Business Briefs – September 27, 2017

Police Drag Woman Off Southwest Airlines Flight

NEW YORK (AP) – Police officers physically removed a woman from a Southwest Airlines plane before it took off from Baltimore, the latest passenger scuffle to be captured on video and magnified on social media.

After saying she was severely allergic to animals — there were two dogs on board — the woman refused the crew’s request to leave the plane. The crew then called on police to intervene.

A film producer recorded the ensuing struggle between the woman and officers and posted it online. The scene from Tuesday night was reminiscent of an April incident in which security officers yanked a man out of his seat and dragged him off a United Express flight in Chicago, sparking a public outcry about shoddy treatment of airline passengers.

Southwest, perhaps learning from United’s initial hesitant reaction, immediately apologized. “We are disheartened by the way this situation unfolded and the customer’s removal by local law enforcement officers,” Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said Wednesday.

Traffic in U.S. Cities Is Costing Commuters

DETROIT (AP) – Traffic bottlenecks will cost commuters hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade if nothing is done to fix them, according to a new study.

Los Angeles, New York, Washington, Atlanta and Dallas face the highest costs from such bottlenecks, according to the study released Wednesday by Seattle-based traffic data firm Inrix. The study looked at major cities’ traffic hotspots — defined as areas with repeated traffic jams — and ranked them according to the duration, length and frequency of those traffic jams.

The study is the latest attempt to quantify the problem of traffic congestion by Inrix, which collects anonymous data from vehicle navigation systems, GPS systems and smartphones.

Dems Wield Equifax, Wells Fargo In Fight Over Arbitration

WASHINGTON (AP) – Democratic senators are highlighting scandals at Wells Fargo and Equifax in a bid to stop Republicans from overturning a federal rule that would let consumers join together to sue financial companies. Banks argue that arbitration is a more efficient way of handling small disputes. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says Wells Fargo and Equifax did “terrible wrong” and now Republicans “want to prevent consumers from having rights to sue them.”

At Risk?: Equifax Hack Has Businesses Uneasy About Security

NEW YORK (AP) – The breach of Equifax’s computer systems is reminding small business owners their technology can be vulnerable to cybercriminals. Companies that provide computer security services to small businesses say they’re getting more calls from customers since Equifax revealed the breach Sept. 7. Small businesses often lag behind in cybersecurity, not believing they might be targets. But experts say small firms are becoming targets for hackers and thieves.

Issues Remain as 3rd Round of NAFTA Talks Wraps in Ottawa

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) – Contentious issues remain in NAFTA renegotiations as the U.S., Canada and Mexico conclude a third round of talks. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says some issues related to small and medium-size enterprises were resolved, but an enormous amount of work still needs to be done on other, difficult matters. He says delegates made significant progress on competition policy, digital trade, state-owned enterprises and telecommunications. A fourth round of talks is scheduled for Oct. 11-15.