SC Business Notebook: Boeing awards performance bonuses

June 21, 2014 

C. ALUKA BERRY — caberry@thestate.com Buy Photo

Boeing awards performance bonuses

If you see Boeing South Carolina workers smiling a little brighter, it’s because they finally received bonuses for catch-up work at the North Charleston factory’s Dreamliner assembly line.

Workers met and maintained production goals in early May, qualifying many of the nearly 7,500 factory floor workers at the sprawling plant for rewards equaling 8 percent of their base pay for the previous 12 months. Office workers, engineers and other white-collar employees received a flat $2,500 bonus.

Eligible employees on Thursday received the payouts, called productivity performance awards by Boeing, company spokeswoman Candy Eslinger said. Workers also were treated with lunch.

Aaron’s sued in privacy case

Months after settling with the government over claims it secretly installed software on leased products to monitor and collect data on customers, Atlanta-based Aaron’s faces a lawsuit over similar allegations.

Colorado lawyers Michael Peterson and Matthew Lyons filed an invasion of privacy suit this week in federal court in Atlanta. They claim Aaron’s and a franchisee secretly collected thousands of screen shots of personal data and kept key-stroke logs, all taken from computers the plaintiffs leased from Aaron’s and its affiliate Aspen Way Enterprises of Fort Collins, Colorado.

An attorney for the lawyers told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the screen shots and logs were revealed during the discovery phase of another lawsuit targeting Aaron’s and Aspen. The earlier suit was filed in 2011 by a Wyoming couple who claim similar invasion of privacy on rented laptops.

Aaron’s spokeswoman Garet Hayes said the company does not comment on pending litigation.

Starbucks raising prices

Starbucks is raising prices on some of its drinks by 5 cents to 20 cents starting next week, and customers can also soon expect to pay $1 more for the packaged coffee it sells in supermarkets.

The Seattle-based chain also raised prices on some of the drinks sold in its cafes a year ago. The latest hikes don’t seem to be driven purely by the surging bean costs that have pressured other coffee sellers to raise prices, however, since Starbucks has said it already locked in its coffee contracts for the rest of this fiscal year and much of the next.

In March, CEO Howard Schultz said during an interview with Fox Business that Starbucks had no intentions of raising its prices. In an email Friday, Starbucks spokesman Jim Olson noted that many factors go into pricing decisions, including “competitive dynamics” and the company’s “cost structure,” which he said includes costs for a variety of ingredients, as well as materials, labor and occupancy costs.

RadioShack stock drops below $1

RadioShack’s stock closed below $1 per share Friday for the first time in its history, reflecting investors’ concern over what lies in store for the long-struggling consumer electronics chain.

Shares of RadioShack Corp. fell 11 cents, or 10 percent, to close at 92 cents. The New York Stock Exchange could delist the stock if it closes below $1 per share for 30 consecutive trading days.

The stock is well below its all-time high of $79.50, set in December 1999. The shares’ sharp dive since then comes as RadioShack struggles to find its place in the evolving retail and technology landscape.

If shares remain below $1 and are delisted, that doesn’t automatically mean RadioShack faces immediate death. Its stock could still be traded in the over-the-counter market.

But analysts say that a bankruptcy proceeding is likely for the company. RadioShack did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press.

Long known as a destination for batteries and obscure electronic parts, RadioShack has sought to remake itself as a specialist in wireless devices and accessories. But growth in the wireless business is slowing, as more people have smartphones and see fewer reasons to upgrade. The (Charleston) Post and Courier, Cox Newspapers and The Associated Press contributed.

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