Members of the union representing Airtex Products workers in Fairfield will gather Sunday afternoon to vote on another contract offer.  The ratification meeting has been set for 2 p.m. Sunday in the Center Street Gym.  Last weekend, members voted down the company’s first contract offer, but agreed to continue working as negotiations moved forward.  The number of union employees at Airtex has dropped sharply over the past few years, with the UAW Local 543 currently representing about 240 rank and file members.

The personal belongings of former Mt. Carmel, IL businessman Kevin C. Williams will be put up for auction next Saturday, August 30th to help satisfy a $1.8 million federal court judgment.  Williams is currently serving a ten-year federal prison sentence for stealing over $2 million from an elderly Wabash County woman’s trust account.  The auction will be held at the Mabel H. Courter 4-H Center at the north edge of Mt. Carmel, IL starting at 9 a.m.

The Fairfield City Council is set to meet in regular session this Tuesday night at 6 p.m.  During the meeting, the council is expected to seek bids for a new mower for the Cemetery Department, and award bids for a trailer for the Water Distribution Department.  Also on Tuesday’s agenda is an airport proposal for the purchase of office furniture and supplies, and an engineering estimate for the restoration of a bridge on Andrews Drive.

Wayne County’s unemployment rate for July was 7.4 percent, while Edwards County’s rate was 7.5 percent.  The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Friday that all southern Illinois counties reported lower unemployment compared to a year ago, and that all but Franklin, Alexander, Pulaski, Hardin and Pope counties had July unemployment rates below ten percent.

Toyota announced Friday it plans to hire 300 new workers and invest $100 million over the next two years to increase production of its Highlander sport utility vehicle at its Princeton, IN facility.  Production is expected to increase by 30,000 vehicles per year with the additions.  Reports say the news comes following Toyota’s 2012 announcement that it would increase Highlander production by 50,000 annually, bringing production to 180,000 a year.  A report said that Toyota sold about 90,000 Highlanders between January and July of this year, an increase of 16 percent from the same period last year.

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