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Aviation contractors axed jobs as U.S. delayed aid, House panel finds

CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. aviation contractors laid off thousands of workers due to delays in payroll aid from the U.S. Treasury that was meant to protect jobs, an investigation by a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee found.

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), companies in the aviation sector were granted funds to cover six months of their payroll as the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a precipitous decline in air travel.

The legislation banned any job cuts through September, and requires the U.S. Department of the Treasury to begin distributing funds to eligible companies within 10 days of the law’s approval on March 27.

But an investigation by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis found that top contractors did not receive the money until months later, resulting in more than 16,500 layoffs and furloughs at 15 companies, more than 15% of the aviation contractor workforce.

“Had Treasury met the deadline set by Congress, many of these jobs would have been preserved,” the report said.

Treasury did not immediately comment.

Among the top seven contractors, Swissport waited 99 days before its payroll support agreement with Treasury was finalized, Gate Gourmet 78 days and Flying Food Fare 74 days, leading to nearly 12,000 layoffs and furloughs at those three companies alone.

The companies still received the full amount of federal aid based on their pre-pandemic workforce, even though they had laid off many of those workers, the report said.

Swissport, Gate Gourmet and Flying Food Fare did not immediately comment.

Aviation contractors were awarded $3 billion under the first CARES Act and could see those funds extended for another six months if Congress passes a second stimulus package.

The report recommends another round of aid but said layoffs should be prohibited until a company uses all of

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Google contractor accused of offshoring jobs in retaliation for union campaign

Google contractors who recently unionized say their jobs are being slowly shipped to Poland. On Thursday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed a complaint laying out the allegations against HCL America, an engineering and IT contractor that works with Google in Pittsburgh.



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© Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge


Obtained by Motherboard, the complaint argues the jobs are being outsourced in retaliation for legitimate union activity. In particular, the NLRB says the conduct took place “because employees formed, joined and assisted the Union and engaged in concerted activities, and to discourage employees from engaging in these activities.”

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None of the affected workers are legal employees of Google, but they specialize in engineering and IT tasks for HCL. The contractors voted to unionize in 2019, organizing under the United Steelworkers union. According to the complaint, the company has failed to bargain with the newly formed unit and has transferred work previously undertaken by the team to offshore workers in Kraków, Poland.

Google did not respond to a request for comment.

Contract workers have been a significant aspect of employee activism at Google, including a public memo sent in March by full-time employees in March demanding better treatment for the contract workforce.

Temporary, vendor, and contract employees outnumber full-time Google employees, and typically face lower wages and less job security. In May, Google abruptly rescinded more than 2000 incoming contracts, citing cost-cutting measures spurred by the global pandemic. Because the workers were not yet under contract, the measures were not legally considered to be layoffs and the workers were ineligible for unemployment insurance as a result.

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U.S. Jobs Report, Manhattan Homes, Brazil Spending: Eco Day

(Bloomberg) — Welcome to Friday, Americas. Here’s the latest news and analysis from Bloomberg Economics to help you start the day:

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The last U.S. jobs report before November’s presidential election is projected to show a sharp deceleration in labor-market gains, suggesting the winner will inherit an increasingly shaky economic reboundU.S. stimulus talks remain on life support after the House passed a Democrat-only $2.2 trillion package that did nothing to bridge the gap with RepublicansFor Manhattan home sales, it’s beginning to look a lot like 2009. Unsold listings in the third quarter surged to 9,319, a level not seen since the midst of the global financial crisis 11 years agoBrazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, who rose to power by painting himself a fiscal bulldog, is suddenly pushing to ramp up social spending, leaving markets startled and budget experts confoundedThe number of insolvency filings in Canada plunged to the lowest level since 1997 as massive cash injections from the federal government kept households afloat during the Covid-19 pandemicArgentina reduced taxes on its huge global soy exports Thursday in an effort to boost dollar inflows at a time when the central bank’s reserves have plunged to the lowest level in nearly four yearsConsumer prices in the 19-nation euro area fell more than economists forecast in September, keeping up pressure on the European Central Bank as it debates whether to add stimulus to support the recovery from the coronavirus recession

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