National retailer, Whole Foods has announced that it will be cutting around 1,500 jobs, or 1.6% of its workforce in the next 2 months. The company hopes to lower its prices and invest in new technology upgrades in exchange for the layoffs. Whole Foods hopes that some of those laid off workers will be able to stay with the company who are in the process of opening 100 new stores, or about 2,000 open positions. Whole foods has claimed to add more than 9,000 positions in the past year, while creating about 35,000 jobs in the past 5 years.
The company has been struggling for the past year. In 2014, it was the worst performer in the S&P 500. Competition for their market is growing, while the company has been slow to adapt to the changing marketplace. New upstarts and larger companies like Wal Mart, Kroger, and Costco are now offering many similar items at lower prices. In June, there was a sting operation in New York City, which discovered systematic overcharging of customers who bought pre-packaged foods. The results of this sting has not been positive for Whole Foods, and they claim to have taken steps to prevent further overcharging.
In case you have missed it, Volkswagen has come under serious fire for knowingly cheating emissions testing with their TDI diesel vehicles.
The response in the U.S. has been quick. The FBI in Detroit is handling an investigation, while 27 state attorney generals have unleashed a joint investigation into the company. Private law firms are already mobilizing, and a class action suit has already been filed by a Seattle firm. Consumers are claiming that the company committed fraud by claiming the cars may not have been as efficient as they believed them to be.
The controversy has spread to Audi, whose parent company is Volkswagen. Audi says that 2.1 million Audi’s were equipped with the cheating software, and close to 13,000 are in the United States.
So far, this is a very serious scandal, and it is too early to tell the long term effects on the company and its employees. It currently faces a possible fine up to $18 billion, or about $37,500 per car on the 482,000 vehicles in the U.S. which were effected. Volkswagen currently operates two plants in the U.S, in Chatanooga, TN and Westmoreland, PA.
The US Department of Education gave its approval for the plans of 16 states to make sure that low-income schools get their fair share of qualified and tenured teachers. Minnesota was one of the 16 states, which was approved.
The approval ensures that all students, regardless of race and income have equal access to the best teachers. In low-income areas, often times teachers are new and inexperienced, some are not even fully licensed. The plan also lists that it will be giving financial incentives to teachers who work in lower-performing schools.
According to the official Minnesota Department of Education, during the 2014-2015 year, there were 55,277 full-time teachers with an average teaching experience of 14 years.