The Week in Business: Amazon Defeats the Union
Good Morning. Here are the top business and tech stories you should know for the week ahead. – Charlotte Cowles
What’s happening? (April 4th to 10th)
A man with a (tax) plan
Large companies are often good at avoiding taxes to maximize profits for their shareholders. But President Biden wants to make this more difficult with new tax legislation that increases tax rates and closes the loopholes for American companies with annual incomes of more than $ 2 billion. The plan is expected to generate enough tax revenue to fund Mr. Biden’s $ 2 trillion infrastructure proposal. If it gets through Congress (and that’s a big if), what can stop companies from shifting profits overseas to tax havens like the Cayman Islands? The Biden government has a plan for this too: a global minimum tax rate that would apply to multinational companies regardless of their location.
Amazon: 1, Union: 0
Amazon won its battle against the biggest union surge in company history. The vote count showed that workers in their huge Alabama warehouse had decided not to form a union. The results must be confirmed by federal officials. But it is a severe blow to union organizers and Democrats who believed the time was right for organized labor to gain momentum across the country. It’s also a big win for Amazon, which has been accused of union breach in several states.
For the labor market, it’s two steps forward and one step back. For the second straight week there were new jobless claims, a sign that employment gains, while still promising, will be uneven at times. Although employers created an impressive 916,000 jobs in March, the economy still has 8.4 million fewer jobs than it was before the pandemic. And many sectors that have been almost completely wiped out – like travel, restaurants and bars – are only now returning.
What’s next? (April 11-17)
Coinbase will be the first publicly traded cryptocurrency exchange in the US when it publishes its shares on the Nasdaq this Wednesday. It has grown to become the largest American cryptocurrency company by making it easier for people to buy and sell Bitcoin and other digital tokens. (The company charges a fee every time a customer places an order to trade.) Last week, Coinbase announced that it is expecting revenue of around $ 1.8 billion in the first quarter. That’s a whopping 847 percent year-over-year increase, largely thanks to Bitcoin’s recent rally.
Cruise for a fight
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is suing the federal government to allow cruise ships to sail from the state’s ports again. Boats must meet requirements set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year before they can accept passengers. However, the industry says the instructions are not clear enough. Regardless, several cruise lines have announced plans to resume operations from other ports in the Caribbean and Bermuda, often with a requirement that all passengers must be vaccinated. But Mr. DeSantis has banned Florida companies from asking customers to provide proof of vaccination.
Help for the undocumented
As the coronavirus pandemic led to standstills, undocumented immigrants were particularly hard hit. Their communities suffered disproportionately from high death rates and were largely ineligible for unemployment insurance and other pandemic assistance. Until now it has been like that. In New York, the government is offering one-time payments of up to $ 15,600 to one-time immigrants who lost their jobs during the pandemic and were unable to access other unemployment benefits. The money will come from a $ 2.1 billion fund in the state budget, which critics say should have gone to legal New Yorkers who are struggling.
In another win for Netflix, Sony Pictures Entertainment has signed a five-year deal to grant the streaming giant exclusive rights to its films as soon as they leave theaters. In France, Ikea faces a new lawsuit over a ten-year-old case in which its executives spied on employees and customers. And more bad news for Boeing, the company has advised airlines to ground some of their troubled 737 Max jets – the same model that was grounded for over a year after two fatal accidents – because of an electrical problem.