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The Canadian Auto Workers has chosen Ford Motor Co. as the union's target company in negotiations for a new three-year contract.

CAW president Buzz Hargrove said Wednesday the union had a "clear field" at Ford because the United Auto Workers was not going to choose that company to lead off its U.S. negotiations.

Hargrove said he had spoken with UAW President Stephen Yokich Wednesday morning, and that Yokich told him the UAW was still trying to decide whether General Motors Corp. or DaimlerChrysler AG would be the lead company.

"We don't have to worry about getting the attention of the top people at Ford," Hargrove said. "We don't have to worry about a strike in the U.S. taking away our bargaining power."

Delta still No. 1 in bumpings
ATLANTA (AP) -- Delta Air Lines continues to lead the industry in the rate of involuntary passenger bumpings, which occur when planes are overbooked and some passengers are rerouted on later flights.

In the second quarter, Delta reported 5,519 bumpings -- nearly half the total of 11,908 for all 10 major airlines. The Atlanta-based carrier ranked worst in the industry with a rate of 2.07 involuntary bumpings per 10,000 passengers, according to the figures released Wednesday by the Department of Transportation.

The airline with the next highest rate of involuntary bumpings was Southwest, which reported 2,509 bumpings for a rate of 1.48 per 10,000 passengers.

Consumer credit jumps in July
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans' rate of borrowing surged in July mainly reflecting heavy credit card use, which posted its sharpest increase in two years.

Consumers' credit outstanding, excluding mortgage debt, advanced at a 7.9 percent annual rate in July to a seasonally adjusted $1.354 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday.

All told, consumers borrowed $8.8 billion more in July than during the month before, greater than the $6.3 billion gain many analysts' had expected.

July's increase was led by demand for revolving credit -- primarily credit cards -- which rose at an annual rate of 12.1 percent. Demand for non-revolving loans -- for autos and education, for example -- rose at a 4.8 percent rate.

Lockheed: penny wise, pound foolish
BALTIMORE (AP) -- An independent review of launch failures that have cost Lockheed Martin Corp. billions of dollars blamed the mishaps on cost-cutting, lack of quality control and the loss of experienced personnel, the defense giant said Wednesday.

"We found too much emphasis on cost. Mission success needs to be re-established as the most important performance criteria for all employees," said A. Thomas Young, the former Martin Marietta and NASA executive who co-chaired the review panel.

Lockheed Martin suffered four launch failures between August 1998 and this April. More than $2 billion in military and private satellites were either destroyed or placed in useless orbits. Boeing has also suffered a number of failures, prompting President Clinton to order a separate government investigation into the failures.

In other business news
CSX Corp., parent of the third-largest U.S. railroad, said it will cut 800 management jobs, or 1.7 percent of its work force, in an effort to reduce costs by $75 million a year.

Pluma Inc., a maker of fleece and other active-wear products such as Snowbank and Santee clothing, is going out of business and laying off 1,000 workers at four plants in North Carolina and Virginia.

The Labor Department reported today that 286,000 Americans filed new claims for jobless benefits for the week ending Sept. 4, down by 4,000 from the previous week. That was the lowest level since Aug. 21, when claims were at 285,000.

Molson Inc. said it will fire 287 non-union employees, or 8 percent of its work force, to cut costs as Canada's biggest brewery refocuses on making beer and jettisons other enterprises.

Bell Atlantic Corp. was sued in Washington, D.C., for $50 million by 20 black current and former employees alleging retaliation against workers who report discrimination.

Herbert Stein, an economist who served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Nixon administration, died Wednesday in Washington. He was 83.

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