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In what's believed to be the world's first transatlantic labor union, the United Steelworkers and Britain's Unite announced plans to join forces Wednesday. The new entity, to be called Workers Uniting, will have a combined membership of 3 million, the BBC reported. Leaders of both groups called it an inevitable response to the globalization of business and said it would allow for synchronized contract negotiations with multinational companies.

Starbucks Corp., the national coffee shop chain, said it will close 600 outlets over the next year because "we are in a tough economic environment, and we have to innovate." The move will result in the loss of 12,000 jobs. The company's stock closed Tuesday at its lowest point since late in 2003.

All remaining claims against ex-New York Stock Exchange president Richard Grasso were dismissed by a state appeals court, and the office of Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said, "for all intents and purposes, the case ... is over." Grasso's $187.5 million compensation package was targeted as excessive in 2004 by Cuomo's predecessor, Eliot Spitzer, who filed four claims against it.

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