Walmart offers up to $110,000 for truckers. Starbucks union drive gains ground. Men posing as agents bribed Secret Service protecting Bidens, Harris. 50 killed in rocket attack on Ukraine train station.
Walmart offers up to $110,000 for truckers
In an effort to recruit new truckers and perhaps lure back some who have left the profession, Walmart is offering truckers up to $110,000 per year. New Walmart truckers can also earn their commercial trucking license by attending the company’s 12-week trucking school. Walmart will also pay for the license, which normally costs about $5000. Walmart’s truckers already earn about $87,500 per year, while the industry average for long-haul truckers is about $56,000. Currently, there is a nationwide shortage of about 80,000 truckers, contributing to supply chain problems.
Starbucks union drive gains ground despite intimidation
Yesterday, three more Starbucks locations voted to unionize. So far, Starbucks union organizers have won 13 out of 14 unionizing votes in different parts of the country, and counting begins in four more votes today. Over 200 of Starbucks 9000 US stores have filed petitions for a union vote with the National Labor Relations Board.
The movement is progressing despite widespread reports of illegal intimidation tactics against union supporters by Starbucks management. These include firing organizers and threats of retaliation. Starbucks recently re-hired its former CEO Howard Schultz, who has a reputation for union busting. Schultz recently described the growing union movement as an “assault” on corporations, having previously used a Holocaust analogy to discourage workers from unionizing.
NLRB moves to curb intimidation against union supporters
NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo has asked the board to rule that “captive audience meetings” used by corporations to discourage unionizing violate laws against worker intimidation. Both Starbucks and Amazon have used such meetings (which Amazon calls “mandatory information sessions”) to spread misinformation about unions and to convince workers there will be consequences if they form a union. In the case of Starbucks, these meetings often involve a single employee being confronted by two managers in a back room of the business.
Abruzzo says the NLRB’s policy permitting such meetings gives companies a “license to coerce” workers. She also argues that these tactics violate the National Labor Relations Act.
Men posed as agents, bribed Secret Service protecting Biden, Harris.
The FBI has arrested two men who allegedly posed as federal agents to get close to Secret Service agents protecting President Biden, First Lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Investigators say Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 35, had been posing as agents of various federal agencies since February 2020. The Secret Service has suspended four of their agents who had contact with Taherzadeh and Ali.
The pair apparently impersonated Homeland Security agents investigating gang involvement the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. Under that guise, they ingratiated themselves to Secret Service members attached to the White House and the VP. They allowed agents free use of luxury apartments in D.C., gifted them expensive weapons. They also did favors for fellow residents of their apartment building, among them employees of the FBI, Secret Service, Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.
It’s still unclear what Taherzadeh and Ali’s motivations and objectives were, and to what extent they achieved those objectives. Investigators are also still puzzling out who the pair were working for. The FBI is exploring possible links to Iran and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Another interesting wrinkle to this case is that the scheme was actually uncovered by USPIS, the investigative arm of the US Postal Service. USPIS began investigating the men last month after an assault on a postal worker at Taherzedeh and Ali’s apartment building.
Ukraine: At least 50 killed in rocket attack on train station
At least 50 civilians are dead after a Russian rocket attack on a train station in eastern Ukraine this morning. Witnesses say around 4000 people had crowded into the train station in Kramatorsk when the rockets hit. Most of those present were women and children attempting to flee after warnings that Russia was refocusing its military campaign in the east.
The international community was already enraged by revelations of brutal rapes and murders of civilians in Bucha, a Kiev suburb. All week, Western heads of state have called for Putin to be held accountable for war crimes against civilians. However, since Russia is not a member of the International Criminal Court, there are few avenues for prosecution. Instead, the West has retaliated with more sanctions on Russian banks as well as Vladimir Putin’s two adult daughters.
The UN General Assembly voted yesterday to remove Russia from its Human Rights Council. Russia still holds its permanent seat on the Security Council, since the UN’s charter provides for no way to remove them.
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