Can a company pay its workers well and also make money? Many aren’t quite hitting the right balance. Hundreds of dissatisfied workers at major American companies like Wal-Mart (WMT), McDonald’s (MCD) and Wendy’s (WEN) have joined protests nationwide in the past year demanding higher wages and better benefits. One company that hasn’t had to deal with such strikes is Costco (COST).
The no-frills warehouse chain pays its hourly workers an average of just over $20 an hour, compared to just under $13 at competitor Wal-Mart. Even President Obama praised Costco in a recent speech about helping the middle class. The recession has been good for companies that targeted budget-minded customers. Sales at Costco have grown an average of 13% annually since 2009, while profits have risen 15%. Its stock price has more than doubled since 2009.
During the same period, discount retailer Wal-Mart’s sales grew an average of 4.5% each year, profits rose 7%, and its stock price increased 70%. Costco seems to be investing some of those profits back into its employees. Cesar Martinez, a 37-year-old fork lift operator, has worked at a Costco in North Carolina for 19 years. He makes $22.82 an hour, gets health benefits and a pension plan. He manages to save, and doesn’t worry about hospital bills for his daughter, who suffers from asthma.
As the company continues early production of its important new full-size pickup trucks, Akerson has elevated Alicia Boler-Davis to senior vice president of global quality and global customer experience. She had been a vice president of global quality and U.S. customer experience, reporting to Mary Barra, GM’s senior vice president of global product development.
Boler-Davis will now report directly to Akerson. The promotion came a week after GM earned the top spot among major auto manufacturers in the widely watched J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study that measure customer problems in the first 90 days of ownership.
Akerson made the announcement before a crowd of about 2,000 GM employees on Wednesday at the automaker’s Warren Technical Center to celebrate GM’s performance in the annual survey.
GM was the best-performing major auto manufacturer overall in the consumer study for the first time in its history and individual models from its brands took the top spot in eight of the vehicle market segments. The Chevrolet brand beat stalwarts like Toyota and Honda.
Calling the celebration his “most memorable day” since becoming CEO in September 2010, Akerson urged employees to guard against complacency. “This award gives us a glimpse of what it’s like to be on top,” he said.
Everyone should know this by now: Never count Oprah out. Oprah Winfrey returns to the top of Forbes’ annual Celebrity 100 ranking of the most powerful celebrities after two years in second place. She leads a female-dominated top 10 that includes Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Madonna, Taylor Swift and Ellen DeGeneres.
Even without her eponymous daytime talk show, Winfrey made an estimated $77 million between June 2012 and June 2013, down from last year’s $165 million. While she wasn’t the highest earner on Forbes’ list, her money, mixed with strong fame scores in metrics like press mentions and social networking power, pushed her to the top.
This is a story about a boy, a bear and bathroom tissue. When a giant corporation took time out to send a token of affection to a small admirer, it made a family’s day. First, meet 9-year-old Cash’an Clark, a happy, easygoing kid who also faces some big challenges, his mom Grace Clark said.
Diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when he was 2, Cash’an has problems communicating and socializing. He talks very little, he doesn’t play with other kids and he fixates on certain things, Clark said.
Enter the Charmin bear – the cuddly cartoon logo featured prominently on packages of Charmin toilet paper and in the company’s commercials. While so many aspects of life make Cash’an withdraw into his own world, something about that bear speaks to the little boy. Even his family has a hard time explaining it.
Grace Clark says she saw her son’s fascination for the Charmin bear start when he was 4.
“Autistic children are very particular, very precise in the details that they take in,” Clark, who lives in Manchester, Conn., told TODAY Moms.
“It’s got to be something about that bear that is just staying with him and I honestly don’t know what that precise detail is. I can’t ask him because he can’t verbalize it for me.”
She still remembers the moment when she realized Cash’an was fascinated by the logo. They were at Target one day when he was 4 and he suddenly bolted away from her and ran to the bathroom tissue section. “This little kid is looking at this big aisle full of toilet paper rolls with a bear, and he started putting all these packages in my cart that I did not want. And then he climbed in the cart and he looked at them,” Clark said.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hip-hop mogul Dr. Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, and music industry entrepreneur Jimmy Iovine have donated a combined $70 million to create a new institute at the University of Southern California, the school announced Tuesday night.
The huge gift from the two who have been music business partners in the past will be used to create the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation.
The academy will provide a special four-year program for undergraduates whose interests span several fields from marketing to computer science to visual design and other arts. It will include one-on-one faculty mentoring with professors from programs around the university and interaction with entertainment industry luminaries.
Tia and Tamera Mowry have both experienced the joys of motherhood and have teamed up to create an innovative herbal supplement to help new moms boost the quality and quantity of breast milk. The supplement is called Milky and the sisters recently celebrated the launch of their new brand at A Pea in the Pod in L.A.
Mom-to-be Tamar Braxton was just one of the famous faces who came out to support Milky at the VIP launch event.
There’s no word yet on when Milky will be available for purchase, but consumers can sign up for exclusive notices via the Milky website. If you’re wondering if the supplements really work, Tamera, mother of 6-month-old Aden Housley, uses them and gives them her stamp of approval.
“Believe me — it works!” Tamera told People. The twins also dish on Milky and their adventures in motherhood on their blog, Tia and Tamera.
WASHINGTON – President Obama on Wednesday nominated Representative Melvin L. Watt, Democrat of North Carolina, to become the overseer of the government-backed mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If approved by the Senate, Mr. Watt would replace Edward J. DeMarco, who has been acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency for more than three years.
Mr. Watt is a lawyer who has represented North Carolina in Congress for the last two decades. If he won Senate confirmation, he would become a powerful economic policy maker, as the housing market recovers and the White House contemplates the government’s future role in it. “Mel understands as well as anybody what caused the housing crisis,” Mr. Obama said in a ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House. “He knows what it’s going to take to help responsible homeowners fully recover and he’s committed to helping folks just like his mom,” who attended the ceremony, and whom Mr.Obama characterized as “Americans who work really hard, play by the rules, day in and day out, to provide for their families.”
African-Americans have little-to-no representation in the technology sector, especially when it comes to dot-com businesses. Fortunately, William Michael Cunningham has created a platform specifically for African-Americans and women of all races.BlackCrowdFunding.net allows is a new crowdfunding platform that allows people to contribute to ventures created by African-Americans and/or women of all races.
In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Cunningham discussed the nature of his business. “Most people start a business by taking out loans on their houses or going to friends and family and raising money that way,” Cunningham said. “If you’re in a demographic where your housing wealth has been impacted significantly negatively, then that’s less of an option with respect to raising capital.”
Crowdfunding has been known to launch very successful projects, including the YouTube series “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl.” Cunningham said that crowdfunding presents a more promising option. Incase you’re unfamiliar with the term crowdfunding, it’s a method by which an entrepreneur can raise money for his or her start-up online by collecting small investments or donations from a large number of people. “The idea is that crowdfunding is a tool that can be used to get resources to low to moderate income communities in way that we haven’t seen before,” Cunningham said.
The site already has a number of ventures seeking funding, including an education on identity theft, a boutique, a garden, and a pride t-shirt, and more.
Power couple Jay-Z and Beyoncé have recently been making lots of headlines lately, and now the rapper is gracing the cover of Time. Both he and wife Beyoncé have been named by the magazine as two of the world’s most influential people.
The annual feature lists 100 of the world’s most prominent figures, in no particular order, who have made the biggest global impact over the past year. The issue, which includes Jay-Z on one of seven covers, also provides brief profiles that capture the essence of each qualifier.
Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks in action against the Los Angeles Clippers during their game at Madison Square Garden on February 10, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
NEW YORK (AP) — Carmelo Anthony now tops the NBA’s scoring race and its most popular jerseys list. Anthony took over the No. 1 spot on the league’s sales list Tuesday, moving past MVP LeBron James and becoming the first Knicks player at the top since the first list was released in 2001-02.
Anthony was No. 4 last year on the list, which is based on sales at the NBA Store in New York and on NBAStore.com since last November. The reigning Eastern Conference player of the week edged past Kevin Durant in the scoring race after averaging 41.8 points last week. Durant was third on the jersey sales list, followed by seven-time No. 1 Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose. The Knicks remained first in team sales, followed by Miami and the Lakers.