Wages: D.C. votes to lift tipped workers’ wages
Voters in the nation’s capital this week approved a measure 55 to 45 percent to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for “workers who largely rely on tips to earn a living,” said Paul Schwartzman and Fenit Nirappil in The Washington Post. The ballot initiative was championed by a New York–based advocacy group that argues servers, bartenders, and bellhops shouldn’t have to depend on tips “to survive,” and intends to press for similar measures nationwide. The measure drew fierce criticism from some bartenders and restaurant owners, who said it will drive up labor costs and could actually shrink workers’ income, because people might tip less.
Stocks: GE off the Dow after 110-year run
General Electric will be removed from the Dow Jones industrial average next week and replaced by drugstore retailer Walgreens, said Michael Wursthorn and Thomas Gryta in The Wall Street Journal. The move serves as a grim milestone “in the decline of a firm that once ranked among the mightiest of blue chips and was a pillar of the U.S. economy.” GE has been “a part of the 30-stock index continuously since 1907.” Shares have plummeted 55 percent over the year as GE “switched leaders, slashed its dividend payment, and pursued a restructuring that could result in a breakup of the struggling conglomerate.”
Media: Tronc to revert back to Tribune Publishing
“Tronc, one of the most lambasted corporate name changes of the digital era, is going to return to its original name, Tribune Publishing,” said Keith Kelly in the New York Post. The parent company of the Chicago Tribune and the New York Daily News had waited on the name switch until its California-based papers—including the Los Angeles Times—were sold to the billionaire Patrick Soon Shiong this week. The “widely ridiculed” rebranding, which was a shortened version of Tribune Online Content, was unveiled in June 2016.
Housing: New home starts hit 11-year high
U.S. homebuilding surged toward an 11-year high in May, said Lucia Mutikani in Reuters.com. Housing starts increased 5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,350,000 units, according to the Commerce Department—the highest since July 2007. Builders are struggling to meet strong housing demand, because of labor shortages and higher lumber prices, thanks to tariffs on imported Canadian softwood. Builders say the higher price of lumber has added nearly $9,000 to the average price of a new single-family home since January 2017.