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Stephen Woerner has been picked by National Grid to lead its Massachusetts and Rhode Island operations.
Stephen Woerner has been picked by National Grid to lead its Massachusetts and Rhode Island operations.National Grid

ENERGY

National Grid NE has a new president

National Grid has hired a top Baltimore Gas and Electric executive to oversee the British utility’s New England operations. Stephen Woerner, BGE’s president, will become National Grid’s New England president as of Oct. 1. In the new role, he will be responsible for National Grid’s gas and electric operations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. However, National Grid is in the process of selling its Rhode Island business, known as Narragansett Electric, to PPL Corp. When that deal is done, Woerner will continue as the Massachusetts president. Woerner is essentially taking over for a job that Marcy Reed had overseeing Massachusetts operations until her retirement on March 31. He is replacing Terry Sobolewski, who had the job overseeing both Rhode Island and Massachusetts on an interim basis after Reed’s departure. — JON CHESTO

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GASOLINE

Leaded gas is gone for good

Leaded gasoline has finally reached the end of the road, the UN environment office said Monday, after the last country in the world to use it stopped selling the highly toxic fuel. Algeria halted the sale of leaded gas last month, prompting the UN Environment Agency to declare the “official end” of its use in cars, which has been blamed for a wide range of human health problems. Petroleum containing tetraethyllead, a form of lead, was first sold almost 100 years ago to increase engine performance. It was widely used for decades until researchers discovered that it could cause heart disease, strokes, and brain damage. UNEP cited studies suggesting that leaded gas caused measurable intellectual impairment in children and millions of premature deaths. Most rich nations started phasing out the fuel in the 1980s but it was still widely used in low- and middle-income countries until 2002, when the UN launched a global campaign to abolish it. Leaded gas is still used in aviation fuel for small planes. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

LABOR

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Workers at Buffalo-area Starbucks take steps to unionize

For years, Starbucks workers have complained about the company’s labor practices, saying that chronic understaffing has led to a chaotic work environment, erratic hours, and difficulty taking sick days. Despite periodic commitments by Starbucks to revise its policies, the complaints lingered and appeared to intensify during the pandemic, when overstretched workers also had to contend with new health concerns and safety protocols. Now the long-standing frustrations are fueling one of the most serious union campaigns ever to confront the company, whose more than 8,000 corporate-owned locations in the United States are not unionized. Last week, Starbucks workers in the Buffalo area announced that they were forming a union called Starbucks Workers United, and Monday they said they had filed petitions from employees at three stores in the area asking the National Labor Relations Board to hold elections on union representation. They proposed a vote in two weeks. — NEW YORK TIMES

HOUSING

About 750,000 households could face eviction

Landlords may evict roughly 750,000 US households by the end of the year, as lapsing eviction bans and high demand for rental housing push property owners to remove tenants, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs. Currently, as many as 3.5 million households are behind on rent, with landlords owed as much as $17 billion, the analysts estimated in an Aug. 29 note. Delinquent renters have been able to remain in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Supreme Court lifted a federal ban on evictions last week, and remaining state and local moratoriums are slated to expire later this year. Congress authorized almost $47 billion in rental relief to compensate landlords for lost payments, but state and local governments have been slow to get the funds to those in need. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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TRAVEL

Airline travel down for Labor Day weekend

After a surge in bookings early this summer, US airline passengers are planning fewer trips as the spread of the coronavirus Delta variant continues to discourage travel. Spending for the Labor Day holiday was down 16 percent from 2019 as of Aug. 21, while bookings were off 15 percent, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index. The weekend typically marks the end of stepped-up summer travel for US carriers and demand often rises as families seek to squeeze in a last trip before school resumes. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

GAMING

China puts strict limits on kids’ play time

China’s strict limits on how long minors can play online video games just got stricter. Chinese children and teenagers are banned from online gaming on school days, and limited to one hour a day on weekend and holiday evenings under government rules issued Monday. The rules released by the National Press and Publication Administration tightened restrictions from 2019 aimed at what the government said was a growing scourge of online game addiction among school children. Under the old rules, players younger than 18 were limited to no more than 90 minutes of gaming on weekdays and three hours a day on weekend. Parents had complained that was too generous and had been laxly enforced, the administration said. The new rule sets the permitted game play hour to 8 to 9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. — NEW YORK TIMES

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INTERNATIONAL

Alibaba fires those who revealed details of alleged sexual assault

Alibaba has dismissed 10 staffers for publicizing an employee’s account of sexual assault allegations against a former manager, people familiar with the matter said, as the e-commerce giant moves to resolve a case that’s rocked China’s tech establishment. Alibaba announced internally last week it fired the group for sharing a harrowing account posted on an internal forum by a colleague surnamed Zhou, who accused a former manager of rape. Their offenses include sharing screenshots of the woman’s post in the public domain after removing watermarks that bore their IDs, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing an internal matter. Another three people have been reprimanded for making inappropriate comments in public forums, they added. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

TRANSPORTATION

NYC subway system knocked out by power surge

A momentary power surge disrupted half of the New York City subway system for several hours and stranded hundreds of passengers, Governor Kathy Hochul said Monday. The unprecedented breakdown affected more than 80 trains on the subway system’s numbered lines plus the L train from shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday to about 1:30 a.m. Monday, Hochul said. The restoration of service was delayed because passengers on two of the stuck trains walked out onto the tracks by themselves rather than waiting for Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers to help them, Hochul said. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

ENERGY

Wind power takes off

The United States installed a record amount of wind-generating capacity last year, adding nearly 17,000 megawatts of power on land, according to an Energy Department report being released Monday. Wind energy’s share of total utility-scale generating capacity in the United States was only 11 percent in 2020, behind natural gas at 43 percent and nuclear and coal which both represented about 20 percent. But wind is gaining: It accounted for 42 percent of all new capacity in 2020, which represented $24.6 billion in new wind power projects, according to the Energy Department study, which was conducted by the department’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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