Airport pilots plan picket at airport

ASA pilots plan to picket airport

Atlantic Southeast Airlines pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association International, are taking their grievances to the public today by picketing at airports including Lovell Field.

According to the association, ASA is having a difficult time recruiting and retaining qualified pilots. The pilot shortage is the result of low morale, fatiguing schedules and low pay dating back to a contract signed in 1998, it said.

"Any well-run airline relies intrinsically on an experienced, satisfied pilot work force. Five years is too long to wait for a new employment agreement," said Dave Nieuwenhuis, chairman of the ALPA unit at ASA.

IRS says survey phishing scam

The Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers of a new phishing scam in which an e-mail purporting to come from the IRS advises taxpayers they can receive $80 by filling out an online customer satisfaction survey.

The IRS urged taxpayers to ignore the solicitation and not provide any requested information. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers through e-mail, the agency said.

Whole Foods sets Wild Oats buyout

DALLAS -- Whole Foods Market Inc. said Tuesday it has lined up financing to complete its $565 million purchase of rival organic and natural foods grocer Wild Oats Markets Inc., ending a six-month battle against federal regulators who tried to block the deal on antitrust grounds.

The company said it took out a five-year, $700 million loan to fund the deal, which also includes the assumption of $137 million in debt.

"While closing this merger has taken longer than we anticipated, we are very excited to now begin the integration process," Whole Foods Chief Executive John Mackey said. He said the deal "will result in a company that is much stronger and better positioned for the future."

The fight to buy Wild Oats was bruising, and both Mackey and the FTC emerged from the fight with black eyes, according to former FTC officials and analysts.

Staff and Wire Reports