August 24, 2020

In 2018, California’s Supreme Court ruled against a delivery company that classified its employees as independent contractors. This landmark decision was followed two years later by official legislation that required businesses throughout the state to turn contracted staff into full-time workers or else face legal action. The most prominent targets of this new law were Uber and Lyft, the rideshare giants that employ tens of thousands of people as independent contractors. 

According to consumer advocates, drivers for Uber and Continue reading

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August 20, 2020

As companies across all industries look for ways to reduce contact between employees during the pandemic, many are turning to automated labor as a way both to stay safe and trim costs. This video looks at how advanced robotic technology could change workplaces in the long term while also examining the potential limitations of automation. 

Questions:

  1. Why are many companies investing in automated labor during the pandemic?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of automation?
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August 18, 2020

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced countless companies around the world to come up with new ways to sell products or else risk going out of business. For instance, many bars and restaurants have made the switch to carry-out service and installed take-out windows to easily access waiting customers. For some lucky Italian entrepreneurs, though, their businesses come with built-in to-go kiosks constructed more than 500 years ago.

Known as “buchette del vino,” or “little wine holes” in English, these Continue reading

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August 17, 2020

With hundreds of American movie theaters closed since March, the film exhibition industry has made several attempts to return to business only to reverse course soon after. AMC Theatres, for instance, announced plans to reopen on July 15th but scrapped that idea as coronavirus cases spiked across the U.S. Despite these setbacks, though, the nation’s largest theater chain has now set August 20th as its return date. What’s more, AMC plans to charge just 15 cents per admission on the Continue reading

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August 13, 2020

In recent years, banks across the country have either phased out coin services or started charging fees for counting change. At Community State Bank in southeastern Wisconsin, for instance, the institution usually charges non-customers a 10 percent service fee for coin counting. But that certainly wasn’t the case a few weeks ago when Community State Bank had to beg people to bring in spare change to offset a coin shortage that has developed during the pandemic. 

In fact, the Continue reading

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August 11, 2020

For many Americans who have been working from home for six months, each day can seem like the same procession of Zoom meetings and email exchanges. As a result, some professionals have had trouble scheduling meetings with new clients who don’t want to add another video chat to their already packed calendars. For example, a Brooklyn-based ad executive named Lewis Smithingham tried for weeks to set up a meeting with an investment analyst only to receive a string of postponements Continue reading

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August 7, 2020

Airline passenger volume has plummeted by 95 percent during the coronavirus pandemic, wiping out tens of billions of dollars in revenue in the process. This video looks at how airlines are fighting to survive these unprecedented times by furloughing employees, limiting flight capacity, and retiring old aircraft like the Boeing 747. 

Questions: 

  1. What measures are airlines taking to cut costs during the pandemic? 
  2. What are the potential long term consequences of furloughing employees like pilots?
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August 6, 2020

Global sales of household cleaning products and disinfectants have skyrocketed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, supplies of some products have become increasingly strained as even the biggest brands struggle to keep up with demand. For example, Clorox CEO Benno Dorer said that the company will not be able to fully stock grocery store shelves with disinfectant wipes until at least 2021. 

Clorox has also been running low on many of its most popular items, Continue reading

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August 4, 2020

From April to June 2020, the U.S. GDP plummeted at an annual rate of 32.9 percent, the worst drop on record. As businesses closed across the country due to the pandemic, the U.S. fell into a recession that wiped out the economic gains of the last five years in just a few months. This data released last week by the Commerce Department “just highlights how deep and dark the hole is that the economy cratered into in Q2,” said economist Continue reading

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July 30, 2020

According to data from Yelp, more than 55 percent of the 132,500 businesses listed on the site that closed during the pandemic will remain shuttered permanently. Although government relief bought some companies time, businesses that are now closed will likely remain that way for the long term. Restaurants account for the greatest share of permanent and temporary closures, followed closely by retailers and then beauty salons and spas. 

“Businesses are needing to decide, ‘Do I renew my lease on Continue reading

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