NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon workers in Staten Island, New York, voted Friday to unionize, marking the first successful U.S. organizing effort in the retail giant’s history. Warehouse workers cast 2,654 union votes, giving Amazon’s fledgling union enough support to secure a victory. According to the National Labor Relations Board, which oversees the process, 2,131 workers rejected the union’s application. The 67 ballots contested by Amazon or the ALU were not enough to influence the result. The victory was an uphill battle for the ALU, made up of former and current workers who lacked the official backing of an established union and were overtaken by the deep-pocketed retail giant .
Journalists embarrassed, not muzzled, by Russian reporting rules
NEW YORK (AP) — New restrictions on journalists in Russia have hampered but not muzzled reporting on the country and its war in Ukraine. A law enacted March 4 that criminalizes the dissemination of so-called “false news” and carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, says journalists cannot call the Russian invasion of Ukraine a ” war”. Some news agencies have withdrawn their reporters from Russia, and many are withholding what they are doing for security reasons. But the tools of the modern reporting trade — social media, the internet, cellphones — have enabled many news outlets to keep a close eye on what’s happening in Russia.
Clearview AI facial scanner aims to diversify beyond law enforcement
NEW YORK (AP) — A controversial facial recognition company that has built a massive photographic dossier of the world’s population for use by police, national governments and Ukraine’s military now plans to offer its technology to banks and other private companies. Clearview AI co-founder and CEO Hoan Ton-That disclosed the plans Friday to The Associated Press to clarify a recent federal court filing suggesting the company was for sale. He said the company plans to launch a new identity verification business to compete with Amazon and Microsoft. It reportedly uses Clearview algorithms but not its 20 billion image hoard, which the company reserves for law enforcement use.
Alaska Airlines cancels dozens of flights as pilots picket
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Dozens of flights along the West Coast are being canceled as Alaska Airlines pilots picket during ongoing contract negotiations with the airline. At least 66 Alaska Airlines flights were canceled in Seattle, 20 in Portland, 10 in Los Angeles and seven in San Francisco. The labor action comes as air travel rebounds to pre-pandemic levels and many Americans go on vacation for spring break. Alaska Airlines said in a statement that it values its pilots but must negotiate a deal that allows the airline to maintain growth and profitability. Passengers on canceled flights expressed their frustration on social media.
The United States added 431,000 jobs in March in a sign of economic health
U.S. employers extended a robust hiring streak in March, adding 431,000 jobs, a sign of the economy’s resilience in the face of a still-destructive pandemic, Russia’s war on Ukraine and higher inflation in 40 years. The government report showed that job growth last month helped reduce the unemployment rate to 3.6%. That’s the lowest rate since the pandemic hit two years ago and just above the half-century low of 3.5% hit two years ago. Despite soaring inflation, persistent supply bottlenecks, damage from COVID-19 and now a war in Europe, employers have created at least 400,000 jobs for 11 straight months.
New vehicles should average 40 mpg by 2026, up from 28 mpg
DETROIT (AP) — New vehicles sold in the United States will need to average at least 40 miles per gallon of gas in 2026 under new rules unveiled by the government. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday its fuel economy requirements would reverse a rollback enacted under President Donald Trump. For the current model year, standards enacted under Trump require the fleet of new vehicles to get about 28 miles per gallon in real-world driving. They are expected to cut carbon dioxide emissions – but not as much as some environmentalists would like – and raise prices for new vehicles in an industry already squeezed by inflation and supply chain issues .
European inflation soars to a record 7.5% on fuel and food costs
LONDON (AP) — Inflation in Europe has hit a new high. This is another sign that rising energy prices fueled by Russia’s war in Ukraine are squeezing consumers and increasing pressure on the central bank to raise interest rates. Official EU figures released on Friday show consumer prices in the 19 countries that use the euro rose by an annual rate of 7.5% in March. The latest reading broke the record set last month, when it hit a revised level of 5.9%. Inflation in the euro zone has set records since December and is at its highest level since record keeping for the euro began in 1997. Soaring energy prices were the main factor.
High energy costs hit the UK. It’s about to get worse
LONDON (AP) — People across the United Kingdom will face tough choices in the months ahead, as energy costs for millions of households are set to rise 54% on Friday. This is the second big increase in energy bills since October, and a third could be on the way as the rebound in demand from the COVID-19 pandemic and now Russia’s war in Ukraine pushes rising energy prices. These costs are the main driver of rising consumer prices. While inflation is a global phenomenon, it is a bigger problem in Britain as it is more exposed to rising natural gas prices than its European neighbours.
Analysis: Oil prices and war in Ukraine create Saudi pivot point
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The world is looking to Saudi Arabia to boost oil production as global energy prices rise due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But it could mean rethinking how to deal with the kingdom’s controversial crown prince. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ties to longtime allies have been marred by a series of issues. Top of the list is the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, as well as Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the war in neighboring Yemen. With economic worries high, some might put the controversies behind them.
Russia: push to pay for gas in rubles without disrupting supply
BERLIN (AP) — Russian officials say their demand that natural gas be paid for in rubles does not mean supplies will be cut off immediately. On Friday, gas used for heating and electricity is still flowing from Russia to Europe. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “payments on shipments in progress at the moment should be made not today, but somewhere in late April or even early May.” But a decree he signed says countries could pay foreign currency to Gazprombank, which would convert the money into rubles in a second account to pay for the gas. He gave the Russian authorities and the bank 10 days to make arrangements.
The S&P 500 rose 15.45 points, or 0.3%, to 4,545.86. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 139.92 points, or 0.4%, to 34,818.27. The Nasdaq gained 40.98 points, or 0.3%, to 14,261.50. The Russell 2000 Small Business Index rose 20.99 points, or 1%, to 2,091.11.