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Apple workers vote to unionize for second US store By Reuters

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© Reuters.

Written by Doyinsola Oladipo

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said Apple retail workers have voted to form a union at an Oklahoma location, making it the tech giant’s second regulated US store.

Ninety-five employees of the Apple Store (NASDAQ: Penn Square) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, won a majority, with 56 votes in support of joining the Communications Workers of America (CWA), according to a tally by the NLRB.

The regulation move has moved into new industries during the pandemic, due to concerns about workplace safety. Momentum continued at companies including Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ 🙂 and Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ 🙂 and others.

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Workers calling themselves the Penn Square Labor Alliance sought to join the CWA in order to address workplace concerns including fair compensation, career development and COVID-19 health and safety concerns.

Kevin Herrera, part-time Apple Specialist and one of the lead organizers at the Oklahoma City site said.

The CWA in early October filed an unfair labor practice charge alleging that Apple managers at the Oklahoma site told workers that union support was futile, and threatened to withhold benefits from union-supportive workers, who engaged in illegal monitoring and questioning of workers, according to a CWA press release.

Apple declined to comment on the allegations.

“We believe the open, direct, and collaborative relationship we enjoy with our valued team members is the best way to deliver an excellent experience to our customers and teams,” Apple said in a statement.

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“We are proud to offer our team members strong compensation and exceptional benefits. Since 2018, we have increased US starting rates by 45% and made several significant improvements to our industry-leading benefits, including new educational and family support programs.”

Apple workers near Baltimore, Maryland, voted in June to join the International Association of Mechanics and Aerospace Workers.

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Food commodities are getting cheaper – unlike grocery bills

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Prices have fallen, but rising energy costs and production concerns are keeping costs to consumers high

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Apple is making plans to move production out of China

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in recent weeks, apple a company It has accelerated plans to shift some of its production out of China, the country long dominant in the supply chain that built the world’s most valuable company, say the people involved in the discussions. They say it tells suppliers to plan more actively to assemble Apple products elsewhere in Asia, particularly India and Vietnam, and look to reduce reliance on Taiwanese-led assemblers. Foxconn technology group.

Unrest in a place called iPhone City helped drive Apple’s turnaround. In a giant city within a city in Zhengzhou, China, up to 300,000 workers work at a Foxconn-run factory making iPhones and other Apple products. At one point, it alone made about 85% of the Pro lineup of iPhones, according to market research firm Counterpoint Research.

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Countries split over focus on plastics treaty as UN talks close by Reuters

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© Reuters. A plastic bottle lies on the sand at Macarese Beach, west of Rome, Italy November 21, 2018. (Reuters/Max Rossi)

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By Valerie Volkovici

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The first round of negotiations on a global plastics treaty concluded on Friday with an agreement to end plastic pollution, but disagreement over whether goals and efforts should be global and mandatory, or voluntary and state-led.

More than 2,000 delegates from 160 countries, convening in Uruguay for the first of five planned sessions of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC), aim to craft the first legally binding agreement on plastic pollution by the end of 2024.

The negotiations took place in the coastal city of Punta del Este pitting a “highly ambitious coalition” of members of the European Union against countries including the United States and Saudi Arabia, which own the world’s largest plastics and petrochemical companies.

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has said plastic is a “fossil fuel in another form,” urged countries to crack down on pollution and production.

“I call on countries to look beyond waste and turn the tap on plastic,” he said on Twitter.

Members of the United Nations agreed in March to create a treaty to deal with the scourge of plastic waste, but they disagree on key issues, including whether to reduce plastic production, phase out types of plastic, and harmonize global rules.

The High Ambition coalition of more than 40 countries, including EU members Switzerland and host Uruguay and Ghana, wants the treaty to be based on mandatory global measures, including production restrictions.

“Without a common international regulatory framework, we will not be able to meet the global and growing challenge of plastic pollution,” Switzerland said in its position statement.

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This approach contrasts with the state-driven pledges advocated by countries such as the United States and Saudi Arabia.

“The United States is committed to working with governments and other stakeholders throughout the INC process to develop an ambitious, innovative, and country-oriented global agreement,” a State Department spokesperson said in a statement.

‘Potential weakening of obligations’

Washington said it wanted the agreement to resemble the structure of the Paris climate agreement, in which countries set their own greenhouse gas reduction targets and action plans.

Saudi Arabia has said it wants a treaty focused on plastic litter built on a “bottom-up approach and based on national circumstances”.

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Critics say such an approach would weaken the global treaty.

“Although there are some staunch opponents of global norms and standards they are in the minority, which could weaken countries’ obligations to take action,” said Eric Lindbergh, WWF’s Global Head of Plastics Policy.

Industry representatives at the talks touted the essential role of plastics in everyday life, and called for the treaty to focus on waste management rather than measures that drain production.

“At the end of the day, we hope the committee will come to the same conclusion we did, which is that increasing recycling offers the best solution to reducing plastic waste,” said Matt Seeholm, President and CEO of the Plastics Industry Association.

Environmental group Greenpeace said that without a strong treaty, plastic production could double within the next 10 to 15 years, and triple by 2050.

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Even as some countries are divided over the approach the treaty should take, some observers said there appears to be growing agreement that plastic pollution isn’t just about waste that ends up in the ocean.

“Plastic is no longer seen as just a marine litter issue. People discuss plastic as a material made of chemicals,” said Vito Ponsanti, policy advisor for the International Pollutant Elimination Network. “There was a shift in the narrative.”

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