Target CEO can stay with as retirement rule is dropped; UPS announces 2022 holiday hiring goal

Target drops age mandate, CEO to stay

NEW YORK — Target is dropping the mandatory retirement age for its CEO and extending its contract with chief executive Brian Cornell for three years.

Cornell would have passed the age of 65 in that span.

“In discussions about the company’s longer term plans, it was important to us as a board to assure our stakeholders that Brian intends to stay in his role beyond the traditional retirement age of 65,” said said Monica Lozano, the lead independent director of Target’s board.

Sales have grown steadily since Cornell took the top job in 2014, and Target became a lifeline to millions of people trying to limit their exposure during the pandemic.

The company is trying to navigate tremendous shifts in consumer behavior with the worst of the pandemic in the rear view mirror while it wrestles with soaring prices and rising wages for workers.

UPS to hire more than 100K holiday workers

NEW YORK — United Parcel Service said Sept. 7 that it plans to hire more than 100,000 extra workers to help handle an increase in packages during the critical holiday season.

That’s similar to the holiday seasons of 2021 and 2020. Holiday-season volumes usually start rising in October and remain high into January. The hiring plans come as online shopping has slowed after a pandemic-induced surge, but the figures are still well above pre-pandemic levels.

UPS said the openings will be for full- and part-time seasonal positions, and they are primarily package handlers, drivers and driver helpers. UPS promotes the seasonal jobs as ones that can lead to year-round employment, saying in recent years that roughly 35% of people for seasonal package-handling jobs end up in permanent positions.

The company also said it has further streamlined the job hiring process and touts that it takes just 25 minutes for most people – from filling out an online application to receiving a job offer, according to Danelle McCusker Rees, the president of human relations at UPS, who began her career with the company as a seasonal worker. That’s down from 30 minutes a year ago, she said. Also, nearly 80 percent of seasonal positions do not require an interview, up from 75 percent a year ago.

United Air lifts sales estimate after busy summer

DALLAS — United Airlines said Sept. 7 that third-quarter revenue will be higher than it had expected due to strong summer travel demand, and the upbeat outlook helped push airline stocks higher.

Chicago-based carrier estimated that July-through-September revenue will be 12 percent higher than in the same quarter of 2019, up from its previous projection of an 11 percent increase over pre-pandemic levels.

Patrick Quayle, a senior vice president who oversees United’s global network, said strong sales have continued into September, with none of the usual end-of-summer decline in vacation bookings to destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe. The number of corporate travelers remains below 2019 levels, although revenue is about the same or even up because of higher average fares, he said during a Cowen investor conference.

Strong ticket sales could last the rest of the year. JPMorgan airline analyst Jamie Baker, citing data from an Airbus subsidiary, said Wednesday that fourth-quarter booked revenue on United and American is running 20 percent over the same time in 2019.

Meanwhile, United says it will suspend service at New York’s JFK Airport in late October unless regulators allow it to operate more flights to compete better against rivals. The Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA said if additional takeoff and landing slots at JFK are offered, it will follow a “well-established process of awarding them fairly and to increase competition.”

United left JFK in 2015 to concentrate on Newark, N.J., where it is the dominant airline. It returned to JFK last year but offers just two daily flights to both Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Judge: Musk can cite Twitter whistleblower

SAN FRANCISCO — Elon Musk will be able to include new evidence from a Twitter whistleblower as he fights to get out of his $44 billion deal to buy the social media company, but Musk won’t be able to delay a high-stakes October trial over the dispute, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick, the head judge of Delaware’s Court of Chancery, denied Musk’s request to delay the trial by four weeks. But she allowed him to add evidence related to whistleblower allegations by former Twitter security chief Peiter Zatko, who is scheduled to testify to Congress next week about the company’s poor cybersecurity practices.

Twitter has sued Musk, asking the Delaware court to force him to go through with the deal he made in April to buy the company. Musk has countersued and a trial is set to start the week of Oct. 17.

Musk’s legal team has argued that the allegations made by Zatko to U.S. officials may help bolster Musk’s claims that Twitter misled him and the public about the company’s problem with fake and “spam” accounts.

Fed official: Rates to rise more, persist longer

WASHINGTON — A top official said the Federal Reserve will need to continue lifting its short-term interest rate to a level that restricts economic growth and keep it there for an extended period.

In remarks to a banking industry conference Sept. 7, vice chair Lael Brainard echoed similarly tough comments about inflation delivered by chair Jerome Powell late last month in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Brainard said the Fed’s benchmark interest rate “will need to rise further” and stay at a level high enough to slow the economy “for some time to provide confidence that inflation is moving down” to the Fed’s 2 percent target.

In July, prices were 8.5 percent higher than a year earlier.

Starbucks loses appeal, will rehire 7 in Tenn. 

NEW YORK — Starbucks said it will reinstate seven employees who were fired in February after leading an effort to unionize their Memphis store.

The seven will get their jobs back after the Seattle-based coffee giant lost an appeal of a lower court’s order to reinstate them.

Starbucks said the workers violated company policy by reopening the store after closing time and inviting a television crew inside. But the National Labor Relations Board determined the company was interfering with the workers’ right to organize. Last month, a federal court in Memphis ruled Starbucks should reinstate the workers while its case was being heard.

Starbucks appealed, but on Sept. 6 a federal appeals court upheld the lower court ruling.

China export growth sinks, imports shrink

BEIJING — China’s export growth weakened in August and imports shrank as high energy prices, inflation and anti-virus restrictions weighed on global and Chinese consumer demand.

Customs data Sept. 7 showed exports rose 7 percent over a year earlier, just over one-third of July’s 18 percent expansion. Imports contracted by 0.2 percent.

Demand for Chinese exports has softened as economic activity in Western markets slowed and the Federal Reserve and central banks in Europe and Asia raise interest rates to cool surging inflation. At home, repeated closures of cities to fight virus outbreaks has depressed consumer spending.

Roofing company GAF plans $146M Ga. plant

VALDOSTA, Ga. — A roofing company plans to build a factory in the south Georgia city of Valdosta, investing $146 million and hiring 135 workers over the next six years.

GAF, a unit of privately held Standard Industries of New York, made the announcement Sept. 7. Construction is supposed to start this fall, with production beginning in early 2024.

The company will make a plastic membrane called thermoplastic polyolefin roofing that is used mostly to cover flat roofs or low-slope roofs on commercial buildings.

GAF said the plant will allow it to serve customers more quickly. The company currently makes the same product in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Texas and Utah.

The company said it chose Valdosta because of its vicinity to highway and railways, available workers and its location relative to other GAF operations. GAF already has other locations in Savannah, Statesboro and Cumming that employ a total of 225 workers.

Outage at Austin airport causes flight delays

AUSTIN, Texas — An early morning power outage Wednesday at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport caused flight delays and cancellations that continued even after electricity was restored.

The airport reported it lost power shortly before 5 a.m., and soon after said flights had been stopped. The lights were back on by 8 a.m., but airport officials told passengers that flights would be delayed.

The airport shut down roads leading to the airport, which led to traffic backups on a nearby freeway. Austin police asked people to stay in their vehicles until the roads reopened.

Transportation Security Administration checkpoints were open shortly after 8 a.m., but flight delays continued.

Austin Energy said the outage was caused by malfunctioning underground equipment that has since been repaired, and a crew is reviewing what happened in the hope of avoiding a repeat.

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