Consumers used credit more in March, Fed says
WASHINGTON -- Consumers used their credit cards more in March, marking only the second increase in the more than two years since the height of the financial crisis.
The Federal Reserve said Friday that consumers increased their total borrowing by $6 billion in March, the sixth consecutive monthly gain. Consumers borrowed more to finance car loans for the eighth straight month. And a category of borrowing that includes credit card use rose for only the second time since August 2008.
More frequent credit card purchases could be a sign that consumers are feeling more confident about the economy.
Lawsuit filed over union vote amendment passed in Ariz.
WASHINGTON -- Federal labor regulators have sued the state of Arizona over a state constitutional amendment that limits how workers can choose whether they want union representation. The amendment passed last year requires workers to hold secret ballot elections before a company can be unionized.
The National Labor Relations Board says the amendment interferes with federal law. Current law gives employers the choice of recognizing a union if a majority of workers sign cards, a process known as card check.
Arizona's attorney general has vowed to fight the suit. Business groups that pushed the ballot measure say they fear Congress will require all businesses to recognize card check. The NLRB has said it plans to sue South Dakota in the coming weeks over a similar amendment. It has put on hold plans to sue South Carolina.
Pinched by fuel, Delta Air seeks to trim workforce
ATLANTA -- Delta Air Lines will offer voluntary buyouts and early retirement incentives as it plans to cut flying later this year because of high fuel prices.
Delta has been planning to cut its schedule by 4 percent starting in September. In a message to employees Friday, CEO Richard Anderson said Delta needs to reduce the costs that go with that flying, too.
He said Delta workers whose age plus 10 years of service equals 55 will be eligible for early retirement. Buyouts will be available for workers who don't meet the requirements for early retirement but have at least five years with Delta. Both are voluntary.
Delta is the largest carrier at Charleston International based on passenger volume.
Government fines online firms that sell airline tickets
WASHINGTON -- Federal regulators are going after online ticketing services that fail to tell customers booking a flight on a major airline that a leg of their trip will be operated by a separate regional carrier.
The Department of Transportation said Friday that five ticketing services -- Fareportal Inc., American Travel Solutions, AirGorilla, Wholesale Travel Center Inc., and Automobile Club of New York Inc. -- are being fined a combined $175,000 for failing to disclose such "code-sharing" arrangements. Last month, two other services were fined a combined $90,000.
Code-sharing became an issue after a 2009 regional airline crash near Buffalo, N.Y., killed 50 people. Passengers booked flights on Continental Airlines with the Buffalo leg described as on "Continental Connection." The flight was actually operated by Colgan Air.
S.C. agency seeks say in Duke-Progress merger
COLUMBIA -- South Carolina utility regulators say they will participate in hearings about the proposed merger of two North Carolina-based power companies.
The South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff says it has filed to intervene and participate in hearings on the merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy. The deal needs approval from North Carolina regulators. Both companies sell electricity in South Carolina, and the ORS Staff will have a say in whether their two electric utilities can merge.
The state agency represents S.C. residents in utility regulation cases and makes recommendations to the Public Service Commission.