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W.Va. average gas prices rise 2 cents per gallon

Jan. 16, 2013 @ 12:31 AM

CHARLESTON -- Motorists are paying more for gas in West Virginia than they did a week ago.

AAA East Central says the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.44, up 2 cents from a week ago.

The national average remained unchanged at $3.30.

The highest average price is in Martinsburg, where a gallon of regular costs $3.60. Motorists in Parkersburg are paying the lowest price at $3.28.

Dippin' Dots to expand in Paducah, add 30 jobs

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Gov. Steve Beshear has announced that Dippin' Dots LLC is planning to upgrade and expand its plant in Paducah, adding 30 new jobs.

Beshear made the announcement Tuesday, the day after a federal bankruptcy hearing involving the novelty ice cream maker was canceled.

Once the self-proclaimed "Ice Cream of the Future," Dippin' Dots sought federal bankruptcy protection in 2011. The company called the move necessary to stave off foreclosure on more than $11 million in loans. Investors from Oklahoma City purchased Paducah-based company for $12.7 million in May.

Now, the new owners are planning operational improvements that will include a $3.1 million investment to upgrade and renovate the plant as well as the added jobs.

Brand Yourself selected for January cash mob

HUNTINGTON -- Brand Yourself, a store which sells customizable apparel and gift items highlighting the area, will be the cash mob recipient for January through Create Huntington. The store will be mobbed from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, at its location in Shop 9 at the Shops at Heritage Station.

Create Huntington hosts the cash mobs as a way to show the community's appreciation to local businesses and entrepreneurs. Participants are encouraged to spend at least $10 at the business being mobbed. Anyone is welcome to participate.

For more information, visit www.createhuntington.com.

American Airlines rejects union bid

DALLAS -- Customer-service agents at American Airlines narrowly rejected a union's bid to represent them in collective bargaining with the company.

The airport and reservations-center agents voted against representation by the Communications Workers of America by 3,052 to 2,902, or 51 percent to 49 percent. About 76 percent of eligible workers voted, according to results released Tuesday.

"We're pleased that our reservations, customer service and premium services employees voted to remain independent," said American Airlines spokeswoman Missy Cousino.

The union said it lost votes because American cut about 2,000 agent jobs after filing for bankruptcy protection in November 2011. Spokeswoman Candice Johnson said departing workers had to give up job-recall rights to get severance payments, which made them ineligible to vote. "Those were union votes," she said.

American acknowledged that about 900 agents who took early-out bonuses gave up their recall rights, and those who left before the election couldn't vote. The airline countered, however, that it wanted about 800 people hired after the union filed its election petition to vote, but it lost a ruling on the issue from the National Mediation Board, which oversees union-representation elections.

The union could launch another organizing campaign, but rules approved by Congress last year would make it harder to force an election. The issue also could come up again if American parent AMR Corp. merges with US Airways, whose agents are represented by CWA and the Teamsters.

American went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in a failed bid to block the election.

American argued that the union should have been required to show support from 50 percent of eligible workers before an election under a change in voting rules approved by Congress in February 2012. But the union argued that it only needed 35 percent support to force a vote under rules that were in effect when it filed for an election, and the courts upheld that view.

The agents are the largest bloc of nonunion workers at American. The airline's pilots, flight attendants and ground workers are represented by other unions.

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