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Talking Points

Northampton hospital allowed to form union

Gene J. Puskar


Deal allows union to try to organize workers at Northampton hospital

The Service Employees International Union signed an agreement that allows the union to seek to organize about 500 workers at Partners HealthCare’s hospital in Northampton. The deal with Partners applies to service and technical workers at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. It follows a similar accord at the Partners-owned Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital earlier this year, which led to 500 Faulkner employees joining the union. “We have developed an agreement with Cooley Dickinson Hospital that outlines a free and fair election process and offers service and technical workers in specific units of the hospital’s workforce the opportunity to vote for or against joining our union,” Tyrék D. Lee Sr., executive vice president of the SEIU’s Local 1199, said in a statement. Cooley Dickinson officials said they respect the right of employees to vote for or against joining the union. “However, we do not believe that having a union is in the best interests of the employees, patients, or the community and do not believe that employees need a union to represent them with respect to their terms and conditions of employment,” the hospital said in a statement. The union counts about 56,000 Massachusetts health care workers as members. The SEIU and Partners, which have historically been at odds, forged an “alliance” in 2016, paving the way for the union to try to organize more Partners workers. Partners is the state’s largest health system and the parent of hospitals including Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s. —PRIYANKA DAYAL MCCLUSKEY


Starbucks has problems with payment systems following technology update

Starbucks Corp., the world’s biggest coffee-shop chain, suffered crashes at some of its payment systems following a routine technology update. The problems struck cafes in North America, preventing an unspecified number of registers from working, according to company spokesman Reggie Borges. The glitch hit at a time when Starbucks’ payment technology is facing more scrutiny. Its mobile-ordering systems have caused congestion at pickup counters, irking customers and weighing on sales. In some ways, the technology is a victim of its own success. Starbucks’ smartphone app has become increasingly popular: At some of its busiest US locations, the mobile order-and-pay system handles at least 20 percent of transactions. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Woman sues Target after roaming red ball hits her car

A New York woman has sued Target after one of its 2-ton red balls rolled into her driver’s side door. Eileen Grady claims in her lawsuit that the company ‘‘knew or should have known’’ the concrete balls would come loose and create a hazard. The Pearl River resident is seeking more than $100,000 in damages. The lawsuit cites a security video captured Nov. 22 which allegedly shows the ball getting loose at a New Jersey store after being grazed by a pickup truck. The ball then rolled into the store parking lot and crashed into Grady’s 2015 Nissan Rogue. Grady said the damage to her car was more than $3,300 and she suffered both physical and psychological injuries. A Target representative declined to comment on the suit. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Twitter cofounder Stone rejoining the company

Twitter Inc. cofounder Biz Stone said he’s rejoining the social-media company years after he left, and just two months after selling his search startup to Pinterest. Stone will be focused on company culture, and he’s not replacing another executive or filling a vacancy, he said on Tuesday in a post on Medium. He was invited back to Twitter by chief executive Jack Dorsey, another cofounder, who returned in 2015, also after stepping away for years. Twitter shares jumped on the news. Stone sold his image-search company, Jelly, to Pinterest two months ago, becoming a special adviser there. He said the sale contract didn’t require him to stay at the company. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



McDonald’s pulls British television ad over complaints

McDonald’s on Tuesday pulled a British television ad that was accused of using child bereavement to sell fast food. The ad, which began airing last week, shows a boy talking to his mother about his late father and wondering what they had in common. They go to a McDonald’s where the boy orders a Filet-o-Fish and the mother says, ‘‘That was your dad’s favorite too.’’ Bereavement charity Grief Encounter said it had received ‘‘countless calls’’ complaining about the ad. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


TJX shares slide on weak outlook

A weak outlook overshadowed strong quarterly profit at TJX and shares slid more than 4 percent Tuesday. The TJX Cos., which operates T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, also reported disappointing comparable-store sales, a key indicator of a retailer’s health for industry analysts. Profit during the first quarter rose 5.5 percent to $536.3 million, or 82 cents per share, beating Wall Street expectations by 3 cents, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research. Revenue rose 3.2 percent to $7.78 billion, but that was short of analyst expectations. Since the recession, TJX has been able to draw shoppers away from malls and into its stores as it rapidly expands and offers the goods that people want. It now has more than 3,800 stores with annual sales of $33.1 billion. Six years ago, it had 1,000 fewer stores and $21.9 billion in sales. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Industrial production shows big gain

American industry expanded production last month at the fastest pace in more than three years as manufacturers and mines recovered from a March downturn. The Federal Reserve said Tuesday that industrial production at US factories, mines, and utilities shot up 1 percent in April from March, the biggest gain since February 2014 and the third straight monthly gain. The increase was more than twice what economists had expected.


Philadelphia sues Wells Fargo over mortgages for minorities

Philadelphia is suing Wells Fargo & Co., claiming the bank overcharged more than 1,000 minority homeowners on mortgage loans since 2004. Philly.com reported that the federal lawsuit cites six confidential informants who used to work for the bank. The lawsuit says unnecessarily expensive loans drove black and Hispanic borrowers toward foreclosure, costing the city unpaid taxes and lowering property values. Wells Fargo spokesman James Baum said the city’s allegations are ‘‘unsubstantiated’’ and ‘‘do not reflect how we operate in Philadelphia’’ and elsewhere. Baum said similar lawsuits brought in other states have been rejected by courts. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Amazon streaming software to appear on new line of smart TVs

Amazon’s streaming TV software will appear on a new line of smart TVs designed to blend streaming TV services and over-the-air channels, but not cable packages. The TVs from Element Electronics will be sold under the Element and Westinghouse brands and will cost more than regular smart TVs from either brand. Officials say the TVs have better hardware for reliable streaming and aren’t designed for casual viewers who buy TVs only to never hook them up to the Internet. While Samsung and LG are still developing their own smart TV systems, many other manufacturers have abandoned in-house efforts and are turning instead to streaming TV companies such as Roku, and now Amazon. — ASSOCIATED PRESS