A recent report shows Ohio continues to struggle to recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic when compared with the rest of the nation.
A state-by-state comparison from the personal-finance website WalletHub showed the among the biggest increases in unemployment claims compared with a week ago. Ohio had the ninth-largest increase week-over-over.
“Ohio’s unemployment claims experienced the ninth-biggest increase in the past week. Compared to the same week in 2019, there are almost 75% more claims registered, and over 62% more compared to the first week of 2020, some of the highest increases in the country,” WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzalez said. “Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Ohio has had an over 120% rise in unemployment claims, the 13th-largest nationwide.”
Iowans are waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for businesses with at least 100 employees. In the meantime, they’re moving ahead with actions of their own.
Iowa Department of Education Communications Director Heather Doe told The Center Square in an emailed statement that since Iowa is a state-plan state, the Iowa Division of Labor typically enforces workplace safety in Iowa instead of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The state is required to notify OSHA whether it will adopt a given Emergency Temporary Standard or provide notice it will not adopt it because its standards are as effective as the new federal standard. Iowa needed to respond to the standard by Jan. 7.
Iowa Labor Commissioner Rod Roberts did so, saying that the Hawkeye State will not adopt or enforce the mandate.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ordered a new unionization election at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama, ruling that the company violated federal labor law during the first election.
“Today’s decision confirms what we were saying all along – that Amazon’s intimidation and interference prevented workers from having a fair say in whether they wanted a union in their workplace – and as the Regional Director has indicated, that is both unacceptable and illegal,” Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) President Stuart Appelbaum said in a statement Monday.
“Amazon workers deserve to have a voice at work, which can only come from a union,” he continued.
Seattle-based Starbucks announced it will increase hourly wages next year as the coffee giant faces the dual pressures of unionization attempts and staffing shortages.
According to a press release from the company, starting in January of 2022, hourly employees with two or more years of service could see a 5% raise and those with five or more years of service could see a 10% raise.
By the summer of next year, the company says its average hourly pay will be $17, up from the current average of $14. Employees will make between $15 and $23 an hour across the country, depending on location and tenure.
The press release did not address what impact the moves will have on coffee prices.
An Ohio bill that would end COVID-19 vaccination mandates and nearly passed the House last week is back in front of another committee with health care groups from around the state lined up in opposition.
House Bill 435, the Vaccine Fairness Act, received hearings in front of the House Labor and Commerce Committee on Wednesday and Thursday.
The legislation would provide broad exemptions for COVID-19 vaccination mandates from public and private employers and schools. It also would stop any entity from mandating a COVID-19 vaccine that has not been fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and prohibit government-ordered vaccine passports.
A judge has ruled a lawsuit challenging the city of Cleveland’s ability to collect income tax from a doctor who had not worked in the city during the pandemic can go forward.
Dr. Manal Morsy’s lawsuit, one of several filed against Ohio cities by The Buckeye Institute, tests a state law that was altered during the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to allow cities to collect taxes from workers who did not work in those cities.
Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Dick Ambrose denied Cleveland’s motion to dismiss Wednesday.
Some 4,800 state employees in Washington have already requested medical or religious exemptions from Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
According to information released this week by the state, those requests amount to nearly 8% of the 60,000 state workers who fall under Inslee’s 24 cabinet departments. As of Sept. 6, less than 50% of all employees in those agencies were verified as being fully vaccinated.
Inslee last month issued an executive order that all state employees, as well as K-12 and state university staff, must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or face dismissal.
Afghan women were reportedly forced into marriages with men who were eligible for evacuation from the country, CNN reported Thursday.
U.S. officials notified the State Department about some Afghan women and girls showing up with men pretending to be their husbands or after being forced into marriages with men eligible for evacuation, two sources familiar with the matter reportedly told CNN.
Some women are reportedly resorting to these unusual relationships in order to flee Taliban rule, CNN reported. Families of Afghan women at a transit hub in the United Arab Emirates arranged for such marriages at the Kabul international airport in Afghanistan so that women may leave, according to CNN.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell tried to calm lawmakers’ fears about rising inflation but also said it would probably remain elevated for months to come.
Testifying before Congress this week, Powell said the Federal Reserve was willing to step in to address the situation, but that inflation should level out next year.
“As always, in assessing the appropriate stance of monetary policy, we will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and would be prepared to adjust the stance of monetary policy as appropriate if we saw signs that the path of inflation or longer-term inflation expectations were moving materially and persistently beyond levels consistent with our goal,” Powell said in his prepared testimony.
Los Angeles school teacher Glenn Laird has been a union stalwart for almost four decades. He served as a co-chair of his school’s delegation to United Teachers Los Angeles and proudly wore union purple on the picket line.
But Laird is now suing to leave UTLA and demanding a refund of the dues the union has collected since his resignation request. His turning point came in July 2020 when the union, the second largest teachers union in the country, joined liberal activists to demand that Los Angeles defund the police in response to Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
More than 60 House Democrats who fled Austin Monday to prevent a vote on election reforms will be arrested when they return to Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said.
“Once they step back into the state of Texas, they will be arrested and brought to the Texas capital and we will be conducting business,” Abbott said.
The 67 Democratic lawmakers flew on chartered flights to Washington D.C. in protest of proposed legislation seeking to reduce the chances of fraud in future elections. The legislation is one of a number of measures being considered during a July special session called by Abbott.
Ohioans victimized by unemployment fraud or were overpaid unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic could be off the hook for repaying those funds, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
ODJFS Director Matt Damschroder said late last week if a waiver is approved, claimants will not have to repay money previously labelled as an overpayment and also could receive benefits that have been withheld because of an overpayment status.
Claimants should be notified soon of how to apply for a waiver and processing could begin later in the summer, Damschroder said.
“We understand the hardships that overpayments caused during what is already a very stressful time.” Damschroder said. “Our unemployment program is in a much better position than it was a year ago.”
The president of the largest union of health care workers in the U.S. says it will fight companies requiring its members to have mandatory COVID-19 shots as a condition of employment.
The announcement came one day after Houston Methodist announced that 153 employees had been fired or resigned for refusing to get the shots as a condition of employment. Those suing argue requiring employees to receive a vaccine approved only through Emergency Use Authorization violates federal law. After a recent court dismissal, their attorney vowed to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court.
George Gresham, president of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, is weighing the organization’s legal options.
After the cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline struck a blow to the oil industry, energy jobs activists are pushing back by warning of increased costs and touting the benefits of transporting oil via pipeline.
TC Energy Corporation announced on Wednesday that it was cancelling the Keystone XL Pipeline less than five months after President Joe Biden rescinded a vital permit for the pipeline. The cancellation ends an over 12-year battle by activists from both sides over the oil pipeline. The pipeline would have started in the Canadian province of Alberta ultimately ending in Nebraska.
In a statement François Poirier, President and CEO of TC Energy Corporation, expressed disappointment.
Peloton Interactive announced plans to build its first U.S. factory in Ohio, creating more than 2,000 jobs and investing more than $400 million in the state-of-the-art factory.
The new facility, in Troy Township between Toledo and Bowling Green, will be named Peloton Output Park and will produce Peloton Bike, Bike+ and Peloton Tread starting in 2023. It will employee 2,174 people and generate $138 million in new payroll.
The state approved a 2.301%, 15-year job creation tax credit for the company.
The Fourth of July for Ohioans could come with a little more bang in 2022 if the General Assembly comes together on a pair of bills that would move the state closer to legalizing the discharge of fireworks.
While coming up short of allowing fireworks throughout the state, House Bill 253 would allow cities to legalize fireworks over July 3, 4 and 5, and it requires the state fire marshal to develop rules on how and when fireworks can be used. House Bill 172, which passed the House on Thursday, removes the statewide ban on the discharge of fireworks.
“Every year, the 4th of July is marked with family picnics and parades as a way to celebrate our nation’s birthday and the many freedoms we enjoy as Americans,” Rep. Brian Baldridge, R-Winchester, said. “Even with all this, each and every year brings disappointment when Ohio’s citizens cannot legally and honestly discharge fireworks as a means of celebrating with family, friends and neighbors.”
The Biden Administration sent some stock prices tumbling and left small businesses worried after taking sides on a hotly contested labor issue that critics say could threaten the jobs of millions of independent workers and thousands of small businesses.
In his address to the nation Wednesday evening, President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass legislation that would ban the use of freelance workers in most instances.
A report from the freelance site UpWork found that about 59 million gig workers make up $1.2 trillion of the U.S. economy.
Rising Republican star U.S. Rep. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is sponsoring a new measure that would give unprecedented tax cuts to parents with children, and now he is saying his bill is on the front line of the nation’s “culture war.”
The plan in question would give a fully refundable tax credit of $12,000 for married parents and $6,000 for single parents who have children under the age of 13.
“Starting a family and raising children should not be a privilege only reserved for the wealthy,” Hawley said. “Millions of working people want to start a family and would like to care for their children at home, but current policies do not respect these preferences. American families should be supported, no matter how they choose to care for their kids.”
As sales slowly improve, Ohio’s restaurants and bars now face another issue that threatens ongoing COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts: lack of employees.
Ohio Restaurant Association President and CEO John Barker believes the intentions behind continued federal and state stimulus benefits are good, but a consequence is a lack of available employees as the state eases COVID-19 restrictions and customer traffic increases.
“Unemployment is an issue. There’s no question about it,” Barker said. “The intention by the government, both at the federal and state level, was to take care of people who are displaced and very much in need. It was the right thing to do. The problem we have now is these are looking like they’re going to be extended all the way through the fall. On top of that, people are getting big stimulus checks. And in some cases, they may be making more money staying at home than going back to work. And so, it’s a combination of factors.”
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has rescinded the business restrictions he put in place last year to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Ducey’s latest executive order, which he signed Friday, removes the capacity limits on businesses he had put in place July 9, effective immediately.
“We’ve learned a lot over the past year,” Ducey said. “Our businesses have done an excellent job at responding to this pandemic in a safe and responsible way. We will always admire the sacrifice they and their employees have made and their vigilance to protect against the virus.”
Ducey said Arizona, unlike many other states, never shut down.
The House has voted to expand direct payments to the American people from $600 per adult and $600 per child in the year-end Covid relief legislation signed into law by President Donald Trump, to $2,000 per adult and $600 per child, a move the President supports.
Under the newly signed law, an average family of four will be receiving a $2,400 check via direct deposit from the U.S. Treasury, coming atop the $3,400 they received in the CARES Act in the spring — a combined $5,800 in 2020 alone.
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