March 26, 2020

After the federal government placed a ban on gatherings of ten or more people last Monday, restaurants and bars across the country either closed or drastically altered their operations. Although such measures are necessary to contain the spread of coronavirus, countless businesses have had to furlough workers or lay them off entirely as a result. In fact, statistics released by the Labor Department this morning found that a record 3.3 million Americans applied to receive unemployment benefits last week.

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March 20, 2020

With many businesses altering their day-to-day operations, millions of Americans working in restaurants, bars, hotels, or for gig companies like Uber have seen their hours and pay cut drastically. This video looks at how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting regular people working in the San Francisco Bay Area and the solutions that they are asking for to relieve this crisis. 

Questions:

  1. Why do small businesses like restaurants and bars face so much uncertainty during the current coronavirus pandemic?
  2. Do Continue reading
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March 10, 2020

Last week we looked at how fears over coronavirus have caused major events to cancel and governments to restrict travel. Since then, organizers of South By Southwest have called off the festival while Italy has expanded emergency measures for the entire country. That means no public gatherings will be allowed in the Mediterranean nation along with a general ban on travel for all citizens unless they receive special permission. This global escalation of tensions surrounding the Covid-19 virus has Continue reading

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February 4, 2020

The national unemployment rate is currently at 3.5 percent, its lowest point in decades. As a result, retailers and restaurant chains across the country are having a difficult time finding workers to fill low-wage positions. “Understaffing is a massive problem,” said Jonathan Maze, executive editor of Restaurant Business Magazine. “You have companies that are stressed to try to fill hours and keep people on, and it can lead to violations.” 

According to a recent ruling from a Massachusetts court, Continue reading

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October 29, 2019

In mid-September, nearly 50,000 General Motors employees represented by the United Auto Workers union went on strike after failing to reach an agreement with the company. Staffers walked picket lines for more than a month as they fought for improved wages, benefits, and job security. Then last week the standoff finally ended as the union struck a deal with management that partially gave in to some of the workers’ demands.

For instance, employees are now guaranteed a 3 percent pay Continue reading

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October 24, 2019

This in-depth video explains how stock buybacks work and why they have possibly contributed to rising income inequality over the years. Along with providing a detailed history of this controversial practice, the video also takes a close look at the closing of GM’s factory in Lordstown, Ohio. 

Questions:

  1. Do you think lawmakers should pass regulations against corporate stock buybacks? Why or why not?
  2. How did the closing of GM’s Lordstown factory affect the community as a whole?
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September 19, 2019

On Wednesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a landmark labor law that guarantees wage and benefit protections for gig economy workers. The primary targets of this legislation are the state’s many Uber and Lyft drivers who are currently classified as independent contractors. When the new law comes into effect next year, the state will reclassify these contracted workers as regular employees entitled to a minimum wage, sick days, and other benefits. 

“Today the so-called gig companies present themselves as Continue reading

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September 17, 2019

On Monday around 48,000 General Motors employees walked off their jobs and onto picket lines after the United Auto Workers failed to reach a new agreement with the company. Along with improved pay and health benefits, the striking workers also want to keep plants open to ensure job security. “Our members have been very clear about what they will and will not accept from this contract,” said UAW Vice President Terry Dittes. “We are standing up for fair wages, we Continue reading

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August 29, 2019

On August 12, Popeyes announced that it was adding a new chicken sandwich to menus across the nation. The first of its kind at the fast food chain, Popeyes said this was its biggest product launch in more than 30 years. The sandwich soon became a hot topic on social media and grabbed the attention of more than just hungry customers. In the days following the launch, Chick-fil-A started a social media feud with Popeyes over which chain had the Continue reading

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