Universal raises hourly wage to $17, setting pace for parks
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Universal Orlando Resort plans to raise its starting minimum wage by $2 to $17 an hour, becoming the wage leader among the big theme parks in central Florida, just as its crosstown rival, Walt Disney World, is in contract talks with service worker unions who are pushing to increase the starting hourly wage from $15 to $18.
The new wage structure, which includes raising pay for other workers based on the new rates and their time with the company, goes into effect in June, Universal Orlando Resort President and Chief Operating Officer Karen Irwin said in a letter Tuesday to the resort’s 25,000 workers.
The starting hourly wage hike is part of a larger effort aimed at improving worker benefits in a tight labor market that includes increasing 401(k) matches and tuition reimbursement, adding compassionate leave, doubling the amount of parental leave and upgrading behind-the-scenes areas for workers like break rooms and bathrooms, park officials said.
“But it doesn’t stop there, our culture seeks to create a path forward that supports our Team Members, gives them an opportunity to grow and fosters a real sense of purpose and belonging,” Irwin said in the letter.
Universal Orlando currently is recruiting for 2,500 positions across the resort. It also is gearing up toward opening a new park, Epic Universe, in 2025. The resort’s workers aren’t unionized.
At crosstown rival Walt Disney World, union members voted down a contract proposal covering 45,000 service workers earlier this month, saying it didn’t go far enough toward helping employees face cost-of-living hikes in housing and other expenses in central Florida. The company and unions plan to return to the negotiating table.
Disney World service workers who are in the six unions that make up the Service Trades Council Union coalition had been demanding a starting minimum wage jump to at least $18 an hour in the first year of the contract, up from the starting minimum wage of $15 an hour won in the previous contract.
The rejected proposal would have raised the starting minimum wage to $20 an hour for all service workers by the last year of the five-year contract, an increase of $1 each year for a majority of the workers it covered. Certain positions, like housekeepers, bus drivers and culinary jobs, would start immediately at a minimum of $20 under the proposal.
US, UK try to stem fallout from Silicon Valley Bank collapse
NEW YORK (AP) — Governments in the U.S. and Britain are taking extraordinary steps to prevent a potential banking crisis after the failure of California-based Silicon Valley Bank prompted fears of a broader upheaval.
U.S. regulators worked through the weekend to find a buyer for the bank, which had more than $200 billion in assets and catered to tech startups, venture capital firms, and well-paid technology workers.
While those efforts appeared to have failed, officials assured all of the bank’s customers that they would be able to access their money on Monday.
The assurances came as part of an expansive emergency lending program intended to prevent a wave of bank runs that would threaten the stability of the banking system and the economy as a whole.
Meanwhile, the Bank of England and U.K. Treasury said early Monday that they had facilitated the sale of the bank’s London-based subsidiary to HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, ensuring the security of 6.7 billion pounds ($8.1 billion) of deposits.
Regulators in the U.S. rushed to close Silicon Valley Bank on Friday when it experienced a traditional bank run, where depositors rushed to withdraw their funds all at once. It is the second-largest bank failure in U.S. history, behind only the 2008 failure of Washington Mutual.
In a sign of how fast the financial bleeding was occurring, regulators announced that New York-based Signature Bank had also failed and was being seized on Sunday.
At more than $110 billion in assets, Signature Bank is the third-largest bank failure in U.S. history. Another beleaguered bank, First Republic Bank, announced Sunday that it had bolstered its financial health by gaining access to funding from the Fed and JPMorgan Chase.
The developments left markets jittery as trading began Monday. The Asian and European markets fell but not dramatically, and U.S. futures were down.
In an effort to shore up confidence in the banking system, the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve and FDIC said Sunday that all Silicon Valley Bank clients would be protected and able to access their money.
“This step will ensure that the U.S. banking system continues to perform its vital roles of protecting deposits and providing access to credit to households and businesses in a manner that promotes strong and sustainable economic growth,” the agencies said in a joint statement.
Under the plan, depositors at Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, including those whose holdings exceed the $250,000 insurance limit, will be able to access their money on Monday.
The U.K. also moved quickly, working throughout the weekend to arrange the sale of Silicon Valley Bank UK Ltd., the California bank’s British arm, for the nominal sum of one pound.
While the bank is small, with less than 0.2% of U.K. bank deposits according to central bank statistics, it had a large role in financing technology and biotech startups that the British government is counting on to fuel economic growth.
Jeremy Hunt, the U.K. government’s Treasury chief, said that some of the country’s leading tech companies could have been “wiped out.”
“When you have very young companies, very promising companies, they’re also fragile,” Hunt told reporters, explaining the why authorities moved so quickly. “They need to pay their staff and they were worried that as of 8 a.m. this morning, they might literally not be able to access their bank account.”
He stressed that there was never a “systemic risk” to the U.K.’s banking system.
In the U.S., officials characterized their lending program as akin to what central banks have done for decades: Lend freely to the banking system so that customers would be confident that they could access their accounts whenever needed.
That will allow banks that need to raise cash to pay depositors to borrow that money from the Fed, rather than having to sell Treasuries and other securities to raise it.
Silicon Valley Bank began its slide into insolvency when it was forced to dump some of its Treasuries at at a loss to fund its customers’ withdrawals. Under the Fed’s new program, banks can post those securities as collateral and borrow from the emergency facility.
The Treasury has set aside $25 billion to offset any losses incurred. Fed officials said, however, that they do not expect to have to use any of that money, given that the securities posted as collateral have a very low risk of default.
Though Sunday’s steps marked the most extensive government intervention in the banking system since the 2008 financial crisis, the actions are relatively limited compared with what was done 15 years ago. The two failed banks themselves have not been rescued, and taxpayer money has not been provided to them.
President Joe Biden said Sunday evening as he boarded Air Force One back to Washington that he would speak about the situation on Monday.
In a statement, Biden also said he was “firmly committed to holding those responsible for this mess fully accountable and to continuing our efforts to strengthen oversight and regulation of larger banks so that we are not in this position again.”
Some prominent Silicon Valley executives feared that if Washington didn’t rescue the failed bank, customers would make runs on other financial institutions in the coming days. Stock prices plunged over the last few days at other banks that cater to technology companies, including First Republic and PacWest Bank.
Among the bank’s customers are a range of companies from California’s wine industry, where many wineries rely on Silicon Valley Bank for loans, and technology startups devoted to combating climate change.
Tiffany Dufu, founder and CEO of The Cru, a New York-based career coaching platform and community for women, posted a video Sunday on LinkedIn from an airport bathroom, saying the bank crisis was testing her resiliency.
Given that her money was tied up at Silicon Valley Bank, she had to pay her employees out of her personal bank account. With two teenagers to support who will be heading to college, she said she was relieved to hear that the government’s intent is to make depositors whole.
“Small businesses and early-stage startups don’t have a lot of access to leverage in a situation like this, and we’re often in a very vulnerable position, particularly when we have to fight so hard to get the wires into your bank account to begin with, particularly for me, as a Black female founder,” Dufu said. ___ Rugaber and Megerian reported from Washington. Sweet and Bussewitz reported from New York. Associated Press Writers Hope Yen in Washington, Jennifer McDermott in Providence, Rhode Island, and Danica Kirka in London contributed to this report.
Raising Canes Opens Clearwater Location to Rave Reviews
CLEARWATER, Fla. (FNN) – Hundreds of people lined up Tuesday for the grand opening of Raising Canes, the latest chicken hot spot in the Tampa Bay area. Raising Canes, which was founded in Louisiana, dubbed Clearwater as their first Florida location and fans delivered a warm welcome for the chain that proudly proclaims, “we serve only the most crave-able chicken finger meals, it’s our one love.”
The Pena’s showing some sibling love wanted to be the first in line for this momentous occasion. Getting in line at 10 PM, the duo planned to camp out with friends.
“We had to stay up all night, but it was fun,” said Ashley Pena. “We are definitely going to remember this experience.”
20 of the first 100 people were entered into a drawing to win free Raising Canes for a year!
For Kim Boldus, bringing the franchise to the area hits close to home and means the world to her.
“Raising Canes is really all about being in the community,” she said. I’m really excited personally and professionally because I am from this area, born and raised. I am very excited to bring this amazing restaurant. We do so many amazing things to pair with the community and I can’t wait to see what we do here in Clearwater.”
According to their website, Raising Canes supports over 30,000 local organizations. At the grand opening, they had the support of the local Chamber of Commerce as well as the Mayor to celebrate this momentous occasion.
After the pomp and circumstance, it was time to eat, much to the delight of the hungry fans waiting for a taste of chicken tender goodness, some who has experienced Raising Canes before, and others who wanted to see what the hype was all about.
“We’ve had our food truck out in the community this week and so we’ve had so many people excited to see us,” Boldus added. “For those who have never been, you can expect the most tender chicken fingers you’ve ever had with the best special secret sauce and garlic Texas toast that will blow your mind.”
Unsure of what to get? Bodldus offers a simple solution.
“Definitely a box combo so that you can try everything we have on the menu!”
Raising Canes is located at 2525 Gulf to Bay Blvd, Clearwater, FL 33765. The restaurant offers both dine-in and drive-through options and is open from 10 AM until midnight Sunday – Thursday and 1 AM on Friday and Saturday.
Tim Giuliani Elected to International Chamber of Commerce General Council
Orlando, Fla. – Orlando Economic Partnership (the Partnership) President and CEO Tim Giuliani has been elected to the World Chambers Federation (WCF) of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) General Council. Representing more than 1,400 chambers from around the world, this year’s Council is comprised of one of the most diverse cadres of chamber leaders in its history, reflecting WCF’s commitment to advancing regional and gender diversity.
“This is much more than simply a professional honor,” said Giuliani. “This recognition further reinforces Orlando’s reputation as a global leader in economic development and highlights how our mission of advancing Broad-based Prosperity® aligns with WCF’s objective to elevate and empower businesses to be leading players in tackling our most pressing issues. I look forward to sharing our region’s best practices and vision for inclusive growth with my fellow members to show how we all can drive an impactful future for communities everywhere.”
ICC is the institutional representative of more than 45 million companies in over 100 countries with a mission to enable business to secure peace, prosperity, and opportunity for all and ensure business work for everyone, every day, everywhere. Through a unique mix of advocacy, solutions and standard setting, the organization promotes international trade, responsible business conduct and a global approach to regulation in addition to providing market-leading dispute resolution services. Its members include many of the world’s leading companies, SMEs, business associations and local chambers of commerce.
The Partnership has a long history of supporting the Orlando region’s business community. Through its business development efforts, the Partnership works to market the Orlando region as an ideal location for successful and innovative businesses to scale and success while also growing the diversity of the regional economy by providing complimentary services to expanding businesses to achieve a soft and welcoming landing in the business community. The Partnership’s programs and initiatives support our region’s existing businesses by driving regional investment, catalyzing regional leadership and helping to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
In collaboration with ICC, the WCF provides all the tools to support Chambers and MSMEs, connecting chambers worldwide to develop and reinforce our chamber community. Chamber leaders from local, regional, national and transnational chambers were eligible to run for the General Council, each member serving a three-year term with the opportunity to run twice. The final composition of the Council sees representation from all parts of membership worldwide. It includes nine representatives from the Americas, thirteen from the Africa and Middle East region, nine from Asia-Pacific and twelve from Europe.
“We are proud of the level of enthusiasm and support of our members who showed interest in serving on the ICC WCF General Council,” said WCF Chairman Nicolás Uribe. “We have successfully brought together one of the most diverse and inclusive Councils in our long history, and I look forward to working with all members to strengthen the WCF and the wider chamber community.”
The new members of the WCF Executive Council are as follows:
Mr Tim Giuliani, President and CEO, Orlando Economic Partnership (USA)
Mr Marcelo Elizondo, Director – prosecretary, Argentina Chamber of Commerce and Services (Argentina)
Mr Andrew McKellar, CEO, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Australia)
Mr Olivier Willocx, Chief Executive Officer, Brussels Enterprises Commerce and Industry (Belgium)
Mrs Maria Teresa Bustamante, President, FIESC Foreign Chamber of Commerce (Brazil)
Mrs Min Yu, General Director, ICC China Secretariat, China Chamber of International Commerce (China)
Mrs Rim Siam, President of Economic Business Women Council, Alexandria Chamber of Commerce (Egypt)
Mr Giorgi Pertaia, President, The Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Georgia)
Mr Volker Treier, Chief Executive of Foreign Trade and Member of the Executive Board, Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (Germany)
Mr Mohammed Khazaee Torshizi, Senior Advisor to President, Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines & Agriculture (Iran)
Mr Kazuo Nishitani, Executive Director, Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Japan)
Mr Seong Woo Lee, Vice President, Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Korea)
Mr Trajan Angeloski, President, Macedonian Chambers of Commerce (Macedonia)
Mrs Tamader Al Thani, Director of International Relations and Chamber Affairs, Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Qatar)
Mr Mihai Daraban, President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania (Romania)
Mr José Luis Bonet, President, Spain Chamber of Commerce (Spain)
Mr Vincent Subilia, Director General, Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services (Switzerland)
Mr Izzet Volkan, Chairman of the Board, Corlu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Turkey)
Mr Gennadiy Chyzhykov, President, The Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Ukraine)
Mrs Shevaun Haviland, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce (United Kingdom)
- North Florida News3 days ago
Governor Ron DeSantis Awards More Than $5.4 Million to Four Small and Rural Florida Communities
- Entertainment4 days ago
Fantasia, Babyface, Rickey Smiley, and More Sizzle at the Inaugural Music Fest Orlando
- Central Florida News3 days ago
Sheriff’s Office investigating fatal shooting at Aqua Vista Drive in Orlando
- Central Florida News4 days ago
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and LYNX Highlight LYMMO Lime Line Expansion to Better Serve Seniors
- Sports3 days ago
Bucs re-signed defensive tackle Deadrin Senat