Alina Selyukh | KUNR

Alina Selyukh

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The vote count for one of the most consequential union elections in recent history begins this week. The results could lead to Amazon's first unionized warehouse in America.

Voting officially ends Monday for some 5,800 Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Ala., who have been casting ballots by mail on whether to unionize. It's the first union election in years at Amazon, the country's second-largest private employer with 800,000 workers.

Joyce Barnes sometimes pauses, leaving the grocery store. A crowd shifts past, loaded up with goodies. Barnes pictures herself, walking out with big steaks and pork chops, some crabmeat.

"But I'm not the one," she says. Inside her bags are bread, butter, coffee, a bit of meat and canned tuna — a weekly grocery budget of $25.

Lina Khan, a prominent antitrust scholar who advocates for stricter regulation of Big Tech, may be about to become one of the industry's newest watchdogs.

President Biden on Monday nominated Khan to the Federal Trade Commission, an agency tasked with enforcing competition laws. She is the splashiest addition to Biden's growing roster of Big Tech critics, including fellow Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu, who announced earlier this month he would join the National Economic Council.

Updated March 12, 2021 at 1:02 PM ET

Jennifer Bates often finds peace by drinking tea on her patio. But these days, to use her words — the butterflies have filled up her stomach and won't go away.

"Butterflies normally come to calm me," Bates says. "But this is ... nerve-racking to think I don't know how it's gonna go."

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Costco plans to edge up its starting wage to $16 an hour starting next week, CEO W. Craig Jelinek said on Thursday, revealing plans that would propel his company ahead of most of its retail competitors.

No more sales online. Burlington Stores made the announcement on March 5, just days before coronavirus lockdowns shuttered its doors.

For many retailers, not having a website in the coronavirus pandemic would have spelled doom. Burlington did permanently shutter 28 stores. But then, the discount retailer opened 62 more. And last month, its shares hit an all-time high.

As it turns out, January was for shopping.

Retail spending soared 5.3% last month compared to December, much more than anticipated, as U.S. families began receiving new federal coronavirus relief checks.

People bought more across the board last month, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday: furniture, electronics, clothes, sports equipment, restaurant food, groceries.

Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 would increase wages for at least 17 million people, but also put 1.4 million Americans out of work, according to a study by the Congressional Budget Office released on Monday.

A phase-in of a $15 minimum wage would also lift some 900,000 out of poverty, according to the nonpartisan CBO. This higher federal minimum could raise wages for an additional 10 million workers who would otherwise make sightly above that wage rate, the study found.

Updated at 8:28 p.m. ET

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will step down as the company's chief executive officer this summer, after more than a quarter-century at the helm of the retail, logistics and tech powerhouse.

Even before Amazon built its warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., local officials called it a game-changer.

The mayor said it was the largest single investment in the 130-year history of the city. Birmingham's working-class suburb is a shadow of the steel and mining hub it used to be. Amazon jobs, paying more than double the state's minimum wage of $7.25, promised a shot in the arm.

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Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET

The sounds of base drums, cymbals and helicopters all rang out Wednesday morning through a main quad at Washington D.C.'s Howard University, Vice President Harris' alma mater.

Harris' face adorned one of the famous alumni banners at the historically black university on Inauguration Day as some student members of the university's Showtime Marching Band — the drum line and dance and flag squads — prepared to participate in the inaugural parade.

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Updated at 7:25 p.m. ET

Some 6,000 workers at Amazon's warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., will begin voting next month on a groundbreaking possibility: the first union in the company's U.S. history.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

Restaurants and bars are reeling from persistent spikes of coronavirus cases and related restrictions in their communities, driving retail spending in December down for the third month in a row.

Before Amazon took down Parler, the messaging app favored by far-right activists, Amazon says it flagged dozens of instance of violent and hateful posts that Parler "systematically failed" to remove.

The two companies are facing off in court after Amazon's decision to stop hosting Parler took the website offline on Monday. Parler remained unavailable on Wednesday morning. Its app was also blocked by Google and Apple.

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