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SEIU ramping up efforts to organize hospital workers

Francis Messina Francis Messina

The Service Employees International Union will step up its Boston hospital organizing efforts today when members are expected to hand out leaflets in the Longwood Medical Area. SEIU has been working to organize employees in Boston's largely nonunion teaching hospitals for nearly two years. An organizing rally is set for Oct. 16. Union officials said they want hospital executives to sign agreements promising not to harass employees who work to organize workers. (Jeffrey Krasner)

Developer makes $2.25m gift to Weymouth hospital
Braintree real estate entrepreneur Francis X. Messina has donated $2.25 million to South Shore Hospital in Weymouth. The hospital said it is the largest single gift it has received, and boosts the total of its current capital campaign to $17.5 million. The goal is to raise $22 million by December 2008, the hospital said. F.X. Messina Enterprises of Braintree is a real estate development and management firm. The gift will enable South Shore Hospital to invest in new equipment for newborns and women with high-risk pregnancies, emergency department equipment for trauma victims, and cardiovascular care. (Jeffrey Krasner)

Hologic seals $70m deal for women's health firm
Bedford diagnostic imaging systems company Hologic Inc. said it completed the acquisition of women's health company BioLucent Inc. for about $70 million in cash and stock. Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based BioLucent markets a breast cushion, MammoPad, to decrease the discomfort associated with mammography. Hologic shares fell 70 cents to close at $54.30. (AP)

Battery maker A123 in supply deal with Cessna
A Watertown maker of high-efficiency batteries has reached a supply deal with the world's largest maker of general aviation airplanes. A123 Systems said it will provide Cessna Aircraft Co. with its nanophosphate lithium ion batteries to start up engines and provide emergency backup power in Cessna Citation business jets. An undetermined number of those models will be installed next year, said Pia Bergqvist, a spokeswoman for Wichita, Kan.-based Cessna. Doug Moorehead, aviation systems product manager at privately held A123, declined to disclose the potential dollar value of the pact. (AP)

THE NATION

US retail holiday sales seen growing only 4%
Retail sales this holiday season are expected to increase 4 percent to $474.5 billion, the smallest holiday sales growth since 2002, according to the National Retail Federation. "Retailers are in for a somewhat challenging holiday season as consumers are faced with numerous economic obstacles," federation chief economist Rosalind Wells says in the report, which is being released today. The Washington, D.C., trade group predicts luxury merchants will fare well as their customers have maintained high levels of spending. But discounters and department stores targeting low- to middle-income consumers will likely face challenges. This year's holiday sales increase is expected to fall below the 10-year average of 4.8 percent and would represent the slowest holiday sales growth since 2002, when sales rose 1.3 percent. (Jenn Abelson)

N.Y. law firm says partner to face US indictment
A New York law firm accused of paying kickbacks to plaintiffs in class-action and shareholder lawsuits said one of its partners will be indicted and more charges will be filed against the firm. Milberg Weiss said it has learned Melvyn Weiss, who helped start the firm, will be charged in connection with a seven-year federal investigation. The US attorney's office in Los Angeles, where the case will be tried, declined to comment about the case. It wasn't immediately known if Weiss had hired an attorney to represent him. (AP)

Bank of America names former Fidelity executive
Bank of America Corp. named Bill Carey as national executive of its business retirement solutions business where he will oversee the development and delivery of 401(k), defined benefit and institutional custody products. Carey came from Fidelity Investments Institutional Services where he led national accounts and was responsible for institutional relationship management, registered investment adviser services, investment consulting services, and consultant relations. (Dow Jones)

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