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A strike against DaimlerChrysler's operations in Canada appeared imminent after the Auto Workers Union there rejected a new contract proposal. In the areas of scheduling, overtime, and seniority as well as a plan to keep open an endangered assembly plant at Windsor, Ontario, union executives called the company's offer "a slap in the face." A labor stoppage would be the first against a Big Three automaker in Canada since 1996. DaimlerChrysler has about 13,000 unionized employees in Canada. The union said it has $32 million in its strike fund.

Caterpillar Inc. will furlough 3,270 workers at five plants in December, a spokeswoman for the maker of heavy construction equipment said. The shutdowns will last up to two weeks at plants in Georgia and Illinois, she said, adding that more could follow. Earlier this month, Caterpillar, of Peoria, Ill., announced it was suspending production at a dump truck facility in Waco, Texas.

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Quintiles Transnational Corp. is considering a $1.3 billion buyout offer led by its chairman, founder, and largest individual investor, Dennis Gillings. Share prices, which hit a seven-year low on the Nasdaq last week, rose $1.65 to end at $9.96 on news of Monday's bid. Quintiles, of Durham, N.C., is a leading provider of drug and medical-device test services and employs 17,000 workers in 46 countries.


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