Disney fires back at Elizabeth Warren’s letter blasting the company’s 28,000 layoffs

Walt Disney Co. is fighting back after Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote a scathing open letter this week that slammed the company for reinstating pay for senior executives who had taken salary cuts during the coronavirus pandemic and other financial decisions benefiting shareholders before the company revealed massive layoffs.

The company said in a statement, “Senator Warren’s misinformed letter contains a number of inaccuracies.”

Warren, D-Mass., wrote to Disney CEO Bob Chapek and Bob Iger, the former CEO turned Disney executive chairman, critical of the company’s compensation to executives and how it has treated workers.

“In the years leading up to this crisis, your company prioritized the enrichment of executives and stockholders through hefty compensation packages, and billions of dollars’ worth of dividend payments and stock buybacks, all of which weakened Disney’s financial cushion and ability to retain and pay its front-line workers amid the pandemic,” Warren wrote.

Warren also expressed concerns about the company terminating Florida workers and blaming the layoffs in California on “public health measures, which were implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.” Disneyland remains closed without an opening date. Disney World theme parks reopened in mid-July.

Disney’s statement responded with, “We’ve unequivocally demonstrated our ability to operate responsibly with strict health and safety protocols in place at all of our theme parks worldwide, with the exception of Disneyland Resort in California, where the State has prevented us from reopening, even though we have reached agreements with unions representing the majority of our Cast Members that would get them back to work.”

Walt Disney Co. announced last month it was laying off 28,000 people across its theme park division.

The company later disclosed details about how it would affect Orlando, revealing nearly 6,700 non-union Disney World employees are losing their jobs in December.

In addition, about 8,860 hourly part-time union employees who had been furloughed will be laid off, according to the company’s largest union coalition, which said those workers can get recalled when the company eventually needs them again.

The layoffs in Florida amount to about 20% of the company’s pre-coronavirus workforce of about 77,000.

Darden Restaurants reduces corporate staff as sales remain down during pandemic

Darden Restaurants revealed Thursday it has cut 11% of its corporate workforce at its Orlando headquarters and in other leadership positions as the owner of Olive Garden continues to endure slower sales during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Olive Garden on North Orlando Avenue in Winter Park, photographed Thursday March 19, 2020. Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden and other restaurant chains, reported quarterly earnings Thursday morning.

The company, which also owns LongHorn Steakhouse and other chains, said Thursday that same-restaurant sales were down 29% for the quarter ending Aug. 30 compared with the same quarter last year, but reported net earnings of $37 million from continuing operations.

At the same time, Darden has brought back thousands of its furloughed hourly employees in the past few months.

Darden shared details on the early retirement incentive program and corporate restructuring that led to the smaller corporate workforce on an earnings call.

“This restructuring resulted in a net 11% reduction in our workforce in the restaurant support center and field operations leadership positions,” CFO Rick Cardenas said, adding the move is expected to save the company between $25 million and $30 million annually.

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Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is laying off 1,100 employees

With the professional athletes gone, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is laying off about 1,100 employees because of low occupancy and canceled events in another hit to the tourism industry because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The layoffs are coming after Major League players stayed there this summer.

The Marriott hotel between Epcot and Hollywood Studios called the economic impact “historic, swift and devastating” as it alerted the state as a requirement under federal law for mass layoffs.

The entire Swan portion of the hotel had been home to MLS teams who were staying there in the “bubble” in July and August as they played in a tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports.

NBA players also became guests at other Disney hotels when the league restarted play in Orlando amid the pandemic.

Even though all Orlando’s theme parks are open, September has been a brutal time for the industry as thousands of employees have recently been let go or placed on indefinite furloughs.

New notices filed this week showed 5,400 Universal employees are furloughed and 1,900 employees at SeaWorld’s Orlando properties are now permanently laid off after being furloughed since March.

The Swan and Dolphin warned the economic impact will carry over into 2021.

The 1,136 positions are in multiple departments of the hotel, including 256 banquet servers, 41 cooks, 67 housekeepers and 88 loss prevention officers. The notice said the layoffs are permanent and effective Nov. 13.

Included are about 135 union employees represented by Teamsters Local 385 who work primarily as servers, housekeepers and laundry attendants. Those employees may be among the first to return if the hotel reverses course and brings back jobs.

At 11%, metro Orlando had the highest regional unemployment rate in the state in August, according to a report released Friday.

Amazon wins FAA approval for Prime Air drone delivery fleet

Amazon.com is testing out the viability of drone delivery for small packages.

Amazon received federal approval to operate its fleet of Prime Air delivery drones, the Federal Aviation Administration said Monday, a milestone that allows the company to expand unmanned package delivery.

The approval will give Amazon broad privileges to “safely and efficiently deliver packages to customers,” the agency said. The certification comes under Part 135 of FAA regulations, which gives Amazon the ability to carry property on small drones “beyond the visual line of sight” of the operator.

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Hiring hurdles

7 of the most irritating things job seekers wish companies would change about the process.

Most companies view the hiring process solely from their perspective. Applications, interviews, job offers — everything is designed to make hiring the perfect candidate easy for them. Smart business owners also view the hiring process from the applicant’s side. They realize an employee’s experience starts the day she applies, not her first day on the job. When I asked 1 million-plus LinkedIn followers to share the one thing they wish companies, hiring managers and interviewers would stop doing during the hiring process, I received a flood of responses. 

1. Failing to include the pay range.

“Not sharing expected salary ranges in the posting causes a huge amount of unnecessary work; all those candidates who require much higher compensation levels blindly waste their time crafting resumes and cover letters to get to the top of the pile … only to find out the position pays 30% less than they currently make.”

Businesses may be tempted to withhold the pay range, at least at first, in order to cast as wide a net as possible. But no matter how rewarding, fulfilling, meaningful and exciting the work, salary still matters. 

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New Job Postings Are Plummeting For White-Collar Professionals

A good way to gauge the health of the job market is to see how many new opportunities are listed online. Indeed, one of the largest job aggregation sites, released a report indicating the direction of new job postings in the United States. 

The job site’s data revealed a massive drop in listings during March, April and May—some of the most difficult months of the Covid-19 pandemic. At that time, job postings plummeted nearly 40% compared to the same period last year. 

According to Indeed, “The trend in job postings—a real-time measure of labor market activity— is 20.3% lower than in 2019, as of August 14.” Hospitality, travel, tourism, child care and other sectors that rely upon face-to-face activities saw job listings appreciably fall. 

What’s surprising to see is that white-collar job advertisements, such as software development, banking and finance, declined. Indeed claims that job postings for higher-wage occupations have taken the biggest tumble. “Postings in higher-wage occupations are now 28% below trend, versus 12% below trend for lower-wage occupations.”

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Always read the labels on the food you buy

With all the food and pet products now coming from China, it is best to make sure you read label at the grocery store and especially Walmart when buying food products. Many products no longer show where they were made, only give where the distributor is located. It is important to read the bar code to track it’s origin.

How to read Bar Codes ….
This may be useful to know when grocery shopping, if it’s a concern to you. The whole world is concerned about China-made goods. Can you differentiate which one is made in Taiwan or China? If the first 3 digits of the barcode are 690 691 or 692, the product is Made in China. 471 is Made in Taiwan.

This is our right to know, but the government and related departments never educate the public, therefore we have to educate ourselves. Nowadays, Chinese businessmen know that consumers do not prefer products “MADE IN CHINA”, so they don’t show from which country it is made. However, you may now refer to the barcode – remember if the first 3 digits are:


690-699 … then it is MADE IN CHINA
00 – 09 … USA & CANADA
30 – 37 FRANCE
40 – 44 GERMANY
471 … Taiwan
49 … JAPAN
50 … UK

Central Florida dominates state jobless rate ranks

Central Florida, a tourism-dependent region walloped by the coronavirus pandemic, hold four of the top seven highest unemployment rates for July, according to state figures.
Osceola and Orange rank first and second, while Polk is fourth and Lake is seventh. Statewide, 11.3% of workers were unemployed. Here’s a look at county-bycounty jobless numbers for the month.

Osceola County: 20.2 percent
Orange County: 16.1percent
■ Miami-Dade County: 14.2 percent
Polk County: 13.2 percent
Broward County:13.1percent
■ Hendry County:13 percent
Lake County: 12.4 percent
■ Palm Beach County: 11.6 percent
■ Citrus County:11.2 percent
■ St. Lucie County:11percent
■ Hernando County:10.9 percent
■ Putnam County:10.9 percent
■ Hamilton County:10.7 percent
■ Lee County:10.7 percent
Seminole County: 10.5 percent
Volusia County: 10.5 percent


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Dandelion Cafe closes for good

Dandelion Cafe closes for good – Orlando Sentinel 8_24_2020

Orlando’s Dandelion Community Cafe has permanently closed amid the coronavirus pandemic and after employees there said they were organizing to address issues with the restaurant.

The vegetarian cafe at 618 N.Thornton Ave. posted on its website that it had closed because of a “variety of factors outside of our control” including the impact of coronavirus.

Opened in 2006,the eatery had hosted art shows and live music and offered a menu of organic options. It was named the best vegetarian restaurantin Florida by Mental Floss in 2017.

“It is with a heavy heart, but clear mind,that I make the decision to per manently close our special place,” a post signed by founder Chris Blanc on the website said. “It has proven extremely difficult to operate a business in this current environment.The last few months have required an almost complete change to our
business in the way we serve our community, at great financial cost.”

The cafe’s voicemail, which was unable to accept messages Tuesday morning, said
it was closed until further notice. Most ofthe cafe’s staff had recently
signed a letter presented to management announcing they were forming a union,
according to Kyle Kern, secretary-treasurer of the Central Florida Industrial Workers
of the World labor union. The group, dubbed “The Seeds,” did not intend to move toward contract negotiations or a National Labor Relations Board election, but wanted to address grievances with the cafe directly as a group, citing issues such as low pay compared with rising rent costs, Kern said.

In an Aug. 11 Facebook post,the group said the cafe had “locked out” its staff for
organizing. Pickets were held outside the restaurant. “The owners of Dandelion have decided they will destroy their entire business to avoid sitting down with their employees to discuss serious problems with their workplace,” Kern said in an emailed statement Monday night. “This is the lowest of the low.”

Kern said about 15 hourly employees would be losing their jobs because of the
move.

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Apple reaches $2 Trillion dollar valuation

It took Apple 42 years to reach $1 trillion in value. It took it just two more years to get to $2 trillion.

Even more stunning: All of Apple’s second $1 trillion came in the past 21 weeks, while the global economy shrank faster than ever before in the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, Apple became the first U.S. company to hit a $2 trillion valuation when its shares climbed 1.4 percent to $468.65 in midday trading, though they later declined and ended the day flat. It was another milestone for the maker of iPhones, Mac computers and Apple Watches, cementing its title as the world’s most valuable public company and punctuating how the pandemic has been a bonanza for the tech giants.

As recently as mid-March, Apple’s value was under $1 trillion after the stock market plunged over fears of the coronavirus. On March 23, the stock market’s nadir this year, the Federal Reserve announced aggressive new measures to calm investors. Since then, the stock market — and particularly the stocks of Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook — has largely soared, with the S&P 500 hitting a new high on Tuesday.

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