$1,400 stimulus checks march forward, good news for dependents
President Biden is making headway on his plan to provide $1.9 trillion in additional Covid-19 pandemic relief. Monday night, Democrats revealed final plans for the third relief package, set to send $1,400 to individual Americans making less than $75,000 and couples earning less than $150,000. Plus, the administration is hoping to increase weekly unemployment benefits to $400 through September. The new package brings good news for dependents — college students and disabled adults are now eligible to receive stimulus payments. Previous rounds were limited to child dependents, which meant roughly 13.5 million adult dependents missed out. Despite the recent pushback from Republicans who outlined an alternative plan, lawmakers hope to put together a final deal by March. According to one analyst, this will likely be the last major relief package.
Why a $15 minimum wage is off the table, for now
The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 hasn't budged since 2009, but a new White House policy aims to more than double it to $15 an hour by 2025. Democrats and Republicans alike have pushed back on the proposal, pointing to job cuts and the effects on small businesses, but what would a higher minimum wage actually cost? According to a report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the aggressive plan would result in a higher federal deficit of $54 billion over 10 years and 1.4 million jobs lost. It would also significantly lower poverty levels, raising 900,000 Americans out of poverty and giving 17 million workers a raise — a sizable upgrade to Americans' quality of life. While a minimum wage hike has been removed from the current stimulus package, President Biden indicated he's prepared to address this policy in a separate negotiation down the road.
Warehouse workers face off with Amazon for historic union vote
In a David versus Goliath square off, warehouse workers in Bessemer, AL, cast historical votes to unionize a US-based Amazon facility for the first time, ever. Starting Monday, ballots were mailed to 5,800 employees, with vote-counting scheduled for March 29th. Despite earning a wage that’s double the Alabama minimum, employees reached out to the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) mere months after the depot opened last March, citing grueling work conditions and demanding changes related to safety, firing, and disciplining procedures. Amazon — whose revenue hit $88.9 billion at the pandemic’s peak — is resisting the grassroots movement, through tactics ranging from sending daily text messages to plant employees, holding mandated anti-union meetings, pushing a #DoItWithoutDues campaign, and a now-denied request to postpone the union vote. Whatever the outcome, we can be sure Bezos, set to step down from the helm this summer, will be paying close attention.
Whitney Wolfe Herd is now the youngest woman to take a tech unicorn public
After co-founding America’s most popular dating app, Tinder (you may have heard of it), Whitney Wolfe Herd filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the company and left it in 2014. But Herd snapped back with a billion-dollar idea: to disrupt the online dating industry by challenging antiquated dating norms (like the guy needing to say ‘hey’ first). And thus, Bumble was born. It’s since become the second most downloaded dating app in America. And as of yesterday, Herd is the youngest woman ever to take a tech unicorn public. Bumble’s biggest competitor, Match Group, owns virtually every other big dating app in the US (Hinge, OkCupid, and Tinder), but investors were still eager to get a piece of the hive with the online dating market growing at 11% annually. Bumble raised $2.2 billion in its IPO, selling 50 million shares for $43 apiece and earning a market capitalization of over $7 billion. Shares began trading today, just in time for Valentine’s Day.