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Grocery stores, coffee shops stop payments to the danger of coronavirus



Grocery stores, coffee shops stop payments to the danger of coronavirus

They call it the paying hero.

When coronavirus cases surged and state and local governments issued home stay orders, grocery store workers navigate the cover lines and panicked customers grew worried about exposure to the virus.

Companies are forced to offer financial incentives to important workers in an effort to keep operations going. The main chains, including Target, Walmart, CVS, Whole Food, Costco, Sprouts and Kroger, offer bonuses or temporary increases to employees.

Starbucks closes thousands of stores and offers paid leave to all employees. Those who continue to work through drive-through that remain open receive an increase of $ 3 per hour.

But this increase in wages – “hero bonuses” and “payment of rewards” – has subsided, even with the number of new infections refusing to go down. With the reopening of the Starbucks store, the $ 3 increase will end in late May. So the Target will increase by $ 2 every hour. Wholesale chains owned by Kroger such as Ralphs, QFC and Fred Meyer will stop paying an additional $ 2 per hour on Sunday.

That is an unexpected surprise for employees who feel the circumstances that make them pay extra and not change much.

“The pandemic will not disappear, the coronavirus will not disappear, so why did they take these two dollars from us? This doesn’t make sense, “said Ralphs cashier Dionna Richardson.

The grocery store has an infection. The Ralphs outbreak in Hollywood marks the largest group of cases in a retail store recorded by the Los Angeles County Public Health Department. Of 158 employees, 21 have tested positive for the virus. Tens of grocery store workers across the country have died.

The shop that Richardson is working on in Mid-Wilshire is as busy and the conditions are as risky as it was since the beginning of the crisis, he said. Customers and employees often cannot or will not maintain the recommended six foot space between them.

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Ralphs installed a Plexiglass barrier on the register, but that was a bit of protection. Customers lean on the barrier and poke their heads, Richardson said.

Often, customers do not wear face coverings. When that happened, Richardson took it himself to ask them to wear it. Some pushed back, made aggressive or sharp comments, or refused to leave the store. “Sometimes it’s like a war zone,” he said.

Unions such as UFCW Local 770, which represents more than 20,000 wholesale workers in Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, criticized the change.

“The pandemic reveals how small corporations pay many workers, workers who are very dependent on the public,” John Grant, president of UFCW Local 770, said in a statement. “By paying attention to important workers during the pandemic, wholesale companies are quickly using good PR to raise wages, but they cannot justify taking them, especially because they continue to do business while so many other businesses close and profits are record high. “

While lockdowns have caused financial tension for many companies, wholesale and pharmaceutical companies have seen gains in sales because demand for important goods and food has skyrocketed. The CVS Health drugstore chain saw first quarter profit surge 41%, for example.

A Kroger spokesman said in an email that the company “is committed to continuing to support the safety and mental well-being of our partners” and will continue to discuss compensation and benefits with UFCW. The average hourly wage is $ 15, he said.

A spokeswoman for Whole Foods said the company had not announced whether it would extend the $ 2 increase paid by workers. (Owner of Amazon’s Whole Foods the word it will stop the $ 2 per hour bonus for warehouse workers after May 30.) Costco refuses to answer questions about whether he will maintain a higher pay. Nor do sprouts, which pay a small bonus to employees. CVS and Walmart said they would pay a second round of bonuses in June for work time in May, but did not provide information about future commitments for the bonus.

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Large coffee chains with pockets faced unique difficulties at the beginning of the pandemic. Technically, because they serve food, they provide important services and can continue to operate. But employees at Starbucks and Peets balked, signed an online petition and banded together to demand that the shop close and continue to compensate workers.

Peet scolded workers when closing a number of storefronts and provided a $ 3 salary increase for those who continued to work. It is unclear whether this increase will continue to apply. The company did not respond to requests for comment.

Starbucks Executive Vice President, Rossann Williams announced in a letter published online that most stores would reopen on May 4 with modified operations and “best in class” safety measures. While a $ 3 salary increase and paid leave for those who don’t want to work will be removed, the company is extending paid leave for those who navigate the childcare challenge until the end of May.

“We need to restore and run our stores, wherever they are safe and responsible to do so, so that we can keep each partner working and be a light for our community through the next phase of development and recovery,” he wrote.

When Starbucks employees received a notification from Williams on April 16 that the store would restart operations, workers at Starbucks in Burlington, Vt., Resigned.

Scarlett Moore, a barista, said 15 of the 18 workers in her shop signed a letter saying they would not return to work until an order to stay in a Vermont home – which had been extended until May 15 – was revoked. Management did not recognize the letter, he said, but postponed opening the store.

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But Starbucks stores across California have reopened despite local orders staying at home, according to a manager at a store in Alameda County who requested anonymity.

Brianna Rocha, a barista, worked directly for the past two months on a Starbucks drive-through in Highland Park. The store reopened for cellular orders in early May, and work was busier than before the coronavirus broke out, he said.

Starbucks does its part to make people feel normal again, Rocha said, but that can backfire because customers don’t seem to take safety seriously as a result, putting employees at risk.

Three tables are arranged in a semicircle, like a barricade, around the front door where customers can get their drinks. Still, some people try to enter the shop, bang on the door to be let in, and some don’t wear masks. Whether it’s outside waiting or a general mood of anxiety, the mood seems chaotic.

“It’s really a different animal to have a group of customers who are angry, annoyed, and impatient waiting outside the door to scream at you because you don’t get their frappucino fast enough,” he said.

Rocha said revoking salary increases made it feel like “very performative” on the company side.

“Every company that has given a little more in payments tries to throw it like that to the heroes and they thank us. But that doesn’t reflect much anymore, “he said.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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