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Workers at local GM plants approve tentative contract

United Auto Workers members at two area General Motors plants have voted in favor of a tentative deal with the automaker.

At the GM Components Holdings plant in Lockport, 55 percent of members who cast ballots voted in favor of the deal. The final tally was 358 to 297, said Todd McNall, shop chairman of UAW 686.

At the Town of Tonawanda engine plant, 70 percent of ballots cast were in favor of the deal. A specific tally was not disclosed.

Voting at UAW locals around the country is scheduled to be completed this morning, and overall results should be announced today.

The union and GM last Friday reached a tentative deal covering 48,500 workers.

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Economic workshop set

The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council will hold a second community workshop from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday in the David C. Hohn Lecture Hall at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.

The council scheduled the second forum after a workshop in the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo earlier this month attracted an overflow crowd.

Unlike traditional public hearings, where speakers have the opportunity to make brief remarks for a set period of time, the forum uses interactive technology to poll the audience on their opinion on a range of topics. The polling uses "clickers" to tabulate the results to specific questions posed to the audience. Follow-up questions then will be asked of the audience to clarify why they feel a particular way.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in July formed 10 councils across the state that will compete for about $200 million in state funding, with the top four plans each receiving $40 million.

To register for the workshop, visit http://nyworks.ny.gov/content/western-new-york or call 846-8247.

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New iPhone due out Oct. 4

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple will introduce a new version of the iPhone at an Oct. 4 event, the first upgrade of its best-selling product since Steve Jobs resigned as chief executive officer.

"Let's talk iPhone," Apple said in an invitation to the gathering at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

The new iPhone will include a better camera and faster processor, people familiar with the matter said earlier this year. Introduced in 2007, the iPhone accounts for about half of Apple's revenue. Demand for the touch-screen gadget has helped catapult Apple ahead of Exxon Mobil as the world's most valuable company.

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Walmart executive retiring

BENTONVILLE, Arkansas (AP) -- Walmart Stores Inc. announced Tuesday that one of its key executives, Eduardo Castro-Wright, will retire in 2012.

The world's biggest retailer said that Castro-Wright, 56, will retire from his role as vice chairman of Walmart and CEO of its global e-commerce and global sourcing business on July 1. Walmart aims to name a replacement by the end of January and have Castro-Wright assist in the transition.

Castro-Wright joined Walmart in 2001 and led its business in Mexico before becoming president and CEO of its U.S. operations in 2005.

In June 2010, Walmart appointed Bill Simon, who had been chief operating officer, to take over its U.S. operations, shifting Castro-Wright to lead the retailer's global e-commerce and sourcing business. Walmart said at the time that the move allowed Castro-Wright to relocate to California to be with his family, including his wife who was recovering from a heart transplant. It also helped Walmart increase its emphasis on building its international online business.

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Free java at Wilson Farms

In honor of National Coffee Day, Wilson Farms will be giving away free medium cups of fresh-brewed coffee from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday. The four-hour span is dubbed a CofFree Break.

"Coffee is one of Wilson Farms' and 7-Eleven's top-selling products," said Mark Senay, director of the Wilson Farms transition team and 7-Eleven stores in Western New York. "We have an extremely loyal coffee following."

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