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An employee rights complaint by a former Valparaiso Menards clerk led this week to a labor victory for all 45,000 of the home improvement chain's workers across the Midwest.

The issue was over mandatory arbitration, which is legal -- companies can require employees settle complaints out of court, but they have to make sure employees know what rights they're giving up.

NLRB.gov

The National Labor Relations Board has ordered an Indianapolis-based construction staffing firm to allow workers to discuss unions and compensation on the job.

Commercial Trade Source, or CTS, is one of few companies to fight this battle at the federal level. It's effectively a temp agency, providing skilled workers for construction projects nationwide.

Until now, CTS policy forbade workers from discussing wages or unionization on the job -- whether through conversation, flyers or union-branded clothing.

Tom Blackwell / https://www.flickr.com/photos/tjblackwell/5659432136

New federal rules making more white-collar workers eligible for overtime pay could be finalized in the next few weeks -- but the state doesn't know exactly how many workers stand to benefit.

Right now, most workers can't earn overtime if they make more than about $24,000 a year. That threshold is slated to more than double this summer, meaning if an employee makes less than $50,400, they'll be paid for working beyond 40 hours a week.

It sounds like good news for workers -- but state Chamber of Commerce CEO Kevin Brinegar isn't so sure.

Annie Ropeik/Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana towns have a new priority when it comes to driving population growth and improving their economies: their downtowns. The Regional Cities Initiative is Indiana's first major, direct funding boost for those -- but it's just the latest in a string of public and private investments.

In the first part of an occasional series on Hoosier downtowns, Indiana Public Broadcasting's Annie Ropeik reports on the push to modernize Main Street.

 

CB&I

Duke Energy's coal-fired power plant in Terre Haute is officially shut down. The company's air quality permit at the Wabash River Generating Station expired Friday.

 

It's the only plant the national power company will close, as it works to comply with new federal pollution rules.

 

As part of a settlement with environmental groups, Duke set a 2016 deadline for cutting out coal at its power plants, or cleaning them up to meet stricter EPA standards.

 

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