Posted on

Covid Variant Adds to Worker Anxieties

For much of the pandemic, Amazon has offered free on-site Covid testing for employees. It incorporated a variety of design features into warehouses to promote social distancing. But a worker at an Amazon warehouse in Oregon, who did not want to be named for fear of retribution, said there had been a gradual reduction in safety features, like the removal of physical barriers to enforce social distancing.Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokeswoman, said that the company had removed barriers in some parts of warehouses where workers don’t spend much time in proximity, but that it had kept up distancing …

Read More

Posted on

Utah Farm Draws a Rare Breed: The American Shepherd

DIXIE NATIONAL FOREST, Utah — “The object is to keep ’em grazing,” Scott Stubbs said as he looked over the 1,470 ewes and lambs chewing up Castle Valley’s dandelions, clover and grasses. “Get them full, which makes them fat.”Mr. Stubbs, a fifth-generation sheep farmer in southern Utah, did not expect to be giving a hands-on shepherding seminar this summer, but he was stuck. He needed a second experienced herder, and the one who was supposed to arrive in the spring from Peru did not get approval for a special agricultural visa. Now backlogs at some foreign passport offices and American …

Read More

Posted on

America Shouldn’t Compete Against China With One Arm Tied Behind Its Back

The Senate recently passed a bill intended to bolster America’s technological and industrial capacity as we compete against China. The bill, called the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, began as a serious, bipartisan effort to meet one of our country’s greatest challenges.But in one of those “only in Washington” moments, a bill written to make our country more competitive with China now includes an amendment that will do exactly the opposite.This legislation is fundamentally important because winning our contest with China is vital to our future. This country has the largest economy in the world, …

Read More

Posted on

Return to Office Hits a Snag: Young Resisters

David Gross, an executive at a New York-based advertising agency, convened the troops over Zoom this month to deliver a message he and his fellow partners were eager to share: It was time to think about coming back to the office.Mr. Gross, 40, wasn’t sure how employees, many in their 20s and early 30s, would take it. The initial response — dead silence — wasn’t encouraging. Then one young man signaled he had a question. “Is the policy mandatory?” he wanted to know.Yes, it is mandatory, for three days a week, he was told.Thus began a tricky conversation …

Read More

Posted on

Is the U.S. Economy Too Hot or Too Cold? Yes.

Here’s a riddle: What is both too hot and too cold? The answer: the United States economy in the summer of 2021.That is the common thread that comes through in economic data; shifts in financial markets; anecdotes from businesses; and experiences of ordinary people who are simultaneously enjoying higher incomes and facing higher prices and shortages.In the mid-2021 economy, employers are offering higher pay to attract scarce workers; airports and car lots are bustling; and a G.D.P. report due out next week will probably show blockbuster growth. It is also an economy in which inflation is …

Read More

Posted on

Low-Wage Workers Now Have Options, Which Could Mean a Raise

McDonald’s is raising wages at its company-owned restaurants. It is also helping its franchisees hang on to workers with funding for backup child care, elder care and tuition assistance. Pay is up at Chipotle, too, and Papa John’s and many of its franchisees are offering hiring and referral bonuses.The reason? “In January, 8 percent of restaurant operators rated recruitment and retention of work force as their top challenge,” Hudson Riehle, senior vice president for research at the National Restaurant Association, said in an email. “By May, that number had risen to 72 percent.”Restaurant workers — burger flippers and bussers, …

Read More

Posted on

A Renewal for IBM Campuses Once Home to Punch Cards and Circuit Boards

ENDICOTT, N.Y. — The sidewalks along Washington Avenue in Endicott, N.Y., are empty enough that bicycles cruise their length with smooth sailing. But 40 years ago, when an IBM plant hummed with thousands of employees, the cyclists might have picked a different route.“During lunch hour, you couldn’t see down the street because there were so many people,” said Mary Morley, the owner of Angeline’s Flowers, one of the few storefronts without a “for rent” sign. “It used to be quite the place.”Wistfully recalling times gone by has been a pastime in the Southern Tier and Hudson …

Read More

Posted on

Building Solar Farms May Not Build the Middle Class

‘Like a Moving Assembly Line’On an afternoon in mid-May, several laborers coming off their shift at Assembly Solar said they were grateful for the work, which they said paid $16 an hour and provided health insurance and 401(k) contributions. Two said they had moved to the area from Memphis and two from Mississippi, where they had made $9 to $15 an hour — one as a cook, two in construction and one as a mechanic.Jeff Ordower, an organizer with the Green Workers Alliance, a group that pushes for better conditions on such projects, said that out-of-state workers often found jobs through recruiters, …

Read More

Posted on

Biden Urges More Scrutiny of Big Businesses, Such as Tech Giants

WASHINGTON — President Biden signed a sweeping executive order on Friday intended to increase competition within the nation’s economy and to limit corporate dominance, factors the White House says have led to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers while dampening pay and restricting the freedom to change jobs.The administration encouraged federal agencies to take a wide range of actions, such as more closely scrutinizing the tech industry, cracking down on high fees charged by ocean shippers and allowing hearing aids to be sold over the counter.“What we’ve seen over the past few decades is less competition …

Read More

Posted on

Why Is There a Blue Crab Shortage in Maryland?

“We send our kids to school, we send them to college,” he said. “A person doesn’t go to high school, grade school or community college for some type of fishing and become a waterman. You don’t have your kids educated to pick crabs.” Seasonal workers, he said, have traditionally filled a critical labor gap.Heather Mizeur, a Democrat running for Congress from a district on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, said the Biden administration can help address the labor shortage by authorizing more of the temporary visas. “The seafood industry out here on the shore desperately needs a reliable …

Read More