(WASHINGTON) — The union that sought to represent Amazon workers in Alabama has accused the e-commerce giant of interfering in the vote that resulted in warehouse employees not forming a labor union.
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) said Monday that it filed objections with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over the conduct of Amazon during the union election.
The union filed a total of 23 objections and is seeking an NLRB hearing to determine if the election results are legitimate.
Workers at the Bessemer, Alabama, facility voted by a large margin not to form a labor union, according to the NLRB's tally. Some 1,798 votes were cast against unionization, compared to 738 in favor of it. Voter turnout was around 55%.
The union alleges in the objection filings that Amazon illegally installed a mail-in ballot collection box in the parking lot without authorization, causing confusion and making workers think Amazon had control over the election. The union claims Amazon also created the impression that the box was being surveilled.
The union also accuses Amazon representatives of threatening to close the warehouse if a union was formed. In addition, the RWDSU says the company threatened the loss of benefits and pay if a union was formed.
Ultimately, the union says Amazon's conduct prevented employees from being able to make a "free and uncoerced" choice when voting.
RWDSU president Stuart Appelbaum said in a statement last week that Amazon "required all their employees to attend lecture after lecture, filled with mistruths and lies, where workers had to listen to the company demand they oppose the union."
"We demand a comprehensive investigation over Amazon's behavior in corrupting this election," Appelbaum added. "Working people deserve better than the way Amazon has conducted itself during this campaign."
Amazon accused the union of "misrepresenting the facts" in a statement to ABC News on Monday.
“The fact is that less than 16% of employees at BHM1 voted to join a union," the company said. "Rather than accepting these employees’ choice, the union seems determined to continue misrepresenting the facts in order to drive its own agenda. We look forward to the next steps in the legal process.”
In a separate blog post published by Amazon last Friday, shortly after the vote results were announced, the company said that it's "easy to predict the union will say that Amazon won this election because we intimidated employees, but that’s not true."
"Our employees heard far more anti-Amazon messages from the union, policymakers, and media outlets than they heard from us," the post read. "And Amazon didn’t win -- our employees made the choice to vote against joining a union."
The NLRB declined ABC News' request for comment Monday.
The closely-watched unionizing efforts in Alabama garnered support from President Joe Biden and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
If the organizing bid had been successful, it would have marked the first time Amazon workers in the U.S. formed a labor union.
Eligible products include shoes that are in perfect or near-perfect condition, have been gently worn or are cosmetically flawed with no signs of wear with the exception of slight imperfections such as a stain or discoloration.
To participate in Nike's refurbished program, customers simply return shoes to a Nike store and experts inspect and grade the footwear. From there, each eligible shoe is carefully cleaned and sanitized. Then, the refurbished shoes are returned to stores at a reduced price.
Once refurbished shoes land back on store shelves, there's also messaging on the boxes to let customers know the exact condition of the shoe. There's also a QR code available for shoppers who want to learn even more about Nike's sustainability efforts.
Shoppers still have the option to return their refurbished purchase after 60 days.
The athletic apparel brand's return program is currently in 15 U.S. Nike stores with plans to expand throughout the year.
In case your returned shoes aren't a fit for Nike's refurbished program, you can still donate them, as the brand works closely with a community partner to give away gently worn footwear.
If the shoes are truly at the end of their life cycle, there's also an option to have the shoes recycled through Nike Grind, which is the company's global sustainability program that helps transform manufacturing scrap and end-of-life shoes into recycled materials.
Nike said in a statement," It’s all part of our vision for a circular future — one where the concept of waste no longer exists."
(NEW YORK) -- GameStop shares surged Monday after new support from legendary individual investor Keith Gill in a rally that comes on the same day the video game retailer announced its chief executive officer was stepping down.
GameStop stock opened on Monday at $171.62 per share, up some 11% from its closing price on Friday. The rise comes after Gill, who also goes by the online monikers "Roaring Kitty" and "DeepF***ingValue," posted screenshots on the Reddit forum r/WallStreetBets of his portfolio on Friday.
The screenshots from the retail investor who many say started the initial GameStop craze indicate that he exercised his stockpile of call options that were set to expire on Friday, essentially trading them in for 50,000 more shares of the so-called "meme stock." Gill's post also indicates that he purchased another 50,000 shares of GameStop in addition to those he obtained with his call options.
Gill's new show of confidence in GameStop sent shares climbing during premarket trading over the weekend. Gill was among the key players in the GameStop saga who were called to testify before lawmakers in February.
Meanwhile on Monday morning, the video game retailer announced in a statement that its CEO, George Sherman, will be stepping down from his role on July 31 or "earlier upon the appointment of a successor."
The leadership shakeup comes just a few months after the company said its chief financial officer was resigning as well.
"I am very proud of what we have accomplished at GameStop over the past two years, including during the difficult COVID-19 pandemic," Sherman said in a statement. "It has been a privilege to lead so many dedicated, talented individuals, who collectively possess tremendous passion for the gaming industry."
Sherman had helmed the business since April 2019. A reason for his departure was not given.
Ryan Cohen, the incoming chairman of the board, thanked Sherman for his "valuable leadership" in a statement, adding, "the company is much stronger today than when he joined."
Cohen, the co-founder and former chief executive of the e-commerce platform Chewy, is one of the largest shareholders in GameStop through his private firm RC Ventures. Cohen's push to digitally transform GameStop is cited as having helped fuel the stock's retail investor-driven rise in late January.
Shares for GameStop are up some 800% since the beginning of the year. As of Monday, however, shares are trading at about half the price they were during January's peak.
(NEW YORK) -- Get your final questions ready, because Tuesday marks the last day users can post on Yahoo Answers.
First created in 2005, Yahoo Answers is a message board for people to post questions which can then be answered by anyone on the internet willing to help. Questions posted to the site range from asking the pros and cons of Ready Mix Concrete, to how to replace a car battery, to whether the Chicago Bears will ever win another Super Bowl.
Unlike posting questions to a Facebook group, Yahoo Answers is almost completely unregulated, which means anyone can anonymously post whatever's on their mind- and some people who posted to Yahoo Answers have had some big questions. Some examples from the site's more than fifteen year history include:
-- Did dragons live before, during, or after dinosaurs?
-- Should spaghetti be way shorter?
-- Ladies, I bring my guitar almost everywhere to impress women- does this work?
-- If I eat myself, would I become twice as big? Or disappear completely?
-- HOW DO I TURN OFF CAPS LOCK?
-- I don't think I've ever seen a toucan?
Comical Q&As were so common on Yahoo Answers that they gave rise to a cottage industry of podcasts and YouTube series that celebrated the most outlandish posts.
"It has spawned some of my favorite dramatic readings on YouTube," says Ryan Broderick, who writes the internet culture newsletter "Garbage Day."
"My Brother, My Brother, and Me" is a comedy advice podcast hosted by brothers Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy. Every episode, they spotlight some of the strangest Yahoo Answers they can find.
"Maybe three or four Yahoo Answers per [episode.] So we've done quite a few," says Travis McElroy.
He says in the more than 10 years they've been reading questions on the platform, they've noticed some trends.
"Lots of questions about vaping. A lot of questions about horses. A lot of questions about ghosts -- a lot of questions about ghosts."
McElroy says one of the things that keeps them coming back to Yahoo Answers is that the questioners, in many cases, genuinely want an answer. He says his podcast makes an effort to respond in way that matches that sentiment.
"Our favorite kind of Yahoo Answers questions are the ones where -- no matter how wild the subject matter is -- there is clearly a, like, deep sense of sincerity. Like, the person really wants to know the answer to that," says McElroy. "And I think one of the things that kind of clicked for us very early on is like, well, it's really easy to just sit there and make fun of this. But I think it's even more fun to try to think of an answer that might help them."
Earlier this month, in a decision that several Twitter users compared to the burning of the Library of Alexandria, Yahoo announced it would be shutting down Yahoo Answers -- thus deleting the platform's entire backlog of posts. The last day to post questions and answers is Tuesday, April 20, before it's taken down altogether on May 4. In a statement announcing the shutdown, Yahoo cited flagging interest in the platform, writing, "while Yahoo Answers was once a key part of Yahoo’s products and services, it has become less popular over the years."
"Yahoo has sort of made a habit of doing this. You know, inventing these things that become part of the way we think about the internet, and then when they don't make money they disappear them," says Broderick.
Yahoo Answers' disappearance also leaves a void for all the people who've made a living off the content posted there, according to McElroy.
"There are, of course, other websites where you go to ask questions, but, like, Yahoo Answers has like formed into such a unique thing that I don't know that we could one-for-one replace it," he says.
But he adds the real loss will be all those curious Yahoo Answers users who will now have to go unanswered.
"Yeah, there's a part of me that is sad for what it means for our show, but more than that I'm sad for the Yahoo Answers community. And sad for what they will be missing."
Broderick says even if the platform doesn't make financial sense to the company anymore, the mark it leaves on internet culture is unquestionable.
"We need these weird memes and quirky things because that's what makes the internet a fun place and it's going to be sad when it disappears, I think."
Hear ABC Audio's Mike Dobuski report on the end of Yahoo Answers:
(NEW YORK) -- Global pop group BTS is adding its name to a new marquee, the golden arches of McDonald's.
The fast-food chain announced Monday that the boy band will become the latest celebrity partners to have a signature order featured on the menu.
The new BTS Meal includes a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets, medium french fries, medium Coke and for the first-time ever in the U.S.: Sweet chili and cajun dipping sauces, which was inspired by popular recipes available at McDonald’s South Korea.
"The band has great memories with McDonald’s. We’re excited about this collaboration and can’t wait to share the BTS Meal with the world," the band's label, BIGHIT MUSIC, said in a press release.
Starting May 26, fans can order the latest lineup from the McDonald's Famous Orders program at participating U.S. restaurants.
"BTS truly lights up the world stage, uniting people across the globe through their music. We’re excited to bring customers even closer to their beloved band in a way only McDonald’s can, through our delicious food," McDonald’s USA Chief Marketing Officer Morgan Flatley said in a statement.
Following successful limited partnerships with musicians Travis Scott and J Balvin last year, McDonald’s has expanded its reach with this launch, which will be available in nearly 50 countries across six continents.
(NEW YORK) -- As we continue to celebrate Earth Month, it's important to spotlight the "slow fashion" movement aiming to make fashion more sustainable for people and the planet.
While we've been living in a "more is more" cycle of clothing production for years, this toxic cycle is negatively impacting the environment at an alarming rate.
Landfills received 11.3 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) textiles alone in 2018, which equates to 7.7% of all MSW that was landfilled, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A portion of this ongoing waste can be attributed to "fast fashion" brands that essentially pump out trendy designs from the runway to stores at an accelerated pace. These items are usually created with poor quality but sell quickly because of lower costs.
Many of these products don't last and end up in the trash.
"The phenomenon of fast fashion -- started from the beginning of the millennium -- has had the objective of feeding this fast-paced ultra-consumerism world that all people want is a huge selection of clothes at affordable pricing with new items popping up every other week," Lucia Scarampi, co-founder of slow fashion brand Marta Scarampi, told ABC News' Good Morning America.
What is slow fashion?
Countering fast fashion, slow fashion is a business model where clothing is made more mindfully and with more eco-conscious materials. While the production process is longer, it also allows for an opportunity to produce well-designed pieces that are built to last, can be easily repurposed and, in turn, create less waste.
"The slow fashion movement asks all of us, consumers, to change our mindset by quitting mindless shopping and think before acting," Scarampi said. "It also asks us to shift toward shopping habits that are beneficial for the planet."
Scarampi's company has kept slow fashion at its core by creating items from scratch after they have been ordered, she said. Garments are carefully crafted and sustainably designed for up to two weeks.
The brand also has a Re-Waste Project that aims to continually source eco-conscious fabric, which will eventually lead to the company becoming 100% zero-waste.
Legendary designer fashion companies such as Eileen Fisher have also found ways to incorporate sustainable slow fashion within its unique designs.
"I think slow fashion starts from a place of intuition and intention -- not producing more and more just to put something out in the world," founder and CEO Eileen Fisher told GMA.
"Taking time to review each step of the design and manufacturing process, understanding how each piece is designed with a certain purpose and relationship to the rest of the line," Fisher said. 'This idea of radical simplicity really resonates with me right now -- paring down, finding what you love and focusing on what matters most."
Fisher's clothing brand made its earliest sustainable decision to start with quality fibers and materials over 25 years ago after hiring its director of social consciousness, she said. This is when the label began to realize the world of sustainability was vast and touched every part of the business including human rights, water usage, carbon, recycling and more.
In 2009, the Certified B Corporation also created its "Renew" program, which allows shoppers to take back clothing to stores, where it can be resold, donated or remade into a new design.
While popular fast fashion brands haven't announced plans around increased sustainability within its business model, there are buzzy direct-to-consumer labels, such as Everlane, that are committed to continually finding ways to take a slower, more sustainable approach.
"As the company has grown, our impact on the environment has become bigger, and it is clear that our planet is in an environmental crisis," Everlane vice president of design Sonia Martin told GMA. "We decided to take responsibility to push for an honest and lower impact supply chain. We believe it is our responsibility to educate consumers and create products with a lower environmental impact so they have a choice and can make better decisions."
Most recently, the company debuted its first swimwear collection consisting of seven styles made from premium Italian fabric derived from 13,768 pounds of recycled plastic.
"Clothing that is better for the planet doesn't have to look boring or without a style perspective, fashion can be a force for good," Martin said. "Our team is obsessed with designing high-quality clothing that can last in your wardrobe for years and still be trend-relevant."
"It's about perfecting the small details that elevate -- from the color palette to the finishes," she said.
Other seasoned and emerging fashion brands that have been following the slow fashion blueprint without skimping out on style or quality include Stella McCartney, Reformation, Amour Vert, ThredUP, Levis and more.
(NEW YORK) -- Sustainable snacking has never been easier this Earth Day with new inventive and delicious upcycled products that fight food waste.
Whether it's pulp, peels or stems from various produce, check out the companies that have created crave-worthy bites out of upcycled ingredients that not only taste good, but do good for the environment:
The family owned upcycled company takes would-be food waste from the craft brewing industry and transforms it into a cracker worthy of any fine charcuterie board or a simple snack.
The spent grains, like barley, that are steeped in water during the beer-making process still hold incredible flavor and nutrients that Brewer's recycles and combines with flour to create a healthy and sustainable product.
"By making upcycled products like chips and crackers with the leftover barley and wheat from craft breweries, it allows ingredients to reach their full potential and value," Kyle Fiasconario, one of the two brothers and founders of the brand, told ABC News' Good Morning America.
"When farmers grow food they do so with the best intentions and care; this takes time, energy, water and space," he explained. "People can help positively affect the environment through fighting food waste. By supporting the movement to make every piece of food go further and do more, you help farmers, your family and the environment."
Seconds Carrot Crackers
"Upcycling takes something that would otherwise be wasted to create something new that is even more valuable than what you started with," the gluten-free and non-GMO carrot snack company says on its website. "Upcycling is the perfect process to convert carrot peels and pulp into something tastier."
The female-led brand partners with juice and produce companies to upcycle nutritious pulps and peels, dehydrate them and mill them into a flour that's mixed with nutritious seeds and baked into a crisp cracker. The bite-size snacks are an easy way to boost daily vegetable intake, plus each serving has 5 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.
Rind Dried Fruit Blends
This company believes in "the power of the peel" and is shaking up the dried fruit industry with products that keep the rind intact in dried fruit to deliver more vitamins, fiber and antioxidants.
"Edible peels account for 15% of food waste annually," the company said. "By keeping the skin on their delicious dried fruits, RIND has diverted over 100,000 pounds of food waste in 2020."
Rind uses non-GMO Project Verified fruit that is sourced mainly from small family farms in California with minimal to no processing and zero added sugars, plus each serving contains 4 to 6 grams of fiber.
What's better than one sustainable product? How about an entire online marketplace rooted in sustainability and dedicated to connecting consumers to brands that create groceries and household goods to make a positive impact.
Co-founder and CCO Katie Tyson along with Jamie Leidelmeyer, Hive’s head of sustainability, created a values-based grocery shopping experience with actionable ways to make conscientious shopping easier and more delicious for consumers.
Plus, every carbon-neutral shipment is made in an appropriately sized box with 100% recyclable materials and nontoxic ink.
Each brand listed on Hive is evaluated against five standards: ingredient integrity with sound environmental practices and sourcing; recyclable packaging to ensure as close to a zero-waste model as possible; low carbon footprint that practices efficient operations and practice offsets; commitment to social good through their products in a community to support social causes; and lastly, is the product from the brand "rave-worthy," meaning it tastes great and does the job.
(NEW YORK) -- For some women, finding a great bathing suit can be just as hard as finding a pair of jeans.
Swimsuit company Youswim is hoping to help women get the perfect fit with their flexible suit that fits seven sizes.
"We’re on a mission to turn the tide on standard, inflexible sizing by creating swimwear that represents women realistically, accepting our bodies as they are — unique, ever-changing, and unedited," the company writes on their website.
Youswim says their swimsuits are made to fit everyone who is between U.S. sizes 2 to 14.
The company is also on a mission to be sustainable with 100% recyclable packaging.
Youswim co-founders Elise Wallbank and Julian Tali answer all of our questions about their brand below:
Where did the idea for the brand come from?
We discovered this incredibly stretchy fabric and were totally blown away by the functionality it could offer, especially in a swimsuit. We immediately saw that this fabric could alleviate so many of the stresses and feelings of inadequacy that we feel each summer when trying on our swimmers. It was an opportunity to create swimwear that empowered women to love their bodies just as they are.
People were so intrigued by the simplicity of a swimsuit made sweatshop-free in England, available in just one size that would adapt to fit their changing body, shown on relatable women.
How is it possible for the swimwear to fit so many sizes?
A few ways. Our fabric is seamless and incredibly stretchy which means we don’t have the same restrictions you would with normal swimwear that’s cut to size. Ours is woven on a seamless loom which means we have the ability to stretch 30 inches in diameter. The fabric is also woven into a rib which gives us additional horizontal and vertical stretch. Lastly, the cut of our swimsuits are specially designed and tested to flatter a vast range of body types — A to G cups, short and long torsos and all the other ways we’re naturally different.
Can you comment on the traditional swimsuit industry?
By expecting our bodies to conform to fixed and often inconsistent sizing, demonstrated on unrelatable and often retouched imagery, the traditional swimsuit industry has failed us. Our bodies naturally change throughout the month, throughout the year, and even more dramatically throughout our adult lives — but a traditional suit is totally unaccommodating to this beautiful flux.
How does the brand cater to all women?
Whilst for now, unfortunately, we can’t say that we cater to all women, Youswim suits accept our varied and changing bodies in a way that traditional sizing could never do. Typical swimsuits demand that you fit into a size and body-type category, where Youswim accepts and conforms to you just as you are. We celebrate that natural variation in our shapes through relatable and unretouched images. To us, our beauty is in our differences and not the sameness we’re used to seeing from traditional swimwear brands.
Why don't you retouch your photos?
Youswim is ultimately about a celebration of our differences — in shapes, sizes, ages, colors and more. To retouch a photo would suggest that someone wasn’t good enough as they are, so we’ve never done it. Youswim was built to allow us to embrace our differences and our naturally changing bodies. This includes the details which traditional brands may see as imperfections.
Why is it important to purchase sustainable clothing?
We’re fully aware of the contradiction between fashion and sustainability. We don’t believe it’s as simple as using recycled packaging and paying carbon offsets. It’s important to ask the harder questions — is the process of creating that recycled material sustainable? How far did it travel in production, and are workers paid a living wage? Is waste managed responsibly? Is the business itself sustainable and therefore able to take a long-term view of its responsibilities, or is it competing on price only to disappear before its environmental footprint does?
For us, it’s about achieving our mission and delivering our swimsuits to our community without leaving the environment worse off or contributing to the poor working conditions so often accepted in fashion.
At the same time, it’s important that we achieve these sustainability goals at an attainable price point for our customers while remaining sustainable as a business — to support our community, our team, and our mission for years to come.
Where do you see the future of the brand going?
It’s our mission to create swimsuits that adapt to fit our beautifully unique and changing bodies. As part of achieving that mission, it's a priority for us to continue developing our designs and fabric to accommodate more body shapes.
Since our launch, we’ve improved our design from five sizes in one, to seven sizes in one, but this is really just the beginning. Youswim’s mission is to break down the distinction in body shapes, abilities and age created by fixed sizing through swimwear that adapts to fit you just as you are — so making our suits accessible to an even greater range of people is critical to achieving that mission. We’re really excited to share more about our expanded sizing and its design and development progress this year.
(NEW YORK) -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued an "urgent warning" for people to stop using Peloton's Tread+ treadmill if they have small children or pets at home, one month after the company revealed that a child died in an accident involving the workout equipment.
The federal regulatory agency said it has learned of "multiple incidents" of small children and a pet being sucked under and injured beneath the machines. As of Saturday, CPSC said it is aware of 39 incidents involving the treadmill, including one death, and is continuing to investigate all known cases of injury or death related to the $4,295 treadmill.
"CPSC staff believes the Peloton Tread+ poses serious risks to children for abrasions, fractures, and death," the agency said in a statement. "In light of multiple reports of children becoming entrapped, pinned, and pulled under the rear roller of the product, CPSC urges consumers with children at home to stop using the product immediately."
Peloton called the agency's public warning "inaccurate and misleading." According to a spokesperson, the 39 incidents did not all involve children and included inanimate objects and one pet.
"There is no reason to stop using the Tread+, as long as all warnings and safety instructions are followed," the company said in a statement. "Children under 16 should never use the Tread+, and Members should keep children, pets, and objects away from the Tread+ at all times."
The company also pushed back against reports that the company was attempting to "delay" CPSC's announcement.
"CPSC has unfairly characterized Peloton's efforts to collaborate and to correct inaccuracies in CPSC's press release as an attempt to delay," the statement said. "Peloton is disappointed that, despite its offers of collaboration, and despite the fact that the Tread+ complies with all applicable safety standards, CPSC was unwilling to engage in any meaningful discussions with Peloton before issuing its inaccurate and misleading press release."
After learning in March that a child died while using the Tread+, Peloton said it notified CPSC within a day. It also alerted customers in a March 18 letter from its CEO and co-founder, John Foley, in which he reminded users to keep children and pets away from Peloton exercise equipment "at all times." The company said it was not releasing additional details about the accident out of respect for the family involved.
Since learning of the death, Peloton said it also discovered through CPSC's public database that a child had experienced a brain injury in connection with the treadmill. In February, a father found his 3-year-old boy trapped under a Tread+ "not breathing and pulseless," according to the CPSC incident report. The child is expected to "fully recover," the company said. After releasing its letter, Peloton said it also received additional reports of earlier incidents and reported them to CPSC.
Treadmills have been known to cause injury and, though rare, death. In 2019, there were an estimated 22,500 treadmill-related injuries treated at U.S. emergency departments, around 2,000 of which were in children under 8 years of age, according to CPSC. Between 2018 and 2020, CPSC received reports of 17 deaths associated with the use of a treadmill, including one of a 5-year-old child.
In its warning Saturday, CPSC shared a video to demonstrate "the hazard to children posed by the Tread+." The video, which the agency warned may be disturbing to viewers, shows two children playing on and by the treadmill, apparently alone. One of the children is holding a ball while standing in front of the belt when the ball and his arms get stuck underneath the treadmill. The child's upper body then gets pulled under, before he is able to wiggle free and walk away.
For those who continue to use the treadmill, CPSC recommended keeping it in a locked room, away from objects including exercise balls, and to unplug and store its safety key out of reach of children when not in use.
Peloton also advised customers to remove the safety key when not using the treadmill "precisely to avoid the kind of incident that this video depicts."
"The importance of following Peloton's safety warnings and instructions is abundantly clear in the video" shared by CPSC, it said.
On Saturday, the $34 billion company said it "remains open to working" with the agency to ensure customers safely use its products.
"While Peloton knows that the Tread+ is safe for the home when used in accordance with warnings and safety instructions, the company is committed to taking whatever steps are necessary and appropriate to further inform Members of potential risks and remind them of measures they need to take to safeguard themselves and others in their households," it said, noting it has added additional safety messages from instructors during classes. "Peloton will also continue to work to develop industry-leading safety features for connected home exercise equipment."
Peloton's high-end equipment, which also includes a stationary bike, skyrocketed in popularity amid the COVID-19 pandemic and various stay-at-home orders.
In October, Peloton agreed to recall certain pedals on its stationary bikes because they could break unexpectedly during use. There were 120 reports of pedal breakages, including 16 reports of leg injuries, according to CPSC's recall announcement.
HATCH is known for their stylish and comfortable maternity wear but this is their first footwear collection.
Markle was often spotted during her first pregnancy wearing HATCH's maternity dresses and outerwear.
The new collection launched just in time to treat mom this Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 9.
"Since comfort is key, the shoes are thoughtfully crafted with super soft leather and cushiony footbeds. Plus, there’s width adjustability, added stretch and ventilation holes," Keds said in a press release.
The collection ranges from $65 to $80 and is available now at keds.com.
(NEW YORK) -- Robocalls may seem endless these days.
In March alone, an estimated 4.9 billion calls were reportedly made, according to YouMail -- which is equivalent to 15 calls for each person each month in the U.S. Currently, the most popular category of robocalls are auto warranties.
“There is public information out there about your cars that you own and people are driving more than ever as we come out of this pandemic,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, acting chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission. “So the time is ripe for fraud associated with these kind of things.”
Unwanted calls are the number one complaint to the Federal Communications Commission, with an average of 200,000 complaints annually made to the agency.
Due to the large volume of robocalls, the FCC is now taking action, making sure people can block robocalls on their phones.
“We’re going to put in place new technologies that help authenticate our calls,” Rosenworcel said. “And those new technologies will be in place in just a few months.”
With many robocalls being generated overseas, making fighting them more challenging, the FCC says it's working with partner agencies at home and abroad to increase their ability to go after the perpetrators and make the calls stop.
While there isn’t a way to stop robocalls completely, the FCC said there are some things you can do now to stop most of them.
Download a call blocker
One call blocker that the FCC says works is YouMail, a free, third-party app that helps prevent spam calls.
“The pandemic actually reduced the number of robocalls dramatically,” said YouMail CEO Alex Quilici. “That’s because the call centers had to close or operate at a reduced capacity. Now they’ve sprung right back to where they were before the pandemic. And the whole point of a robocall is to get you to press one or call someone back so they can get you on whatever it is they’re trying to sell.”
According to Quilici, YouMail tracks the number of robocalls happening at any time but also the many fraudulent services being offered. YouMail tracks the types of scams, which it said make up nearly half of all robocalls.
In addition to YouMail, for iPhone users, operating systems 13 and later have a feature that allows you to silence unknown callers, which you can activate in your phone’s settings.
Be extremely cautious
The FCC said if you unknowingly find yourself in a situation where you believe you're being scammed, one obvious sign is being asked to provide personal information, such as a social security number, credit card information or bank account information.
“Telephone scammers are good at what they do and may imply that they work for a company you trust,” the FCC said on its website. “Don’t fall for it. Be extremely cautious.”
File a complaint
The FCC said you can file a complaint with its agency about suspected scam calls, which will help it identify scammers and take action.
(PHILADELPHIA) -- Two friends from Philadelphia are on a mission to reduce the city's recidivism rates by running a pizza shop run exclusively by formerly incarcerated men and women.
"We're changing the quality of life for our community by being the hand that feeds and teaching others to do the same," co-founder Kurt Evans told ABC News' Good Morning America.
Lifelong friends Kurt Evans and Muhammed Abdul-Hadi have always had a passion for giving back to their community. After several months of planning, the two decided to combine their love of pizzas and their passion to serve by opening up Down North Pizza in the heart of North Philadelphia last month.
After seeing how incarceration impacted their families and how many of their loved ones couldn't find employment after leaving prison, Evans and Abdul-Hadi knew the pizzeria was the perfect way to help reduce Philadelphia's recidivism rate.
Employment is associated with reduced recidivism, or the likelihood of a former felon to reoffend upon release, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Known for its Detroit-style pizzas, Down North Pizza provides culinary career opportunities at a fair wage for individuals previously involved in the justice system. Each of its eight employees was taught various skills in the kitchen as a stepping stone back into society.
"We just want to meet people where they're at and help them along the way," Evans told GMA. "It was very important for us to help these people coming from the system and break the cycle of mass incarceration."
Employees who require short-term housing units are also offered six months of free rent at the upstairs apartment, ultimately allowing workers time to save funds for permanent living.
Since opening in March, lines have been out the door.
Michael Carter, who was the first hire at the eatery and had years of prior experience in the kitchen, said working at Down North is about more than just making pizzas.
"I fit the criteria because of my own story. I was locked up in 2015, about two weeks before my youngest daughter was born," Carter told GMA. "I was happy to be a part of the mission and be able to push the line for social justice."
Evans and Abdul-Hadi said they hope to be an example for Black businesses and encourage other establishments to find ways to give back to their communities.
"If you want to get involved, you can start by partnering with local organizations that are like-minded," Evans told GMA. "Usually the community is speaking to you about what it needs, you just have to listen."
(NEW YORK) -- If you are an equal parts fan of peanut butter candy and beautiful makeup, there's a new collab that has your tastes written all over it.
HipDot Cosmetics has teamed up with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups to create a full makeup collection.
The latest limited-edition launch features five pieces that will eventually double as collector's items.
There's everything from a "Milk Chocolate" eyeshadow palette to scented lip balms.
“Reese's candy has satisfied millions of taste buds for so long, and when the opportunity came along to offer fans a new way to tap their other senses, it was too sweet of a deal to pass up," Jeff Sellinger, CEO of HipDot Cosmetics, said in a statement given to ABC News' Good Morning America.
He added, "We're excited to be working with this legendary household brand."
Another standout item from the collection is the Reese's Double Ended Brush Set. With the candy brand's signature bright yellow and orange hues, each synthetic brush head will give makeup lovers the freedom to define, pack, smudge or blend with ease.
With items starting at $14, the entire collection is vegan and certified cruelty-free like all other HipDot products. It also will be hitting digital shelves on HipDot's website, Ulta.com, Hersheyland.com and Hershey's Chocolate World locations.
In addition to Reese's, Hipdot has also previously launched Hello Kitty, Peeps and SpongeBob SquarePants-inspired collections.
(NEW YORK) -- The popular cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase will become a publicly traded company listed on the Nasdaq Wednesday.
The direct listing will mark the first time a major digital currency platform has gone public in the U.S.
Nasdaq set an initial price of $250 per share and Coinbase will be traded under the ticker symbol "COIN."
Coinbase was founded in 2012 and is currently the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S. by trading volume. The platform has some 56 million verified users.
"We've had a number of ups and downs on our way here. Through luck and skill, Coinbase succeeded where many predicted it would fail," CEO and co-founder Brian Armstrong said in a company blog post Wednesday. "We weathered the ups and downs through innovation and keeping our eye on the long term. Today’s listing is a milestone, but it’s not as important as every new day in front of us."
He added that the company's mission is to "increase economic freedom in the world."
Coinbase users primarily trade Bitcoin and Ethereum. Both cryptocurrencies were trading at new all-time highs ahead of Coinbase's public debut.
Analyst Daniel Ives of Wedbush Securities called the listing a "potentially a watershed event for the crypto industry" and something Wall Street "will be laser focused on to gauge investor appetite."
"Coinbase is a foundational piece of the crypto ecosystem and is a barometer for the growing mainstream adoption of Bitcoin and crypto for the coming years in our opinion," Ives wrote in a note Tuesday.
As cryptocurrency goes mainstream, more companies are jumping on the bandwagon.
PayPal said late last month that it was giving its users the option to pay with cryptocurrency at the millions of online retailers that accept its payment service. Just a week before PayPal's announcement, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said his electric vehicle company was now accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment.
Bitcoin has skyrocketed in value over the past year. It went from trading at less than $10,000 in April 2020 to over $63,000 in April 2021.
(NEW YORK) -- Women often talk about finding financial freedom, but single women especially need to think about being financially whole, according to Tiffany Aliche, a personal finance expert who is known as "The Budgetnista" to her hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.
"The goal is to really holistically look at your finances, not just, 'I want to be financially free,'" Aliche, whose new book Get Good With Money focuses on the 10 components, told ABC News' Good Morning America. "Single women in particular should be hyper sensitive to holistically looking at their finances and taking it one step at a time."
Financial wholeness, according to Aliche, is achieved when the 10 core components of a person's financial life are in order. Those 10 components include budgeting, savings, paying off debt, earning good credit, learning to earn, investing, insurance, creating net worth, having a money team and estate planning, according to Aliche.
"Ask yourself, 'Do I have a budget? Great. What about a savings plan?,'" explained Aliche. "And accumulate those 10 steps along the way."
For many women, the recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic has added financial stress this year. It has put millions of women out of work, and forced many women to tap into their retirement and savings accounts to be able to live.
In the midst of that crisis, here are five tips from Aliche to help women, and single women in particular, become financially whole:
1. Make a name for your 'later lady' and plan for her.
Aliche has created an image of herself in retirement and named her "Wanda," and that's who she thinks of when she is making decisions about investing her money.
"There was a study that was done that said people don't set aside for retirement because they're disassociated from their older self. They don't see themselves as ever getting older," Aliche said. "So my older self is Wanda, and I almost think of her as my grandmother self, or my later lady."
Aliche said she thinks of Wanda, for example, when deciding whether to maximize her Roth IRA in addition to her 401(k) retirement account.
"You get tax breaks now with a 401(k) or traditional IRA, but with Roth IRAs you get tax breaks later," she said. "So I think, 'OK, I've got my match at work. Now let me take care of Wanda. Let me max my Roth IRA because although I don't a tax break on the front end, I will, when I'm Wanda's age, be able to withdraw that money and the growth tax free.'"
"I think to myself, 'Do I want a tax break for Tiffany now, who is able to work and is young, or do I want Wanda to get a tax break who is like, 'Girl, don't have me working out here at 80,'" Aliche added.
2. Split and save your money.
Aliche advises women to "save like a squirrel" by splitting their money well before it even hits their checking account.
"I want you to go to your [human resources] department, go to your payroll department and say, 'Instead of putting all of my money in my checking account, could you also put some of my money in my savings account,'" she said, explaining that adding a direct deposit to your savings account will allow you to split your money "without having to worry about being disciplined."
"And make sure that savings account is an online-only savings account because doing so makes it inconvenient," added Aliche. "Inconvenient money gets saved."
3. Be strategic after filing taxes.
If you owe money after filing your taxes, Aliche recommends considering meeting with an accountant to make sure you did your taxes correctly.
If you did file correctly and if you cannot afford to pay what is due, an accountant can help you arrange for a payment plan, according to Aliche.
If you get money back, Aliche said to look closely at where you are in your life before automatically spending or investing the money.
"Take care of your health and safety bills first and foremost. Don't put it towards anything else other than the things that maintain your health and safety," she said. "You need food to eat and a safe place to live. Make sure that is priority."
If you are set on your immediate expenses, Aliche said to then make sure you have your emergency fund funded.
How much to save in an emergency fund depends on what industry you are in and how quickly you can replace your income, i.e. get another job, according to Aliche. She recommends saving for a minimum of three months' expenses.
Only after making sure you have money saved for your current and future expenses should you consider, first, paying off high-interest debt and then, last, investing the money, according to Aliche.
4. Know when to hire financial help and when to DIY.
Aliche's rule of thumb is to hire a financial adviser if you have $250,000 or more in assets to invest. Otherwise, she says advisers' fees are typically too expensive to make it worth the money.
"The truth is you really don't need all of that if you just did the financial fundamentals," said Aliche. "If you have a retirement account at work and you do a target date account where you set the target date you want to retire, that is done."
"If you're investing for wealth, choose a mutual fund, which is similar to a target-date fund, and set it up to put $50 every month, for example," she said. "If you just did that you'd be leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else."
Aliche said the exception to the rule is that hiring a fee-only certified financial planner can be worth the money. That is someone you could hire for $100 to $500 an hour to review major financial decisions, like whether or not to return to school.
5. Learn to earn money.
"Everybody should know how to make additional money," Aliche said of her "learn to earn" philosophy.
One way to make money outside your full-time job is to monetize your skill set, according to Aliche.
"I used to be a preschool teacher for over 10 years and when I did so, I used to tutor and babysit," she said. "What skill set can you use to make money as your side hustle?"
At work, one way to earn more money is to create what Aliche calls a "go me" file to have a record of your accomplishments that make you an asset to your employer.
"When you help to make the company you work for money or help to save the company you work for money, when that happens, put it in a file or write it down so when you go for a review or you ask for a raise, you can quantify your ability to do so," she explained.