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Organizing a Union in the Disorganized World of Small Restaurants

During the pandemic, restaurant workers “were interested in organizing in a way they weren’t before,” said Sheigh Freeberg, the secretary and treasurer of Unite Here Local 17.What’s distinct about many of these fledgling drives, Mr. Freeberg added, is that they are not taking on corporations worth millions of dollars. Most independent restaurants operate on slim profit margins. For those workers, “it is about respect on the job, or being able to have your schedule ahead of when it comes out,” he said. “Stuff that doesn’t cost any money.”Still, many recent organizing efforts stalled or failed.After …

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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 …

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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, …

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The Battles to Come Over the Benefits of Working From Home

It’s not hard to see how employers could. With all the commute time freed up, what is to stop them from simply asking employees to work longer from home — to prepare that report before the meeting starts in the morning or to answer emails or contact clients or file those forms at all hours of the day or night? Blurring the lines between work and the rest of life does not have to benefit workers in the end. Indeed, it was the thing that worried people about working from home before the pandemic began.Daily Business BriefingUpdated July 20, 2021, 11:42 a. …

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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, …

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Inflation Rose in June With C.P.I. Up 5.4 Percent

The Fed targets 2 percent annual price gains on average over time, a goal it defines using a different index. Still, the C.P.I. is closely watched because it comes out more rapidly than the Fed’s preferred gauge and it feeds into the favored number, which has also accelerated.Republicans have pointed to rapid price gains as a sign of the Biden administration’s economic mismanagement, and an argument against the kind of additional spending that President Biden has called for as part of his $4 trillion economic agenda, including investments to fight climate change, bolster education and improve child …

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Inflation: What Today’s U.S. Economy has in Common with the 1960s

“It gave me a feeling of déjà vu, because that’s what we were doing in the ’70s — we were trying to get supply-side effects,” said Barry P. Bosworth, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who led the Council on Wage and Price Stability under President Jimmy Carter. The efforts failed to control overall inflation, he said.“It doesn’t work,” he said. “As a macro policy, you can’t go around trying to put your finger in the dike everywhere it pops up.”Wages: The trouble with spirals.The big price spikes in the 1960s and 1970s reversed …

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Pandemic Wave of Automation May Be Bad News for Workers

“You can pull a less-skilled worker in and have them adapt to our system much easier,” said Ryan Hillis, a Meltwich vice president. “It certainly widens the scope of who you can have behind that grill.”With more advanced kitchen equipment, software that allows online orders to flow directly to the restaurant and other technological advances, Meltwich needs only two to three workers on a shift, rather than three or four, Mr. Hillis said.Such changes, multiplied across thousands of businesses in dozens of industries, could significantly change workers’ prospects. Professor Warman, the Canadian economist, said technologies developed for one …

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June Jobs Report Shows an 850,000 Gain, Better Than Expected

Anxieties over a lag in hiring lifted on Friday as the government reported that employers added 850,000 workers in June, the largest monthly gain since August.Wages jumped for the third month in a row, a sign that employers are trying to attract applicants with higher pay and that workers are gaining bargaining power.Rising Covid-19 vaccination rates and a growing appetite for travel, dining out, celebrations and entertainment gave a particular boost to leisure and hospitality businesses. The biggest chunk of June’s gains — 343,000 — could be found there.“I think it’s a very solid and strong report,” said Kathy …

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Canada Goose’s Image Is Challenged by Union Effort

Canada Goose, the luxury jacket maker, has cultivated an image that is not only chic but also socially conscious. It has forged alliances with environmental advocates and talked of its commitment to high labor standards.These efforts have paid off as the company outgrew its roots as a family enterprise and built a worldwide following for its parkas, which can cost over $1,000 and have been worn by celebrities like Daniel Craig and Kate Upton. “We believe that the brand image we have developed has significantly contributed to the success of our business,” the company wrote in a Securities and Exchange …

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