business news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email from MNB reader Bob Thomas:

There was a comment made last week by an MNB reader:  

“Large unions tend to have a history of corruption and graft and leadership’s objectives are often driven by differing needs than the union membership."

Union corruption does not even come close to matching corporate graft and corruption.  Enron for one example of ripping off its own shareholders.  Citibank for laundering $100 million for the brother of the Mexican President.  And who can forget Bernie Madoff?  Insider trading, friendly boards of directors and outright corporate corruption keep the US Treasury in pocket change from corporations that do not admit guilt but pay the fine.

As much as people talk about Jimmie Hoffa they should be looking at union leaders like William Winpisinger or George Kourpas.

On the subject of Starbucks employees' discontent, one MNB reader wrote:

I have a great college-age highly skilled granddaughter in the Columbus, Ohio, area who has in the past few years worked at Texas Roadhouse, then Bob Evans, and then at Starbucks. Of those three, Starbucks has been without a doubt the most employee-centric employer of all.  She cannot understand why anyone would need a union.  Starbucks has been extremely flexible in her schedule to accommodate her academic needs, and when they curtailed operations due to Covid she was paid even for not working. 

Maybe it is the attitude and work ethnic of this lady that Starbucks has treated her so well.  But I think it is largely attributable to the way Starbucks generally treats its employees. 

I personally am not a fan of expensive Starbucks coffee.  I still prefer  my Maxwell House to her gifts of bags of Starbucks coffees. 

Both my son and nephew have worked for Starbucks over the years, and they've had good experiences.  But … I think it is important to remember that not everybody has had the same experiences. Starbucks has been known as a progressive employer, but it remains possible that the company has lost its way.

Last week we took note of a CNBC story reporting that Walmart "is raising pay for long-haul truck drivers and launching a new program to train the next generation, as it seeks the staffing it relies on to replenish store shelves and warehouses across the country.

"The retailer said truck drivers will now make between $95,000 and $110,000 in their first year with Walmart. The company did not provide the current salary range for a new truck driver at Walmart, but said they have made an average of $87,500 in their first year.

""Walmart has also started a 12-week program in Sanger, Texas, and in Dover, Delaware, where people can earn a commercial driver’s license and join Walmart’s fleet. It will cover the cost of earning a license, which can run between $4,000 and $5,000."

MNB Ryan Mullen wrote:

I don't know Walmart's trucking policies off hand, but most companies place the cost of maintenance on the driver with a horrible "lease to own" contact. Not to mention what gas costs. John Oliver's latest show went into this extensively, showing the plight of a family who pulled in $150k... Then had to pay $100k for gas. After truck maintenance they grossed less than $25k. Might want to keep your day gig.

And, from another MNB reader:

Warehouse to driver training programs has been in place for decades in grocery distribution operations and they are generally very popular.  The Walmart difference is that it is focusing on long-haul operations verses short run (daily, established routes).

And, we also pointed out another CNBC story saying that "Walgreens Boots Alliance said Wednesday that it will expand the number of stores in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas with so-called Health Corners, which offers medical care in association with health insurer Blue Shield of California. It has opened 12 Health Corner locations in California and plans to open eight more by mid-year."

One MNB reader responded:

I wonder if they will offer free lung cancer screenings to their customers that they have sold cigarettes to?

Walgreens has said it "considering" whether to stop selling tobacco products.  To me, this is a no-brainer.  If you want to be seen as part of the healthcare continuum, you can't be selling poison designed to addict and kill people.