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January 1, Frito-Lay workers striking to end ‘suicide shifts’



Hello Americans,

Hundreds of Frito-Lay employees in Kansas are on strike due to “suicide shifts” and poor working conditions at the company’s manufacturing and distribution plant. Forced overtime at the plant results in “suicide shifts” where “many of the more than 800 workers at the plant are only getting an eight-hour break between shifts,” according to union leaders. In addition to the unsustainable schedule, there is a staffing shortage of about 100 employees. The strike calls for an end to the mandatory overtime and 84-hour workweeks, and they’re also seeking cost-of-living raises. Company officials say that claims “have been grossly exaggerated.”

The Pentagon carried out its first airstrike against Somalia since President Joe Biden took office. The airstrike targeted an al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group, the al-Shabaab, near Galkayo, Somalia. Officials say that no civilians were harmed or killed as a result of the strike. The last airstrike on Somalia occurred on January 19, one day before Biden took office. Biden initiated a temporary limit on airstrikes outside of conventional war zones after his inauguration, requiring his approval on any such actions.

White House staff members are not required to get a Covid-19 vaccine, per press secretary Jen Psaki. “Any individual who has chosen not to be vaccinated, same as in the press corps, the public health guidance is to wear a mask,” Psaki said. “That is the public health guidance for employees as well.” A vaccinated White House official and a vaccinated aide for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently tested positive for Covid-19 after attending the same event.

Ohio energy company FirstEnergy Corp. agreed to pay a $230 million fine for its pivotal role in a bribery scheme. The company’s goal was to pass legislation that included a $1 billion bailout for two of the company’s power plants in Ohio. Federal prosecutors charged FirstEnergy Corp. with conspiring to commit honest services wire fraud. The fine is the “largest criminal penalty ever collected, as far as anyone can recall, in the history of this office,” according to acting US Attorney Vipal Patel. The scheme implicated several Ohio lobbyists and political officials, including former Rep. Larry Householder.

China announced its decision to impose counter-sanctions on seven US citizens and entities in retaliation against sanctions recently put in place by the Biden administration. On July 16, the White House announced sanctions on seven Chinese officials, warning US businesses of the “growing risks” posed by the country. Those impacted by Beijing’s sanctions are former Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and other former heads of US organizations. China’s decision to impose counter-sanctions has been expected, but the timing indicates deteriorating relations between the two nations.

The bust of a Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader was removed from its pedestal inside the Tennessee Capitol, following objections from Black lawmakers and activists. The image of Nathan Bedford Forrest was controversial ever since its installation in 1978. “From the Fort Pillow massacre to roving lynch mobs, from Jim Crow to the assassination of MLK, Jr., it’s time for us, as one people, to heal the wounds of the past,” said Sen. Raumesh Akbari. During the battle of Fort Pillow, Forrest’s men slaughtered an estimated 300 African-American soldiers after they surrendered. The massacre was one of the most contentiously disputed incidents in the Civil War.

Be well,

Fraser Dixon


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