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Sherman A1

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Gender: Male
Current location: U.S.
Member since: Sat May 13, 2006, 07:37 AM
Number of posts: 19,704

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Claire's Stores jewelry chain files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection


Mall jewelry chain Claire’s Stores has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, hoping to escape huge debts preventing the company from shimmering in a dim environment for retail.

Claire’s is another victim of a string of private equity buyouts orchestrated by outside investors who loaded up on debt about a decade ago, saddling retailers with burdensome payments.

Others included Toys R Us, which last week gave up its fight to restructure its operations and decided to liquidate all of its U.S. stores, barring a last-minute chance to keep the 200 best locations open.

Struggling malls, online competition and nimble physical competitors have also proven problematic.

Pickle Juice Slushes Are Coming to Sonic

I think this is important news to share in these troubled times in which we live


Sonic Drive-In is adding a potentially polarizing new drink to their menu this summer.

Our sister publication Food & Wine reports that the fast food restaurant plans to roll out pickle juice slushes to locations nationwide in June. Yes, the salty brine is being mashed up with the famous icy drinks that dye your tongue bright colors.

F&W‘s Maria Yagoda got a chance to taste the bright green beverage during a recent trip to Sonic’s headquarters in Oklahoma City—and she was shockingly pleased with the product.

“It’s surprisingly delicious (and makes a good accompaniment to burgers and/or tots and/or corn dogs.)” she writes. “Sweet and tangy, the bright brine compensates for the over-savoriness you might have been worried about.”

Unions Push Back on Trump Administration's Plans to Shrink Labor-Management Agency

The federal agency tasked with overseeing labor-management relations in government is planning to shutter two of its seven regional offices, and federal employee unions are not happy about it.

The Federal Labor Relations Authority announced the closures of its Boston and Dallas offices in its fiscal 2019 budget justification, saying the reductions would save money and eliminate less-used facilities. The Boston and Dallas offices have seen the lowest case intake rates over the last five years, FLRA said, and would result in “operating efficiencies” enabled by technological advances. The agency moved forward with the closures after a majority of FLRA members voted to approve them.

Sixteen employees would be affected by the closures, all of whom will be offered reassignments in other regions or at the Washington, D.C., headquarters. FLRA has also received authority to offer the employees early retirement, and plans to cut its workforce by 8 percent overall.


Lawsuit claims sexual harassment rife in Microsoft's 'boys' club atmosphere'

Microsoft handled 238 internal complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination in a “lacklustre” way, according to court documents published this week.

Between 2010 and 2016, women in technical jobs at the company lodged 108 complaints of sexual harassment, 119 complaints of gender discrimination, eight complaints of retaliation and three complaints of pregnancy discrimination.

The plaintiffs accuse the world’s largest software company of systematically denying pay rises or promotions to women and has an “exclusionary ‘boys’ club’ atmosphere” that is “rife with sexual harassment”.

At least three women reported sexual assault or rape by male co-workers, including a female intern who alleged rape by a male intern, reported the rape to the police as well as her supervisor and HR, and yet was forced to work alongside her accused rapist.


Tipped workers in U.S. invoke #MeToo in fight to raise minimum wage

As a waitress, Nadine Morsch was used to having to force an occasional smile for an unpleasant customer. But when a man she was serving made a reference to grabbing her butt, she warned him he better not try. And he made her pay.

For the rest of the hour he was in the diner, she says, he was "running me around as much as possible."

Morsch says she tolerated him, because she needed a good tip.

Experiences like that are one reason activists are invoking the #MeToo movement in the push for more states to adopt higher minimum wages for tipped workers. They say a wage structure that leaves workers dependent on tips often forces them to put up with harassing and abusive behavior from their customers or risk not being paid.


Kroger Cincinnati/Dayton Associates Ratify New Contract


Associates working at stores in The Kroger Co.’s Cincinnati/Dayton division have ratified a new labor agreement with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 75.

This is the first contract ratified under Restock Kroger, Kroger's plan to serve America through food inspiration and uplift. As part of Restock Kroger, Kroger is investing an incremental $500 million in associate wages, training and development over the next three years. This is in addition to the company's continued efforts to rebalance pay and benefits.

The agreement raises starting wages to at least $10 per hour and accelerates wage progressions to $11 an hour after one year of service. It also includes a premium increase for night shift work.

"UFCW Local 75 strives to negotiate contracts that secure better wages and affordable benefits, providing a voice for hard-working men and women and strengthening our communities and this contract does those important things," said Kevin Garvey, president of Local 75, which represents nearly 20,000 associates working at 109 stores in greater Cincinnati, Dayton, Northern Kentucky and Southeastern Indiana.

Toys R Us may go out of business next week, close all U.S. stores: reports

NEW YORK — Bankrupt retailer Toys “R” Us may shut all its US stores as soon as next week, according to several reports.

That’s terrible news for the two biggest publicly traded toy companies. Investors are clearly preparing for the worst. Shares of Hasbro fell 3.5% Friday morning while Mattel plunged 7%.

Smaller toy company Jakks Pacific fell nearly 5% too. Canada’s Spin Master, which owns the popular line of Hatchimals toys, was down about 3% as well on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

And everything isn’t awesome for privately held European toy giant Lego either. The plastic bricks maker reported its first sales drop in thirteen years earlier this week. So these are clearly tough times for the toy makers.


This is going to have a tremendous negative affect on not only those employed by Toys R Us, but upward in the toy & game industry distribution chain to the manufactures. It may present an opportunity for small local operators (such as game, comic and gift stores) to fill the void, but that will only come to pass if such companies as Hasbro & Mattel strive to work with and embrace the smaller operators. Target has made a commitment to expand games in their stores as of last year, but time will tell if Target, Walmart and the remaining big box Retailers are interested in increasing sales in this category.

Kroger partners with hospital to offer employees joint and spine surgeries

Hmmmm….. I can see benefits and pitfalls to this.


The Kroger Co. has teamed with The Christ Hospital Health Network’s Center of Excellence (COE) program for its employees’ total hip and total knee replacement and spine surgery benefits. The COE program allows employers to contract directly with the Cincinnati-based hospital for specific procedures at a fixed price.

“Kroger is excited to partner with The Christ Hospital to provide the best care for our associates at affordable prices,” said Theresa Monti, vice president of Total Rewards for Cincinnati-based Kroger. “We know healthcare can be complicated and our goal is to make the process easy for our associates. By establishing this partnership, we can ensure the highest-quality providers are available when associates are making decisions about their health.”

According to a report in the Cincinnati Business Courier, Kroger is the largest employer in the Greater Cincinnati Region, with a local workforce of more than 21,000. The chain has more than 440,000 employees nationwide, and about 90,000 of those who are eligible for the retailer’s health plan could be offered the option of having the surgery done in Cincinnati.

According to The Christ Hospital officials, Kroger employees on the company-sponsored healthcare plan will be guided through the joint and spine care process by a nurse navigator who will help them choose a physician; coordinate medical care from diagnosis to recovery; provide information about the procedure; and provide education on everything from the day of surgery to discharge and beyond.

Greitens accused of using Missouri Boys State emails to benefit his campaign

In 2011, Tom Dwyer was one of the “best and brightest.”

After finishing his junior year at Vianney High School, the University City teen headed to the University of Central Missouri for eight days of learning about leadership and government at Missouri Boys State. Sponsored by the American Legion, the program since 1938 has produced governors, senators and business leaders.

People like Eric Greitens. In 1991, after his junior year at Parkway North High School, Greitens was a Boys Stater. Twenty years later, after graduating from Duke University with a degree in ethics, becoming a Rhodes Scholar and Navy SEAL and founding the nonprofit The Mission Continues, Greitens was a keynote speaker at Boys State.

That’s when Dwyer met the man who would become the first sitting governor in the state of Missouri to be indicted on a felony charge.


Public weighs in on West Lake proposal, overwhelmingly wants more thorough cleanup

BRIDGETON • Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a long-awaited proposal to partially remove the radioactive contamination at the West Lake Landfill Superfund site here, while placing a protective cap over material left behind.

At the time, many in the community regarded the move as a welcome sign of progress after decades of inaction toward remediating the site, and some even expressed tepid support for the proposal to remove about 67 percent of the site’s radioactivity by excavating to a depth of 16 feet.

But at a packed and emotionally charged meeting in Bridgeton on Tuesday night, scores of speakers provided vocal, and largely critical, feedback to high-ranking EPA officials in attendance, overwhelmingly pushing for full removal of the site’s World War II-era nuclear waste.

That more extensive cleanup option, identified as “Alternative 7” among the eight strategies under consideration by the EPA, is also the most expensive on the table, with an estimated cost of $455 million, compared to $236 million for the current proposal. The costs will be covered by a handful of public and private entities deemed liable for the cleanup.

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