• Furloughed US workers fight to return to their jobs after a year on pause
    The Guardian

    Furloughed US workers fight to return to their jobs after a year on pause

    After a year away, hotel and other hospitality workers fear they may be laid off permanently and replaced by cheaper staff Laid-off employees and workers with Unite Here 11 protest outside the closed Four Points by Sheraton LAX hotel. Photograph: Patrick T Fallon/AFP/Getty Images Like many in the hospitality industry Harry East, a banquet server for over 20 years at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida, has struggled with anxiety and the uncertainty of having a job to return to once the hospitality industry recovers from the pandemic – all while experiencing long delays and gaps in receiving unemployment benefits through the state of Florida. Without action, East and 650 of his co-workers will be officially terminated from the Diplomat on 31 May, and the hotel has yet to agree to provide recall rights to workers that are still on furlough. East is currently advocating for Broward county, Florida, to pass legislation that would guarantee recall rights to workers in the hospitality industry who lost their jobs from coronavirus shutdowns in March last year. It’s part of a movement gaining traction across the US as the pandemic, finally, appears to be receding, but where hospitality workers fear they may be laid off permanently only to be replaced by cheaper, less experienced staff. “The Diplomat is just a building. The workers are what makes the Diplomat,” said East. “The hospitality industry is about relationships. Some of the clientele have been coming to the hotel for years. “The Diplomat doesn’t care about those relationships or the community. Without guaranteeing recall rights they are just viewing their workers as transactional.” The Diplomat did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Maria Ruiz, a banquet server at the Swissotel in Chicago, and a member of Unite Here Local 1, who lost her job during the pandemic, is fighting for a city ordinance to ensure laid-off workers are offered their positions first before hotels hire replacement workers. “I’ve been struggling. I haven’t been able to pay the mortgage on my house. My father, who is 83, and my younger son live with me and depend on me. It’s been very hard,’”said Ruiz. “I’ve worked at Swissotel for 24 years, half of my life. I’m 51 and I’ve been applying to jobs, but no one will hire me.” Unite Here represented about 307,000 workers, mostly in the hospitality industry, before the pandemic. In the beginning of the pandemic, 98% of the union’s membership were out of work. The leisure and hospitality industry was hit the hardest by the coronavirus, with overall employment in the industry falling by 23%, roughly 4 million jobs. It has also been the slowest industry to start recovering from initial job losses when the pandemic first hit the US. And after more than a year, many workers in the industry remain jobless and unsure if they will be offered their jobs back. Those workers have, however, been cheered by some recent good news. In California, workers and unions were successful in pushing through a statewide measure that was signed into law on 16 April, granting rehire rights based on seniority to hospitality workers throughout the state. Harry East: ‘Without guaranteeing recall rights they are just viewing their workers as transactional.’ Photograph: Unite Here Local 355 “It’s historic,” said Kurt Petersen, president of Unite Here Local 11 which represents workers in California and Arizona. “This is the biggest victory for workers during the pandemic.” Marvin Alvarenga, a busser at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California for 11 years, was laid off during the pandemic and is relieved the recall rights legislation passed given the uncertainty and anxiety he’s experienced over the past year, including the loss of his health insurance which his wife relied on as she is currently battling cancer. “Luckily, I still have my house but it’s been really tough to make ends meet while not having a job and I haven’t been able to send money to my mom in El Salvador,” said Alvarenga. “I’m really happy this law passed because it gives me and other workers hope we’ll be able to return to our jobs. It’s a lifeline to thousands of hospitality workers going through the same thing I’ve been going through.” Similar legislation guaranteeing recall rights for workers in the hospitality industry has been passed in New York City, Philadelphia, New Haven, Honolulu, Minneapolis, Washington and Baltimore. Nevada and Connecticut are considering statewide bills, while hotel industry groups have aggressively opposed local and statewide legislation to provide workers with recall rights. Hotel workers have also been directly pushing their employers to agree to guarantee recall rights to furloughed employees in New Orleans, Seattle, San Antonio and Boston. Delali Amemu worked at the Nine Zero Hotel in Boston for 15 years before she was one of 52 employees who received notice from management in March that they would be permanently laid off after being furloughed for nearly a year due to the pandemic. “It was shocking,” said Amemu, “Nine Zero was the only hotel not guaranteeing recall rights to workers.” The union representing the employees, pushed back on the firings and eventually came to an agreement with the Nine Zero Hotel to reinstate the terminated workers and secure their recall rights with seniority for at least 30 months. “These have been very difficult and unprecedented times, and we’re happy to have this matter resolved,” a spokesperson for the Nine Zero Hotel said in an email. D Taylor, president of Unite Here, said the union is focusing on ensuring employers do not eliminate jobs, especially those belonging to senior employees or union-represented jobs that typically pay more, to cut labor costs – especially after corporate executives have received a surge in pay and bonuses during the pandemic. “We’re quite concerned that employers will try to use the pandemic as an excuse to get rid of all the workers,” he said. ‘We feel very strongly people in our industry shouldn’t, frankly, be screwed over twice.”

  • Reuters

    Japan Post Insurance says to keep holdings of foreign bonds flat in FY2021/22

    Japan Post Insurance plans to keep its holdings of foreign bonds steady in the financial year through March and to reduce that of domestic fixed-income products, a top investment planning official said on Wednesday. Japan Post Insurance, also known as Kampo, may reduce its investment in foreign bonds without currency hedge, as the company thinks the forex market remains volatile, the official also said.

  • Vancity Joins Global Net-Zero Banking Alliance as Founding Signatory

    Vancity Joins Global Net-Zero Banking Alliance as Founding Signatory

    Mark Carney, UN Race to Zero Campaign and COP26 Presidency launch net-zero banking alliance to deliver Paris Agreement goals with collaboration, rigour, and transparency Vancity is first, and so far only, Canadian FI to join the alliance UNCEDED TERRITORIES OF MUSQUEAM, SQUAMISH and TSLEIL-WAUTUTH NATIONS and VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 21, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- To reinforce its long-standing commitment to environmental leadership in the finance sector and help support global collective action on the climate crisis, Vancity today announced it is a founding signatory of the Global Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA). This industry-led and UN-convened alliance has been co-launched by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), the Financial Services Taskforce of the Sustainable Markets Initiative, and joins forces with Mark Carney’s Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net-Zero (GFANZ) and the UN’s Race to Zero campaign. Vancity is the first, and so far only, Canadian financial institution to join the alliance, which brings together 43 banks from 23 countries, that collectively control over $28.5 trillion in assets. A full list of banks can be found below in the Notes to Editors. Members of the alliance are committing to align operational and attributable emissions from their portfolios with pathways to net-zero by 2050 or sooner. Earlier this year, Vancity has announced a commitment to aim to reach net-zero across all mortgages and loans by 2040, along with four other climate commitments focused on people, transparency and investing. Vancity’s net-zero commitment means the carbon emitted from anything it finances will be eliminated or significantly reduced, with any remaining emissions being brought to net-zero. Combining near-term action with accountability, NZBA sees financial institutions setting an intermediate target of 2030 or sooner, using robust, science-based guidelines, and it recognizes the vital role of banks in supporting the global transition of the real economy to net-zero emissions. NZBA is the banking element of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net-Zero and will work to mobilise the trillions of dollars necessary to build a global zero emissions economy and deliver the goals of the Paris Agreement. GFANZ will provide a forum for strategic coordination among the leadership of finance institutions from across the finance sector to accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy. Quote from Christine Bergeron, CEO, Vancity: “Financial institutions have an enormous economic and social footprint. We must rally that influence to take on the crisis facing our planet and support the shift to a low carbon economy that is clean and fair for everyone. Vancity is proud to be a founding signatory of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, to support the global collective effort to limit warming to 1.5°C, to catalyze collaboration among the financial sector and to foster systemic change internationally.” Financial institutions who have signed the commitment and joined the alliance will: Align operational and attributable emissions from their lending and investment portfolios with pathways to net-zero by 2050 or sooner.Within 18 months of joining, set 2030 targets (or sooner) and a 2050 target, with intermediate targets to be set every 5 years from 2030 onwards. All targets will be regularly reviewed to ensure consistency with the latest science (as detailed in IPCC assessment reports).Banks’ first 2030 targets will focus on priority sectors where the bank can have the most significant impact, i.e., the most GHG-intensive sectors within their portfolios.Within 36 months of joining, banks will set a further round of sector-level targets for all or a significant majority of specified carbon-intensive sectors, including: agriculture; aluminium; cement; coal; commercial and residential real estate; iron & steel; oil & gas; power generation; transport.The commitment is designed to ensure that banks engage with their clients’ own transition and decarbonisation, promoting real economy transitionAnnually publish absolute emissions and emissions intensity in line with best practice and within a year of setting targets, disclose progress against a board-level reviewed transition strategy setting out proposed actions and climate-related sectoral policies.Take a robust approach to the role of offsets in transition plans. The commitment is underpinned by the bank-led UNEP FI Guidelines for Climate Target Setting for Banks, also launched today. These guidelines have been developed by banks from the Collective Commitment to Climate Action, a leadership group under the UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking which Vancity is also a member of. Notes to Editors UN-convened Net-Zero Banking Alliance: www.unepfi.org/net-zero-bankingGFANZ background document: https://racetozero.unfccc.int/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/GFANZ.pdfVancity’s Climate CommitmentsVancity’s record on environmental leadership Full list of participating banks in alphabetical order: ÅlandsbankenAmalgamated BankProdubancoBanco Grupo Promerica NicaraguaBanco PromericaBancolombiaBank of AmericaBanorteBarclaysBBVABNP ParibasCaixaBankCIBCitiCommerzbankCoopeservidoresCredit SuisseDeutsche BankEcology Building SocietyFana SparebankGLSHandelsbankenHSBCIbercajaIDLCÍslandsbankiKB Financial Group Inc.KCBLa Banque PostaleLGT Private BankingLloyds Banking GroupMorgan StanleyNatWest GroupRepublic Financial Holding LimitedSantanderSEBShinhanSociété GénéraleSpareBank 1 ØstlandetStandard CharteredTriodos BankUBSVancity About Vancity Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its more than 550,000 member-owners and their communities, with offices and 54 branches located in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Squamish and Alert Bay, within the unceded territories of the Coast Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw people. With $30.5 billion in assets plus assets under administration, Vancity is Canada’s largest community credit union. Vancity uses its assets to help improve the financial well-being of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy communities that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable. Tweet us @vancity and connect with us on facebook.com/vancity. For more information: Media Relations | Vancitymediarelations@vancity.comT: 778-837-0394