Ups and downs

DOWNS to IBM’s decision to move its IBM Pittsburgh Lab research operations to North Carolina, taking 136 jobs with it.

DOWNS to the loss of health care benefits and cuts to pension payments to LTV Steel Co. retirees. Isn’t a promise is a promise?

UPS to Allerton Marketing Communications Inc. for its role in launching Colgate-Palmolive Co.’s Navigator toothbrush. Allerton provided creative and production services for both computer-based and printed sales presentations used by Colgate-Palmolive’s sales force to sell the product to retailers in the United States and Canada. We suspect that “down in the mouth” has a quite different meaning at Allerton these days.

UPS to ALung Technologies Inc., winner of the $50,000 grand prize in the EnterPrize business plan competition.

DOWN to Supervalu Inc.’s shutdown of its Belle Vernon grocery distribution center. It’s tough to blame the company for closing, in light of its loss of a big contract with troubled Kmart Corp. Still, 300 jobs will be lost as a result.

UPS to Sit-N-Scoop Pet Care Services, a provider of in-home pet care and pet waste removal services. Owner Sue Kerr is expanding the service to customers in the east and southeast suburbs. Kerr’s company offers services that range from dog walking to transporting pets for grooming services to picking up mail and newspapers. We hope she cleans up.

UPS to Citizens Bank’s plans to hire 100 employees and add Saturday hours at some branches.

DOWNS to AirTran Airway’s decision to discontinue its low-bucks service between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. While Pittsburgh air travelers groan and complain about US Airway’s high ticket prices, it seems they would rather gripe than switch, despite the opportunity AirTran offered for a $68 round trip fare.

UPS to Boston Market Corp.’s decision to test a new exterior prototype at the Waterfront in Homestead. We might not always be in a big hurry to change, but we think we’ll show them we’re not completely chicken.