Qwest, unions to meet after contract vote fails

Qwest Communications, the Baby Bell local-phone company that serves Minnesota, said that it would meet with labor leaders after union workers voted down a tentative contract deal. Qwest plans to confer with the Communications Workers of America in the coming days after the rejection of a deal they reached Aug. 17. Workers voted against the accord by "a substantial margin," union spokesman Al Kogler said Tuesday. He declined to give the specific tally. Rejection of the deal renews the possibility of a strike by more than half of Denver-based Qwest's employees.


Medtronic, Boston Sci drop after court order

Shares of Boston Scientific Corp., the leading seller of artery-opening heart stents, fell 7.6 percent after the medical device maker and Medtronic Inc. were ordered to pay $629 million in interest to Johnson & Johnson in an 11-year patent battle. Boston Scientific shares fell 93 cents Wednesday, to close at $11.34; the shares are down 2.5 percent for the year. Medtronic slipped 8 cents, to $49.83. The decision Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson in Wilmington, Del., adds accrued interest to eight-year-old damage awards of $324 million against Boston Scientific and $271 million against Fridley-based Medtronic.


Starbucks, barista reach deal over firing

Starbucks Corp. has settled a National Labor Relations Board complaint with an employee at the Mall of America in Bloomington who said he was fired this summer for promoting union activity. The settlement stemmed from a complaint filed in July by barista Erik Forman, who claimed that he was fired for encouraging workers to join a union. He was fired July 10 for showing up late, but Starbucks reversed its decision and hired Forman back in August. Under the terms of the settlement, Starbucks will post a notice in Forman's store for 60 days informing workers they have a right to unionize under federal law.


Best Buy gets antitrust OK to buy Napster

Best Buy Co. Inc., the Richfield-based electronics retailer, received antitrust approval to acquire digital music service provider Napster Inc., the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said. Last month, Best Buy disclosed plans to buy Napster for $121 million in an attempt to compete with Apple Corporation's dominant iTunes service and its iPod music players.