Wanted: Poll workers able to brave the pandemic
WASHINGTON — Dave and Diane Schell, a retired social studies teacher and a retired human resources professional from South Windsor, Connecticut, left their careers in 2015, and have worked the polls at their local precinct every election since. But not this November.The Schells — he’s a Republican, she’s a Democrat — are 68 and 65, respectively, and worried about contracting the coronavirus. They did work the polls during the Connecticut primary in March, at the beginning of the pandemic, but this fall “we decided to follow the (health) recommendations and stay home,” Diane Schell said in a ph...
16 hospitalized after fleeing Austin crane collision
AUSTIN, Texas — Diane Stewart is used to the occasional construction noise coming from the work site near her Mueller neighborhood apartment in East Austin. But on Wednesday morning, she heard something that made her pause.“It sounded like pipes falling. It was a loud crash; it made me turn,” Stewart said.What Stewart heard was two construction cranes colliding, causing dozens of people beneath the cranes to flee. Medics responded at 9:38 a.m. to the site in the 1600 block of Robert Browning Street, just north of Mueller Lake Park near Dell Children’s Medical Center.When medics arrived, they t...
In Philadelphia's white suburbs, Black Lives Matter protests both denounced and exposed racism. Will it make a difference?
PHILADELPHIA — For 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the same amount of time that a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on the neck of a Black man named George Floyd, hundreds of people dropped to a knee in a Kennett Square intersection.Naomi Simonson, who organized the event, looked around and wept.She had grown up in Kennett, attended high school steps away, and in her 20 years never knew whether her mostly white neighbors and friends cared about the struggles of Black people like her. The sight of the crowd felt like an answer, she said.“I was looking around to see people I grew up with and thei...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
From speedier Wi-Fi to new bikes: As the pandemic drags on, companies paying for work-from-home perks beyond the basics
CHICAGO — When Ben Meeder bought a new ride from a bicycle shop earlier this summer, his employer footed the bill.The purchase was part of a $700 stipend software company ServiceNow gave its employees to improve their well-being during the isolating and seemingly unending pandemic.ServiceNow’s stipend increased from $500 in July, right around the time it became clear to many companies that employees would remain remote until at least 2021. ServiceNow is not alone.Six months into the coronavirus pandemic and with no return to the office in sight, employers are realizing that working remotely th...
Target pledges to increase number of Black employees by 20%
MINNEAPOLIS — Target Corp. plans to increase its number of Black employees by 20% over the next three years as part of its growing efforts to build a more diverse and inclusive company, executives said.The retailer on Thursday announced its latest commitment to racial equity as it also made public more detailed information about the ethnic and gender makeup of its employees and leaders.Target’s total workforce last year was 360,000, with 25% of employees Latino, 15% Black, 5% Asian and 5% people who identified as mixed race, American Indian or other underrepresented groups.However, the diversi...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
What will happen to Seattle's empty office towers when COVID-19 ends?
SEATTLE — As many white-collar employers extend into next year the work-from-home policies they instituted in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a vast amount of vertical space in downtown Seattle is leased but empty.The vacant space amounts to more than 700 football fields, by one estimate — acres of desks, with knickknacks and mementos that few but cleaning staff, maintenance crews and interior landscapers have seen for nigh on six months.It’s not clear when workers might begin trickling back into that space or what could become of it in the meantime. “If anyone tells you they know what’s...
The Seattle Times
COVID-19 is causing workers to reassess career choices: 'The pandemic has required people to do a lot of soul-searching'
SEATTLE — A layoff during a pandemic was something Alissa Berry was determined to turn into a positive.After more than 20 years in senior manager and director positions for mainly big technology firms, an unemployed Berry in April suddenly had loads of free time to reassess her career. For two months, she analyzed what she was passionate about before landing at a beverage company with fewer than 500 employees.“The biggest thing I did was that I allowed myself to take the time to really sit down and reflect,” the Seattle said. “For me, it was really reevaluating what I loved and the values I wa...
The Seattle Times
Fearing COVID-19, educators go up against colleges to teach remotely
ATLANTA — Crystal Robinson and Vanessa Williams aren’t teaching at Athens Technical College this semester because of a dispute that highlights the ongoing battle in Georgia and other states between educators and administrators over allowances for employees who are worried about being infected with COVID-19 to work remotely.Both instructors submitted letters several months ago from their physicians saying they had medical conditions that could increase their chances of being infected with the disease if they were on campus.The college says the instructors were slow or didn’t respond to informat...
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Man fired for refusing to remove 'Trump 2020' hat at shipbuilding workplace
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Dave Sunderland said he had been wearing Donald Trump hats to work at Newport News Shipbuilding every day for nearly four years.He wore them — most recently one that said “Trump 2020” — from his car to his work site inside the gates, he said, and sometimes for a short safety meeting at the start of his shift.Not anymore.Sunderland, 55, was fired last week after refusing to remove his hat before the safety meeting. He said the human resources department told him he violated a policy barring yard workers from “campaigning” while on the job.“I wasn’t campaigning,” Sunderland s...
Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)
Hotels try to attract 'work from home' families
Some Central Florida resorts are morphing the pandemic-bolstered “work from home” trend into a business promotion: Work from hotels.More elbow room, strong and reliable WiFi and redefined “working vacations” are among the inspirations for relocating home offices, at least temporarily, executives say. Children attending virtual school can also be a factor.“You see people with their laptops out at the pool, in the lobby, in a coffee shop … so you know it’s probably been happening for a while now,” said Jim Vespa, resort president of Margaritaville Resort Orlando. “But now we’re kind of putting s...