Originally created 01/31/98

Business briefs



CompuServe Corp. sold to WorldCom

UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio -- CompuServe Corp. shareholders on Friday approved the sale of the online service provider to WorldCom Inc. as part of a three-way deal with rival America Online.

Meanwhile, CompuServe said a report in The Wall Street Journal that as many as 300 CompuServe customer-support personnel may be laid off by AOL was speculative.

AOL said only that it will conduct a thorough review of CompuServe's operations.

Approval of the deal with WorldCom, announced in September, was a formality because H&R Block Inc. owns 80 percent of CompuServe stock. Under the deal, WorldCom will turn over stock worth about $1.2 billion to H&R Block.

WorldCom then plans to trade CompuServe's content and its 2.6 million consumer subscribers along with $175 million to AOL.

In exchange, WorldCom will get AOL's ANS Communications division, which provides Internet access mainly for large business customers. WorldCom also gets a five-year contract to service AOL's network customers.

AFL-CIO plans heavy lobbying

WASHINGTON -- Setting labor's agenda for 1998, the AFL-CIO executive council wrapped up a two-day meeting Friday with plans to urge Congress to broaden health care coverage, increase the minimum wage and strengthen retirement security.

The labor federation also intends to play an aggressive role in the November elections, but first must fight initiatives in several states that would limit political spending by unions.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said those initiatives were an attempt to silence workers' voices when unions are increasing organizing activities and reasserting their political clout.

"We're ready to fight back," he said. "We'll draw energy from these attacks to enlist even more workers and more families."