Pacific Northwest The parent company of Cascade Bank said Thursday it would set aside $2.4 million to cover loan losses in the just-ended...

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Pacific Northwest

Cascade Financial

The parent company of Cascade Bank said Thursday it would set aside $2.4 million to cover loan losses in the just-ended first quarter and plans to charge off $1.5 million in loans.

The moves, which Everett-based Cascade Financial described as “precautionary,” will reduce the company’s per-share earnings to between 19 and 23 cents. On average, Wall Street analysts had estimated Cascade’s earnings at 29 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial.

“While the bank’s underlying business remains strong, the recent slowdown in the residential development and construction market has led to an increase in nonperforming loans which makes it prudent to strengthen our reserve position at this time,” Carol Nelson, Cascade’s chief executive, said in a statement.

Once Cascade finishes totaling its first-quarter financial results, nonperforming loans are expected to show a $16 million increase, to 1.5 percent of total loans.


Number of planes delivered rises 8%

Boeing delivered 115 commercial airplanes in the first quarter, up 8 percent from a year ago.

The aerospace company’s newly announced total leaves it just off the pace needed to reach its full-year target of 475 to 480 planes in 2008. The first-quarter figure was up from 106 a year ago, when the company registered its highest quarterly total in nearly five years.

The bulk of deliveries consisted of 87 of its narrow-body 737s. Boeing says it also delivered 21 777s, four 747s and three 767s in the quarter.


Unions join to seek >bargaining rights

The Communications Workers of America, or CWA, and Germany’s Ver.di labor union set up a joint organization to win bargaining rights for U.S. and European employees at Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile cellphone unit.

The “T-Union” and the collective-bargaining rights that it creates will improve working conditions for employees in both the U.S. and Germany, according to a Thursday statement from the CWA.

CWA President Larry Cohen said workers “who have bargaining rights will fight hard to protect them and to support their U.S. counterparts who also want the right to collective bargaining.”


N.Y. baristas sue over shared tips

Starbucks baristas in New York City are the latest to file a lawsuit alleging the coffee-house chain improperly shared their tips with shift supervisors.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan claims Starbucks owes at least $5 million to more than 2,000 workers. It is among several similar actions brought on behalf of Starbucks employees around the nation.

A call to Starbucks’ Seattle headquarters seeking comment Thursday was not immediately returned. But the company has said its policy allows hourly employees — including shift supervisors, but not store managers — to share tips.

Starbucks is appealing a judge’s ruling in California that says the company owes baristas there $100 million. Starbucks says it will vigorously fight what it calls copycat lawsuits.

Besides New York, similar lawsuits have been filed in Massachusetts and Minnesota.

Pope & Talbot

Execs’ bonus plan called improper

Pope & Talbot, the bankrupt 150-year-old wood-products maker, shouldn’t be allowed to pay executives under a new incentive plan because it gave seven improper bonuses in February, a U.S.-appointed overseer said.

The company, based in Portland, made payments to seven senior managers under its old incentive program without seeking court authorization, according to papers filed by the U.S. Trustee, an arm of the Justice Department that oversees bankruptcies.

Pope & Talbot’s move to end that plan and replace it with a new one shouldn’t be approved, the trustee said.

“The debtors appear to be seeking to insulate the transfers from future challenge by the way of backdoor authorization,” the trustee said.

Pope & Talbot requested March 6 that the court approve its new incentive plan to tie payments to the performance of individual managers. The new plan “is in the best interests of the debtors’ estate and creditors,” Pope & Talbot said.



Another 2,600 will be laid off

Beleaguered cellphone maker Motorola said Thursday that it is laying off another 2,600 workers, bringing the company’s total employee cuts to more than 10,000 since last year.

Motorola will take a pretax charge of about $104 million in the first quarter for severance costs from the new layoffs, the company, based in Illinois, said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Last week, Motorola bowed to pressure from investors and said it will split off its troubled cellphone business and form two separate, public companies.

The world’s No. 2 handset maker has eliminated more than 10 percent of its work force since the start of 2007, when it became clear that two years of strong momentum behind the popular Razr phone had collapsed.

Compiled from Seattle Times staff, The Associated Press and Bloomberg News