Tuesday, November 30News That Matters

Tag: Layoffs and Job Reductions

Volkswagen C.E.O. Herbert Diess Sets Sights on Beating Tesla

Volkswagen C.E.O. Herbert Diess Sets Sights on Beating Tesla

Business
WOLFSBURG, Germany — In July, when Herbert Diess, Volkswagen’s chief executive, wanted to congratulate the company for a strong first half of the year, he posted a video of himself zipping across a waterway at the company’s headquarters in Wolfsburg on an electric hydrofoil, delivering a message of thanks to VW’s roughly 200,000 workers.“I look forward to seeing you again after the vacation,” he said, cutting lazy doughnuts in the water, “and continue working together on the success of VW.”At a time when Volkswagen is still trying to regain trust lost in the emissions scandal of 2015 and fend off the growing threat of Tesla, the message was clear: This was not a 62-year-old engineer atop a hidebound business founded in the 1930s, but a dynamic mover and a shaker, ready to lead a revived co...
American Airlines Cancels Hundreds of Flights This Weekend

American Airlines Cancels Hundreds of Flights This Weekend

Business
American Airlines canceled more than 1,200 flights this weekend, blaming bad weather and staffing shortages for the widespread disruption. The cancellations represented more than 12 percent of the airline’s scheduled flights for Saturday and Sunday, it said, and came just weeks after Southwest Airlines was forced to cancel nearly 2,000 flights.Severe wind late last week hampered operations at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, American’s largest hub airport, cutting into runway capacity and forcing a round of cancellations, David Seymour, the airline’s chief operating officer, said in a note to staff on Saturday. That disruption, combined with bad weather elsewhere in its network, stranded American flight crews in the wrong places, hindering the airline as it went into a typically bu...

In East Africa, Safari Workers Wash Cars, Fry Fish and Struggle to Survive

Travel
“We knew we would not get the vaccines as quickly as America and Europe,” said George Gituku, the owner of Sandrage Safaris in Kenya, “so under the circumstances we are thankful that we have some business.”In 2019, Kenya received more than two million international visitors, a record number and a nearly 4 percent increase from the year before. In 2020, overseas arrivals plummeted by 71.5 percent to 579,600, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Between January and June this year, the country welcomed just over 300,000 travelers, the state-run Tourism Research Institute reported.Since June, Sandrage Safaris in Nairobi has received about 30 guests a month, a significant drop from the 100 guests they were averaging in the 2019 high season. Most of the visitors were Americans who wer...
The U.K. Prepared for a Jobs Crisis, but Got the Unexpected

The U.K. Prepared for a Jobs Crisis, but Got the Unexpected

Business
So the government doubled its army of so-called work coaches, who help people on unemployment benefits find jobs. It hired 13,500 more coaches, a bigger force than was marshaled after the Great Recession in 2008.In the end, the fallout was much less severe. After the British Treasury extended the furlough program, unemployment peaked at 5.2 percent in December and now sits at 4.7 percent.“This has been a very quick bounce,” said Dan Taylor, the managing director of Morgan Hunt, a recruitment company that helps fill jobs at about 600 organizations, mostly in the public sector.Within six months, the company went from “struggling to find jobs for candidates who are registered with us to a situation where we just can’t find the specific skilled and experience staff we need,” Mr. Taylor said. “...
George Soros Is Making Changes at His Foundation While He Still Can

George Soros Is Making Changes at His Foundation While He Still Can

Business
Lurking in the background of every discussion is the fact that Mr. Soros just celebrated his 91st birthday. He is a year older than Warren Buffett, who recently stepped down as a trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The sprawling foundation Mr. Soros has funded for decades wants to refocus while he can still weigh in on the question that many large philanthropies face, which is how to keep the vision of the founder alive after he or she is gone?Mr. Soros declined through a spokesman to be interviewed for this article. Mr. Malloch-Brown, 67, the group’s new president and a veteran of the United Nations, the World Bank and the United Kingdom’s foreign office, is steering the organization through the transition period.“In its early days, the foundation was much better at adding t...
The Work-From-Home Economy and the Urban Job Outlook

The Work-From-Home Economy and the Urban Job Outlook

Business
Rob Siminoski is back running shows at Universal Studios, a short drive from downtown Los Angeles, but his schedule is uncertain. “Technically I’m back to work, but this week I had two days; a couple of weeks ago I had zero days,” he said. He says he has so few hours that he continues to qualify for unemployment benefits.The Jacobs Theater in Manhattan hasn’t reopened yet. So Zoraida Rodriguez hasn’t returned to her cleaning job (she is working a three-month gig at her union, Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union). Neither has Kristinia Bellamy, who cleaned an office building in Midtown Manhattan until it was closed last year.Altogether, some 3,000 of 21,000 office cleaners in 32BJ are on recall lists, waiting for their buildings to reopen, said Denis Johnston, who heads ...
Maker of Rapid Covid Tests Told Factory to Destroy Inventory

Maker of Rapid Covid Tests Told Factory to Destroy Inventory

Business
Addressing the challenges ahead in the U.S., Abbott’s public affairs director, Aly Morici, said in an email that it was “difficult to scale up on a dime, but we’re doing so again.” She acknowledged that “there will be some supply constraints over the coming weeks.”Abbott invited workers back to the plant in Maine this month to meet what it described in a letter as “unexpected manufacturing needs.” But it is unclear how many employees will return. They would forgo weeks of being paid for doing no work, as provided for in their severance packages, with only a two-week “thank you” pay extension and no guarantee that their jobs will last.The company was not in this position in early 2020. Anticipating the need for quick, reliable tests that required no specialized equipment, Abbott assembled a...
Back to Normal? It’s a Tall Order as New York City Restaurants Struggle.

Back to Normal? It’s a Tall Order as New York City Restaurants Struggle.

LifeStyle
There are ample signs that a resurgence has begun. Tables are packed at restaurants and bars across the city. Many places have expanded their capacity with new outdoor seating, thanks to the city’s Open Streets and Open Restaurant programs.“It feels like every day is a weekend,” said Simone Tong, the chef of Silver Apricot, in the West Village. “The energy is back.”With commercial retail rents in New York City at record lows, some restaurants are signing new leases. There have been 1,713 new restaurant permit applications from Jan. 1 through July 2, according to figures from the city health department (which also include renewals for existing restaurants).Still, in 2019, the number of applications for roughly that same period was 2,388, and many owners say they’re a long way from the old n...
What’s the Price of an Uncleaned Hotel Room?

What’s the Price of an Uncleaned Hotel Room?

Travel
“The past year was difficult because I had panic attacks, anxiety attacks and landed in the emergency room twice,” she said in a Spanish-language interview in July.Now she is back at work in an on-call capacity, working one or two days a week or, some weeks, not at all. Work that was in the past divided among multiple housekeepers now falls solely on her, she said. “I had to do it myself because they said they were short-staffed,” she said, “but why don’t they call us if they’re short staffed? Why aren’t we working?”Ms. Ryan, the Hilton spokeswoman, said that staffing levels are “assessed hotel by hotel and are informed by market demand, local business environments, as well as recommendations from government and health authorities.” Stonebridge Companies, the hospitality firm that manages ...
The Coronavirus Pandemic Safety Net Is Coming Apart. Now What?

The Coronavirus Pandemic Safety Net Is Coming Apart. Now What?

Business
Distressed homeowners with loans owned by private banks or investors should contact their mortgage servicer to see what options they’re offering. Some of them have followed a framework similar to federally backed loans, but others’ terms may be murkier.No matter what type of loan you have, the most important action to take now is to reach out to your mortgage servicer to find out when your payments will resume and how much they will be. If you cannot afford them, the servicer can lay out your options. For more guidance, you can also seek out a housing counselor.Food AssistanceThe changes made to food stamps — now largely known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — during the pandemic were complicated.But one significant change, a 15 percent bump in benefits for all recipients,...