The week that was in Pittsburgh for 09/01/13

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Coupon use clipped

Coupon redemptions are on the decline this year compared to the years following the Great Recession when consumers were using every means to tighten their household budgets. Redemptions dropped 8.1 percent in the first half of 2013, but according to industry insiders, the drop could have more to do with companies shifting what they promote. More manufacturers are using coupons for new products, which tend to have a smaller audience.

A supersized strike

A nationwide strike by workers at McDonald's and other fast-food chains did not affect the Pittsburgh region. Fast-food workers in about 60 cities stretching from New York to Las Vegas walked out to demand that their pay be raised to $15 an hour. Unions in this state's two biggest cities -- Pittsburgh and Philadelphia -- are not organizing fast-food workers.

Highmark is not excessive

The $1.2 billion in profits that Pittsburgh-based Highmark Inc. accumulated from 2005 and 2009 was not excessive and its executives make a reasonable salary, according to a ruling handed down by a Philadelphia Common Pleas judge. The lawsuit filed two years ago by two Philadelphians, who served on a now-disbanded advisory committee for Highmark's board of directors, was dismissed. The judge wrote, "The judiciary is not the proper arm of government to restrain this particular charity's acquisitiveness."

Shale drilling planned

Consol Energy Inc. unveiled a plan to develop 9,263 acres at Pittsburgh International Airport through 2018. Consol plans to spend as much as $500 million to drill at least 47 shale gas wells and supporting facilities at the airport. The project should produce gas in 2015. Meanwhile, the company is still trying to secure lease agreements with private landowners along the edge of the airport.

A good night's sleep

PG business reporter Joyce Gannon visited the North American headquarters of a European luxury mattress maker bringing a different approach to the idea of a good night's sleep. Located in the Arrott Building on Wood Street, Downtown, Italy-based Technogel builds its mattresses with a cool, blue gel patented by Bayer Material Science. Although the mattresses are not manufactured in the U.S., they are sold in about 800 U.S. retail outlets.

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Tim Grant: or 412-263-1591.


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