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No Deal on Asbestos -- Yet
November 24, 2003

With no prospects of seeing a legislative settlement of asbestos litigation this year, several companies have announced unilateral agreements � including Travelers Property Casualty Corp. and Haliburton. Political observers once gave the compromise deal a 50/50 chance of adoption this year, but the figure put forward by the AFL-CIO for the settlement fund -- $154 billion � is $40 billion more than the insurers and manufactures are willing to pay. The negotiations are continuing, however, as members of both parties try to get labor and industry to split the difference. Our bet is that a deal will get done in the early part of the New Year. Why? Because the damage being done to employers and communities by asbestos litigation will eventually force the unions and companies to compromise.

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