News in brief

Walmart loses bid

to toss pricing suits

Walmart Inc.'s effort to have three price-fixing lawsuits involving Energizer batteries dismissed failed on Friday when a federal judge ordered the litigation to proceed.

The proposed class-action lawsuits claim that Walmart and Energizer Holdings Inc. conspired to inflate the prices of disposable batteries in violation of state and federal antitrust laws.

The lawsuits were filed in May in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco.

Walmart and Energizer in November filed a motion to dismiss the cases. They claimed that the plaintiffs failed to provide evidence that Energizer charged other retailers higher wholesale prices than it did Walmart, court documents show, or that Walmart pressured Energizer to do so.

The plaintiffs seek compensatory and triple damages for violations of federal and state antitrust laws and state consumer protection laws.

The lawsuits are Copeland et al v. Energizer Holdings Inc. and Walmart Inc.; Portable Power Inc. v. Energizer Holdings Inc. and Walmart Inc.; and Schuman et al v. Energizer Holdings Inc. and Walmart Inc.

Walmart shares fell less than 1% Tuesday.

-- Serenah McKay

Disney performers

starting union push

Workers who help bring Disneyland's beloved characters to life -- including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Cinderella -- are looking to unionize.

Labor organizers announced the campaign Tuesday, saying performers want better safety conditions and scheduling policies to help them keep the magic alive for visitors.

While most of the more than 35,000 workers at the Disneyland Resort in Southern California already have labor unions, about 1,700 performers in parades, character actors and support staff do not.

Union membership has been on a decades-long decline in the United States, but organizations have seen growing public support in recent years amid high-profile contract negotiations involving Hollywood studios and Las Vegas hotels. The National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency that protects workers' right to organize, reported more than 2,500 filings for union representation during the 2023 fiscal year, the highest number in eight years.

26.47-point slide

puts index at 956.62

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Tuesday at 956.62, down 26.47 points.

"After hitting all-time highs, U.S. stocks sold off on Tuesday on hotter-than-expected inflation numbers that investors feel may delay the Fed from cutting interest rates until the second-half of this year," said Chris Harkins, managing director at Raymond James & Associates.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

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