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Denny’s Shows How A Diverse Supply Chain Can Make A Significant Social Impact

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The desire for organizations to create more inclusive and diverse workplaces continues to gain momentum as business leaders expand the scope of internal programs beyond their workforce into communities, corporate partnerships and supplier strategies. In fact, some organizations are finding that diversifying their supply chain holds some of the greatest potential in driving social and economic impact.

Take Denny’s, for example. The international restaurant chain — which has been in business for more than 65 years — releases public annual diversity reports, the most recent of which states that its constellation of more than 1,700 restaurants is 90% franchised-owned and just over 49% minority-owned, including 22% women-owned and 5% LGBTQ-owned. But Denny’s growing diversity across franchise-ownership is only one means the company uses to increase equity across minority populations.

The company also maintains a track record of spending over $2 billion for diverse and disadvantaged suppliers, since beginning its Supplier Diversity program, which Denny’s Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, April Kelly-Drummond, is particularly proud of. Denny’s diverse supplier spending has exceeded 10% every year for the past decade. “We stretch our goals every year,” Kelly-Drummond says. “In 2019, diverse spending represented 14.1% of our purchases, one of the highest in the industry.”

These statistics are the result of a long-running philosophy at Denny’s to influence economic empowerment for the employees and customers in the communities it serves. Denny’s workforce of more than 9,000 people identifies as 68% minority, including 52% above the management level. Their board of directors is also 44% minority and 33% female.

“It’s about all of us being able to have a seat at the table, knowing that we can help eliminate barriers not just within our company, but also support what’s happening in our communities,” Kelly-Drummond says.

Community partnership is a main focus of Denny’s everyday DE&I programming, not only in terms of supplier diversity and franchise ownership but also engagement, in the form of their Hungry for Education scholarship program and Denny’s Mobile Relief Diner — which sends employee-volunteers to communities affected by natural disasters who set up emergency charging stations and feed families and first responders.

“Just like our employees, franchisees have to be a reflection of what our country looks like,  because we’re ‘Denny’s, America’s Diner’,” Kelly-Drummond says. “It’s important for us to have a diverse franchise network, because our customers need to see that.”

And they continue to push forward.

Since John Miller became CEO of Denny’s in 2011, he has remained committed to Denny’s DE&I effort across all levels of the company. When he mandated unconscious bias training for employees, he did so for himself, as well. “We’ve done unconscious bias training since we signed the CEO Action pledge,” Miller says. “It was great for our board. We decided that we wanted to take this to above store leaders, and then to our whole franchise system.”

Miller was one of the original CEOs to sign the pledge with CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion  — a coalition of more than 1,400 CEOs and university presidents who have committed to take action to address DE&I issues in their organizations and communities — when the coalition first launched in 2017. “The ability to hook up with a group of other CEOs and share best practices was a really big step for us,” he says. “There is accountability in this partnership, this group of people, these groups of companies.”

Miller also serves on the Governing Committee at CEO Action for Racial Equity, a fellowship the coalition launched to harness talent from more than 100 signatory companies to advance racial equity through public policy. Focusing on education, healthcare, economic empowerment and public safety, the fellowship was formed to identify and develop both sustainable public policies and corporate engagement strategies that will address systemic racism and social injustice.

And while Miller’s commitments to equity set a tone for the rest of the company, he is not the only leader at Denny’s to devote their talents and influence to the fellowship. The CEO also elected Kelly-Drummond to participate in the fellowship alongside Gail Sharps Myers, SVP and General Counsel and Ramon Torres, Vice President of Operations Services at Denny’s.

“We have to confront the brutal facts in our society,” Miller says. “There are policies and biases that hold people back: education, welfare, participation in the economy, business ownership, the level which people of color participate in upper-management boards and business ownership, access to bank loans. All those things, factually speaking, indicate we have a long way to go.”

While Denny’s actions span a far reach, Miller invites other business leaders to engage in DE&I practices to drive change in whatever capacity their resources allow.

To CEOs who are looking to increase equity, Miller has some advice, particularly for those who are intimidated by the scale and complexity of the systems that stand in the way of nationwide equity: “Be focused where you have impact. Focus on what you can do today, and get after it. Hold yourself accountable, and then, reach out and join CEO Action, where you can get access to great best practices and a group of CEOs that will help you.”

PwC’s new series, Why I Act, produced in association with the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion™, highlights the many ways companies and their leaders are affecting change for a more diverse, inclusive and better future. With more than 1,400 CEOs that have taken the pledge, CEO Action is the largest CEO-led business coalition focused on advancing diversity and inclusion in the U.S. To learn more, visit CEOAction.com.

This article was paid for by PwC and co-created by RYOT Studio. HuffPost editorial staff did not participate in the creation of this content.





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DWP benefits payments

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DWP benefits payments
Payments and benefits from DWP and HMRC are due to rise by 10.1% from April 2023 (Image: Getty)

DWP benefits payments

An estimated 19.2 million households and 39.8 million individuals in the UK are currently receiving state pensions or benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which would see their payments increase by 10.1%. subsequent years. This uprating will be effective from April 10, 2023.

While this may seem far-fetched, it provides a good opportunity to start planning your household budget early to figure out how the increase could boost your finances, especially in the wake of a living crisis. . Costs show no signs of abating. Just remember that although the uprating goes into effect in early April, it won’t show up in most payments until May because most payments are four weeks out.

Both the DWP and HMRC have now published full details of the new pay rates, revised benefit limits and tax credit limits on GOV.UK. We’ve summarized the changes below and listed them alphabetically to make it easier to find the payment you’re looking for.

DWP State Pension and benefit payment rates 2023/24

The benefit cap will rise from £23,000 to £25,323 for families in Greater London and from £20,000 to £22,020 for families elsewhere across the UK.

Lower caps for single households without children will rise from £15,410 to £16,967 in Greater London and from £13,400 to £14,753 nationally.

Weekly rates are shown, unless otherwise stated.

Attendance Allowance

  • Higher rate: £101.75 (from £92.40)
  • Lower rate: £68.10 (from £61.85)

Carer’s Allowance

  • April 2023 rate: £76.75 (from £69.70)

Disability Living Allowance / Child Disability Payment

Care Component

  • Highest: £101.75 (from £92.40)
  • Middle: £68.10 (from £61.85)
  • Lowest: £26.90 (from £24.45)
  • Higher: £71.00 (from £64.50)
  • Lower: £26.90 (from £24.45)

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

  • Under 25: £67.20 (from £61.05)
  • 25 or over: £84.80 (from £77.00)

Incapacity Benefit (long-term)

  • April 2023 rate: £130.20 (from £118.25)

Income Support

  • Under 25: £67.20 (from £61.05)
  • 25 or over: £84.80 from (£77.00)

Jobseeker’s Allowance (contributions based)

  • Under 25: £67.20 (from £61.05)
  • 25 or over: £84.80 (from £77.00)

Jobseeker’s Allowance (income-based)

  • Under 25: £67.25 (from £61.05)
  • 25 or over: £84.80 (from £77.00)

Maternity/Paternity/Shared Parental Allowance

  • Standard rate: £172.48 (from £156.66)

Pension Credit

  • Single: £201.05 (from £182.60)
  • Couple: £306.85 (from £278.70)

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) / Adult Disability payment

Daily Living Component

  • Enhanced: £101.75 (from £92.40)
  • Standard: £68.10 (from £61.85)

Mobility Component

  • Enhanced: £71.00 (from £64.50)
  • Standard: £26.90 (from £24.45)

State Pension

  • Full New State Pension: £203.85 (from £185.15)
  • Basic Old State Pension (Category A or B): £156.20 (from £141.85)

Widow’s Pension

  • Standard rate: £139.10 (from £126.35)

Universal Credit (Monthly rates shown)

Standard allowance

  • Single under 25: £292.11 (from £265.31)
  • Single 25 or over: £368.74 (from £334.91)

Couple

  • Joint claimants both under 25: £458.51 (from £416.45)
  • Joint claimants, one or both 25 or over: £578.82 (from £525.72)

You can read the full guide to changes in payments from DWP from April 2023 on GOV.UK here.

Child Benefit payment rates for 2023/24

There are two Child Benefit rates in place.

Current rates per week

  • Eldest or only child – £21.80
  • Additional children – £14.45

New rates per week – from April 2023

  • Eldest or only child – £24.00
  • Additional children – £15.90

Guardian’s Allowance rates from April 2023

The new weekly rate for Guardian’s Allowance will be £20.40 – an increase of £1.85 on the current 2022/23 rate of £18.55.

Working Tax Credit rates for 2023/24 (yearly amount shown)

Working Tax Credit is paid to people who are in work and on a low income – it does not matter whether you are an employee or self-employed, and you do not need to have children to get the payment.

Child Tax Credit is paid to people who have children and is paid in addition to Child Benefit and the Scottish Child Payment – you do not have to be working to receive it.

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Bitcoin mining has been under a microscope lately. We talked to a crypto expert to understand why blockchain is getting a bad rap.

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If you’ve even casually followed Bitcoin news lately, you may have seen headlines such as these: 

“Bill Gates Sounds Alarm On Bitcoin’s Energy Consumption”

“Bitcoin’s wild ride renews worries about its massive carbon footprint“

“Why does Bitcoin need more energy than whole countries?”

These captions are meant to drive clicks and perhaps even plant a seed of doubt in the public’s mind about trending cryptocurrencies. But is crypto trading the energy vampire that the media has made it out to be? 

We spoke with podcast producer and blockchain expert Matthew Diemer, a longtime player in the crypto industry, to get a more balanced view of this issue. Diemer manages The Decrypt Daily podcast, which discusses all aspects of crypto news and information. 

Popular digital currencies

Before we dive into the conversation, let’s start with a quick rewind on some basic cryptocurrency facts. Currently, there are dozens of virtual currencies, also known as tokens, available to purchase and trade. However, the most well-known currency by far is Bitcoin, having been around now for over a decade. 

Other rising stars in the crypto space include Ethereum, dogecoin, and Litecoin. And recently, a wave of interest in NFTs is fueling public demand (however, NFTs, or “non-fungible tokens,” are a type of virtual product that exists primarily within the Ethereum blockchain.) 

To understand how energy use and blockchain (i.e., the technology that allows cryptocurrencies to exist) are intertwined, one has to dig a little deeper into the processes of creating and trading cryptocurrencies.

Proof of Work makes crypto function

Blockchain technology involves a method of tracking every single transaction called Proof of Work (PoW). Essentially, PoW is a publicly documented record, also called a ledger, organized by a group called miners. Miners, predictably, are the ones that mine to create new tokens by recording every transaction for the blockchain. 

As Diemer explains, miners take each “transaction in the data and put it into the decentralized database. Once it’s put in that decentralized database, that one person wins and gets the block reward because they are the first person to do that. Basically, that transaction is now locked within the blockchain. And we call it a blockchain because you can see the chain of transactions all the way back to the beginning, or the genesis, block of Bitcoin.”

Miners repeat these tasks continually as more crypto is bought and sold. So, because this process involves performing extremely complex algorithms repeatedly, mining uses energy, and lots of it. Now that the connection between energy use and blockchain is clear, let’s dive deeper into the energy and mining relationship at the crux of this controversy.

Energy use and Bitcoin mining

Though Diemer is the first to admit that Bitcoin mining “takes a lot of energy, around 170 Terawatts per block,” he also says we should be careful about how we frame up the idea of energy use when it comes to blockchain management. 

Diemer states, “I don’t like the term energy usage because I think that’s disingenuous. We should be thinking about the word carbon emissions, or CO2 footprint.” But, Diemer said, we should “be concerned about the CO2 footprint of any kind of energy consumption.”

To his point, the laser focus on Bitcoin in relation to energy is leaving out a lot of factors. For example, Diemer says, Bitcoin obtains “74% of electricity from renewable sources,” a stat backed up by a 2019 CoinShares report

Based on this data, the topic of crypto energy consumption requires a reframing of sorts. In other words, Diemer states, “do we care about how much energy is consumed, if it’s renewable? No, because it’s renewable.”

Bitcoin as a business

Diemer proposes that when it comes to energy management, crypto miners might be more concerned than most people because it affects their bottom line. “Bitcoin mining is a business proposition. You want to get the cheapest energy to do this business because it takes a lot of energy to mine Bitcoin. Therefore, anything that is not the cheapest possible is a negative against your business.”

“Bitcoin miners purposely set up next to renewable power sources and use their excess energy.” In other words, Diemer suggests mining is using energy that would otherwise be wasted. Indeed, recent reports show as much as 72% of the energy produced globally is lost.

Bitcoin mining unlikely to drive Texas energy prices

The bulk of Bitcoin mining is located overseas, with the vast majority (65%) of that taking place in China, according to Statista. Although China is heavily dependent on coal energy, savvy miners have found a way to harness unused power. 

Diemer explained, miners “actively search out the cheapest, most efficient ways to conduct this business. I had somebody on the show that had a Bitcoin mining firm in Sichuan, and that’s exactly what they did. They flew to Sichuan and found one of the many dams that are there and nestled up next to it and started a partnership with them.”

Currently, less than 8% of mining is U.S.-based. However, that stat is likely to change as crypto continues to grow in popularity, causing miners stateside to look for the best places to expand their pursuits. And one location set to skyrocket in popularity is Texas. 

Crypto mining in Texas

Texas is an attractive hub for would-be miners. The Lone Star State is already ripe for solar energy generation. Texas currently leads the U.S. in solar generation, lagging only behind California. Texas is also a leader in other types of renewable energy, such as wind power, which could be essential to low-cost and efficient mining operations. 

But with Texas struggling through an energy crisis for the first part of 2021, how much more pressure can the southern power grid stand? Will prices skyrocket even more than during the February winter storm, And how much of that cost will be passed onto the consumer? 

Like the situation in China, Texas miners can use energy that would otherwise go to waste. And it is precisely this type of symbiotic relationship that could be a boon for energy production in the south-central region of the U.S. 

A mining facility already exists in west Texas was able to “sell its contracted power supplies back into the grid for a profit,” according to Bloomberg. So, “when power prices in Texas topped $200 a megawatt-hour, Layer1 reaped returns of more than 700%.”

The good news is that if other facilities follow suit, mining may help the Texas power grid retain more of its renewable energy. However, whether or not the excess energy will translate into savings for Texas electricity customers remains to be seen.

Why mining gets blamed for energy consumption

The question still remains that if miners are so strategic about optimizing energy, why has bitcoin mining been getting the brunt of the blame for energy consumption? 

Traditional monetary transactions involving fiat (i.e., government-issued) currency involve significant energy output as well. Consider the number of debit and credit card swipes that take place every second, which totaled over 174 billion transactions globally in 2018, according to the Federal Reserve. With that figure in mind, is the blockchain industry liable for energy gluttony, or are they being scapegoated by the “old guard” in the finance space? 

Diemer states, “I think that it’s an easy narrative, and I think that narrative always trumps research and due diligence. It’s easy to run with a narrative instead of actually digging down on the conversation and trying to understand what’s happening.” 

But Diemer is confident that the same avant-garde thinkers that facilitated the early days of crypto may be the same innovative minds that come up with our next big energy solution. “The interesting thing about the free market is that sometimes they find solutions to problems…that aren’t thought of by the public or the government.”

Perhaps he sums it up best by saying, “The minds in this space are just brilliant individuals that are thinking literally like Sci-Fi novels. And not only thinking like Sci-Fi novels, but they’re also writing the Sci-Fi novel as we speak and then putting it into everyday action. And if that’s not inspiring to you, then I don’t know what is.”

Energy Expert

Lisa Iscrupe is a writer with over 15 years of experience working in the energy and telecom space. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts focused in English Language and Literature from UNC Charlotte.

[SlavkoSereda]/Getty Images

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Falcons coach tight-lipped about Julio Jones’ future

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The Atlanta Falcons began their offseason training program Tuesday without longtime star receiver Julio Jones, who apparently has no intention of returning to a rebuilding team that is still struggling to get under the salary cap.

Rookie coach Arthur Smith was tight-lipped about the Falcons’ options, but insisted that he doesn’t begrudge Jones for speaking his mind.

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“We encourage our players to speak for themselves,” Smith said during an interview session dominated by questions about Jones’ future. “That doesn’t change anything for us. We understand our plan going forward. We’ve had multiple private conversations with our players. Those conversations will remain private on my end.”

After plenty of questions about the seven-time Pro Bowler who, along with Matt Ryan, has been the face of the franchise for the past decade, Jones brought the situation to a head in a brief interview Monday with former NFL star Shannon Sharpe.

“I’m outta there,” Jones told the host of the “Undisputed” on FS1. When asked where he wants to play, the 32-year-old replied, “Right now, I wanna win.”

That seems unlikely with the Falcons, who are coming off their third straight losing season. Atlanta fired coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff after an 0-5 start to a year that ended at 4-12.

Smith and new general manager Terry Fontenot have made it clear that all options are on the table as they attempt to rebuild the roster and deal with several salary cap limitations, which could be eased greatly by trading Jones.

After months of silence from both sides, Jones appears to be pushing for a resolution. In addition to his interview with Sharpe, a photo surfaced on social media of the receiver posing with the fan while wearing a Dallas Cowboys sweatshirt.

Asked about Jones’ choice of attire, Smith called it “irrelevant.”

“You can wear whatever you want,” the coach said. “I don’t care.”

While the Cowboys would not seem to be in the market for another top receiver, there are teams that would surely benefit from having a dynamic player who had six straight seasons with more than 1,300 yards receiving until he was limited to nine games in 2020 by injuries.

Among the teams that might interested in Jones: the San Francisco 49ers, coached by former Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan; the New England Patriots, who have already made a big splash in free agency; and the Jacksonville Jaguars, buoyed by a new franchise quarterback (Trevor Lawrence) and more cap space than any team in the league.

Jones’ status has certainly become a hot topic around the league, with Arizona receiver DeAndre Hopkins even sending a tweet — since deleted — implying he’d to restructure his contract if that’s what it took for Cardinals to deal for Jones.

Hopkins was at it again on Monday, posting a picture on Instagram of himself with Jones, receiver A.J. Green and former NFL star Michael Irvin at the 2016 Pro Bowl. He included the message, “Julio u remember what we talked about.”

Smith repeatedly refused to discuss any aspects of the Jones drama, from reports that the receiver privately requested a trade before the NFL draft to whether there’s any chance of a reconciliation with one of the team’s most popular players. The coach did say that every player on the roster has received a playbook and all information related to the voluntary OTAs (organized team activities).

“We’ve got so much respect and appreciation for what Julio Jones has done here with this franchise and what he’s meant to this city,” Smith said “But we have conversations about our roster all the time. We have to have contingency plans.”

Jones’ $15.3 million base salary is guaranteed and he’s set to cost the Falcons slightly more than $23 million against the salary cap next season. If he’s traded after June 1, they would be able to split the dead money over two seasons, which would greatly ease their grim financial situation.

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As it stands, the Falcons still must clear several million dollars just to sign a draft class led by the No. 4 overall pick, tight end Kyle Pitts.

While trading Jones makes sense financially, especially given the emergence of receivers Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage, the situation has cast a pall over a franchise that has never seemed to recover from blowing a 28-3 lead in the 2017 Super Bowl.

Ryan made it clear last week how much Jones has meant to the team’s success.

“I love Julio. I’ve been so lucky to play with him for the past decade,” Ryan said. “He’s an incredible competitor and one of the best to ever do it at his position.”

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Amazon’s Profit More Than Triples As Pandemic Boom Continues

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NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon’s pandemic boom isn’t showing signs of slowing down.

The company said Thursday that its first-quarter profit more than tripled from a year ago, fueled by the growth of online shopping. It also posted revenue of more than $100 billion, the second quarter in a row that the company has passed that milestone.

Amazon is one of the few retailers that has benefited during the pandemic. As physical stores temporarily closed, people stuck at home turned to Amazon to buy groceries, cleaning supplies and more. That doesn’t seem to be dying down.

In the first three months of this year, the company reported profit of $8.1 billion, compared to $2.5 billion the year before. Earnings per share came to $15.79, about $6 more per share than what Wall Street analysts expected, according to FactSet.

Revenue jumped 44% to $108.5 billion. Seattle-based Amazon is one of four American companies that have reported quarterly revenue above $100 billion. The others are iPhone maker Apple, oil and gas company Exxon Mobil and retailer Walmart.

Amazon said revenue will remain at that level in the second quarter, expecting between $110 billion and $116 billion. Part of the reason why: It plans to hold Prime Day, its popular sales event, during the quarter. Amazon didn’t specify a date for Prime Day, but said it would happen before the end of June.

Besides online shopping, Amazon’s other businesses grew, too. Sales at its cloud-computing business, which helps power the online operations of Netflix, McDonald’s and other companies, grew 32% in the quarter. And at its unit that includes its advertising business, where brands pay to get their products to show up first when shoppers search on the site, sales rose 77%.

Amazon’s growth comes as it faces activism from within its workforce. Workers at a warehouse in Alabama tried to unionize, saying they wanted better pay and more break time. But a majority of voters batted down that effort.

This week, Amazon announced it was giving more than 500,000 workers a raise of between 50 cents and $3 an hour starting next month to attract new workers. The company already pays at least $15 an hour.

The online shopping giant has been on a hiring spree to keep up with a surge in orders. It had 1.27 million employees at the end of March, adding more than 430,000 people in the last year.

Shares of Amazon.com Inc., which are up 40% in the last year, rose 2.6% in after-hours trading Thursday.



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Watch Consumer Reports Trick A Tesla Into Driving Without A Driver

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Consumer Reports has released a video revealing how a vehicle operator tricked a Tesla into driving in autopilot mode without a person in the driver’s seat to take over in case of trouble.

The demonstration was broadcast just days after two friends died in a fiery crash in Texas in a 2019 Tesla Model S that authorities said had no driver — which Tesla CEO Elon Musk has denied.

Rigging the car to run on its own appeared relatively easy (check out the video above). A small weight was attached to the steering wheel to mimic the touch of a driver’s hand, but the person in the car actually touched nothing and sat in the front passenger seat. The car traveled down the road and emitted no warning that no one was in charge.

Tesla’s Autopilot website warns that its cars are not “autonomous.” Autopilot is “intended for use with a fully attentive driver, who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any time,” the website states.

The site, however, gives mixed messages. In a featured video on the Autopilot site, a car is shown traveling all over town while the driver does nothing and has his hands in his lap. A message at the start of the video notes that the “person in the driver’s seat is only there for legal reasons. He is not doing anything. The car is driving itself.

Musk has largely shrugged off concerns about the autopilot feature and has insisted it makes the cars safer by helping drivers. Drivers have been known to fall asleep at the wheel, read or text while driving, or simply stop paying attention to the road when using the feature.

The friends in Texas, ages 59 and 69, were killed last Saturday night when the Tesla missed a curve and crashed into a tree, causing a fiery explosion in a residential neighborhood in suburban Houston. Their wives had heard them discussing trying out the car’s autopilot function as they left, according to law enforcement authorities. There was no one in the driver’s seat when firefighters extinguished the car blaze, according to Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman. One man was in the front passenger seat; the other was in the back seat, according to Herman.

It took four hours and 32,000 gallons of water to put out the fire because the car’s lithium battery cells kept reigniting.

After Tesla stock dropped 3.4% Monday after the accident was widely reported, Musk denied the car was driverless. He insisted in a tweet that “data logs recovered so far” showed that the autopilot was “not enabled” in the crash.  He also said the owner had not purchased an “FSD” ― a Full Self-Driving package. 

Herman told Reuters that Musk’s tweet Monday was the first officials had heard from Tesla. He said authorities would serve search warrants on the company to obtain any data it had recovered from the vehicle.

“If he is tweeting that out, if he has already pulled the data, he hasn’t told us that,” Herman said. “We will eagerly wait for that data.”

Tesla officials did apologize on Thursday — but not for the Texas crash. Tesla promised to cooperative fully in an investigation into a February multi-car crash in China. One of the drivers in that crash had climbed atop a Tesla at a car show in a protest blaming her Tesla’s brakes for the crash.

“We will work with regulators to conduct a deep-dive investigation with no reservations, and accept society’s supervision with sincerity and openness,” the company said on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo, Vice reported.

Tesla offered a “deep apology” for failing to solve the problem, pledged to win back consumers’ support “with genuine sincerity” and promised to cover all the costs of a third-party examination of the protester’s vehicle.

The Communist Party’s powerful corruption watchdog had criticized Tesla as “spoiled and arrogant,” and warned it against “making Chinese people’s money while taking Chinese people’s lives,” Vice reported. 





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Union Claims Amazon Tainted Election, Wants Vote Overturned

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The union that lost an election at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama this month has accused the company of breaking labor laws during the campaign and asked federal officials to throw out the results.

The Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) filed 23 charges at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Friday alleging Amazon created an atmosphere of fear and confusion surrounding the vote. The union said in a statement that its claims “constitute grounds to set the election aside” and order a new one.

Among other charges, the union alleges that Amazon threatened workers with layoffs or the closure of the warehouse if they unionized, as well as cuts to their pay and benefits. It is illegal for employers to make such threats.

An Amazon spokesperson said the company denies the allegations.

“Rather than accepting these employees’ choice, the union seems determined to continue misrepresenting the facts in order to drive its own agenda,” the company said in a statement. “We look forward to the next steps in the legal process.”

Workers voted 1,798 to 738 against unionizing in a preliminary tally, although the labor board has not yet certified those results. It’s likely that NLRB officials will hold a hearing on the union’s allegations, offering the union a chance to present its evidence. 

The election results could ultimately be overturned, although such a case could last months or years due to appeals.

Stuart Appelbaum, the RWDSU’s president, told HuffPost after the election that he believed Amazon acted illegally and the results should not be certified.

“We think there needs to be a new election,” he said.

Even if the results are thrown out, the union would have to win a new election at a warehouse where it just lost. Regardless, the hearings could provide the union with a way to air its case against Amazon, which carried out an aggressive and so far successful anti-union campaign.



Amazon urged workers to cast their ballots as quickly as possible, even having a billboard put up on the interstate.

In their filing with the board, the union says Amazon broke the law by having a U.S. Postal Service box placed at the warehouse for the election. An NLRB official had told the company it could not have drop boxes onsite for the mail-in election, but the company asked the Postal Service to install a temporary mailbox.

The union accuses Amazon of surveilling the mailbox and pressuring workers to bring their ballots to work to drop them in the box. Amazon says that it did not surveil the mailbox and that only the Postal Service had access to it.

“It created the impression … that Amazon was conducting the election,” Appelbaum said.

In the filing, the union also accuses Amazon of carrying out “an extensive campaign” of polling and “interrogating” workers about their union support, and holding mandatory meetings in which the company told workers “that the union will go on strike and that employees will lose money.”

That appears to be a reference to the so-called “captive audience” meetings in which consultants delivered talking points against the union. These meetings are a standard feature of anti-union campaigns, and Amazon workers told HuffPost they took place every week in the run-up to the vote.



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CEO Hits Back At Fox News After They Derided Him For Offering $70,000 Minimum Salaries

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The last six years have been a long strange trip for CEO Dan Price.

Back in 2015, the tech entrepreneur shocked the business world by slashing his own $1.1 million pay package to help fund a minimum “living wage” of $70,000 for all workers at his credit card processing company Gravity Payments.

Price’s decision led to him being heavily criticized as a “socialist” on Fox News and Fox Business. In addition, some clients dropped Gravity for reasons that included fears the salary hike would cause their rates to rise. 

But in the years since, Price has been hailed as a success by Harvard Business School and Inc. magazine, which noted the number of employees at Gravity has doubled while the value of payments that the company processes has gone from $3.8 billion a year to $10.2 billion.

On Tuesday, Price referenced this success in a viral Twitter thread and video that took aim at his conservative critics, particularly Fox.

It hasn’t all been a smooth ride, Price admitted.

He also explained what inspired his decision to cut his own salary to $70,000 a year and raise pay for workers, saying the discovery that an employee was secretly working a second job at McDonald’s made him realize he was an “awful CEO.”

Although he took a drastic pay cut, Price said he doesn’t miss the “millionaire lifestyle” one bit.





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