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Loose change

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 17, 2002

BANK OVERSIGHTS: A Chicago branding company checked out 50 bank branches in New York and San Francisco. It found that 79 percent of check-writing desks were messy and most had no calendar. And 46 percent of the pens provided were dry. Maybe not a big deal, but it's an avoidable annoyance. "Little things drive customers crazy," NewGround's Charlene Stern says.

LABOR UNION LAYOFFS? The AFL-CIO plans to trim its 500-person work force by 10 percent to potentially save $5-million a year. Some cuts have come through attrition; more are expected through early retirement and other steps. The AFL-CIO's contracts with its two internal unions contain no-layoff clauses. But the pacts are up for renewal soon.

HOMEWORK: Some 19.8-million Americans say they work at home at least once a week, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics says 52 percent of them aren't paid for it. About 9-million of the workers say working at home is necessary to catch up or because of "the nature of the job."

KEEP YOUR NOSE TO THE GRINDSTONE: Anchor Glass Container Corp. doesn't bother asking employees not to check sports scores on company computers. The glassmaker, for one, uses Websense software to block access to sports sites. "I measure my success by complaints," says Dennis Grow, Anchor's technical services manager.

BATHROOM HUMOR: A Norwich, Conn., company that put Osama bin Laden's face on toilet paper is sending 200 rolls to the Pentagon. Defense Department spokesman Dan Philbin is delighted. "I'll make sure the secretary of defense's office gets some and I'll give some to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff," he said. The message on the toilet paper: Wipe out terrorism.

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