Bezos says Amazon workers aren’t treated like robots, unveils robotic plan to keep them working

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in his final letter to shareholders as CEO that the e-commerce giant has to “do a better job for our employees.” The letter comes amid ongoing reports of untenable conditions for Amazon workers. And it outlines a strategy that seems odd for a company that has been accused of treating workers like robots: a robotic scheme that will develop new staffing schedules using an algorithm. . . . .

Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union that led the Bessemer unionization drive, said in a statement Thursday that the impact of the union drive, regardless of the outcome, has been “devastating” for Amazon’s reputation. 

“We have initiated a global debate about the way Amazon treats its employees,” Appelbaum wrote. “Bezos’s admission today demonstrates that what we have been saying about workplace conditions is correct. But his admission won’t change anything, workers need a union  not just another Amazon public relations effort in damage control.” full story here at Verge


6 Devices & Ideas Set to Change Healthcare

DoorDash Reimagining Healthcare Delivery: Imagine a world where you can order diagnostics on the go – much like you would fast-food. The convenience would be off the charts, would it not? Well, Vault Health and Everlywell’s collaboration with DoorDash, an online food ordering, and food delivery service, is aiming to give people that convenience. The two companies will enlist DoorDash to distribute COVID-19 The Vault Health COVID-19 Saliva Test Kit and Everlywell COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit DTC. This is a pretty big idea because it opens the door for more home delivery of potential tests and medical products. We expect to see this model parroted heavily in the future.

J&J Pushes the Innovation Limit in the Contact Lens Market: Johnson & Johnson just might go down in 2021 medtech history as being the first company to go beyond the traditional limits of what contact lens can do. Last week, the company won approval from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare for a contact lens that provides vision correction and Ketotifen, an antihistamine drug to help relieve symptoms for people experiencing itchy allergy eyes.

Why is this important? For one it kind of/sort of – reimagines contact lenses. The New Brunswick, NJ-based company is also able to see some success where others have not. . . . . read about more healthcare innovators here


Next Meeting of the VWDB Executive Committee – April 14, 2021

 VWDB meetings are open to the public. Any member of the public who wishes to participate must contact Diana Antonio at least 48 hours before the meeting date to receive meeting call in information. 

The meeting will begin promptly at 8:00 A.M. 

RSVP to: Diana Antonio @ (818) 937-8081, dantonioATglendaleca.gov 

Click here to download agenda and minutes of last meeting


CAN RESTAURANTS BECOME DRIVERS OF OPPORTUNITY—NOT INEQUALITY?

To Prosper in a New Era, Eateries Will Have to Reckon With Issues Left to Simmer on the Back Burner

Thousands of restaurants have closed for good across America since WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic last March. Many others remain temporarily shuttered; the remainder limp by with sales a fraction of what they were. Even with the arrival of a new administration and new vaccines, millions of restaurant workers continue to be out of work today, as the pandemic rounds its second year.

But the current disruption in the restaurant industry, for all the pain and economic loss it’s caused, provides an opening to disrupt the established models, and reckon with both the decline of hospitality and the reality of restaurant inequality. To recover and thrive in the years ahead, this essential American business will need to bring its time-honored cultural traditions into greater alignment with the social movements that define our times.

To start with, consider the slew of new options to purchase commercially prepared food that have flooded the marketplace in the last year. These options include delivery platforms, meal subscriptions, and online storefronts with offsite “ghost kitchens.” Takeout and delivery sales have skyrocketed, as have lines at the local drive-thru. Clearly, those who can afford to eat out occasionally are still buying and consuming food that they do not make themselves.

A shadowy army of workers has sprung up to staff these operations. Many are precariously employed, armed with some combination of a vehicle, a mobile app, a mask, and hand sanitizer. By connecting people to food through wordless hand-offs or drop-offs of plastic-wrapped edibles, these people are doing the human labor that Silicon Valley would rather automate than improve. It’s paying work, but we should be alarmed by this trend, which represents the decline of hospitality . . . . full article at Zocola Public Square


LAEDC Economic Implications Briefing – Zoom – March 29, 2021

The next monthly installment of the LAEDC’s Economic Briefing will be on Monday, March 29th at 11:00 AM PDT. Bill Allen, LAEDC CEO, and the LAEDC Institute for Applied Economics (IAE) Director, Shannon Sedgwick, will be offering insights into the ongoing ramifications and slowing recovery from the COVID-19-induced recession with an update on jobs, unemployment and industry performance. 

Join us for this update to gather insight on your local economy. Space is limited, and registration is required.


Verdugo Workforce Development Board Public Meeting – Local Workforce Development Plan 2021-2024

The Verdugo Workforce Development Board (VWDB) has released two draft documents for public review and comment: 1) VWDB Local Workforce Development Plan 2021– 2024 (Draft); 2) Los Angeles Basin Regional Planning Unit (LABRPU):  Regional Workforce Development Plan 2021– 2024 (Draft).

The draft Local Plan establishes the types of workforce development activities that will be offered in the Verdugo Workforce Development Area (VWDA), including programs for unemployed job seekers and youth. The Plan will also include programs to assist local businesses to ensure they have the qualified workforce to meet their organizational needs. The VWDA consists of the cities of Burbank, Glendale and La Cañada Flintridge which is governed by a Joint Powers Agreement that creates the Verdugo Consortium.

The draft Regional Plan articulates how the LABRPU will build intentionality around industry sector engagement, drive workforce development outcomes across multiple jurisdictions, and expand on-ramps to career pathways for individuals who experience barriers to employment..

Download the VWDB Local plan here

Download the draft LABRPU Regional Plan here

Comments, for the Regional Plan, including any disagreements with the plan, are welcome; however, must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on April 22, 2021. Comments should be emailed to MaryAnn Pranke at MPranke@GlendaleCA.gov.