Business News Archives for 2023-05

AM Business Notebook

 

>>Debt Ceiling Bill Advances To House Floor

(Washington, DC) -- The House Rules Committee is advancing the debt ceiling bill to the floor, which clears a major hurdle as it continues to face opposition from both Democrats and Republicans alike. The rule was adopted by a seven-six vote, with Republican Representatives Chip Roy and Ralph Norman joining all Democrats in opposition. The debt limit bill will now advance to the floor for debate, with a vote expected sometime today. The 99-page measure would raise the nation's spending limit the next two years to avoid a federal debt default.

 

>>Amazon Employees Plan To Walk Out

(Seattle, WA) -- More than 17-hundred Amazon employees plan to walk off the job today, calling for more flexibility with remote work. They also want the company to pay more attention to its climate impact. Nearly 900 of those workers plan to walk out of the company's Seattle HQ. The move comes a month after Amazon started requiring employees to work from the office at least three days a week.

 

>>Colorado Governor Proposes Disney World Move In NBA Finals Bet

(Denver, CO) -- Colorado's governor is making a proposal to his counterpart in Florida ahead of the NBA Finals matchup between the Nuggets and the Heat. Democrat Jared Polis suggested yesterday that Disney World should move to Colorado if Denver beats Miami in the upcoming series. Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has criticized Disney as a "woke" corporation since the company objected to a bill designed to prevent discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity in some Florida classrooms between grades k-through-third grade. Polis said Disney World should move to the "actual happiest place on Earth to do business" in yesterday's tweet.

 

>>Writers Guild Urges Shareholders to Reject Compensation Packages of Top Executives

(Los Angeles, CA) -- The Writers Guild of America is targeting top executives' pay in letters sent to major shareholders of Netflix and Comcast. On Tuesday, WGA president Meredith Stiehm urged shareholders to reject the "Say on Pay" proposal, which asks them to sign off on the company's prior year pay packages. In the letters, Stiehm detailed the disparity in pay between top executives and writers. As the strike moves into the summer, the guild is successfully building pressure on studios by shutting down active film productions and wants to get the shareholders on board. The guild continues to gain leverage with it's actions because it's ultimate goal is to send a message to studios.

AM Business Notebook

>>McCarthy: Repubs, Dems At Odds Over Cuts (Washington, DC) -- House Speaker Kevin McCarthy claims Democrats are out-of-step with ordinary Americans as the debt-ceiling talks roll on. Speaking on Capitol Hill today, the California Republican said polls show most Americans want the federal government to curb spending, but he adds the parties are still deadlocked on exactly what to cut. McCarthy said progress is being made, but a major sticking point is over work requirements for social benefits programs. The Republicans want the requirements, while the Democrats oppose the increased work demands for the benefits. Most experts say a deal must be struck within a week to avoid the U.S. defaulting on its debt obligations.

 

>>Consumer Sentiment Falls In May

(Ann Arbor, MI) -- Consumer sentiment slid this month on worries about the economy and the debt ceiling crisis. The University of Michigan's final reading for May fell seven percent from last month. The survey noted the index erased half the gains achieved since its all-time historic low last June. The year-ahead economic outlook plunged 17 percent from April.

 

>>Consumer Spending Increases In April

(Washington, DC) -- Consumer spending is up more than expected. New government numbers released Friday showed consumer spending went up point-eight-percent in April, double what was expected by analysts. It was the biggest jump in consumer spending in three months. Purchases of new cars helped boost spending last month despite higher interest rates. Meanwhile, personal income went up by point-four-percent in April.

 

>>Rating Agency Puts US Credit On Negative Watch

(Washington, DC) -- A major credit rating agency is putting America's credit rating on a negative watch as lawmakers struggle to reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling. Fitch Ratings said America's Triple-A rating is at risk of a potential downgrade if the White House and Republicans fail to reach a deal to raise the borrowing limit. The move comes just over a week before June when officials say the U.S. may no longer be able to meet its payment obligations. The White House said the formal notice reinforces the need for Congress to quickly pass a reasonable, bipartisan agreement and avoid default. Negotiations between the two sides are ongoing.

 

>>Gallup: More Americans Pessimistic About Retirement

(Washington, DC) -- More and more Americans are pessimistic about retirement. A Gallup poll finds 43 percent of those who have yet to retire expect they'll live comfortably when they do retire. That's down from 48 percent last year and the lowest in over a decade. Optimism about retirement had hit a high of 57-percent just before the COVID pandemic in 2019.

 

>>MoviePass Relaunches With Different Tiers

(New York, NY) -- A subscription service that lets film fans see up to 30 movies in theaters each month is relaunching. MoviePass is back under new ownership after going bankrupt in 2020. It will have a new pricing model this time around, with plans starting at 10-bucks per month to see one to three movies and going up to 40-dollars a month to see up to 30 movies. MoviePass says subscribers will be able to see movies at any theater that accepts MasterCard. The service's website lists over four-thousand participating locations around the country.

 

>>Ford EV Customers Get Access To Tesla Superchargers

(Dearborn, MI) -- Starting next year, Ford electric vehicle customers will have access to 12-thousand Tesla superchargers in North America. Ford president and CEO Jim Farley says they will provide an adapter for Ford F-150, Mustang Mach-E, and E-Transit vehicles and switch to the same adapter used by Tesla in 2025. Ford's BlueOval Charge Network is the largest in North America with over 84-thousand chargers and ten-thousand public DC fast-chargers.

AM Business Notebook

>>Rating Agency Puts US Credit On Negative Watch

(Washington, DC) -- A major credit rating agency is putting America's credit rating on a negative watch as lawmakers struggle to reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling. Fitch Ratings said America's Triple-A rating is at risk of a potential downgrade if the White House and Republicans fail to reach a deal to raise the borrowing limit. >>Jobless Claims Lower Than Expected (Washington, DC) -- Fewer Americans are seeking unemployment benefits with weekly jobless claims lower than forecast. The Labor Department reports receiving 229-thousand first-time claims for the week ending May 20th. Economists had forecast nearly 250-thousand claims.

 

>>Microsoft Launches AI-Powered Technology

(Redmond, WA) -- Microsoft is launching AI-powered technology for its Windows 11 Platform. The tech giant said in a blog post that the Windows Copilot will be able to explain content to users by summarizing or re-writing it. Users will also be able to ask questions to the Copilot, similar to Bing Chat OpenAI's ChatGPT. Microsoft said Chat GPT plug-ins can also extend to Windows Copilot, which will allow developers to find "new ways to reach and innovate for our shared customers."

 

>>Facebook Company Slashes Business Jobs

(Menlo Park, CA) -- The company that owns Facebook is slashing business teams in its final round of layoffs. Meta Platforms Incorporated on Wednesday said it carried out its last batch of layoffs this year as part of its plan to eliminate ten-thousand jobs. Dozens of Meta employees announced on LinkedIn that they were being laid off, including those working in marketing, site security, content strategy and program management. Last fall, Meta laid off over eleven-thousand employees.

 

>>Microsoft Launches AI-Powered Technology

(Redmond, WA) -- Microsoft is launching AI-powered technology for its Windows 11 Platform. The tech giant said in a blog post that the Windows Copilot will be able to explain content to users by summarizing or re-writing it. Users will also be able to ask questions to the Copilot, similar to Bing Chat OpenAI's ChatGPT. Microsoft said Chat GPT plug-ins can also extend to Windows Copilot, which will allow developers to find "new ways to reach and innovate for our shared customers."

 

>>Peloton Rebrands, Offers Free Membership

(New York, NY) -- Peloton is now allowing free membership. The exercise bike company announced a brand relaunch on Tuesday and said it's no longer just a bike company or an exclusive paid membership service. Peloton said it now has three different membership tiers, including one that's free. The free app includes over 50 classes and a rotating set of featured classes. The new branding is launching across all Peloton markets in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Germany and Australia.

AM Business Notebook

>>GOP Debt Negotiators Say There's "Significant Gap" Between The Aisle

(Washington, DC)  --  With the potential for a historic default looming, GOP negotiators say a "significant gap" remains between Republicans and Democrats as they discuss raising the debt ceiling.  Republican lawmaker Patrick McHenry says the "fundamental issue of spending" still remains, while Representative Garret Graves told reporters that "until the White House recognizes that this is a spending problem," there will continue to be issues with the negotiations.  Their reports coincide with that of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy who said earlier Tuesday that negotiators are not at all close to a deal.  Negotiators from the White House and Speaker McCarthy's office are continuing to meet to try and come to an agreement before June. 

 

>>Ford To Keep AM Radio In Vehicles

(Detroit, MI)  --  Ford will keep AM radio in its vehicles.  CEO Jim Farley made the announcement on social media this week more than a month after the carmaker had decided it would not include AM radio in new vehicles starting in 2024.  Farley said Ford reversed the decision after speaking with policy leaders about the importance of AM radio as part of the emergency alert system.  The National Association of Broadcasters praised Ford for the decision, saying it "will keep Americans safe and informed, particularly in times of emergency."  The bipartisan AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act was recently introduced by a group of U.S. senators and house members.

 

>>Target Pulls Some Pride Merch After Violent Threats

(Undated)  --  Target is pulling some of it's gay pride merchandise after violent customers threatened several employees.  On Tuesday, the company released a statement saying since they introduced the collection, employees have experienced threats against their safety or wellbeing.  They said due to "volatile circumstances," Target will be "removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior."  The company has yet to reveal which particular items it will be removing.  The decision comes amid a nationwide debate over the civil rights of transgender people.  

 

>>Netflix Rolls Out Password Sharing Crackdown

(Los Gatos, CA)  --  The days of Netflix subscribers sharing their passwords are coming to an end.  The streamer began emailing customers Tuesday about its new password policy.  Netflix said the email will be sent to members in the U.S. who have been sharing their account outside their household.  Subscribers are given two options -- transfer a profile to a new membership or share an account with someone outside their household for about an extra eight bucks a month.  Netflix noted that subscribers in the same household will still be able to stream wherever they are including at hotels and vacation homes.

 

>>Apple Launches Agreement To Develop 5G Parts In U.S.

(Cupertino, CA)  --  Apple is launching a multibillion-dollar agreement to develop 5G components in the United States. The tech giant is joining forces with U.S.-based manufacturer Broadcom and the parts will be designed and built in various American hubs including in Colorado, where Broadcom has a facility. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a press release that his company will continue to invest in the American economy because it has an "unshakable belief in America's future."

AM Business Notebook

>>Biden: Areas Of Disagreement, But Debt Talks 'Productive'

(Washington, DC)  --  President Biden says the latest debt ceiling talks with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy were "productive."  In a statement, Biden noted that Monday's meeting at the White House was "about the need to prevent default and avoid a catastrophe for our economy."  While there are areas of disagreement, he said leaders and staff will "continue to discuss the path" toward a bipartisan deal.  After the meeting, McCarthy also labeled talks as productive.  Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has repeatedly warned that the U.S. could go into default if the debt ceiling isn't raised by June 1st.

 

>>TikTok Sues Montana

(Helena, MT)  --  TikTok is suing Montana over its new law banning the app.  The law prohibits Chinese-owned TikTok from operating in the state and doesn't allow residents to download the app to their phones.  The governor said there are legitimate spying issues involved and the federal government has already banned the app from official phones.  Lawyers for TikTok say the Montana law violates the First Amendment.

 

>>Hyundai, Kia Agree to $200 Million Settlement With Customers

(Undated)  --  Hyundai and Kia have settled a 200 million dollar class-action lawsuit over car thefts. The automakers have agreed to pay vehicle owners over claims that many of the automakers' cars and SUVs are too easy to steal because of a software defect. Owners are getting security software updates and reimbursement for losses. The settlement will be distributed to about nine milion owners.

 

>>Bud Light Buying Back Cases Of Beer

(St. Louis, MO)  --  Anheuser Busch is buying back cases of expired Bud Light from wholesalers after the Dylan Mulvaney controversy. The beer went unsold after the brewer's disastrous marketing partnership with the transgender influencer. A pair of Instagram posts by Mulvaney sparked a mix of online backlash causing a dip in Bud Light sales. The brewer says it is planning a branding revamp that will focus on the all-American themes of football and country music.

AM Business Notebook

>>Biden To Meet McCarthy For Debt Ceiling Talks 

(Washington, DC)  --  Talks on raising the debt ceiling are set to resume at the White House today.  House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says President Biden agreed to sit down with him one-on-one during a call between the two today as Biden returns from the G7 Summit in Japan.  McCarthy described the conversation as "productive."  For his part, Biden tweeted from Air Force One, that he's proposed over a trillion dollars in spending cuts and Republicans will have to compromise on some of their demands as well.

 

>>Cruz Calls Possible Use Of 14th Amendment "Legally Frivolous"

(Houston, TX)  --  Senator Ted Cruz says the possible use of the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling is "legally frivolous."  Speaking on Fox News Sunday, the Texas Republican was referring to a constitutional amendment that would allow President Biden to raise the debt ceiling without congressional approval.  Cruz says the President can avoid a default by saying the U.S. will commit to paying the interest on the debt.  Cruz also noted that Barack Obama rejected using the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling when he was President.

 

>>Opinion Of Federal Income Tax Hits 20 Year Low

(Undated)  ---  Americans' opinion on federal income taxes is at a 20-year-low.  According to a new Gallup poll, 60-percent of respondents believe they're paying too much in federal income tax, while only 36-percent felt they were paying about the right amount.  Their data revealed public opinion on the federal income tax hasn't been that low since 2001, before President Bush signed tax cut laws into effect.  Over 30-percent of respondents also say the federal income tax is the worst, or least fair, tax that they pay.  

 

>>Elon Musk says working from home is "morally wrong"

(New York, NY)  --  Elon Musk says working from home is "morally wrong." The Tesla founder and Twitter owner said in an interview with CNBC that employees are more productive in person.  Musk referred to Silicon Valley's tech workers as the "laptop classes living in la-la-land." The billionaire says employees refusing to return to an in-person setting need to "get off their moral high horse" and get back to work like everyone else.

 

>>Waffle Maker Recall

(Alpharetta, GA)  --  Hundreds of thousands of waffle makers are under recall because of possible burn risks.  Empower Brands is recalling more than 450-thousand of its PowerXL Stuffed Wafflizer models after nearly three dozen reports of people getting hurt.  The waffle makers were sold July 2021 through October 2022 at stores including Walmart, Big Lots, Sam's Club, Target and others.
 

AM Business Notebook

>>Yellen: Debt Limit Failure Would Have 'Severe' Consequences

(Washington, DC) -- Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is warning of "severe" economic consequences if the nation's debt ceiling isn't addressed. She met with prominent bank CEOs Thursday in Washington, DC to discuss both the debt limit and recent bank failures. Those included the heads of JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup. Yellen reaffirmed the strength and soundness of the U.S banking system. She also noted that a failure to raise or suspend the debt limit would be "catastrophic" for the financial system, businesses and families. Congress needs to pass a debt limit increase by June 1st or risk a default.

 

>>U.S. Rolls Out Sanctions Package Against Russia At G7

(Washington, DC) -- The U.S. and G7 countries are rolling out a sweeping package of new sanctions and export controls against Russia over its war against Ukraine. It comes as President Biden is gathering with G7 leaders in Hiroshima, Japan. The administration plans to cut off about 300 individuals, entities, vessels and aircraft from the U.S. financial system for circumventing sanctions on Russia. This includes people and companies from Europe, the Middle East and Asia. >>NASA To Announce Lander Contract (Washington, DC) -- NASA will announce this morning the company tasked with building a landing system to put humans on the moon. It's part of the Artemis Five mission that plans to put four people on the moon sometime this decade. The announcement is set for 10:30 a.m. Eastern.

 

>>Wendy's Tests Underground Robot System To Pick Up Orders

(Dublin, OH) -- Wendy's is testing an underground robot system to pick up orders. The fast food company is partnering with Pipedream, a hyperlogistics company. The "instant pickup portals" will be next to parking spots, and robots will carry meals underground to customers' cars. The company also announced earlier this month that it's teaming up with Google to add AI to the menu to answer customer questions and take their orders.

 

>>Ford Recalling Over 422-Thousand SUVs

(Dearborn, MI) -- Ford Motor Company is recalling over 422-thousand SUVs due to a problem with the rear-view camera. The recall affects Ford Explorers and Lincoln Aviators built between 2020 and 2023. Also covered are 2020 through 2022 model year Lincoln Corsairs. All of the vehicles have the 360-degree rear cameras and Ford says they have received reports of 17 minor accidents. >>Target Recalls Five Million Candles Due To Cracking And Injury Risk (Minneapolis, MN) -- Target is recalling close to five million candles that could crack while burning and pose risk of injury. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the items could break and could cut or burn users. The retail giant fielded over 100 reports of the candles cracking during use, and six reports of injuries. The recall is for the Threshold Glass Jar candles in various scents and sizes, sold beginning August 2019.

 

>>Record Rent In Manhattan

(New York, NY) -- Forget about the cost of inflation. Try keeping up with the ever-upward cost of renting an apartment in New York City. A new report from Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants and Douglas Elliman Real Estate has some depressing news for renters and perspective renters. Manhattan rent hit another all-time high in April - 42-hundred dollars on average. >>In-N-Out Announces Eastward Expansion (Irvine, CA) -- In-N-Out Burger is headed for an eastward expansion. Once a Southern-California-only staple, the fast food chain is opening restaurants and a corporate office in Tennessee by 2026. That'll be the eighth state to host In-N-Out and its stripped down burger, fries and milkshake menu. The company's owner also hinted at expansion into the southeast U.S..

AM Business Notebook

>>Biden: The U.S. Will Not Default On Its Debts

(Washington, DC)  --  President Biden says the U.S. will not default on its debts.  Biden spoke to reporters at the White House on Wednesday about the negotiations underway with top Republican Kevin McCarthy to raise the debt ceiling ahead of the June 1st deadline.  The President said, "We're going to come together because there's no alternative," and that the negotiations are about the outlines of the budget and not about whether the U.S. will pay its debts.  Biden assured, "We will not default."  Republicans have been calling for spending cuts in exchange for a deal to raise the debt limit.     

 

>>IRS Flags More Than A Million Tax Returns For Fraud

(Washington, DC)  --  More than a million tax returns are flagged for potential identity fraud. According to the IRS, more than six-billion-dollars in refunds need additional review. An interim report on this year's filing season says the agency found the returns using identity theft filters. The IRS said nearly 13-thousand returns are confirmed to be fraudulent, stopping over 105-million-dollars in refunds to be sent out. That's up about three-thousand from the amount of fraudulent returns the same time last year.

 

>>Deutsche Bank To Pay $75M To Settle Epstein Accusers' Lawsuit

(New York, NY)  --  Deutsche Bank is agreeing to pay 75-million dollars to settle a lawsuit by women who accuse the German bank of facilitating the late financier Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking.  Attorneys for the women confirmed the Manhattan federal court settlement late Wednesday.  Epstein was a Deutsche Bank client from 2013 to 2018.  He died by an apparent suicide while in federal custody in August, 2019 as he was waiting to go on trial for sex trafficking. 

 

>>Google Announces Plan To Delete Accounts Inactive For Two Years

(Mountain View, CA)  --  Google is deleting accounts that have been inactive for at least two years. The company says the move will curb security risks. The process will begin in December, but the updated policy takes effect now, with the tech giant sending out warning notifications now. Google says the first to go will be accounts created and then never revisited by the user.
 

AM Business Notebook

>>McCarthy: Deal Could Be Reached By End Of Week

(Washington, DC)  --  House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says negotiations with the White House over raising the debt ceiling are improving.  The Republican told reporters the president changed the scope of who's negotiating, as the White House has now designated officials to communicate directly with the Speaker's staff.  He said while the two sides remain far apart, a deal may be possible by the end of the week as it's not a very complicated agreement.  Congress needs to pass a debt limit increase by June 1st or risk a default. 

 

>>Silicon Valley, Signature Bank CEOs Testify Before Senate

(Washington, DC)  --  The former CEO of collapsed Silicon Valley Bank says he's "truly sorry" for the bank's failure and the crisis it triggered.  Greg Becker testified before the Senate banking committee on Tuesday.  He said the collapse was a shock to him and added that he worked closely with advisors and the bank was actively responding to concerns from regulators.  The Senate Committee's chairman, Ohio lawmaker Sherrod Brown, blamed the financial institution for ignoring warnings from government officials.  He said both Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank were "fatally mismanaged."  The Democrat ripped them for pushing up stock prices and executive salaries while ignoring the risks for customers and putting customer money at stake.  Becker appeared alongside two signature bank executives, all in their first public appearance since the fall of their firms.

 

>>Jeep Recalls Cherokee Models Due To Possible Fire Risk

(Detroit, MI)  --  A new recall has been issued by Stellantis the maker of Jeep vehicles.  The automaker says 2014 to 2016 Jeep Cherokees equipped with a power lift gate could catch fire even if the vehicle is off. The problem is water can get into the control computer causing an electrical short.  A repair is under development and owners are expected to receive a letter about the issue by June 30th. Stellantis says owners should not park their vehicles inside a garage and keep them away from other vehicles.   This recall overrides two previous recalls issued for tail gate problems. 

 

>>Taco Bell Wants To Cancel "Taco Tuesday" Trademark

(Irvine, CA)  --  Taco Bell wants to cancel the trademark "Taco Tuesday."  The trademark has been owned by rival Taco John's for 34 years.  Taco Bell argues the phrase should be freely available to all who make, sell, eat and celebrate tacos.  The fast food chain added nobody should have exclusive rights in a common phrase.  Taco Bell filed a petition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board and it can take up to two years before a decision is made.  Taco John's has a little over a month to respond and if the two sides can't reach an agreement, a trial could come into play.

 

>>University Of Vermont Faculty Allege Unfair Labor Practices

(Burlington, VT)  --  Faculty at the University of Vermont are accusing the college of unfair labor practices.  The union representing around 700 full and part time faculty members says UVM is increasing their workloads with the change to a new educational software system.  The union has also filed a grievance claiming the college is refusing to provide compensation for the additional work caused by the new system.  The college is not commenting, saying it will present its position to the state labor relations board at the appropriate time.

 

>>Tonys To Move Ahead With Unscripted Broadcast

(New York, NY)  --  Next month's Tony Awards will go on as an unscripted, televised broadcast on CBS.  That's according to the Hollywood Reporter, which added actress Ariana DeBose is still expected to host the show in some capacity.  The fate of the Tonys was up in the air due to the ongoing writers strike.  The Writers Guild of America twice denied the Tonys' request for a waiver or exception for the awards show.  However, the WGA said they will not picket the event after the Tonys said they will "conform with specific requests" from the union.

AM Business Notebook

>>Jury Convicts Former Aequitas Executives

(Portland, OR) -- A federal jury has found the former CEO and executives at Lake Oswego based Aequitas investments guilty of fraud. CEO Robert Jesenik, Andrew MacRitchie and Brian Rice were convicted of conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud worth 300-million dollars. At its peak, Aequitas employed nearly 200 people. During the six week trial, prosecutors outlined the case that showed the executives misrepresented the company's use of investor money to repay other investors. Other co-conspirators agreed to plea agreements in the case.


>>Biden Meeting With McCarthy, Congressional Leaders Today 

(Washington, DC)  --  President Biden will sit down with Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other Congressional leaders later today to resume talks about the debt limit and avoiding default.  The U.S. could be unable to pay its bills and default on its debt as soon as June 1st if Congress doesn't act.  Republicans are demanding deep spending cuts in exchange for their votes to increase the nation's borrowing limit, while Biden wants an increase without any conditions attached.  McCarthy today signaled the two sides were still "far apart" on coming to a solution.  He accused the White House of not being serious in discussions.  Biden this weekend, however, said he was optimistic an agreement would be reached.

 

>>ChatGPT Creator To Testify Before Congress  

(Washington, DC)  --  The man behind ChatGPT will testify before Congress today.  OpenAI CEO Sam Altman will take questions from lawmakers calling for guardrails and regulation of artificial intelligence tools over fears it could be abused.  Altman's company is leading the development of AI with its popular generative language platform ChatGPT.  Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, who chairs the subcommittee Altman will appear before, said artificial intelligence urgently needs rules and safeguards.  

 

>>Appeals Court Affirms Elon Musk Still Needs a "Twitter Sitter"

(Austin, TX)  --  Elon Musk still needs a "Twitter Sitter."  A revised settlement agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission will remain in place, including the need for a third party to review what the Tesla CEO tweets about his company.  Musk had been trying to get the consent decree lifted, arguing that it violated his constitutional right to free speech. An appeals court disagreed and dismissed Musk's claim. The SEC put the consent decree in place in 2019 after Musk made what commissioners considered "false and misleading" statements about securing funding for Tesla in advance of a planned effort to take the company private. 

 

>>Vice Media Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy 

(Washington, DC)  --  Vice Media is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection following years of financial troubles.  A group of Vice's lenders has submitted a bid of 225-million dollars to acquire the company out of bankruptcy.  The move isn't expected to interrupt daily operations for Vice's businesses.  The media company known for sites including Vice and Motherboard had been restructuring and cutting jobs across its news business over recent months.  The company was considered to be worth five-point-seven billion at one point. 

 

>>Report: IRS Developing Free E-Filing Program

(Washington, DC)  --  Taxpayers could soon be able to file their taxes digitally and free of charge directly with the IRS.  The Washington Post reports the agency has been quietly developing its own prototype system that could disrupt the tax prep market.  The Inflation Reduction Act set aside 15-million dollars to create a free and direct filing program.  The system will reportedly be available to a small group of taxpayers through a pilot program by January.  Right now, the IRS works with several companies to provide free e-filing for qualifying taxpayers.

AM Business Notebook

>>CBO: Significant Risk US Could Default In First Two Weeks Of June

(Washington, DC)  --  There's a "significant risk" the U.S. could default on its debt within the first two weeks of June without a debt ceiling increase.  That's what the Congressional Budget Office said in a new report today.  The agency, however, noted the date when the U.S. would run out of cash remains uncertain.  It said it's possible the Treasury Department can finance government operations through July if available cash and "extraordinary borrowing measures" can last through June 15.  Democrats and Republicans are at odds over how to raise the debt ceiling, with House Republicans demanding steep cuts in exchange for their votes to increase the borrowing limit. 

 

>>Musk Confirms Former NBC Executive As New Twitter CEO

(San Francisco, CA)  --  Elon Musk confirms a former NBC Universal executive will become Twitter's next CEO.  Musk announced that Linda Yaccarino will take over business operations for the social media giant.  She resigned as NBC Universal global advertising chief effective immediately to take the job.  Musk's update on the CEO position came a day after he revealed he would step away from the position and he had hired someone who would start in about six weeks.  He will now focus on product design and new technology for Twitter.

 

>>Tesla Owners File Lawsuit Against Company On Automatic Software Updates

(Austin, TX)  --  Tesla owners are filing a class action lawsuit against the company claiming its automatic software updates deplete their cars' batteries or even leave them not working at all. Owners of the Model S and Model X cars say the updates happened "without warning" and reduced the electric vehicles' driving range by at least 20 percent. The claim says some owners needed to spend as much as 15-thousand dollars to purchase a new battery to fix the issue.

 

>>Writers Strike Continues

(Sherman Oaks, CA)  --  The Writers Guild of America strike is ongoing.  The strike began after the WGA's contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers expired on May 2nd.  Thousands of WGA members have been picketing outside Los Angeles area studios including Universal Studios, Paramount, and the Disney and Warner Brothers lots since the strike began.  The Writers Guild of America is seeking changes including improved compensation increases for writers.  

AM Business Notebook

>>CPI Report Shows Slight Price Rise In April

(Washington, DC)  --  Inflation is still on the march, but there are signs it's slowing.  The latest Consumer Price Index report, which measures the cost of a broad number of goods and services, shows prices in the U.S. rising slightly in April.  New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a less-than-five-percent increase in the closely-watched CPI over the past year.  The rise is not as high as expected, and shows inflation continues to cool off since peaking last summer.  

 

>>Altria Agrees To $235M Settlement To Resolve Juul-Related Cases

(San Francisco, CA)  --  Tobacco giant Altria Group will pay 235-million dollars to settle thousands of lawsuits related to its former investment in e-cigarette maker Juul [[ jool ]] Labs.  The settlement announced Wednesday resolves at least six-thousand lawsuits accusing Juul of an epidemic of teen vaping.  It ends nearly all the litigation filed by local governments and private citizens across the nation.  The settlement was announced shortly after the San Francisco Unified School District finished presenting its case against the company in a jury trial.  

 

>>Disney+ To Merge Hulu Content In 2023

(Los Angeles, CA)  --  Disney Plus is planning to incorporate Hulu content on their service by the end of the year.  On Wednesday, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced the company is looking to launch a "one-app experience" in the US that combines content from both streaming services.  Iger called the move a "logical progression" to give customers "more robust and streamlined content."  Disney also plans to raise the price of both the ad-free and ad-supported Disney Plus tiers.

 

>>Google Announces $1,799 Folding Phone

(Mountain View, CA)  --  Google is coming out with a folding phone.  The tech giant on Wednesday announced the Pixel Fold, its first folding phone.  The company began taking pre-orders on Wednesday and the 17-hundred-99 dollar phone will begin shipping in June.  Google says it's the thinnest foldable phone on the market and has a seven-point-six inch display when opened flat.  The Pixel Fold also will offer a feature called Split View, which allows multiple apps to be open at the same time.

AM Business Notebook

>>Oregon Gas Prices May Have Peaked 

(Portland, OR) -- Gas prices are trending down across the country and Oregon's prices may have peaked for the spring. Triple-A reports the national average price for a gallon of gas declined seven cents to three-53 a gallon and Oregon's average fell half-a-cent to four-11. It's too soon to tell whether Oregon's prices will continue to decline. Lower crude oil prices and lower demand have helped bring prices down. Diesel in Oregon fell a nickel last week to four-50 a gallon.

 

>>Biden: Default Not An Option, Debt Talks To Continue Friday

(Washington, DC)  --  President Biden says a first-ever government default is not an option.  He delivered remarks Tuesday at the White House after meeting with Congressional leaders to try reach an agreement to raise the nation's debt ceiling before the start of June.  Biden called the meeting productive, adding that they'll continue talks on Friday.  The president didn't rule out a short term debt limit extension.  Meantime, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he didn't see any new movement from Tuesday's meeting.  Republicans refuse to raise the debt limit unless Biden and the Democrats agree to sweeping spending cuts.  Biden has refused and has called on McCarthy to pass an increase without conditions. 

 

>>NY Fed's Williams Hints At More Rate Hikes    

(New York, NY)  --  A top official at the Federal Reserve is not ruling out more rate hikes to bring down inflation.  New York Fed President John Williams says policymakers remain focused on returning inflation to the central bank's two percent goal.  In prepared remarks to the Economic Club of New York, Williams cautioned the Fed's previous interest rate increases will take time to work their way through the economy.  He cited some positive signs, but added the Fed always has the option of raising rates.

 

>>Goldman Sachs Settles Discrimination Case For $215M

(New York, NY)  --  Goldman Sachs is settling accusations of discriminating against women for pay and promotions for 215-million-dollars.  The settlement, disclosed Monday, covers nearly three-thousand current and former employees who worked in investment banking, management and securities.  The lawsuit had been in the courts for nearly 13 years.

 

>>LinkedIn Lays Off 700 Workers, Cuts China Jobs App

(Sunnyvale, CA)  --  LinkedIn is laying off more than 700 workers worldwide as it gets ready to pull the plug on its China-specific jobs app.  The popular business social networking platform announced the move in a message to employees on Monday.  The company plans to delete all user data from InCareer by August 9th.  LinkedIn noted it will continue to operate its other businesses in China.

 

>>Consumers Cold On In-Vehicle Subscription Services

(Detroit, MI)  --  A study from Cox Automotive shows car buyers are, perhaps unsurprisingly, unwilling to start paying a monthly fee for optional car features like heated seats and hands-free driving. Regardless, that may be where the industry is headed. General Motors expects software microtransactions to generate 20 to 25 billion dollars in annual revenue by 2030. Other manufacturers like Dodge, Jeep, and Ford are likely to follow suit. GM has not indicated just which perks it may be putting behind a paywall, but luxury car brands have already made subscription services a mainstay in their business models.

 

>>GM Hires Ex-Apple Exec As Software VP

(Detroit, MI)  --  General Motors is hiring an ex-Apple exec to their software development team. Mike Abbott, former vice president of engineering for Apple's Cloud Services division, will serve as GM's executive V-P of software. Abbott will oversee a department that combines General Motors' three existing software wings. GM sees software as a new frontier for business, especially with the success of tech-forward manufacturers like Tesla. Abbott also led teams at Twitter, Palm and Microsoft.
 

AM Business Notebook

>>Biden, Congressional Leaders To Meet Over Debt Ceiling

(Washington, DC) -- President Biden will welcome House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other top Congressional leaders to the White House today to try to resolve the standoff over the debt ceiling. Congress needs to pass legislation to raise the nation's borrowing limit by early June to avoid a potentially crippling default. McCarthy has said his chamber will not approve any deal that does not cut spending to address the growing budget deficit. Democrats, meanwhile, insist Congress must pass a clean debt-limit hike first then negotiate over spending cuts and budget reforms later. Biden has refused to negotiate directly over the debt limit.

 

>>Housing Market Confidence At Highest Point In A Year

(Washington, DC) -- Confidence in the housing market is at the highest it's been in nearly a year. Data from Fannie Mae showed that consumers' idea that mortgage rates will decrease pushed up housing market confidence to its highest level last month. The mortgage investor's Home Purchase Sentiment Index surged five-and-a-half points in April to just under 67, the highest monthly push in two years. But overall, the full index is still down nearly two percent from a year ago.

 

>>Writers Strike Causes GOT Spinoff, Daredevil To Pause Production

(New York, NY) -- The list of productions being impacted by the ongoing writers strike is growing. In a blog post Sunday, author George R.R. Martin confirmed the writers room for the Game of Thrones spinoff series "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight" has shut down. Martin said the series showrunner and his staff are on the picket lines as the Writers Guild of America's strike now enters its second week. The strike has also disrupted production of the Marvel Studios Disney-Plus series "Daredevil: Born Again." On Twitter, WGA East said members had began picketing where filming for the series was set to take place in New York and members of other unions working on the show had refused to cross the picket line.

 

>>Rutgers Faculty Unions Approve Contracts, Ending Stalemate With Administration

(New Brunswick, NJ) -- The three unions representing faculty at New Jersey's largest university -- Rutgers -- have formally approved four-year contracts with the university. In voting among faculty yesterday, 93 percent of the members approved the new contracts, which include across-the-board raises and additional job security for part-time -- or adjunct -- instructors. The controversial practice of replacing Rutgers employees with non-union workers is also ended under the new contracts. The unions' former contracts expired last July, leading to months of negotiations that culminated in the first faculty strike in Rutgers' nearly 260-year history.

 

>>New Tesla Battery Plant Set To Open Next Year

(Robstown, TX) -- Elon Musk is cutting the ribbon on a new battery plant in Texas that will some day power his Tesla cars. The first-of-its-kind factory will produce battery-grade lithium. He says the availability of battery-grade lithium will be a choke-point in the electric car world. The mineral, he says, is abundant. But there is a lack of refineries to process it. The 375-million-dollar plant outside Corpus Christi is set to open next year.

 

>>New Jersey Couple Sues Dunkin' Over Hot Tea

(East Orange, NJ) -- A couple is suing a New Jersey Dunkin' shop over tea. The incident happened last September in East Orange when a woman claimed she was served tea that was too hot. The lawsuit states the lid on the cup of hot tea was not properly secured nor was the cup properly secured in the cup carrier. According to the suit, the cup spilled onto the woman and caused serious injury.

AM Business Notebook

>>Economic Reports Coming Up 

(Undated)  --  Coming up in the week ahead we'll get a read out on the consumer price index, which keeps track of inflation.  That's due Wednesday, followed by the producer price index on Thursday along with first-time unemployment claims.  Consumer sentiment data comes out Friday.

 

>>Treasury Secretary Yellen Tells Congress: "Do Your Job" To Avoid Default

(Washington, DC)  --  Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is calling on Congress to "do its job" so the White House won't have to consider "emergency options" to avoid default.  Speaking on ABC's This Week, Yellen said it's the responsibility of Congress to raise the debt ceiling.  She called the 14th Amendment a "constitutional crisis," referring to the amendment that would allow President Biden to continue issuing debt without raising the limit on borrowing.  The President said recently that he isn't at the point yet of invoking the 14th Amendment. 

 

>>Writers Strike Ongoing  

(Los Angeles, CA)  --  The Writers Guild of America remains on strike.  The strike began after the WGA's contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers expired last week.  The guild represents writers of film, TV and streaming media and the alliance represents the studios.  The WGA and AMPTP have been in talks for several weeks concerning improved compensation increases for writers amid the streaming era.  WGA members also want studios to guarantee they won't be replaced with artificial intelligence computer systems.  It's the first writers strike since 2007.
 

AM Business Notebook 

>>Millions Of Taxpayers To Share In $141-Million TurboTax Settlement

(New York, NY)  --  Millions of taxpayers will share in a 141-million dollar TurboTax settlement.  New York Attorney General Leticia James said on Thursday that TurboTax owner Intuit charged people for services that should have been free.  The settlement covers four-point-four million military members and low-income taxpayers for the 2016 through 2018 tax years.  They'll get an email from the settlement fund administrator, then receive a check automatically without having to file a claim. 

 

>>Sanders Unveils Push For $17 Minimum Wage 

(Washington, DC)  --  Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is proposing legislation to raise the national minimum wage to 17-dollars an hour.  He told reporters Thursday the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which he chairs, will mark up the bill June 14th.  Sanders has long pushed for a higher federal minimum wage, which currently sits at seven-dollars and 25-cents an hour.  Sanders said millions of Americans are currently working on "starvation wages."  

 

>>Anheuser-Busch CEO Address Dylan Mulvaney Controversy

(St. Louis, MO)  --  The CEO of Anheuser-Busch is addressing the controversy surrounding a transgender influencer.  On an earnings call with investors Thursday, Michel Doukeris clarified that Bud Light's team-up with Dylan Mulvaney was not a campaign.  He said, "This was one camp, one influencer, one post and not a campaign."  Bud Light received backlash from conservatives after a personalized can was sent to Mulvaney to celebrate her one-year anniversary of identifying as a woman.  Since Mulvaney posted about the can, Anheuser-Busch lost five-billion dollars in market value and has seen a drop in sales.  The CEO added Anheuser-Busch is "providing direct financial support" to frontline workers like delivery drivers and servers who have been impacted by the calls for a boycott of the beer.

 

>>Former Mastercard CEO Banga Is New World Bank President

(Washington, DC)  --  Former Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga is the new president of the World Bank.  The World Bank's board of governors elected the Indian-born finance and development expert to a five-year term on Wednesday.  Banga will be charged with revamping the lender to take on climate change and other global crises.  President Biden nominated the 63-year-old Banga in February.  He'll take over as World Bank president on June 2nd.

 

>>Paramount Global Shares Fall On Weak Earnings Report

(New York, NY)  --  Paramount Global share fell more than 28-percent Thursday after the company reported earnings and revenue that missed analysts' estimates and cut its quarterly dividend.  It was the worst day for Paramount Global's stock since Viacom and CBS merged more than four years ago.  The company reduced its dividend for the first time since 2019,  cutting it to five cents per share, down from 24 cents.

AM Business Notebook

>>Jobless Claims Up (Washington, DC) -- More Americans are looking for assistance as initial unemployment claims are up. Around 242-thousand claims were made last week, up 13-thousand from the previous week, according to Labor Department numbers out today. That's slightly above analyst predictions of 240-thousand claims.

 

>>Fed Raises Interest Rates By A Quarter Percentage Point

(Washington, DC) -- The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates again. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell announced yesterday that the central bank is raising rates by a quarter of a percentage point, adding that the Fed is committed to bringing inflation down to two-percent. A post-meeting statement from the Fed suggests it could pause further increases next month. Powell said that was a meaningful change but a pause will depend on incoming data. The Fed chair also insisted the banking system is "sound," following the recent failure of First Republic Bank.

 

>>Ventura County Authorities Warning of Bitcoin ATM Scam

(Ventura, CA) -- The Ventura County Sheriff's Office is warning residents of a growing scam involving bitcoin. Several people, mostly senior citizens, have been preyed upon by scammers in recent weeks. People are being told to call a phone number to deal with a financial problem like debt, a bill or a fine. Once they call, the scammer tells them to withdraw money from their bank account and take it to a nearby bitcoin ATM. They're then instructed to send the money to a cryptocurrency wallet address. Authorities say most of these scammers aren't even in the U.S. The Ventura County Sheriff's Office is planning to put warning signs on bitcoin ATMs. Apple Savings Accounts

 

>>Apple Savings Account Attracts $1 Billion Dollars In Four Days

(Cupertino, CA) -- Apple's high-yield savings account attracted just shy of one-billion dollars in deposits in the first four days of its launch, according to a Forbes report. Apple launched a high-yield savings account last month as more consumers seek to take advantage of the high interest rate environment. The savings account is available to Apple Card customers through its partner, Goldman Sachs, and offers a yield of four-point-one-five with no minimum deposits, no minimum balance requirements, and no fees.

 

>>Hollywood Braces For Long Writer's Strike

(Los Angeles, CA) -- Most Hollywood productions have come to a screeching halt, as the Writers Guild voted to strike this week. The union says it's seeking higher minimum pay, and more writers per show, among other demands - conditions it says have been diminished in the content boom of the streaming era. The last writer's strike was in 2008 and lasted three months. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said it offered a generous increases in compensation for writers as well as improvements in streaming residuals, but so far is refusing to negotiate with the union over other proposals that the guild is asking for. Writers are also concerned about production companies using A.I. to further diminish writer's roles.

 

>>Apple Savings Account Attracts $1 Billion Dollars

(Cupertino, CA) -- Apple's high-yield savings account attracted just shy of one-billion dollars in deposits in just the first four days of its launch, according to a Forbes report. Apple launched a high-yield savings account last month as more consumers seek to take advantage of the high interest rate environment. The savings account is available to Apple Card customers through its partner, Goldman Sachs, and offers a yield of four-point-one-five with no minimum deposits, no minimum balance requirements, and no fees.

 

>>Darden Restaurants Buying Ruth's Chris

(Orlando, FL) -- The restaurant company that owns Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse is buying Ruth's Chris Steak House. The deal, worth more than 700-million-dollars, will see Darden Restaurants take over more than 150 Ruth's Chris Steak House locations around the world. Ruth's, founded in 1965 in New Orleans, brought in 505-million-dollars in revenue in 2022.

 

>>Jenny Craig Shuts Down After 40 Years

(Carlsbad, CA) -- Jenny Craig is shutting its doors after four decades. The weight loss company sent an email to employees saying it's closing because of its "inability to secure additional financing." It employs more than one thousand people whose last days will be this week. Jenny Craig had been running out of money while searching for a buyer for the past two weeks. But its employees say there was no indication before that the company was spiraling. The company was also struggling as competition increased after weight loss drugs hit the market and clients tended toward online services. Source Staff/acc Copyright © 2023 TTWN Media Networks Inc.

AM Business Notebook

>>The Federal Reserve Expected To Announce Tenth Straight Rate Hike

(New York, NY) -- Wall Street is awaiting the Fed rate hike decision today. The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates a quarter percentage point in an effort to combat inflation. It would be the tenth straight rate hike. Rate hikes often translate into higher home and credit card finance prices.

 

>>Writers' Strike Effects

(Undated) -- Several television shows are being affected by the current Hollywood writers' strike. Other productions like films could also be impacted depending on how long the strike lasts. The last Writers Guild of America strike, started in 2007, lasted three months. The first impact is being felt by late-night talk shows that are written daily based on current events. The Late Show" on CBS, "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on ABC, "The Tonight Show" on NBC, "Late Night" on NBC and Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," have all stopped production for now. When it comes to scripted shows and movies, the effects of the strike likely won't be felt until well after it's over. Many shows already have several episodes ready to go so a viewer won't immediately notice. Writers are demanding more equitable pay with the prevalence of streaming content.

 

>>McConnell Will Attend WH Debt Ceiling Meeting

(Washington, DC) -- The two top Republican congressional leaders will attend a White House meeting to discuss the debt ceiling next week. Both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will meet with President Biden and Democratic leaders on May 9th. While speaking to reporters, McConnell said McCarthy and Biden will need to take the lead on talks to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a looming default ahead of June 1st. The White House has called for a "clean" limit increase while Republicans want to tie spending cuts to any increase.

 

>>Morgan Stanley To Cut 3,000 Jobs

(New York, NY) -- More pink slips are flying on Wall Street. Morgan Stanley reportedly plans to cut about three-thousand jobs by the end of June. According to Bloomberg, most of the layoffs will affect the banking and trading staff. Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Citigroup are among the top advisory firms doing some belt-tightening amid the slump in IPOs and mergers.

 

>>Starbucks Beats 2Q Earnings Estimates

(Seattle, WA) -- Starbucks beat estimates with its second-quarter earnings report Tuesday. The coffee chain posted same-store U.S. sales up 12 percent. In China, those sales were up three percent against an expected loss of nearly ten percent.

 

>>Home Goods Stores Tuesday Morning Go Out Of Business

(New York, NY) -- Home décor discount store Tuesday Morning is going out of business. The retailer announce its 30-percent-off sale on Facebook in its about 200 stores still standing. Customers have until May 13th to use up their gift cards before locations begin shutting down. The news follows another major home goods retailer, Bed Bath and Beyond, also closing up shop. After nearly half a century, Tuesday Morning said earlier this year that it was suffering from its "exceedingly burdensome debt."

AM Business Notebook

>>Federal Reserve Opens 2-Day Meeting 

(Undated)  --  The Federal Reserve could be about to raise interest rates again at this week's meeting.  The nation's central bank has been raising rates to combat inflation.  Analysts say the rate is likely to jump from five percent to five-point-25-percent when the announcement is made tomorrow.

 

>>Biden Speaks On First Republican Bank 

(Washington, DC)  --  President Biden says all depositors of First Republic Bank are being protected following the bank's failure.  While speaking during a small business event at the White House yesterday, Biden said regulators have taken action to facilitate the sale of First Republic Bank to JPMorgan Chase.  He said taxpayers are not on the hook and shareholders will be losing out on their investments.  The FDIC took control of the embattled First Republic and then immediately worked the sale with Chase -- the nation's largest bank.  The failure will cost the FDIC about 13 billion dollars.  

 

>>U.S. Could Default As Soon As June 1

(Washington, DC)  --  The U.S. could default on its debt as early as June 1st if Congress fails to raise or suspend the debt ceiling.  That's what Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told lawmakers Monday.  She said it's imperative Congress act as soon as possible to increase the limit.  Democrats and Republicans are locked in a debate over how to address the debt ceiling and threat of default.  House Republicans last week passed legislation to raise the limit in exchange for deep spending cuts.  The White House has called for a clean increase without cuts and is refusing to negotiate.  

 

>>Federal Reserve Opens 2-Day Meeting

(Undated)  --  The Federal Reserve kicks off a two-day meeting today with expectations that the nation's central bank will raise interest rates again.  The Fed has been raising rates to combat inflation.  Analysts predict the rate to jump from five percent to five-point-25-percent when the announcement is made Wednesday.

 

>>Hollywood Screenwriters Call A Strike After Contract Negotiations Fail 

(Undated)  --  Hollywood writers are calling a strike. That means the production of some shows like late night talk shows could go dark this week.  The Writers Guild of America tweeted on Monday that the board of directors have voted unanimously to call a strike which is effective as of now.  The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said that negotiations between it and the writers guild failed to come to an agreement.  The guild represents writers of film, TV and streaming media and the alliance represents the studios.  The strike comes as writers say they're not getting paid fairly amid the booming streaming era.  The last time WGA members went on strike was in November 2007. 

 

>>GM Laying Off Contract Employees

(Detroit, MI)  --  General Motors has begun the layoffs of several hundred contract workers as part of their plan to save two-billion dollars in cost.  The automaker already offered buyout packages to workers and said five-thousand employees took that offer. Officials say GM is also looking at other cost-saving measures including in corporate travel and marketing. CEO Mary Barra recently said the automaker is not planning layoffs.
 

AM Business Notebook

>>JPMorgan Chase Takes Over First Republic Bank

(San Francisco, CA)  --  First Republic Bank is no more.  Federal regulators seized the troubled bank early this morning and sold all deposits and most of its assets to JPMorgan Chase.  The FDIC says First Republic held 229 billion in total assets and 104 billion in deposits.  It's the second-biggest bank failure in U.S. history, behind only Washington Mutual in 2008.  First Republic now follows SVB and Signature Bank as the third midsize bank to collapse in the last two months.  The Fed says all 84 branches of First Republic reopened as JPMorgan Chase and depositors will retain full access to their funds.


>>Federal Reserve Expected To Hike Rates

(Undated)  --  The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates again at this week's meeting.  The nation's central bank been raising rates to combat inflation.  Analysts predict the rate to jump from five percent to five-point-25-percent when the announcement is made Wednesday.

 

>>Today Is May Day

(Undated)  --  Today is May Day, the first day of May that in more recent history celebrates the labor movement and worker's rights.  Originally celebrated as a welcome party for spring, the 19th Century saw the day take on its newer meaning during the height of the Industrial Revolution and calls for better working conditions.  After a massive railroad strike in 1894, President Grover Cleveland officially moved Labor Day into September, an effort to cut ties with the international worker's movement for fears it would encourage communism.  It's still celebrated in many counties around the world.

 

>>Scalise Accusing Biden Of Running Out The Clock On Debt Ceiling

(New Orleans, LA)  --  The House Majority Leader says President Biden is trying to "run out the clock" on the debt ceiling.  Speaking on ABC This Week, Louisiana Republican Steve Scalise said Biden is creating a "debt crisis" by not meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.  Scalise added that the President needs to start negotiating with McCarthy now and not wait until the "midnight hour."  The U.S. is at risk of defaulting by June if the debt ceiling isn't raised.  The House-passed GOP bill includes many spending cuts, while the White House wants a "clean" debt ceiling bill.

 

>>FDIC Scrambling To Find Buyer For Collapsing First Republic Bank

(Undated)  --  The future of First Republic Bank is in limbo as attempts continue to nail down a buyer in an auction by U.S. regulators.  Bloomberg reports the FDIC has asked a handful of high-powered banks, including JPMorgan Chase, PNC Financial, US Bancorp, and Bank of America to submit bids.  The FDIC reached out to the banks on Thursday after First National's stock dropped 30-percent, following a 50-percent share price loss earlier in the week when the San Francisco-based bank's customers pulled out 100-billion dollars worth of assets.   

 

>>WGA Walkout Looms While Talks Continue

(Sherman Oaks, CA)  --  Efforts are underway to avert a strike by nearly 20-thousand members of the Writers Guild of America.  The WGA's current contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers expires Tuesday at 12:01 a.m.  The guild represents writers of film, TV and streaming media and the alliance represents the studios.  The WGA and AMPTP have been in talks for several weeks concerning improved compensation increases for writers amid the streaming era.  Hollywood is fearful of a strike after 98-percent of WGA members voted to authorize a work stoppage if a new deal isn't reached by the contract expiration date.  Both sides met Saturday at the AMPTP offices in Sherman Oaks.

 

>>Adidas Sued Over Ye Partnership

(Undated)  --  Adidas lost a boat load of money when it dissolved its partnership last year with rapper Ye, formerly Kanye West, over his problematic and antisemitic behavior.  Now the German apparel company is being sued by a group of investors who claim the company was aware Ye could be an issue and did nothing to limit losses if things were to go south.  The suit, filed Friday in an Oregon federal court, says the company's executives discussed the risks as far back as 2018, yet no plan was in place.  Adidas says it has lost at least 535-million-dollars in earnings since dropping Ye's Yeezy products and could see an operating loss of 750-million-dollar this year.  

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