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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: Sun, 4 Dec 2016 06:31:26 -0600

Copyright: ©2016 Chicago Tribune

Growing air travel gap: Luxury lie-flats seats in front, 'basic' fares in back

Sat, 3 Dec 2016 09:21:00 PST

Book a business-class ticket on a United Airlines long-haul international flight and you'll enjoy Saks Fifth Avenue bedding, an ergonomic eye shade and midair wine tasting. Buy the airline's lowest-priced basic economy seat in mid-2017 and you won't even get space in an overhead bin.

As airlines...


Riverwalk architect learned environmental lessons early, in Peace Corps

Fri, 2 Dec 2016 11:15:00 PST

When Chicago architect Carol Ross Barney started working to design the downtown riverwalk in 2001, people looked at the Chicago River like they do an alley — something to be avoided.

But on warm, sunny days this summer and fall, people flocked to the 1½-mile stretch between Lake Michigan and Lake...


4 college financial planning tips for parents of high school sophomores

Fri, 2 Dec 2016 14:13:00 PST

If your child is a sophomore in high school now and you do some quick thinking before the end of this year, you may be able to save yourself thousands of dollars paying for college in a few years.

But I mean quick. The sophomore year is when you set the stage for college financial aid under changes...


Businesses snagged by web of new Internet scams

Fri, 2 Dec 2016 13:22:00 PST

Norb Tatro, a former local TV news producer and friend of mine, was recently cloned. On Facebook, that is.

I know this because his cyber alter ego contacted me one evening with some "happy" news: He'd just won $250,000 from a new U.S. government/Facebook grant program. What's more, my name was...


Food truck ruling to decide mobile food's fate in Chicago

Fri, 2 Dec 2016 14:57:00 PST

Food truck owners and supporters are awaiting a ruling Monday that could vastly improve their ability to do business in Chicago, and permanently alter the culinary scene as a result.

Cook County Circuit Judge Anna Helen Demacopoulos' expected ruling could resolve a lawsuit that's been simmering...


Developer closes on loan for 70-story residential tower

Fri, 2 Dec 2016 15:40:27 PST

As apartment developers in Chicago face increasing difficulty getting lenders to provide loans for new luxury apartment construction after a multiyear building boom, Related Midwest has closed on a $240 million loan to construct One Bennett Park, a 70-story tower.

"It was good news and a relief,"...


Jobs report shows Trump to inherit solid but uneven economy

Fri, 2 Dec 2016 13:12:00 PST

The U.S. jobs report on Friday made one thing clear: President-elect Donald Trump will inherit the same two-track U.S. economy that bedeviled his predecessor.

Hiring is solid and the unemployment rate low. But longer-term problems persist — especially a stubbornly high number of men who are out...


After Trump's win, Planned Parenthood of Illinois reports big spike in IUD appointments

Thu, 1 Dec 2016 16:49:00 PST

Protests and social media diatribes aren't the only ways anxious Illinoisans are responding to an impending Donald Trump presidency.

At least one organization has seen more Illinois women seeking birth control since Trump's election.

Planned Parenthood of Illinois said it saw a 460 percent increase...


Jewel-Osco hopes to burnish image with contemporary store at Clark and Division

Thu, 1 Dec 2016 15:10:00 PST

Coming soon to the northwest corner of Clark and Division streets in Chicago: The swankiest, most contemporary Jewel-Osco to date, the type of store where one might ruminate on the grocery list with a glass of wine and a fancy cheese platter.

For those who may not associate their neighborhood Jewel...


Trump vows 'consequences' for firms moving offshore after $7M tax deal with Carrier

Thu, 1 Dec 2016 19:09:00 PST

President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday warned that the government would punish companies seeking to move operations overseas with "consequences," setting the stage for an unusual level of intervention by the White House into private enterprise.

Trump's remarks came as he triumphantly celebrated...


Employment distress worse among black residents in Chicago, study says

Thu, 1 Dec 2016 15:44:22 PST

Though the jobs plight of rural white America has been a focus of the national conversation since Donald Trump was elected president, a study shows that in Chicago employment distress is far worse among black residents, who are much more likely to be unemployed or not in the labor force at all.


Battle over $600M wind power superhighway heads to Illinois Supreme Court

Thu, 1 Dec 2016 05:03:00 PST

Rock Island Clean Line envisions building an electric project that would transmit wind energy to Grundy County in Illinois from planned turbines in Iowa.

Backers say $600 million would be spent on the 120-mile stretch in Illinois, in the process creating construction jobs, stimulating the manufacturing...


Putting together the puzzle of Allstate's $1.4 billion tech warranty firm purchase

Thu, 1 Dec 2016 05:13:00 PST

Allstate, which makes most of its money on sure things like selling insurance policies on homes and autos, is making a $1.4 billion bet that a lot of folks also want to insure their cellphones, laptops, tablets and other digital wonders.

This week, Allstate announced it is acquiring SquareTrade,...


Feds charge Schaumburg software company execs with fraud

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 15:06:00 PST

Two top executives of a publicly traded Schaumburg software and consulting firm were arrested Wednesday morning for allegedly misrepresenting the company's finances to inflate its stock price.

Nandu Thondavadi, CEO of Schaumburg-based Quadrant 4 System, and Dhru Desai, its chief financial officer...


Chicago-area hospitals use apps to help patients recover

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 11:57:00 PST

Ten years ago, Tom Riley watched his mother struggle to communicate with her doctors as she battled ovarian cancer.

He noticed that, like many patients, she often skimmed over potentially important details about how she was feeling, problems that could have been addressed had doctors known about...


Big plans on tap for Lagunitas: More beer, concert venue, rooftop bar

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 13:09:00 PST

Lagunitas Brewing Co., known for beers like Lagunitas IPA and Lil Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale, has major plans in store for its Chicago brewery, such as creating a small concert venue, opening a rooftop bar and tripling its brewing output.

To accomplish those plans, which are still pending regulatory approval,...


More Americans, Illinoisans enrolling in Obamacare, despite uncertainty

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 12:08:00 PST

Uncertainty surrounding the future of Obamacare hasn't stopped a growing number of consumers in Illinois and across the nation from buying health insurance through the law's exchanges this year.

More than 2.1 million Americans — including 68,192 Illinoisans — selected health insurance plans through...


Forbes: Blackhawks 4th most valuable NHL franchise, has league's 'best fans'

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 08:55:00 PST

If you're a Blackhawks fan, give yourself a pat on the back Wednesday because according to Forbes, you are a part of the best fans in hockey.

The magazine released its annual NHL valuations on Wedesday with the Blackhawks having the best fans in the league, based on consumption metrics, and having...


Mobile market effort bringing veggies to underserved Chicagoans adds 2nd bus

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 05:35:00 PST

An effort to bring mobile produce markets to underserved local neighborhoods is about to expand with help from a Chicago restaurant newcomer.

Growing Power, a nonprofit that works to provide healthy food access to underserved urban dwellers, turned a former bookmobile into a produce bus last summer....


Trump, Pence reach deal with Carrier to keep some jobs in Indiana

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 05:00:00 PST

Air conditioning company Carrier Corp. said Tuesday that it had reached a deal with President-elect Donald Trump to keep nearly 1,000 jobs in Indiana. Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence planned to travel to the state Thursday to unveil the agreement alongside company officials.

Trump confirmed...


Chicago failing on food safety inspections, audit finds

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 15:34:09 PST

Last year, more than half of Chicago's high-risk food establishments — including restaurants, school and hospital kitchens, and day care centers — weren't inspected twice, as required by the state, putting at risk both public safety and continued state funding, according to an audit released Tuesday...


More Chicago companies look to give year-end bonuses: 'a sharing of the spoils'

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 06:48:00 PST

With gifts on the brain this Giving Tuesday, employees may start to wonder what their bosses will give them in the coming weeks. When it comes to year-end bonuses, signs point to full stockings.

More companies plan to give year-end bonuses or gifts than last year, according to data from Chicago-based...


Chicago malls launch return service for some online purchases

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 13:52:07 PST

A new service is giving shoppers a reason to go back to the mall: a one-stop shop to return unwanted online purchases.

Happy Returns, a California-based startup, has opened return stations at two Chicago-area malls — The Shops at North Bridge on Michigan Avenue and Fashion Outlets in Rosemont —...


4,000 vacant lots on sale for $1 to Chicago homeowners

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 20:00:00 PST

Chicago's Large Lots Program, which sells vacant city-owned parcels to nearby homeowners for $1 each, is getting a lot larger.

More than 4,000 vacant lots will be put up for sale in 33 communities on the South and West sides, beginning Tuesday. Eligible buyers must own property on the same block...


Hundreds strike at O'Hare, but flight operations not disrupted

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 14:53:00 PST

Hundreds of workers at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport spent Tuesday on strike to protest low wages, but officials said it had little impact on flight operations.

The strike, organized by the Service Employees International Union Local 1, involved baggage handlers, janitors, airplane cabin...


Illinois companies see possibilities in Safe Roads Amendment, Trump infrastructure plans

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 06:33:00 PST

President-elect Donald Trump's pledge to rebuild the country's multitude of highways, roads, bridges and dams is resonating with major Illinois business interests, which are mapping out their own infrastructure dreams.

Trump's vow to invest $1 trillion over 10 years is placing infrastructure improvements...


Good news for homebuyers: Feds increase loan limit for affordable mortgages

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 13:32:00 PST

If you've had your eye on a home that's just slightly too expensive to buy with the most affordable type of mortgage, you may be due for some relief.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced that for 2017 it will raise the maximum size of a so-called "conforming loan" to $424,100 in the...


Target to open store in Oak Park high-rise next year

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 07:42:00 PST

Target's latest small, urban store is headed to a new Oak Park high-rise building expected to open next year.

The 22,000-square-foot Target store will be part of the 20-story, 271-unit Elevate Oak Park luxury apartment development at the corner of Lake Street and Maple Avenue, Target said Tuesday.


Shake Shack coming to new Wrigleyville development in 2019

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 07:32:41 PST

Shake Shack may be based in New York, but it clearly has a soft spot for the Chicago Cubs.

The burger and custard chain will open another Chicago-area restaurant in a new Wrigleyville development that's being built just south of Wrigley Field. The Addison & Clark development is set to be completed...


The big reason Trump is going to struggle to keep his promise on jobs

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 10:05:00 PST

Quick, answer this: Does America make stuff anymore?

Anyone who listened during the presidential election may be inclined to think not. Both candidates decried the disappearance of good-paying manufacturing jobs. President-elect Donald Trump garnered votes with his promise to restore America's...


First commercial Havana-bound flights touch down amid transition for U.S., Cuba

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 16:36:00 PST

An American Airlines flight out of Miami touched down Monday morning in Havana, the first commercial flight operated by a major U.S. airline to make the trip since Cold War tensions shut down regular air service to Cuba more than half a century ago.

JetBlue's first commercial flight to Havana's...


Boeing was offered billions in illegal tax breaks, WTO says

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 10:00:00 PST

U.S. plane maker Boeing received major illegal tax breaks from Washington state, a world trade body ruled Monday, adding that the federal government should now take action to end that support within months.

The Chicago-based company and the European Union, which backs Boeing's key European rival...


New Chicago tax leaves shoppers holding the bag

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 12:18:00 PST

The classic checkout question — paper or plastic — will soon pose a new dilemma for cost-conscious Chicago shoppers, who face a new tax on either choice.

Beginning Jan. 1, a checkout tax of 7 cents per bag will be added at all Chicago retailers — from massive chain stores to mom-and-pops — in the...


Scam alert: This holiday, retailers expect many unhappy returns

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 08:10:00 PST

A holiday-related crime spree is ramping up and chances are you won't even notice, but many local shopkeepers already are standing guard.

It is called return fraud, and it's among the fastest-growing and most expensive problems confronted by stores of all types and sizes. Last year, return scams...


How to know if buying into a Cyber Monday deal is worth it

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 07:23:00 PST

Torn between the need to catch up at work post-holiday and the lure of those "unbelievable" deals only available (maybe) on Cyber Monday?

Perhaps we can help.

Forty-nine percent of professionals will shop at work on this most glorious of deal days, reports a new study from the staffing firm Robert...


Holiday shopping? Don't be tempted by zero percent interest deals

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 13:25:00 PST

Attention holiday shoppers: Zero percent interest often isn't free.

It can be a trap that will cost you dearly. So before being enticed by the zero percent interest you may be offered on a store credit card, notice the tiny print in the agreement and realize that the deal you think you are getting...


Man-made diamonds, though more affordable, pose challenges on Jewelers Row

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 07:26:00 PST

There is a 3-carat diamond waiting for Tammy Borg at a shop on Jewelers Row, one that's so big it'll nearly cover the width of her finger.

She and her soon-to-be fiance spent weeks hunting for the perfect diamond for her engagement ring, and finally found it at Mon Ami Jewelry. The diamond has...


Shop local promotion means money, jobs for suburban downtowns

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 15:56:00 PST

Evelyn Larsen Ford expects Saturday will be busy at Sidecar Studios.

The curator and artist who makes lip balms, soaps and lotions, among other things, believes Small Business Saturday will drive heavy foot traffic and sales that will continue throughout the holiday season at her Waukegan studio...


Fewer layoffs around the holidays — and not just because it looks bad

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 05:43:00 PST

While working in management some years back, I took part in a late autumn meeting where a new company strategy was finalized along with a decision to cut costs, which translated into firing some employees.

At the meeting's end, I recall my immediate boss saying: "OK, but I won't dismiss anyone...


Local wine group Terlato gets boost with 'Hamilton' wine, The Federalist

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 13:45:00 PST

To chart its course into the future, Lake Bluff-based Terlato Wine Group first had to let go of a significant part of its history and, at least temporarily, a whole lot of money.

When Terlato parted ways with its flagship Santa Margherita pinot grigio last year, it bid farewell to almost one-third...


Shoppers keep registers ringing online, in stores on holiday, Black Friday

Fri, 25 Nov 2016 13:37:04 PST

Black Friday, historically the starting line of the retail industry's crucial holiday buying season, has become a multiday quest, with shoppers desperate to get their hands on bargains and tough-to-find items keeping cash registers — particularly of the virtual kind — ringing Thursday and Friday.


Black Friday merchants see Americans exhaling after election

Thu, 24 Nov 2016 10:13:00 PST

Now that Election Tuesday is over, retailers are counting on Americans turning their attention to Black Friday.

The National Retail Federation projects that about 137.4 million consumers will make purchases in stores or online over the four-day weekend that starts on Thanksgiving, marking the kickoff...


Michigan Avenue protest urges boycott, awareness of police misconduct

Fri, 25 Nov 2016 15:42:00 PST

Protesters attempted to stop holiday shopping along parts of Chicago's Magnificent Mile for the second consecutive year, urging a Black Friday boycott to demand civilian oversight of city law enforcement amid high-profile police shootings and continuing neighborhood gun violence.

After organizing...


How Trump could use the presidency to help his own business interests

Thu, 24 Nov 2016 20:39:00 PST

The Trump Organization spent months trying to drive off the culinary union from its Las Vegas hotel, losing one legal battle after another before a federal labor board.

Soon Donald Trump’s company, which has refused to bargain with the union after housekeepers and other employees voted to join last...


Ridges and all: Canned cranberry sales decline, but nostalgia persists

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 09:21:00 PST

Come Thursday, belts will be loosened, turkeys stuffed, pigskins tossed and millions of quivering gelatinous cylinders of cranberry sauce will be dislodged from their cans.

For decades, canned cranberry sauce has been a stalwart of the Thanksgiving feast for many Americans, an early 20th-century...


Retailers prep to keep the peace on Black Friday

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 07:54:00 PST

If the thought of talking politics with family over Thanksgiving dinner already has your blood boiling, take a few deep breaths and back away from the Black Friday ads.

Just looking at advertisements that hype a hot deal on a limited supply of items can shorten consumers' fuses, one study found.


You can find Santa at Toys R Us stores, but good luck tracking down a Hatchimal

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 13:01:00 PST

Toys R Us is once again hosting visits with Santa, part of an effort to "bring its stores to life," CEO David Brandon said.

Now that consumers can find most of the items on a child's holiday wish list at general big-box and online retailers, they don't need to make a separate trip to a toy specialist....


Chicago employers in limbo after court blocks Obama's overtime pay rule

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:06:00 PST

Employers that have been preparing for months to comply with a major change to overtime regulations — raising salaries, implementing time-tracking tools, restructuring promotion ladders — find themselves in an awkward limbo after a federal judge on Tuesday blocked the change a week before it was...


Watch out for these dangerous toys, consumer advocates, AG Madigan say

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 12:49:00 PST

A battery problem similar to the one that plagued hoverboards and ignited countless fires could affect other children's toys that make their way under the Christmas tree this year.

"This is a newer trend in toy safety problems, with batteries and chargers that overheat," said Abe Scarr, director...


Fannie May flagship to reopen Wednesday with seats and more treats

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 11:11:00 PST

Fannie May's Chicago flagship has gotten a makeover that the candy-maker hopes will encourage more customers to come in and linger.

The Michigan Avenue store, at the intersection with Wacker Drive, is set to reopen Wednesday after a monthlong renovation to develop a brighter, more modern space...


Chicago entrepreneur Sean Conlon to star in CNBC real estate rescue show, 'The Deed'

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 08:43:00 PST

Sean Conlon, the Chicago real estate mogul who went from being a janitor in 1990 to running a successful and diversified real estate business, is the latest hometown businessman to become the star of a CNBC reality show.

Conlon, 47, will star in "The Deed," a show that will follow him rescuing...


Asian stocks rise after Dow hits record

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 00:00:00 PST

Asian stocks rose Wednesday after a post-U.S. election rally drove the Dow Jones industrial average to a new high. KEEPING SCORE: Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 rose 1 percent to 5,465.50 and Seoul's Kospi added 0.5 percent to 1,992.55. Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.5 percent and the Shanghai Composite...(image)

Something to give thanks for: Falling turkey prices

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 06:59:00 PST

Here's another excuse to pig out this Thanksgiving: Turkey prices are down.

After suffering from an outbreak of bird flu in 2015, American turkey producers have come back in a big way. Low feed costs are helping U.S. output to climb 7 percent this year to a record 6.02 billion pounds, government...


Exelon teams up with Big Coal in subsidy-filled Springfield bill

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 15:16:00 PST

Exelon is back at the Capitol trying to win financial help for two struggling nuclear power plants, pushing what opponents have called a "Christmas tree" of giveaways that they estimate could cost consumers as much as $24 billion over 23 years.

Like the energy giant's past attempts, the latest...


Northwestern's Central DuPage Hospital to pay $20M malpractice settlement

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 14:51:00 PST

Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital has agreed to pay $20 million to settle a lawsuit brought by a former Chicago attorney who suffered brain damage after he was allegedly misdiagnosed.

Christopher Zinski, of Wheaton, went to Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield late one night four years...


Family feud erupts at Hallmark dealer

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 15:49:50 PST

Family businesses sometimes are ripped apart by warring siblings. The outwardly warm-and-fuzzy world of greeting cards is no exception.

Once the nation's biggest independent Hallmark store chain, Kirlins Inc. is at the center of a lawsuit filed by one brother of the founding family against two of...


Hundreds of O'Hare workers to strike next week as part of Fight for $15 protests

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 13:25:00 PST

A strike planned for Nov. 29 at Chicago O'Hare International Airport will miss the Thanksgiving holiday's busiest travel days and coincide with a nationwide day of protests that the Fight for $15 movement claims will be its most disruptive yet.

The Fight for $15 asserted Monday that after the election...


The U.S. labor force's guy problem: Lots of men don’t have a job and aren’t looking for one

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 11:03:00 PST

As the recovery from the Great Recession continues, job growth is solid and the labor force is growing at close to its fastest pace since 2000 because more unemployed workers are coming off the sidelines. 

Still, the percentage of working-age Americans in the labor force remains stuck near its...


Nutrition for sale: How Kellogg worked with 'independent experts' to tout cereal

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 12:02:00 PST

On its website, Kellogg touted a distinguished-sounding "Breakfast Council" of "independent experts" who helped guide its nutritional efforts.

Nowhere did it say this: The maker of Froot Loops and Frosted Flakes paid the experts and fed them talking points, according to a copy of a contract and...


Geofeedia cuts half of staff after losing access to Twitter, Facebook

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 15:16:00 PST

Chicago-based Geofeedia, a CIA-backed social-media monitoring platform that drew fire for enabling law enforcement surveillance, has let go 31 of its approximately 60 employees, a spokesman said Tuesday.

In mid-October, Twitter followed Facebook and Instagram in cutting Geofeedia off from its valuable...


10 ways to reduce your 2016 federal income tax bill

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 12:34:00 PST

If you had to bet, would you bet that your taxes will be higher or lower next year?

The question is important now, because this is the time when people try to juggle their income and certain spending before year-end so they pay as little as possible in taxes when they file their return in a couple...


Matter CEO: Chicago has 'greatest collection of health care expertise in the country'

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 13:34:00 PST

When Steven Collens looked at the health care scene in Chicago several years ago, he saw a place brimming with some of the biggest names in the business.

The Chicago area has major pharmaceutical and device companies, hospitals, medical schools and associations. But he didn't see a community to...


Will grieving Hillary Clinton supporters spend more this holiday season?

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 10:19:00 PST

After Thanksgiving — assuming families survive the political standoffs expected to plague dinner tables across the country — America will officially launch its annual shopping spree, saddled not only with turkey hangover this year but also election malaise.

As the nation tries to transition from...


Rewards program tries to keep holiday spending local

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 14:19:00 PST

Almost every day, some familiar face wanders into the Alapash New Home store to browse the handmade ceramics and Mayan rugs adorning its shelves.

"That is enough to sustain us as a store, but we're also in the process of capturing a new audience," said owner Marco Chavarry. "It's very competitive."


Cheap fares with no perks, not even a carry-on: The latest squeeze from airlines

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 11:21:00 PST

United Airlines' new "basic economy" fares, a no-frills ticket strategy aimed at luring thrifty fliers, could heap more riches on Warren Buffett, the superwealthy investor who recently bought stock in the carrier.

OK, that may be an overstatement. But one of the world's savviest financiers does...


Dread holiday flights? Airlines work to appease 'hangry' travelers

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 08:03:00 PST

Dreading flying over the holidays, or really anytime? Airlines know it, and are trying to make the journey more bearable, with everything from quicker security screening at the airport to flights that more reliably show up on time — and when they don't, snacks to soothe "hangry" fliers.

But it...


Would you want to live in Chicago's Trump Tower right now?

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 04:00:00 PST

The latest accouterment at Trump International Hotel & Tower, known for its sweeping views, luxury hotel-quality amenities and location just off the Magnificent Mile, isn't a new spa or another terrace restaurant.

It is the line of metal fences that stretch along the sidewalk outside its Wabash...


O'Hare workers threaten to strike during busy Thanksgiving week

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 04:30:00 PST

Workers at O'Hare International Airport are threatening to strike during the busy Thanksgiving travel week to draw attention to their fight for a $15 hourly wage and what they feel are shoddy working conditions.

Airplane cabin cleaners, baggage handlers, janitors and wheelchair attendants, who...


Table service, touch-screen order kiosks coming to all U.S. McDonald's

Thu, 17 Nov 2016 13:20:10 PST

McDonald's on Thursday announced a bold plan to roll out its "experience of the future" concept, including kiosk ordering and table service, to restaurants in Chicago and other big U.S. cities in an effort to better compete with "better burger" rivals.

The Oak Brook-based burger chain has nearly...


What workplaces must do in the age of Trump

Thu, 17 Nov 2016 11:25:00 PST

Let's agree, if possible, on one thing in this moment of national division: There are many Americans fearful of Donald Trump's presidency.

You may not be fearful. And if you voted for Trump, you may believe that people have nothing to fear. But your comfort level or confidence does little to allay...


Slim Jim knows you've given up its meat sticks, and it wants you back

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 10:29:00 PST

"Slim Jim needs to grow up."

The words, spoken by Conagra Brands CEO Sean Connolly at a recent investors meeting at the company's Merchandise Mart headquarters, marked a declaration to reinvigorate a brand that's spanned at least seven decades.

The maturation of Slim Jim is serious business. The...


Trump courted small business. Now entrepreneurs wait to see if he's for real.

Thu, 17 Nov 2016 05:35:00 PST

There's a maxim about small business and politics: Before an election, politicians say they love entrepreneurs. But after an election, they usually break up.

Right now, small-business owners hope President-elect Donald Trump will become a faithful partner, yet they wouldn't be very surprised if...


Advocate, NorthShore will keep fighting for merger despite court decision

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 09:04:00 PST

Hospital systems Advocate Health Care and NorthShore University HealthSystem will continue fighting for their merger, they said Wednesday, despite a recent federal appeals court decision against them.

A three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided late last month with the Federal...


Chicago to require pharmaceutical rep licenses despite industry objections

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 15:04:22 PST

The Chicago City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Wednesday, over industry objections, requiring pharmaceutical sales representatives to carry a special license.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said the ordinance is aimed at curbing opioid abuse by preventing "aggressive and deceptive marketing"...


Investment firm buys stake in Athletico to fund expansion

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 08:56:00 PST

Chicago investment firm BDT Capital Partners is taking a stake in Athletico Physical Therapy to fund continued expansion of the Oak Brook-based rehabilitation centers.

Terms were not disclosed, but BDT will make a "significant long-term growth equity investment" in Athletico, according to a news...


Meet Miles, BP's chatty interactive gas pump aimed at millennials

Tue, 15 Nov 2016 03:00:00 PST

Fueling up your car is about to get more fun, or painful, depending on your interest in chatting with an artificially intelligent, slightly sassy talking gas pump.

"Miles," an interactive pump with a high-octane personality and a touch screen, is being tested at two Chicago-area BP stations and...


Chicago's Airbnb home-sharing rules are 'draconian,' lawsuit says

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 04:30:00 PST

A group of homeowners is suing the city of Chicago, alleging the city's new "draconian and unintelligible restrictions" on Airbnb and other home-sharing platforms are unconstitutional and punish responsible homeowners.

This is the second lawsuit filed this month that takes aim at the city's new...


Court rejects Land of Lincoln lawsuit seeking more than $70 million

Tue, 15 Nov 2016 13:15:08 PST

A federal judge has tossed out Land of Lincoln's lawsuit seeking more than $70 million that the now-defunct health insurer says it's owed by the federal government.

The insurer shut down at the end of September amid financial woes, sending 49,000 Illinoisans scrambling to find new coverage for the...


CEOs take heed of Grubhub's Trump hubbub

Tue, 15 Nov 2016 05:51:00 PST

Some corporate chief executive officers are masters at writing heartfelt memos to their employees that strike just the right tone. Matt Maloney, CEO of locally based online food ordering and delivery service Grubhub, isn't one of them.

Not yet, at least.

Maloney tripped over his own words last...


United pares down perks — like carry-on bags — with 'basic economy' fares

Tue, 15 Nov 2016 14:43:00 PST

Early next year, United Airlines will start wooing in earnest a customer that it's previously targeted only in fits and starts — the penny pincher.

Its "basic economy" fare strategy, which United has worked on for months and detailed Tuesday, offers the cheapest seats on a plane in exchange for...


United, American open high-tech, faster security lanes as Thanksgiving nears

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 15:16:00 PST

United and American airlines are introducing quicker, more efficient security lanes at O'Hare International Airport, with the goal of reducing the type of bottlenecks that caused hundreds of travelers to miss flights this spring.

American Airlines has been sending passengers through two automated...


Downtown Chicago rents may start to ease, while condo prices rise, report says

Tue, 15 Nov 2016 04:30:00 PST

Renters and condominium owners in downtown Chicago are starting to get some relief from the painful financial pressures inflicted by the 2008 housing bust.

Tortured by sharply escalating rents amid a building boom of new luxury units, renters are finally seeing rates climb slower and even drop...


Dodge truck owners accuse Chrysler of VW-like cheating

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 11:55:00 PST

Allegations of cheating pollution standards have reached U.S. automakers as Chrysler was sued by consumers who said engines in some Dodge trucks were rigged to hide that emissions were as much as 14 times higher than permitted by law.

Similar claims have been made against German carmakers. Volkswagen...


O'Hare engine explosion on Boeing 767 poses puzzle for investigators

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 08:57:00 PST

The nearly catastrophic explosion of an engine that caused a fire on an American Airlines Boeing 767 just short of takeoff in Chicago on Oct. 28 occurred when a specific part that had never before failed broke into pieces.

The breakup of a heavy metal disk that rotates in the engine core reveals...


Americans could lose this important consumer watchdog under Donald Trump

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 07:11:00 PST

Republican lawmakers and big names on Wall Street have been trying to weaken or abolish in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau since it was created more than five years ago.

Now they might actually have some leverage.

President-elect Donald Trump says he would "dismantle" Dodd-Frank, the legislation...


What will a Trump presidency mean for your wallet?

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 08:49:00 PST

Look in your wallet. Do you see IOUs signed by Donald Trump, or did you merely imagine that he plopped them there?

Most of the Trump promises made during the campaign were big but vague. He promised to help all Americans prosper and to renew the American Dream. But what does that mean for your...


Group aims to preserve affordable housing on gentrifying Northwest Side

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 11:32:00 PST

Four years ago, Gabriela Perez was a tenant living in a four-flat in foreclosure, worried her family would be tossed out on the street.

Today, Perez and her children remain in the same — but now remodeled — two-bedroom apartment because a local community group, a mission-based developer and a financial...


Radio Flyer's chief wagon officer talks nostalgia, Tesla

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 06:57:00 PST

Like a lot of kids, Robert Pasin grew up with Radio Flyer. Unlike most kids, he didn't just have a little red wagon — Radio Flyer was the family business.

Pasin, a grandson of founder Antonio Pasin who as chief wagon officer has run the company since 1997, has spent his entire career at Chicago-based...


Breakthru Beverage makes offer for New York wholesaler that is suing its execs

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 15:12:51 PST

Breakthru Beverage Group, the Wirtz-led alcohol wholesale company based in Cicero, has made an offer to acquire New York-based Empire Merchants, the very same wine and spirits distributor that's in the process of suing several Breakthru executives for involvement in an alleged smuggling scheme.


A survey: What Chicago-area employees think about their companies

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 03:40:00 PST

To answer the question of what makes a good workplace, the Chicago Tribune went to the people who would know the best: the employees.

On behalf of the Tribune, WorkplaceDynamics of Exton, Pa., a workplace survey and improvement specialist, conducted an engagement survey of Chicago-area employers...


Illinois forcing Volkswagen to clean up its act

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 07:14:00 PST

Even those who never owned a Volkswagen car could benefit from the beleaguered company's desperate need to make "dieselgate," a moniker for its massive auto emissions scandal, fade in the rearview mirror.

But that's not going to happen until the German automaker makes peace with Illinois and a...


Steve Harvey ending Chicago talk show in May, launching new show in LA next fall

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 13:24:00 PST

In what sounds like a familiar script, Steve Harvey is pulling the plug on his Chicago-based syndicated daytime talk show after five years and moving to Los Angeles to launch a new show in September 2017.

The "Steve Harvey" show, taped at NBC Tower and co-produced by NBC Universal and Endemol Shine...


Would you wear a Fitbit for work?

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 07:01:00 PST

Fitness trackers — those sleek devices often strapped to wrists — are starting to become nearly as common as employee badges at some companies.

But how much do they help workers? How much do they help the companies that offer the wearables to their employees?

Companies say they offer them to make...


Top Workplaces 2016: Search Chicago-area companies

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 08:15:00 PST

Abt Electronics, Assurance Agency and Medpro Health Providers have taken the top spots for large, midsize and small Chicagoland workplaces, respectively, according to rankings released by WorkplaceDynamics on behalf of the Chicago Tribune. For the past seven years, WorkplaceDynamics has been ranking...(image)

Grubhub faces backlash after CEO's anti-Trump email to employees

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 13:12:00 PST

Grubhub CEO Matt Maloney ⇒ is facing a firestorm after speaking out against President-elect Donald Trump in an email to employees Wednesday, saying if employees don’t agree with creating a culture of support and inclusiveness, they should resign.

In the original, nearly 300-word email sent to the online...


Build-that-wall pledge has companies bracing for labor shortages

Thu, 10 Nov 2016 11:48:00 PST

For corporate America, there’s a lot to like about President-elect Donald Trump’s platform: fewer regulations, lower taxes and a singular devotion to deal-making.

Yet there’s one signature campaign pledge — to round up and deport millions of undocumented immigrants — that has many executives across...


Retailers expand digital deals for Black Friday shoppers

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 12:26:23 PST

Wal-Mart is already known for the crowds of Black Friday shoppers who stampede through its front doors to claim steep discounts. Now it wants hordes of online bargain hunters cramming digital shopping carts, too.

This year, Wal-Mart will increase the number of items with Black Friday discounts allocated...


Snowflakes, Santa, Starbucks: Coffee chain turns to customers for annual holiday cup designs

Thu, 10 Nov 2016 06:27:00 PST

Instead of looking to its creative team, Starbucks turned to its latte-sipping customers to design its latest holiday red cups.

The company asked people to post their designs on Instagram last December, and 1,200 ideas came in from customers who've made it clear on social media they care about...


Will Obamacare health coverage continue under Trump's presidency?

Wed, 9 Nov 2016 14:16:00 PST

Illinois consumers battered by higher health insurance prices and dwindling options in recent weeks woke up Wednesday with a new concern: Will their Obamacare coverage vanish altogether amid Donald Trump's presidency?

Trump, elected president Tuesday, has promised to erase President Barack Obama's...


Chicago companies grapple with workers' election-related emotion

Wed, 9 Nov 2016 14:53:00 PST

The somber mood was palpable when Neal Sales-Griffin arrived at the office Wednesday, hours after Donald Trump won the presidential election most pollsters had predicted he would not.

Several of his employees hadn't slept. Those who had tried to go to bed couldn't stop their minds from racing....