Columbia Gas to add 125 positions

Columbia Gas to add 125 positions

Columbia Gas of Ohio is adding to its construction- and-field-operations work force as it completes gas-pipeline-replacement projects in the state.

The company plans to add 125 permanent, full-time workers, about 12 of whom will be from eastern Ohio.

Dave Rau, manager of communications and community relations for Columbia Gas of Ohio, declined to give information about wages and benefits for the positions but said that information would be discussed with job candidates during the interview process.

Dow has best start to year since 1999


The Dow Jones industrial average closed its best start to the year since 1999 Thursday, rising 6.4 percent in the first three months. The index of 30 large companies gained 742 points in that stretch. Measured against other first quarters, that’s the largest point gain since 1998 and the second-best on record.

Stocks ended the day mixed as the price of oil jumped to a 30-month high. Slightly disappointing reports on unemployment claims and factory orders also weighed on the market.

The first-quarter gains were anything but an easy ride. Uprisings in the Arab world, a jump in oil prices along with the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan led to many deep one-day falls.

Calif. bill would ease unionizing on farms


California lawmakers are moving ahead with a bill that would make it easier for farm workers to unionize.

The legislation criticized by the business community passed the Senate on Thursday. It now goes to the Assembly.

The bill would let field laborers organize by submitting the signatures of a majority of workers to a state board rather than having a polling-place election.

GOP boosts drive to kill Fannie, Freddie


Senate Republicans introduced legislation Thursday that quickly would phase out government-run housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as GOP lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol intensified their drive to shrink the federal role in the mortgage market.

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, unveiled a bill that within five years would dismantle Fannie and Freddie or cut them loose as completely private entities. In the meantime, it would force them to take steps such as charging higher fees and shrinking the size of their mortgage portfolios in hopes of opening up more of the mortgage market to private banks.

Honda, Mazda to resume some work


Honda Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp. said Thursday they will resume limited production at several Japanese factories in April, but full production depends on the availability of parts.

The moves are another sign that the Japanese auto industry is starting to come back from the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami, but industry analysts say it may take until summer before factories are back at full output.

Vindicator staff/wire reports

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