: Kroger employees are surrounded by food at work — but many struggle to afford food and rent, says a survey of 10,200 workers

Tim Massa, Kroger's senior vice president and chief people officer, called the findings 'misleading and untrue.'.....»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchJan 14th, 2022

Kroger workers experienced hunger, homelessness, and couldn"t pay their rent in 2021. Its CEO made $22 million the previous year.

The median worker pay at Kroger was $24,617 in 2021, researchers found, meaning the CEO made 909 times the pay of the average worker. 1 in 7 Kroger workers faced homelessness in the past year, and more than a third of them said they were worried about eviction.Courtesy of Veeve 14% of Kroger workers faced homelessness in the past year, according to a survey of 10,000 unionized workers. More than three-quarters of the company's workers are also food insecure.  Real wages for Kroger workers have decreased in the past few years, while executive profits have increased.  Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen got a lot richer later year, while most of his company's workers faced homelessness, eviction, or hunger.A survey by nonprofit Economic Roundtable found more than one-third (36%) of 10,000 employees at Kroger-owned stores in Southern California, Colorado, and Washington said they were worried about eviction. More than three-quarters (78%) are food-insecure. And 1 in 7 Kroger workers faced homelessness in the past year. "There are workers sleeping in RVs or couch surfing or living in parks somewhere," Peter Dreier, a researcher on the project, told Insider. "Americans go to their local supermarket every week and smile at the person cashing them out, not aware that the person they're talking to is going to sleep in a car after they clock out." Over 8,000 unionized Kroger's King Soopers employees went on strike this week in Colorado, demanding better wages and working conditions from the country's largest grocery store chain and fourth-largest private employer. Its profits soared during the pandemic, greatly increasing the wealth of McMullen and its shareholders. Kroger employees, however, have endured reduced wages and fewer full-time opportunities from the company. Kroger's profits swelled, but wages didn'tNearly 1 in 5 (18%) Kroger employees said they hadn't paid the previous month's mortgage on time. Roughly 65,000 of 465,000 national workers in 2020 experienced homelessness. All of the workers surveyed hail from unionized Kroger shops, suggesting that non-union workers fare much worse. The report noted that the decline in "real wages" — wages adjusted for inflation — over the past three decades are largely to blame.The most experienced Kroger food clerks, the highest paid in the company, saw wages decline 11 to 22 percent across since 1990, according to the study. The average worker in some states saw real pay declines of about 3% in the past few decades, Dreier, who is also an urban policy professor at Occidental College, told Insider. Meanwhile, the pandemic has been extremely profitable for Kroger, which operates about 2,800 stores under different brands, like Ralph's, King Soopers, and Gerbes. The company earned $4.1 billion in profits in 2020, and by the end of the third quarter of 2021, had $2.28 billion in cash on hand. That's up from the $399 million they had on hand in the first quarter of 2020.Company executives received raises and bonuses as a result. McMullen made over $22 million, nearly doubling the $12 million he made in 2018. Kroger also gave their stockholders $1.3 billion in stock buybacks in the first three quarters of 2021, the researchers estimate. The median worker pay at Kroger was $24,617 in 2021, they also found, meaning the CEO made 909 times the pay of the average worker. As the authors note, the Kroger worker rate of food insecurity is seven times higher than the national average, with 78% of them saying they had either very low food security (42%)  or low food security (36%). "The biggest irony and tragedy is that here are people who spend all day around food, and when they go home they can't afford to feed their families adequately," Dreier said. "There would be days where I would starve myself so that my kids can eat but even that's not enough," a cheese shop clerk at a Kroger store in Colorado wrote in a survey response. "There's been times where I couldn't pay my rent and ended up on the street."Low pay and unpredictable schedules leave parents and young people with few optionsThe company paid workers hazard pay in the first two months of the pandemic. The researchers say that this, high turnover, low wages, sporadic scheduling, and limited opportunities for full-time employment, is what keeps workers in poverty. A quarter of respondents said that they were given a day or less notice about schedule changes. Dreier said this makes it harder for workers to schedule hours for second jobs — 86% of people said that Kroger was the only source of their income. Younger workers are specifically at risk of homelessness, or are stuck living with their parents. "Younger workers often can't afford to live alone or outside their family's home," Patrick Burns, a senior researcher at the Economic Roundtable told Insider. When they do fly the coop, they face high rents, housing instability, and new costs of living."You see the same for parents who work for Kroger's and can't afford to be on their own, they have to stay with their adult kids." Daniel Flaming, president of the Economic Roundtable, told Insider. "These wages have led to involuntary multigenerational household situations and crowded households." Dreier, Burns, and Flaming made multiple policy suggestions for Kroger to combat homelessness and food insecurity for its staff, including giving them higher food discounts, increasing wages, and increasing full time opportunities. "Kroger's has the flexibility to do better by their employees and it has chosen not to," Dreier said. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 14th, 2022

‘Profit Doesn’t Exist Anymore.’ Restaurants That Barely Survived COVID-19 Closures Now Face Labor, Inflation and Supply Chain Crises

It’s easy to poke fun at terrible restaurants, like the one on Gordon Ramsay’s show Kitchen Nightmares that served a mayonnaise-and-cheese sushi pizza, or the Washington D.C. Popeyes that went viral after a video revealed the franchise was overrun with gargantuan rats. (They were not of the Pixar variety that hide in chef hats and… It’s easy to poke fun at terrible restaurants, like the one on Gordon Ramsay’s show Kitchen Nightmares that served a mayonnaise-and-cheese sushi pizza, or the Washington D.C. Popeyes that went viral after a video revealed the franchise was overrun with gargantuan rats. (They were not of the Pixar variety that hide in chef hats and improve recipes, unfortunately). Both eateries have since shuttered permanently. Probably for the best. But even restaurants with delicious food, competent staff and clean kitchens often must perform a near-acrobatic balancing act to survive. Too large of a menu can prevent chefs from executing every dish well, while too small of a menu can starve guests of options they like; overstaffing drives up labor costs, while understaffing leads to angry customer reviews about slow service; a bad location will thwart guests from coming through the door, but a great location often costs too much to rent. These tightropes mean that, even in normal economic conditions, as many as 61% of independently operated restaurants fail within three years of opening, according to a widely cited 2005 analysis from Ohio State University researchers. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “It’s an incredibly high-cost, low-profit-margin business, that in the best of times only barely works if you have almost a full house for every meal service that you’re selling,” says Sean Kennedy, the executive vice president for public affairs at the National Restaurant Association. “If you can make that happen, you have a good shot of getting a 3% to 5% profit margin.” The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has made those odds infinitely worse. After months-long bans on indoor dining and a slow rebound in consumer confidence, restaurant sales across the country were down $240 billion in 2020 from their expected levels. Roughly 80,000 restaurants have temporarily or permanently closed since the start of the pandemic, according to estimates from the National Restaurant Association, down from 110,000 at the peak of the pandemic. “It was like we hit a brick wall,” says Sara Sawicki, 48, co-owner of Portland, Oregon’s Fire on the Mountain chicken wing restaurants, recalling the aftermath of March 2020. She was gearing up for a busy month of March Madness and Spring Break; instead she says she saw her profits decline by roughly 40% in the first few months of the 2020 lockdowns. This past summer, many restaurant proprietors began to get a bit of relief. Small business association loans, paired with vaccine availability, warmer weather and a near-universal sense of pandemic fatigue, led to crowded dining rooms and resurgent profits. But they’re hardly out of the woods. After nearly two years of abysmal profits, restaurant owners are being hit by a cascading series of new challenges: inflationary pressures on key ingredients and paper products are driving up their operating costs; a global supply chain crunch has stymied delivery of everything from cream cheese to chicken wings to portion cups for salad dressing; and the entire hospitality industry is struggling to hire and retain enough employees to operate. Fully 85% of restaurant operators reported smaller margins than before the pandemic, according to a September field survey from the National Restaurant Association. “The restaurant industry,” says Kennedy, “can only defy the business laws of gravity for so long.” Missing chicken wings and the new cost of fry oil Customers at Sawicki’s chicken wing joints have come to expect one thing when they visit her three locations: chicken wings. Unfortunately for Sawicki, global supply chain constraints made the product difficult to come by. Her suppliers would tell her, “‘I’m shorting you 10 cases of chicken [wings] on the delivery tomorrow,'” she says, “or the delivery just wouldn’t come.” In order to keep serving her restaurant chain’s staple product, Sawicki’s staff would drive to the warehouses to pick up the wings themselves. Her three restaurants would also communicate with one another, lending each other a few cases when another was close to running out. “We managed to not run out very often. If we did, it was towards the end of the night,” she says. “But to make that happen, it took a lot of effort.” The chicken wing shortage can be traced to unseasonal 2021 cold snaps in the American South that killed off hundreds of thousands of chickens. Covid-19 outbreaks at meat production plants further encumbered the supply chain, just as America’s pandemic eating habits—more casual takeout, less fine dining—caused a wing and pizza supply-demand imbalance that still hasn’t reached equilibrium. Getty Images—Saul Granda © Osama Yousef, the owner of two North Carolina eateries, had to temporarily take wings off the menu. But the wings are only one example of shortages. He’s also had to nix fried mushrooms and chicken strips due to sourcing problems, and has struggled to stock enough take-out packaging. More than 90% of restaurant operators experienced supply delays or shortages of key food or beverage items over the three months prior, according to the National Restaurant Association survey. Meanwhile, the ingredients that restaurants are able to find have become markedly more expensive in recent months. The September survey showed 91% of restaurant operators reported paying more for food. A case of bacon used to cost Yousef $47.96 in 2019, for example. The same product is now priced at $85.58. A crate of onions jumped from $24.95 to $40.72. Yousef now pays 140% more than he used to for fry oil, a central ingredient in many American restaurants. In New Canaan, Connecticut, 48-year-old restaurant owner Nick Martschenko reports the same amount of fry oil now costs him double. Yousef’s restaurants have added a 15% surcharge on all receipts at his two restaurants—he used to own three, but one closed permanently during the pandemic—in attempts of counteracting the price increases, but the extra tax hasn’t put his businesses back in the green. “The profit doesn’t exist anymore,” Yousef, 51, says. “We worked hard all this year for almost nothing.” ‘My standards have lowered’ Restaurant owners are also struggling to hire and retain a sufficient number of reliable employees. Part of the shortage can be explained by the ongoing pandemic, which has presented would-be workers with childcare and safety concerns. The omicron variant—which has already shuttered daycares and caused some schools to resume virtual-only learning—may further exacerbate the Covid-19-induced labor imbalance. Some experts and restaurant owners also point to strict immigration policies under the Trump administration, which deterred immigrants from migrating to the United States, thus depriving restaurants of individuals willing to work relatively low-paid jobs. A November Insider analysis estimates that as many as two-thirds of the three million shortage of workers right now are immigrants who did not move to the U.S. The pandemic’s instantaneous elimination of many of restaurant industry jobs—and thus the employees’ livelihoods—back in March 2020, caused many in the sector to reconsider whether they wanted to stay in their relatively low-paid roles or move to more stable, higher paying ones. Employees “don’t want to return to backbreaking or boring, low wage, sh-t jobs,” Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration, told TIME in October. “Workers are burned out. They’re fed up. They’re fried. In the wake of so much hardship, and illness and death during the past year, they’re not going to take it anymore.” More than 4 million people voluntarily quit their jobs in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The near-record high was most acutely felt in the food accommodation sector, where the rate of separations was higher than any other industry. Martschenko has raised wages in the last year to be able to retain enough servers to stay open, but facing negative profit margins—and hundreds of thousands in loans he had to take out during the pandemic and still has to repay—can’t afford to boost them much more. Instead, restaurant owners have had to get creative. Two of Martschenko’s three Connecticut restaurants cut down on lunch service and are open for dinner five days per week instead of seven. He is also introducing QR code systems in two of his restaurants that will allow customers to order and pay through their phones, in order to decrease pressure on his now smaller staffs. On numerous occasions, Yousef has opted to send all of his employees to staff one restaurant and temporarily close the other because he hasn’t had enough employees to fill both. He admits he’s also had to lower his expectations too. “People just don’t show up to work. You can’t really fire them because you need them,” he says. “There’s so much my standards have lowered.” What the industry needs next Restaurants have been offered aid to get through the past two years’ challenges. They were assisted by three rounds of a program called the Paycheck Protection Program, which provided small businesses with forgivable loans to offset payroll or interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. The March 2021 American Rescue Plan Act provided further relief to restaurants, bars, caterers and other food service providers through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), which established $28.6 billion in grant money for the industry. But it wasn’t enough: Within three weeks of the RRF program opening applications in May, the Small Business Association received more than 360,000 applications seeking more than $75 billion in RRF relief—nearly triple the amount of funding available. Approximately 176,000 eligible applicants are still waiting in the queue for help. Both Yousef and Martschenko blame some of the challenges restaurants are facing on the myriad of government support that went to individuals during the health crisis, including multiple rounds of stimulus checks and expanded unemployment funds, that hurt their ability to hire and prompted delays from their suppliers too. “Instead of giving people money to stay in business,” says Yousef, “stop giving people money to stay at home.” The National Restaurant Association says one of the most pressing issues is the number of restaurants that were not able to access the RRF funds. A bipartisan bill to replenish the program’s funds with an extra $60 billion is currently stalled in Congress. Rep. Ro Khanna, a California Democrat who supports the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act (RRFA), says he is also preparing to introduce a bill in early 2022 that would provide tax credits to small brick-and-mortar based businesses, like mom-and-pop restaurants, to help level the playing field against online retail giants that thrived under the U.S. tax code, which essentially allowed them to avoid sales taxes. One of his arguments for supporting the RRFA and introducing this new bill is that the policies would help both the small businesses and their surrounding communities. “Having a vibrant Main Street and cultural center with small stores and restaurants is essential to a community’s health,” he says. “The shutting down of these businesses and restaurants is a harbinger for the decline of a community itself.” But whatever the solutions are, experts say they need to come fast. “The challenge right now is that Congress is only able to focus on things when they are truly at a cliff’s edge. Our message to Congress right now is the restaurant industry is absolutely at that point,” says Kennedy. “If there isn’t action soon, a number of restaurants will not survive.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 1st, 2022

Is The Great Resignation Something Bosses Should Address?

Companies the world over are going through a phenomenon dubbed ‘the great resignation.’ It is a trend of large swaths of employees leaving that kicked off during COVID-19. Many people reevaluated their situations, priorities, and lives due to the pandemic. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more With the job market hotter than ever, […] Companies the world over are going through a phenomenon dubbed ‘the great resignation.’ It is a trend of large swaths of employees leaving that kicked off during COVID-19. Many people reevaluated their situations, priorities, and lives due to the pandemic. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more With the job market hotter than ever, others chose to seek out new opportunities while they were available. Workers have never been in a better bargaining position than now as employers struggle to find people with the skills needed to get the job done. According to the World Economic Forum, 41% of workers globally are thinking about changing jobs. What Is The Great Resignation? The great resignation was coined by Texas A&M University's Professor Anthony Klotz. In his study of workforce trends, he predicted that many employees would leave their jobs after the pandemic. While he predicted that this would occur once the pandemic ends, we already see it unfold while the pandemic continues. Employees are dealing with the aftershocks that the seismic shifts the pandemic caused. The New York Times highlights more open positions in the US than ever, with four million Americans quitting in July of 2021. Official data shows that over four million more left their jobs in September. Moreover, the rate of resignations was the highest in healthcare and technology for mid-career workers and the service sector. What Are The Causes Of The Great Resignation? Burnout from working through the pandemic is a big one. However, the sector that has experienced the most significant departure is the service industry, whether food service, retail, or hospitality. These workers were deemed essential through the pandemic, working extra hours, and dealing with untold stress. This wasn't helped by the number of dine-in restaurants that were forced to shut by local regulations, as well as cruise ships, airlines, and events staff. It's the nature of these business models, and it has a knock-on effect on the employees' motivation and wellbeing. While many employers have increased wages, it hasn't been enough to entice people. One of the primary reasons for this could be how everything reopened following the pandemic. Employees are tired of unprepared, ill-equipped managers who don't listen — lack flexibility, poor communication, and no emotional intelligence factor. Rigid workplace policies. A lack of constructive feedback. Wages aren't the only issue, and ultimately, it is a culmination of things that started bubbling over when the pandemic hit. “Many employees are also grappling with return-to-work mandates because of health and safety concerns the pandemic has brought, especially as new variants continue to pop up and reignite uncertainty. Technology, however, offers solutions that office owners and commercial landlords can take advantage of that ease these anxieties and keep people safe. For example, access control that offers touchless access for doors, elevators, and turnstiles is a great way to minimize germ-spread and eliminate common touch-points throughout offices,” said James Segil, vice president of Access Control at Openpath, a Motorola solutions company. Why Has The Future Of Work Changed? Today, it is far easier to create your own business. With knowledge at our fingertips, many workers are up-skilling themselves, which opens a whole new world of opportunities. Side hustles are also more common, and a semi-successful one may tide workers over between jobs. Jason Smith, the founder of Courses for Success, sheds light on this, “In addition to better wages, employees want healthcare, dental, hybrid/flexible working, and improved working environments. Moreover, they care about the company's sustainability message and social impact.” Attrition Versus Attraction Attrition is a term generally used for natural labor turnover, but what we have seen in the last 18 months is anything but ordinary. Volen Vulkov, Cofounder of Enhancv says, “Given the fact that the majority of people are leaving companies that offer little to no future growth to employees, it’s the boss’ job to find new ways for their employees to grow.” Experts predict that it is only going to get worse. Research from McKinsey shows that up to 40% of employees may quit their jobs in the coming six months. With job openings on the rise, and many workers looking for new positions, there's an opportunity to flip the script and focus on attraction. What steps do you need to take if you want to be part of the great attraction rather than the great attrition? There are a variety of strategies business leaders can use to retain and attract talent. Strategies Business Leaders Can Use To Retain And Attract Talent Employees want opportunities to grow, and they have shown they are willing to leave their positions to find companies that will provide them with those opportunities. If your best employee quit tomorrow, what would you do to change their mind? You have to get ahead of things by asking your employees how they would shape their dream job if given the opportunity. The most successful organizations have held retention interviews to find out what employees need to stay, and you should do the same. In terms of wages, you can incentivize loyalty with the right package. It isn't just base salary; it's bonuses, loan help, stipends, and benefits. It all plays a role, and many companies are offering departed employees these things to bring them back. This includes mental health services, recognition, acknowledgment, and family support. What is the point of your business? What is your purpose? Is that something you frequently and accurately communicate to your team to imprint a strong culture at work? It's something both consumers and employees expect now. It should shape everything you do. You can't afford to ignore the great resignation. You can take steps right now to solidify your team, make yourself an attractive prospect for job searchers, and attract new and exciting talent. As with anything, future-proofing your business will keep you ahead of your competition. Updated on Dec 17, 2021, 12:02 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkDec 17th, 2021

A&W made its employees "anti-celeb meals" to attract new workers as fast-food continues to struggle with hiring

A&W is using real employees to poke fun at celebrity meal promotions and recruit new hires. A&W A&W is using real employees to poke fun at celebrity meal promotions. The anti-celeb meals are part of a hiring and retention campaign for the chain. Fast-food chains are closing and cutting hours without enough employees.  A&W is launching an "anti-celeb meal" hiring campaign in response to the recent celebrity partnerships from chains like McDonald's, Popeyes, and Tim Hortons.The burger chain says the campaign, which puts A&W workers side-by-side with celebrity promotional images from competitors puts the "spotlight where it really belongs amid the industry's labor shortage crisis: on the people who keep A&W running" with four actual employees from central Kentucky stores. Hiring employees is one of the main issues A&W restaurants are facing, the company said in a statement. Partnering with celebrities has been a boon to brands over the last two years. McDonald's kicked off the trend with the Travis Scott Meal, which was available for a month in the fall of 2020. It was the first in McDonald's ongoing Famous Orders lineup, consisting of a Quarter Pounder with cheese, bacon, and lettuce, medium fries with BBQ Sauce, and a Sprite — Scott's favorite meal at the chain. The spring BTS meal was also popular, driving traffic to restaurants giving McDonald's its busiest week of the year to date. More recently, McDonald's sold the Saweetie meal, featuring the TikTok star, followed by the current Mariah Menu.A&WA&W's hiring and retention campaign comes at a time of crisis in fast food thanks to chronically understaffed stores and supply chain issues. Restaurant operators overwhelmingly said that finding staff was the number one challenge they face, with 75% agreeing in a survey from the National Restaurant Association. Of owners surveyed, 78% said that didn't have enough workers to handle business, which led to many closing dining rooms or seating areas to lower the number of customers they could serve. Nearly half of operators said that they reduced dining capacities voluntarily. According to the survey, 61% of fast-food restaurants, and 81% of full-service restaurants said that they decided to shut parts of dining rooms in August because they didn't have the workers to serve those areas. Business owners say they're unable to find staff and in some cases even cite a lack of desire to work, while workers say they can demand better pay and benefits in the tight labor market. This mismatch has led to restaurants decreasing hours and closing dining rooms. Customer demand for fast food is higher than ever, but without enough workers, companies have to turn away business. A&W said that this hiring campaign was designed to stand out from all the other campaigns on the market right now. All 625 A&W locations will get yard signs, t-shirts, and other marketing assets to go along with the campaign, which will replace typical menu item-focused advertising.Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 2nd, 2021

Rabobank: As The "Haves" Become "Have Yachts", The Dollar Tree Is Now The Dollar-Twenty-Five Tree

Rabobank: As The "Haves" Become "Have Yachts", The Dollar Tree Is Now The Dollar-Twenty-Five Tree By Michael Every of Rabobank Bazooka Joe (Jerome and Jamie) Tuesday was what now passes for normal in global ‘markets’. For example, the currency of a major trading and geostrategic economy, Turkey, collapsed 16% on the day at one point, from what were already exceptionally low levels. For younger emerging market analysts afraid to make big calls on where FX can head even over the longer term, and clinging to ‘spot plus/minus’ – Exhibit A. The lira is down 40% this year and a third in November alone, as Turkey’s president promises “an economic war of independence.” From what/whom? “Unrealistic and completely detached from economic fundamentals,” was being bandied about at one point in official circles. Unfortunately, one doesn’t know exactly where that applies. Look at the White House’s coordinated release of just 50m barrels of oil from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), which saw energy prices handily up on the day. Hardly a bazooka, Joe: and neither was the ‘laugh-a-minute’ Energy Secretary not being able to answer a question about what US daily oil consumption is. Energy analysts point out this SPR policy can’t work against an official move away from funding fossil fuel production; and the US threw some late sanctions against Nord Stream 2, reversing the previous reversal, which contributed to a surge in European energy prices too. Meanwhile, the US ultra-cheap goods store, the Dollar Tree, is now the Dollar-Twenty-Five Tree due to rising inflation. This is at least a change from the deflationary spiral of dismal British ‘pound stores’ becoming ‘99p stores’ and ‘98p stores’ in the New Normal, as the ‘haves’ became ‘have yachts’: but I doubt the people who rely on shopping in them will see this as an upgrade. Yet here are two labour market stories you, and markets, may have missed. First, the strike at John Deere has seen a six-year pay deal signed: workers get a 10% raise, and 5% in years three and five; a 3% bonus in years two, four, and six; an $8,500 signing bonus; a preserved pension option for new employees; and no-premium health insurance eligibility sooner. It may just be an outlier for those 10,000 workers, but it is the kind of deal that means you don’t need a dollar-twenty-five store….if the price of energy, food, and rent are under control. Second, an informal US Twitter real-estate survey asking “Have you or someone you know used profits from crypto and/or NFTs to help with the down payment of a home purchase?” saw 385 votes, and *20%* of respondents indicate, yes, they had. Twitter is not the US public in user-numbers (37m) or tech-savvy (and ideological lunacy). But if just 2% of the US public have enough crypto/digital flatulence/penguins-in-sunglasses to contribute to a house down-payment, then it shows two things: we are getting two bubbles for the price of one; and the drop in the US labor force participation rate may be structural. For the Fed, that could mean having to use a far larger bazooka: I don’t mean against asset bubbles, which Bazooka Joe was designed to blow - just the unruly workers. Ironically, crypto/NFTs could be a rallying banner for non-workers of the world to unite, using “fictitious” capital as the ultimate Marxist revolutionary tool against the late-stage financial-capitalist system. Lenin would certainly have approved of this destabilising race to the top/bottom given he argued "The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency." Or produce new ones named after stomach infections. One can imagine if he was alive today, he would be Tweeting and trolling non-stop. And probably launching ‘Bolshie-coin’. Oh, the fun he and Musk would be having, in-between their plans for world domination! On which note, India looks like it may finally act against crypto, or at least most of them, using a bazooka on the regulatory front. The US Senate wants answers from Tether about its business asap too. Another bazooka belongs to J P Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon – who may have just fired it into his own foot. When your bank has just been allowed to own 100% of its China securities business at a time when the ideological shift to Common Prosperity sees official reposting of claims that “the capital market will no longer become a paradise for capitalists to get rich overnight,” your press office does not want to see Bloomberg headlines such as: ‘Dimon Says JPMorgan Is Likely to Outlast China’s Communist Party’. However, the CEO is quoted as quipping, “I made a joke the other day that the Communist Party is celebrating its 100th year - so is JPMorgan. I’d make a bet that we last longer….I can’t say that in China. They are probably listening anyway.” He will be here all week and is available for weddings and bar-mitzvahs: and Beijing is renowned for its sense of humor. Dimon also added that while China’s unfair trade practices which the White House raises are valid, they ‘should have been addressed earlier,’ and the bank cannot leave countries just because it disagrees with a policy. Lenin would have fully expected to hear Wall Street say that given his view that “the capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” Except today the capitalists no longer produce rope, so create complex mezzanine financing structures to channel you the money to buy it from those who still do. Lenin also argued that having one large State Bank to guide the economy was “nine tenths of the socialist apparatus…socialism is unthinkable without large-scale banking.” Which applies all over, if you are of the 37m people on US Twitter. On a relatively much smaller scale, the RBNZ today hiked rates 25bp to 0.75% as expected, arguing that the employment level was “above the maximum sustainable level,” and not sounding too about the risks of “transitory” inflation becoming more generalised. How much more ammunition will they use, ask worried mortgage borrowers? More, “over time”, seems to be the general answer. At least NZD is not soaring - because USD is instead, showing us who has all the serious monetary artillery, even if they won’t necessarily use it. Where finally, and more darkly, the US has sent two patrol boats to support the Ukrainian navy. However, they are of the not-enough-oil-barrels variety, both boats being a militarily token ‘Shooty McShootface’. On the other side, Moscow is allegedly encouraging the Russian population of the Ukrainian enclaves it already holds to sign up for military service and is releasing prisoners if they agree to do so; it is also using the same kind of diplomatic language as it did before moving against Georgia in 2008. As the ice hardens the ground (which better suits tanks, by the way), so attitudes seem to be matching. In geopolitics, politics, economics, and markets, this is not the time for token popguns, whichever direction you think we should go on policy. Whether it is time for bazookas is open to question. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/24/2021 - 08:57.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 24th, 2021

Frustrated retail workers say they"re getting overloaded with work due to chronic understaffing

"I felt like a chicken with its head cut off," Petsmart worker and United for Respect member Isabela Burrows told Insider. Understaffing is making retail workers' jobs harder. Marianne Ayala/Insider Everyone knows that the labor crunch can mean headaches for customers. But under-staffing is also a major problem for retail workers. Insider spoke with 4 retail workers who say they've had to take on more tasks due to under-staffing. When Terry started working in the produce department of his local Whole Foods - pre-pandemic - there was always something to do. He could help out the floral section, chop fruit, or assist customers on the floor. But that was before the pandemic, when his store was "pretty darn well-staffed." During the pandemic, Terry found himself tackling tasks completely outside his job description, like washing carts outdoors in the freezing Pennsylvania winter or finishing work left by the dwindling overnight crew, like unloading pallets. Now, managers have to taken to posting printouts enticing volunteers for overnight overtime. Whole Foods did not respond to Insider's request for comment.UKG, a human resources and management solutions firm, found in a recent survey of retail store owners, operators, and managers that 55% of respondents said they expected their stores to struggle with understaffing at least once a week and 78% of retailers planned to cross-train employees to work multiple store roles. But understaffing isn't just a problem for employers. The job crunch has also altered work for remaining employees, especially those working in frontline industries like retail. A joint survey of workers conduced by CNBC and Momentive found half of respondents said their companies are now understaffed, and 43% of those workers said they considered leaving their job in the past three months.Terry, who is using a pseudonym, told Insider that he doesn't blame the situation on his store's leadership, but said he believes the problem starts at the regional level and up. Insider verified Terry's identity and work records, and is keeping him anonymous over fears of retaliation and because he is calling for a general strike at the retailer on December 4."Amazon has been making money hand over fist throughout this whole pandemic," he said. "They should be setting a precedent of how a corporation should treat its employees."But Whole Foods isn't the only retailer dealing with short staffing and workflow changes. Gloria Song is a member of United for Respect, a labor activist group. She works at Walmart and was once responsible for picking over 4,000 items daily for digital orders. She said her numbers dropped by about 1,000 after she started taking on other responsibilities."Our market manager is having people in my department help stock in the mornings," she said. "Everybody basically has to chip in."A Walmart spokesperson told Insider that "digital associates are cross-trained in stocking and are responsible for helping stock as needed to make sure merchandise is available for customer pickup orders." The spokesperson said the company is hiring 150,000 workers in the run-up to the holiday.Isabela Burrows is another United for Respect member who works at PetSmart. She said her store has endured short staffing and longer days. On one recent, busy shift, she had to juggle checking customers out, answering phone calls, and helping with web orders, all at the same time."I felt like a chicken with its head cut off," she said. "I've seen how it's affected my associates because they'll start to get really stressed out. Sometimes they'll leave and they're like, 'I don't want to come into work tomorrow' because they're so tired."A PetSmart spokesperson said the company has invested "heavily in hiring and training talent and held two national hiring days in the past few months across our 1,650+ stores." The spokesperson said that the company has raised wages and paid "nearly $153 million in additional compensation" to frontline workers since the start of the pandemic.Unlike their white-collar counterparts, retail and service workers do not have many opportunities to work from home. Workers in these roles have also dealt with abusive customers and grueling conditions throughout the pandemic, and there's no end in sight as major retailers strive to avoid major issues around the holidays.Fight for $15 member Enaiajaht Slaughter has been a McDonald's employee for a year and a half. Due to short staffing in her restaurant, she's had to juggle tasks like filling up drinks, running food out to parked cars, and taking orders, all at once."The claims made by this individual are concerning and counter to the experience we expect for those working in McDonald's branded restaurants," a McDonald's spokesperson told Insider. "We're incredibly grateful to the restaurant crew and managers who have stepped up and made a difference in our communities during these extraordinary times."But Slaughter said that on a few occasions, she's had to run back and forth between the freezer and the drive-thru because no one else was around to move products, resulting in spilled bags of food.All the while, she said she's also expected to train new hires on the job. "I have to also keep my composure and keep a smile on my face and be happy, when I know I'm feeling very tired," she said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 13th, 2021

U.S. Labor Unions Are Having a Moment

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, unions are finding they suddenly have the upper hand— U.S. organized labor is having a moment after decades of erosion in both influence and power, giving workers their best chance in recent memory to claw back lost ground. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, unions are finding they suddenly have the upper hand—or at least, more solid footing—when it comes to negotiating wages and benefits, spurring a flurry of new picket lines. Nearly 40 workplaces across the nation have gone on strike since Aug. 1, according to Bloomberg Law’s database of work stoppages, almost double the number during the same period last year. From Deere & Co.’s factories and Kellogg Co.’s U.S. cereal plants to nurses in Massachusetts and distillery workers in Kentucky, tens of thousands of union workers across a vast swath of industries are either on strike or close to it, leading some to dub this month “Strike-tober.” One of Hollywood’s most powerful unions settled over the weekend to avoid a strike — the first in its 128-year history — that had been set to begin Monday. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “Workers are right to think the ball is in their court,” said Adam Seth Litwin, a professor of industrial and labor relations at Cornell University. “They need to take a really big bite of the apple right now, because whatever they get they’re going to have it in their mouth for a long time.” The newfound forcefulness of labor unions is in stark contrast to the direction of the last several decades. Private-sector unionization has plummeted for generations as some industries decamped to the largely ununionized American South and a slack labor market made it easier to replace striking workers. Only 10.8% of the U.S. workforce belonged to unions last year, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show. That’s down from a peak of 34.8% in 1954, according to Pew Research Center. Amid threats of automation or offshoring, and companies taking full advantage of the leeway afforded to them by the courts, those dwindling unionized workers made significant concessions in past contract fights, unsure they had a better alternative. But now employees, trying to reclaim what they gave up before, have been emboldened by a series of related events: soaring company profits, a renewed respect for essential workers and rekindled political will in Washington. Plus there’s the hard truth of today’s labor market: Companies in many industries are finding employees downright impossible to replace. Here are several key factors at play: Essential Workers Feel Essential Working through the pandemic has been a transformative experience for many laborers, who garnered public support as “essential workers.” At the same time, many felt the companies they worked for didn’t do what was necessary to keep them safe or reward their sacrifices. “Essential workers are tired of being thanked one day and then treated as expendable the next day,” Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO, said in a speech Wednesday in Washington. “The headline isn’t that there’s a shortage of people willing to return to work. Instead, it’s a scarcity story. We have a shortage of safe, good-paying, sustainable jobs.” That’s the feeling at Deere, where assembly employees were categorized as front-line workers to continue operations, creating a sense that the company owes them. Kellogg workers, too, feel like they put themselves at risk in order to keep America’s pantries full during lockdowns. “When it comes to the contract, that raises the bar for what they’d like to see and what they think they deserve,” said Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at the University of California at Berkeley. Above all, the pandemic made a lot of workers rethink their values and priorities, and that’s coming to a head in collective bargaining. “Covid put the rat race in perspective,” said Amy Thurlow, a Los Angeles-based script coordinator represented by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union. Thurlow, 33, said it isn’t uncommon for her to work 80-hour weeks and on weekends. Now it’s, “Oh wait, getting to see your family is very important.” Company Profits Are Soaring Also at play are rising profits. Deere has already posted a record $4.7 billion profit this year, creating a perception among some workers that the manufacturer is holding out on wages and benefits. “My message is they have a righteous strike and they have a right to demand higher wages,’’ President Joe Biden said on Friday, of the Deere workers. Profits at John Deere have skyrocketed by some 61% in recent years, while its CEO's salary has exploded by 160% since the start of the pandemic. Please do not tell me they cannot afford to pay their workers fairly. I am proud to stand in solidarity with @UAW members on strike. — Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) October 14, 2021 There’s a similar feeling at Kellogg. Before the pandemic, cereal was almost an albatross around the company’s neck, as consumers found more exciting breakfast options. But that changed as everyone got locked up at home—U.S. consumption of Kellogg’s cereal was up almost 16% year-on-year at the start of the pandemic. Kellogg Chief Executive Officer Steven Cahillane was awarded a compensation package valued at $11.67 million for 2020, creating a ratio of 279 to 1 when compared with the median total compensation for the rest of the company’s employees, filings show. Nationally, CEO pay in 2020 grew 19% over the previous year, according to the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. “Workers are producing food that’s increased in demand and increased profits during the pandemic,” said Rebecca Givan, an associate professor of labor studies and employment relations in the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University. “And now they’re being required to work extremely long hours and not getting any share of those increased profits.” Tight Labor Market A shortage of workers is also giving unions more confidence they can walk off the job without being replaced. The latest jobs report from the Labor Department showed the U.S. added just 194,000 people to payrolls in September, the smallest gain this year. The slower pace of hiring in part reflected employers’ struggle to recruit and retain qualified workers. “In this period of labor shortages, candidly, you’re going to have to step up as an employer,” said Chris Thornberg, founding partner of independent research firm Beacon Economics LLC. “You’re going to have offer more: better training, better quality of life.” Job openings in the U.S. currently sit near a record 11 million, while the quits rate was at 2.9% in August, the highest since 2000. “Workers feel it,” Thornberg said. “They know it’s a seller’s market.” Groundswell of Support For the first time in awhile, unions feel like Washington is on their side, given the Biden administration’s union bent and left-wing politicians like Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez amplifying their voices. “Not only the economic power, but the political power, is on their side,” Cornell’s Litwin said. “Employers are going to cave because they know they have to.” Each successful union win is also galvanizing for those still in the throes of collective bargaining. “Strikes are contagious in that every time a worker sees a successful strike, they can see what they can win by going on strike,” said Givan, the Rutgers professor. The Kellogg cereal workers are members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union—the same ones that represented the Nabisco workers in their strike this summer, which brought increased wages and more flexible work schedules. “It’s become more of a movement than ever before,” said Dan Osborn, local president of the Omaha chapter of the BCTGM. “The more we win, the more we’re going to continue to win.” (Updates second paragraph with Hollywood union settlement) –With assistance from Josh Eidelson, Joe Deaux, Olivia Rockeman and Scott Carpenter......»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 18th, 2021

Inside the rise of BiggerPockets and real-estate investing star Brandon Turner

Plus, leaked Microsoft salaries and gender-pay disparity, and the rise of boomer parents taking out cheap loans to buy their adult kids homes. Welcome back to Insider Weekly! I'm Matt Turner, a co-EIC of business at Insider.Not many of us get to popularize an acronym of our own making. But the real-estate influencer Brandon Turner has done just that with BRRRR, which stands for buy, rehabilitate, rent, refinance, and repeat. It's a phrase he says often on his podcasts, as he counsels his listeners on how to achieve financial independence through buying homes and renting them out for passive income.As Daniel Geiger reported this week, there's a lot more to Turner than BRRRR and BiggerPockets, the real-estate media company that produces his podcast and where he's a shareholder. He's raised millions of dollars from his fans to invest in real estate, charging them hefty fees and sinking most of the money into mobile-home parks across the country. For more on Turner, BRRRR, and the red-hot housing market, check out our Q&A with Dan and his editor Hana Alberts below. Also in this week's newsletter:A leaked Microsoft spreadsheet disclosed 1,200 salaries, while leaked emails showed women sharing stories of gender discrimination and wage gaps at the company.Wealthy boomer parents are taking out cheap loans to buy homes for their millennial children and saving on taxes in the process.The next chapter of the Great Resignation is here - employees who quit during the pandemic are starting to ask for their old jobs back.Let me know what you think of all our stories at to Insider for access to all our investigations and features. New to the newsletter? Sign up here. Download our app for news on the go - click here for iOS and here for Android.The story behind the BiggerPockets star's rise BiggerPockets' Brandon Turner. Samantha Lee/Insider Correspondent Daniel Geiger and senior editor Hana Alberts gave us the behind-the-scenes story of their profile of the real-estate influencer Brandon Turner.Why were you interested in speaking with Brandon Turner in the first place?Dan: Brandon Turner has a large social-media following and has appeared to raise tens of millions of dollars for real-estate investment through that fan base. He is also a popular podcast host, and it's fun - and maybe a bit challenging - to interview someone who is deft at speaking and telling their own story.What was one of the most surprising things you learned while working on this profile?Dan: I think the sheer amount of money he has raised was striking. He has really been effective at gathering a fan base and monetizing it. Real-estate investment is a staid business that has long been dominated by established big-brand, blue-chip players. Turner shows the rise of something new.What do you think readers will take away from this profile?Hana: I love the way Dan positioned Turner's meteoric rise and big following within the zeitgeist of Reddit and meme stocks and crypto. It's part of this broader shift to follow - and invest money with - personalities rather than faceless corporate entities. Is that necessarily better? I think Dan set out to state plainly the complexities involved.Read our full profile here: Brandon Turner makes millions selling real-estate investing dreams. Even he says you'll lose money right now.A Microsoft leak showed 1,200 salaries and disclosed stories of gender pay disparities Satya Nadella, Microsoft's CEO. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Legions of Microsoft employees compiled compensation and promotion data in a shared spreadsheet to encourage pay equity in the company. The leaked charts - which have made their way around the company in an internal email chain - showed salaries, bonuses, years of experience, promotions, and demographic data. Seen by Insider, the leak also disclosed a gender pay disparity between female technical employees and their male counterparts. A Microsoft spokesperson said the company is listening to its staffers, and that it acknowledges that there's more work to be done.See the leaked Microsoft data here.Wealthy parents are buying their kids homes Wealthy parents are buying their kids homes to save on taxes. Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy/Getty Images Securities-based lending has surged amid low interest rates and a red-hot housing market. Wealthy parents have capitalized on this: They see these loans as a way to pass on their wealth to their children at a low cost. Now, banks are targeting baby boomers who are looking to help their millennial children purchase their first homes. Taking a loan instead of liquidating securities is a no-brainer in high-tax states, one wealth-planning expert said. Buyers just have to navigate the strings attached to those loans. Here's how it all works.'Boomerang employees' are coming back around Anthony Klotz coined the phrase The Great Resignation. His next prediction: a wave of quitters returning to their previous employers. Samantha Lee/Insider Employees quit their jobs in droves during the pandemic - in what is being called the Great Resignation. You probably know someone who quit their job this year, or maybe you did it yourself. But some workers are now returning to the jobs they recently quit."We're going to see lots of boomerang employees, who a year from now miss their jobs and decide their novel isn't going as well as expected," said Anthony Klotz, a management professor at Texas A&M University. He encouraged companies to embrace their ex-staffers as a pool for future staff because of how difficult it is to hire good employees. Read about the latest workplace trend that's already begun.More of this week's top reads:The ad giant WPP suspended three staffers at its Finecast agency following a whistleblower complaint and investigation. Amazon aggregators are buying up third-party merchants. Sellers are set to be acquired at an unprecedented rate next year, a new survey found.This freelance writer stopped relying on Google Calendar to manage her life. Now, she swears the move has been her ultimate productivity hack.Grant Wonders became one of the most profitable analysts in Viking Global's history. Here's how the hedge-fund giant became a training ground for a new generation of big-money investors. The prosecution in the Elizabeth Holmes trial just scored a $275 million point. Watch out, FedEx and UPS, two of America's biggest regional delivery companies are banding together as a new competitor. Lululemon is about to make a splash in the footwear industry. See what its sneakers could look like. Mark your calendar:We've got two events for you.Tuesday, October 26, at 12 p.m. ET: "Feeding the Future," sponsored by Kellogg's, is set to explore how to support food security and sustainable food systems. Register here.Thursday, October 28, at 12 p.m. ET: "Accelerating Action to Combat Climate Change," presented by Deloitte, is set to focus on actionable ways to hold institutions accountable and accelerate efforts toward sustainability. Register here.Compiled with help from Phil Rosen.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 17th, 2021

The ‘Great Resignation’ Is Finally Getting Companies to Take Burnout Seriously. Is It Enough?

Toward the end of last year, Anthony Klotz, a professor of business administration at Texas A&M University who studies workplace resignations, realized that a lot of people were about to quit their jobs. A record 42.1 million Americans quit a job in 2019, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, but that rate dropped… Toward the end of last year, Anthony Klotz, a professor of business administration at Texas A&M University who studies workplace resignations, realized that a lot of people were about to quit their jobs. A record 42.1 million Americans quit a job in 2019, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, but that rate dropped off during the pandemic-addled year of 2020. As 2021 approached, bringing with it the promise of effective vaccines and a return to semi-normal life, Klotz guessed that two things would happen. First, many of the people who wanted to quit in 2020 but held off due to fear or uncertainty would finally feel secure enough to do so. And second, pandemic-era epiphanies, exhaustion and burnout would drive a whole new cohort of people to quit their jobs. In a moment of inspiration, Klotz predicted that a “Great Resignation” was coming. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] It’s safe to say it’s here. Every month from April to August 2021, at least 2.5% of the American workforce quit their jobs. In August alone, more than 4.2 million people handed in their two weeks’ notice, according to federal statistics. So far, 2021 quit levels are about 10% to 15% higher than they were in record-setting 2019, by Klotz’s calculations. Read more: Why Literally Millions of Americans Are Quitting Their Jobs Companies are clearly taking notice, particularly given the staffing shortages that are hamstringing many customer-facing industries and slowing the supply chain. “Just keeping people from quitting is not necessarily a good business strategy,” Klotz says. Increasingly, businesses are trying something more ambitious: actually making their workers happy. For many, that means targeting burnout, a cocktail of work-related stress, exhaustion, cynicism and negativity that is surging during the pandemic. Forty-two percent of U.S. women and 35% of U.S. men said they feel burned out often or almost always in 2021, according to a recent McKinsey & Co. report. For a long time, burnout was seen as the worker’s problem—something they needed to fix with self-care and yoga and sleep if they were going to make it in the rat race of life. There are dozens of studies and even more articles focused on curing burnout from the employee perspective. Mindfulness and meditation can help. Finding social support can help. Tailoring your job to align with your interests and values can help. But according to Christina Maslach, a social psychologist who is the U.S.’ preeminent burnout expert and co-creator of the most commonly used tool for assessing worker burnout, none of these strategies will ever be successful if they place all the onus on the worker. “Nobody is really pointing to the problem, which is that chronic job stresses have not been well managed” by employers, she says. Now, with so many people turning in resignation letters, businesses are starting to get with the program. “There’s mass attrition and it’s very expensive for employers to keep up with the amount of people who are leaving,” says workplace well-being expert Jennifer Moss, author of the recent book The Burnout Epidemic. “Because it’s now a bottom-line issue, more organizations are jumping on board.” For example: tech companies including Bumble, LinkedIn and Hootsuite closed for a week this year to give people a break and combat burnout. Fidelity Investments is piloting a program in which some employees work 30 hours a week, taking a small pay cut but keeping their full benefits. Highwire public relations, which has offices in several major U.S. cities, aimed to eliminate 30% of its meetings to give employees ample time away from Zoom, ideally translating to shorter and more efficient work days. Other employers have implemented programs meant to foster empathy, in hopes of making employees feel appreciated. But as with so many corporate initiatives—and it’s worth noting that these are mostly geared towards office-based workers, though burnout certainly exists among blue-collar workers, too—it’s hard not to feel at least a little skeptical. Can canceling a few Zoom meetings and giving people an extra week of vacation really cure a bone-deep malaise? At its core, burnout is what happens when “chronic job stressors have not been well managed,” Maslach explains. But it’s more complicated than simply feeling stressed-out or overextended. Someone suffering from burnout also has a “negative, hostile, cynical, ‘take-this-job-and-shove-it’ kind of attitude” and negative feelings about their own work and choices, Maslach says. A lawyer who becomes disillusioned with her career and begins to question why she ever went to law school at all might qualify, whereas a psychiatrist who loves but is exhausted by her job probably wouldn’t. Importantly, burnout is not a medical diagnosis or a mental health condition—instead, the World Health Organization classifies it as an “occupational phenomenon.” But studies show that it can overlap with physical and mental health issues, including depression, insomnia, gastrointestinal problems and headaches. It can even be a predictor of chronic diseases including heart disease and type 2 diabetes, research shows. Burnout is particularly common (and well-studied) among medical professionals. As of September 2020, 76% of U.S. health care workers reported exhaustion and burnout, according to the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation (NIHCM). Even before the pandemic, between 35% and 54% of U.S. doctors and nurses reported symptoms of burnout, NIHCM says. But any person, in any profession, can experience burnout, and right now, people are reporting it in droves. Read more: Physician Burnout Costs the U.S. Billions of Dollars Each Year Work stress didn’t magically appear for the first time during the pandemic, but “there wasn’t this huge other factor looming above everyone’s head” before COVID-19 hit, says Malissa Clark, who studies employee well-being at the University of Georgia. Uncertainty can feed into burnout, she says, as can blurring the boundaries between work and home life or struggling to parent and homeschool children on top of working. In other words, the pandemic has been a “perfect storm” for burnout. For some people in a position to do so, the answer to that problem has been to quit. In a pre-pandemic Deloitte study on burnout, 42% of U.S. respondents said they had left a job specifically because of burnout—which means organizations have a clear motivation to finally take the problem seriously. There’s no one-size-fits-all burnout cure, but Maslach’s research suggests there are six key areas on which businesses should focus: creating manageable workloads giving employees control over their jobs, to the extent possible rewarding and acknowledging good work, either financially or verbally fostering community treating workers fairly and equitably helping workers find value in their work To figure out where to start, companies should ask their employees, Maslach says. Bosses often can’t see problems that exist under their noses, and they never will if they don’t ask. In a 2020 survey from PwC, 81% of surveyed executives said their company had successfully expanded childcare benefits during the pandemic, but only 45% of office workers (who did not necessarily work under the surveyed executives) said their company had done enough to support working parents. Executives were also far more likely to say their companies were supporting their employees’ mental health than were lower-level employees. Boston-based sales and marketing company HubSpot took on an anti-burnout initiative this year, in part because quarterly employee surveys began to show that the ongoing “ambiguity and uncertainty” of the pandemic were getting to people in a major way, says chief people officer Katie Burke. The company announced an annual “week of rest” for the entire staff, so that everyone could take a break without coming back to a mountain of emails; eliminated internal meetings on Fridays; offered trainings for managers who want to better support their teams; and offered resilience workshops to all staff members. On a systemic level, Burke says the company is “taking a look at the things that cause the most stress for people” and trying to develop solutions, like standardizing workloads year round (rather than having busy versus light seasons), automating certain tasks, pushing back deadlines on non-urgent products and helping people figure out how much they can feasibly accomplish in a given timeframe. “We are seeing [the results] in how happy and engaged our employees are, and honestly, just in the anecdotal feedback we’re hearing from people,” Burke says. But even that effort, which is fairly ambitious relative to other workplaces, hasn’t been enough for everyone. Writing on Blind, an anonymous messaging app for people who work in the tech industry, one unnamed HubSpot employee called the week of rest “a hollow gesture without addressing the root cause of burnout in the company.” On LinkedIn, other commenters called it “a Band-Aid.” Maslach agrees that time off alone can’t fix the problem. “If the best thing you can do for your employees is to tell them not to come to work,” she says, “what is wrong with the work?” A better way to ensure lasting change, in Moss’ opinion, is for managers to ask their employees three questions every week: “How are you?” “What are the highs and lows of this week?” And, “What can I do to make next week easier?” If bosses consistently ask those questions and actually work to solve the problems that come to light, Moss says it would go a long way. Most people don’t want “a million dollars,” she says. “It’s probably going to be, ‘Can we delegate some of this work or push this deadline off’…or, ‘I want permission to not have a full day of Zoom meetings next week.’” For people who work in jobs that typically are less flexible, like food service or retail, managers could ask for input about how schedules are made and communicated, or make it easier for people to ask for time off, Klotz says. Even something as simple as allowing people to choose when they take their breaks can make a difference. Of course, there are limits to how much an individual manager can do, particularly if their organization refuses to hire enough people or pay their existing employees fairly. (Some workers are tackling such systemic problems by unionizing or going on strike.) In the end, Moss says, the changes have to come from the top down and permeate every aspect of workplace culture. If and until that happens, Maslach says quitting will sometimes be the best option, at least for people who can afford to do so. There’s no guarantee that the next job will be better, nor that an individual’s relationship to work will change with a new position. But if a company isn’t willing to actually solve the burnout problem at its source, Maslach says employees can’t be expected to muscle through. For those who can’t or don’t want to quit, though, the Great Resignation may hold promise of another sort. Actually getting managers to listen to and solve problems might seem like a pipe dream, but Klotz says this is a perfect time for employees to test their bosses’ limits, given growing anxiety about the number of people who are resigning. If you lay your cards on the table and ask for what you want—different hours, fewer meetings, shifted responsibilities—you may end up in a better situation without going through the disruptive process of leaving and finding a new job, he says. “Why not use the leverage you have,” he says, “to turn the job you have into the job you want?”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 14th, 2021

America"s Bottom 50% Have Nowhere To Go But Down

America's Bottom 50% Have Nowhere To Go But Down Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog, One might anticipate that the bottom 50%'s meager share of the nation's exploding wealth would have increased as smartly as the wealth of the billionaires, but alas, no. America's economy has changed in ways few of the winners seem to notice, as they're too busy cheerleading their own brilliance and success. In the view of the winners, who just so happen to occupy all the seats at the media-punditry-Federal Reserve, etc. table--the rising tide of stock, bond and real estate bubbles are raising all boats. What's left unsaid is except for the 50% of boats with gaping holes below the waterline, i.e. stagnant wages and a fast-rising cost of living. The truth the self-satisfied winners don't include in their self-congratulatory rah-rah is there's no place for the bottom 50% of American households to go but down. All the winnings flow to those who already owned assets back when they were affordable-- the already-wealthy--whose wealth has soared as assets have shot to the moon while the the burdens of inflation and debt service hit the bottom 50% the hardest. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is whining that inflation isn't high enough yet for their refined tastes. Boo-hoo, how sad for the Fed--inflation isn't yet high enough. Oh wait--didn't they each mint millions by front-running their own policies? No wonder they're not worried about inflation. The reality few acknowledge is that globalization and financialization have stripped the American economy of low-skilled jobs that don't demand much of the employee. The reality is that a great many people don't have what it takes to learn high-level skills and work at a demanding pace under constant pressure--the description of the average job in America. There were once millions of low-skill, low-pay jobs for people who for whatever mix of reasons were unable to muster the wherewithal to fulfill the fantasy of working extra hard, going to night school, soaking up high-level skills, moving quickly up the ladder to higher pay, buying the starter home and then moving up the food chain to middle class security from there. The cost of living was low enough that those working these low-skill, low-pay jobs could still have an independent life. There were still low-cost rentals, often derided by the wealthy, in nooks and crannies of even the costliest cities. (I once lived in a room stuffed with old tax records in a poolside shack in an upscale neighborhood. The room had been cleared for a single bed and a path to the decrepit bathroom. Its most important attribute was that I could afford it on my low earnings.) Affordable housing has vanished, eliminated by the financialization of America's economy. Once landlords pay double the price for the property, rents have to double to pay their higher expenses. The apartment didn't double in size or amenities--the rent doubled without any increase in utility to the renter. You get nothing more for double the price--nice. Yes, people could make better choices, and some do. The point here is the game is rigged against those in the lower tier of the economy who can no longer afford a house or other stake in the only winning game in town--speculative asset bubbles. Go ahead and work a second job and go to night school--you'll still be left behind the already-rich. Globalization opened every job in America to global competition via offshoring or the influx of undocumented workers so desperate to support their families back home that no pay was too low and no working condition too wretched to refuse. Many overindulged pundits who never worked an honest day in their lives sneer about burger flippers without realizing how hard those burger flippers have to work. I doubt the well-dressed pundits, snobbish about their university degrees and general brilliance, could manage to work a single day in a demanding fast-food job. As the price of housing and other assets have soared, enriching the already rich, they're out of reach for the bottom 50% who struggle to pay their bills as wages have stagnated and the costs of essentials have skyrocketed. The rising cost of parking tickets, junk fees, user fees, utilities and food don't impact the well-paid top 5% technocrat class, whose stake in the Everything Bubble keeps expanding by tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. But for the bottom 50%, those incremental increases are, when added to higher rents, absolutely crushing. As for getting high-quality healthcare that includes mental health support--those are reserved for the rich. But no worries, self-medication is always a "choice." Getting a boost in pay from $12 an hour to $15 an hour is welcome, but that doesn't put the worker any closer to affording a house or equivalent stake in the Everything Bubble. The new feudalism is masked by the glossy SillyCon Valley PR of a gig economy where (per the PR fantasy) bright, shiny and totally independent workers freely choose to serve the winners in the rigged sweepstakes for low pay and zero benefits. In the SillyCon Valley PR, serfs freely choose to serve their noble masters for nothing but survival because they love the "freedom" and "choice" of kissing the nobility's plump derrieres. (After all, there were "choices" even back in the good old days of feudalism--one could join the brigands in the forest, or enlist in a poorly paid mercenary army where the odds of dying were high--you know, "choices" of "gigs.") One might anticipate that the bottom 50%'s meager share of the nation's exploding wealth would have increased as smartly as the wealth of the billionaires, but alas, no--the bottom 50%'s share of stocks (equities) actually plummeted in the the glorious decades of Federal Reserve free money for financiers, stock buy-backs and asset bubbles. All this suits the billionaires and those collecting the crumbs of the Everything Bubble just fine. So what if the bottom 50% have nowhere to go but down? There's plenty of room in the homeless encampment for another broken down station wagon or an old camper. There's lots of "choices." And no consequences for the winners, of course, because The Fed has our backs. *  *  * If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via My recent books: A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF). Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World (Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF). Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF). The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF) Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF). Tyler Durden Tue, 10/12/2021 - 18:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 12th, 2021

21 Investing Myths That Just Aren’t True

With all of humanity’s collective knowledge available at our fingertips, you’d think investing myths would have disappeared by now. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Yet they persist, largely because too many people consider money a “taboo” subject and avoid talking about it. Many of us also never question these assumptions, so we […] With all of humanity’s collective knowledge available at our fingertips, you’d think investing myths would have disappeared by now. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Yet they persist, largely because too many people consider money a “taboo” subject and avoid talking about it. Many of us also never question these assumptions, so we don’t bother running a quick web search in the first place. These persistent investing myths cost you money though, in a very real sense. Once you move past these myths, a wider world of investing opportunities open up for you. Myth: You Can Time the Market to Earn Higher Returns When it comes to new investors learning how to invest their money one of the biggest myths is that you can time the market and earn better returns. To profitably time the market, you need to get it right twice. You need to buy at or near the bottom of the market, just as it turns upward. Then you need to sell at or near the top of the market, just as it prepares to plunge. The most experienced, best-informed professionals can’t do this predictably. If they can’t do it, you certainly can’t. Imagine you’re standing on the sidelines, telling yourself that you’ll invest “once the market drops.” But the market continues to rise for the next year or two before its next dip. When the dip does come, its low point might still cost more than today’s price. And that’s assuming you were able to buy at the low point, which you almost certainly won’t time properly. In the meantime, you’ve missed out on years of passive income from dividends or rents, or interest. Rather than trying to time the market, practice dollar-cost averaging. While it sounds complicated, it simply involves investing a set amount every month into the same diversified investments, based on what your budget allows for each month. You ignore timing and just mimic the broader upward trend, to earn better returns in the long run. Myth: You Need a Lot of Money to Start Investing A common myth that many people assume is investing a little bit of money doesn’t make sense. They think that investing $5 a month is pointless so they never even bother to start. That couldn’t be further from the truth. And it leads to wasted opportunities to save and invest over time. The truth is, investing a small amount of money can grow into large sums of money. Jon Dulin, owner of MoneySmartGuides, offers this example: “Let’s say you are 25 years old and invest $20 a month for 25 years. During this time you earn an average 8% return — nothing spectacular, just average returns. “At the end of 25 years, your $20 monthly investment has grown to nearly $19,000. If that doesn’t sound impressive, consider that your measly $20 each month could help your child or grandchild pay for college. Or it could pay for a family reunion vacation that you have on a tropical island. “If you instead keep the money invested for another 25 years, when you reach age 75, you’ll have close to $149,000. This can cover several years’ worth of living expenses during retirement.” Don’t make the mistake of assuming a small amount of money is a waste of time. Thanks to compounding, your money will grow into far larger sums over time. Literally anyone can get started even with little capital. Take the first step now and start investing any excess money you have, regardless of the amount. Read more: Invest in Art like the Ultra Wealthy Without Spending Millions Myth: I’m Too Young (or Too Old) to Start Investing The sooner you start and the longer you keep the money invested, the more it will grow. At an 8% return, you’d have to invest $5,467 each month to reach $1 million in 10 years. But it only takes $287 invested each month to reach $1 million in 40 years. That means that even people working for minimum wage can become millionaires if they invest consistently over time. On the other end of the spectrum, some older adults look at those numbers and despair, wondering why they should bother investing at all. But that’s the price of delaying: you need to save and invest more each month to reach the same goal. As the proverb goes, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. Start investing today with what you have, and let compounding work its magic for you. Read more: Don’t Miss These 12 Stocks Pay Monthly Dividends Myth: It Takes Decades to Save Enough to Retire In personal finance, the concept of “financial independence” means being able to cover your living expenses with passive income from investments. To make your day job optional, in other words, allowing you to retire if you like. It takes hard work and an enormous savings rate, of course. If you plod along with a 10-15% savings rate, then yes, it will take you decades to save enough to retire. My wife and I got serious about financial independence at 37, three years ago. We’re on track to reach financial independence within the next two or three years, in our early  40s. How? With a savings rate of 60-65% of our annual income and aggressive investing. Neither of us earns a huge salary either, but we still enjoy a comfortable lifestyle with plenty of international travel. We can save so much of our income because we house hack for free housing, avoid owning a car by living in a walkable area, and get full health insurance through my wife’s job. Nor are we alone. Read up on the FIRE movement (financial independence, retire early) to see how thousands of other people are achieving fast early retirement. Myth: Popular Companies Make Better Stock Picks The idea that popular companies make for good stocks sounds appealing on its surface. After all, if a company is popular, it’s probably growing its business. But the popularity and even the quality of a business only tell half the story. The other side is the price you pay for it. “Imagine someone approached you with two offers,” illustrates Ben Reynolds of Sure Dividend. “The first offer is to buy a $100 bill for $150. The second offer is to buy a $1 bill for $0.50. We all know the $100 bill is worth much more than the $1 bill… But any rational person would rather buy $1 for $0.50 than $100 for $150.” Two Warren Buffett quotes sum this up nicely: “For the investor, a too-high purchase price for the stock of an excellent company can undo the effects of a subsequent decade of favorable business developments.” “Most people get interested in stocks when everyone else is. The time to get interested is when no one else is. You can’t buy what is popular and do well.” The reason it is difficult to do well investing in popular stocks is because they tend to be overvalued. Everyone already “knows” the business is going to be wildly successful, and that’s baked into the price. If there’s any hiccup in results, the price is likely to decline significantly. Also, as evidenced by the GameStop fiasco, amateur traders can make a significant impact on popular investments. Just because something is popular doesn’t make it a good investment. Read more:  Discover these 19 Blue Chip Dividend Stocks Myth: You Need to Spend Time Researching Stocks or Frequently Trading Many people believe that it takes a lot of time to research stock and make frequent trades to make money, resulting in people leaving their investments with a professional or relying on expensive mutual funds. But individual investors don’t need expensive investment advisors or managed mutual funds (more on them shortly). “For most retail investors, utilizing low-cost passive index ETFs is the easiest and cheapest approach,” explains Bob Lai of “These index ETFs track a special index, like the S&P 500 or the NASDAQ Composite Index. Because of index-tracking nature, you get to own all the stocks listed in that index.” There’s no need to spend time determining the earning trend of companies like Apple, Facebook, Amazon, or Pfizer because you own them all. By owning all these stocks in the index ETFs, you are also not making frequent trades. Counterintuitively, frequent trades generally lead to lower returns. Think of your investment portfolio like a bar of soap: the more you touch it, the smaller it gets. Read more: Related read: Diversify Your Portfolio With These Top 10 International ETFs Myth: Expensive Managed Mutual Funds Outperform Passive Index Funds Experienced, professional investors with the best data available to them still can’t pick stocks or time the market better than passive index funds. Need proof? Over the last 15 years, nearly 90% of managed mutual funds underperformed compared to their respective benchmark index. “The best investment strategy would be to invest in index funds of stocks or bonds that track an entire segment of the market — so you don’t have to worry about which specific security will give you the best return over short investing periods,” offers Kelan Kline, cofounder of The Savvy Couple. “My personal favorite low cost broad market index fund is Vanguard’s VTSAX.” Myth: Only the Wealthy Can Hire Investment Advisors A survey from JPMorgan Chase found that 42% of people who aren’t investing are staying out because they don’t think they have enough to invest. On some level, this isn’t surprising. After all, historically people had to work with private wealth managers who require $100,000 or more. Even many popular index funds required a minimum of $10,000 to get started, just 20 years ago. “That is changing with algorithm-driven investment tools such as robo-advisors,” says Jeremy Biberdorf of “In many cases, robo-advisors have no minimum investment and allow you to invest for a small fee. Even investing a small amount every year can make a big difference.” Robo-advisors also won’t run off with your money or engage in insider trading. Many investors let their guard down and trust human investment advisors without doing any due diligence on them, especially when referred to them by friends of family members. “This makes investors vulnerable to conflicting advice in even the best-case scenarios. In the worst-case scenarios, they are easy prey for scammers. That’s why I call this blind faith in financial professionals the worst investment advice I hear everywhere,” explains Chris Mamula of Can I Retire Yet?. Read more: Can I Retire at 62 With 400k In My 401(k)? Myth: Bonds Are Inherently Safer than Other Asset Classes Bonds offer one type of safety — but leave you exposed to other types of risk. When an investor buys a bond from the US Government or most municipalities, there’s little risk of the borrower defaulting. So investors can sleep at night knowing that as long as they hold that bond, they’ll probably receive their modest interest payments. But bond values gyrate on the secondary market just like stock prices. Investors who plan to sell their bonds rather than hold them can find themselves with paper that’s gone down in value, not up. Which says nothing of the corroding effect of inflation on bond interest payments. When inflation runs at 3% in a year, a bond paying 3% interest-only generates a 0% real return. That in turn means that bonds may not actually protect retirees against running out of money before they die. Sure, the stock market is volatile, but in the long term, it generates an average return of 10% per year. At a 4% withdrawal rate, investors will see their stock portfolio go up in value rather than down, in most years. Even conservative income stock investing, such as in dividend kings, can yield 3-4% in dividends alone, on top of share price growth. But bonds paying paltry 3-4% interest will cause a slow decay in your nest egg. None of that means that you should never invest in bonds. But every investor should understand all the risks — not just the risk of default. Myth: Options Trading is Risky For many, selling options is a risky business.  And strategies such as Iron Condors add to the complexity.   “However, when managed correctly, options trading can be a handy addition to an overall portfolio”, explains Gavin McMaster of IQ Financial Services, LLC. An iron condor is a delta-neutral option strategy that consists of both call options, and put options.  The strategy works if the underlying stock stays within a specific range during the course of the trade. The key with iron condors is trading an appropriate position size (never risk your whole account on an iron condor) and knowing how to manage them. Here are a few quick tips to reduce the risks with iron condors: Never risk more than 2-3% of your account size on any one trade Close the trade before the stock breaks through one of the short strikes Avoid earnings announcements Have one or two adjustment strategies ready in case the trade moves against you Focus on stocks and ETF’s with a high IV Rank “While iron condors can be risky if you don’t know what you are doing, using appropriate position sizing and risk management rules can reduce the risks”, adds McMaster.  Generating income from iron condors can be a superb way to increase the returns on your portfolio. Myth: Pay Off Your Student Loans Before Buying a Home Paying off student loans before buying a home is a common misconception. While there is no “one size fits all approach,” many people believe their student loan debt will prohibit them from purchasing a home, however, this isn’t always the case. “For example, doctors and dentists often carry large amounts of student debt, and typically have relatively high debt to income ratios. Therefore, exploring a Physician Mortgage, which allows individuals to carry more debt, may be a better fit than a traditional mortgage”, explains Kaitlin Walsh-Epstein with Laurel Road. For those nonhealthcare professionals looking to purchase a home while managing high outstanding student loan balances, refinancing their student loans can be a good option. By refinancing to a longer-term mortgage, the borrower may lower their monthly payments. However, this may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. “Refinancing to a shorter-term mortgage may increase the borrower’s monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan.”, adds Walsh-Epstein. Questions to consider: What is your current student loan interest rate? (Calculate the true cost over the life of your loan) What are mortgage interest rates and are they projected to go up or down?  (Currently mortgage rates are low) Do you pay rent each month and if so, how will your rent payment compare to a mortgage payment?  (As well as carrying costs of owning a home) Is the home (or real estate) projected to appreciate in value? The first step is to review and understand your credit score, student loan terms, and financial goals. Working towards making payments to lower your overall debt will help to raise your credit score, yet again increasing your chances of getting into your dream home faster! Myth: The “Rule of 100” In the 20th Century, investment advisors droned out the same advice to most clients: “Subtract your age from 100, and that’s the percent of your portfolio that should be invested in stocks.” They pushed clients to move their money into bonds instead, as they grew older. A sound strategy — back when Treasury bonds paid 15% interest. This century has seen perpetual low-interest rates, and bonds have offered poor returns compared to stocks. This says nothing of the fact that people are living and working longer, so they both have more risk tolerance and need their nest eggs to last longer. Today, investment advisors tend to instead advise subtracting your age from 110 or 120 instead, if they bother issuing such generic advice at all. Everyone has their own unique risk tolerance and needs; as a real estate investor, I can earn safer, higher returns from real estate than bonds, so I avoid bonds altogether. A high earner nearing retirement might appreciate the tax benefits and security of municipal bonds and tailor their portfolio accordingly. Be careful of anyone peddling such a broad rule of thumb as the “Rule of 100.” Read more: Find Expert Tax Preparers Now! Myth: You Must Pay Off All Debt Before Investing There are plenty of great reasons to pay off consumer debt early. You earn an effective return equal to the interest rate, and it’s a guaranteed return on your money when you use it to pay off debt early. Mark Patrick of Financial Pilgrimage explains it like this: “Our family even went so far to pay down our mortgage debt despite record low-interest rates. With that said, throughout the entire process we invested in our retirement accounts, such as our 401(k) account. The benefits are just too good to pass up. “The company that I work for provides a 401k match of up to 6% plus an additional 1% that every employee receives regardless. Therefore, if I contributed 6% of my salary to my 401(k) I would receive an additional 7% in contributions from my employer. I was more than doubling my money right away! “If you decide to wait to pay down all of your consumer debt instead of starting to invest for your retirement you’ll miss out on years of compound interest. Compound interest is one of the most powerful forces in personal finance. The earlier you can get started, the better. For example, if someone invests $5,000 per year from age 25 to 35 and then never invests another dollar, they would likely have more money at age 65 than someone that invests the same amount every month from age 35 to 65. “While I am a huge proponent of paying down debt, it shouldn’t come at the expense of forgoing investing. Especially when you want that money to grow until retirement. Try to find the balance between paying down debt and investing. We certainly could have paid down our debt faster if we decided not to invest throughout the process, but after 15 years in the workforce I’m sure glad we didn’t. Those dollars invested early on have compounded into much larger amounts over the years. Read more: Should you Pay off Debt or Save for Retirement Myth: You Should Pay Off Your Student Loans Before Buying a Home It might make more sense to pay off student loans before buying a house. Or it might not. Ultimately it depends on your goals, your housing market, your loan interest rates, and your other finances. For example, you might live in a housing market where it’s cheaper to rent than own a home. In that case, it makes sense to pay off your student loans rather than rush into buying. Alternatively, if you plan on buying a duplex and house hacking, and thereby eliminating your housing payment, it probably makes more sense to buy. Just think about how much faster you could pay off your student loans, with no housing payment! Think holistically about how owning versus renting for another year or two would affect your finances. Don’t rush into buying a home — but don’t avoid it without deep analysis, either. Myth: Buying Is Always Better than Renting Despite having owned dozens of properties as a real estate investor, I live in a rental apartment. In some markets, renting makes more sense than buying. Look no further than San Francisco, where the median home price is $1,504,311, but the median rent for a three-bedroom home is $4,567. After adding in property taxes and homeowners insurance, it would cost roughly double the monthly payment to buy a median home as rent, despite all the perennial complaints by San Francisco tenants. And that says nothing of maintenance and repair costs, which average thousands of dollars each year for the typical homeowner. Renters don’t have to pay those costs or do that labor. They delegate them to the landlord. Nor do renters need the fiscal discipline to budget money each month for those irregular, but inevitable expenses. Not everyone has that discipline, and they’re better off with the steady, predictable housing cost of monthly rent. Finally, renting allows flexibility. Tenants can sign a month-to-month lease agreement and move out with a few weeks’ notice. Homeowners don’t have the flexibility; it takes months to sell a home, and typically tens of thousands in closing costs. Myth: Your Home Is an Investment Buyers love to delude themselves that they’re buying an “investment” rather than spending money on shelter. It helps them justify overspending on the biggest, fanciest house they can possibly afford. But make no mistake: housing falls under the “Expenses” category in your budget, not the “Investments” category. It costs you money every month, rather than generating it. House hacking marks a notable exception however, since your home helps you avoid a housing payment. Sure, real estate often goes up in value. So do baseball cards, but that doesn’t justify hobbyists spending as much as they possibly can on them, while patting themselves on the back for their wise “investments.” By all means, invest in real estate. But do it by buying true investment properties, or REITs, or real estate crowdfunding investments. The more you spend on housing, the less you can put toward true investments. Read more: House Hacking – 18 Ways to Never Pay Rent Again Myth: You Should Put the Bare Minimum Down When You Buy a Home Making the bare minimum down payment often enables buyers to overspend on housing. They end up overleveraging themselves, mortgaged to the hilt with an enormous monthly payment and little money left to actually furnish the place, or to enjoy any social life. It also leaves homeowners vulnerable to becoming upside-down on their home, owing more than the home is worth. At that point, they become prisoners in their own homes, unable to sell without the lender’s permission. They end up stuck there until the housing market either improves or they pay their loan balance down enough to be able to afford seller closing costs without coming out of pocket. While it sounds nice to put down next to nothing on a home, look at the bigger picture. If you spend far less on a home than you can afford, then a low down payment can serve you well. But if you’re straining against the limits of your budget, beware of putting every last penny into a tiny down payment with a huge monthly bill. Myth: You Should Put Down as Much as Possible on a Home The common wisdom was once to put down as much as possible when you buy a home, and 20% at the very least. However, this locks up a good portion of the money that could be growing at a faster rate with other investments. “Putting down less than 20% does increase the monthly mortgage payment due to the higher interest rate and PMI (private mortgage insurance),” explains Andy Kolodgie of The House Guys. “However, you should compare your expected returns on that extra down payment if you were to invest it elsewhere, to the annual savings on your mortgage. For example, investing in stocks and bonds could allow you to earn more money while providing the added benefit of easy liquidity. “A lesson learned from the 2008 mortgage crisis was you can’t eat equity in your home. During the recession, it was nearly impossible to refinance the equity out of any home, as home prices dropped below most people’s mortgage balance. Putting less than 20% down to stay more liquid and investing in alternative assets diversifies your portfolio, keeping buyers more risk-averse.” Again, look holistically at your personal finances. As you near retirement, it makes more sense to play conservatively with a larger down payment to avoid PMI and reduce your monthly mortgage bill. For younger borrowers looking to buy a first home, it often makes more sense to put down 3-10%, and invest their other cash more aggressively in the stock market or other assets with high return potential. Myth: You Need 6-12 Months’ Living Expenses in an Emergency Fund To hear the pundits crying from their soapboxes, we all need at least a year’s worth of living expenses parked in a savings account in cash to protect us from a financial apocalypse. And some people do. But not everyone. Those with either irregular incomes, irregular expenses, or both do need a deep cash cushion. For example, as an entrepreneur, there have been months where I didn’t earn enough to take a personal distribution for myself from the company, so I earned $0 in personal income those months. Someone like me does need 6-12 months’ worth of living expenses saved in an emergency fund. Salaried employees with safe jobs at stable employers don’t need as much cash in an emergency fund. That goes doubly if they live a predictable middle-class lifestyle with the same expenses month in and month out. They may only need 2-3 months’ expenses set aside in cash. I go a step further with my emergency fund and think of it as tiered levels of defenses, like a medieval castle. The first level comprises cash savings — you can tap it if you need it. I also keep several unused credit cards with low-interest rates, that I can also draw on in a pinch. Then I keep several low-volatility, short-term investments that I can also turn to if needed. All of which means I don’t actually need 6-12 months’ living expenses in cash after all. Myth: More Education Inherently Means a Higher Income From a statistical standpoint, education level correlates strongly with income. People with college degrees earn more than those with high school diplomas on average, and those with advanced degrees earn a higher average income still. On a personal level, it often doesn’t work out that way. I have plenty of friends and family members with advanced degrees, and most of them earn modest, middle-income salaries. Salaries with ceilings, and little room for advancement beyond their specialized niche. I can’t tell you how many teachers I know with several master’s degrees, who earn little or nothing more than their colleagues with bachelor’s degrees. In fact, my friends and family with the highest incomes all stopped at bachelor’s degrees and while some got high-paying jobs, others went into business in some capacity. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue an advanced degree if it’s required for your dream job. By all means, pursue your passion. But don’t assume that an advanced degree inherently means an advanced salary. Read more: How to Make $100k/yr As A Brand Ambassador Myth: Gold Offers the Best Hedge Against Inflation Many investors flock to gold when they fear inflation. But historically, gold often performs badly during times of high inflation. From 1980-1984, for instance, gold lost around 10% in value, even as inflation raged at a 6.5% annual rate. Historically repeated itself in the late 1980s as well. Gold actually works best as a hedge against a weakening currency — compared to other world currencies. When investors think the US dollar is about to crumble in value compared to the euro, pound, or yen, that marks a good moment to grab some gold. But investors more generally worried about inflation should consider better hedges against it. Real estate offers an excellent hedge against inflation, for example. It has inherent value: people will pay the going rate, regardless of the value of the currency. The same goes for commodities like food staples; no one stops eating just because inflation surges. Most professional investment advisors recommend holding no more than 5% of your portfolio in precious metals, if that. I personally own none, preferring to invest in stocks, real estate, and the occasional speculative gamble such as cryptocurrency. Article By G. Brian Davis, The Financially Independent Millennial Updated on Oct 5, 2021, 5:10 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 5th, 2021

3 parents reveal what it"s like job-hunting during the pandemic: "We"re all on our own"

More working parents are holding out for jobs that offer remote flexibility, but the hunt is exhausting. Former art Caitlin Tolchin says she's struggled finding jobs that allow her to work from home to care for her daughter. Caitlin Tolchin Many parents trying to return to the workforce have new demands for what their future job entails. More want to find remote work, like single mom Cari Gerber who cares for her son attending virtual elementary school. Others, like dad of two Michael Kidd, are choosing to go back to school over starting another minimum-wage job. See more stories on Insider's business page. Caitlin Tolchin always imagined when she found out she was pregnant, she and her husband would find a clever way to craft a baby announcement. After all, she was an art director and creativity was her strong suit. But in April 2020, within days of her positive home pregnancy test, Tolchin found herself sobbing on the floor of her New York City apartment. She just learned she'd been laid off from her job as art director at Douglas Elliman Real Estate."The timing couldn't have been worse. It really packed a punch. Here I was pregnant and now out of a job while the world was coming crashing down," the 38-year-old told Insider.When COVID hit, Tolchin's department began working remotely. Within a few weeks, a mass email went out saying that business had taken a hit and staff reductions were imminent. "Moments later, I got an email from HR that I'd been laid off and was shut out of my corporate email. After three years, that was it. No furlough, no two weeks notice, just like that, done," said Tolchin, adding that her furloughed supervisor did call to check in on her, but the damage was already done.Tolchin says job recruiters told her no one would hire someone who'd need maternity leave that winter, so she put her job search on hold. But even after having her baby, she couldn't find a job. Now her daughter is 10 months old, and Tolchin says the job market for creatives still doesn't look promising. Caitlin Tolchin and her daughter. Caitlin Tolchin "I've heard companies are outsourcing work to third-world countries and paying a fraction of the cost," Tolchin said. "I've sent out somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 to 300 resumes and only received about 5 calls, all for in-person work which I'm no longer interested in."In the meantime, she says she plans to enroll in an online art class to build up her skill set. It hasn't been easy, though, because like 7.5 million other Americans, she also lost federal unemployment benefits in September. Tolchin isn't alone in the desire for remote work flexibility, and a willingness to hold out for a job that's the right fit. A recent Insider survey showed 41% of women saying remote flexibility would attract them most in a job offer or incentivize them to expand their job search. More professionals are considering switching careersA recent Pew Research Center report revealed 66% of the unemployed people surveyed "seriously considered changing fields or occupations since they've been unemployed. Forty-one year old divorced mom Cari Gelber says she toyed with the idea after being furloughed from her job in April 2020 at a New York-based video production company. She took the leap - twice. Cari Gelber and her son. Cari Gelber "With my son home all day attending elementary school remotely, I looked for work I could do from home," Gelber told Insider.Gelber soon found a remote, commission-based sales position through a former boss, but stayed on the hunt for something more stable. Several months later, she applied for a full-time remote position at Club Feast, a subscription-based restaurant delivery service. Thanks to her previous hospitality experience, she got the job and now works in the company's restaurant partnerships department.Despite reopenings, not all hourly workers want to return to hospitalityMichael Kidd, a 29-year-old married father of two, was fired from his hourly food service position at Elon Musk's Texas-based company SpaceX in April 2021. "When COVID hit, it was like the world was collapsing and there I was whipping up potatoes and gourmet meals in the employee cafeteria," Kidd told Insider. "I was working 55 to 70 hours a week and then coming home to help my pregnant wife put our 1-year-old son to bed." Michael Kidd with his youngest son. Michael Kidd Kidd says he was emotionally and physically drained, and it became a struggle to get out of bed each morning. "I have ADHD and my work started to suffer," he said. "When I arrived at work late a few too many times, they fired me. They were right to do it, but it still stung," Kidd said. In May, just one month after losing his job, Kidd's wife gave birth to their second son. Instead of looking for another in-person job, Kidd decided to look from work home toa help out more with the new baby. "I started doing freelance content writing and went back to school to earn my Associates degree," said Kidd, who as an army veteran was also able to take advantage of the GI Bill for education costs as well as to assist with rent. In July, Kidd contracted COVID-19 and was bedridden for a week. In August, Kidd's wife took a job as an assistant at a local dance studio to bring in extra money. Around the same time, the family's food stamps came to a stop after a caseworker requested paperwork Kidd was unable to provide. Now he says he has to refile in order to reopen his case. "We're trying to keep up, but it's been touch and go at times financially. The stimulus checks bailed us out for a while, but it hasn't been easy," he said. Like Kidd, unemployed parents across America are bracing themselves for another season of the pandemic, and hanging on by a thread. "Just making the time to search for a job while caring for your family is a job unto itself. They say it takes a village, but because of COVID there is no village," Tolchin told Insider. "We're all on our own right now just trying to do our best."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 24th, 2021

These Children Are U.S. Citizens. They Need Help, But They Can’t Get the Child Tax Credit

Ivan, just 6 months old, bounces in his baby rocker as a Spanish-language cartoon plays on TV. The living room is small but full, dominated by a tree branch with plastic red blossoms that Ivan’s mother, Sara, made. She asks her 9-year-old daughter, Luz, to leave the room. She’s about to explain something she doesn’t… Ivan, just 6 months old, bounces in his baby rocker as a Spanish-language cartoon plays on TV. The living room is small but full, dominated by a tree branch with plastic red blossoms that Ivan’s mother, Sara, made. She asks her 9-year-old daughter, Luz, to leave the room. She’s about to explain something she doesn’t want her daughter to ever think about again: the event that set off a chain of other events that led to them ending up in southwest Detroit with no money, no way to get around and no identification papers. Without those papers Ivan can’t qualify for any of the assistance the U.S. government provides for its citizens, because they can’t prove he—or they—exist. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Sara, 27, and her daughter came to the U.S. from the Michoacán region of Mexico, under the asylum program. The father of her daughter, she says, had started selling and using drugs, and one night beat her while their daughter was in the home. They escaped to her relatives’ home, but her husband, concerned that she would report him to the police, monitored her every move. “I just stepped out of the house and he was there,” she says, in Spanish. “So I couldn’t do anything.” Fearing she was endangering her family if she stayed, she fled to the Arizona border, where she was granted provisional asylum, had her passport and all her identification papers taken, was put in an ankle monitoring bracelet and sent to live with a cousin in Chicago. (TIME has agreed to use only the first names of the women in this story, to protect their safety.) In order to get a Mexican passport for her daughter, to complete the asylum requirements, Sara needed a signature from the girl’s father. When she tried to obtain that in 2019, she discovered he had been murdered. She was told by her state-supplied immigration lawyer that with her husband’s demise, she was no longer in danger, and therefore her asylum case was closed and she needed to return to Mexico. Sara says her family warned her, however, that her husband’s brothers had been killed too, along with one of their wives, and his sisters were now seeking asylum. She cut off her ankle bracelet and fled from Chicago to Michigan with a new boyfriend, also Mexican, also in the U.S. without documents. (TIME has confirmed her account with relatives in Mexico.) A year or so afterwards, they had a son. Read More: As Many Americans Get COVID-19 Vaccines and Financial Support, Undocumented Immigrants Keep Falling Through the Cracks For the last three months, millions of U.S. families have gotten a payment of up to $300 for each child in their home from the Internal Revenue Service. There will be one each month until the end of 2021. They are advance tax credits, part of a new program by the Biden Administration touted as the boldest attempt in decades to try to help impoverished families, especially those for whom the pandemic had taken a very harsh toll. Every American citizen child qualifies for this benefit, even those from what is called “mixed status” families—those with some undocumented members. This is a reflection of the twin beliefs that (a) vulnerable children should be helped, no matter their circumstances and (b) that raising children out of grinding poverty is good for the long term economic growth of any country. Children are also the mostly likely age of American to be in poverty. A new Census Bureau report found that 44% of American children experienced at least two consecutive months of poverty between 2013 and 2016, even before the pandemic. Almost immediately after the first payments landed, the US Census Bureau’s monthly Pulse survey detected a drop in “food insufficiency”—the fancy term for people not having enough to eat—and in its measurement of people finding it hard to pay their weekly bills. Instead of 11% of kids going hungry, only 8% were. The improvement was only evident in homes with children, which means that the CTC payments were likely the cause. “There’s been no other social program that has reached this many families this quickly in the history of the country,” says Luke Shaefer, a professor of Social Work and the Director of the Poverty Solutions Center at the University of Michigan, and the co-author, with Kathryn Edin, of the seminal work on American poverty, $2 a Day. In 2018, the two of them, with other scholars, co-authored a paper recommending monthly cash payments, which is seen as one of the bases for the current administration’s program. Because Ivan was born in the U.S., his family qualifies for the credit, money that would help them find their footing, and move out of the unstable financial situation in which they live. But they didn’t get it. They are just one example of an extremely vulnerable household that has not been reached by the new program. The reasons are not novel. An analysis by the Urban Institute in 2019 found that a quarter of people living in poverty do not receive support from any government program. Welfare programs have always suffered from “last mile” issues: a legion of obstructions between the funds available and the families who need them. In many ways, the distribution of the CTC is offering an object lesson in the obstacles America faces when helping its poorest citizens. Cutting child poverty, for some In order to survive, Sara and families like hers live in a kind of nether world of informal economies and networks. Apart from her daughter’s bilingual public school, the household has almost zero contact with any institutions, government or otherwise. It’s necessary for them to be as invisible as possible to the authorities. Ivan’s dad is ferried to and from work with other laborers in a bus. He is paid in cash. They have a car but cannot drive anywhere because they do not have regulation license plates, and cannot afford to be pulled over. Sara’s biggest nightmare is being separated from either of her children; the American one, who is legally allowed to abide in the U.S. whatever happens to his mother, or the Mexican one, who might be separated from her, were Sara to be detained. It’s not like they don’t pay any taxes: many undocumented workers do. Magdalena, who lives in the Bronx, New York, has paid tax at her job in a grocery store for years. She has four children aged from 2 to 15, all born in New York City, after she escaped across the border 17 years ago. Her children need school uniforms and books, but she can’t afford those as well as the rent on her wages now that she is working part-time because her childcare was very limited during the pandemic. She can barely even cover the childcare she has. The CTC would pay her family $1100 a month, but she cannot figure out how to get it. “What we’re doing so far is not perfect,” says Shaefer. “There are people who are being left out.” Because it’s a tax credit, the money is sent to people who have filed taxes, and it has taken a little while for that news to filter out and for people to get their paperwork in order. “The second problem stems from residential complexity and bank account instability that are common among low-income people,” he says. Families who have recently moved to a shelter or started doubling up with other family members, or those whose bank balance went into arrears or were overwhelmed with bank fees might find that the money has been directed to an old address or closed bank account. “That’s something,” says Shaefer, “That is still going to require a lot of work.” Read More: 6 Ways To Use the Child Tax Credit Payments, According to the Experts (Who Are Also Parents) Some critics note that the methods the government is using to distribute funds are long overdue for an update. “It’s just a generation after generation after generation of doing aid through the same large not very nuanced poverty administration systems,” says Tyler Hall, director of communications at GiveDirectly, a non profit that helps donors give simple cash to people in need. Because the administration opted to give the money via the IRS, a large amount of money was sent out widely and very quickly, but not necessarily very accurately. “Prioritizing operational considerations and ease of access stymies a number of the administration’s best ideas,” says Hall. Before the first payment, the government set up a website for folks who had never paid tax so they could still claim the money. But it was loaded with bureaucratic language and not mobile friendly, even though phones are much more widespread in low income communities than computers. As the second payment rolled around, the administration, with the help of Code For America, set up a different website, which is due to go live in “the next few weeks,” according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Treasury. Critics also claim the credits were poorly advertised, utilizing services like Twitter and eschewing old school methods like radio advertisements and mailers, which tend to be where those whose lives are more precarious get their information. And Rosario Alzayadi, a fieldworker with the Detroit agency Starfish, says once she finds these stricken families, it takes a while to build their trust. “When we go to the homes, we kind of see what’s going on,” she says. “But sometimes it takes us a long time to know the family needs.” Many of her clients were unaware they are eligible for reduced-cost internet access, for example, or that even if they’re undocumented, they can still file taxes, and thus become eligible for benefits for their American born children, among others. “Unfortunately,” notes Hall, “the vulnerable will always be the hardest to reach.” Families need more time, experts say Until the pandemic, Sara worked in light construction, but now she stays home. The couple has bought one of Detroit’s many derelict homes, which can cost just a few thousand dollars, and are renovating it themselves. A social worker who is trying to help Sara’s American-born son qualify for the CTC through his father, is gamely dealing with a legion of setbacks. His Mexican passport has expired, the nearest consulate moved from downtown Detroit to Madison Heights, a three hour round trip by public transit. If he can get an appointment (consulates are backed up), and figure out how to travel there (the social worker says she is asking one of her siblings to drive them), get a day off work (his job offers none), and get enough forms of ID to qualify for a passport, it’s possible he can also get a ITIN, a taxpayer number. If he can then wade through enough forms to file a tax return, and get his son’s American birth certificate, Ivan may eventually qualify for some federal help. That’s if the program lasts beyond the end of the year. Read More: Americans Need Recurring Stimulus Checks Until the Pandemic Is Over In some ways Sara is among the lucky ones. He family unit is stable. She dreams of being an interior designer and cabinet maker. Maria, another mother in Michigan with three American-born children under 5, cannot afford those dreams. She and her children’s father do not live together, but he currently pays the rent. Even if all the obstacles to getting the CTC could be overcome, it’s not clear who would get the money. Maria, 26, who first came to the U.S. with her mother to escape the violence of her father, she says, has no work and is reluctant to search for any, because she has no childcare or transport. So she stays home all day, venturing out only occasionally to take the children on the long walk to the nearest grocery store for food, and worries about her elderly mother, who returned to Mexico after her father died and whose health is frail. Despite the program’s shortcomings, Shaefer, the poverty researcher, sees the advanced CTC as a profoundly important development. “I’m just incredibly excited that we have the scaffolding in place, that I think we can continue to improve,” he says. “It’s unprecedented in history that we would have a program that went out to this many families. And the initial evidence is really strong that it’s working in the ways that we think it should be working.” One side benefit Shaefer and other researchers were hoping for is that more families would come out of the shadows, so that they could be reached by social service agencies. The lure of free money is pretty strong, and Sara and other families seem committed to figuring out how to get themselves documented. The IRS is not allowed to share information on the families with other government agencies, whether it’s ICE or Medicaid, but activists hope that the interaction will help them gain some trust in government institutions. Alzayadi, the social worker, says she was inspired to work undocumented families, because as a young mother of four, a home visitor found her, encouraged her to put her situation to rights and showed her the steps she needed to take to get help. In an encouraging sign, a larger number of families applied for and received the August payment than the 35 million who got July payment. One of the unanticipated side effects of the CTC payments might be that it may entice those who have been difficult for social services to reach and the safety net to catch, to finally reach out for some help. —with reporting by Pablo Muñoz-Hernandez.....»»

Category: topSource: timeSep 21st, 2021

4 ways Omicron is screwing up the economy this month

Omicron could peak this month, and it's disrupting the economy: cancelled flights, delayed mail, and sick workers — who may or may not go in to work. Bread aisle shelves at a Target are seen nearly empty as the U.S. continues to experience supply chain disruptions in Washington, U.S.REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger January is only half over. It's been, and will continue to be, a wild month. The Omicron variant is fueling the biggest infection wave yet and hampering the economic recovery. From flight cancellations to historic inflation, here's what's making January a really weird month. January's been a wild month, and it's only half over. The spread of Omicron infections across the world is causing millions of Americans to isolate again like it's 2020. Workers are staying home sick, and others are continuing to avoid the workforce for fear of the virus. Meanwhile consumers are paying the highest prices in almost 40 years.It's a situation unlike any we've seen before, and it's about to get wilder. The worst inflation since 1982 may ease, confusing Americans' budgets once againAfter living with historic inflation for the better part of a whole year, Americans have demanded bigger raises and businesses have struggled to keep goods in stock. Yet that normal is on its way out, and inflation is now likely to start cooling.The latest data show inflation was still hot during the last days of 2021. Prices surged 7% year-over-year in December, according to a Wednesday report, reflecting the strongest inflation since 1982.However, there's reason to believe price growth will start to slow in January. For one, Wall Street banks' forecasts show inflation peaking in the fourth quarter of 2021. The Biden administration and the Federal Reserve have said they expect inflation to fall from elevated levels by the middle of this year. Even everyday Americans' inflation expectations softened in December after skyrocketing through most of the pandemic.The data also shows month-over-month inflation cooling further. Prices rose 0.5% last month, decelerating from November's 0.8% pace and marking the smallest one-month gain since September.Much of the improvement will come from the solving of the global supply-chain mess. Bottlenecks are "easing in all the right places" as global suppliers ramp up production, JPMorgan economists Joshua Lupton and Bruce Kasman said in a Tuesday note.As supply rebounds to better match demand, it's likely inflation will ease faster.Businesses have empty shelves and not enough workersAs Omicron peaks, service may be slower at understaffed stores this month. Or, if companies have resumed pre-pandemic practices, employees at your local restaurant or grocery store might be working with COVID. Many companies started rolling back pandemic-era sick leave policies as vaccines have become available throughout the US. Omicron, however, evades vaccine protection more than previous variants.This leaves more people sick, without enough paid leave.  A Harvard study in 2020 found that nearly 1.5 million grocery workers across 24 grocery chains, including Walmart, Kroger, and Target, lacked access to paid sick leave. Low-income workers are especially affected. Only one third of workers whose wages are at the bottom 10% get any paid sick leave at all, compared with 95% of workers with wages in the top 10%, according to a national compensation survey of employee benefits conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in March. Omicron has also been wreaking havoc on the supply chain, which was already why grocery stores have been struggling to keep food on the shelves. And with the labor shortage still going strong, there are fewer hands to do work on farms, for manufacturers, and for distributors. Even food inspectors have been calling in sick, Bloomberg reported last week. Flights and public transportation will be harder to catchAirlines have been hit hard, with hundreds of flights being canceled every day. United Airlines decreased its number of flights after 3,000 workers, about 4% of United's workforce, tested positive for COVID. JetBlue Airways also reduced its schedule this week, by about 1,280 flights — roughly 10% of its schedule — because of crew members getting sick. Local forms of transit are slowing down for the same reason. Cities like Portland, Oregon, Atlanta, Georgia, and Washington, D.C., are decreasing their mass transit services as their employees get sick with COVID. The New York Times reported that in New York City, more than a fifth of subway operators and conductors were absent from work. In Florida, school bus drivers are unable to drive students to school. And, the mail is delayed throughout the countryAlthough the United States Postal Service (USPS) largely got people their deliveries on time for the holiday season, the Omicron variant has been spreading amongst its employees. Roughly 6,500 postal workers were quarantined due to COVID-19 as of Christmas Eve, a number that grew to 8,000, the Associated Press reported. The USPS declined to comment on the existence of positive employee COVID-19 cases. Cities and states across the country have been reporting mail delays in response, such as Minnesota, The StarTribune reporting that garbage haulers have been out sick too. In Washington state, winter weather conditions compounded with a surge in cases among postal workers to cause delays. In Maine, some people haven't gotten mail delivered in weeks, which the USPS attributed to the spread of COVID-19."This is an incredibly tough moment. The omicron variant has taken off like wildfire," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a news conference last week, commenting on firefighter and ambulance delays. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 15th, 2022

2 out of 3 Kroger workers struggle to afford food and housing, survey finds

Workers for Kroger, which owns grocery chains such as Ralphs and Food 4 Less, struggle to meet basic needs, according to a survey commissioned by a union representing them in negotiations.Workers for Kroger, which owns grocery chains such as Ralphs and Food 4 Less, struggle to meet basic needs, according to a survey commissioned by a union representing them in negotiations......»»

Category: topSource: latimesJan 13th, 2022

Nearly a quarter of Los Angeles fast-food workers have gotten COVID-19, and nearly two-thirds said they were victims of wage theft during the pandemic, new survey finds

A survey of fast-food workers in Los Angeles County found that nearly a quarter got COVID-19, a rate higher than the general population. Taco Bell employee delivers an order to a customer at the drive-up window of the restaurant on March 31, 2020 in Hollywood, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty Images Researchers surveyed more than 400 fast-food workers in Los Angeles County. Nearly two-thirds said they had been victims of wage theft since the pandemic began. "This is an industry with longstanding issues and COVID has exacerbated it," UCLA's Tia Koonse said. When indoor dining closed, drive-thru traffic boomed, with Taco Bell alone servicing 30 million more cars in the fall of 2020 compared to the year before. But fast-food industry workers, most making no more than minimum wage, suffered the consequences of working in tight quarters through what is now at least four stressful waves of COVID-19.In Los Angeles County, a survey commissioned by local public health authorities, conducted by researchers at the UCLA Labor Center and released Tuesday, found that nearly a quarter of the region's 150,000 fast-food employees — 23% — have contracted the coronavirus since March 2020, a rate significantly higher than the general population.Around two-thirds of those employees are female and nine in 10 are people of color, per census data.Overall, 1.75 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported since the start of the pandemic in Los Angeles County, which is home to roughly 10 million people."Fast food workers were really on the front lines during the pandemic and that means, just like soldiers, they're going to die more," Tia Koonse, legal and policy research manager at the UCLA Labor Center, told Insider.A January 2021 study, analyzing death records from the California Department of Public Health, found a 39% increase in mortality among food and agriculture workers during the pandemic, with the greatest increase in risk falling on cooks, who typically work in confined and poorly ventilated environments.The risk is compounded by a lack of vigilance on the part of employers. According to the UCLA survey, many workers  reported that, when there was a potentially deadly outbreak at work, their employers dropped the ball when it came to warning others, with 42% of respondents saying they were only "rarely" informed of an outbreak.Nearly two-thirds of fast-food workers also experienced wage theft. That includes nearly half reporting that they had to buy their own uniforms or equipment. Most who worked overtime hours also said they were not paid time-and-a-half, as required by law.The hours they did work were also immensely stressful, with low-wage employees asked to enforce COVID-19 safety measures that some customers and coworkers chose to defy. More than half of fast-food workers said they experienced "negative interactions" with patrons or colleagues over such measures, such as mandatory masking, with 34% saying they had been yelled at.A majority who expressed concern about COVID-19 to their boss said that they, at best, only partly addressed the issue; nearly one in five said they were themselves retaliated against.The results of the survey should prompt policymakers to take more responsibility for enforcing COVID-19 measures, Koonse told Insider, as opposed to burdening employees who are already on the verge of burnout. That means more targeted inspections of workplaces — and turning to workers themselves for feedback."This is an industry with longstanding issues," Koonse said, "and COVID has exacerbated it."The survey was conducted online and included responses from 417 workers at 118 companies across the nation's most populous county.Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.comRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 4th, 2022

Europe Certifies Crickets, Worms, And Grasshoppers As Edible Food Amid Soaring Food Prices

Europe Certifies Crickets, Worms, And Grasshoppers As Edible Food Amid Soaring Food Prices Across the world, households are experiencing an exponential rise in food inflation. This holiday season, from Brazil to China to European countries to the US, households will pay near-record prices for food, which begs the question: Are households able to afford traditional food, or will they resort to substitutes to save money?   "You might be able to trade down on some things; instead of the high-priced turkeys or steaks, you might consider something less expensive on that side of the dinner table," Curt Covington, senior director of institutional credit at AgAmerica Lending, which lends money to farmers, told Bloomberg.  "But there's no escaping it: Everything on the holiday table "is just going to be more expensive," Covington said.  For example, working poor Americans have had trouble affording essential goods amid rapid inflation. A staggering 6.8% surge in consumer costs is the highest in four decades, making things like food unaffordable because wages haven't kept pace with inflation. The same is happening for households worldwide.  With that in mind, households are likely to substitute popular holiday foods with low-cost items. There's even a chance that some might resort to eating bugs and worms. European member states certified house crickets, yellow mealworms, and grasshoppers as food fit to be sold at supermarkets.  The bugs will be sold in frozen, dried, and powdered forms and will be packed with nutrients and low-cost, according to Bloomberg. Earlier this month, the World Economic Forum published two articles explaining how people must get used to eating bugs. Those who can no longer afford meat, such as ham or turkey, and other traditional holiday foods will come to find a new substitute. Bloomberg provides examples from across the world of how food inflation crushes holiday cheer.  Brazil: Amazon Fish Replace Pricey Imports Fatima Santos describes her family's planned Christmas Eve supper in 2021 in one word: lean. Neither cod nor turkey—traditional centerpieces in many Brazilian homes for the holidays—will make the cut this year, the 41-year-old unemployed hairdresser said while combing the shelves for deals in a Rio de Janeiro supermarket. "Egg is the new steak in our home. Even rice and beans are super expensive," she said. That's hardly a seasonal specialty, but the staple dish might grace more holiday tables like hers as meat prices become increasingly hard to stomach. Although the country is one of the world's largest producers of agricultural commodities, soaring demand abroad and a weak local currency are making exports more profitable, leaving less Brazilian-grown food for Brazilians at home. At the same time, this year's extreme weather—the worst drought in a century followed by an unprecedented frost—severely damaged the nation's crops, stoking inflation. Think tank Getulio Vargas Foundation calculates beef prices are up about 15% in the last year, while chicken costs have soared more than 24%. Grocery chain Zona Sul has been trying to stock its shelves with more local products so families can avoid the worst of the inflation. Traditional Norwegian cod is still available in the weeks leading up to Christmas, but the store is also pushing Amazon fish pirarucu for half the price. With sparkling wine imports delayed due to container shortages, the chain is discounting regional alternatives. "As purchasing power diminishes, people are looking for secondary brands," said the chain's executive director, Pietrangelo Leta. Priscila Santana, a professional chef, usually sells rabanadas—a dessert resembling French toast—around the holidays. But she's had to boost prices this year by more than 10% on rising costs for bread, milk and eggs, plus the gasoline required to even get to the store. Despite starting sales several weeks earlier this year and accepting both credit cards and company-issued meal tickets, she's still seeing lower demand. "I expect to sell 20% less this year. Some of my clients had to give up the rabanadas to buy their lunch instead. China: Stockpiling Sends Costs Soaring There's plenty of food to go around in the world's most populous country, the Ministry of Commerce insists. But that hasn't stopped Chinese households from stocking up—and in some cases, hoarding—following a confusing advisory from the government in early November that encouraged people to restock essentials ahead of winter, stoking fears of travel restrictions, virus outbreaks, extreme weather or worse. "Usually one family only needs to store one bag of flour, but now they're buying two or even three bags. Of course prices will increase," said one shopkeeper who's been selling noodles, dumpling wrappers and Chinese pancakes for almost 30 years. Speaking from behind his stall in a market in Beijing, he asked to only be identified by his family name, Zhou. "The more families hoard flour, the higher prices will go." The 25-kilogram (about 55-pound) bags of flour he buys from his supplier are about 30% more expensive than a month ago, now costing more than 90 yuan ($14). But Zhou has raised his own selling price by less than 20%, even as the winter solstice—Dongzhi—nears, boosting demand for traditional delicacies like dumplings and noodles. "My costs have risen, but I can't really increase prices or I'll lose customers," he said. UK: Turkey Farms Pay Up for Labor "There isn't a product that we use on this farm that hasn't gone up," said Becky Howe, a third-generation farmer, as she watched workers guide a flock of turkeys to an open barn on the last day of slaughtering at the John Howe turkey farm outside Kent. That includes the cost of steel used to construct the barns, chopped straw for bedding, corn feed, gas, packaging cartons and even wax for the automated plucking line. The farm wasn't anticipating such inflationary pressure when it boosted the size of this year's flock by 25% and, for the first time ever, started rearing geese, too. The greatest headache has been finding enough workers during November and December, the farm's busiest time of the year. Most of its employees are foreigners, who come to the country on temporary visa permits; the farm has boosted pay this year to retain staff. It has raised the price of its turkeys by 8%, but its own costs have gone up more. "The price increase hasn't covered everything and we've had to absorb as much as we possibly could," Howe said. "We don't want to pass on too much and scare people away from buying our turkeys." Worried about rising prices—plus a shortage of UK truck drivers that will only exacerbate the squeeze—grocers say some families in London started buying their Christmas turkeys as early as October this year. The demand for smaller birds is particularly high as virus fears temper optimism that extended families will be gathering again this year after a 2020 in lockdown Romania: Priced Out of the Pig Slaughter In the Romanian countryside, the Orthodox celebration of Saint Ignatius on Dec. 20 has followed a traditional script for centuries: Buy a pig from a trusted farmer, slit its throat, burn the skin, and clean the carcass with help from friends and family at the break of dawn. Every part of the animal—from the legs to the fat to the intestines—are then transformed into dozens of dishes to feed a household's extended family at Christmas, New Year's and every meal in between. At least, that used to be the custom. This year, more families will just snag some supermarket sausages on their way home from work and call it a day, said Adi Rusu, a 40-year-old farmer from the village of Posta Calnau. Rusu's family has been growing pigs for 40 years, but with feed and electricity costs through the roof, risks of a deadly swine fever outbreak and customers increasingly opting for easier options, his family's talking about whether it's even worth the hassle. It's hard for neighbors to justify paying as much as 1,500 Romanian lei (about $340) for a local pig, a 50% hike over the last four to five years. At the same time, Covid travel restrictions that keep many working Romanians abroad mean downsized dinners—and little incentive to cook enough pork to eat for at least seven straight days. "It's becoming obvious we can't eat three times more than in a regular week at Christmas," said Marioara Mihalcea, the director of meat company M&R in Iasi. "You know you can always find fresh meat on the shelves." Rusu only had six pigs on offer this year, about a fifth of what he'd normally sell, after many of the piglets died at birth, but he decided supplementing with more piglets from commercial farms to turn a profit of only 400 lei (about $90) apiece just didn't make economic sense this year. Would-be customers are "not buying from someone else; they're going to the supermarket," said Rusu, who picked up animal farming from his father. "Those who know how to prepare it are slowly passing away, and the young are not interested in learning." US: Cookie Season Takes a Hit Americans, eating more butter than ever before, will find it costs them more than their waistline this holiday season. Once vilified for saturated fat, butter has become popular again as shoppers embrace high-fat diets, driving per capita consumption to 6.3 pounds in 2020, the highest in data going back to the Ford presidency. Butter consumption typically peaks in the fourth quarter, thanks to all the holiday cookies, mashed potatoes and other full-flavored traditions that grace the table. It's also soaring in price. Spot wholesale prices for Grade AA butter are up about 40% from this time last year to more than $2 a pound. There's plenty of milk to make it, but packing and shipping have been a challenge amid widespread labor and materials shortages. Grassland Dairy Products in Greenwood, Wisconsin, recently raised its prices for supermarkets for the first time in four years. President Trevor Wuethrich cited rising cardboard expenses, trucking issues and its own decision to hike hourly wages in September in order to retain trained employees. Some households may make the switch to vegetable-oil spreads, like margarine, to cut costs, though those are rising in price, too. Dina Cimarusti, owner of newly opened Sugar Moon Bakery in Chicago, just paid 40 cents per pound more than usual for butter in early December. For her, subbing it out isn't an option: It's an important ingredient for many of her home-style pastries including scones, cookies and cakes. "It's not just butter," she said. "Even my produce prices have gone up significantly since I opened," said 36-year-old Cimarusti, whose storefront debuted in September. "Unless I raise my prices, I'm obviously losing money." For now, she's holding pat. "I was just going to wait it out," she said, clad in a green apron and jeans, weighing pound-blocks of butter before dumping them into a large steel mixer for molasses cookies. "I just try to keep it affordable." Simply put, inflation increases food insecurity that will dramatically reshape traditional holiday dishes. Some may resort to eating bugs and worms this year.  Tyler Durden Mon, 12/20/2021 - 13:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 20th, 2021

Sen. Joe Manchin told colleagues he believed parents would use child tax credits to buy drugs and people would abuse paid leave to go hunting, report says

Manchin can't get behind the size of Biden's nearly $2 trillion spending package and said Americans would abuse the benefits in the bill. Sen. Joe Manchin.Scott J. Applewhite/AP Joe Manchin told colleagues he believed Americans would abuse benefits in Biden's spending package. Manchin said he thought parents would use child tax credit funds to buy drugs, HuffPost reported. The West Virginia senator killed any chance of the bill passing in its current form. Sen. Joe Manchin privately told his Senate colleagues that he believed Americans would abuse government benefits, like the extended child tax credit and paid leave, in President Joe Biden's sweeping $2 trillion spending package, HuffPost reported. Specifically, Manchin said parents would use child-tax-credit money to buy drugs and workers would abuse the paid-family-leave program in the legislation to get out of work and go on hunting trips, unnamed people familiar with his remarks told HuffPost.A person familiar with the situation told Insider Manchin privately expressed concern about grandparents taking care of children whose parents struggle with addiction. He said he worried about the caretakers not being able to qualify for the child-tax-credit money themselves. The West Virginia Democrat advocated for a way to ensure the federal aid flowed to them instead.On Monday, he publicly reiterated his worry about grandparents being unable to access the payments on "Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval," a West Virginia radio program."We have children that are now living with grandparents, and really to the assistance that we give to the welfare system, don't you think we can basically target that child?" he said. "Make sure the money follows the child so if a grandparent's raising the child, they're getting the money and not the parent — even though they're biological parents who are not capable or not having the desire to raise that child."The US Senate left town early Saturday morning without voting on the nearly $2 trillion spending package, known as the Build Back Better agenda, after unsuccessful negotiations between the White House and Manchin over the bill. And the West Virginia Democrat, a key swing vote in a Senate evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, killed any chance of the legislation passing the US Senate in its current form on Sunday. "If I can't go home and explain it to the people of West Virginia, I can't vote for it," Manchin told Fox News in a Sunday interview. "I've tried everything humanly possible. I can't get there. This is a no."In a subsequent statement, Manchin said he was concerned about the bill adding to the national debt, worsening inflation, and reducing the US's reliance on fossil fuels and coal "faster than technology or the markets allow.""My Democratic colleagues in Washington are determined to dramatically reshape our society in a way that leaves our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face," Manchin said. "I cannot take that risk with a staggering debt of more than $29 trillion and inflation taxes that are real and harmful to every hard-working American at the gasoline pumps, grocery stores and utility bills with no end in sight."The version of the sweeping legislation passed by the US House included an extension of the child tax credit, four weeks of paid family leave, and universal prekindergarten. The bill also focused on healthcare measures, including drug-pricing reforms, support for the Affordable Care Act, and additional coverage of hearing benefits in Medicare. And it allocated hundreds of billions of dollars toward measures to combat the climate emergency.The US is the only developed nation and one of a few countries worldwide with no national program for paid family and medical leave. Manchin has previously sought to add work requirements to the child tax credit and expressed opposition to passing paid leave. Specifically, he said he was worried that the bill wouldn't fully pay for a paid-leave program. The notion that low-income Americans wouldn't be responsible with money from government benefits has spurred numerous, mostly Republican-controlled, states to require drug testing for recipients of food stamps or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits and impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients.Other Democratic senators were "shocked" by Manchin's comments and saw them as an "unfair assault" on those living in poverty, HuffPost reported.A representative for Manchin did not immediately return Insider's request for comment. The Senate enacted the current beefed-up child tax credit in the American Rescue Plan, which Democrats passed along party lines in March. The measure increased the maximum amount parents could receive from $2,000 a year to $3,600, depending on the age of the child, regardless of whether the parents earned enough to file tax returns. Over 36 million households have taken advantage of the tax credit since payments started going out in July.The expanded child tax credit in the Build Back Better agenda would have allowed parents who earn below a certain income to receive monthly payments of $300 per child under 6 and $250 for children between 6 and 18 for another year. Without congressional action, the expanded child tax credit will expire at the end of 2021.As HuffPost noted, there is little evidence that the enhanced benefits are being used to purchase drugs. A US Census Pulse survey from October found that 58% of recipients said they used the money for food, 33% said they used the funds for utilities, and 30% said they put the money toward school transportation and buying clothes. Researchers found that the expanded child tax credit had already significantly reduced both child poverty and child hunger and had the potential to lift even more children out of poverty if extended.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 20th, 2021

Family Of Murdered Uber Driver In San Francisco Issues Demands

Last month, an Afghan refugee named Ahmad Fawad Yusufi was murdered in San Francisco while driving for Uber. He leaves behind his wife and three children, one of whom is 4 months old. Ahmad lived in Sacramento, and was only in San Francisco to drive for Uber. Ahmad commuted weekly to SF for several days […] Last month, an Afghan refugee named Ahmad Fawad Yusufi was murdered in San Francisco while driving for Uber. He leaves behind his wife and three children, one of whom is 4 months old. Ahmad lived in Sacramento, and was only in San Francisco to drive for Uber. Ahmad commuted weekly to SF for several days in search of rides, sleeping in his car because his wages from driving couldn’t afford him a hotel room. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Uber told local press he wasn’t working at the time, shirking responsibility to Ahmad’s surviving family. They are now reliant solely on GoFundMe to raise three children and take care of Ahmad’s surviving wife. Here’s a statement from Cherri Murphy, an organizer with Gig Workers Rising, a Bay Area organization supporting the family: “No worker should have to sleep in their car to make ends meet. For years Uber and Lyft drivers have commuted from all around the Bay to work in the city, sleeping in car parking lots wherever they can. Ahmad was one of those drivers. Uber knows this is happening. When they learned about Ahmad’s killing, Uber washed their hands of him. That’s simply unacceptable. We stand in strong solidarity with Ahmad’s family and for workers everywhere who are endangered or killed on the job.”  How Uber Drivers Are Murdered On The Job Here is some background on how Uber drivers are murdered on the job: It is incredibly important not to accept the false reality Uber contorts: We’ve spoken with countless drivers in our network who’ve driven 40+ hours a week––but when they show us their Uber app, the app would only report “8 hours of active drive time”. It is imperative that reporters don’t listen to this distorted reality. When a driver leaves his family in Sacramento on a Friday to drive all weekend for Uber in San Francisco, he is there to drive, not to take a vacation. When a driver stops during a 12-hour work day for an hour to get food, or 10 minutes to use the bathroom, they are still on the job for Uber. These are basic understandings of work that were accepted decades ago. Ahmad is not the first Uber driver killed on the job. This is a systemic issue. Below we’ve listed a small subset of Uber drivers killed on the job in recent years. These murders are just the tip of the iceberg. Andre Jamal Bayyan, an Uber driver killed in Inglewood, California in March, 2016. Beaudovin Tchakounte, an Uber driver killed in Oxon Hill, Maryland in August, 2019. Ceyonne Riley, an UberEats driver killed in New Orleans, Louisiana in July, 2021. Cherno “Che” Ceesay, an Uber driver killed King in County, WA in December, 2020. David Rosenthal, an Uber driver killed in Denver, Colorado in February, 2019. Dhulfiqar Kareem Mseer, an Uber driver killed in Portland, Oregon in December, 2020. Filip Kirilov, an Uber driver killed in Okaloosa Island Florida in June, 2018. Ganiou Gandonou, an Uber driver killed in the Bronx, NY in March, 2019. Grant Nelson, an Uber driver killed in Skokie, Illinois in September, 2017. Javier Ramos, an Uber driver killed in Chicago, Illinois in March, 2021. Timothy Perkins, an Uber driver killed in Detroit, Michigan in January, 2021. Uber knows workers are murdered on the job, yet the corporation fails to support surviving families when a worker is killed making money for the corporation. (Uber will deny this, but reporters should ask the families for the truth). Letter To Uber See attached a letter from Ilyas, the brother of murdered Ahmad, to the executives at Uber. Ilyas sent this to Uber this morning over email. December 16, 2021 From: Mohammad Dawood Mommand To: Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber Chief Legal Officer Tony West, and Uber SVP of Marketing and Public Affairs Jill Hazelbaker Subject: Uber killed my brother. Here’s what my family demands. Dear Dara Khosrowshahi, Tony West, and Jill Hazelbaker, My name is Mohammed. My community calls me Ilyas. Three years ago, our family fled war in Afghanistan, pursuing a safer, happier life for our children. Since we arrived in America, my brother and I have been working for Uber. On weekends we’d leave our families in Sacramento and work in San Francisco for three or four days straight, sleeping in our cars because we couldn’t afford a room. As you know, hundreds of other Afghan drivers do the same thing every weekend. On November 28th, my brother Ahmad was killed while driving for your company. You lied when you told the press that he wasn’t working for Uber at the time he was killed. He was in San Francisco to work for Uber. It was 5am on a Monday morning. He’d stopped for a break after working for Uber that night. Uber pledged to support Afghan refugees, yet your company pays wages so low and sustains such precarious working conditions that hundreds of Afghan drivers drive from Sacramento to San Francisco each week and sleep in their cars in unsafe environments – just to earn enough each week to provide for their families. My brother and I did the same. And now after all the work we did for your company, you are turning your backs on us in our time of need. Now that Uber has stolen his life from us, our family has three demands: Access to my brother’s Uber account. We have been trying to access his account since he was killed, but the account has been disabled. Please provide access to our family so that we can gather more information about his work for Uber and the conditions surrounding his death. $4 million in immediate aid for our family. Ahmad was the sole provider for his family. He left behind him a wife and three children. His wife, who doesn’t speak English, now has to raise these children on her own. One of his children is four months old. They can’t make next month's rent and will lose their home. You have an ethical obligation to support our family because Ahmad was murdered while working for your company. Better pay for all Uber drivers. When my brother and I drove to San Francisco every weekend, we could never afford a hotel room after delivering your customers around the city all night. We drop people like you off to your multi-million dollar homes every day. We deserve a safe, hospitable place to sleep at night afterwards. I will not rest until my brother’s children are taken care of. We trust that you will do the right thing. Ilyas, on behalf of our family Updated on Dec 16, 2021, 12:33 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkDec 17th, 2021

A restaurant owner who spends thousands taking her staff on vacation says she"s had no problem finding workers

The owner of a New Hampshire restaurant took her staff to the Bahamas last year. "They're worth a week shutdown," she said. Restaurant workers across the US have been quitting their jobs over wages, working conditions, and unsocial hours.Noam Galai/Getty Images Danielle Jones says her restaurant is fully staffed, even as other restaurants struggle to hire. She credits this to paying for her staff to go on vacation twice a year. Last year, she took staff to the Bahamas. "They're worth a week shutdown," she said. A restaurant owner in North Conway, New Hampshire, who splashes out on vacations for her staff says she's not been affected by the labor shortage that's devastating other restaurants across the US.Danielle Jones, who owns the Abenaki Trail, and Bryan Dries, her boyfriend and the restaurant's general manager.Courtesy of Danielle JonesDanielle Jones, who owns the Abenaki Trail Restaurant and Pub, told Insider that she spends "a lot" on trips each year, but that was one of the main reasons why she was fully staffed."These kids are bringing me back in the money to be able to do it again," she said. "That's why I'm doing this, because you need them to stay open.For a restaurant to stay in business, "you need a good staff," she added.Jones said she pays for flights and accommodation for each member of staff to go on a trip within the US each year. This can cost up to $2,000 a head. Recent locations staff have chosen include Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Disney's Magic Kingdom.The Abenaki Trail in North Conway, New Hampshire.Courtesy of Danielle JonesJones said that also spends around $10,000 a year taking the entire restaurant staff on holiday. She took them on a cruise of the Bahamas in September and has another cruise booked for April.Jones closes the restaurant while staff are away."They're worth a week shutdown," Jones said. By paying for the trips she built better relationships with staff and "they want to come to work," she added.Jones said she was a "savvy traveler" and used frequent-flyer points and business cards to save money on the trips.She chooses to pay for her staff to go on trips rather than funneling that money into wages because she said other companies had raised wages "and everyone else doesn't have staff."Jones said entry-level pay for her cooks started at $17 an hour, with the highest-paid cook earning $30. Servers make $5 an hour, which is above the state's minimum wage for tipped workers of $3.26, and Jones said that they made between $1,200 and $1,600 a week in tips.The restaurant can seat around 200 diners. Roughly 80% of its customers are tourists.Courtesy of Danielle JonesRestaurant workers across the US have been quitting their jobs over wages, working conditions, and unsocial hours. Jones said that she was only aware of one of her employees who'd quit for a better job in the last two years.A few of her staff had moved from other local restaurants in search of better opportunities, Jones said. Some had worked at two restaurants simultaneously before making the move to just work at the Abenaki Trail.Jones said other local restaurants started closing on Mondays and Tuesdays in the summer because of lack of staff but the Abenaki Trail didn't have to.The restaurant had around 20 employees in summer, falling to around eight in the winter. Jones said that she didn't lay off anyone during the off-season. Instead, during the summer, she employed staff who had another full-time job and wanted to earn extra cash. One owned a Ben and Jerry's shop and another owned a dental office.Jones said that she bought the restaurant eight years ago after working corporate jobs for restaurant chains, which influenced her management style at The Abenaki Trail.She described herself as an active owner who worked alongside her staff serving drinks, taking orders, and cooking food, and didn't really act like a boss."So they listen, they take in what I'm trying to tell them to do, but then most of it's just fun," Jones added.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 9th, 2021