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Business - Chicago Tribune

Business news from the Chicago Tribune. Get money tips, stock market updates and the latest Chicago business news.

Last Build Date: Tue, 23 May 2017 03:45:49 -0500

Copyright: ©2017 Chicago Tribune

Chicago could change who can remove passengers from planes following United incident

Mon, 22 May 2017 13:08:20 PDT

Chicago employees couldn't help airline employees remove passengers from planes except during crimes or emergencies under a measure aldermen advanced Monday, responding to the infamous dragging incident on a United Airlines flight at O'Hare International Airport.

Confusion remains, though, over...


From paperboy to CEO: 3 Chicago execs reflect on their first jobs

Mon, 22 May 2017 08:19:00 PDT

Summer is coming and so are summer jobs — though they're not as hot as they used to be.

The share of 16- to 19-year-olds working or looking for work during the summer has plunged over the last few decades, from a peak of 72 percent in July 1978 to 43 percent last July, in part because more kids...


Illinois, Indiana engineer a successful jobs program with Purdue Northwest

Mon, 22 May 2017 05:29:00 PDT

When entrepreneur Nick Wilson realized how tough it was to find qualified engineers for his Cook County-based manufacturing company, he crossed the border to Indiana and did something about it.

That was in 2008, and since then Wilson has been instrumental in forging an unusual Illinois-Indiana...


Retail bankruptcies push available anchor store space to new high in Chicago area

Mon, 22 May 2017 14:18:30 PDT

Seeing a lot of big, empty stores? It's not just you. A string of retail bankruptcies has pushed the amount of available anchor retail space in the Chicago area to a new high, and is creating opportunities for some retailers in expansion mode.

There are 218 anchor stores totaling 10.8 million square...


Honeybees a sweet perk at downtown commercial high-rises

Fri, 19 May 2017 17:59:00 PDT

Bill Whitney rolled up to the loading dock of a Near West Side high-rise with about 54,000 honeybees riding shotgun in his Chevy.

The pickup truck, sporting license plates that read "B SAVER," was overflowing with the parts needed to construct three hives for about 27,000 of those bees on top of...


Fields out at Ford; new CEO Hackett known for turnarounds

Mon, 22 May 2017 12:35:00 PDT

Ford is replacing CEO Mark Fields as it struggles to keep its traditional auto-manufacturing business running smoothly while remaking itself as a nimble, high-tech provider of new mobility services.

The 114-year-old automaker said Fields is retiring at age 56 after 28 years at the company. Fields...


Conagra still poised for tax breaks, despite cutting Illinois workforce in half

Fri, 19 May 2017 14:39:00 PDT

Conagra Brands, maker of products like Reddi-wip and Slim Jim, won $10.5 million in state tax breaks through a now-halted program meant to boost Illinois' economy. But since that September 2015 agreement, it's sold part of its business, cutting its Illinois workforce roughly in half.

Illinois offered...


Why kale is everywhere: How food trends are born

Sat, 20 May 2017 16:25:00 PDT

Kale has had quite a run.

Less than a decade ago, the leafy green vegetable was used primarily for decoration on salad bars. Now kale, known for its health benefits, is so ubiquitous that even McDonald's uses it in salads. There are kale chips and kale crackers. And its appearance on Midwestern...


AT&T workers strike in Chicago, nationwide

Fri, 19 May 2017 15:36:00 PDT

Chicago-area AT&T workers who are members of Communications Workers of America walked off the job Friday as part of a planned three-day national strike over a contract dispute.

The walkout could shut down some AT&T retail stores this weekend. Illinois has 53 AT&T stores, two call centers and 1,274...


BMO Harris mistakenly sends some customers other customers' account details

Thu, 18 May 2017 14:13:00 PDT

BMO Harris is trying to determine how widespread a problem it has after it sent some customers not only their own tax forms, but also forms belonging to other bank customers.

Customers who contacted the Chicago Tribune said they opened their mailings this week to find personal information of another...


Lincoln Towing's license on the line in ICC hearing

Thu, 18 May 2017 14:15:00 PDT

For nearly six decades, Lincoln Towing Service has earned an infamous reputation for hauling away countless Chicago vehicles.

The Andersonville-based firm, dubbed the "Lincoln Park Pirates" in song and lore, may soon be facing the hook itself: an Illinois Commerce Commission hearing to determine...


Butterball to close 600-employee meatpacking plant in Montgomery

Thu, 18 May 2017 14:30:00 PDT

Butterball will shutter its Gusto meatpacking plant in Montgomery, where it employs about 600 full-time workers, marking another painful loss of jobs in the Aurora area.

The North Carolina-based company's announcement comes after Caterpillar announced last month it would close its manufacturing...


Trump's budget proposal to include paid family leave

Fri, 19 May 2017 06:51:00 PDT

President Donald Trump's budget proposal next week will include a new benefit for America's working parents, one Democrats have long championed and Republicans have long opposed: paid family leave.

The president's first detailed budget request on Tuesday will seek funds for the creation of a program...


Target opening downtown Evanston store next year

Fri, 19 May 2017 11:53:08 PDT

One of Target's new small-scale stores is headed to downtown Evanston next year.

The 27,400-square-foot store will be in the Shops at Sherman Plaza, slightly north of Fountain Square, and is expected to open in March, Target said.

The store, aimed at Northwestern University students and downtown...


Health insurers, state officials say Trump is undermining Obamacare, pushing up rates

Thu, 18 May 2017 15:37:00 PDT

Health insurers across the country are making plans to dramatically raise Obamacare premiums or exit marketplaces amid growing exasperation with the Trump administration’s erratic management, inconsistent guidance and seeming lack of understanding of basic healthcare issues.

At the same time, state...


Emanuel's vision for North Branch redevelopment clears hurdle

Thu, 18 May 2017 13:16:00 PDT

City Hall took a big step Thursday toward transforming part of a longtime industrial corridor along the Chicago River into a new neighborhood with thousands of residents.

As expected, the city Plan Commission approved the "North Branch Framework," Mayor Rahm Emanuel's bid to make it easier for...


Mall owner GGP moving HQ to River North tower

Thu, 18 May 2017 12:23:00 PDT

With the wrecking ball looming over its low-slung building, mall owner GGP plans to move its headquarters less than a half-mile up the Chicago River.

GGP is working to finalize a lease for about 160,000 square feet at River North Point, the office building formerly known as the Apparel Center,...


'Light-touch' regulations: FCC takes step to repeal tough net neutrality rules

Thu, 18 May 2017 13:50:00 PDT

Federal regulators on Thursday took the first formal step toward repealing tough net neutrality rules enacted two years ago that imposed strict oversight of Internet service providers to ensure the unfettered flow of online content.

The move by the Federal Communications Commission — cheered on...


Navy Pier security guards strike over new contractor

Thu, 18 May 2017 16:07:00 PDT

Navy Pier's security guards went on strike Thursday to protest a new security contractor the union says plans to replace them with workers making half their wage.

Allied Universal, which took over from previous contractor SMG on Wednesday, has refused to recognize the workers' collective bargaining...


U. of C. Medicine, Google hope to use patterns in patient records to predict health

Wed, 17 May 2017 14:51:00 PDT

As a patient, your electronic medical record contains a wealth of information about you: vital signs, notes from physicians and medications.

Doctors use that information to track your medical history and keep tabs on you in the hospital — but what if they could also use it to predict your future...


John Hancock Center could change owners - and names

Wed, 17 May 2017 12:42:00 PDT

The John Hancock Center could be getting a new owner — and maybe even a new name.

Chicago-based developer Hearn Co. plans to put the North Michigan Avenue tower's office space and parking garage up for sale, possibly by late summer, company President and CEO Stephen Hearn said.

Hearn said he believes...


McDonald's expands McDelivery via UberEats; 40-piece McNuggets is popular

Wed, 17 May 2017 07:01:00 PDT

McDonald's said Wednesday it has expanded delivery via UberEats to about 270 restaurants in Chicago and about 700 more nationwide, a move aimed at winning back younger consumers willing to pay more for food brought to their doors.

"McDelivery" is also now available at about 300 restaurants in Los...


Workplace drug testing finds cocaine, marijuana use at 12-year high

Tue, 16 May 2017 13:51:00 PDT

Employees increasingly are testing positive for marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines at work, driving the rates of positive drug tests in the United States to the highest level in 12 years.

Quest Diagnostics, a leading lab services company based in Madison, N.J., on Tuesday released its annual...


Suburban 'Bionic Wrench' maker wins $6M in patent suit against Sears, supplier

Wed, 17 May 2017 04:30:00 PDT

The father and son behind a Palos Park tool company thought Sears Holdings' Craftsman brand locking wrench looked a lot like their patented Bionic Wrench — in fact, a little too much.

A federal jury in Chicago agreed. Nearly five years after Dan Brown Sr.'s company, LoggerHead Tools, accused Sears...


Glenview-based SoyNut Butter files for bankruptcy after possible E. coli contamination

Wed, 17 May 2017 08:14:00 PDT

Glenview-based SoyNut Butter Co. has filed for bankruptcy and plans to liquidate after its products were recalled for possible E. coli contamination.

In its Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, SoyNut Butter, which makes a nut-free peanut butter substitute, revealed it has less than $50,000 in estimated...


4 insurers out of running for Rauner's Medicaid overhaul

Tue, 16 May 2017 14:53:00 PDT

More than 200,000 Illinois Medicaid beneficiaries are about to see a major shake-up of the program, with several insurers now out of the running to be part of Gov. Bruce Rauner's overhaul plan.

On Monday, the state released a list of insurers that responded to a request for proposals to participate...


Aldi will spend $180 million remodeling most of its Chicago-area stores

Mon, 15 May 2017 22:05:00 PDT

Aldi, one of the fastest growing grocery chains in the U.S., plans to spend about $180 million remodeling 130 of its 150 Chicago-area stores by 2020 — part of a broader effort to move its no-frills model into modern times.

The stores will be brighter, more contemporary in design, and in some cases,...


Domino's will bring you pizza by robot, drone or canoe

Tue, 16 May 2017 11:04:00 PDT

As the severe recession took hold in 2008, Domino’s Pizza Inc. was sinking as well.

The pizza delivery chain was under siege for its lousy food and mediocre service. Complaints poured in that a Domino’s pizza crust tasted like cardboard and its tomato sauce like ketchup.

Investors weren’t happy,...


Benefit Chicago fund makes first round of loans to 6 small businesses, nonprofits

Tue, 16 May 2017 08:12:00 PDT

Businesses that provide employment opportunities for autistic people and ex-convicts are among the first beneficiaries of a novel philanthropic endeavor that allows individuals to make an impact on Chicago by investing as little as $20.

Benefit Chicago, launched a year ago with $65 million in backing...


Did you hear? Amazon is a local, global game-changer

Tue, 16 May 2017 03:07:00 PDT

In the early days of Amazon, when it was primarily selling books online, company CEO Jeff Bezos met with a small group of Chicago-based business journalists, including myself.

I recall Bezos trying to talk about his vision of endless online possibilities.

But our hard-nosed group had little patience...


Chicago Tribune owner seeks to buy Sun-Times

Mon, 15 May 2017 15:56:00 PDT

In the long and raucous, altogether lively if recently beleaguered history of Chicago newspapers, Monday will rank as a "stop-the-presses" day after it was announced that, in short headline style: "Chicago Tribune Seeks To Buy Chicago Sun-Times."

Tronc, the parent company of the Tribune, has entered...


Insurer Harken Health shutting doors

Mon, 15 May 2017 14:38:21 PDT

Insurer Harken Health is closing its doors in Illinois and Georgia, ending an experiment to combine health insurance and care.

The insurer, which operates five health clinics in Chicago, Skokie and Des Plaines, began selling plans in Illinois and Georgia in 2015. A subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare,...


Jewel-Osco makes bid to buy 19 Strack & Van Til grocery stores

Mon, 15 May 2017 10:23:00 PDT

Jewel-Osco is looking to add to its fleet of grocery stores, making a bid for 19 Strack & Van Til stores in northwest Indiana for about $100 million, according to court documents.

The Itasca-based grocery chain plans to keep all the stores open and retain most of their employees, according to a...


Anheuser-Busch will invest $2 billion in U.S. to push beyond Bud

Mon, 15 May 2017 12:06:00 PDT

The maker of Budweiser, facing more competition in America from craft brews and cocktails, is spending billions to fight back.

Anheuser-Busch InBev will devote $2 billion in U.S. capital spending to bolstering its flagship brands and improving distribution. The money also will help support the...


Sears CEO still committed to turnaround, but signs are tough to see

Fri, 12 May 2017 15:48:00 PDT

"Profit Down, Sears May Hold Yard Sale." "Are Sears and Kmart Goners?" "Will Sears go bankrupt?"

Those are not the headlines you'd expect a company's chairman and CEO to put on the big screen at an annual shareholder's meeting.

Sears Holdings' Edward Lampert, however, displayed them not once but...


In South Loop, plans for city within the city begin taking shape

Mon, 15 May 2017 11:56:00 PDT

A year after grabbing control of the largest undeveloped site in downtown Chicago, Related Midwest is thinking big while taking it slow.

Over the next two decades, the developer envisions creating a city within the city on the 62-acre parcel along the Chicago River, south of Roosevelt Road, that...


Spate of store closures puts a wrinkle in summer jobs for teens

Fri, 12 May 2017 15:37:49 PDT

A summer spent folding and refolding sweaters at the mall was once a teen rite of passage. But as the end of the school year nears, young people hoping to find summer retail jobs must contend with a wave of shuttered storefronts and an industry in revolt.

Fourteen retail chains filed for bankruptcy...


Clues point to possible North Korean involvement in massive cyberattack

Mon, 15 May 2017 20:46:00 PDT

Security researchers have found digital clues in the malware used in last weekend's global ransomware attack that might indicate North Korea is involved, although they caution the evidence is not conclusive.

An early version of the "WannaCry" ransomware that affected more than 150 countries and...


Why this year's college grads aren't chasing jobs at startup companies

Fri, 12 May 2017 10:15:44 PDT

The fantasy of graduating from college and immediately going to work with the next Mark Zuckerberg is dying.

For the first time in years, fewer college graduates are enamored by the idea of working for startup companies. Instead, this year's college graduates say they want the security and stability...


Business schools push back against annual rankings

Thu, 11 May 2017 15:26:00 PDT

Rankled by a system they say does not reflect their true value, a number of universities are pushing back against annual business school rankings.

Academics from more than 20 business schools participated in a research paper to be published this month in the journal Decision Sciences that questions...


In the age of cord cutting, Comcast video chief sees value in the bundle

Thu, 11 May 2017 09:49:00 PDT

In a world where cord cutting and streaming services have blurred the picture for the pay-TV industry, Matt Strauss, Comcast's top video executive, believes the key to keeping customers hooked up may come down to just one word: bundles.

Bundling everything from video and high-speed internet to...


Grudge match: State treasurer vs. insurance firms

Fri, 12 May 2017 03:00:00 PDT

A lively tussle is shaping up between a top Illinois official and the state's mighty insurance industry, and the Illinois General Assembly will pick the winner.

At the center of the dispute is legislation, supported by Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs, that compels life insurance companies to...


Midway food court changes: Goodbye, Potbelly and Harry Caray's. Hello, Home Run Inn and Schaller's Pump

Thu, 11 May 2017 07:51:00 PDT

If you're flying out of Midway over the next week or so, the airport could look very different when you get back in town.

Most existing restaurants, bars and cafes at Midway Airport will close over a nine-day period starting Friday and be replaced with new venues as part of a $75 million renovation...


Pharma lobbying group boots Lake Forest drug firm as it tries to boost industry image

Fri, 12 May 2017 07:33:00 PDT

Horizon Pharma, which has its U.S. headquarters in Lake Forest, is among more than 20 companies booted from a powerful drug industry lobbying group that's been working to turn around the industry's image.

The group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, announced new membership...


Why half of Cook County renters pay more than they can afford in rent

Thu, 11 May 2017 09:39:00 PDT

Over half of the renters in Cook County are paying more for housing each month than they can afford, the highest level since 1990, a new study has found.

The number of Cook County households that rent has soared since the financial crisis, with 44.2 percent of households in 2015 renting compared...


Central Grocers' bankruptcy signals trouble for 'dinosaur' supermarkets

Thu, 11 May 2017 04:03:00 PDT

There are a whole bunch of reasons why Central Grocers, a longtime area food store operator and wholesaler, recently filed for bankruptcy, but here's a big one: The traditional supermarket experience is over.

An immediate result of its Chapter 11 filing is the sale or closing of its grocery stores...


Roosevelt University looks to cash in on Michigan Avenue real estate

Wed, 10 May 2017 13:29:00 PDT

Roosevelt University wants to sell a Michigan Avenue property it owns, a deal that could bring in more than $20 million as the school looks to solidify its finances following a drop in enrollment.

Roosevelt has hired Savills Studley brokers to seek a sale of its Gage Building property on South...


Sears CEO: 'We're fighting like hell to change the way people do business with us'

Wed, 10 May 2017 03:00:00 PDT

After the sixth consecutive year of losses and several rounds of store closings, Sears Holdings Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert says he's still committed to reversing the department store chain's slide by turning Sears into a 21st-century merchant focused on catering to its best customers.

In an...


Chicago company hires Andy Slavitt, former Obama health care official

Wed, 10 May 2017 13:18:00 PDT

A Chicago health care company has hired Andy Slavitt, a former top government health care official who oversaw Medicare and Medicaid under President Barack Obama and was instrumental in helping to build Obamacare.

Avia announced Wednesday that Slavitt would act as a senior adviser to the company,...


Frangos, Sears Tower and now WGN - when local isn't so local anymore

Fri, 12 May 2017 11:52:25 PDT

First, they took our Frangos.

Now they've come for WGN.

"They" are the invaders who descend upon Chicago and snatch all sorts of things we pride ourselves on calling local.

That brewery. That bank. That candy company. One day they're ours, the next day they've been abducted by aliens.

This time the...


More jobless Illinoisans are giving up the job search, study finds

Wed, 10 May 2017 08:01:00 PDT

Though people often focus on unemployment rates as a measure of economic health, another telling data point is how many people are so discouraged with the job search that they're dropping out of the labor force altogether.

A newly released survey found good news: Fewer unemployed Americans are...


Sprint will seek a T-Mobile deal, chairman reportedly tells investors

Wed, 10 May 2017 11:21:00 PDT

Sprint chairman Masayoshi Son said the company would seek a merger with T-Mobile and sees the rival wireless carrier as its first choice among possible deal partners, according to a published report.

Son’s remarks came during a presentation of SoftBank Group Corp., the Tokyo-based company he founded...


Software firm ActiveCampaign plans 225 hires in new Loop HQ

Tue, 9 May 2017 14:41:00 PDT

Software firm ActiveCampaign will more than triple the size of its headquarters as it plans to add 225 employees in the Loop in the next two years.

The company has leased about 52,000 square feet in a 17-story vintage office building on Dearborn Street, where it plans to move in August, CEO and...


City issues plan for 760 acres along Chicago River, likely to bring building boom

Tue, 9 May 2017 05:10:00 PDT

Billions of dollars in commercial real estate development, as well as new sports fields, bridges, a new Metra station and other infrastructure could soon be coming to a 3.7-mile stretch along the Chicago River, after the city on Monday unveiled its final draft of proposed zoning and land use changes.


Toys R Us bets that fidget spinners are more than just a fad

Tue, 9 May 2017 11:35:00 PDT

Just like its customers' kids, Toys R Us is itching to get its hands on more fidget toys.

"They're pretty much evaporating the minute they get on shelves," said Richard Barry, Toys R Us executive vice president and chief merchandising officer.

Enthusiasts say the colorful toys, which sell for $2.50...


Spirit cancels dozens of O'Hare flights amid pilot dispute; judge backs airline

Tue, 9 May 2017 14:19:00 PDT

There have been dozens of Spirit Airlines cancellations — but no reported passenger conflagrations — at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport as a labor dispute between the discount carrier and its pilots continues.

Six Spirit flights were canceled at O'Hare Tuesday, with seven more scratched...


As Uber rises and the cost of taxi medallions plummets, a lender is suing local cab operators who defaulted

Tue, 9 May 2017 05:05:00 PDT

The borrowers owe more on their loans than their properties are worth.

Homeowners in financial trouble?

Guess again.

This time, it is not homes that are losing their value but the taxicab licenses, commonly called medallions, that are required for companies to operate within Chicago. Disruption...


Sinclair-Tribune Media deal spotlights media concentration worries

Tue, 9 May 2017 09:47:00 PDT

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.'s deal for Tribune Media Co. would give a broadcaster known for its conservative leanings fresh reach into leading media markets including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Sinclair, which last month named a former aide to President Donald Trump as its chief political...


University of Chicago grad students, undergrad library workers seek to unionize

Mon, 8 May 2017 16:24:00 PDT

The University of Chicago is facing unionization efforts from both graduate and undergraduate student workers.

Graduate Students United, a group that has campaigned for improved conditions for grad student workers at U. of C. since 2007, on Monday filed a formal petition with the Chicago regional...


Target to test next-day delivery for household items

Tue, 9 May 2017 06:51:00 PDT

Target is testing a program that lets customers order household essentials such as laundry detergent, paper towels and peanut butter and have them delivered to their homes the next day.

The service, being tested with employees for now, is similar to Amazon Pantry, and comes as Target is trying...


Sinclair to buy WGN owner Tribune Media for $3.9 billion plus debt

Mon, 8 May 2017 14:57:00 PDT

Sinclair Broadcast Group has agreed to buy Tribune Media in a cash and stock deal valued at $3.9 billion that would end local ownership of WGN, the iconic Chicago TV and radio stations.

Sinclair's acquisition of Chicago-based Tribune Media's 42 television stations and other assets would make the...


Sprint to open 105 new Chicago-area stores by 2018

Mon, 8 May 2017 07:09:00 PDT

Sprint plans to open 105 new stores in the Chicago area by 2018, the company said Monday.

The cellular phone carrier said it expects to hire about 500 employees for the new Sprint and Boost Mobile stores, with locations in the city and suburbs including Schaumburg, Rosemont and Skokie.

Sprint needs...


Trump slammed this Indiana factory on Twitter. Union leaders say he's all talk.

Tue, 9 May 2017 07:51:00 PDT

The president was tweeting about his factory again, and Don Zering was tired of it.

"Rexnord of Indiana made a deal during the Obama Administration to move to Mexico," President Trump wrote Sunday evening. "Fired their employees. Tax product big that's sold in U.S."

Zering, the leader of the United...


Nothing worse at work than a man convinced he's right

Mon, 8 May 2017 05:52:00 PDT

There are few things worse at work than a man who is certain he is right.

Not all men are like that, of course, but the ones who are tend to reach decisions and charge forward, blind to dissenting opinions or conflicting facts. And that often leads to trouble. Or failure. And to others taking the...


Ebony cuts a third of its staff, moving editorial operations to LA

Fri, 5 May 2017 17:15:00 PDT

Ebony magazine is cutting nearly a third of its staff and consolidating editorial operations with sister publication Jet in Los Angeles — a major shake-up for the venerable Chicago-based chronicler of the African-American experience.

A monthly lifestyle magazine that has called Chicago home since...


From 300 feet below Joliet to 67 stories above Chicago, the journey of the city's concrete

Wed, 3 May 2017 22:00:00 PDT

For much of the limestone used to build Chicago's buildings, fix its roads and even renovate Wrigley, the journey starts in a mine deep below the Earth's surface near Joliet.(image)

Why your 401(k) is vulnerable as tax reform plays out in Washington

Sat, 6 May 2017 15:39:00 PDT

If you are counting on 401(k) savings to keep a roof over your head when you retire, don't take your eye off tax reform negotiations in Washington.

Your 401(k) is vulnerable. And worse yet, if tax changes play out as some are proposing on Capitol Hill, you may have the extra burden of picking up...


Illinois Senate approves Right to Know online privacy bill

Fri, 5 May 2017 13:34:32 PDT

With the federal government rolling back internet privacy regulations, Illinois is moving forward with legislation to protect personal information collected online.

The state Senate on Thursday approved the groundbreaking Right to Know Act, a measure that would require online companies such as Google,...


Advocate Health Care to make $200 million in cuts

Fri, 5 May 2017 14:08:54 PDT

Advocate Health Care, the state's largest hospital system, is making $200 million in cuts in response to financial pressures, including many faced by hospitals across Illinois and nation.

The cuts will amount to about a 4 percent decrease in costs. The system is still evaluating exactly where those...


Flying doesn't have to be this way. But will airlines act?

Fri, 5 May 2017 08:00:00 PDT

Congressional hearings this week were supposed to probe United Airlines' recent passenger-dragging incident. Instead they turned into a Capitol Hill encounter group, reflecting the flying public's sky-high discontent with the U.S. airline industry.

While it's therapeutic to air grievances, venting...


What does the GOP health care bill mean for Illinois consumers?

Thu, 4 May 2017 04:50:00 PDT

House Republicans clinched a political victory Thursday with a nail-biting vote to pass the much-discussed American Health Care Act — a bill that aims to replace large swaths of Obamacare.

What could this mean for you?

Much is still unknown about exactly how the bill's provisions would unfold,...


Bank of America's river tower move to kick off hiring spree

Thu, 4 May 2017 15:51:08 PDT

Bank of America's big Wacker Drive lease will kick off construction of a 51-story office tower, as well as a hiring spree by the bank in Chicago.

The bank has signed a nearly 500,000-square-foot lease to anchor the development at 110 N. Wacker Drive, a site currently occupied by mall landlord...


Central Grocers files for bankruptcy, will lay off 550 at Joliet warehouse

Thu, 4 May 2017 13:56:40 PDT

After almost 100 years of doing business, Joliet-based Central Grocers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Thursday and will lay off about 550 employees at the company's Joliet warehouse.

Central Grocers is a grocery cooperative that has long operated as wholesaler for more than 400 independent grocery...


Fewer people going hungry in Cook County, but many still need help

Thu, 4 May 2017 03:00:00 PDT

More people in Cook County had consistent access to food in 2015 than at the recession-related peak of food insecurity just a few years prior, according to Feeding America's annual Map the Meal Gap report released Thursday.

But there were still more than 660,000 people in the county lacking consistent...


United apologizes again as more legislators vow to crack down on airlines

Thu, 4 May 2017 15:15:16 PDT

United Airlines was back on Capitol Hill on Thursday, facing more talk of stiffer consumer protection legislation in the wake of its passenger-dragging incident last month.

United President Scott Kirby, who also testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Tuesday, again...


Ken Griffin favors busting up biggest banks. It's worth a conversation

Thu, 4 May 2017 05:09:00 PDT

Besides being superwealthy, what else do President Donald Trump and locally based hedge fund impresario Ken Griffin have in common?

The answer is that each of these free market enthusiasts wants the U.S. government to explore busting up the country's largest banking groups, also known in some circles...


Big apartment tower planned south of the Chicago River on Michigan Avenue

Thu, 4 May 2017 06:35:00 PDT

Two well-known Chicago developers and a Chinese investor plan a big apartment tower on a once-drab stretch of Michigan Avenue that recently has sprung to life with a wave of real estate developments.

Chicago-based Sterling Bay and Magellan Development Group are drawing up plans for a tall apartment...


Senate vote deals blow to Illinois retirement savings program

Wed, 3 May 2017 17:41:00 PDT

A U.S. Senate vote Wednesday will complicate Illinois' effort to make workplace retirement savings plans available to 1.3 million workers, but state Treasurer Michael Frerichs said the federal action will not stop Illinois from going ahead with its novel Secure Choice program.

Under the Secure...


Blue Cross report blames pharma companies for high drug prices

Wed, 3 May 2017 11:45:00 PDT

In the ever-escalating battle over rising drug prices and who's to blame for them, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association released a report Wednesday pointing the finger at pharmaceutical companies.

The association reported that its member plans spent 73 percent more on prescription drugs in 2016...


Allstate plans big Merchandise Mart expansion

Wed, 3 May 2017 09:43:00 PDT

A year after opening an innovation center in the Merchandise Mart, Allstate Corp. is planning a big expansion of the office.

The Northbrook-based insurer has signed a lease to more than double its space in the sprawling River North building, property owner Vornado Realty Trust said.

Allstate has...


Fox is playing offense and defense in takeover bid for Tribune Media

Wed, 3 May 2017 05:35:00 PDT

21st Century Fox's bid to combine its local TV stations with Tribune Media would solve a lot of problems at once for Rupert Murdoch.

The proposal, with funding from Blackstone Group, would help Fox prevent Sinclair Broadcast Group from buying Tribune and gaining bargaining power by owning 28 percent...


Some food chains to post calories despite labeling rule delay

Tue, 2 May 2017 13:50:00 PDT

Want to know how many calories are in that one — or five — Krispy Kreme doughnuts you enjoyed this weekend? You'll soon find out.

Some chain restaurants, grocery and convenience stores are moving ahead with plans to post calorie counts on menus and food labels this week, despite an eleventh-hour...


Clark and Diversey building coming down; TJMaxx, BlueMercury to anchor new development

Tue, 2 May 2017 14:39:00 PDT

A building at the border of Lincoln Park and Lakeview is being razed to make way for a new retail building, but while the current structure is coming down, the Apple billboard atop the property is staying put.

Think different, indeed.

Retail real estate investor Acadia Realty Trust has begun tearing...


Baxter CEO says company will stop dumping water in north suburban lake

Tue, 2 May 2017 14:03:00 PDT

Baxter International will stop dumping treated water into a north suburban lake, the company's CEO said Tuesday, potentially ending a more than 15-year battle with a group of residents.

Baxter is requesting permits to redirect the water into the public wastewater system, said Jose Almeida, chairman...


United CEO, airline execs face latest group of unhappy customers: Congress

Wed, 3 May 2017 04:15:00 PDT

Legislators who grilled executives from some of the nation's largest airlines Tuesday — an event precipitated by United Airlines' passenger-dragging incident last month — sounded like any other group of aggrieved passengers wondering why flying so often seems so unpleasant.

They complained about...


Lululemon's Gold Coast store to nearly double in size as it becomes flagship

Mon, 1 May 2017 13:31:00 PDT

Lululemon is stretching out in the Gold Coast, where the yoga-wear brand plans to expand its store into a flagship.

The Canadian retailer plans to nearly double the size of its store at Rush and Walton streets by expanding into an adjacent building, according to the owner of the buildings, Acadia...


U. of I. Urbana-Champaign considered hot spot for buying homes for students

Mon, 1 May 2017 14:03:00 PDT

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is in one of the most attractive college towns in the country when it comes to buying homes for college students rather than paying rent, a study shows.

The area ranks 10th in the nation for homes that are more affordable than rent in college towns,...


Illinois' medical debt spiral injures people, economy

Tue, 2 May 2017 03:00:00 PDT

When it comes to not paying its medical and insurance bills on time or in full, one of the biggest and baddest deadbeats around is our own state of Illinois.

It's an acute and escalating problem, one that threatens the fiscal health of all types of state and area medical care providers and their...


Can McDonald's finally make a premium burger work?

Mon, 1 May 2017 11:07:00 PDT

McDonald's has launched a line of premium mix-and-match sandwiches it calls Signature Crafted, a pricier option it hopes customers will bite onto despite their focus on value.

The Signature Crafted line features three topping choices: Maple Bacon Dijon (grilled onions, thick-cut bacon and Dijon...


Having plenty of money for retirement doesn't mean it will last long enough

Sun, 30 Apr 2017 03:00:00 PDT

Is retirement starting to tempt you?

Maybe you peer into your 401(k) and think: "Not bad. Should I go for it?"

Perhaps you've even run some numbers on a calculator to assure yourself that you can remove 4 or 5 percent of your savings each year for living expenses, or your financial adviser confirms...


Putting a pet on a plane? Here's what you need to know

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:01:00 PDT

Simon, the rabbit found dead after traveling on a United Airlines international flight this month, highlighted the concerns of pet owners whose animals travel by air, above or below deck.

Last year, 26 pets died on the flights of U.S. commercial airlines, down from a high of 35 in 2015. United...


You're not going to get $10,000 for your airline seat, but strategy can help

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:29:00 PDT

United Airlines said it will offer passengers on overbooked flights up to $10,000 in compensation to ease the angst of being shunted to a later flight.

The eye-popping sum, which matches Delta Air Lines' top offer, was part of a package of changes United announced Thursday as the airline works...


Calorie labeling rule delayed by FDA until next year

Mon, 1 May 2017 15:02:00 PDT

A federal rule that would mandate all chain restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores and other food sellers to post calorie counts on their menus has been delayed until 2018 after a last-minute reprieve from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The rule, which originally was proposed as...


Macy's puts State Street flagship up for sale - at least the top half of it

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 08:04:00 PDT

More than a year after first dropping hints about cashing in on its State Street store, Macy's is making it official: It's ready to sell.

The Loop flagship is formally for sale — or, to be more precise, the top half of the building is available to potential buyers or joint venture partners. The...


Jewel taps longtime exec to lead grocery chain in changing industry

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 13:49:00 PDT

Jewel-Osco, the Chicago area's largest traditional grocery store chain, has tapped Doug Cygan as its next president to lead the company forward in a fiercely competitive grocery industry.

Cygan, 53, is a Jewel lifer who started with the company as a parking lot cart clerk at age 17 and rose through...


As online rivals sprout, Peapod girds for battle

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 10:11:00 PDT

Peapod, the online grocery delivery system started in 1989, has prevailed in a business segment that's seen some high-profile and aggressive competitors come and go.

Now the Skokie-based company is girding for another wave of energized rivals seeking a slice of a market that's expected to be worth...


Menu labeling rule in limbo as feds signal last-minute delay

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 08:05:08 PDT

A federal rule that would make it mandatory for all restaurant, supermarket and convenience store chains to post calorie counts on their menus is in limbo, just days before it was set to take effect.

The regulations require any restaurant, grocery or convenience store chain that sells food with...


Nursing home workers threaten strike at 53 Chicago-area facilities

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:12:00 PDT

Some 5,000 workers at 53 Chicago-area nursing homes are threatening to go on strike next week if long-running contract negotiations don't satisfy their calls for higher wages and staffing levels.

SEIU Healthcare Illinois announced the walkout plans Thursday morning before the last scheduled contract...


Passenger dragged from United plane at O'Hare reaches settlement with airline

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:36:00 PDT

The United Airlines passenger who was bloodied and dragged down the aisle of a plane after refusing to give up his seat has reached a settlement with the carrier and will not sue the city, attorneys for the passenger said Thursday.

Dr. David Dao, 69, of Elizabethtown, Ky., was one of four passengers...


Demetrio, lawyer for dragged United passenger, is highflying aviation attorney

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 07:18:00 PDT

Thomas Demetrio, the Chicago personal injury lawyer who negotiated an undisclosed settlement with United Airlines in its passenger-dragging incident, is no stranger to holding airlines accountable.

Well-known in legal circles, Demetrio, 69, has been in the spotlight since the April 9 episode in...