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Starbucks seeks to suspend union votes after claims of misconduct

Starbucks seeks to suspend union votes

Starbucks is asking the National Labor Relations Board to temporarily suspend all union elections at its U.S. stores after a career employee with the labor board told the company of alleged improper coordination between regional NLRB officials and the union.

In a letter sent Monday to the NLRB, Starbucks said the employee informed the company about issues in the NLRB’s St. Louis office while it was overseeing a union election at a Starbucks store in Overland Park, Kan., this spring.

The store is one of 314 U.S. Starbucks locations where workers have petitioned the NLRB to hold union elections since late last year. More than 220 of those stores have voted to unionize. The company opposes the unionization effort.

Starbucks alleges that St. Louis regional officials made special arrangements for pro-union workers to vote in person at its office when they didn’t receive mail-in ballots, even though Starbucks and the union had agreed that store elections would be handled by mail-in ballot, among other issues.

Starbucks Workers United accused the company of trying to “distract attention away from their unprecedented anti-union campaign.”

— Associated Press

Heathrow extends cap through summer

London Heathrow airport extended a capacity cap through the end of the summer season as the U.K. hub contends with a prolonged labor shortage at ground-handling firms.

Following consultation with airlines, a daily limit of 100,000 departing passengers will now apply until Oct. 29, Heathrow said in a statement Monday.

The hub said the measure will support “more reliable and resilient passenger journeys,” reiterating that there have been fewer last-minute cancellations, better punctuality and shorter wait times for bags since curbs were introduced.

Heathrow said the cap could be lifted early if improved staffing levels bolster operations.

— Bloomberg News

70 employees fired at HBO, HBO Max

Warner Bros. Discovery is firing about 70 workers at HBO and HBO Max, in the latest round of cutbacks after its parent company’s merger with Discovery.

The cuts affect 14 percent of the staff under HBO Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys and fall heavily on a group that makes live-action programs for kids and families, an area the company is de-emphasizing. Bloys is also consolidating the HBO and HBO Max comedy development teams into one group, the company said Monday.

Warner Bros. Discovery, formed in April through the combination of Discovery and AT&T’s WarnerMedia division, has been cutting costs to reduce the debt needed to finance the deal.

— Bloomberg News

Nexstar Media Group
, the largest local TV station owner in the United States, is acquiring a 75 percent stake in the CW Network. The Irving, Tex.-based media company already owns many CW affiliates, including WPIX in New York and KTLA in Los Angeles. The CW’s current owners, Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global, will each retain 12.5 percent of the business and continue to produce original, scripted content for the network, according to a statement Monday. The three owners will share ongoing losses based on their ownership shares. Management said on a conference call Monday that it would shift from expensive original content to lower-cost syndicated programming more geared to the network’s audience, which averages 58 years old.

A gauge of U.S. home builder
sentiment declined for an eighth straight month, marking the worst stretch since the housing market collapsed in 2007 amid higher borrowing costs and elevated prices. The National Association of Home Buyers/Wells Fargo gauge decreased by six points to 49 in August, figures showed Monday. The reading was below the break-even measure of 50 for the first time since May 2020. Builder confidence is tumbling as high mortgage rates exacerbate affordability challenges, on top of elevated costs of materials and labor.

— From news reports