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Starbucks must reinstate fired workers, federal judge rules

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Starbucks Must Reinstate Fired Workers, Federal Judge Rules
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A federal judge is ordering Starbucks to reinstate seven employees in Memphis who were fired earlier this year after leading an effort to unionize their store.

In a decision issued Thursday, U.S. District Judge Sheryl Lipman agreed with the National Labor Relations Board, which had asked the court to intervene in May.

Lipman’s decision requires Starbucks to offer to reinstate the employees within five days. Starbucks will also be required to post the court order in the Memphis store.

The case has been among the most closely watched in the unionization effort at Starbucks, which began late last year. Since then, more than 220 U.S. Starbucks stores — including the Memphis store — have voted to unionize. Starbucks opposes the unionization effort.

Starbucks fired the seven employees in early February, citing safety. The Seattle coffee giant said the employees violated company policy by reopening a store after closing time and inviting non-employees — including a television crew — to come inside and move throughout the store.

The NLRB had begun administrative proceedings against Starbucks, saying the company was unlawfully interfering in workers’ right to organize. But those proceedings can take so long that the NLRB asked the federal court for an immediate injunction requiring Starbucks to reinstate the workers.

“Today’s federal court decision ordering Starbucks to reinstate the seven unlawfully fired Starbucks workers in Memphis is a crucial step in ensuring that these workers, and all Starbucks workers, can freely exercise their right to join together to improve their working conditions and form a union,” the labor board’s General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo said in a statement. “Starbucks, and other employers, should take note that the NLRB will continue to vigorously protect workers’ right to organize without interference from their employer.”

A message seeking comment from Starbucks was left by The Associated Press.

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Zack Britton can’t make it all the way back to help Yankees in the playoffs

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Zack Britton Can’t Make It All The Way Back To Help Yankees In The Playoffs
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Zack Britton’s comeback has fallen short. The left-hander who exited Friday night’s game with “arm fatigue” was placed on the injured list Saturday and likely will not pitch for the Yankees again. The 34-year-old had hoped to come back from 2021 Tommy John surgery to pitch in the postseason.

“I think basically it’s just something that we’re kind of running out of time here,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said, “and having a little bit of fatigue last night, it’s like one of those things you don’t want to power through and reach for more and then do some damage as you’re coming back.

“But he’s in a good spot heading into the offseason.”

Britton had the updated version of Tommy John surgery, which places a protective brace or sleeve around the ulnar collateral ligament. That had him and the Yankees hoping he could make a faster comeback. He made his big league debut this season on Sept. 24, just 12 and a half months after the surgery.

‘I’m just appreciative of how hard he’s worked to get to this point and to give himself a chance,” Boone said. “The rehab is going really well. I feel like a lot of things are  lined up. It’s just that final sharpness and at this point in the season just got up against it there. But, yeah, he worked his tail off to put himself in this position and give himself an opportunity and certainly admire that.”

Britton is in the final year of his four-year, $53 million deal with the Yankees. An elite closer with the Orioles, the Yankees acquired him at the trade deadline in 2018. Britton made 136 appearances for the Bombers, mostly setting up for Aroldis Chapman, and pitched to a 2.75 ERA with 15 saves.

Britton made it very clear when he returned that he was not worried about pitching to prove he was healthy for another contract.

“I mean it doesn’t impact my future. I’m healthy. I know if I’m healthy, the future for me will be fine. The reason why I kind of push things is because I want to pitch this year for this team to help them win and for no other reason,” Britton said when he returned. “So there’s no benefit for me personally, other than the fact that maybe I can have an impact on a World Series championship team. That’s really the only goal for me at this stage of my career. I’ve gotten my contract. I am 34 years old. My reasons are much different now than when I was younger. I want [a] ring, that’s why I pushed this hard to come back and be an option for the team.”

With Clay Holmes down because of rotator cuff inflammation, a doubleheader on Tuesday and rain putting the Yankees final two games of the regular season at Yankee Stadium in doubt, the Bombers just needed an arm. They called up Jacob Barnes, a veteran of parts of seven seasons in the big leagues with the Brewers, Royals, Mets, Angels and Tigers and a 6.10 ERA this season.

“He’s got good stuff. Good arm,” Boone said. “We  just wanted that coverage today, with what we’re entering into as far as doubleheaders coming up and some roster situations.”

MONTAS MOVES

Frankie Montas was on the field throwing for the first time since he was shut down earlier this month. The right-hander played a very limited catch at about 25 to 40 feet, another indication that he will not be pitching at least in the first round of the playoffs.

And when he does pitch in the playoffs, it very well could be out of the bullpen, Boone confirmed Saturday.

“I don’t know about the Division Series. I don’t know if that’s gonna be in play,” Boone said when asked if there was enough time to ramp him back up.  “We feel like there’s time to where he could get to a point where he could be an option for us. Maybe not in the Division Series, but more likely beyond.”

Montas is on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation, the same issue that had him miss time in Oakland before the Yankees traded for him. The Bombers targeted Montas specifically for the playoff with his past success against potential playoff foes the Astros and Rays. He struggled once he got here, however. Montas has a 6.35 ERA in eight starts with the Bombers.

The Yankees dealt minor league pitching prospects Luis Medina and Ken Waldichuk along with J.P. Sears, who had already contributed to the big league club, for Montas and reliever Lou Trivino (who coincidentally is the only one of the Yankees’ deadline acquisitions who has not been injured).

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Gophers star tailback Mo Ibrahim out vs. Purdue

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Gophers Star Tailback Mo Ibrahim Out Vs. Purdue
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The Gophers had a big, surprise absence during its Homecoming game against Purdue on Saturday.

Star running back Mo Ibrahim was dressed in uniform and participated in some of pregame warmups but did not play against the Boilermakers at Huntington Bank Stadium. Instead, Trey Potts and Bryce Williams stepped into bigger roles.

Ibrahim appeared to injure his left ankle during the 34-7 win over Michigan State last week, but returned to the game in East Lansing, Mich. He also practiced during the week, head coach P.J. Fleck said on KFXN-FM show Tuesday.

Ibrahim had 89 carries for 567 yards and eight touchdowns in four games this season.

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Your Money: Coming fourth quarter offers opportunities, changes

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These Are Portraits Of Bruce Helmer And Peg Webb, Financial Advisers At Wealth Enhancement Group And Pioneer Press Business Columnists
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Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb

This has been a crazy year for the economy and markets, with inflation rising as the highest rate in 40 years. But as we advise our clients, you need to control what you can control and forget everything else. By sticking to a well-conceived plan, you remove a lot of market-related stress from your decision making. This quarter we’re focusing on tips for increasing your savings, planning for long-term care and giving to charity.

INCREASING YOUR SAVINGS

The IRS usually announces changes to tax brackets, 401(k) plan contribution limits, estate- and gift-tax thresholds and Social Security payouts in mid-October. Since these limits are indexed to inflation, the adjustments could be the biggest in decades. They’ll affect your 2023 taxes in the following areas:

Lower tax liability. An odd gift of inflation may actually be lower tax bills. Most Americans’ income will be taxed at lower rates next year, when the thresholds for income-tax brackets and the standard deduction will be raised. The top federal income-tax bracket could climb $50,000 for married couples next year. The 37% bracket may kick in at $693,750 (couples) and $578,125 (individuals). Consensus estimates are that other tax-bracket break points will rise about 7% from 2022 levels, more than double the previous year’s increase. Unless you expect your wages to rise significantly higher than inflation, you may pay less in taxes for 2023, and be able to sock away more savings.

Retirement plan contributions. Maximum contribution amounts for a traditional or Roth IRA are expected to increase to $6,500 for 2023, up from $6,000 (where they’ve been stuck since 2019). According to benefits consultant Milliman, maximum contribution amount for a 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored plan could rise from $20,500 this year to $22,500 in 2023, with catch-up contributions for workers aged 50+ bumping up from $6,500 to at least $7,500. This is a good time to consider increasing your deferrals during your company’s open enrollment season, especially if you’re not already taking advantage of the maximum employer matching contribution.

Estate and gift taxes. Lifetime estate and gift-tax thresholds could increase next year. An individual’s federal estate-tax exclusion amount may increase from $12.06 million this year to $12.92 million in 2023 (nearly $26 million for couples, allowing them to shelter nearly $2 million more from estate and gift taxes). In addition, the annual limit on tax-free gifts could rise from $16,000 to $17,000. This could benefit wealthy families, who will be able to give away more without gift or estate tax consequences.

Social Security COLA. Social Security is likely to see the biggest increase in benefits payouts from mandated cost-of-living adjustments (COLA). Social Security payouts are expected to be 8.7% higher in 2023 — the largest bump in benefits in decades.

PLANNING FOR LONG-TERM CARE

November is National Long-Term Care Awareness Month. About 60% of us, at some point in our lives, will need some help with things like getting dressed, driving to appointments or making meals. Fully 78% of adults receiving care at home rely on family and friends as their only source of care and the average caregiver is a 46-year-old woman, who spends 21 hours a week caring for a loved one.

Many people think Medicare or Medicaid will pick up the tab for this, but this isn’t the case. That’s why considering the possibility of needing long-term care (LTC) at some point in your life is a key element of financial planning. LTC insurance (LTCI) is designed to provide funds for you to live on when you’re not able to care for yourself. More specifically, LTCI may help keep you from having to go into a nursing home. Indeed, some policies allow you to pay a family member to provide care in your home, giving you more control and choice over the type of care you wish to receive.

There are many types of policies, designed for multiple purposes, such as supplementing your retirement, paying for in-home or nursing home care, providing a death benefit to your loved ones. One caveat: LTCI tends to be expensive and complicated. Talk to a financial adviser before you buy.

GIFTING/GIVING TO CHARITY

As the end of the year approaches, you may want to share your good fortune with the people and causes you care about. Giving cash is your simplest option. However, if you are giving to family members, you need to consider tax implications. Lifetime exemptions are higher than they have ever been, but if future tax laws reduce that exemption amount, it could affect your gifting plans.

Gifts to charity. You can give cash to charities and still claim a deduction. For any gifts over $250, you must have a written acknowledgement in order to earn a deduction. You also have the option to gift appreciated securities that may have some imbedded long-term cap gains. You can donate these shares to a nonprofit and you and the charity will both avoid paying a capital gains tax. But if you are thinking about gifting stocks that have lost money, it might be smarter to sell them and donate the cash.

Donor Advised Fund (DAF). A DAF is a good option if you know you want to give to a 501(c)(3) charity, but aren’t sure which one, or want to make a gift anonymously. You get an immediate tax deduction for any assets you transfer to the fund, and you free your estate of any cap gains those assets have accumulated or will accumulate in the future.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Wealth Enhancement Group and LPL Financial do not provide legal advice or tax services. Please consult your legal advisor or tax advisor regarding your specific situation.

Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb are financial advisers at Wealth Enhancement Group and co-hosts of “Your Money” on KLKS 100.1 FM on Sunday mornings. Email Bruce and Peg at [email protected] Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, LLC, a registered investment advisor. Wealth Enhancement Group and Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services are separate entities from LPL Financial.

 

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Amazon launches epic sale with up to 59% off Echo, Fire TV, Fire Tablets and more

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Amazon Launches Epic Sale With Up To 59% Off Echo, Fire Tv, Fire Tablets And More
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Amazon launches epic sale with up to 59% off Echo, Fire TV, Fire Tablets and more – CNET – ApparelGeek


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Amazon Launches Epic Sale With Up To 59% Off Echo, Fire Tv, Fire Tablets And More

We are just over a week away from Amazon Prime Early Access Sale, but that hasn’t stopped the company from launching a huge sale with up to 59% off a bunch of its best hardware. Amazon recently hosted an event where it announced a bunch of new devices like Fire TVs, Kindle Scribe and more, but they are not yet available. If you’re looking to get your hands on some Amazon devices like the Echo, Fire TV, Ring Doorbell and more, now’s your chance to save big.

With this sale, you can get some of the best prices of the year on Amazon’s Fire TVs, Fire tablets, Echo hardware, and more.

The sale covers a lot of devices, so you’re going to want to take a few minutes and sort through them all to see which ones interest you the most. As we learned at its event, Amazon will be bringing some of its new features, such as Eero support, to older devices such as the 4th Gen Echo Dot, which makes these discounts even better. We’ve highlighted some of our favorite deals from the sale below, so be sure to check them out now.

Echo Offers

Fire TV Deals

Fire Tablet Deals

More Amazon Device Deals

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The 10 least popular US states to move to in 2022

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The 10 Least Popular Us States To Move To In 2022
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A recently released report, moveBuddha, a relocation technology company, ranked the least popular states to move to in 2022.

The 2022 Mid-Year Migration Report used data collected from January 1 to July 5, 2022, through the company’s moving expense calculator.

moveBuddha compared the influx to the influx of people from state to state to see which places are gaining new residents and which are losing their current population.

1st least popular state to move to in 2022: New Jersey

Input-output ratio: 0.50

New Jersey tops the list of least popular states. According to the report, the Garden State is losing the most residents to those moving in.

Residents of the East Coast state pay the highest property taxes in the country, which may explain the population loss.

The other two states that make up the New York metropolitan area — New York and Connecticut — are experiencing similar challenges to New Jersey.

The two made the list of states whose people are leaving more than they are moving in, or no. 4 and no. 5 on the list respectively.

The 10 least popular states to move to in 2022:

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Pat Leonard: NFL, players’ union, Dolphins medical staff all failed Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa

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Pat Leonard: Nfl, Players’ Union, Dolphins Medical Staff All Failed Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa
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Tua Tagovailoa shouldn’t have been on the field Thursday night. Loopholes in the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and players’ union allowed the Miami Dolphins’ medical staff to clear him and create the frightening situation that unfolded in front of the entire nation.

“The problem isn’t necessarily that the protocol wasn’t being followed,” said Miami-based attorney Brad Sohn, a candidate with some player support to become the NFLPA’s next executive director. “It’s that they have these toothless rules and no one’s being held accountable. The league and P.A. codified a protocol that has loopholes big enough to drive a truck through.”

The central question — and the reason the union launched an investigation for a potential protocol violation immediately — is why Tagovailoa was cleared mid-game from the concussion protocol the previous Sunday during a win over the Buffalo Bills.

The quarterback’s head hit the turf after taking a hit from a Bills defender. Tagovailoa immediately raised his hands towards his head, with the fingers on his left hand looking a bit strange.

Then he stood up and tried to shake it off, he stumbled, lost his balance, and had his knees buckle underneath him. Teammates had to hold him up on his feet until trainers came out.

Tagovailoa was taken to the locker room and announced as questionable to return with a “head” injury. But he later returned to the game, and the team clarified he had injuries to his “back” and “ankle.”

“Ninety-nine percent of doctors who don’t work for the team see Tua shake off the cobwebs, wobble, have to be held up, and that player never goes back in,” neuroscientist Chris Nowinski, Ph.D., the founding CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, told the Daily News Saturday.

So how was it possible to bring him back into the game, especially with an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant (UNC) involved?

Well, the NFL’s concussion game checklist says in the fine print that a players’ “gross motor instability” is “determined by [the] team physician, in consultation with the UNC, to be neurologically caused.”

In other words, Sohn said, “a team doctor can make the finding that an injury wasn’t neurologically caused, that it’s a player’s knee and not his head, and the independent neurologist no longer needs to be consulted. And the PA agreed to that.”

Indeed, the full CBA language says that “the decision to return a player to participation remains within the professional judgment of the head team physician or team physician designated for concussion evaluation and treatment, performed in accordance with these protocols.” And all return participation decisions only need to be “confirmed” by the independent neurologist.

The investigation hopefully will reveal the facts about how this decision was made. NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills promised all findings would be released to the public.

But when NFL executive VP of communications Jeff Miller said Wednesday that “every indication from our perspective is that [the protocol] was” followed, unaffiliated professionals weren’t buying it.

“It was a series of bad choices that gave Tua a serious brain injury,” Nowinski said. “I could accept if last Sunday was a mistake in the game. But to pretend it wasn’t a mistake the rest of the week shows a callousness with player health that I feel like I haven’t seen in a while.”

“Sometimes the cover-up is worse than the crime,” Nowinski added. “But I feel like the crime is very bad and the cover-up is becoming worse.”

The fact is that Tagovailoa demonstrated at least three “potential concussion signs,” as defined in the CBA, after that Bills hit:

1. Slow to get up following a hit to the head (‘hit to the head’ may include secondary contact with the playing surface)

2. Motor coordinator/balance problems (stumbles, trips/falls, slow/labored movement)

3. Clutching of head after contact

If Tagovailoa’s left hand indicates upon review that he was also in a brief “fencing” posture, that would make it four potential concussion signs. “Balance or coordination difficulties” are also listed as a “potential concussion symptom.”

The difference between signs and symptoms are signs are things you can observe with your eyes, and symptoms are what a player reports to the doctors or tests reveal.

The Dolphins QB was administered the required tests before being cleared to return to the Bills game, according to Sills, and subsequently tested throughout the week. But Nowinski said the league’s preference to lean on these back-room tests is part of the problem, too.

“This is a tactic the NFL has used for years,” he said. “The NFL is trying to make concussion evaluation about the locker room protocol or blue tent protocol. And what trumps those things is on-field signs. But the NFL doesn’t want that because they want the wiggle room of ‘he sobered up and passed the known-to-be-not-fully-accurate concussion test.’”

Returning Tagovailoa to play after unquestionably demonstrating those signs and that symptom was egregious. Thankfully, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh stood up and blasted the Dolphins on Friday to make clear that people in the clear do not believe this is OK.

“Like probably most people, I couldn’t believe what I saw [Thursday] night. I couldn’t believe what I saw last Sunday,” Harbaugh said. “It was just something that was astonishing to see. I’ve been coaching for almost 40 years in college and the NFL, and I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

Harbaugh said the Ravens exercise extreme caution. A couple weeks ago, wide receiver Devin Duvernay didn’t have any symptoms at all but Baltimore held him out for the following game and most of the week’s practice.

“I appreciate our docs,” he said. “I think they probably would call themselves conservative, but that’s what they should be. The other part of it, [Thursday] night, was not something you want to see.”

Giants tackle Evan Neal, Tagovailoa’s Alabama teammate in 2019, told The News he turned the Dolphins-Bengals game off after seeing Tagovailoa go into the “fencing” posture with his hands up in front of his face and his fingers twisted.

“I couldn’t watch it anymore,” Neal said. “It was tough to see him carted off like that. It was scary. At first I thought he broke his fingers or something. But I watched the play more and saw that he hit his head. That’s scary. Thankfully he’s responsive, he’s conscious, he can move his limbs.”

Giants coach Brian Daboll, Tagovailoa’s 2017 offensive coordinator at Alabama, started to tear up on Friday when asked about the Dolphins QB.

“He means a lot to me,” Daboll said. “It was tough … I don’t really think about them as players. They’re not too far off from my kids [in age].”

JC Tretter, the NFLPA’s recently-retired player president, said players are “outraged” and “scared for the safety of one of our brothers” after seeing a player cleared from the protocol despite clear demonstration of “no-go” symptoms.

Like Sohn, Tretter advocated for amending protocols, not just reviewing this case.

“Until we have an objective and validated method of diagnosing brain injury, we have to do everything possible, including amending protocols, to further reduce the potential of human error,” Tretter wrote. “A failure in medical judgment is a failure of the protocols when it comes to the well being of our players.”

Unfortunately, the union is part of the problem because there aren’t enough checks and balances to protect the players in the CBA the union signed off on.

Nowinski said in the union’s defense, though, the sad reality for players is that they’re also afraid of concussion diagnoses because it attaches a stigma. And plenty of players have had their careers ended because they were deemed untouchable by teams due to concussion histories.

“It can be worse to be out when you’re healthy than to play when you’re concussed,” Nowinski said of the mindset unfortunately adopted by plenty of players fighting for jobs.

Sohn boiled down the need for reform this way: “There are so many short-term interests that run the risk of being prioritized over health. Tua to his credit is probably a tough kid who wants to get out there and play football. But you need to police guys from making bad short-term decisions. The same is true with the team doctor. The same is true with the league.”

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