The Amazon union vote is over. Here’s what happens now.

A demonstrator holds a sign during a February protest near Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse. | Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Whether or not the union’s challenge in Bessemer fails, Amazon will face labor battles elsewhere.

Amazon has come out on top in the largest US union election in the company’s history. But the labor battle appears far from over.

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) announced on Friday that it planned to file unfair labor practice charges against Amazon over allegations of employee intimidation and manipulation. The union also requested a hearing before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to go over its objections.

Meanwhile, activists who’ve worked for Amazon said the election outcome will not stop more organizing efforts at other Amazon facilities in the US. And reports in recent months point to the Teamsters Union trying to organize other Amazon warehouses and delivery drivers.

In short, the Amazon … Read the rest

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Why a global chip shortage is screwing up America’s pickup trucks

President Biden has ordered a 100-day supply chain review for critical supplies like semiconductor chips, which are increasingly important to auto manufacturers. | Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

Disruptions in the global high-tech supply chain spell bad news for Chevy Silverados and Samsung phones alike.

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Even a year after the pandemic started wreaking havoc on global supply chains, a chip shortage is still disrupting entire industries.

This year, some of GM’s newest cars won’t have a critical feature — an advanced fuel management system that saves gas — because the company couldn’t get enough chips, the transistor-filled semiconductors that keep so many of the devices we use today running. After announcing in March that customers who buy the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups between now and the end of the summer will have a lower fuel economy, GM said Thursday that worsening supply chain issues have led to temporary closures … Read the rest

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Amazon is way ahead in the historic warehouse union vote. The battle’s still not over.

A union organizer waves to cars outside an Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama, on March 27. | Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

The union says it will likely challenge the results over alleged illegal behavior.

The votes haven’t all been counted in the first attempt to unionize a large Amazon facility in the US, but the union involved has already said it will likely challenge the election results. The current count strongly favors Amazon.

“Our system is broken, Amazon took full advantage of that, and we will be calling on the labor board to hold Amazon accountable for its illegal and egregious behavior during the campaign,” Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) president Stuart Appelbaum said in a statement to Recode on Thursday evening.

RWDSU spokesperson Chelsea Connor said part of the alleged behavior involves Amazon’s placement of a USPS mailbox on the grounds of the Bessemer, … Read the rest

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YouTube says it’s better at removing videos that violate its rules, but those rules are in flux

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki previously said problematic content on YouTube is a fraction of 1 percent of what’s posted on the platform. | Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

YouTube’s newest content moderation stat, briefly explained.

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YouTube is shedding new light on how it moderates its sprawling video platform, which has billions of views each day.

On Tuesday, the company released for the first time a statistic called the “violative view rate,” a new data point YouTube plans to include in its community guideline enforcement reports. Basically, for every 10,000 views on its social network — or at least during the last quarter of 2020 — about 16 to 18 of those views are of videos that violate YouTube’s rules, which currently forbid everything from hate speech to medical misinformation about Covid-19 to spam.

In a blog post published on Tuesday, YouTube argues those stats are a sign of … Read the rest

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The number of billionaires spiked by 30% during the pandemic

The rise in billionaires’ net worths during the Covid-19 pandemic has reinvigorated the debate about their role in society. | David Ryder/Bloomberg/Getty Images

It’s easy to lose track of the numbers. But you shouldn’t.

The total number of billionaires exploded over the course of the coronavirus pandemic — and they individually became extraordinarily wealthier during the last 12 months.

That’s according to a new report from Forbes, which does one of the most complete analyses each spring about the state of the billionaire class across the globe. Tracking the net worths of the wealthy is painstaking work that requires sifting through arcane filings — and the end results are not perfect — but the estimates offered by Forbes represent one of the best stabs at covering the scale of income inequality in the world. And while it’s easy to lose track of the numbers or to see the figures as … Read the rest

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Tim Cook hints that Apple is making its own autonomous car

Apple, led by CEO Tim Cook, might finally be ready to produce its own line of cars. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Apple car, if there is one, could be on the road by 2024.

The long-rumored Apple car is looking more possible than ever: CEO Tim Cook just made his most definitive (and, in keeping with Apple’s usual strategy, not very definitive at all) statements to date that Apple is making its own car filled with Apple technology.

In an interview with the New York Times’s Kara Swisher, Cook said autonomous technology was “core,” and that he viewed an autonomous car as a robot. This is consistent with his statements in 2017 that Apple was focused on autonomous systems. But he was “coy” — his words — about if that technology would go in a car made by Apple.

“We love to integrate hardware, software, and services, and find … Read the rest

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The FDA just made cheap, rapid, at-home Covid-19 testing even easier to get

A woman makes her way to the Covid-19 testing site at the California State University Los Angeles campus on February 3. | Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Testing can do things for us now that it couldn’t do before.

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There was a time when we thought Covid-19 testing would save us from the pandemic. As long as we had enough tests and got them in the hands of enough people, we’d be able to identify and contain outbreaks, and life would soon go back to normal.

Clearly, this did not happen.

But now that we have vaccines, death and infection rates are declining, some states are dropping their restrictions, more kids are going back to school, grandparents are giving hugs, and it looks like we’re in for a much safer and better summer than 2020.

So it would be understandable if you thought there wasn’t a place for … Read the rest

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Your Slack DMs aren’t as private as you think

Zac Freeland/Vox

How your employer (and others) can get your Slack messages.

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Is Slack good for actually getting your work done? That’s debatable. But the popular messaging platform — which boasted more than 12 million daily active users as of last year — is definitely a promising medium for employers, regulatory agencies, the government, and even hackers seeking a trove of data about a company and its workers. Even your coworkers could find out more about you than you might expect.

The number of Slack messages your workplace might be able to access has actually grown as Slack has built out its workplace app. Last year, the company launched a new tool called Slack Connect, which allows different workplaces to share channels on the app. The company announced that the feature was expanded again last month, so anyone could send invitations to direct message to other Slack users — even … Read the rest

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Biden’s plan to fix America’s broken internet, briefly explained

President Biden introduces his American Jobs Plan, which includes $100 billion to expand broadband to all Americans. | Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Biden wants $100 billion to give broadband to everyone. It may not be that easy.

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President Biden’s $2 trillion American Jobs Plan infrastructure proposal used a broader definition of infrastructure than most people tend to associate with the word. It took on everything from roads, pipes, and electricity to climate change, union jobs, and inequality.

It also provided $100 billion to America’s digital infrastructure, with a lofty goal of giving all Americans access to the affordable, reliable high-speed internet they need to participate in today’s economy. The plan is short on specifics for now, but the vast majority of that money will go to building out high-speed broadband connections to the millions of Americans who still don’t have them. There are also provisions about promoting competition and … Read the rest

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Vaccine-themed gear is in high demand on Etsy

Etsy sellers are racing to make vaccine-themed gear as inoculations roll out across the country. | Mark Gray

A lot of sellers did well selling cloth masks. Now some shops are turning to vaccine-themed gear.

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Etsy sellers are racing to meet growing demand for all sorts of vaccine-related gear — from “Fauci Ouchie” buttons to “Pfizer Alumni” T-shirts to protective cases sized for a CDC card — especially as more and more people getting the jab look to celebrate the milestone.

The popularity of vaccine-themed swag is a sign that people aren’t just showing up to get their shot, they’re actually excited to share news of their inoculation and spread the word. That enthusiasm is important as vaccine eligibility continues to open up across the United States and public health campaigns continue to try to reach Americans that are still apprehensive about getting the shot.

Nate Duval, a Massachusetts-based Etsy … Read the rest

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