Archive for Emily Walsh

Walmart offers employees a more ‘flexible’ way of working, asking them to return to the office next month

walmart sign
  • Walmart asked all of its corporate associates to return to the office in a memo released Friday.
  • The retailer did not disclose if this change is mandatory.
  • The transition will begin on November 8, according to Walmart's chief people officer Donna Morris.

Walmart asked its corporate associates to return to the office next month, saying in a note to employees "there is no substitution for being in the offices together."

The note, posted on the company's website, stated that associates who work in the companies campus offices will return November 8 as part of a "new, more flexible way of working" after operating remotely for most of the coronavirus pandemic. The company's Global Tech team will continue to work remotely, the note said.

Walmart did not respond to Insider's request to comment on whether or not the return to campus offices is mandatory for employees. Walmart also did not disclose any specific details related to this plan or if employees will have the choice to work remotely.

"Given all campus associates will be fully vaccinated or have an approved accommodation in November, we will transition to working together in our campus offices on a more regular basis starting the week of Nov. 8," Donna Morris, Chief People Officer, said in the note. "There is no substitution for being in the offices together," she added.

The move comes as many companies grapple with whether to make a return to the office mandatory for employees who transitioned to remote work about 18 months ago in the early days of pandemic lockdowns. Many workers have said they would refuse to come back to offices full time. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google parent Alphabet Inc., said this week the company would enact a hybrid model. Amazon this month said it would let corporate employees work from home indefinitely.

In July, Walmart mandated corporate employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Employees had until October 4 to get vaccinated, Insider reported. Walmart was the first major retailer to require certain corporate employees get vaccinated.

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A Dutch lab decrypted Tesla’s heavily guarded driving data storage system, which could be instrumental in investigating accidents

A white Tesla Model S is pictured at a Tesla facility in Littleton, Colorado.
A white Tesla Model S is pictured at a Tesla facility in Littleton, Colorado.
  • The Netherlands Forensic Institute said it decrypted Tesla's heavily guarded data storage system.
  • The lab was able to obtain unknown information about Tesla's Autopilot system, according to the report.
  • Tesla's Autopilot feature has been criticized in the US by regulators and lawmakers for giving drivers a false sense of security behind the wheel.

A lab operated by the Dutch government said it has decrypted Tesla's heavily guarded data storage system, which could be vital in investigating dangerous accidents.

According to a report released on Thursday, the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) discovered more data than investigators were previously aware of detailing Tesla's vehicle operations and driver assistance systems, called Autopilot.

The NFI report unearthed unseen findings on vehicle speed, accelerator pedal position, steering wheel angle, and brake actuation. The findings provide "a wealth of information for forensic investigators and traffic accident analysts" and may help inform criminal investigations involving fatal accidents or injuries, according to Francis Hoogendijk, a digital investigator at the NFI.

"It would be good if this data would become available more often for forensic investigations," Hoogendijk said in a statement. "Now that we know what kind of data can be obtained from a Tesla, certain data can be requested even more specifically for the purpose of finding the truth after an accident."

According to the report, the NFI says it has successfully obtained information from Tesla models S, Y, X, and 3. By determining what data the cars store, NFI was able to figure out how the car's registration system works, the report explains.

Tesla stores some data for over a year depending on the car's usage. Although this information is heavily encrypted, the company does make it possible for owners to request their user data, including footage from vehicle cameras in the event of an accident, the NFI said.

Tesla also has the ability to request this data remotely, meaning the company can use the data to improve its product or fix malfunctions after accidents.

Tesla's Autopilot feature has been criticized in the US by regulators and lawmakers who say the name makes drivers think the cars are autonomous when they aren't. The technology has also been the subject of an investigation by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) after a number of Teslas using driver-assist Autopilot struck vehicles at first-responder scenes, Insider reported.

NFI's report comes after Tesla outpaced Wall Street expectations on Wednesday, reporting 57% year-over-year revenue growth to reach $13.8 billion in its third quarter, pushing shares to record highs on Friday and bringing Elon Musk's net worth $250 billion.

Tesla did not immediately respond to Insider's request to comment on NFI's discovery.

Hoogendijk said he is in favor of international legislation and regulations to make car manufacturers more transparent about which data is stored and how it's monitored, according to NFI's statement.

"My research ensures that we know what information is now present in Teslas. It was a time consuming process," Hoogendijk said. "It would be good if it was made public by the car brands themselves in the future."

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Manchin accepted over $400,000 from energy companies and GOP donors in the third quarter

Joe Manchin
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
  • FEC filings show that Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, raised over $400,000 from energy companies.
  • Manchin has opposed certain climate-related features of the Democrats' proposed infrastructure bill.
  • Manchin, who represents West Virginia, also owns millions of dollars in coal stocks.

Senator Joe Manchin raised over $400,000 from donors in the energy industry in the third quarter, including some from donors that normally give to Republicans, according to his latest filing with the Federal Election Commission.

Manchin has opposed certain climate-related stipulations within the Democrats' proposed $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill. The legislation also includes expanded safety net programs for workers and families, lower prescription drug prices, and billions of dollars toward healthcare benefits for seniors.

Democrats have been trying to rein in certain aspects of the bill - including its overall cost - to appease moderates like Manchin, as well as Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, according to Bloomberg.

Manchin, who is from West Virginia, also owns millions of dollars in coal stocks. West Virginia is the second-largest producer of coal in the US, according to the West Virginia Office of Energy.

Manchin raised $1.6 million in the third quarter, with over $400,000 coming from the oil and gas industry, according to his FEC filing. Manchin is not up for reelection until 2024.

Manchin received $74,600 from the employees and political action committee of energy company Energy Transfer Partners, according to Bloomberg and FEC documents.

The company's co-founder, Kelcy Warren, donated the maximum of $5,800-$2,900 to Manchin for his primary and general election campaigns, Bloomberg reported. Warren also hosted a fundraiser for former President Donald Trump and gave $13.7 million to GOP candidates and causes in 2020.

Biden's clean electricity program will likely be scrapped from the Democrat's reconciliation bill because of Manchin, Insider reported Saturday. Sources told The New York Times that Biden staffers are removing the program from the legislation after Manchin told the White House he strongly opposed it. The program would have encouraged oil- and gas-fired power plants to transition to renewables like wind, solar, and nuclear.

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A maskless United Airlines passenger was kicked off his flight after threatening to break someone’s neck

United Airlines Boeing 737
A United Airlines Boeing 737 airplane.
  • A TikTok showing an unruly United Airlines passenger on a flight to Los Angeles went viral this week.
  • The video shows a man threatening staff and other passengers after refusing to get off the phone and put on his mask.
  • The video is one incident in a larger trend of uncontrollable customers on flights.

A TikTok video showing an outburst from an unruly and maskless United Airlines passenger after he was asked to turn off his phone has become the latest viral post in a growing trend of disorderly travelers.

The video shows an unidentified man ripping off his mask and screaming at other passengers while threatening to find the personal information of the flight crew. The incident took place on a flight to Los Angeles when the man reportedly refused to turn his cell phone off before the flight, according to Travel Noire.

When another passenger attempted to intervene to help calm the man down, the video shows the maskless man saying "mind your business, because I'll break your neck." Police later arrived on the scene to escort the man off the flight.

The original video, posted by user @starcadearcade, has over 6.4 million views on the platform and is one of a smattering of recent viral videos. Two other videos of the incident were also posted, collectively garnering nearly 4 million views on TikTok.

Federal law currently requires that all passengers wear a face mask that fully covers their mouth and nose during the entirety of the flight to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Passengers that do not follow these protocols "may be refused transport, be subject to fines, and could also lose their travel privileges on future United flights," according to the United website.

United Airlines did not immediately respond to Insider's request to comment.

@starcadearcade

It does not end well… I just wanted to play Pokémon ##travel ##starcade ##la ##plane

♬ original sound - Starcade Arcade

In recent months, airline crew members have reported a rising number of disruptive incidents, including travelers who have hit, yelled at, and shoved staff members. Several of these moments have been captured on video and circulated online, sparking larger conversations about travel safety and COVID-19 precautions.

Last month, Hawaiian Airlines had to divert two flights within a 12-hour span after one customer assaulted a flight attendant and another refused to wear a mask, Insider reported. On a JetBlue flight in September, a passenger choked a female flight attendant with his necktie and begged to be shot.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there have been nearly 4,000 reports of unruly behavior and more than 2,800 cases of passengers refusing to wear masks in 2021. In a statement in August, the organization said it has proposed more than $1 million in fines against passengers this year.

Transportation Security Administration workers previously told Insider that the increase in disorderly airline passengers has made them want to quit their jobs.

"Me and many of my coworkers really have always felt like we were the bastard children of the federal government," a Baltimore screener, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of jeopardizing his job, told Insider's Nicole Guadiano. "For many, many of us, it's really just like, okay, one day closer to retirement."

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US safety regulators want to know why Tesla didn’t issue a recall after reports of Autopilot issues

Tesla CEO Elon Musk stepping out of a silver Tesla wearing a white shirt and black tie on a sunny day
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
  • The NHTSA sent Tesla 2 letters demanding information about its Autopilot and Full Self Driving software.
  • The safety regulator expressed concern about the software's use on the road after reported accidents.
  • NHTSA is investigating 12 accidents that involve Tesla's Autopilot and stopped emergency vehicles.

Top US safety regulators are questioning why Tesla did not issue a recall when it recently updated Autopilot software to make it better recognize stopped emergency vehicles.

In two letters sent by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to Tesla, the regulator is seeking additional information about the Autopilot update and the company's release of Full Self-Driving Beta, expressing concerns about the software's use on the road. One of the letters also includes a request that Tesla provides information about non-disclosure agreements between Tesla and its vehicle owners.

Teslas have had difficulty identifying emergency vehicles with flashing lights, flares, illuminated arrow boards, or traffic cones near them while in Autopilot. Several incidents involving Autopilot-enabled Teslas crashing into stopped emergency vehicles have prompted a NHTSA investigation. Shortly after that probe was announced, Tesla updated Autopilot in September with the aim of addressing these issues.

When switched on, Autopilot keeps a Tesla centered in its lane and watches the car ahead to keep a steady distance. Autopilot does not make cars drive themselves and requires full driver attention.

In its letters to the company, NHTSA told Tesla that the company must recall vehicles if a software update fixes a safety defect.

"Through these actions, NHTSA continues to demonstrate its commitment to safety and its ongoing efforts to collect information necessary for the agency to fulfill its role in keeping everyone safe on the roadways, even as technology evolves," NHTSA said in a statement to Insider. "NHTSA's enforcement and defect authority is broad, and we will act when we detect an unreasonable risk to public safety."

Tesla did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

The letters are the latest in an ongoing battle between Tesla and NHTSA. The regulator, which is responsible for enforcing vehicle performance standards, is now investigating 12 accidents that involve Tesla's Autopilot and stopped emergency vehicles. According to the agency, the initial 11 crashes under investigation led to 17 injuries and one death.

"As Tesla is aware, the Safety Act imposes an obligation on manufacturers of motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment to initiate a recall by notifying NHTSA when they determine vehicles or equipment they produced contain defects related to motor vehicle safety or do not comply with an applicable motor vehicle safety standard," one of the letters says.

The launch of Tesla's FSD Beta was delayed in September due to "last minute concerns," according to a tweet from CEO Elon Musk. NHTSA expressed concern about its use on roads and the inability of Tesla drivers to report any issues because of "non-disclosure agreements that allegedly limit the participants from sharing information about FSD that portrays the feature negatively, or from speaking with certain people about FSD," according to a letter.

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Southwest Airlines cancels more than 1,000 flights due to ‘disruptive weather’

A Southwest Airlines plane takes off in Phoenix
  • Southwest Airlines canceled more than 1,000 flights on Sunday, leaving customers stranded.
  • The cancellations were caused by air traffic control problems and weather, according to the airline.
  • 1,007 flights were canceled and 383 have been delayed on Sunday, according to the flight tracking website Flight Aware.

Southwest Airlines canceled more than 1,000 flights, leaving hundreds of customers stranded.

The cancellations started on Saturday and went into Sunday and were caused by air traffic control problems and weather, according to a statement released by the airline on Twitter.

1,007 flights were canceled and 383 have been delayed on Sunday morning as of publishing, according to the flight tracking website Flight Aware. 808 flights, nearly 25% of the airline's total flights that day, were canceled by the airline Saturday. Southwest also experienced almost 1,200 delays on Saturday as well, Flight Aware reported.

"We experienced weather challenges in our Florida airports at the beginning of the weekend, challenges that were compounded by unexpected air traffic control issues in the same region, triggering delays and prompting significant cancellations for us beginning Friday evening," Southwest told Insider in an email. "We've continued diligent work throughout the weekend to reset our operation with a focus on getting aircraft and Crews repositioned to take care of our Customers."

However, several Southwest passengers have voiced concerns online that the delays are the result of pilots and crewmembers striking after the airline issued a coronavirus vaccine mandate for its employees. Southwest did not respond to Insider's request to comment on the claims of the rumored strike online.

"ATC issues and disruptive weather have resulted in a high volume of cancellations throughout the weekend while we work to recover our operation," Southwest Tweeted to concerned customers on Saturday. "We appreciate your patience as we accommodate affected Customers, and Customer Service wait times are longer than usual."

Recently airlines like JetBlue, Spirit, and American Airlines have come under fire by customers after issuing mass delays and cancellations in the US. Last month, United Airlines was fined $1.9 million by the Department of Transportation for keeping thousands of passengers stuck on planes for hours, in violation of federal rules, Insider reported. It was the largest penalty of its kind, according to Reuters.

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Tesla puts Full Self-Driving beta on hold after Elon Musk expresses ‘last minute concerns’

The interior of a Tesla driving down the highway
The launch of Tesla's Full Self-Driving Beta is delayed.
  • Tesla's Full Self-Driving Beta for drivers with "perfect" safety scores is delayed.
  • FSD Beta was originally planned to launch on Friday at midnight to approximately 1,000 drivers with safety scores of 100 out of 100.
  • Tesla's Autopilot feature has been criticized by regulators and lawmakers who say the name makes drivers think the cars are autonomous.

Tesla's Full Self-Driving Beta for drivers with "perfect" safety scores was delayed on Saturday after CEO Elon Musk tweeted about "concerns."

FSD Beta was originally planned to launch on Friday at midnight to approximately 1,000 drivers with safety scores of 100 out of 100, Musk wrote on Twitter on Thursday. After the first launch, FSD Beta was then supposed to roll out to divers with a score of 99 and below.

"A few last minute concerns about this build. Release likely on Sunday or Monday. Sorry for the delay," Musk tweeted on Saturday morning.

FSD is an enhanced version of Autopilot, a driver-assistance software that comes with every Tesla vehicle. FSD, despite its name, does not make the car fully autonomous. FSD allows the vehicle to change lanes, park itself, and recognize traffic lights and stop signs. Tesla drivers with good safety scores were able to request FSD Beta in September, Insider reported.

To be eligible for FSD Beta drivers were graded off of five factors: forward-collision warnings per 1,000 miles, hard braking, aggressive turning, unsafe following, and forced autopilot disengagement, according to Tesla's "safety score" guide.

Tesla's Autopilot feature has been criticized by regulators and lawmakers who say the name makes drivers think the cars are autonomous when they aren't. US safety regulators launched an investigation into Autopilot after a number of Teslas struck vehicles at first-responder scenes, Insider reported.

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Housing prices are booming in the area surrounding Tesla’s planned Gigafactory in Austin, Texas

Tesla CEO Elon Musk visits the Gigafactory Berlin construction site on May 17, 2021.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk visits the Gigafactory Berlin construction site on May 17, 2021.
  • Housing prices near Tesla's new Austin-based Gigafactory are surging.
  • Home prices in the county where the factory will be built were up 53.7% compared to last year.
  • CEO Elon Musk officially announced Tesla's HQ move to Texas on Thursday after much speculation.

Housing prices surrounding Tesla's new Austin-based Gigafactory are increasing as Tesla also prepares to move its corporate headquarters to Texas.

In September, home prices in Travis County, Texas, where the factory will be built, were up 53.7% compared to last year, selling for a median price of $363,000, according to Redfin. That's more than a 26% increase compared to Austin, Texas as a whole.

Tesla confirmed the new factory's location in July 2020 after a bidding process involving several other southern cities, Insider reported. Tesla was offered $65 million in tax rebates over 10 years to take over a concrete plant. The plant will become a 5 million-square-foot factory for Tesla's Cybertruck, Semi truck, and Model 3 and Y.

Tesla said plans to hire up to 5,000 workers at a starting wage of $15 an hour for many of the low-skill manufacturing roles, according to Insider.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk made the announcement that the company would relocate its headquarters to Texas at its annual shareholder meeting on Thursday.

Homes for sale in the areas surrounding the plant have already started listing their proximity to the factory. A four-bedroom, three-bathroom house for sale in Austin, Texas is advertising a "great location- 13 min from Tesla," on Redfin.

"I think there will be a premium on being close to Tesla HQ, especially since a portion of engineering jobs will have to be in person," said Daryl Fairweather, Redfin's chief economist, told Austin's local news station KXAN in an email.

Redfin defines Travis County as a "very competitive" area for home buyers. The most popular homes can sell for about 12% above the list price and go pending in around 19 days, according to data from the real estate website.

Musk has already moved himself to the Lone Star State after fighting with California over its coronavirus restrictions, Insider reported. Musk already moved his charitable foundation to Texas, too, further fueling speculation that a new factory would soon follow. SpaceX, Musk's other venture outside of Tesla, also has a launchpad in Texas.

Musk was the highest-paid CEO in the country in 2019. The move allows the CEO to see a bit more out of his paycheck as Texas has no income tax compared to California which has some of the highest rates in the US.

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Victoria’s Secret partners with Stella McCartney to launch new mastectomy bra ahead of breast cancer awareness month

victoria's secret
  • Victoria's Secret is launching a line of mastectomy bras with designer Stella McCartney.
  • The bra is part of a wider campaign for October's breast cancer awareness month, aiming to make the risks of developing breast cancer known.
  • Victoria's Secret is currently rebranding, marketing itself to more women through its clothing.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Lingerie brand Victoria's Secret is launching a line of mastectomy bras with fashion designer and breast cancer awareness advocate Stella McCartney.

The bra is part of a wider campaign for October's breast cancer awareness month, aiming to make more people aware of the risks of developing breast cancer.

About 1 in 8 women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime, according to BreastCancer.org. About 85% of breast cancers occur in those who have no family history of the disease. The campaign encourages those with breasts to regularly check them for any early signs of breast cancer and report any abnormalities to a healthcare provider.

The mastectomy bra is specially designed for those with breast cancer and is made with no wire, soft material, and includes a pocket in the inner lining to fit a prosthetic, Victoria's Secret said in a press release. For the month of October, the bra is available for $10 and 100% of the proceeds will go to The Victoria's Secret Global Fund for Women's Cancers to support breast cancer research.

The Body by Victoria Mastectomy Bra in the color Black.
The Body by Victoria Mastectomy Bra in the color Black.
The Body by Victoria Mastectomy Bra in the color Champagne/White.
The Body by Victoria Mastectomy Bra in the color Champagne/White.

"We have a unique opportunity but also a responsibility to use our platform and scale of our global footprint to bring greater awareness to the risks of breast cancer, especially among younger women, and educate around the effectiveness of self-checks," Martha Pease, the chief marketing officer of Victoria's Secret said in a statement.

The bra comes at a time when Victoria's Secret is moving away from model-based marketing to cater towards a more universal audience of women under new company management. The lingerie giant has recently redesigned its stores, trading the signature pink color, decor, and unrealistic-looking mannequins for a more modern look, Insider reported. In total, Victoria's Secret plans to remodel more than 1,400 stores over the next few years.

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New York mandate increased COVID-19 vaccine rate of healthcare workers

nurses vaccine
RN Janelle Roper, left, administers the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to Nurse Anesthetist Kate-Alden Hartman.
  • New York's vaccine mandate helped more healthcare workers get vaccinated, according to state data.
  • 87% of hospital workers in the state are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Hospitals and healthcare facilities are currently facing staffing shortages as nurses leave citing burnout and difficult working conditions.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Since New York mandated the coronavirus vaccine for healthcare workers in the state, the vaccination rate of hospital employees has doubled compared to the rate of adults in the state.

The mandate, which went into full effect on Monday, created an ultimatum for healthcare workers in New York to get vaccinated for COVID-19 or lose their jobs.

As of Wednesday, 87% of hospital workers in the state have completed their vaccination series, meaning they have received all required doses of the coronavirus vaccine. Out of all the adults living in New York, under 75% are fully vaccinated, according to data from the New York department of health.

Before the mandate was announced, only 76% of hospital workers were fully vaccinated, causing an 11-percentage-point increase in the state, according to data obtained by the Wall Street Journal. There was a 5-point rise for all adults in the state too after the mandate was announced.

New York governor Kathy Hochul prepared to call in medically trained National Guard members and workers outside New York to aid with a potential shortage of healthcare workers once the mandate went into effect. In a press release on Tuesday, Hochul said she was feeling optimistic about the mandate after the increase in the vaccination rate amongst healthcare workers in the state.

"This new information shows that holding firm on the vaccine mandate for health care workers is simply the right thing to do to protect our vulnerable family members and loved ones from COVID-19," Hochul said in a statement. "I am pleased to see that health care workers are getting vaccinated to keep New Yorkers safe, and I am continuing to monitor developments and ready to take action to alleviate potential staffing shortage situations in our health care systems."

Although healthcare workers have higher vaccination rates than the general population in the US, those who refuse vaccinations against coronavirus will place an added strain on already understaffed hospitals and care facilities. With an influx of patients because of the Delta variant and fewer nurses due to burnout and difficult working conditions, many healthcare facilities are facing staffing shortages, Insider reported. However, a nursing shortage has been looming for years, only accelerated by the pandemic as fear of contracting COVID-19 worsened working conditions.

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