Hobby Lobby raises pay to $17 an hour and more business news

Hobby Lobby raises pay to $17 an hour

Hobby Lobby said Monday it is raising its minimum pay to $17 an hour, effective next month.

In 2009, Hobby Lobby was one of the first retailers to establish a nationwide minimum hourly wage well above the federal minimum wage and has since raised its minimum wages 10 times over the last 11 years. In 2014, Hobby Lobby raised its full-time minimum hourly wage to $15.

“We have always worked hard to be a retail leader when it comes to taking care of our people,” said Hobby Lobby founder and CEO, David Green. “From closing our stores on Sundays and at 8 p.m. the rest of the week, to providing some of the best pay and benefits in the retail industry, we are thankful that we are able to share our success with our valued employees and provide time for rest, family and worship. These investments allow Hobby Lobby to attract and retain a great group of associates who in turn help provide the wonderfully unique shopping experience enjoyed by our many loyal customers.”

Hobby Lobby also provides its full-time employees medical, prescription, and dental plan, 401(k) with generous company match, flexible spending plan, long-term disability benefits, life insurance, vacation pay, personal paid time off benefits with annual buyback, holiday pay, chaplain services, and an employee discount.

Hobby Lobby was founded in 1972 and currently operates 923 retail stores, including local outlets in Hixson, East Brained and Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia.


Wells Fargo cuts may last 4 years

Wells Fargo’s plan to cut billions of dollars in expenses will mostly consist of layoffs and potentially take as long as four years, Chief Financial Officer John Shrewsberry said in a Monday presentation to investors.

In July, the bank said it intended to cut roughly $10 billion in annual expenses, about a fifth of its yearly $54 billion in spending. The move came after Wells Fargo announced its first quarterly loss in over a decade in July. Those cuts will come from “a little bit of everything,” but “mostly people,” said Shrewsberry, who plans to retire later this year.

“$10 billion isn’t a hard target,” Shrewsberry said. “It’s how people have set about doing the next-level work to figure out, business-by-business and function-by-function, how lean we need to be.”

While cuts and layoffs are already underway, it will likely take two to four years for the bank to reach $10 billion fewer in annual expenses, he said.


Ethanol farmers get boost from regulators

Federal regulators on Monday handed a victory to corn farmers and the renewable fuels industry by refusing to allow a group of petroleum refiners in 14 states to forego requirements to blend ethanol into the gasoline they make.

Members of Congress from farm states have heavily lobbied President Donald Trump to reject the waiver requests for months. Those representing oil-producing states supported the waivers, which were originally designed to help small refineries that struggled financially to meet federally mandated ethanol targets. In recent years, however, larger refineries also have received exemptions from the Trump administration.

The petroleum refiners had sought 54 exemptions retroactively, some as far back as 2011, that would have allowed the petroleum industry to remove hundreds of millions of gallons of corn-based ethanol from the market.


U.S claims China firms create ‘concentration’ camps

Four companies and a manufacturing facility in northwestern China were blocked Monday from shipping their products to the U.S. because of their suspected reliance on forced labor from people detained as part of a massive campaign against ethnic minorities in the region.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued orders freezing imports from companies that produce cotton, clothing and computer parts in the Xinjiang region of northwestern China, where authorities have detained more than 1 million people in detention camps as part of the crackdown.

CBP also halted imports of hair products made at a manufacturing facility where authorities believe Uighurs and other ethnic minorities are forced to work.

Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, dismissed the notion that the facility is a “vocational” center as has been portrayed by Chinese authorities.

“It is a concentration camp, a place where religious and ethnic minorities are subject to abuse and forced to work in heinous conditions with no recourse and no freedom,” Cuccinelli said. “This is modern day slavery.”

The treatment of people in Xinjiang has become a source of friction between the U.S. and China amid broader tensions over trade and the response to the coronavirus outbreak.

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