Ford Motor says it will begin phasing in a new remote-office work model. The plan is one of the first in the auto industry. It will give tens of thousands of employees the option to continue doing their jobs from home indefinitely. The Dearborn, Michigan-based carmaker announced the new policy during a virtual town hall meeting one year after it sent workers home to wait out the pandemic . The policy will apply to all non-place-dependent workers. The balance between remote and in-person work will depend on the individual employee’s needs and those of their manager.
See Hannah Denham, "Ford gives 30,000 employees the option to work from home forever, another sign of workforce transformation", The Seattle Times, April 16, 2021
Back in mid-January, the Mets fired general manager Jared Porter for sending unsolicited, sexually explicit images to a female reporter. What followed was a sport-wide examination of clubhouse culture. More has since come to light, including the involvement of former Mets manager Mickey Callaway that extended back to his days in Cleveland. On Friday, The Athletic published an article on the "rotten" culture inside the Mets' operations.
See Dennis Young, "Sandy Alderson, Mets skewered in new report on workplace sexual harassment", NY Daily News, April 16, 2021
In his final letter to shareholders, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos outlined a broad vision for the future of the company. The vision included a strong commitment to extend Amazon’s famous obsession over its customers to the same level of care for its employees. Bezos pointed to the recent union election outcome at one of Amazon’s Alabama warehouses as an example of why the company needs to address challenges within its workforce. Last week, Amazon secured enough votes to defeat a historic unionization drive at its Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse, which if successful would have represented the first union at a U.S. Amazon facility.
See Annie Palms, "Jeff Bezos says Amazon needs to do a better job for employees in his final shareholder letter as CEO", CNBC News, April 15, 2021
One of France's biggest export industries, the wine industry, is facing a devastating blow after an unusually severe frost earlier this month damaged vineyards across the country. The most added devastation to winemakers that were already struggle through the pandemic and rising US tariffs. The frost has affected 80% of vineyards in France's primary wine growing areas, according to the European Committee of Wine Companies. The frost also threatens other crops, including beets and rapeseed, according to the National Federation of Farmers' Unions.
See Hanna Ziady, "'It's a tragedy.' French winemakers face devastation after worst weather in 30 years", CNN News, April 15, 2021
As offices reopen, Uber has announced that its employees can work from home if they choose for 2 days a week. Starting in September, the ride-hailing company will shift to a hybrid model for its employees with a clear expectation that they also come into the office 3 days a week. Internal company data showed that two-thirds of Uber (UBER) employees prefer a mix of working from the office and from home. Several of Silicon Valley's biggest companies are slowly starting to reopen offices after being among the first to close them last year, offering a potential road map for what office work looks like in year two of the coronavirus pandemic.
See Rishi Iyengar, "Uber expects employees to spend at least three days a week at the office", CNN News , April 15, 2021
Following a judge approving a settlement between the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and the U.S. Women's Soccer Team players over working conditions, the U.S. women’s national team can now proceed with their appeal over claims for equal pay. The women’s team originally sued their governing body in 2019, alleging gender discrimination in compensation and nearly every other aspect of playing conditions. Judge R. Gary Klausner of the United States District Court for the Central District of California last year threw out the players’ claims that they were underpaid compared with the men’s national team and weeks later denied the players’ bid to appeal until the working conditions element was settled.
See Amy Tennery, "U.S. women's national team to appeal pay claims after working conditions settlement", Reuters, April 13, 2021
Chelsey Glasson is currently sueing her former employer, Google, for pregnancy discrimination. Glasson alleges that she faced pregnancy discrimination herself as well as witnessed others facing discrimination. Glasson’s struggle began in early 2018, after she says she overheard a director at Google criticizing a pregnant employee, and learned that the employee was being given negative feedback in her performance review after disclosing the pregnancy. In keeping with Google’s reporting guidelines, Glasson filed a complaint with human resources alleging pregnancy discrimination against her colleague. Shortly after, she says, the director began to retaliate against her over the report, interviewing other people to replace Glasson in her role. Glasson said HR acknowledged the retaliation but refused to stop it. She asked at the company how to face her boss when the ongoing investigation was making their relationship tense and was told multiple times to find a therapist.
See Kari Paul, "She sued for pregnancy discrimination. Now she’s battling Google’s army of lawyers", The Guardian, April 13, 2021
GM is cutting overtime production this weekend at two U.S. assembly plants that produce its highly profitable full-size pickups due to the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage. The plants in Flint, Michigan, and Fort Wayne, Indiana, produce a mix of the company’s full-size pickups, including the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 models as well as their larger counterparts. This is the first time that GM has cut production shifts for its full-size pickups due to the chip shortage. GM was hoping to avoid this situation, and had previously reduced production at its car and crossover plants in North America to prioritize chips for the pickups as well as the company’s full-size SUVs.
See Michael Wayland, "GM cutting overtime shifts at two U.S. truck plants due to chip shortage", CNBC, April 9, 2021
Amazon Workers at is Bessemer, Alabama, plant have voted 1,798 to 738 to reject the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. The counting concluding this morning. Currently 505 ballots are being challenged. However, the challenged ballots will most likely not have an effect due to the large margin of management victory. The union has stated that it will launch a legal challenge to the result, which is likely to look at the high number of contested ballots and union allegations of unfair tactics during the campaign. However, Amazon shares rose 0.8% today adding to earlier gains.
See Michael Sainato, "Amazon workers in Alabama vote against forming company’s first union", The Guardian, April 9, 2021
CBS has ousted two powerful TV station executives following allegations of racist and abusive behavior. The executives that were ousted are Peter Dunn, who served as president of the TV Stations group since 2009, and David Friend, senior vice president of news for more than a decade. The move comes two months after an investigation by the Los Angeles Times alleged that the pair cultivated an environment that included bullying female managers and blocking efforts to hire and retain Black journalists. The Times’ series shined a harsh light on an often overlooked corner of the company that lacks the prestige of the CBS television network but remains a vital source of local news for millions of Americans.
See Meg James, "CBS shake-up: Two TV station executives exit after L.A. Times investigation", The Los Angeles Times, April 7, 2021