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News Wrap: GM Factory Workers Ratify New 4-Year Contract

September 28, 2011 at 12:00 AM EST
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Factory workers at General Motors overwhelmingly ratified a new four-year contract today. It doesn’t include any pay raises, but 48,000 hourly employees will get a $5,000 signing bonus, plus profit-sharing checks. The automaker also agreed to add more than 5,000 U.S. factory jobs and to increase starting pay for entry-level workers. It is the first such contract since GM went through bankruptcy in 2009.

Wall Street pulled back today, amid new concerns about global economic weakness. The sell-off put an end to three days of gains. The Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 179 points, to close below 11,011. The Nasdaq fell 55 points to close at 2,491.

Gunmen in Southern Afghanistan attacked and killed eight Afghan policemen at a checkpoint today. It happened in the pre-dawn hours near Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province. Afghan forces took over security in that area this past summer.

Also today, NATO reported four of its troops had been killed in the last 24 hours. Separately, the U.N. reported violent incidents in Afghanistan have increased nearly 40 percent over last year.

Afghan and coalition troops destroyed more than $350 million worth of heroin and opium in a raid this week. A NATO announcement today said it may be the largest seizure since the war began 10 years ago. Afghanistan produces 90 percent of the world’s opium. Much of the revenue is believed to finance the Taliban.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.