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BUSINESS TODAY

US AIRWAYS PROPOSES CUTS: In a final cost-cutting proposal to its machinists union, US Airways wants to eliminate the jobs of as many as 2,000 mechanics, airplane cleaners, stock clerks and other technical workers. The cuts, detailed in a document obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, are part of a final push for $1-billion in annual savings from all unions that the airline says it must have to exit bankruptcy. The International Association of Machinists, the only union not to approve a new round of concessions with the troubled airline, agreed last week to send the offer to its 8,800 members for a vote. The votes will be tallied Jan. 21.

ATA PILOTS REJECT CUTS: ATA Airlines pilots have rejected a $6-million temporary wage cut, which the airline said it needs to emerge from bankruptcy protection. A union spokesman said 79 percent of the pilots voted against the tentative deal. Richard Meyer, ATA's senior vice president of employee relations, said the airline looks forward to further discussions with the pilots this month.

TWO UNIONS TO UNITE: The United Steelworkers of America and PACE, the Paper, Allied Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union, announced a merger Tuesday that will create the nation's largest industrial labor union and encompass more than three-quarters of a million workers. The combined force will have more political clout and broader coverage of workers in the industrial sector, union officials said. The new organization also will focus on boosting membership levels, which have declined in recent years. The name of the new union will be the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union.

EX-BROKERS PLEAD GUILTY: Two former Kaplan & Company Securities brokers pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's probe of improper trading practices in the mutual fund industry. Delano N. Sta. Ana, 31, and Lawrence Powell, 40, both former brokers at Florida-based Kaplan, pleaded guilty to violating New York state's general business law and face a maximum of one to four years in prison, Spitzer said in a statement Tuesday. The two brokers also settled civil allegations filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

TREASURY AUCTION: The U.S. Treasury sold $8-billion in four-week bills at a high discount rate of 1.98 percent on Tuesday. At last week's auction, the bills drew a rate of 2 percent. The return to investors is 2.011 percent, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,984.60. The bills are intended to reduce the government's reliance on irregularly issued cash management bills.

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