Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 4:08 pm
A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Northwestern University athletes are employees of the school and are allowed to form a union.
The Associated Press calls the decision "stunning" because it has the potential to completely upend the way college athletics function. The AP adds:
"The Evanston, Ill-based university argued college athletes, as students, don't fit in the same category as factory workers, truck drivers and other unionized workers. The school plans to appeal to labor authorities in Washington, D.C.
NPR's business news begins with the incredible shrinking box office.
Americans are not heading to the movies as much as they used to. The Motion Picture Association of America says ticket sales fell off slightly in 2013. To boost audience numbers, theater owners are talking to move the chains and studios about cutting ticket great prices one day a week.
Now, while Americans seem less eager to head to the movies, worldwide box office sales are up by about four percent. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Bloomberg News finds itself under unwelcome scrutiny once again, as its parent company's chairman suggests that reporting on the corruption of China ruling elites isn't part of its core mission. A key China editor also revealed this week that he had quit Bloomberg in protest of a decision not to publish a subsequent investigation.
In the past 20 years, the average burden for a four-year college graduate in the U.S. has gone from about $9,000 to nearly $30,000 today. The percentage of students carrying debt has shot up from less than half to nearly 70 percent these days.
At a large public high school in Freemont, Calif., southeast of San Francisco, Alyssa Tucker and Thao Le sit on a metal table. Both come from families with modest incomes.
More than 12,000 people from the Netherlands to San Francisco have signed a petition demanding that Chevron apologize for insulting Bobtown, Pa., after the energy giant responded to an explosion of one of its natural gas wells by giving nearby residents coupons for free pizza.
The Chinese tech company Alibaba let's you buy and sell online - think Amazon or eBay. Now the Internet commerce giant will have something else in common with those U.S. companies. Alibaba plans to go public in New York later this year.
And as NPR's Steve Henn reports, this could be the biggest initial public offering ever.
STEVE HENN, BYLINE: Just how big is Alibaba? It's huge.
KATHLEEN SMITH: It could be one of the top 20 most valuable companies that are trading in U.S. markets.
A lot has changed for the energy industry since the Exxon Valdez hit a reef in 1989 and began spilling oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound. The outcry over images of oil-soaked wildlife and a once-pristine shoreline dirtied by crude ushered in greater scrutiny of oil operations and increased interest in research on how to clean up oil spills.
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in the latest challenge to the Obama health care overhaul.
This time the issue is whether for-profit corporations, citing religious objections, may refuse to provide some, or potentially all, contraceptive services in health plans offered to employees. It is a case that touches lots of hot-button issues.
In enacting the ACA, Congress required large employers to provide basic preventive care for employees. That turned out to include all 20 contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
The invasive Asian carp has now been found in 12 states and in the Great Lakes watershed, gobbling up native fish, jumping aggressively into boats and reproducing like crazy. Researchers have tried various ways to slow the spread of the fish as it prowls other waterways.
And, so far, efforts to introduce the big, bony fish to American diners haven't caught on. So now a processing plant in Kentucky is trying the latest method of Asian carp disposal: sending them to China.
"The defendants are all former employees of Madoff's securities firm. They were accused of enriching themselves while telling an elaborate web of lies for decades. The fraud cheated investors of billions of dollars and duped government regulators.
Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 3:48 pm
(This post was updated at 5:48 p.m. ET)
President Obama announced new punitive measures last week to expand the initial sanctions on Russia for its moves in Crimea. The measures, along with steps outlined by the European Union, impose asset freezes and travel bans on some Russian officials and target a Russian bank.
Here is what the sanctions do and their possible impact:
And our last word in business today is: red sneakers.
Some days when getting ready for work, you just want to put on your favorite pair of shoes. They're comfortable, they're familiar, and they just may be a sign of something, as boss man, Jack Donaghy, noted to the creative, Liz Lemon, on the TV show "30 Rock."
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "30 ROCK")
ALEC BALDWIN: (As Jack Donaghy) You left me dangling, Lemon. I'm not a creative type like you with your work sneakers and your left-handedness. I can't do what you do.
NPR's business news starts with the future of streaming TV.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: Apple and Comcast are in preliminary talks about creating a streaming television service, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Journal says a deal between the world's most valuable company and the nation's largest cable provider would mark a new level of collaboration between a tech company and a cable company.
There are plenty of open jobs in the U.S. tech industry, but companies are struggling to find qualified people, even with so many Americans out of work right now. A number of private job training programs have popped up to capitalize on the opportunity here. The problem is, many of the programs cost tens of thousands of dollars, making it harder to diversify that industry.
Alex Schmidt reports on one man's vision to eliminate that barrier.
Originally published on Sun March 23, 2014 10:09 pm
Somewhere under all of that melting snow, there's a warming economy.
"Adverse weather conditions" have hurt economic growth so far this year, but things are headed in the right direction now, according to a forecast released Monday by the National Association for Business Economics.
"Conditions in a variety of areas — including labor, consumer and housing markets — are expected to improve over the next two years, while inflation remains tame," Jack Kleinhenz, NABE president and chief economist for the National Retail Federation, said in a statement.