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AMAZON TEAMSTERS EXTEND STRIKE FROM CALIFORNIA TO GEORGIA

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Workers Demand Amazon Address Low Pay and Dangerous Working Conditions

ATLANTA /PRNewswire/ — Amazon drivers picketed an Amazon warehouse near Atlanta today over the company’s unfair labor practices. The picket at the MGE9 warehouse is just the latest in a nearly four-month strike by drivers from the company’s DAX8 delivery station in Palmdale, Calif.

“I’m fighting for my kids. I’m fighting for my coworkers’ kids. We are tired of being paid peanuts to make Amazon its billions. Our unfair labor practice strike will continue until we win the fair wages and safe jobs that our families deserve,” said Brandi Diaz, an Amazon driver from Palmdale.

The Amazon drivers and dispatchers began their unfair labor practice strike on June 24. They have picketed 20 Amazon warehouses around the country, including warehouses in California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan, Georgia, and Massachusetts.

“These workers are directly challenging Amazon’s exploitative business model and its violations of the law that are driving down standards across our industry,” said Victor Mineros, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 396 in Los Angeles. “Amazon executives are getting rich by underpaying and overworking their employees, but Amazon workers are fighting back. With the support of their local communities and over a million Teamster members across the country, these workers are going to win the good jobs that they deserve.”

In April, the 84 workers in Palmdale organized with the Teamsters, becoming the first union of Amazon drivers in the country. As members of Local 396, they bargained a contract with Amazon’s Delivery Service Partner (DSP), Battle-Tested Strategies (BTS). Despite the absolute control it wields over BTS and workers’ terms and conditions of employment, Amazon refuses to recognize and honor the union contract. Instead, Amazon has engaged in dozens of unfair labor practices in violation of federal labor law, including terminating the entire unit of newly organized workers.

The workers’ growing unfair labor practice strike will continue until Amazon remedies all of its unfair labor practices, meaning it reinstates the unlawfully terminated Palmdale employees, recognizes the Teamsters Union, respects the contract negotiated by workers, and bargains with the Teamsters to address low pay and dangerous working conditions.

Amazon drivers in Palmdale organized with the Teamsters to protect their safety in extreme temperatures, which regularly exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit during Palmdale summers. Their Teamster contract guarantees the rights of workers to drive safe equipment and refuse unsafe deliveries. Making the contract’s protections a reality will require an overhaul of Amazon’s exploitative labor practices.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.2 million hardworking people in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Visit Teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at Facebook.com/teamsters.

SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters

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Spotify Price Increase: What to Know About Higher Music Download Service Fees

“Spotify raises prices for music download services, introducing new features and tiers. The music keeps playing, with an enhanced listening experience!”

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photo of woman wearing white headphones. "Image: Spotify logo with a price tag overlay, representing the price increase for their music download services."
Photo by Sound On on Pexels.com


Music streaming giant Spotify has shaken up the industry once again with its recent announcement of raising prices for its music download services. In this blog post, we will explore the details of the price increase, its potential impact, and the new features Spotify plans to introduce. Let’s dive in!

The Price Changes:
According to a Bloomberg report, Spotify will be increasing prices in the United States, as well as in various international markets. Individual plans are anticipated to rise by approximately $1 per month, while family plans will see a $2 increase. These changes come as Spotify aims to better serve its diverse user base.

New Pricing Tiers and Features:
In addition to the price hike, Spotify plans to introduce new pricing tiers and services. One exciting possibility is the inclusion of a higher audio quality option. Audiophiles and music enthusiasts will likely appreciate the enhanced listening experience this feature brings forth.

The Reason Behind the Price Increase:
As technology and licensing costs continue to rise, it’s no surprise that Spotify must adjust its pricing to ensure sustainability and continue offering a top-notch music streaming experience. The company consistently seeks to strike a delicate balance between providing affordable access to music and fair compensation for artists.

Impact on Users:
While any price increase can be an unwelcome change, it is crucial to consider the value Spotify brings to the table. With millions of songs at your fingertips, personalized playlists, and groundbreaking algorithms that recommend music you’ll love, the platform remains an extraordinary resource for music lovers.

Alternatives to Consider:
If the price increase has you rethinking your music streaming subscription, it’s important to remember that there are several other streaming services available in the market. Platforms like Apple Music, Amazon Music, and YouTube Music all offer unique features and vary in pricing. It’s worth exploring these alternatives to determine which one aligns best with your needs and budget.

The Bigger Picture:
As digital music consumption continues to evolve, it’s essential to recognize the efforts Spotify makes to support artists and drive the music industry forward. Despite the increase in pricing, Spotify remains committed to nurturing talented musicians, ensuring a platform for creativity, and connecting artists with their fans.

Ultimately, Spotify’s pricing adjustment reflects the constant evolution of the music streaming landscape. While price increases are never easy to digest, it is vital to appreciate the immense value Spotify provides to millions of users worldwide. As Spotify rolls out these changes and introduces new features, we can look forward to an even better music streaming experience. So, open your playlist, turn up the volume, and let the music continue to inspire and uplift you on Spotify!

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Business and Finance

Pickleball Growth & Outdoor Sports Gear: Insights from Escalade’s Financials

Explore how Escalade’s financial report affects pickleball gear innovation and availability in the outdoor sports industry.

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Pickleball Growth?

Escalade, Inc. (NASDAQ: ESCA) has recently announced its fourth quarter and full-year 2023 results. While net sales saw a decrease, there were improvements in gross margin and operating income.

These results have implications for outdoor sports, including pickleball – a fast-growing recreational activity. Let’s dive into what this means for the world of outdoor sports and how it may impact pickleball enthusiasts.

In the fourth quarter of 2023, Escalade reported a decline in net sales by 9.2%, primarily due to softer consumer demand across most product categories. However, there was also improved demand in the basketball and indoor games categories. Despite the decrease in net sales, Escalade saw positive developments in gross margin, which increased by 192 basis points compared to the prior year’s quarter. This improvement was driven by price discipline, a favorable sales mix, and reduced costs of freight and storage.

For the full year 2023, Escalade experienced a decrease in net sales by 16.0%. However, gross margin only declined by 3 basis points, indicating some resilience in maintaining profitability. Operating income saw a larger decline of 32.3%, reflecting the challenging market conditions. Nevertheless, Escalade generated significant cash flow from operations, with a substantial increase compared to the prior year.

What does this mean for outdoor sports, particularly pickleball? While Escalade manufactures and distributes a variety of sporting goods and recreational equipment, their Onix brand focuses on pickleball. The financial performance of Escalade has the potential to impact the availability and innovation of pickleball equipment and products. As Escalade continues to navigate the current macroeconomic environment, it will prioritize reducing debt while investing in its brands and product portfolio.

Pickleball, a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, has been growing in popularity, especially among older adults. As more individuals embrace outdoor activities, the demand for pickleball equipment is likely to continue increasing. By closely monitoring the financial performance of companies like Escalade, pickleball enthusiasts can gain insights into the availability and development of high-quality equipment to support their game.

Escalade’s commitment to reducing debt and strengthening its balance sheet also indicates stability and the potential for future investments and product innovations. This can have a positive effect on the pickleball community, as new and improved products may enhance the overall playing experience.

In conclusion, while Escalade has reported some declines in net sales and operating income, the improvements in gross margin and cash flow from operations are promising. For outdoor sports enthusiasts, including pickleball players, it signals continued opportunities for innovation and growth in the industry. As Escalade focuses on reducing debt and investing in its brands, the future looks bright for those who enjoy outdoor recreational activities like pickleball. Stay tuned for further updates and exciting developments in the world of outdoor sports.

CONFERENCE CALL

A conference call will take place on Monday, April 1, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. ET to discuss the Company’s financial results, recent events, and answer questions.

A live webcast of the conference call along with the presentation materials will be accessible in the Investor Relations section of Escalade’s website at www.escaladeinc.com. To listen to the broadcast in real-time, please visit the website at least 15 minutes before the scheduled start time to register, download, and install any audio software that may be required.

To participate in the live teleconference:

Domestic Live: 1-877-407-0792
International Live:  1-201-689-8263

To listen to a replay of the teleconference, which subsequently will be available through April 15, 2024:

Domestic Replay:  1-844-512-2921
International Replay:1-412-317-6671
Conference ID:  13745214

USE OF NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES

In addition to presenting financial statements following U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), this release includes a non-GAAP financial measure called EBITDA. A reconciliation of this non-GAAP measure can be found at the end of the press release. EBITDA is used by Escalade to compare operating performance over time. Escalade believes that disclosing EBITDA provides valuable information to investors about its financial condition and results. Non-GAAP measures should be seen as a supplement and not a replacement for the company’s GAAP measures of performance and financial results. When evaluating these measures, it’s important to consider the limitations and also analyze the company’s results as reported under GAAP.

ABOUT ESCALADE 

Escalade, established in 1922 and headquartered in Evansville, Indiana, is a company that designs, manufactures, and sells sporting goods, fitness equipment, and indoor/outdoor recreation products. The company’s goal is to foster connections among family and friends, creating lasting memories. Escalade is a leader in various categories and its brands include Brunswick Billiards®, STIGA® table tennis, Accudart®, RAVE Sports® water recreation, Victory Tailgate® custom games, Onix® pickleball, Goalrilla™ basketball, Lifeline® fitness, Woodplay® playsets, and Bear® Archery. Escalade’s wide range of products can be purchased online or at leading retailers throughout the United States. For more information about Escalade’s brands, history, financials, and governance, please visit www.escaladeinc.com.

https://stmdailynews.com/sleeves-senior-pickleball-report/

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bp unveils first US bp pulse EV charging Gigahub™ at Houston headquarters

A ribbon cutting for the Gigahub™ located at the bp Westlake campus with bp executives and local elected officials will be held on March 20, 2024

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HOUSTON, March 20, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — bp (NYSE: BP) will celebrate the opening of its new electric-vehicle charging site at its bp America headquarters in Houston, Texas, expanding its network of EV chargers in the US. The new bp pulse station is the first bp pulse branded Gigahub™ in the US and will be open to the public on April 2.

bp unveils first US bp pulse EV charging Gigahub™ at Houston headquarters

bp pulse Gigahub™ (EV charging station) is open to the general public
bp pulse Gigahub™ Westlake campus

Emma Delaney, bp Executive Vice President for Customers & Products, said: “As we expand our global footprint, I am thrilled to unveil our first EV charging Gigahub in the US. With leading fast charging positions already in key markets in the UK, China, and Germany, we’re learning about customer charging preferences on the go.”

The Gigahub™, expected to open on March 20, 2024, will offer 24 high-speed EV charge points with Tritium 150kW DC fast chargers. The chargers will be integrated with the bp pulse app, allowing users to locate the site, access real-time charging availability, and connect to WiFi.

“We’re excited to bring bp pulse to America’s energy corridor and expand our presence in the US public EV-charging market,” said Sujay Sharma, CEO of bp pulse Americas. “This project will bring fast, reliable charging to EV drivers when and where they need it, helping support faster electric-vehicle adoption in the US. We look forward to welcoming new and existing EV drivers to our growing network.”

bp pulse aims to continue deploying additional charging points at high-demand locations, such as airports, major metropolitan areas, and bp-owned properties across the US. bp has also been awarded grant funds through programs, including National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) and California Energy Commission (CEC) to provide charging infrastructure at sites in California, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky.

In February 2023, bp announced plans to invest $1 billion in America’s EV charging infrastructure by 2030, with $500 million invested in by the end of 2025. bp pulse also shared commitments to deliver 3,000 charge points by 2025. EV charging is one of bp’s five strategic transition growth engines in which the company expects to significantly grow investment through this decade. The other transition growth engines include bioenergy, hydrogen, convenience and renewables & power.

Today bp has 29,000 EV charge points worldwide and aims for more than 100,000 globally by 2030 – around 90% rapid or ultra-fast.

About bp

bp’s ambition is to become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner, and to help the world get to net zero. We’re transforming bp from an international oil and gas company to an integrated energy company – and America is core to the strategy. bp has a larger economic footprint in the United States than anywhere else in the world, investing more than $145 billion since 2005 and supporting more than 275,000 jobs. For more information on bp in the US, visit www.bpamerica.com.

About bp pulse

bp pulse is bp’s electric vehicle (EV) charging business. Focused on fast and reliable charging, bp pulse deploys charging points for EV drivers and commercial fleets on the go; at destination hubs, at the depot and bp retail sites. Around the world bp pulse is partnering with some of the world’s biggest businesses, while developing the Gigahub™ network, a series of large EV high-speed charging hubs in high-demand locations. For more information, visit bppulsefleet.com

Further information: bp US press office, USPRESS@bp.com

Cautionary statement: In order to utilize the ‘safe harbor’ provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the ‘PSLRA’), bp is providing the following cautionary statement. This press release contains certain forward-looking statements – that is, statements related to future, not past events and circumstances – which may relate to one or more of the financial condition, results of operations and businesses of bp and certain of the plans and objectives of bp with respect to these items. These statements are generally, but not always, identified by the use of words such as ‘will’, ‘expects’, ‘is expected to’, ‘aims’, ‘should’, ‘may’, ‘objective’, ‘is likely to’, ‘intends’, ‘believes’, ‘anticipates’, ‘plans’, ‘we see’ or similar expressions. Actual results may differ from those expressed in such statements, depending on a variety of factors including the risk factors set forth in our most recent Annual Report and Form 20-F under “Risk factors” and in any of our more recent public reports. Our most recent Annual Report and Form 20-F and other period filings are available on our website at www.bp.com,or can be obtained from the SEC by calling 1-800-SEC-0330 or on its website at www.sec.gov.

SOURCE bp America

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