tampabay.com

Talk of the Bay

By Times staff and wires
Published November 7, 2006


Floridians least likely to use 401(K) plans

Happy birthday, 401(k)! The popular retirement plan turns 25 on Friday with $2.4-trillion in assets and 47-million active participants. Originally a supplement to traditional pensions, it's now the only plan for many. But that doesn't mean we've all got one. Floridians are less likely to participate in a retirement plan than residents of any other state: Nearly two thirds of the state's workers have no retirement plan at all.

WSI closes Dubai office, cutting jobs

The saga of the little Homosassa company with big dreams of rebuilding Iraq continues. WSI Group, owned by former Citrus County criminal investigator and sheriff candidate Henry "Hootie" Wilkins, had a bold plan to use revenue, not government grants, to construct toll roads and an airport in Iraq. Turns out you need money to make money and WSI, unable to find investors, lost a lucrative contract in Afghanistan. This week the company closed its office in Dubai, leaving about 15 employees with no jobs and owed back pay. Wilkins told workers he was downsizing and liquidating some assets while continuing his search for financial backing.

Raytheon has eye on Arizona strike

Management at Raytheon's 1,500-person operation in Pinellas County probably hopes labor unrest is not contagious. On Monday, 1,900 Raytheon workers at the company's Tucson, Ariz., facility went on strike after soundly rejecting a new contract. The workers, members of the International Association of Machinists, opposed the company's plans to raise health care costs and exclude incoming workers from the corporate pension plan. It's unlikely any of Tucson's work will be transferred to Raytheon's operations in Largo or St. Petersburg. But the Arizona strike is being closely watched by the 350 local workers who are members of Local 298 of the United Auto Workers. Their contract expires in April.