Following a company-wide call at Universal Music Group earlier this week, several employees were informed that they would be impacted by layoffs. Universal Music Group’s labels are being consolidated under Republic Records and Interscope Records. Labels on the East Coast of the United States will be consolidated under Republic Records, while labels on the West Coast of the country will be consolidated under Interscope Records. The layoffs will mostly target workers on the West Coast, and this is due to the removal of redundancies between various Universal Music Group labels. There is significant overlap between positions at Interscope Records and Capitol Records on the West Coast, and there are fewer redundancies between positions at Republic Records and Def Jam Recordings and Island Records on the East Coast, because Def Jam Recordings and Island Records are smaller labels.
See Jem Aswad, "Layoffs Begin Hitting Universal Music Group", Variety, March 1, 2024
The union representing Starbucks workers, Workers United, and Starbucks have finally reached a middle ground and have agreed to begin negotiations for union contracts. Workers United and Starbucks have been in disagreement for the past two years, and the company has publicly opposed union organizing and has refused to acknowledge Starbucks unions. Around four hundred Starbucks locations around the country have voted in approval of union representation, and up until now the union claimed that Starbucks was bargaining in bad faith. Starbucks has released a statement detailing the talks between the company and the union to establish a foundational framework for collective bargaining agreements. The company also stated that it intends to finish contract negotiations before the end of this year.
See Dave Jamieson, "Starbucks, Union Agree On ‘Path Forward’ To Work Together", HuffPost, March 1, 2024
Thousands of public transport workers in Greece participated in strike action Wednesday, the one-year anniversary of the most fatal train crash in the country that occurred in Northern Greece. The accident killed thirty-two people and injured more than eighty-five people. A memorial service at the site of the crash, and the community gathered to honor the victims. In addition, the strike action was timed to coincide with the one-year anniversary. Unions are demanding the removal of wage constraints, which have been in place due to the financial crisis in Greece. Along with the strikes that disrupted public trains in Athens, ferries were kept in ports which delayed the transportation of goods. Flights around Greece were not affected because the government determined that strike action taken by air traffic controllers was illegal.
See Derek Gatapoulos, Costas Kantouris, "Strikes halt trains and ferries in Greece a year after country’s worst rail disaster that killed 57", AP News, March 1, 2024
Deutsche Bank AB recently announced to employees that the company would be reducing the number of hours employees are allowed to work from home. The new rules will require employees to work in the office at least three days a week, while the previous rules allowed employees to work from home for up to sixty percent of the work week. A significant number of Deutsche Bank AB employees in Germany are represented by the German Farmers’ Association, also known as DBV, and the union has expressed opposition to the new in-person requirements. Workers have stated that Deutsche Bank AB does not currently have enough office space to accommodate workers, and the new rule has resulted in bottlenecks in offices. Following the widespread backlash from company employees, the CEO and the COO have stated that they will discuss in-person requirements with the various labor unions that represent employees around the world.
See Steven Arons, "Deutsche Bank faces ‘enormous resistance among staff’ in return-to-office push, union says", Fortune, February 28, 2024
Hotels around the United States have been dealing with worker shortages and tighter budgets, and these obstacles may lead to increases in travel costs for consumers. Hotels are working with tighter budgets due to increases in employee wages, which have increased in the hospitality industry in recent years. The hospitality industry in total is expected to pay $123 billion in wages this year. Many hotels also do not provide daily housekeeping services and certain amenities due to the shortage of workers. Consumers experience a lower quality of service due to staff shortages, and they have to pay more because a portion of wage increases is passed onto consumers. Employment levels in the hospitality industry have remained low since the COVID-19 pandemic, as workers affected by pandemic layoffs switched to different industries that paid higher wages.
See Shannon Thaler, "Hotel staff shortages could push US travel costs to an all-time high", New York Post, February 28, 2024
Sony released a statement detailing the company’s decision to lay off hundreds of employees in the PlayStation division. Around nine hundred jobs will be cut, and the layoffs will reduce Sony’s workforce by eight percent. The company will provide affected employees with severance pay and benefits. Sony stated that the layoffs will allow the company to restructure and will be better positioned for the future as the technology industry has significantly changed in the past years. The layoffs will impact Sony employees around the world, and workers in Asia, North America, Europe, and Africa will be affected by the company’s decision. In addition, the company’s London office will completely close, and Sony will also significantly reduce the Firesprite studio in Liverpool.
See Michelle Chapman, "Sony to cut about 900 jobs in its PlayStation unit as layoffs in technology, gaming sector continue", AP News, February 28, 2024
Major League Soccer referees represented by the Professional Soccer Referees Association have rejected a proposed union contract from the Professional Referee Organization. The Professional Referee Organization employs referee officials for professional soccer leagues. The Major League Soccer season is set to start this week, and replacement referees will officiate games. The Professional Referee Organization will lock out unionized referees and will rely on non-unionized workers for the start of the MLS season. Unionized referees approved strike authorization earlier this month, and are demanding greater pay and improved benefits, better traveling and scheduling arrangements.
See Joe Hernandez, "MLS will open its season this week with replacement referees after labor talks falter", NPR, February 28, 2024
Bumble, a popular dating app, has announced layoffs that will affect 350 workers. The layoffs will cut Bumble’s workforce by thirty percent, and the company stated that the cuts will allow the company to adjust its operating model to put the company in a better position for future success. Bumble also claims that the changes will improve user experiences and will increase the efficiency of the app. Compared to the fourth quarter revenue last year, Bumble earned over thirty million dollars more in revenue in the fourth quarter this year. The technology industry has experienced widespread layoffs in the past months, and thousands of workers working at numerous popular technology companies have lost their jobs.
See Ashley Capoot, "Bumble to lay off 350 employees as tech industry job cuts mount", CNBC, February 28, 2024
Marks & Spencer has announced pay raises for employees all around the United Kingdom, and over forty thousand workers will experience wage increases. The company will increase pay in London to over thirteen pounds an hour and will raise wages outside of London to twelve pounds an hour. The pay raises increase pay in London and outside of London by over one pound an hour. Marks & Spencer also stated that the company will improve maternity, paternity, and adoption policies, and will increase the number of fully paid weeks off. The wage increases mean that all Marks & Spencer employees will earn the voluntary Real Living Wage. Other grocery companies in the UK have also implemented wage increases, including Aldi, Sainsbury’s, Lidl, and Tesco.
See Sam Gruet, "Marks & Spencer raises pay in battle for supermarket staff", BBC, February 27, 2024
The United Auto Workers union is working to unionize workers at a Mercedes Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Over half the workers have signed union cards and are on board with being represented by the UAW. The UAW is working towards unionizing foreign-owned automobile plants in the southern states, following the union’s historic win with the Big Three Automakers. The plant produces Mercedes Benz sport utility vehicles, and the factory was the first major Mercedes Benz factory outside of Germany when it was opened in the mid-1990s. Many foreign automobile manufacturers establish factories in the southern states due to lower wages and weak union presence. Previous efforts by the UAW to organize southern auto plants have failed, but the UAW is currently gaining momentum at Hyundai and Volkswagen plants along with the Mercedes Benz plant.
See Dave Jamieson, "Majority Of Workers At Alabama Mercedes Plant Signed Union Cards, UAW Says", HuffPost , February 27, 2024