Business digest 08/24/04

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Redesigned Saturn VUE passes rollover test

WASHINGTON -- The redesigned Saturn VUE passed the government's rollover test with a score similar to other sport utility vehicles, federal regulators said Monday. General Motors Corp. redesigned the VUE's rear suspension after the SUV failed two previous rollover tests. In both cases, a wheel collapsed beneath the vehicle. The newer version earned three stars out of a possible five from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The four-wheel-drive VUE has a 20 percent chance of rolling over in a crash similar to the test, which includes a sharp turn at 45 mph, while the front-wheel-drive VUE has a slightly higher chance of flipping. The best performer among 2004 SUVs was the Chrysler Pacifica, which had a 13 percent chance of rolling over.

HMO workers strike over their own health benefits

SEATTLE -- About 1,700 nurses and other health-care workers formed picket lines Monday to start a five-day strike against Group Health Cooperative -- one of the nation's oldest HMOs -- over the cost of their own health benefits. Nurses, medical assistants, therapists and others represented by Service Employees International Union Local 1199 began striking at 18 clinics in western Washington, said union spokesman Carter Wright. Negotiations between the two sides ended last week. Nonstriking employees and outside replacement workers filled in for the union members. Group Health says it needs its employees to pay more for health benefits to save money and prevent the HMO from raising premiums.

-- From wire reports

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