Federal labor officials said Monday that they will decide quickly whether to support a request by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to stop a union-backed group from encouraging worker walk-outs at hundreds of stores on Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, The Washington Post reports. The world’s largest retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board on Friday against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. It said that the demonstrations organized by union-backed OUR Walmart threatens to disrupt its business and intimidate customers and other associates. Union officials promise the demonstrations will culminate on Black Friday with demonstrations or walkouts at hundreds of stores across the country. Wal-Mart’s U.S. division employs about 1.3 million workers.
Indianapolis authorities launched a homicide investigation Monday into the house explosion that killed a young couple and left numerous homes inhabitable in an Indianapolis neighborhood, CBS News reports. Indianapolis Homeland Security Director Gary Coons made the announcement after meeting with residents of the subdivision where the Nov. 10 blast occurred and shortly after funerals were held for the two victims, who lived next door to the house where investigators believe the explosion originated. Search warrants are being executed and official are looking for a white van that was seen in the subdivision on the day of the blast, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said. Authorities are offering at least a $10,000 reward.
Seeking to save more than 18,000 jobs, a bankruptcy judge surprised Hostess Brands Inc. and its warring union Monday by delaying the company’s bid to close its 85-year-old bakery business and sell off its factories, brands and other assets. Judge Robert Drain asked both sides to join him Tuesday for a mediation session where he will try to broker a new contract. If Tuesday’s long-shot session fails, then the company will be able to return to court Wednesday to try to move ahead with its plans to close down. Meanwhile, the company’s plants remain closed and potential suitors are circling. Hostess Chief Executive Gregory Rayburn said the judge’s call for mediation is a “forceful” message to the company and the union to try to work out their issues. “We’ll take all the help we can get,” he said.
Four Southern California men have been charged with plotting to kill Americans and destroy U.S. targets overseas by joining al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, federal officials said Monday. The defendants, including a man who served in the U.S. Air Force, were arrested for plotting to bomb military bases and government facilities, and for planning to engage in “violent jihad,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said in a release. A federal complaint unsealed Monday says 34-year-old Sohiel Omar Kabir of Pomona introduced two of the other men to the radical Islamist doctrine of Anwar al-Awlaki, a deceased al Qaeda leader. Kabir served in the Air Force from 2000 to 2001.The other two — 23-year-old Ralph Deleon of Ontario and 21-year-old Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales of Upland allegedly participated in Skype calls to Afghanistan to arrange meetings with terrorists.
U.S. federal judge on Monday denied a legal challenge to President Barack Obama’s signature health reforms, ruling that the owners of a $3 billion arts and crafts chain must provide emergency contraceptives in their group healthcare plan. The owners of Hobby Lobby asked to be exempted from providing the “morning after” and “week after” pills on religious grounds, arguing this would violate their Christian belief that abortion is wrong. Judge Joe Heaton of the U.S. District for the Western District of Oklahoma denied the request for a preliminary injunction. Heaton ruled that while individual members of the family that owns and operates Hobby Lobby have religious rights, the companies the family owns are secular, for-profit enterprises that do not possess the same rights.