Business News Archives for 2023-08

AM Business Notebook

>>Anheuser-Busch Heir Say's He'll Buy Back The Bud Light Brand From InBev

(New York, NY)  --  The heir to the Anheuser-Busch company offers to buy back his family's old company from its parent company if they're looking to sell it.  Billy Busch, whose family sold Anheuser-Busch to Brazilian based InBev in 2008, declared he would be the "first in line" to buy back the company and "make that brand great again."  Busch made the comments this week while speaking with conservative show host, Tomi Lahren.  The comments come almost five months after Anheuser-Busch endured a major boycott for making trans woman Dylan Mulvaney one of Bud Light's spokespeople.   In the time since Anheuser-Busch's marketing blunder, the company has lost billions in revenue, seen its market value plummet and become a topic of mockery for many of its former consumer base.

 

>>WGA Continues Talks With Studios, Meeting To Come Friday

(Los Angeles, CA)  --  The Writers Guild of America is still in discussions with Hollywood studios.  On Thursday, the WGA met with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to continue negotiations towards ending the writers strike, which has been going on for over 100 days.  The CEO's of several major studios are also expected to host a meeting later today to discuss the next steps they should take.  

 

>>Amazon Adds New Fee For Sellers Who Ship Their Own Packages 

(Seattle, WA)  --  Third-party sellers on Amazon who ship their own packages will soon have to pay an additional fee.  Starting October 1st, members of Amazon's Seller Fulfilled Prime program will pay the company a two-percent fee on each product sold if they don't pay for the company's fulfillment services.  The online retail giant also charges sellers a referral fee between eight to 15-percent on each sale.  Sellers may also pay for warehouse storage, packing and shipping, as well as advertising fees. 

 

>>Russia Fines Google Over Ukraine Content

(Moscow)  --  Russia is fining Google for failing to delete what it calls "false content" about the war in Ukraine.  A Moscow court on Thursday found the company guilty of failing to remove so-called prohibited information and fined Google three-million rubles, or about 30-thousand dollars.  Google is just the latest internet company to be fined by Russian authorities.  On Tuesday, Reddit was fined for not removing alleged false content.  Earlier this month, Apple and Wikipedia were fined for similar reasons.

 

>>Mortgage Rates Surge To Record Highs

(Washington, DC)  --  Mortgage rates are surging to record highs.  This week they hit their highest level in 21 years, at just under seven-point-one-percent. That's up from six-point-nine-six-percent last week.  Rates have been up all summer, above six-point-five since the end of May.  The last time they went over seven was November 2022, but this week's is the highest since 2002.  Mortgage rates have been spiking as a result of the Federal Reserve's rate-hiking plan to ease inflation, making it harder and harder to afford a home.

 

>>Ex-Wife Arrested In Microsoft Exec Murder Case In FL

(Jacksonville, FL)  --  There's been a big arrest in the case of a murdered Florida Microsoft executive.  Jared Bridegan was gunned down in what police say was an ambush last year in Jacksonville Beach while dropping off his twins the home of his ex-wife Shanna Gardner-Fernandez.  The State Attorney's announced the arrest of Gardner-Fernandez on Thursday, and prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty.  Gardner-Fernandez's current husband was also arrested in March for the murder.  Bridegan and his ex-wife divorced in 2015 and police say they had several court battles over custody of their twins.
 

AM Business Notebook

>>Legacy Health Merger With OHSU

(Portland, OR) -- OHSU and Legacy Health have started planning for a merger. They've signed a letter of intent that starts the process. Legacy would become part of OHSU. The combined system would have more than 32-thousand employees and over 100 locations, including 10 hospitals and three-million patients. A definitive agreement is expected in the next few months and the deal would close next year, pending regulatory review.

 

>>Federal Reserve Concerned About Inflation Leading To More Rate Hikes

(Washington, DC) -- The Federal Reserve warns the pace of inflation may mean more interest rate hikes. In a recent meeting, Fed officials were somewhat optimistic the last quarter percentage point rate hike would be the last of the cycle and officials would wait and see how the hikes were impacting inflation. But new data shows the economy is expected to slow and unemployment will rise. That might mean another rate hike in September.

 

>>TikTok Banned On NYC-Owned Devices

(New York, NY) -- New York City is getting tough on TikTok. Starting immediately, the app is banned from city-owned devices which means city employees can't used or download TikTok on any city-owned device. City cyber safety officials say TikTok poses "a security threat to the city's technical networks" and this measure will help keep data safe. City agencies must remove the app within the next 30 days.

 

>>Holiday Shopping Season Coming On Early

(Washington, DC) -- Never mind pumpkin spice season -- it's already holiday shopping season with some big retailers rolling out string lights and Christmas trees. At Home Depot, holiday products including eight-foot Santa's and giant nutcrackers launched online last week, and Costco is rolling out its artificial Christmas trees. According to Google, more than a quarter of Americans are already shopping for the holidays in July. E-commerce platform Shopify says sales of ornaments last month were up over 25-percent compared to last year, and seasonal village sets and accessories up about 240-percent.

AM Business Notebook

>>Report: Fed Minutes To Show Division Over Interest Rates

(New York, NY) -- Today's Fed minutes are expected to show that officials are divided over the need for more tightening in U.S. economic policy. A record of July's Federal Reserve policy meeting is due out at 11 this morning. Analysts believe it will show only a minority of officials favored holding interest rates steady for the rest of the year, and that a majority "likely maintained cautious optimism" that the economy is heading for a soft landing.

 

>>Hollywood Writers, Studios Meeting Ends With "Mixed Results"

(Sherman Oaks, CA) -- Negotiators for striking Hollywood writers and the studios sat down to talk Tuesday. One source told Deadline the meeting ended with "mixed results." The Writers Guild of America is said to have presented a counter to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers' counterproposal from Friday. There was no word on future talks or proposals. The writers have been on strike since May 2nd. Movie and TV actors went out on strike July 14th.

 

>>UAW To Vote On Strike Authorization Against Detroit Automakers

(Detroit, MI) -- The United Auto Workers will be voting on strike authorization against Detroit automakers next week. Union President Shawn Fain said contract talks are moving slowly but they haven't talked about wages and other economic issues. Fain says the union is seeking more than a 40 percent pay raises over four years, restoration of pensions for newer hires, cost-of-living increases, an end to wage tiers and other benefits. Nearly 146 thousand union member contracts with General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis are set to expire on September 14th.

 

>>Adult Websites Blast New Law

(San Antonio, TX) -- A group of adult entertainment websites is suing Texas over a new law that will require users to verify their age. The legal action is led by the Free Speech Coalition, who says the Texas government is picking winners and losers when it comes to what should be a Constitutional right to free speech. Backers of the bill say this is merely an extension of the current law which requires people to show an I-D when they buy adult material at a store.

 

>>TweetDeck Is Now Subscriber Only

(San Francisco, CA) -- What was once TweetDeck is now a subscriber-only product. The popular Twitter application allows users to see the timelines and latest tweets of several accounts at the same time. After Twitter rebranded and became X, TweetDeck became known as X Pro, and on Tuesday afternoon, X Pro users were informed they would have to pay 84 dollars a year and get a blue checkmark to keep using the service. The move was not unexpected. X had announced early last month that the TweetDeck would become subscriber-only within 30 days.

AM Business Notebook

>>Homebuilder Sentiment Slips As Mortgage Rates Rise

(Washington, DC)  --  Homebuilder sentiment is slipping as mortgage rates rise.  The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index fell six points in August as mortgage rates approached seven percent.  Builders say high construction costs and a lack of buildable lots also put a chill on sentiment.  The August survey revealed more builders are now using sales incentives to attract new home buyers.   

 

>>Apple Watch X Blood Pressure Tracking 

(Cupertino, CA)  --  Apple is expected to unveil a big upgrade to celebrate the tenth anniversary of its smart watch.  The new device dubbed "Watch-X" will include a way for users to monitor blood pressure.  It will also feature a thinner case and have a micro L-E-D display.  Apple Watch-X could be released as early as next year.


>>Gas Prices On The Rise Again

(New York, NY)  --  Gas prices are on the rise, inching toward the four-dollar mark across the country.  According to Triple-A, the national average for regular gas has hit three-85.  That's the highest it's been since last October, and hits right before Labor Day when millions of Americans will take road trips. While this summer's gas price surge has cooled down, they've still gone up by 28-cents the past month.

 

>>Woman Sues Aurora Bank Over Alleged Discrimination By Manager

(Aurora, CO)  --  A Black woman is suing JP Morgan Chase Bank for alleged discrimination at one of its Colorado branches.  Jeanetta Vaughn filed suit against the bank Friday, claiming a manager at a branch in Aurora confronted her as she sat in the bank's lobby last year.  Vaughn says she was unlocking her bank card using a mobile app when she was approached by the manager.  The interaction led to police intervention, though no charges were placed.  The manager told police that Vaughn was being rude and disrespecting employees, while Vaughn said she felt singled out due to her race.  The lawsuit accuses Chase of a pattern of discrimination against Black customers, noting that the Aurora location has had four complaints of racial discrimination since 2021.

 

 

>>Toyota Recalls Tundra Model Pickup Trucks

(Plano, TX)  --  Toyota is recalling nearly 170-thousand new model Tundra pickup trucks to fix a problem with the fuel line.  The company, whose U.S. operations are headquartered in Plano, says there's a potential risk of fire if a faulty fuel tube rubs against the vehicle's brake line.  Owners of 2022 and 2023 Tundra and Tundra Hybrid models are urged to take their trucks to a dealership immediately for temporary repairs.  Toyota says new parts will be available later this year to fix the issue.

AM Business Notebook

>>Stocks

(New York, NY) -- A big week for retail earnings. Markets are looking to shake off a rough start to August following mixed inflation reports. Home Depot, Target and Walmart are set to report with retail sales data for July due out early tomorrow.

 

>>IRS Misplaces Millions Of Tax Account Records

(Washington, DC) -- The IRS can't find thousands of microfilm cartridges with millions of sensitive business and personal tax account records. That's according to a report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The review found "significant deficiencies" in the way the Internal Revenue Service keeps the files safe. The IRS is legally required to keep them for a certain amount of time. The report says its physical inspection saw empty boxes labeled as having the backup cartridges, but had no explanation as to where they were.

 

>>Amazon Warns Office Workers It Tracks How Often They Actually Go In

(Seattle, WA) -- Amazon is warning it's U.S. office workers that it's keeping tabs on how often they're going into work in-person. Screenshots of an email circulating on corporate social media platform Blind read "you are not currently meeting our expectation of joining your colleagues in the office at least three days a week, even though your assigned building is ready." It says the e-commerce giant expects its employees to be coming into the office at least three days a week. Amazon says workers whose ID badges were rarely used to scan into their office were meant to get the email. Stocks Open /wm/jtw Copyright © 2023 TTWN Media Networks Inc.

 

>>Transit Engineers Threatening To Strike

(Trenton, NJ) -- New Jersey Transit engineers are threatening to strike. The union representing the engineers are now sending out strike authorization ballots and the votes are expected to be tallied up at the end of the month. The union says they are fighting for better pay and that they have not had a pay raise in four years. NJ Transit is reassuring travelers that trains will keep rolling even if engineers go on strike.

 

>>Toyota Recalls Tundra Model Pickup Trucks (Plano, TX) -- Toyota is recalling nearly 170-thousand new model Tundra pickup trucks to fix a problem with the fuel line. The company says there's a potential risk of fire if a faulty fuel tube rubs against the vehicle's brake line. Owners of 2022 and 2023 Tundra and Tundra Hybrid models are urged to take their trucks to a dealership immediately for temporary repairs. Toyota says new parts will be available later this year to fix the issue.


AM Business Notebook

>> Mortgage Rates Continue To Rise For Third Week

(Washington, DC) -- Mortgage rates are up for the third week in a row to just under seven-percent. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged six-point-nine-six-percent this week, according to data from Freddie Mac. Compare that to a year ago, when it was just over five-point-two-percent. Freddie Mac's chief economist says the steadily high rates will "prolong affordability challenges longer than expected," but noted that "upward pressure" on rates is the result of a resilient economy.

 

>>Wholesale Prices Up

(Undated) -- Wholesale prices were up three-tenths of a percent in July, the biggest jump since January and higher than market expectations. The Producer Price Index numbers out this morning from the Labor Department show that services led the increase, including the costs of portfolio management and transportation. Prices were also up for outpatient care, motor vehicles and foods, mainly meat. The numbers come after the previous month saw a revised flat reading in June.

 

>>SCOTUS Blocks Purdue Pharma Bankruptcy Deal

(Stamford, CT) -- The Supreme Court is blocking opioid maker Purdue Pharma from moving forward with a six-billion-dollar bankruptcy deal. Thursday's decision comes after the Biden administration raised objections about the settlement that would have shielded the Sackler family from future lawsuits related to the opioid epidemic. A spokesperson for Purdue Pharma said the company is confident in the legality of its plan of reorganization, and "optimistic that the Supreme Court will agree." The high court is set to hear oral arguments in December and likely issue a ruling early next year.

 

>>Biden Calls China "Ticking Time Bomb" Due To Economic Troubles

(Salt Lake City, UT) -- President Biden says China's economic problems make it a "ticking time bomb." At a political fundraiser in Utah on Thursday, Biden said China is in trouble because of weak growth. He added, "That's not good because when bad folks have problems, they do bad things." It was reported this week that China's consumer sector fell into deflation in July. China-watchers say the world's second-biggest economy might be coming into an era of much slower growth with stagnated consumer prices and wages, while the rest of the world deals with inflation.

 

>> Mortgage Rates Continue To Rise For Third Week

(Washington, DC) -- Mortgage rates are up for the third week in a row to just under seven-percent. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged six-point-nine-six-percent this week, according to data from Freddie Mac. Compare that to a year ago, when it was just over five-point-two-percent. Freddie Mac's chief economist says the steadily high rates will "prolong affordability challenges longer than expected," but noted that "upward pressure" on rates is the result of a resilient economy.

 

>>Coach Parent Tapestry To Buy Michael Kors Owner

(New York, NY) -- Coach parent Tapestry is planning to buy Michael Kors owner Capri Holdings in a lucrative deal worth billions. The move is valued at eight-and-a-half billion dollars. The Wall Street Journal first reported about a potential deal between Capri and Tapestry late on Wednesday. This will bring Tapestry's brands, which include Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman, and Capri's Jimmy Choo and Versace labels under one roof. Tapestry's goal is to create a top U.S. fashion house that can better compete with larger European rivals in the global luxury market. The acquisition is also a plan of action against a looming slowdown in demand for luxury goods in the U.S. following a post-pandemic surge as still-high inflation forces customers to cut back on discretionary spending.

 

>>Pork Prices Rise Because Of New California Law

(Sacramento, CA) -- A California law that aims to provide more comfortable conditions for pigs, chickens and veal calves is being implemented. That has pork producers and many consumers worried about prices rising in an already inflationary food market. The California Department of Food and Agriculture says it's given producers a grace period to the end of this year. The National Pork Producer Council argues the changes are already driving prices up from the cost associated with implementing the law leading up to the January 2024 deadline.

 

>>GM Debuts All Electric Cadillac Escalade IQ

(Detroit, MI) -- General Motors unveiled their all-electric Cadillac Escalade IQ on Wednesday. The EV version of the well-known full-size SUV will feature a 55 inch wide dashboard, and a 200-kilowatt hour battery pack with 450-miles on a single charge. The vehicle will be built at GM's Factory Zero in Detroit beginning next year and will have a base price of 130-thousand dollars. Since it's introduction, Cadillac has sold over one-million Escalades worldwide. Officials at the unveiling of the Escalade IQ said the automaker is planning on debuting two more EV's by the end of the year.

AM Business Notebook

>>CPI Report Shows Modest Gain

(Washington, DC) -- The inflation report from the Labor Department is showing a modest gain. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning says the Consumer Price Index nudged up two-tenths of a percent in July, and rose three-point-two percent over the last 12 months.

 

>>Biden Issues Order On Chinese Tech Investment

(Washington, DC) -- President Biden is issuing an executive order restricting some U.S. investments in China. The bans are aimed at a handful of critical technologies related to the modernization of China's military and intelligence capabilities. The order will limit U.S. investment in categories of Chinese companies including quantum computing, artificial intelligence related to military and advanced semiconductors. The goal is to keep U.S. money from bolstering China's military and other threats to national security.

 

>>Migrant Crisis Could Cost NYC More Than $12 Billion By 2025

(New York, NY) -- New York City is set to spend more than 12-billion-dollars on the migrant crisis over the next two years if it doesn't receive help on the state and federal level. Mayor Adams says new arrivals will cost the city more than five-billion dollars this year, which is nearly total to the combined budgets of the FDNY, sanitation department, and parks department. He says even though the state has agreed to pay for some humanitarian centers, officials need to come up with a statewide decompression plan. He's calling on the federal government to expedite worth authorization and declare a state of emergency at the southern border. Mayor Adams says nearly 100-thousand migrants have arrived in New York City since spring of 20-22 and more than 57 thousand remain in the city's care.

 

>>Disney CEO Vows To Help Find "Solutions" To Resolve Hollywood Strikes

(Burbank, CA) -- Disney CEO Bob Iger is vowing to help find solutions to resolve strikes by Hollywood actors and writers. Iger made that pledge during Disney's quarterly earnings call Wednesday as the Writers Guild of America strike hit the 100-day mark. The actors' unions known as SAG-AFTRA went on strike July 14th. Iger said nothing is more important to Disney than its relationships with the creative community. Iger said he's personally committed to quickly find solutions "to the issues that have kept us apart the past few months."

 

>>Global Rice Prices Surge Close To 12-Year High, Could Go Higher

(Undated) -- Global rice prices are the highest in almost 12 years and the United Nations' food agency says they could go even higher. The Food and Agriculture Organization All Rice Price Index is up close to 20-percent over the past year, driven by India's ban on rice exports and weather conditions that could cut into production. India is the world's leading rice exporter and the government banned exports of non-basmati rice on July 20th to cap soaring food prices at home.

 

>>Conservative Group: Kellogg's Diversity Policies Illegal

(Undated) -- A conservative legal group wants the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate Kellogg's over workplace diversity policies the group claims are illegal. America First Legal filed a complaint with the EEOC on Wednesday, saying the more than century-old cereal maker's hiring, training, and promotion practices are designed to achieve a balance based on race and sex. The nonprofit headed by former Trump administration senior adviser Stephen Miller claims those policies violate federal laws banning bias in the workplace.

AM Business Notebook

>>More Americans Dip Into 401(K) Accounts Over Financial Stress

(Minneapolis, MN)  --  More Americans are dipping into their 401(k) accounts because of financial distress. That's according to Bank of America data. The number of those who did so during the second quarter spiked from the same time last year by 36-percent.  Most cite inflation as the main reason.  Bank of America's data also shows overall employee contributions remained consistent over the first half of the year.

 

>>Two Groups Sue Biden Administration Over New Student Loan Forgiveness Plan

(Washington, DC)  --  Two groups are suing the Biden administration over its latest plan to cancel student loan debt. The groups argue the White House doesn't have the authority to forgive the 39-billion-dollars its promising. The lawsuit says after the Supreme court struck down its first try to cancel 400-billion, Biden is now trying to push this new plan through using new arguments. The Supreme Court earlier ruled Congress must approve any student loan forgiveness

 

>>More Than Half Of Gen Z Says Renting A Home Is A Better Option Than Buying

(Washington, DC)  --  High home prices have more than half of Gen z saying renting is a better option for them than buying a home. Overall, 44-percent of renters surveyed by RealPage said renting is the way to go, citing affordability the most. RealPage asked two-thousand multi-family renters under 55 with income up to 200-thousand dollars. Nearly two-thirds replied that they're satisfied with their rental situation because it gives them more flexibility financially and freedom to move. Nearly three in four said renting is the reason they live in neighborhoods they would otherwise not be able to afford.

 

>>NJ Transit Officials: Potential Strike Will Not Interrupt Service

(Trenton, NJ)  --  Officials with New Jersey Transit are reassuring travelers that the trains will keep rolling even if engineers go on strike.  The locomotive engineers are voting this month on whether to go on strike because they've received no pay raises since 2019.  New Jersey Transit and the locomotive engineers union have been in mediation with the National Mediation Board.  NJ Transit President Kevin Corbett has said that a federal court order would prevent any strike -- though union officials deny this, calling such comments confusing disinformation. 

 

>>Virgin Galactic Tourist Launch Thursday

(Truth or Consequences, NM)  --  Virgin Galactic is set to launch its second commercial spaceflight on Thursday.  The flight is scheduled to take off from the company's Spaceport America in New Mexico with passengers on the VSS Unity, carried to 50-thousand feet by another aircraft before decoupling and blasting off about 53 miles up.  One passenger is an 80-year-old former Olympic canoeist who bought his ticket for a quarter-million-dollars.  The two others will be the first mother-daughter duo to make the voyage to the edge of space after winning their seats in a Virgin Galactic competition aimed at sending "more diverse humans to space."

 

>>ESPN Launches Betting Platform

(New York, NY)  --  ESPN is launching ESPN BET with PENN Entertainment.  It'll be a branded sportsbook for U.S. fans.  PENN Entertainment is rebranding its current sportsbook and relaunch this fall in the 16 states where it's legalized. The rebrand will cover its mobile app and website.  An ESPN statement says it aims to give fans the ability to place bets "with less friction."

 

 

>>WeWork Says Its Future Is Uncertain

(New York, NY)  --  WeWork says the future of the company is uncertain.  The coworking company released its second-quarter earnings on Tuesday and said due to its losses, projected cash needs and member turnover, "substantial doubt exists" about its ability to stay in business.  The company's management outlined a plan to improve WeWork's financial health, and said its ability to stay in business is "contingent upon successful execution" over the next year.

AM Business Notebook

>>Federal Reserve Governor: Additional Rate Hikes Likely

(Washington, DC) -- Additional interest rate hikes "will likely be needed." That's the message from one Federal Reserve governor. The Federal Reserve raised rates last month for the 11th time since March 2022 in a move to combat inflation. Its next hike decision will come in September.

 

>>L.A City Workers To Hold One-Day Strike

(Los Angeles, CA) -- More than eleven-thousand city workers in Los Angeles are set to take part in a one-day walkout. Personnel including sanitation crews, traffic officers, airport workers, and engineers are expected to join, likely resulting in service disruptions across the nation's second-largest city. It's part of an effort to protest contract negotiations with city leaders, who union officials say are refusing to "bargain in good faith." The workers plan to picket for 24 hours starting today at multiple locations, including City Hall and LAX airport. >>Tesla CFO Out (Austin, TX) -- Tesla's Chief Financial Officer is stepping down. Zach Kirkhorn, who worked at the plant near Austin, had been with the electric car company for 13-years. In a post to social media, he thanked Elon Musk "for his leadership and optimism." No reason for the departure was given. Kirkhorn will be replaced by Tesla's Chief Accounting Officer.

 

>>Neuralink Raises $280M

(Fremont, CA) -- Brain chip startup Neuralink has raised 280-million-dollars in a funding round through Peter Thiel's Founders Fund. This, after the Elon Musk-founded company got federal approval for human clinical trials. The company has come under fire for reports of animal abuse, with rushed surgeries allegedly resulting in unnecessary suffering and death.

 

>>Yellow Trucking Declares Bankruptcy

(Nashville, TN) -- One of the biggest trucking companies in the U.S. is officially declaring bankruptcy after slamming the breaks on its operations. Yellow trucking filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will soon be liquidated to pay off its creditors. The Nashville-based company called it quits last week, leaving 30-thousand workers, mostly Teamsters, out of a job. The company blames the Teamsters for its collapse, claiming Monday that the union interfered with its restructuring plans.

 

>>Tyson Foods Shutting Down U.S. Chicken Plants

(Springdale, AR) -- Tyson Foods is shutting down four more U.S. chicken plants. The Arkansas-based company said it's hurt by falling chicken and pork prices and as well as the reduced demand for beef products. The company is also struggling with declining profits. Experts say some consumers are looking for lower-cost protein alternatives because of inflation. The company has also been cutting jobs and closing certain chicken processing units in order to keep costs under control.

AM Business Notebook

>>Yellow Trucking Declares Bankruptcy

(Nashville, TN) -- One of the biggest trucking companies in the U.S. is officially declaring bankruptcy after slamming the breaks on its operations. Yellow trucking filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will soon be liquidated to pay off its creditors. The Nashville-based company called it quits last week, leaving 30-thousand workers, mostly Teamsters, out of a job. Today, the company blamed the Teamsters for its collapse, claiming the union interfered with its restructuring plans.

 

>>No Reason Given For Departure

(Austin, TX) -- Tesla's Chief Financial Officer is stepping down. Zach Kirkhorn, who worked at the plant near Austin, had been with the electric car company for 13-years. In a post to social media, he thanked Elon Musk "for his leadership and optimism." No reason for the departure was given. Kirkhorn will be replaced by Tesla's Chief Accounting Officer.

 

>>Musk: X Will Pay Legal Bills If Users "Unfairly Treated" Over Posts

(San Francisco, CA) -- Elon Musk says his X social media platform will pay legal bills for people he says have been treated unfairly by their employers for posting or liking something on the site formerly known as Twitter. Musk made that pledge in a post on Saturday. He also said there will be no limits on funding legal bills. Musk didn't give any details on how X users could claim money for their legal fees.

 

>>Hollywood Writers Strike: Still No Deal

(Los Angeles, CA) -- Hollywood writers remain on strike despite meeting Friday with studios for contract talks. The over eleven-thousand members of the Writers Guild of America walked out at the beginning of May over pay, streaming residuals and other topics such as regulating AI use.

 

>>L.A. City Workers Plan Strike

(Los Angeles, CA) -- Thousands of Los Angeles city workers will be walking off the job later this week. Over eleven-thousand L.A. city workers are expected to take part in a one-day strike Tuesday. Workers are expected to picket outside City Hall,the Los Angeles International Airport and other locations. The union representing sanitation workers, traffic officers and mechanics say the city has refused to bargain a new contract in good faith. The strike is expected to last 24 hours.

 

>>More Time For Contract Negotiations With Frontier

(Charleston, WV) -- There will be at least two-more weeks of contract negotiations between the Communications Workers of America and Connecticut-headquartered Frontier Communications. A strike was avoided over the weekend when the two sides agreed to keep talking. The current contract was extended until August 19th. Job security and benefits remain the two points that have yet to be agreed upon in the new contract.

 

>>Over A Third Of Americans Don't Think They'll Retire

(Washington, DC) -- Over a third of Americans don't believe they'll ever make enough money to retire. That's according to a recent study conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. They found that roughly 36-percent of working Americans have little or no confidence in their financial security if they retired. Last year, only 27-percent of respondents said the same. Recent census data also shows more than 40-percent of Americans aged 55 to 64 have no retirement savings.

AM Business Notebook

>>Monthly Jobs Report Shows Employment Rise

(Washington, DC) -- New federal data shows U.S. employment rose by 187-thousand jobs in July. The monthly jobs report also shows the unemployment rate remained essentially unchanged at three-point-five percent, though it's slightly lower than the previous jobless level and nearly a half-century low. Wage growth, meanwhile, is up to four-point-four percent.

 

>>Half Of Americans Think U.S. Economy Is Getting Worse

(Washington, DC) -- Half of Americans say the U.S. economy is still getting worse. According to a CNN poll, 51-percent of Americans said the economy is continuing its downturn despite some positive indicators. U.S. GDP grew more than expected in the second quarter of 2023, and inflation has continued to subside. Another 28-percent said economic recovery hasn't begun yet but conditions aren't getting worse. Only one in five said the economy is recovering from its recent issues.

 

>>Warner Bros Discovery Says Hollywood Strikes Could Hold Up Films

(Los Angeles, CA) -- Warner Brothers Discovery says the Hollywood writers and actors strikes could be holding up their slate of new movies. The media giant said Thursday it expects members of the Writers Guild and the Screen Actors Guild will return to work in early September. CEO David Zaslav told investors "we all got to fight to get this resolved," as the strikes could impact the timing of its film slate. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the major studios including Warner Brothers Discovery, has asked to meet with the writers' guild today to discuss resuming negotiations.

 

>>Tesla Sued Over Range Estimates

(San Francisco, CA) -- A number of Tesla owners are suing the automaker for fraud after a Reuters investigation discovered the company has been inflating the range estimates of its electric vehicles. The suit filed Wednesday in federal court in California accuses Tesla of exaggerating the estimated distance a vehicle can go on a single charge. The investigation, citing anonymous sources, found that the order to use algorithms to give better estimates came from CEO Elon Musk.

 

>>Adidas Makes $437 Million Off Yeezys, Donates 120M To Anti-Hate Groups

(Frankfurt) -- Adidas says it made about 437-million dollars from its first sale of Yeezy sneakers last quarter. In an earnings call Thursday, the chief financial officer of the sportswear company said the liquidation of the Kanye West sneakers also allowed them to donate over 120-million dollars to groups that are fighting hate, racism and antisemitism. Adidas ended its partnership with the rapper last year after he made a string of antisemitic comments. The company's CEO said a second batch of Yeezy sneakers hit the market this week and more donations are to come.

 

>>Bud Light Parent Company Stabilizes After Transgender Influencer Partnership

(St. Louis, MO) -- Bud Light's parent company says it has stabilized in the market since its partnership with a transgender influencer caused sales to plummet. Anheuser-Busch said its market share has leveled out since the boycott over its Dylan Mulvaney campaign. The company said revenue dropped by over 10-percent in the second quarter and announced last week it would lay off about two-percent of its U.S. workforce. But in its second quarter report published Thursday, Anheuser Busch said total revenue worldwide increased.

 

>>"Barbie" Expected To Hit Max In The Fall

(New York, NY) -- Greta Gerwig's "Barbie" is expected to be available for streaming on Max this fall. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said the hit film will go to streaming sometime in the fall months but only after the theatrical window fully plays out. The movie has made over 800-million-dollars worldwide since its premiere and is expected to eclipse one-billion-dollars by Monday. "Barbie" is currently projected to earn one-point-three-billion-dollars during its theatrical run, right behind "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" for highest grossing film of the year.

 

>>Remote Work Policies May Stick Around

(Undated) -- Employers are hitting the pause button on "back-to-the-office" efforts. According to new data, workers who are on a hybrid or remote work assignment are not showing diminished productivity. Analysts say that younger workers express different sensibilities and needs than their older counterparts and tend to excel in a flexible work environment. According to a poll conducted by the Los Angeles Times, eight out of ten workers believe their company's remote work policies will remain in place through 2025.

AM Business Notebook

>>Half Of Americans Think U.S. Economy Is Getting Worse

(Washington, DC) -- Half of Americans say the U.S. economy is still getting worse. According to a CNN poll, 51-percent of Americans said the economy is continuing its downturn despite some positive indicators. U.S. GDP grew more than expected in the second quarter of 2023, and inflation has continued to subside. Another 28-percent said economic recovery hasn't begun yet but conditions aren't getting worse. Only one in five said the economy is recovering from its recent issues.

 

>>Oregon OSHA Fines Contractor

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon OSHA has fined Hillsboro contractor Arm & Hammer Construction over 66-thousand dollars for workplace safety violations. According to OSHA, the company repeatedly failed to protect workers from falling. When one worker fell and was hospitalized for broken ribs and a punctured lung the owner allegedly told the injured worker to not report the incident to OSHA. The company has 30 days to appeal.

 

>>White House Points Finger At GOP Over Credit Rating Downgrade

(Washington, DC) -- The White House is blaming Republicans for the recent U.S. credit rating downgrade. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre accused GOP officials of "cheerleading" default, undermining governance and democracy and attempting to extend tax giveaways for the wealthy and corporations. She said "extremism" by Republicans is a continued threat to the economy. Fitch lowered the U.S. rating from the highest AAA rating to AA+. Several factors were cited, including a "steady deterioration in standards of governance" over the last two decades.

 

>>IRS Promises Paperless Processing By 2025

(Washington, DC) -- The IRS promises paperless processing for taxes by 2025. It plans to have taxpayers digitally submit all correspondence by the next tax filing season in 2024, according to the Treasury Department. The IRS will also digitize the estimated billion historical documents in its catalog in the next two years, which cost about 40-million-dollars per year to store.

 

>>West Coast Leads National Gas Price Spike

(San Francisco, CA) -- U.S. gas prices continue to climb as the summer heats up. Triple-A says there are a variety of factors affecting price but two main reasons are causing a spike. Global supply is constrained after OPEC nations cut production. Russia is also exporting less crude oil. Beyond economic manipulation, this summer's record heat is also to blame. Refineries generally cut back production when temperatures exceed 95 degrees for safety reasons. But that also puts a squeeze on the global supply chain. Currently California has the highest price in the nation at an average of 5-02 per gallon according to Triple-A. Washington is close behind at 4-97 and Oregon sits at 4-63.

 

>>Hollywood Studios Look To AI While Actors and Writers Strike

(Los Angeles, CA) -- As striking actors and writers continue to demand better compensation and protections against artificial intelligence, the studios seem to be embracing A.I. According to a job posting on Indeed-dot-com, Netflix is looking for a project manager for its machine learning program. The salary range is 300 thousand to 900 thousand dollars per year. A typical acting job pays a fraction of that for a temporary gig. But Netflix isn't the only studio going on an A.I. hiring spree. Disney, Sony, CBS, and Amazon Prime are also looking to fill A.I. positions. Developing systems that can produce content without humans is one of the biggest concerns for actors and writers.

 

>>UAW Leader Outlines Contract Demands

(Detroit, MI) -- The head of the United Auto Workers Union has gone public with his demands in the upcoming contract negotiations. Shawn Fain posted a message on social media Tuesday, outlining demands including a 32-hour work week for union members. He also wants an end to "tiers" on wages and benefits, the elimination of "temporary" workers by making them permanent employees and the restoration of a cost-of-living allowance. Fain is also seeking pensions and medical benefits for all workers. The current contract with the automakers expires on September 14th.

AM Business Notebook

>>Fitch Downgrades U.S. Debt Rating

(New York, NY)  --  Fitch is downgrading its U.S. debt rating from the highest AAA rating to AA+.  Several factors were cited, including a "steady deterioration in standards of governance" over the last two decades.  Fitch said the U.S. suffers from an "erosion of governance."  While the rating dropped, the new one is among the highest possible. Fitch is one of three major credit rating agencies that evaluate ability for companies and countries to repay debts.

 

>> YRC Freight Closure
The sudden closure of Yellow Freight led to around 30-thousand lay-offs nationwide, but it’s unclear how many of those are in our state. Yellow has seven terminals in Oregon, including in Portland, Eugene and Redmond. It conducted business under several names - like USF Reddaway and New Penn Motor Express. In a notice to state officials, the company says all operations shut down July 30th, terminating all employment at all locations.


>>Meat Inspection Bill                
Governor Tina Kotek has signed a bill sending nine-million dollars to the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s meat inspection program.  The funding is part of an ongoing effort by the ODA to boost economic development and enable Oregonians access to locally produced meat products.  In July of 2022, Oregon became the first on the west coast with a state meat inspection program.  It was in response to reports from ranchers who faced 18-month wait times to process their livestock, because there were so few in-state options. ODA says the state program isn’t meant to compete with the USDA, but complement the federal program and allow smaller local businesses to produce, process and ship statewide. 


>>Amazon Issues Urgent Scam Warning
(Seattle, WA)  --  Amazon is out with an urgent scam warning to customers as con artists launch new schemes.  The online retail giant is alerting customers to scams involving phone calls, texts, and emails.  One involves a reference to your Prime membership or an expensive membership fee, with scammers asking folks to confirm or cancel the charge, along with providing payment or bank account information to reinstate a membership.  In another, users are told their account will be suspended or deleted, then are directed to click on a bogus link or verbally provide information to verify the account.  Amazon is reminding customers it "will never ask you to provide payment information for products or services over the phone."


>>Striking Writers, Hollywood Studios To Resume Talks Friday

(Los Angeles, CA)  --  Striking writers and Hollywood studios will start talking again this week.  The writers' union, the Writers Guild of America, confirmed Tuesday night that it will resume talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers about negotiations on Friday.  That confirmation came hours after Deadline reported that both the writers and the studios had a new sense of guarded optimism as the strike heads toward its 100th day next week.

 

>>Job Openings Fall Slightly In June

(Washington, DC)  --  The number of job openings in the U.S. is down slightly.  New government figures show there were just under nine-point-six-million openings in June which is a slight drop from May.  The number of workers who quit in June decreased to three-point-eight million.  Healthcare and social assistance led the number increases in job vacancies for the month.

 

>>California Politicians Ask Swift To Postpone Shows

(Undated)  --  Some California politicians are asking Taylor Swift to delay her Los Angeles shows in solidarity with striking hotel workers.  Democratic Lieutenant Governor Eleni [[ UH-lay-nee ]] Kounalakis [[ Koon-ah-lah-kiss ]] joined other officials Tuesday along with Unite Here Local 11 to call on Swift to show her support.  The pop star is set to perform six sold-out shows starting this week.  In their letter, they point out that while hotels jack up their prices for a big event like a Taylor Swift show, many housekeepers and other workers are fighting for a living wage.  

 

>>CVS Lays Off 5,000 Employees

(Woonsocket, RI)  --  CVS is laying off five-thousand employees.  The layoffs will happen in what the company calls "non-customer facing positions," mainly corporate staff. The drugstore chain said it's "evolving to adapt to new consumer health needs and expectations." The "Wall Street Journal" first reported the news, saying the change is part of CVS's efforts to move towards a focus on health services

 

>>New Times Publisher Kills Self

(Superior, AZ)  --  The man who helped turn an alternative weekly newspaper into a massive chain killed himself Monday, just before his federal trial on charges he used online classified ads to facilitate prostitution.  James Larkin shot himself in Superior, Arizona, about an hour east of Phoenix where he was originally ran the business side of the New Times.  Known for its journalism, exposes and coverage of the arts, the New Times eventually took over alternative papers in several cities, including New York City's Village Voice.  But Larkin was also accused of using the online advertising site Backpage to run what law enforcement says were barely disguised ads for prostitution.  He was 74.

AM Business Notebook

>>Report: 61% Of Americans Live Paycheck To Paycheck

(Charlotte, NC) -- More than half of U.S. adults say they live paycheck to paycheck. A new report from LendingClub puts that number at 61-percent. It suggests that lower-income workers have been hit the hardest by price increases, because food and other staples account for a bigger share of their household budgets. Among consumers earning less than 50-thousand dollars annually, roughly three-quarters were living paycheck to paycheck in June. This comes despite recent signs that inflation appears to be cooling.

 

>>Heineken CEO Weighs In On Bud Light Controversy

(St. Louis, MO) -- Heineken's CEO is criticizing Anheuser-Busch after the fallout of their partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. Dolf van den Brink told CNBC that the rival company should stand up for their values. Conservatives boycotted the beer brand after Mulvaney's deal, resulting in a nearly 25-percent loss in the period compared to the same time last year. Van den Brink said "polarization in society" affects businesses and brands, and companies need to be "thoughtful" while also standing up for principles they believe in.

 

>>Apple Approve Rebranded X for Apple Store

(Cupertino, CA) -- Apple is approving the newly rebranded Twitter App. Now known as "X," the app is available in the Apple App Store. This is an exception to the rule because Apple typically does not allow developers to name their apps with a single character. Elon Musk purchased Twitter last October for 44 billion dollars. He recently replaced the iconic blue Twitter bird logo with a black and white X. Over the weekend, Musk erected a giant, brightly lit X atop the multi-story downtown San Francisco headquarters of the social media company. Complaints from neighbors have prompted the city planner to investigate if any building codes were violated.

 

>>Older Verizon Phone Plan Bills Could Increase Soon

(Undated ) -- Verizon customers with older phone plans could see their bill go up next month. The company says starting this week some older plans will be charged an additional three-to-five-dollars per mobile phone line every month. Unlimited plans that are currently available to new customers won't get hit with the additional charge.

 

>>Ford Recalling Pickups Over Possible Brake Issue

(Dearborn, MI) -- A problem with the electric parking brakes on 870-thousand Ford pickups has led to a recall by the automaker. The issue affects 2021 to 2023 model trucks with a single exhaust. Documents released by Ford show a wiring bundle in the rear of the truck can come into contact with the rear axle causing damage to the wire. The damage could cause a short circuit with turns on the parking brake without the driver's knowledge. No crashes or injuries have been reported due to the problem and owners will begin receiving notices starting September 11th.

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