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Tough crowd greets chief at United meeting

The annual meeting for United Airlines turned raucous Thursday, as frustrated workers shouted questions at the chief executive and booed and hissed when the directors were re-elected.

A proposal to allow a shareholder vote on executive pay failed after getting only 21 percent of the vote. But even without the say-on-pay, workers made their views known.

When Chairman and CEO Glenn Tilton ended his prepared remarks by talking about a “renewed commitment to all of our stockholders,” one woman in the crowd shouted “Prove it! Give up your bonuses and your pay! Prove it!” A different woman told him, “You continue to be compensated for failure.”

Nearly all the 115 people at the meeting were United workers, many of them in uniform. They’ve been frustrated by Tilton’s pay because they took steep pay cuts during United’s trip through bankruptcy court, which ended in 2006. Tilton said he has taken pay cuts, too.


US Airways plans cuts in service, higher fees

US Airways Group said Thursday it planned sweeping cuts in service and increased fees to pay for the rising fuel costs that have plagued the industry.

The Tempe, Ariz.-based carrier said it would cut domestic flights, reduce its fleet size, slash 1,700 jobs, charge passengers to check their first bag and add a fee for nonalcoholic drinks during flights.

By the time all the cuts are enacted, US Airways service to Las Vegas will be 74 flights daily by the end of the year, 48 percent lower than its peak of 114 flights at McCarran International Airport in September 2007.

The airline has been gradually reducing Las Vegas service for months. It cut back on overnight or “redeye” flights and will effectively close overnight operations from Las Vegas on Sept. 3, save for a few East Coast routes.

According to a statement from US Airways, the high cost of fuel makes it better for the airline to park its Las Vegas fleet at night rather than fly the planes with low fares and empty seats.

The airline didn’t say how many layoffs might occur in Las Vegas.

US Airways also plans to close a cargo station in Reno.

Wynn renews lease on villa at Strip casino

Casino developer Steve Wynn is renewing the lease on his personal villa at Wynn Las Vegas for two more years at an annual rent of $520,000.

Wynn Resorts Ltd. said in a Thursday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Wynn agreed to pay the company just more than $1 million over two years for the villa at the Strip property.

That comes to more than $43,000 per month.

The company says in the filing that the rental price was determined based on a third-party appraisal and a reduction in the cost of maid services.

Wynn Las Vegas shares rose 49 cents, or 0.55 percent, Thursday to close at $89 on the Nasdaq National Market.


Exxon Mobil will exit retail gasoline business

Exxon Mobil Corp. said Thursday it’s getting out of the retail gasoline business, following other major oil companies that have been selling their low-margin stations to gasoline distributors.

Drivers, however, will continue to see Exxon’s Tiger-themed stations and Mobil outlets in their neighborhoods. Already, about 75 percent of Exxon Mobil’s roughly 12,000 stations in the United States are owned by branded distributors, who buy Exxon Mobil products and pay to use the name.

Irving, Texas-based Exxon, the world’s biggest publicly traded oil company, said it plans to sell to distributors its remaining 820 company-owned stations and 1,400 outlets operated by dealers.

Exxon Mobil didn’t disclose financial details but said the sales will take place over a “multiyear period.”


Two join list of carriers charging to check bags

Baggage fees are fast becoming an unavoidable part of U.S. flying — three of the largest carriers now charge $15 for a first checked bag.

No. 2 United Airlines and No. 7 US Airways announced their new fees on Thursday, three weeks after No. 1 American Airlines set the precedent for the charge.

Most U.S. carriers already have instituted a $25 charge for checking a second bag — part of a potpourri of new fees that reflect a struggling airline industry passing along record fuel prices to passengers in the form of higher fares, fuel surcharges and service charges.

As of July 1, Southwest Airlines will be the only U.S. carrier that permits two checked bags for free, according to air travel expert Tom Parsons, who expects still more service fees to come.


Treasury prices sink after retail sales jump

Treasury prices plunged Thursday after a jump in retail sales last month bolstered a notion that an inflation-wary Federal Reserve may have more leeway to begin raising interest rates.

The benchmark 10-year note fell 1.16 points to 97.22 and its yield rose to 4.22 percent from 4.07 percent late Wednesday. The yield at one point touched 4.23 percent, a fresh high for the year.

The 30-year long bond fell 1.09 to 93.78 and its yield jumped to 4.77 percent from 4.69 percent late Wednesday.

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