Lowe’s gives $100 million more in bonuses to hourly employees

Shoppers wearing protective masks wait in line to enter a Lowe’s Cos. store in San Bruno, California, U.S., on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

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Lowe’s said Wednesday it will give $100 million more in bonuses to hourly employees, as strong demand for home improvement continues.

It marks the sixth time the home improvement retailer has given additional pay to workers at its stores, distribution centers and support centers during the coronavirus pandemic. It gave bonuses to part-time, full-time and seasonal employees in March, May, July and August. It also increased pay by $2 an hour for the month of April. 

With the latest round, the home improvement retailer will have paid more than $675 million in additional pay to employees this year. It will pay the latest bonuses on Oct. 16. Full-time hourly employees will receive $300 and part-time and seasonal hourly employees will receive $150.

Also Wednesday, Lowe’s announced a cash tender offer for up to $3.5 billion of its outstanding debt securities. The company said the goal of the offer is to reduce its interest expenses and manage the maturities of its debt. 

Other retailers, including Walmart, Target and Kroger, have also given bonuses or increased worker pay during the pandemic. Walmart has given three rounds of bonuses and said it would remain closed on Thanksgiving to give employees time with their families. Target speeded along plans to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour as it phased out a temporary, pandemic-related $2 an hour wage increase.

Customers have shopped at Lowe’s for DIY supplies, kitchen appliances and landscaping tools as they spend more time at home during the pandemic. The global health crisis has also inspired some Americans to move out of cities and buy homes in suburban or rural areas, a trend that analysts predict will drive long-term sales for home improvement retailers.

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Yoshinoya Japanese Kitchen Rewarding Employees for Voting

Yoshinoya Japanese Kitchen, known for its artisanal Japanese-inspired rice bowls, announced it is empowering team members, and rewarding guests, who make their voice heard this election year. Specifically, the company is encouraging all employees to vote, by providing voter registration resources and an extra hour of pay for team members, which they encourage be used to educate themselves on the voting process, candidates and issues.

Along with team member support and incentives, the brand is also offering guests:

  • A free order of Donut Dippers with purchase of any bowl on Election Day, November 3rd, for any guest who shows their “I Voted” sticker in restaurant, or uses code “IVOTED” on the Yoshinoya App or YoshinoyaAmerica.com
  • Free Delivery on the Yoshinoya App and YoshinoyaAmerica.com all November long

 

“We believe in the importance of individual expression and providing freedom of choice, whether it be in customizing your favorite bowl, or selecting the future leaders of this country,” says Dar Vasseghi, CEO. “Now more than ever, it’s vital that everyone has the time and resources needed to make informed decisions and cast their vote.”

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.

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Overnight Health Care: House Democrats slam pharma CEOs for price hikes driven by revenue, executive bonuses | Ex-FDA employees express worries to Congress over politicization of vaccines

Welcome to Wednesday night’s Overnight Health Care, where we’re waiting to see if there’s going to be a deal on a new COVID-19 relief package.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Overnight Health Care: House Democrats slam pharma CEOs for price hikes driven by revenue, executive bonuses | Ex-FDA employees express worries to Congress over politicization of vaccines | Fauci said his mask stance was 'taken out of context' by Trump


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Overnight Health Care: House Democrats slam pharma CEOs for price hikes driven by revenue, executive bonuses | Ex-FDA employees express worries to Congress over politicization of vaccines | Fauci said his mask stance was ‘taken out of context’ by Trump

Top House Democrat: Parties ‘much closer’ to a COVID deal ‘than we’ve ever been’

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The head of the House Democratic Caucus said Wednesday that the negotiators seeking an emergency coronavirus deal are “much closer” to a deal than they have been at any point during the long weeks of on-again-off-again talks.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) pointed to comments by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicating a willingness to embrace $1.5 trillion in new stimulus spending – a number on par with the bipartisan relief package offered last week by the Problem Solvers Caucus – noting that that figure is far closer to the Democrats’ $2.2 trillion package than Republicans have previously backed.

After almost two months of stalled talks, Mnuchin and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have resumed the negotiations this week by phone. In some sign that progress is being made, Mnuchin met with Pelosi in the Speaker’s office on Wednesday afternoon.

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House Democrats slam pharma CEOs for price hikes driven by revenue, executive bonuses

An explosive staff report from the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee found that the CEOs of Teva and Celgene raised drug prices exponentially for no reason other than to boost profits and inflate executives’ bonuses.

Oversight Democrats at a hearing on Wednesday pressed those CEOs, and put them on the defensive.

Highlights: Internal documents obtained by the committee found Celgene raised the price of the cancer drug Revlimid 22 times.

The drug, approved to treat the blood cancer multiple myeloma, more than tripled in price since its launch in 2005, driven almost exclusively by the need to meet company revenue targets and shareholder earnings goals.

In 2005, a monthly supply of Revlimid was priced at $4,515. Today, the same monthly supply is priced at $16,023, a cost of $719 per pill.

Easy target: The report found that executives at Celgene and Teva specifically targeted the U.S. market for massive increases because Medicare is not allowed to negotiate drug prices.

Context: The Democratic-led report comes just weeks before Election Day, and follows a flurry of mostly empty last-ditch efforts by President Trump aimed at showing he is taking action on drug pricing. Trump has made lowering drug prices a key part of his messaging for years, dating back to the 2016 campaign, but has little to show for all his bluster.

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Atlas, health officials feuds add to Trump coronavirus turmoil

The feuds between White House coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas and top public health officials are raising more questions about President Trump‘s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Atlas, a

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Trump effort to bar racial-sensitivity trainings in federal government leads to confusion for employees

“I ended it because a lot of people were complaining that they were asked to do things that were absolutely insane, that it was a radical revolution that was taking place in our military, in our schools all over the place,” Trump said. “And you know it. And so does everybody.”

Democratic nominee Joe Biden alleged, however, that Trump had a much different motive for banning the trainings: “He’s a racist.”

Their comments came one day after the White House issued its second set of guidelines on the attempted bans. The guidelines outlined how the government would retaliate against those who did not follow the new restrictions.

They have raised numerous questions inside government agencies about how to proceed. It also triggered a backlash within the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, with some career employees complaining policy is being set based on what the president sees on conservative cable networks — and OMB officials are happily going along with it.

Russell Vought, OMB’s director, updated the administration’s guidance after the National Park Service sent agency officials a memo last week suspending hundreds of training programs while it tried to understand how to comply with the order, according to emails and documents reviewed by The Washington Post. It would later narrow the list of suspended courses, but some employees said they still included ones on sexual harassment, tribal consultation and how to respond to people with disabilities.

The White House orders have led to scrambling throughout the government.

Meanwhile, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the government’s second-largest agency and among the most decentralized, abruptly canceled a diversity training program at the VA hospital in West Palm Beach, Fla. This decision was made by the agency’s Washington headquarters after a conservative activist flagged the event on Twitter.

The chain of events stems from a Sept. 4 memo Vought issued, which said Trump had asked him to stop federal agencies from giving employee trainings on “white privilege” and critical race theory. Vought cast this approach as “divisive” and “un-American.”

The White House issued the memo after Fox News ran a number of segments criticizing “diversity and inclusion” efforts in the federal government.

Trump saw one of the cable news programs and asked aides, “What is this crap?” an administration official said, describing his reaction, and he directed OMB to cancel the seminars. Trump saw the matter as a winning campaign issue. Within days, a guest on Fox News who raised the issue had been called, Vought had been summoned to the Oval Office, and the memo from OMB had been drafted. It was released late on a Friday night.

Trump followed up with an executive order last week barring federal contractors from using workplace training that includes what he called “race or sex stereotyping or any form of race or sex scapegoating.” The president has also asked other aides what else can be done to make sure agencies are complying.

The White House directives attempt to create significant penalties for federal

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Interior Employees Raise Concerns After Department Celebrates ‘European Heritage Month’

The Interior Department celebrated European Heritage Month in August, an unusual move that has caused some employees to feel uneasy. 

Interior published an online monthly magazine as part of that celebration, which highlighted the history and accomplishments of various European cultures in the United States. While the same publication put out previous issues that focused on other groups such as LGBTQ and Asian Americans, the publication caused a stir among some employees who saw the celebration as insensitive and improperly promoting ideals related to white pride.

Employees at Interior said they could not recall Interior ever recognizing European Heritage Month previously, with one saying the department “made up their own commemorative month.” The publication was put together by the head of “special emphasis programs” at the Interior Business Center, though the magazine is labeled as a publication of Interior’s Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administrative Services. A division of Interior’s Office of Civil Rights, the department’s special emphasis programs website lists nearly a dozen events and groups as part of its observance policy and European heritage is not one of them. There does not appear to be any national recognition of August as European Heritage Month. 

Some Interior workers who were aware of the publication became annoyed and angry about it, one employee said. The message appeared to promote a “white lives matter” ideology, said the individual, who requested anonymity out of fear of retaliation, and was especially troubling “during a time of civil awakening.” 

Steve Carlisle, the editor of the magazine, told Government Executive he had no intention of making a political statement and did not want to “insult anybody or hurt anybody.” He said he and his colleagues gave “a lot of consideration” to the potential blowback of publishing the issue, but ultimately decided it was important to “make content relevant to everyone” and saw it as a way to “celebrate immigration.” Carlisle came up with the idea for the magazine during the novel coronavirus pandemic, as Interior employees could no longer gather in person to celebrate various cultures each month. 

“Taken as a whole,” he said of the project, “it is really about including as many groups and backgrounds of people as we possibly can.” 

The issue highlights the history of many Europeans arriving to the United States through Ellis Island and goes on to highlight specific experiences of Welsh, Irish and German Americans, including some first-person narratives of Interior employees who vacationed in their ancestral homelands. It also included references to National Parks with “European connections.” The Interior employee took issue with a blurb on the large number of Native Americans in Florida at the time of European contact, suggesting it only served to highlight that those populations have been almost entirely wiped out. 

Another Interior employee said the entire issue of the magazine was “tone deaf.” 

The Southern Poverty Law Center has flagged various organizations that celebrate European heritage as associated with white nationalism. Former Gov. Jim Gilmore, R-Va., once sparked a brief

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Union Representing Public Works Employees Calls On Mayor, Supes To Address Bathroom Issue

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN)

Union leaders representing more than 350 San Francisco Public Works employees are calling on Mayor London Breed and the Board of Supervisors to require the city to provide dedicated restrooms for its workers.

Because DPW workers are tasked with cleaning the city’s streets and often handle biohazards like garbage, urine and feces, union officials said the need for clean bathrooms and handwashing facilities has become urgent amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


Back in July, dozens of Public Works employees staged a rally at the department’s Operation Yard, calling for bathrooms and handwashing facilities on the job, alleging the department barred workers from using the operation yard during their lunch breaks.

Although the workers were encouraged by DPW to use the public Pit-Stop toilets, the Laborers’ International Union of North Americas, Local 261 says its workers feel unsafe using those facilities and sharing them with homeless people who, according to union officials, may liken them to police.



But DPW officials said, including the Pit-Stop toilets, workers had a total of 50 facilities throughout the city to choose from. The department also said it provided the workers with hand sanitizer, as well as water and soap to clean up on the job.


Union officials, however, said that’s still not enough.

“How can the city not provide clean, safe, restroom and handwashing facilities? It is inhumane for San Francisco to treat its own employees and citizens this way,” union spokeswoman Theresa Foglio-Ramirez said in a statement Wednesday. “Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, when businesses were open, these employees could more easily find a clean bathroom facility at a restaurant, business, gas station or shop. That is no longer case — and may not be the case for a longtime to come.”


Union leaders allege the workers are being retaliated against because of whistleblowing that led to the federal criminal charges for former DPW Director Mohammed Nuru, who is currently facing jail time over an alleged scheme to bribe a San Francisco International Airport commissioner.

“We believe that this denial of clean, safe bathroom and handwashing facilities is not merely an oversight or penny pinching by public works, but instead is direct retaliation for the Union’s early complaints about corrupt practices in the public works department,” Foglio-Ramirez said. “We were among the first to blow the whistle on now disgraced department head Mohammed Nuru. Our early warnings about abuses and illegal activities played a role in the Department of Justice investigation of illegal City Hall contracts and hiring practices. Instead of being rewarded for bring corruption to light, we are being punished by public works.”


Although union officials said they filed a grievance with the city’s Human Resources Department seven months ago over the bathroom issue, the union said its concerns have gone unheard.

In a letter sent to Breed and the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, union officials asked for immediate action, saying “We demand humane treatment of these employees — our members — who are performing some of the most

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Trump’s payroll tax deferral nixed for House employees

It wasn’t immediately known what the Republican-controlled Senate will do.

The deferral, which is available for workers earning less than $104,000 a year, was one of several unilateral moves Trump made in August that he said would boost the coronavirus-battered economy.

But the administration has had a hard time convincing private-sector employers to take part in the plan. Companies are concerned it is too risky or complicated, especially if Congress doesn’t ultimately excuse workers from having to pay back the taxes when the deferral expires at the end of the year.

Kiko raised similar concerns, citing recent Treasury Department guidelines.

“The taxes are deferred, and absent subsequent action by Congress, employees still owe, and employers are still required to collect the taxes,” he wrote. “Starting in January of 2021, employers would be required to begin withholding taxes from paychecks at higher rates to fully collect the tax owed by April 30, 2021.”

“Like all pay disbursing officials, the CAO must weigh the benefit of the deferral against the challenges of implementing this change and the practical impacts to the House workforce.”

The administration recently announced that the deferral would be applied to the paychecks of executive branch employees and the military. They’d have to repay their obligations next year unless Congress makes the deferral permanent.

Some GOP lawmakers have said they would like to hold back payroll taxes for their staffers under Trump’s directive. Kiko’s office didn’t immediately respond when asked if his decision was binding across all House offices.

But a Democratic staffer said it removes the option for Republican lawmakers, unless they get Kiko to alter his decision or create an exception. The administrative office has total control over payroll and would have to be directly involved in any kind of deferral, the staffer said.

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House Oversight Committee to investigate postmaster general after claims he pressured employees to make campaign donations

The House Oversight Committee has opened up a new front in its investigation of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for allegedly pressuring his employees to make campaign donations to GOP candidates.

The Washington Post reported this weekend that while DeJoy was CEO of New Breed Logistics, he or his aides pressured employees to write checks and attend GOP fundraisers at his mansion, five people who worked for New Breed told the paper. DeJoy, a megadonor for the Republican Party, would reimburse the employees through bonuses, an arrangement that is unlawful, the Post reported Sunday.

HOUSE PASSES $25B IN ‘EMERGENCY’ POSTAL SERVICE FUNDING, WHITE HOUSE THREATENS VETO

“If these allegations are true, Mr. DeJoy could face criminal exposure—not only for his actions in North Carolina, but also for lying to our Committee under oath,” House Oversight Committee chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said in a statement Tuesday to Fox News. “We will be investigating this issue, but I believe the Board of Governors must take emergency action to immediately suspend Mr. DeJoy, who they never should have selected in the first place.”

Maloney is referencing testimony DeJoy gave the Oversight Committee on Aug. 24 when he was called to answer questions on mail delays and cost-cutting measures before the presidential election, which will rely increasingly on mail-in ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic.

HOUSE DEMOCRATS SUBPOENA USPS’S DEJOY FOR HIS CALENDAR, DOCUMENTS ON MAIL DELAYS

Under questioning from Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., DeJoy denied pressuring his employees to donate to President Trump.

“Did you pay back several of your top executives for contributing to Trump’s campaign by bonusing or rewarding them?” Cooper asked.

“That’s an outrageous claim, sir, and I resent it,” DeJoy said, noting he wasn’t working at his company during the Trump campaign. “The answer is no.”

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testifies before a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on slowdowns at the Postal Service ahead of the November elections on Capitol Hill in Washington, Aug. 24, 2020. (Tom Williams/Pool via REUTERS

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testifies before a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on slowdowns at the Postal Service ahead of the November elections on Capitol Hill in Washington, Aug. 24, 2020. (Tom Williams/Pool via REUTERS

Monty Hagler, a spokesman for DeJoy in his private capacity, provided Fox News with a statement Tuesday that DeJoy consistently encouraged employees and family members to be active in their communities and provided them with various volunteer opportunities to get involved in activities.

“Mr. DeJoy was never notified by the New Breed employees referenced by the Washington Post of any pressure they might have felt to make a political contribution, and he regrets if any employee felt uncomfortable for any reason,” Hagler said.

“During his leadership of New Breed Logistics, Mr. DeJoy sought and received legal advice from the former General Counsel of the Federal Election Commission on election laws, including the law of political contributions, to ensure that he, New Breed Logistics and any person affiliated with New Breed fully complied with any and all laws,” Hagler said. “Mr. DeJoy believes that all campaign fundraising laws and regulations should be complied with in all respects.”

LOUIS DEJOY: WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT THE POSTMASTER GENERAL

Trump on

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Former officials critical of Trump are ‘disgruntled employees’

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday in an exclusive interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that her former colleagues who have criticized President Donald Trump after leaving their positions were “disgruntled employees” who “have tried to push their own agenda.”



a woman wearing a purple shirt: Sarah Sanders appears on "Good Morning America," Sept. 8, 2020.


© ABC News
Sarah Sanders appears on “Good Morning America,” Sept. 8, 2020.

Sanders, whose memoir was published Tuesday, told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos that the cacophony of negative comments from former officials — including former National Security Adviser John Bolton, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — contrasted sharply with her own account because hers was “honest.”

“It’s really simple,” Sanders said. “I think mine is actually the honest account. You’re looking at people who have left as disgruntled employees, people who have tried to push their own agenda.”



a woman wearing a purple shirt: Sarah Sanders appears on "Good Morning America," Sept. 8, 2020.


© ABC News
Sarah Sanders appears on “Good Morning America,” Sept. 8, 2020.

Sanders’ book, “Speaking for Myself: Faith, Freedom, and the Fight of Our Lives Inside the Trump White House,” covers her years in the White House. She said it was “very candid, very authentic and shows you a different side of the president.”


MORE: A message for President Donald Trump from his niece: ‘Resign’

One voice critical of Trump — Retired Gen. John F. Kelly, a former White House chief of staff under Trump — has remained silent in the past several days after a report in The Atlantic last week said Trump had made disparaging remarks about members of the military.

Pressed by Stephanopoulos on why Kelly had not spoken out to defend the president, as Sanders and numerous other current and former officials had, Sanders said, “That’s a question you’d have to ask General Kelly.”

Sanders said she was present on the day Trump reportedly called fallen service members “losers” and “suckers” and that “those comments didn’t happen.” ABC News has not confirmed The Atlantic’s account.

In a later interview on “The View,” Sanders sidestepped a question from co-host Meghan McCain about Trump’s past “incendiary” comments about her father, the late Sen. John McCain, and other members of the military — and how that makes these allegations more believable even though they come from anonymous sources.

She said she “witnessed firsthand the president’s respect and admiration for the men and women of our armed forces.”

Pressed by McCain, Sanders later added, “There’s no denying the fact that not only did Donald Trump dislike your father, your father disliked the president.”

“I’m not saying that there weren’t some moments that were heated, that were not of the highest level of respect,” Sanders said, “but when it comes to who this president is, at his heart, and how he feels about the men and women of our armed services, I can say for my own experience he has a great level of respect.”

She said she was not present for an incident in 2017, when, according to The Atlantic, standing beside the grave of Kelly’s

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House Oversight to investigate postmaster general over accusations of pressuring employees for political donations

The House Oversight Committee will begin an investigation into allegations that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy pressured his employees to make political contributions and then reimbursed those individuals, which is illegal.



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Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the chairwoman of the committee, announced the investigation late Monday evening, according to the Washington Post. She called for DeJoy’s immediate suspension and claimed that he may have lied under oath last month when he testified in front of the committee.

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Maloney claimed that DeJoy, a Republican megadonor who assumed his position as postmaster general in June, faced “criminal exposure” if the allegations are true and “for lying to our committee under oath.”

The announcement of the committee’s investigation came a day after the allegations surfaced. According to a report from the Washington Post, DeJoy, during his time running his former business, New Breed Logistics, and his aides would urge subordinates to donate to political causes, and then provide them with inflated work bonuses as compensation.

Monty Hagler, a spokesman for DeJoy, said DeJoy believes he hasn’t violated any laws, but he didn’t address the claims that employees were reimbursed for their contributions. Hagler noted that DeJoy was unaware of “any pressure they might have felt to make a political contribution, and he regrets if any employee felt uncomfortable for any reason.”

The act of urging employees to donate is not a crime, but reimbursing them would be in North Carolina and it would also violate federal election laws. There’s no statute of limitation for felony offenses in North Carolina, but the relevant federal statutes have a five-year statute of limitations.

During the 14-year period from 2000-2014, more than a hundred New Breed Logistics employees donated more than $1 million to federal and local GOP candidates, while fewer than a dozen gave a combined $700 to Democratic candidates.

DeJoy’s testimony last month focused on how the U.S. Postal Service is preparing to handle the November election, which will likely be more reliant on the postal service for absentee and mail-in voting than they have been in previous elections as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Shortly after DeJoy’s testimony, Maloney issued a subpoena for information about the removal of mail sorting machines, mailboxes and other “policies and practices” that may be slowing mail delivery.

Since he took over as the postmaster general, DeJoy has implemented an array of changes such as the decision to prohibit overtime and curtailing late trips for mail carriers that ensure on-time delivery.

Democrats have accused President Trump and DeJoy of working to undermine the postal service and of hampering their ability to handle the election, while the president’s administration has argued that mail-in voting is susceptible to fraud and shouldn’t be done.

Trump told reporters on Monday that DeJoy is a “very honest guy,” but indicated that he supports removing his postmaster general if it “can be proven that he did something wrong.”

Tags: News, House Oversight, USPS, Post Office, Congress

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