State unemployment benefits will rise from a minimum of $111 a week to at least $112 on July 1 to reflect an increase in the state's average annual wage.

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State unemployment benefits will rise from a minimum of $111 a week to at least $112 on July 1 to reflect an increase in the state’s average annual wage.




Washington workers earned an average of $39,038 last year, a slight increase from the $38,794 average in 2003, according to the State Employment Security Department.




That wage is used to calculate the unemployment insurance base, which is set at 15 percent of the state’s average weekly wage of $750. The maximum benefit, which state legislators capped in 2003, remains $496 a week.



Boeing/Onex



Wichita machinists




to vote on contract




A contract proposal for more than 4,000 machinists employed at the former Boeing commercial aircraft division in Wichita goes to workers with their union’s recommendation for approval.




Negotiators for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and Mid-Western Aircraft Systems, a unit of Onex that completed the acquisition of Boeing’s commercial aircraft plant in Wichita last week, reached tentative agreement late Thursday on a five-year offer. Workers are to vote today.




Union negotiators said they would unanimously recommend ratification of the deal, which includes a 10 percent cut in what its members made working for Boeing. However, there are a series of guaranteed wage increases later in the contract, as well as a chance for equity in the company.




Ratification of the contract requires a simple majority of those who vote. If the contract were rejected, there would be a second vote on a strike, which requires two-thirds approval.




Nation / World



Citigroup



Legg Mason to focus




on managing assets




Citigroup, the world’s largest financial-services firm, took another step back from a one-stop “financial supermarket” in a $3.7 billion deal announced yesterday to swap most of its asset-management business for the broker-dealer business of Legg Mason.




Legg Mason, which started as a retail brokerage firm in 1970, will now focus solely on managing assets, becoming the fifth-largest U.S. asset manager, said CEO Raymond Mason. Legg Mason’s brokerage force of 1,300 will move to Citigroup, giving the company more than 14,000 brokers.




Shares of Legg Mason rose $13.01 to close at $98. Citigroup rose 7 cents to $46.95.



Veritas / Symantec



2 software giants




poised for merger




Shareholders voted overwhelmingly yesterday to approve security software maker Symantec’s acquisition of Veritas Software, paving the way for potentially the largest merger ever in the software industry.




Nearly 95 percent of the outstanding Symantec shares that were cast were for the deal. On the Veritas side, 98 percent were cast in favor.




The stock deal, announced in December, was initially valued at $13.5 billion, but is now expected to be worth about $11 billion. In a regulatory filing earlier this month, Symantec said it expected the merger to close on July 2.




Compiled from Seattle Times staff and The Associated Press