In January 1990, McDonald’s made history when the company opened its first location in Moscow, creating a symbol of unity between the U.S. and Russia after decades of tension. “In the history of McDonald’s, it was one of our proudest and most exciting milestones,” said CEO Chris Kempczinski. “After nearly half a century of Cold War animosity, the image of the Golden Arches shining above Pushkin Square heralded for many, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, the beginning of Continue reading

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April 8, 2022

The e-commerce giant Amazon is the second largest private employer in the U.S., with more than 1 million employees working in fulfillment centers and corporate offices around the country. For years, labor activists have sought to unionize this enormous workforce, but past efforts largely failed to gain traction. That may be starting to change, however, if recent developments at New York’s largest Amazon warehouse are any indication. 

Last week, staff at the JFK8 facility on Staten Island voted 2,654 Continue reading

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February 1, 2022

In the early days of the pandemic, the federal government passed the $800 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in order to provide money for payroll expenses that had been lost during the nationwide shutdowns. The initiative offered companies with 500 or fewer workers low-interest loans of up to $10 million to cover about two months of payroll. With unemployment soaring at the time, the idea was to bring relief to struggling employees while simultaneously giving businesses more breathing room on Continue reading

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January 20, 2022

Although heavy traffic in U.S. ports did not end up canceling Christmas last year, the supply chain crisis still led to some empty shelves and expensive items as companies struggled to obtain needed inventory. Now that the holiday shopping season is long over, however, some officials are optimistic that the worst has passed as ports in Southern California work through their backlogs and shipping costs drop from their September 2021 highs. But like so many other aspects of American Continue reading

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September 29, 2021

At the beginning of the year, the widespread distribution of Covid vaccines gave many companies the confidence to start plotting their triumphant returns to office life. Then the spread of the delta variant largely thwarted these plans as firms brought back just a fraction of the staffers they had intended to. And for those few employees who returned to offices, most are still doing the same thing that they’ve done since March 2020: Zoom meetings. 

For example, Nick Kneer Continue reading

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September 23, 2021

Since the widespread restaurant shutdowns of 2020, workers have steadily started to leave the food service industry, many for good. Along with the dangers of working in public during a pandemic, employees also found that some customers at reopened restaurants tended to tip less while others responded aggressively to mask rules. As a result, eateries across the country have nearly one million fewer filled positions than they did before the pandemic, amounting to an 8 percent decrease. And in a Continue reading

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September 10, 2021

Although demand for wine from California’s Napa Valley has never been higher, supply is low across the region after years of drought, wildfires, and then the pandemic disrupted production. This video looks at the inflationary pressures currently weighing on winemakers as they consider whether or not to raise prices on the latest vintages.

Questions:

  1. What inflationary factors are driving winemakers to raise prices on their products?
  2. What are the potential advantages and disadvantages for businesses when they raise prices?
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August 13, 2021

Last week, we looked at how Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit against Disney alleging that Black Widow’s premiere on the company’s streaming platform deprived the movie star of income. The video below dives into further detail about how this upcoming legal battle could set the stage for big changes in Hollywood as on-screen talent looks to grab a piece of the increasingly important streaming market. 

Questions:

  1. How could Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney potentially transform actor compensation in Continue reading
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August 3, 2021

For decades, Hollywood’s top movie stars have brokered contracts that grant them a percentage of a film’s box office earnings in addition to their multi-million dollar salaries. Then the pandemic hit last year and completely upended the industry’s long-established practice of premiering movies in theaters. Instead, studios like Disney and Warner Bros. released new titles through the streaming platforms Disney+ and HBO Max as $30 single-viewing rentals. 

Once theaters began to reopen in 2021, studios combined both of these Continue reading

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The widespread disruptions caused by the pandemic resulted in millions of Americans losing their jobs last year and subsequently applying for unemployment benefits. In one especially bleak week in spring 2020, new unemployment claims topped out at more than six million as businesses locked down to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Although the amount of new claims steadily began to decline after this historic high, hundreds of thousands of Americans have nevertheless applied for unemployment week after week since the Continue reading

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