but are still the highest among all cities nationwide that have adopted similar requirements, according to the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council.

In Washington meanwhile, Congress recently defeated a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.15.

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