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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March 18, 2021

Last week, Congress passed a $1.9 trillion stimulus package aimed primarily at easing the financial burdens that many Americans have felt during the pandemic. While previous stimulus bills were directed more towards businesses, this latest package provides $960 billion in aid towards individuals through $1,400 checks, unemployment coverage, and provisions for child care. The bill also includes tax credits as well as programs that seek to make rent, food, and healthcare more affordable.

According to economists, low-to-middle income Americans will Continue reading

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October 1, 2020

Back in March, airlines received $25 billion in relief so that workers could stay on the payroll as the coronavirus pandemic caused a massive disruption in world travel. But with that money now spent, major carriers had been hoping for another round of economic stimulus from the federal government as demand for travel remains low. Legislators have been unable to come to an agreement so far, however, leading American Airlines and United Airlines to announce that more than 32,000 employees Continue reading

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August 27, 2020

For nearly every week since March, millions of Americans have filed for unemployment benefits as the economy continues to struggle with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. And last week was no exception: once again more than 1 million people filed for unemployment for the first time. All together, more than 27 million people applied for benefits as the jobless rate hovers around the 10 percent mark. 

“It’s massively concerning that five months into this crisis we are still Continue reading

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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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June 18, 2020

Tomorrow is Juneteenth, a holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. Although few major companies observed this day of remembrance in the past, many are now correcting this mistake in response to the protests that have been going on for weeks in cities across the country. Firms like Nike, Mastercard, Target, and Twitter recently announced that Juneteenth will become a paid holiday next year. Best Buy offered employees a “paid volunteer holiday” they can use this upcoming Continue reading

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