Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has made it clear he thinks there isn’t enough broadband competition in America, but Comcast is trying to convince the FCC that it faces enough competition right now. Already the largest pay-TV and broadband company in the US, Comcast is seeking permission to buy Time Warner Cable.
Comcast and Time Warner Cable don’t compete for customers in any city or town, despite being the nation’s two largest cable companies, which helps explain why US residents have so few viable options for cable and high-speed Internet service. But in response to merger-related questions from the FCC, a Comcast filing points to a broad range of competitors and says it’s easy to switch to a different provider (though a horde of angry customers might disagree).
Comcast said it faces competition from municipal broadband networks, though the telecom industry has pushed state governments to pass laws that restrict municipal broadband growth. Wheeler has said he will try to preempt those state laws, saying they prevent competition.
Providing “tipping envelopes” for hotel guests to offer gratuities to cleaning staff is not at all a new concept. However, this is possibly the first time that a major “upscale brand” will engage in the practice.
Marriott International wants to give its housekeepers a raise — and it is hoping customers will chip in.
Beginning this week, a number of the company’s hotels will begin providing envelopes in guest rooms to encourage visitors to tip workers. The initiative, called “The Envelope Please,” is a partnership with A Woman’s Nation, a nonprofit organization founded by journalist and former California first lady Maria Shriver.
“In conversation with Maria, she said it had struck her that too often women are in positions that we forget to acknowledge,” Arne Sorenson, chief executive and president of Bethesda, Md.-based Marriott, said in an interview. “In a hotel, obviously we tip the bellman or wait staff. But often we don’t see our housekeepers. We don’t have that personal interaction, so we just don’t think about it.”
First of all, “chipping in” would tend to indicate that the guests will not be picking up 100% of this raise. I don’t see anywhere in this story where Marriott will be doing anything EXCEPT putting the envelopes in rooms.
Second of all, I spend a dozen or more nights in hotels each and every year in various parts of the world, some of them at Marriott properties. I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw a bellman. It seems likely that Mr. Sorenson (and his combined Marriott and Wal-Mart compensation of nearly $9.5 million in 2013) and I are living in different realities.
Naturally, hotel housekeeping is an unpleasant and frequently thankless job. What is the pay like?
In 2012, maids and housekeepers earned a median salary of $19,780, or approximately $9.51 per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Ok, that is not very good at all. On the other hand, there are a lot of Americans paid the same or less who are not at all in a position to receive tips.
But wait…aren’t there unions?
Under the union’s current contract, which runs through September 2017, housekeepers, who currently make $18.30 per hour, receive raises every six months
By the contract’s end, housekeepers will be making $20.35 per hour
Um…I do more than a bit of work in education where I cannot make a penny more than $20 per hour, and the raises come a lot closer to every six years than every six months. Obviously, nobody is tipping me.
So why do Marriott housekeepers need a raise?
Only a small fraction of the company’s housekeepers belong to labor unions. Less than 10 percent of Marriott’s workforce is unionized, according to Sorenson.
I respect what Maria Shriver is attempting to do, and I do not imagine that unionizing every single housekeeper is the answer. However, at a hotel chain with an average daily rate (in 2012) of $137.34, a raise for service staff should not have to come from cajoling guests to leave a few more bucks in their rooms.
In visiting Chick-fil-A’s headquarters, which are tucked among the trees on a large plot of wooded land outside of Atlanta, the first thing you’ll probably notice, as I did when I visited in the fall of 2011, is the Jesus statue. It’s probably three or four feet tall and depicts Jesus washing the feet of a disciple—“a symbol of servant leadership,” said a spokesperson. Other religious artwork is on display in the large atrium at the entrance of the building, including Bible quotes and crosses. There is also a fleet of pristine, extremely expensive-looking cars, with a row of model T’s and a reproduction of the Batmobile.
This combination of Christian symbolism and display of extreme wealth is a fitting metaphor for the way S. Truett Cathy, the company’s late founder, ran his company. Since he opened his first chicken-sandwich stand in an Atlanta mall in 1967, Cathy openly incorporated Christianity into his business, from putting Bible quotes on the styrofoam sweet-tea cups to closing the entire chain on Sundays. He has also made billions of dollars, which explains the decorative sports cars.
On Monday, Cathy died at the age of 93. He was involved in the day-to-day operations of the company well into his 80s; his son Dan is now the president and chairman. Before he died, he created a contract with his children stating that the company should never go public; theoretically, transferring ownership out of the family could jeopardize the business’s overtly religious mission statement “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us” and “to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”
WASHINGTON — The corporate executives who decide whether U.S. workers get meaningful raises have looked at the broader economy and have a message: Don’t expect a pay increase anytime soon.
And if you’re counting on a full-time job offer in the future, your prospects may be dimming.
That’s the future that many U.S. executives envision.
A survey of Harvard Business School alumni released Monday reveals a series of trends that are widening income disparities and may be weakening the ability of the U.S. economy to grow in the long term.
More than 40 percent of the respondents foresee lower pay and benefits for workers. Roughly half favor outsourcing work over hiring staffers. A growing share prefer part-time employees. Nearly half would rather invest in new technology than hire or retain workers.
At the same time, it’s becoming harder for the executives to find skilled workers, according to the survey results.
Gee, I wonder why that is? Hard to find people willing to work part time with no benefits for 1/300 the pay of The Boss? Unpossible!
It only lived for 10 seconds Monday night, but DiGiorno Pizza has learned that tweets are impossible to take back. The incident perfectly illustrates why one should think before tweeting.
DiGiorno Pizza has become one of the top brands on Twitter thanks to its quick wit and good ear for real-time conversations, but one careless tweet last night put that reputation at risk.
After a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee Janay Palmer led to his termination from the Baltimore Ravens on Monday, thousands of women took to Twitter to discuss their physically and emotionally tortuous experiences in abusive relationships. They used the #WhyIStayed hashtag to fight the victim-blaming attitude of Palmer’s critics, who had questioned why she would marry a man who knocked her unconscious.
Jumping onto the popular hashtag, DiGiorno clearly didn’t look into its context before tweeting, “#whyistayed You had pizza.”
The backlash was swift, and within minutes the tweet had been deleted. The brand then posted the apology above, noting: “A million apologies. Did not read what the hashtag was about before posting.”
As Jared Keller noted at the end of his piece at News.Mic:
It’s not delivery. It’s disaster.
Sweden’s Electrolux (eluxb.st) said on Monday it would buy General Electric Co’s (GE.N) appliances business for $3.3 billion in cash to double sales in North America and take on rival Whirlpool Corp (WHR.N) in its biggest ever deal.
Electrolux said in August it was in talks to buy the unit to tap into a market where it has lacked scale and that is growing faster than Europe.
Reuters reported earlier this month a deal was near completion.
LogMeIn, the Boston company that made web conferencing and remote PC management less painful experiences, is buying Meldium, a San Francisco startup noted for its password management and single sign-on capabilities.
Meldium aims to make it easier to grant and rescind a person’s rights to business apps and data, which in turn makes life easier for companies that hire interns, freelancers or contract employees. Meldium’s promise is that it lets an admin easily disable or delete corporate accounts of a given person without screwing with her personal accounts.
San Francisco-based Meldium competes with companies like Okta and even Microsoft in some cases. A LogMeIn spokesman called Meldium a “great complement” to the company’s existing offerings including AppGuru, which makes it easier for a business to find out exactly which of its apps are in use and then deploy policy controls across them.
CenturyLink has accused Comcast of trying to prevent competition in cities and towns by making it difficult for the company to obtain reasonable franchise agreements from local authorities.
CenturyLink made the claim yesterday in a filing that asks the Federal Communications Commission to block Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC) or impose conditions that prevent Comcast from using its market power to harm competitors.
Comcast has a different view on the matter, saying that CenturyLink shouldn’t be able to enter Comcast cities unless CenturyLink promises to build out its network to all residents. Without such conditions, poor people might not be offered service, Comcast argues.
No quid pro quo, even though the beneficiaries are all big Christie donors, so everything’s cool according the the Supreme Court.
Gov. Chris Christie’s administration openly acknowledged that more New Jersey taxpayer dollars were going to land in the coffers of major financial institutions. It was 2010, and Christie had just installed a longtime private equity executive, Robert Grady, to manage the state’s pension money. Grady promoted a plan to put more of those funds into riskier investments managed by Wall Street firms. Though this would entail higher fees, Grady said the strategy would “maximize returns while appropriately managing risk.”
Four years later, New Jersey has secured only half the promised results. The state has sent more pension money to big-name Wall Street firms like Blackstone, Third Point, Omega Advisors, Elliott Associates and Grady’s old firm, The Carlyle Group. Additionally, the amount of fees the state pays financial managers has more than tripled since Christie assumed office. New Jersey is now one of America’s largest investors in hedge funds.
The “maximized returns” have yet to materialize.
Between fiscal year 2011 and 2014, the state’s pension trailed the median returns for similarly sized public pension systems throughout the country, according to data from the financial analysis firm, Wilshire Associates. That below-median performance has cost New Jersey taxpayers billions in unrealized gains and has left the pension system on shaky ground. Meanwhile, New Jersey is now paying a quarter-billion dollars in additional annual fees to Wall Street firms — many of whose employees have financially supported Republican groups backing Christie’s reelection campaign.
Comcast’s proposed $45.2-billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable has been criticized by angry customers, consumer advocacy groups, and even some members of Congress.
But Comcast has plenty of support, too, much of it from politicians and organizations that benefit from its political and charitable donations. With the deadline to submit initial comments on the merger to the Federal Communications Commission set to expire Monday, a number of elected officials and charities have urged the FCC to think favorably of Comcast during its merger review.
Charities supporting the acquisition include the Greater Washington Urban League, the Urban League of Broward County in Florida, the Boys and Girls Club of Rockford, Illinois, and the United Way of Tucson in Arizona. “Comcast has dedicated itself to advancing organizations like ours through financial support and partnerships,” the Greater Washington Urban League wrote.
Comcast fans also come from political organizations. The Democratic Governors Association asked the FCC “to consider Comcast’s impressive body of work and all that they do in helping strengthen the middle class and investing in our nation’s infrastructure.”
Comcast gave $225,000 to the Democratic Governors Association this year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The group includes the governors of Vermont, New Hampshire, California, Montana, New York, Colorado, Washington, Delaware, Maryland, and Illinois. Comcast is a prolific donor, giving money even to politicians and organizations who criticize the company.