Tuesday, November 30News That Matters

Tag: Wages and Salaries

Supply Chain Shortages Help a North Carolina Furniture Town

Supply Chain Shortages Help a North Carolina Furniture Town

Business
HICKORY, N.C. — Six months into the coronavirus pandemic, as millions of workers lost their jobs and companies fretted about their economic future, something unexpected happened at Hancock & Moore, a purveyor of custom-upholstered leather couches and chairs in this small North Carolina town.Orders began pouring in.Families stuck at home had decided to upgrade their sectionals. Singles tired of looking at their sad futons wanted new and nicer living room furniture. And they were willing to pay up — which turned out to be good, because the cost of every part of producing furniture, from fabric to wood to shipping, was beginning to swiftly increase.More than a year later, the furniture companies that dot Hickory, N.C., in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, have been presented with...

Pinterest Pledges $50 Million on Reforms to Resolve Discrimination Allegations

Technology
Pinterest pledged $50 million to overhaul its corporate culture and promote diversity as part of an agreement to resolve allegations that it discriminated against women and people of color, according to court documents and statements from the plaintiffs and the company.The settlement was announced on Wednesday by Seth Magaziner, the general treasurer of Rhode Island, who was acting on behalf of the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island and other Pinterest shareholders that had sued the company, which is known for its colorful virtual pinboards.The shareholders had accused Pinterest’s board of directors of failing to respond to a culture of discrimination and retaliation against women and people of color. By allowing the discrimination to continue, the shareholders argued, the board ...

The Searing Beauty, and Harsh Reality, of a Kentucky Tobacco Harvest

Travel
I step into the tobacco field as the first rays of sunlight begin to pierce the early-morning fog. The men of the cutting crew are already hard at work harvesting the tall burley tobacco plants that have taken root in the soil over the past few months. The sound of hatchets resonates across the field: thwack, thwack, thwack.With each swing, another tobacco plant is felled in the fields of Shelby County, Ky.The workers skewer freshly cut plants onto a wooden tobacco stick, five at a time, the slender metal cone placed at one end of the stick allowing them to pierce the fibrous stalk. Their shirts are already completely soaked through — not just with sweat, but with the morning dew that coats the green and yellow leaves of the tobacco plants.Over the course of the morning, the field slowly t...

Kaiser Permanente Averts Strike, Reaching Tentative Deal With Unions

Business
Kaiser Permanente, the health care provider and hospital network, reached a tentative agreement on Saturday with a coalition of unions representing workers in California, Oregon and other states that will avert a strike of more than 30,000 workers scheduled to begin on Monday.The four-year agreement would provide workers with wage increases and address concerns about adequate staffing. It also abandons a proposal by Kaiser to pay new workers significantly less than current workers, which many had cited as a source of frustration that led to the planned strike.Hal Ruddick, the executive director of the labor coalition representing Kaiser employees, the Alliance of Health Care Unions, said in a statement, “This contract protects our patients, provides safe staffing, and guarantees fair wages...
John Deere Attempts to End Strike With a Third Tentative Deal

John Deere Attempts to End Strike With a Third Tentative Deal

Business
The United Automobile Workers said late Friday that the agriculture equipment maker Deere & Company had made modifications to an earlier agreement that was rejected by its membership, setting up another vote over whether to end a nearly monthlong strike.The strike began on Oct. 14, a few days after roughly 10,000 workers primarily in Iowa and Illinois overwhelmingly rejected an agreement negotiated between the company and the union.The initial agreement would have raised wages 5 or 6 percent this year, depending on a worker’s pay grade, and another 3 percent in both 2023 and 2025. It would have denied traditional pension benefits to future hires.A second agreement reached in late October would have raised wages 10 percent this year and 5 percent in the third and fifth years of the six-...
Amazon Staten Island Workers Withdraw Request for Union Vote

Amazon Staten Island Workers Withdraw Request for Union Vote

Technology
Workers at four Amazon warehouses on Staten Island have withdrawn their request for a union vote, throwing into doubt the future of an organizing push that could have led to the second election at an Amazon workplace in less than a year.The group asked on Friday to withdraw its petition for an election, and the National Labor Relations Board approved.Christian Smalls, a former Amazon employee leading the effort, said the board had told his group that it needed more signatures to demonstrate that enough workers were interested in holding an election. He said the group planned to refile once it got more workers signed on.Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokeswoman, said in a statement that the company’s “focus remains on listening directly to our employees and continuously improving on their behalf....
Retailers Scramble to Attract Workers Ahead of the Holidays

Retailers Scramble to Attract Workers Ahead of the Holidays

Business
Macy’s is offering referral bonuses of up to $500 for each friend or family member that employees recruit to join the company. Walmart is paying as much as $17 an hour to start and has begun offering free college tuition to its workers. And some Amazon warehouse jobs now command signing bonuses of up to $3,000.Retailers, expecting the holiday shopping season to be bustling once again this year after being upended by the coronavirus in 2020, are scrambling to find enough workers to staff their stores and distribution centers in a tight labor market. It is not proving easy to entice applicants to an industry that has been battered, more than most, by the pandemic’s many challenges, from fights over mask wearing to high rates of infection among employees. Willing retail workers are likely to ...

Americans Are Flush With Cash and Jobs. They Also Think the Economy Is Awful.

Business
Americans are, by many measures, in a better financial position than they have been in many years. They also believe the economy is in terrible shape.This is the great contradiction that underlies President Biden’s poor approval ratings, recent Republican victories in state elections and the touch-and-go negotiations over the Biden legislative agenda. It presents a fundamental challenge for economic policy, which has succeeded at lifting the wealth, incomes and job prospects of millions of people — but has not made Americans, in their own self-perception, any better off.Workers have seized the upper hand in the labor market, attaining the largest raises in decades and quitting their jobs at record rates. The unemployment rate is 4.6 percent and has been falling rapidly. Cumulatively, Ameri...

October 2021 Jobs Report: Gain of 531,000 Offers Brighter Picture

Business
“It’s a euphemism, but something the Fed takes very seriously,” said Diane Swonk, the chief economist at the accounting firm Grant Thornton. If the current surge in prices does not abate by early next year, and if both internal and external pressure to prioritize price stability takes precedence, then “patience may run out sooner than people think,” she said — and sooner than Mr. Powell, the Fed chair, would like.Hiring has seesawed this year along with the pandemic, especially in vulnerable sectors like hospitality and retail, where workers must be face-to-face with customers. Because many white-collar employees can work remotely, they have consistently fared better.In October, leisure and hospitality employment rose by 164,000, while professional and business services added 100,000 jobs....

Google Temps Fought Loss of Pandemic Bonus. And Won.

Technology
Ned McNally, a temp worker at Google’s data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, received notice in August that he would get a $200 weekly bonus until the end of the year for working a full week. It was a nod to the labor shortages ravaging businesses during the pandemic.But by October, Mr. McNally and about 250 other data center temps stopped receiving the payments even though they had met the weekly attendance threshold.According to an email sent to employees of Modis, a unit of Adecco, Google’s biggest staffing agency, the payment had raised a red flag with Google managers and the bonus program was put on pause. Then, on Oct. 27, Modis said the extra payments had been terminated and that workers would not receive back pay for the weeks that they had worked the full 40 hours.What happened nex...