business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  From the Associated Press:

"U.S. regulators on Wednesday announced a settlement with the company that runs Dollar Tree and Family Dollar aimed at improving worker safety at thousands of the bargain stores across the country.

"Labor Department officials cited hazards at the stores including blocked exits, unsafe storage of materials, and improper access to fire extinguishers and electrical panels … Assistant Labor Secretary Doug Parker noted that OSHA has issued 403 violations at Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores since 2017, resulting in more than $13.1 million in fines to date. The company 'made some significant improvement' in worker safety following a 2015 settlement that expired in 2018 but continued violations show more work needs to be done, Parker said."

The story says that "under the agreement, the chains operated by Dollar Tree Inc. are required to find the 'root causes' of violations that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has repeatedly cited at multiple stores and fix them within two years, the department said."

•  From the Associated Press:

"The union representing 340,000 UPS workers said Tuesday that its members voted to approve the tentative contract agreement reached last month, putting a final seal on contentious labor negotiations that threatened to disrupt package deliveries for millions of businesses and households nationwide.

"The Teamsters said in a statement that 86 percent of the votes casts were in favor of ratifying the contract. They also said it was passed by the highest vote for a contract in the history of the Teamsters at UPS."

According to the story, "Under the tentative agreement, full- and part-time union workers will get $2.75 more per hour in 2023, and $7.50 more in total by the end of the five-year contract. Starting hourly pay for part-time employees also got bumped up to $21, but some workers said that fell short of their expectations.

"UPS says that by the end of the new contract, the average UPS full-time driver will make about $170,000 annually in pay and benefits. It’s not clear how much of that figure benefits account for."

All of which adds up to a scenario in which other companies will have to view the UPS deal as a floor upon which they'll have to build their own agreements.

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"Roark Capital is nearing a deal to buy the Subway sandwich-shop chain for about $9.6 billion.

"After a long, heated auction, a deal for the closely held company could be finalized this week, people familiar with the matter said. Roark has been battling it out with a group of rival private-equity firms including TDR and Sycamore, and in recent days pulled ahead.

"It is still possible the other group could come back with a higher offer and prevail.

"Milford, Conn.-based Subway, known for its foot-long sandwiches and quick-service restaurants, has been owned by its two founding families for more than five decades."