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The First Amazon Union Have Two Words for Jeff Bezos: Ha ha

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Amazon has always been aggressive in trying to prevent employees from organizing unions. This is because the management thinks that workers are powerless. That’s why the first Amazon union will be a big deal. But it isn’t easy to imagine how it could have been better than this one was.

More than 8,000 employees in an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island had voted to unionize with the independent Amazon Labor Union. America’s most powerful non-union company has been defeated, not by an influential individual or group. In contrast, it was initiated by a former employee. This employee has no real experience or budget and started organizing because he noticed something that needed to be done.

First Amazon Union Has the Last Laugh

Before we move to the analytical significance of this historic success of the American working class, here’s what they want to say to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos: Ha. Hahahaha. Oh, by the way, the mega-billionaire recently returned to Earth from a short trip to space in his luxury rocket. 

The previous generation of low-wage American jobs was created by Walmart, a place where unions never had the opportunity to organize. That failure by the labor movement resulted in millions of workers trapped for decades in retail jobs that do not pay enough to survive. While the Walton family, owners of Walmart, became some of the wealthiest people in the world. 

Amazon is now transforming the American workplace just like Walmart did in the past. And it would result in a more dramatic erosion of the idea that hard work should provide a decent wage. 

Chris Smalls’ Role in First Amazon Union

Fortunately, we can now say that Amazon is no longer a union-free company. Much of the credit for the first Amazon union goes to Chris Smalls. Smalls was a former Amazon worker who the company fired after leading a walkout over safety concerns. Today, Smalls, the dozens of volunteers, and thousands of employees at the warehouse have accomplished what highly paid consultants assured Amazon was impossible.

The Amazon Labor Union was a grassroots, worker-led effort not affiliated with any existing union. Meanwhile, in Bessemer, Alabama, the Retail Workers union has spent two years and millions of dollars working to organize an Amazon warehouse there. They also asked for the assistance of countless professional union organizers. The vote at that warehouse was counted simultaneously as Staten Island’s, and the result is not yet available due to hundreds of challenged ballots.

Different approaches have varied results indeed. But the lesson from these campaigns is: Try everything. Should big, existing unions help organize Amazon workers? Yes. Should small, persistent bands of Amazon workers launch organizing events themselves? Yes. All of those people are part of the American labor movement that has only begun what will be a decades-long struggle to shape Amazon into a place where a warehouse job can sustain a decent middle-class lifestyle.

Hamilton Nolan

In 2015, Hamilton Nolan of The Guardian shared that he was part of a small successful union drive at a digital media company. He said that a union listened to them and helped them as they tried to organize. When people understood what a union could do, they said yes and supported the campaigns. Nolan noted that unionizing the warehouses, the Uber drivers, the fast-food restaurants, and other workplaces should not stop. Never. There’s a need to organize everyone. He emphasized that if the Amazon workers can do it, other workers can do it. 

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GM Announces Plans to Go Electric with Its Chevrolet Corvettes

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On April 25, General Motors President Mark Reuss announced that the company would produce an electrified Chevrolet Corvette next year. An all-electric version of it will follow this. Reuss said that the manufacture of the traditional models, those with internal combustion engines, will still continue.

However, the GM president did not disclose when the all-electric version of the iconic car would be released. He also didn’t specify if the electrified model would be a traditional hybrid or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. The automaker’s confirmation of these electric Corvettes may be due to the increased pressure from Wall Street. 

King of EVs

According to Wall Street analysts, Tesla is the king of eclectic vehicles (EVs) and is optimistic that legacy automakers will catch up quickly. The pressure is now on for rivals to compete against it. This was after GM’s fierce rival Ford Motor announced that it would hold an event for its electric F-150 Lightning pickup. This is mainly due to the latter receiving crucial attention from the media and numerous investors.

Shares of Tesla rebounded in December 2021 after UBS increased the price target on the stock. For this, it called the electric vehicle company the “undisputed leader.” Global demand for electric vehicles will drive the company to exceed expectations this year. Ford Motor’s reason for the initiative was to dominate the electric pickup market.

Electric Corvette

Rumors have already been circulating that GM will be manufacturing electric Corvettes. This was even mentioned by President Joe Biden, who is a Corvette owner himself. This announcement confirms what the president told us about 18 months ago—there will be an electric Corvette.

The automaker has made public its plans to sell electric vehicles exclusively by the year 2035. It is in the process of releasing 30 brand new EVs internationally by 2025. GM plans to do this via a $35 billion investment in electric and autonomous vehicles by then.

An “Electrified” Version of an Icon

In Reuss’ announcement, he mentioned that aside from the new Chevrolet Corvette Z06, the company will offer a fully electric Ultium-based Corvette in the near future. This alongside their production of other gas-powered variants.

GM spokesman Shad Balch explained what an “electrified” version is during the same announcement. It means that an electrified vehicle does not fully operate on electricity. He further declined to comment on the specific type of application used.

Furthermore, Reuss only confirmed that the electrified Corvette would be released early next year. Other than that, he divulged no further details and information.

Two years ago, the Detroit Free Press made a confirmation that an electric Corvette would come out. It cited its source as someone familiar with GM’s production of the Corvette and announced this at the automaker’s Bowling Green Assembly in Kentucky in 2020. The source declined to be named as they claimed no authority to speak on behalf of the automaker. 

GM also mentioned that it will have an all-electric vehicle lineup across all its brands by 2035. It noted that Cadillac will be the lead brand for the technology. Cadillac confirmed this, saying that this brand lineup will almost be all-electric by 2030. 

Thirty new EVs will also be produced and released to the market by the middle of the decade. It is planning to sell a million EVs globally beginning that time. Alternatively, the company will start production of the gasoline-powered 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 3LZ convertible at the Bowling Green Assembly in the summer of this year. As with the electric Corvettes, the automaker hasn’t released the starting price yet.

And for other stories, read more here at Owner’s Mag!

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How China Tree Breeders Will Benefit from A Business Model Without Destroying the Environment

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After doing thorough research on China’s coniferous tree, Pinus tabulaeformis. In July of last year, Chinese scientists published their study in Cell, a well-renowned global journal. In the article, they wrote about how they uncovered the genetic code and the molecular mechanisms that regulate the evolution of the said tree. Read more about the China tree breeders here.

Scientific Breakthrough

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Thousands of China tree breeders hailed this study as a scientific breakthrough that will help in the cultivation of the tree native to China. The group of breeders, which included Wang Lianmau of Jiangxi Fenglin Investment, stated that this would help the trees to grow faster and more robust. Wang added that this breakthrough would make the trees less susceptible to diseases and pests. 

Wang’s company has lauded the work done by the researchers at Beijing Forestry University. The general manager of the company, Wang, also mentioned that he believed that this would pave the way for better selection and breeding of faster-growing and high-yielding trees. He added that this would produce timber with higher quality and better resistance to diseases. 

Wang also mentioned that Fenglin is in talks with the researchers to do the same for two other tree species. The company’s 23,000-hectare plantation is located in Jiangxi province in southeastern China. The uncovering of the genetic codes for Pinus elliottii and Pinus kesiya, Wang says, will boost the development of forestry as carbon goes down.

Afforestation

The process of establishing a stand of trees in a region that hasn’t been forested previously is called afforestation. In it, trees and tree seedlings are introduced either naturally or artificially. This process has confirmed that trees can absorb and store greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.

This will provide a natural solution that will significantly help Chinese President Xi Jinping’s promise to achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2060. Plantations that can reduce their carbon emissions will earn them tradeable credits. It’s through unregulated carbon markets after verifying that they follow sustainability and management standards.

A challenge was posed to turn this concept into a business model that can make money, states professional investors. One that can combine afforestation with timber sales, by-products, and carbon credits. This, according to Chan Tak-yuen, CFGC Amital Green Fund adviser.

This fund’s objective is to raise $100 million US dollars. It aims to back companies that are sustainable, use high-yielding afforestation, create carbon storage projects, and develop the required technology. 

Harvesting Income Streams

Currently, Fenglin is already harvesting income streams from its trees, according to Wang. He also noted that more than 70% of these revenues come from the sales of turpentine, rosins, and resins from the plantation. In addition, pine trees will be sold as timber once they reach the felling age of 25 years.

The remaining income is from the carbon credits the plantation receives. Wang noted that over 60% of the plantation area is already qualified as carbon storage. This is the first-ever and most extensive commercial development since 2016.

Outside China

Afforestation has attracted professional investors mainly due to its ability to mitigate climate change. It is partly because of the hedges for the risk of the rising costs of offsetting carbon in other investments.

News then came out that JP Morgan Asset Management bought Campbell Global, a forest investment and management company, for an undisclosed amount. The latter has $5.3 billion in assets and over 680,000 hectares under management around the globe.

Furthermore, New Forests, a forestry private equity investment firm in Sydney, Australia, aims to raise $300 million to support a Southeast Asian forest fund this year. The firm manages over 1.1 million hectares with a value of $5.8 billion US dollars. This endeavor has already received commitments from investors for $120 million.

And for other top stories, read more here at Owner’s Mag!

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Helix-Tower: Amazon’s New Virginia’ HQ2′

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Here’s the other Amazon forest! The multinational online shopping firm will build a helix-shaped tower dubbed Amazon Virginia HQ2. The proposed infrastructure is complete with tree-lined “mountain” visitors can visit during the weekends. Arlington officials recently approved the construction of the tall building. 

According to a Daily Mail report, Amazon’s second headquarters in Virginia will sit in the middle of the company’s new $2.5-billion campus just across the River Potomac from Washington DC.  

The Arlington County Board unanimously approved the construction of the 350-foot-tall building. The NBBJ designed the building. NBBJ is an American global architecture, planning, and design firm with offices worldwide. 

Amazon Virginia HQ2 Will Dominate the Region’s Skyline

amazon helix

There’s a law that prohibits skyscrapers within the District of Columbia. The Height of Buildings Act of 1910 was approved by the 61st United States Congress on June 1, 1910, to limit the heights of buildings in DC. It generally bans building heights along residential streets to 90 feet and along commercial corridors to the width of the street’s right-of-way or avenue on which a building fronts, or a maximum of 130 feet, whichever is shorter.

The Amazon building will be one of the tallest structures in neighboring Arlington County. The Helix will dominate the region’s skyline from some vantage points like no building other than the Washington Monument. The structure generally features a spiral hike around its exterior, lined with trees, allowing visitors to follow an encircling outdoor ramp around the edge of the building to its summit. 

The proposed building was first launched by Amazon in February 2021 and is one of many large offices that the web giant on the site will construct.

It will be completed by 2025 and will welcome around 25,000 workers. Once fully operational, the campus will also include a separate park, a community high school, and multiple shops. 

Amazon has claimed that the Helix will have its artist in residence and meeting space for the staff. 

The online shopping leader’s global headquarters is in Washington, with Virginia now set to become its second-most-important US base. 

It spent years searching for a possible second headquarters, with multiple cities setting out its stall across the US.

Some even confirmed recommending amendments to local laws to simplify Amazon to settle and start doing business in the area. They did so, hoping that its presence would beef up their economies. 

Why New York City?

Amazon ultimately announced it had chosen New York City as its site in late 2018. It said it was planning to open a vast new base on Long Island City in Queens, just across the East River from Midtown Manhattan.That sparked fury from the cities that had lost out, who were angry that a metropolis already replete with jobs had landed yet another multinational firm.

Many New Yorkers were also angry and feared Amazon’s presence would further gentrify a notorious city for its astronomical cost of living.

There were also fears from progressive lawmakers – including US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – that the new Amazon Virginia HQ2 would price out poorer locals.

On Valentine’s Day 2019, the firm announced it had withdrawn its bid for its New York headquarters and was instead concentrating on building its Arlington site, which was announced alongside the Long Island City deal.

Following the release of The Helix’s design, people on the internet poke fun at its unusual structure, suggesting it resembles everything from soft-serve ice cream to a poop emoji to a Christmas tree and a cartoon turd.

NBBJ previously designed giant orb-shaped greenhouses for Amazon’s US headquarters in Seattle.

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