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Graduate student workers at BU vote to unionize

Marsh Plaza on Boston University's Campus on April 17, 2020.Blake Nissen for The Boston Globe


Graduate student workers at BU vote to unionize

Graduate student workers at Boston University have voted to join SEIU Local 509, the union announced Wednesday. Around 3,200 students who teach and conduct research at the school are now part of the union, which represents nearly 20,000 human service workers; educators, including lecturers and adjunct faculty at BU; and graduate students, including at Brandeis and Tufts universities. Of the 1,442 BU grad students who cast votes this week, 98 percent voted in favor of unionizing. They intend to push for higher wages, improved health care coverage, workload protections, better housing, and more support for international students, the union said. The students garnered the support of the Boston City Council and Representative Ayanna Pressley, who is a BU graduate, since announcing their campaign in September. “Boston University graduate workers made their voices heard loud and clear that BU is a union campus,” said Peter MacKinnon, president of SEIU Local 509, said in a statement. “These workers deserve a say in their working conditions, and we are excited to bring the energy of this victory to the bargaining table.” BU spokesman Colin Riley said that the university looks forward to negotiating with the union. — KATIE JOHNSTON



CEO of Greentown Labs leaving

After spending a decade growing Greentown Labs in Somerville into a world-renowned climate-tech incubator, Emily Reichert has stepped down as chief executive of the organization. Reichert informed Greentown startups on Thursday in an e-mail that “after a ten year sprint building Greentown, now is the right time for me” to step down. Reichert said she doesn’t have an immediate plan for the future but intends to spend more time with family and friends, after taking a sabbatical for several months earlier this year. (She added: “This is especially important to me right now in light of health issues in my family of late.”) The announcement comes just a week after Prince William and Princess Catherine visited Greentown to much fanfare; Reichert said the visit was a “bittersweet experience” for her because of her pending departure. Kevin Taylor, Greentown’s chief financial officer, will be interim chief executive and will serve in both roles until a permanent chief executive is hired. Reichert said she will act as an adviser to Taylor as “CEO Emeritus” until her successor is hired, and that she plans to remain involved with Greentown as a member of its board after that point. Reichert launched Greentown with a few other clean-tech entrepreneurs in an abandoned warehouse in South Boston 10 years ago. Today, Greentown supports 142 startups in Somerville and 76 in Houston, has 48 full-time employees, and remains co-owned by the original founders as well as Reichert (Greentown’s first employee). — JON CHESTO



ARKO buys Springfield chain

ARKO Corp. has acquired the Springfield-based Pride Convenience chain for $230 million in a deal that brings the fast-growing convenience store operator into Massachusetts for the first time. ARKO, which is headquartered in Virginia, said it completed the deal with seller ArcLight Capital Partners this week. Pride operates 31 convenience stores in Massachusetts and Connecticut. More than 500 people work for Pride, and ARKO plans to keep the brand name, as it does with other c-store acquisitions. ARKO also announced an agreement this week to buy the Texas-based parent company of the Uncle’s Convenience Stores chain for $140 million. That’s the fourth acquisition ARKO has announced this year, and the 23rd since 2013. — JON CHESTO



US Senator Elizabeth Warren wants an accounting from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and other top bank watchdogs on the links that major lenders have with the crypto industry following FTX’s spectacular collapse. Warren and Smith expressed concerns specifically on revelations of the relationships that several banks had with FTX and Alameda Research, a trading firm, which was also founded by Sam Bankman-Fried and played a starring role in his empire’s implosion. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Airbnb cracks down on single-night rentals on New Year’s Eve

Airbnb is prohibiting some users from booking single-night rentals of entire properties as part of the home-sharing platform’s push to prevent parties on New Year’s Eve. The company will ban the reservations for guests without a positive account history or previous bookings on the platform, factors that it sees as likely for a party to occur, according to a statement Thursday. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Keurig Dr Pepper invests in energy drinks

Keurig Dr Pepper is investing $863 million in Nutrabolt, the maker of C4 and Xtend energy drinks, as beverage companies look to capitalize on the fast-growing industry. The investment will give Keurig Dr Pepper a 30 percent stake in Nutrabolt with an option to increase its holdings. Retail distribution of C4 Energy will transition to the beverage giant next year, and Keurig Dr Pepper expects the partnership to add to earnings in 2024. Nutrabolt sales are expected to exceed $650 million next year, the companies said. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Rates continue to drop

The average long-term US mortgage rate fell for the fourth consecutive week and have dropped more than three-quarters of a point since hitting a 20-year high last month. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average on the benchmark 30-year rate dipped to 6.33 percent from 6.49 percent last week. A year ago the average rate was 3.1 percent. The average long-term rate sat at 7.08 percent in early November but has since had the steepest 4-week decline since 2008. The rate for a 15-year mortgage, popular with those refinancing their homes, slipped to 5.67 percent from 5.76 percent last week. It was 2.38 percent one year ago. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Google must delete search results that are wrong

Google has to delete search results about people in Europe if they can prove that the information is clearly wrong, the European Union’s top court said Thursday. The European Court of Justice ruled that search engines must “dereference information” if the person making the request can demonstrate that the material is “manifestly inaccurate.” People in Europe have the right to ask Google and other search engines to delete links to outdated or embarrassing information about themselves, even if it is true, under a principle known as “right to be forgotten.” — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Blue Apron to lay off 10 percent of corporate staff

Meal-delivery company Blue Apron said it’s cutting about 10 percent of its corporate workforce — part of a plan to drastically reduce expenses amid stagnant sales. The precipitous decline speaks to the fading appeal of the once-buzzy business model of delivering ingredients to busy consumers so they can prepare their own meals at home. Blue Apron’s quarterly revenue peaked at $238 million in 2017. It reported less than half that total in its most recent quarter. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Keystone pipeline shut after spill in Kansas

The Keystone oil pipeline system, a major conduit linking Canada to the US Gulf Coast, was shut down after crude leaked into a creek in Kansas. The incident occurred about 20 miles south of Steele City, Neb., pipeline owner TC Energy Corp. said Thursday in a statement. The affected segment has been isolated and crews are working to contain and recover the oil, TC said. — BLOOMBERG NEWS