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Welcome to the YOLO Economy

In addition to the job-hopping you’d expect during boom times, the pandemic has created many more remote jobs, and expanded the number of companies willing to hire outside of big, coastal cities. That has given workers in remote-friendly industries, such as tech and finance, more leverage to ask for what they want.“Employees have a totally unprecedented ability to negotiate in the next 18 to 48 months,” said Johnathan Nightingale, an author and a co-founder of Raw Signal Group, a management training firm. “If I, as an individual, am dissatisfied with the current state of my employment, I have so many …

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Why Amazon Workers Sided With the Company Over a Union

When Graham Brooks received his ballot in early February, asking whether he wanted to form a union at the Amazon warehouse in Alabama where he works, he did not hesitate. He marked the NO box, and mailed the ballot in.After almost six years of working as a reporter at nearby newspapers, Mr. Brooks, 29, makes about $1.55 more an hour at Amazon, and is optimistic he can move up.“I personally didn’t see the need for a union,” he said. “If I was being treated differently, I may have voted differently.”Mr. Brooks is one of almost 1,800 employees who handed …

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Covid-19 Pushes India’s Middle Class Toward Poverty

Anil G. Kumar, a civil engineer, was one of them. Around this time last year, he and his family were about to buy a two-bedroom apartment. But when last year’s lockdown hit, Mr. Kumar’s employer, a construction chemicals manufacturer, slashed his salary by half.“Everything turned turtle within a few hours,” he said. Three months later, his job had been eliminated.Now Mr. Kumar spends his days in his home in a working-class neighborhood in the western part of Delhi, searching for jobs on LinkedIn and taking care of his son.The family’s middle-class life is now …

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China’s First Quarter Growth is Expected to Boom on Paper

Factories are whirring, new apartments are being snapped up and more jobs are up for grabs. When China releases its new economic figures on Friday, they are expected to show a remarkable post-pandemic surge.The question is whether small businesses and Chinese consumers can fully share in the good times.China is expected to report that its economy grew by a jaw-dropping double-digit figure in the first three months of the year compared with the same period the year before. The number is widely estimated by economists to be 18 percent to 19 percent. But the growth is as much a reflection …

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Biden Takes On Sagging Safety Net With Plan to Fix Long-Term Care

President Biden’s $400 billion proposal to improve long-term care for older adults and those with disabilities was received as either a long overdue expansion of the social safety net or an example of misguided government overreach.Republicans ridiculed including elder care in a program dedicated to infrastructure. Others derided it as a gift to the Service Employees International Union, which wants to organize care workers. It was also faulted for omitting child care.For Ai-jen Poo, co-director of Caring Across Generations, a coalition of advocacy groups working to strengthen the long-term care system, it was an answer to years of …

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Amazon Union Vote: Labor Loss May Bring Shift in Strategy

“Everywhere they tried, they were defeated,’’ Nelson Lichtenstein, a labor historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said of the unions. “Walmart would send teams to swamp the stores to work against a union. They are good at it.”As with Walmart, labor leaders believed it was critical to establish a foothold at Amazon, which influences pay and working conditions for millions of workers thanks to the competitive pressure it puts on rivals in industries like groceries and fashion.But the labor movement’s failure to make inroads at Walmart despite investing millions of dollars has loomed over its …

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Amazon Workers Defeat Union Effort in Alabama

Amazon beat back the most significant labor drive in its history on Friday, when a tally showed that workers at its giant warehouse in Alabama had voted decisively against forming a union.Workers cast 1,798 votes against a union, giving Amazon enough to emphatically defeat the effort. Ballots in favor of a union trailed at 738, less than 30 percent of the votes tallied, according to federal officials. The lopsided outcome at the 6,000-person warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., dealt a crushing blow to labor organizers, Democrats and their allies at a time when conditions have been ripe for unions to make advances.Amazon, …

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Job Training That’s Free Until You’re Hired Is a Blueprint for Biden

Bill Barber saw an ad on Facebook last year for American Diesel Training Centers, a school in Ohio that prepares people for careers as diesel mechanics. It came with an unusual pitch: He would pay for the schooling only if it landed him a job, thanks to a nonprofit called Social Finance.After making sure it wasn’t a scam, he signed up. After going through the immersive five-week program, he got a job with starting pay of $39,000 a year — about $10,000 more than he made before as a cable TV installer.“I figured this was my best opportunity to succeed,” …

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H&M and Other Brands Face Backlash From Chinese Consumers

Faced with accusations that it was profiting from the forced labor of Uyghur people in the Chinese territory of Xinjiang, the H&M Group — the world’s second-largest clothing retailer — promised last year to stop buying cotton from the region.But last month, H&M confronted a new outcry, this time from Chinese consumers who seized on the company’s renouncement of the cotton as an attack on China. Social media filled with angry demands for a boycott, urged on by the government. Global brands like H&M risked alienating a country of 1.4 billion people.The furor underscored how international …

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Garment Workers Who Lost Jobs in Pandemic Still Wait for Severance Pay

Over a crackling phone line, Ashraf Ali, a 35-year-old father in Bangladesh, described feeling suicidal and desperate to feed his family. Sokunthea Yi, in Cambodia, said she spends sleepless nights worrying about how she will pay off loans she took out to build her house. And at only 23, Dina Arviah in Indonesia said she was hopeless about her future as there were no longer any jobs in her district.All once held jobs as garment workers in factories producing clothes and shoes for companies like Nike, Walmart and Benetton. But in the last 12 months those jobs have disappeared, as major …

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