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Labor Issues

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Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank have voted to fire its president, Mauricio Claver-Carone. An ethics investigation found he had a relationship with a subordinate. The governors had until Tuesday to vote on whether to sack Claver-Carone, but enough ballots had been cast by Monday to remove the first American to lead the bank. An investigation conducted at the bank board’s request determined that Claver-Carone violated ethics rules by raising the salary of his chief of staff, with whom he had a romantic relationship. Claver-Carone has denied the relationship and says the investigation was seriously flawed.

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The Federal Reserve will have to keep boosting its benchmark interest rate to a point that raises unemployment and gets inflation down from unusually high levels. That's according to two central bank officials in separate remarks Monday. The comments from both officials added to an ongoing debate about how badly the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes — the fastest in more than 40 years — will hurt the economy. By lifting its benchmark rate, the Fed is pushing up the cost of a wide range of consumer and business loans, including for mortgages, auto loans, and credit cards.

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Starbucks says it wants to start contract negotiations next month at 234 U.S. stores that have voted to unionize. The Seattle coffee giant said Monday it sent letters to stores in 36 states and the District of Columbia offering a three-week window to start negotiations. But Workers United, the union organizing Starbucks workers, is skeptical. It notes that Starbucks opposes unionization. Just three stores have begun bargaining contracts with Starbucks in the U.S. since the start of this year. Workers United says its national committee is focused on developing core proposals that workers will be able to use when they bargain at individual stores.

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Abigail E. Disney has been critical of the company that bears her name before. But for the first time, Disney, the granddaughter of co-founder Roy O. Disney, has put her views into the medium the Mouse House was built on: a movie. In the new documentary “The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales,” Disney argues that the Walt Disney Co. has lost its moral compass. Disney lays out a harsh portrait of the company, particularly in regard to pay inequity and the struggles of some theme park employees to sustain their families on their pay. The company, she says, “has lost the plot.” A spokesperson for the company says its employees are “the heart and soul of Disney.”

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Serbia’s foreign minister has sought to play down the importance of an agreement with Russia, after the Balkan state that is seeking European Union membership faced criticism for signing it. Nikola Selakovic on Sunday said the deal on foreign policy consultations he signed with Russia's Sergey Lavrov was “technical” and similar documents have been signed regularly since 1996. The news of the deal triggered harsh criticism from the pro-EU opposition at home and some EU politicians. Serbia officially is a candidate for European Union membership, but the government maintains good relations with Russia and has refused to join EU sanctions against Moscow.

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Faculty members at Eastern Michigan University have voted to ratify a new four-year labor agreement with the school. The Eastern Michigan University chapter of the American Association of University Professors says Friday that 96% of its members voted in favor of the deal which would include pay raises and more favorable health care coverage. Dozens of faculty members began picketing Sept. 7 at the school, about 35 miles southwest of Detroit. The union and the school’s administration had been split over pay raises and how much faculty members should pay for health care. Striking faculty members returned to their classrooms Sept. 12, after a deal was reached with the university to end the walkout.

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A Florida sheriff’s deputy working an overnight shift to provide safety at a construction zone was accidentally struck and killed by a worker operating a front end loader who officials say is in the U.S. illegally. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says Deputy Michael Hartwick had started his shift shortly before the incident happened late Thursday on Interstate 275. He had blocked two lanes when a front end loader driven by the worker hit him. The sheriff says the worker drove for about a mile before stopping in a parking lot and told another worker that he had killed a deputy. He is being charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving a death after initially giving a false name.

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General Motors says it will spend $760 million to renovate its transmission factory in Toledo, Ohio, so it can build drive lines for electric vehicles. It’s the first GM engine or transmission plant to begin the long transition from internal combustion engines to EVs. GM has a goal of making only electric passenger vehicles by 2035. The investment will keep the jobs of about 1,500 hourly and salaried workers at the Toledo plant, which now makes four transmissions used in pickup trucks and many other GM internal combustion vehicles. It’s good news for workers in Toledo, who have been worried about the future of their plant.

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Executive directors of the Inter-American Development Bank have voted unanimously to recommend firing a former Trump official as president of the Washington-based institution. The action follows an investigation that found Mauricio Claver-Carone violated ethics rules by favoring a top aide with whom he had a romantic relationship. A person familiar with the vote said the decision to recommend ousting  Claver-Carone came in a closed-door meeting Thursday. The Associated Press obtained a confidential report by a law firm hired by the bank's board triggered by an anonymous complaint of misconduct against Claver-Carone. Investigators say it is reasonable to conclude the relationship existed since at least 2019, when both held senior positions on the National Security Council.

The U.S. is outlining its goals for a new trade deal with Australia, Japan, South Korea and nine other nations meant to signal the country's commitment to working with the Indo-Pacific region at a time of growing Chinese clout. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on Friday released its negotiating aims for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a deal with the 12 nations launched in May. Among them, the U.S. wants the Indo-Pacific countries to improve their labor and environmental standards and ensure their markets remain open to competition, while also taking steps to ease supply-chain backlogs at border crossings.

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Social media users shared a range of false claims this week. Here are the facts: President Joe Biden did not announce that the U.S. is signing a U.N. “Small Arms Treaty,” that would establish an international gun control registry. There is no scientific evidence to suggest humans or other mammals vaccinated with mRNA shots die within five years. A video shows traffic at the Finnish-Russian border last month, not Russians fleeing after Putin announced the partial mobilization of reservists to Ukraine. Florida ranks 48th in the nation in average public school teacher pay, not 9th.

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Aid agencies say the number of children working in Afghanistan is growing ever since the economy collapsed following the Taliban takeover more than a year ago. Nowhere is it clearer than in the brick factories outside of the capital, Kabul. Children as young as four or five labor alongside their parents from early in the morning until late at night, doing backbreaking tasks like hauling wheelbarrows full of bricks. Their families say they have no choice, the work is needed to put food on the table. A recent survey by Save The Children estimated that half of Afghanistan's families have had to put their children to work.

Irate that a session to discuss a proposed smoking ban during a casino industry conference was canceled, casino workers and patrons opposed to smoking in the gambling halls held a noisy protest outside the meeting Thursday in New Jersey. About 100 people rallied outside the Hard Rock casino in Atlantic City, demanding that the state Legislature act on a bill to ban casino smoking that has the support of more than half of state lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy. The bill has been stalled without a hearing in a state Senate or Assembly committee, and a similar measure died without a vote last year as well.

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The Federal Reserve delivered its bluntest reckoning Wednesday of what it will take to finally tame painfully high inflation: Slower growth, higher unemployment and potentially a recession. Speaking at a news conference, Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged what many economists have been saying for months: That the Fed’s goal of engineering a “soft landing” — in which it would manage to slow growth enough to curb inflation but not so much as to trigger a recession — looks increasingly unlikely. “The chances of a soft landing,” Powell said, “are likely to diminish” as the Fed steadily raises borrowing costs to slow the worst inflation in four decades.

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Robert Sarver says he has started the process of selling the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury, a move that comes only eight days after he was suspended by the NBA over workplace misconduct including racist speech and hostile behavior toward employees. Sarver made the announcement Wednesday, saying selling “is the best course of action.” He has owned the teams since 2004, when he purchased it for about $400 million. He is not the lone owner, but the primary one. Forbes recently estimated the value of the Suns at $1.8 billion.

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The Federal Reserve sent a sobering message after it announced its latest big interest rate hike: It plans to keep raising rates as long as it takes to conquer the worst inflation bout in decades — even at the risk of causing a recession in the process. Its aggressive pace of rate hikes will increasingly make borrowing and spending costly for consumers and businesses. Job cuts and rising unemployment could follow. And eventually, as the job market steadily weakens along with the economy, a recession could follow. Given the strength of the job market, most economists say a recession seems months away, at least. But most of them nevertheless think an economic downturn is inevitable.

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Intensifying its fight against high inflation, the Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate by a substantial three-quarters of a point for a third straight time and signaled more large rate hikes to come — an aggressive pace that will heighten the risk of an eventual recession. The Fed’s move boosted its benchmark short-term rate, which affects many consumer and business loans, to a range of 3% to 3.25%, the highest level since early 2008. The officials also forecast that they will further raise their benchmark rate to roughly 4.4% by year’s end, a full percentage point higher than they had forecast as recently as June.

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A biracial man who says he was fending off a racist attack on a Georgia highway when he fired into a pickup truck and killed a teenage passenger has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. A judge in Statesboro on Tuesday imposed the maximum sentence for 23-year-old Marc Wilson, who was convicted last month of involuntary manslaughter. Haley Hutcheson was riding in a pickup truck with other teenagers in June 2020 when a bullet Wilson fired from his car struck her in the head. Defense attorneys argued Wilson was justified in opening fire because the truck's driver tried to run his car off the road as passengers in the pickup shouted racist slurs. Prosecutors unsuccessfully tried to convict Wilson of felony murder.

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The U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation into allegations of discrimination against Black officers by the Kansas City Police Department that reportedly begins during hiring and extends to promotions and discipline. The federal agency announced the inquiry in a letter sent Monday to the Board of Police Commissioners and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt. The agency has not elaborated on how it was alerted to the concerns. The announcement comes after The Kansas City Star published a series of stories examining allegations of racism and harassment. The department’s interim police chief, Joseph Mabin, has vowed to cooperate fully with the federal investigation. The police union has not responded to a request for comment.

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Asian stock markets have followed Wall Street lower after higher-than-expected U.S. inflation dashed hopes the Federal Reserve might ease off more interest rate hikes. Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney declined. Oil edged higher. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 is down 4.1% this week after government data showing inflation stayed near a four-decade high in August despite rate hikes to slow the economy. U.S. government data showed unemployment claims last week declined while August consumer sales rose. That gives ammunition to Federal Reserve officials who say the economy can tolerate higher interest rates.

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Rail companies and their workers reached a tentative agreement to avert a nationwide strike that could have shut down the nation’s freight trains and devastated the economy less than two months before the midterm elections. President Joe Biden announced the deal Thursday. It emerged from a marathon 20-hour negotiating session at the Labor Department and came just one day before the threatened walkout. The deal includes a 24% pay raise and relaxes strict railroad attendance policies. It will go to union members for a vote after a cooling-off period of several weeks.

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President Joe Biden is hailing a labor agreement that avoided a strike that would have shut down railroads across the country as a win for America. It's also a win for him politically, allowing Democrats to sidestep what could have been an economic debacle before November’s midterm elections. Pressured to choose between labor and business, Biden lobbied them to work together. By keeping the trains running, Biden overcame a major economic threat that doubled as a political risk. His fellow Democrats face an uphill climb to maintain their narrow hold on power in Congress amid soaring inflation and as Biden’s approval rating is improving, but still remains underwater.

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Thousands of nurses have returned to work at hospitals in Minnesota following a three-day strike over wage increases and staffing and retention made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. Members of the Minnesota Nurses’ Association at 15 hospitals in the Minneapolis and Duluth areas walked off the job Monday. The Twin Cities Hospitals Group said in a statement Thursday that negotiators were expected to return to talks sometime next week. Some 15,000 nurses at seven health care systems in the Minneapolis and Duluth areas walked out, a number the union says makes it the largest strike ever by private-sector nurses. The affected hospitals recruited temporary nurses to cover for striking union members.

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President Joe Biden says a deal has been reached to avert a looming freight rail strike that could have disrupted numerous commuter rail services across the country. Commuter rail services in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Seattle, the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere would have been forced into full or partial shutdowns if there was a strike because they use tracks owned by the freight railroads. Big commuter rail systems in the New York metro area would have been unaffected.

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In a story published September 14, 2022, about the business impact of a possible railroad strike, The Associated Press misspelled the first name of the supply chain executive at the Retail Industry Leaders Association. It is Jess Dankert, not Jesse Dankert.

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