Warehouse Workers Say Wal-Mart Responsible for Poor Conditions
Los Angeles Times
(11/30/12) Marc Lifsher
Workers in a Wal-Mart warehouse in Riverside County, CA, are suing Wal-Mart Stores Inc., warehouse operator Schneider Logistics Inc., and two staffing firms for forcing around 1,800 employees to work long hours under poor conditions without proper pay. In an amended complaint filed Nov. 30, the workers place the blame solely on Wal-Mart, insisting that the retailer pressured a contractor and subcontractor for faster work. However, Wal-Mart says it has no control over Schneider, and Schneider says the staffing firms it used to outsource labor are responsible for the management and payment of the warehouse workers.
Fiscal Cliff Talks at Stalemate
Wall Street Journal
(12/03/12) Damian Paletta; Patrick O’Connor
Talks between the White House and Republicans to avoid the “fiscal cliff” have gone nowhere thus far. U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) says the Republicans will allow $800 billion in tax increases over a decade through the elimination of tax breaks, rather than higher rates. Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the Obama administration is considering changes to Medicare and Medicaid but is waiting first for specific proposals from Republicans. By the end of the year, observers say lawmakers hope to complete a two-step deal that would lock in spending cuts and tax code changes to be implemented in January and overhaul the tax code and entitlement programs by August.
U.S. Personal Spending Declines in October
(11/30/12) Jeffry Bartash
New U.S. Department of Commerce data show that U.S. consumer spending declined in October for the first time in five months. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a 0.1% increase in spending, seasonally adjusted, and a 0.2% increase in personal income. Spending fell compared with income growth, so the personal savings rate edged up to 3.4% from 3.3%, but it remained near a five-year low. Federal government officials noted that Hurricane Sandy reduced wages and salaries in late October by $18.2 billion, likely contributing to the spending decline.
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