Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Thursday, December 9, 1999

Arbitration group picks isle manager

The American Arbitration Association has named Constance Hassell as its regional manager, responsible for Hawaii, Guam and Saipan. She will promote and market mediation as a way to settle disputes without going to court.

Hassell's career has included service as a dispute-resolution research analyst for the state Judiciary, a management consultant, a deputy Honolulu prosecuting attorney, a University of Hawaii business management instructor and a staff attorney with the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

She has worked as an arbitrator and mediator for several years, the association said.

Foodland machines will count coins

Foodland Super Market Ltd. will soon have coin-counting machines available to customers in all 17 of its Oahu stores, where they can dump in any unsorted mixture of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters and have them counted for a fee.

Foodland said the Coinstar self-service machines will deduct 8.9 percent from the value of the coins counted and issue vouchers for the rest. The vouchers can be turned in at the cash register to pay for purchases or in exchange for cash.

Labor negotiations at Northwest fizzle

MINNEAPOLIS -- An effort to revive contract negotiations for flight attendants at Northwest Airlines has collapsed, prolonging a labor struggle that is more than three years old.

In a special news wire to its employees, Northwest said the National Mediation Board indefinitely recessed mediated talks because union negotiators introduced a proposal that was unrealistic and not likely to lead to an agreement.

United launching Beijing, Seoul flights

SAN FRANCISCO -- United Airlines plans to begin daily nonstop service between San Francisco and Beijing and Seoul next spring to take advantage of the booming high-technology industry.

"The economy of (Silicon) Valley is booming," said Ray Klinke, United's international manager at San Francisco International Airport. "This service will join America's high-tech center with the high-tech centers of Asia." The airline also plans to begin nonstop service between San Francisco and Frankfurt, Germany, in June.

30-year mortgages steady at 7.84%

WASHINGTON -- The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages held steady at 7.84 percent this week, while other mortgage rates edged down, according to a weekly survey released today by Freddie Mac, the mortgage company.

Mortgages rates have generally moved higher this year. The average rates on a 30-year mortgage hit a low of 6.74 percent at the end of January and a high of 8.15 percent set in mid August.

Fifteen-year mortgages averaged 7.45 percent this week, down slightly from the average of 7.46 percent last week. One-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged an initial rate of 6.45 percent this week, also down from 6.49 percent last week.

Gateway founder giving up CEO post

SAN DIEGO -- Nearly 15 years ago, Ted Waitt co-founded Gateway Inc. in an Iowa farmhouse, personally selling, building and shipping personal computers in the now-famous cowhide-designed boxes to customers around the world.

Yesterday, he made a move that some analysts view as going out to pasture.

Waitt, 36, gave up his title as chief executive officer to president Jeff Weitzen, but vows to remain active as chairman of the board.

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