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Hearings held on raising the Mass. minimum wage to $20 an hour

State Representative Tram T. Nguyen.Pat Greenhouse/File 2018


Hearings held on raising the Mass. minimum wage to $20 an hour

On Tuesday, the state’s Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development held hearings for bills in both chambers that would gradually raise the Massachusetts minimum wage to $20 an hour by 2027 and subsequently boost it in lockstep with inflation. The bills — presented by Representatives Tram T. Nguyen and Daniel M. Donahue in the House and Senator Jason M. Lewis in the Senate — come after the last in the series of pay hikes secured as part of the 2018 “grand bargain” legislation lifted the minimum wage to $15 at the beginning of this year. Several business owners expressed their support for the bills, citing improvements in employee retention and consumer spending that come with a higher wage floor. The National Federation of Independent Business, however, issued a statement against the bill, arguing the hikes “could lead to significant job losses, income reductions, and closures for small businesses across Massachusetts,” according to a press release from the association. If the bills were to pass, Massachusetts would join 19 other states — including Maine, Connecticut, and Vermont — that currently increase their minimum wages every year automatically, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The bills propose indexing the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index, a gauge of inflation, in an effort to “maintain employee purchasing power,” the bills say. — DANA GERBER



Westborough recycling company to build plant in Kentucky

Ascend Elements, the Westborough company specializing in recycling electric vehicle batteries, is teaming up with SK Ecoplant of South Korea to build a $65 million plant in Hopkinsville, Ky. Ascend Elements will own 25 percent of the joint venture. The plant will shred 24,000 tons of worn-out lithium-ion batteries and manufacturing scrap per year, equivalent to 56,000 EV car batteries. The shredded material will be shipped to a different Ascend Elements plant in Hopkinsville, where it will be used to manufacture new EV batteries. — HIAWATHA BRAY



EU official says X is biggest source of fake news

A top European Union official said Tuesday that the social network X, formerly known as Twitter, is the biggest source of fake news and urged owner Elon Musk to comply with the bloc’s laws aimed at combating disinformation. Ahead of upcoming elections, Google, TikTok, Microsoft, and Meta also have more to do to tackle disinformation, much of it coming from Russia, which is using social media to wage a “war of ideas” against democracy, European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova said. Moscow’s disinformation operation “is a multimillion-euro weapon of mass manipulation aimed both internally at the Russians as well as at Europeans and the rest of the world,” she said at a press briefing in Brussels. With elections scheduled in Slovakia and Poland in the coming weeks and a bloc-wide vote next year, big online platforms must address the risk of online meddling, she said. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Home prices at a record high

Home prices in the United States climbed to a record high as the market bounces back. A national gauge of prices rose for a sixth straight month, increasing 0.6 percent in July from June, according to seasonally adjusted data from S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller. So far this year, the national measure has climbed 5.3 percent. This year’s gains have offset the 5 percent decline in prices from last year’s peak in June 2022 to January 2023, when the market was slowing. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Walmart to offer more prepaid phone plans

Walmart is expanding its offerings of prepaid phone plans with MobileX, a wireless service launched earlier this year by Boost cofounder Peter Adderton. Walmart will be MobileX’s first and exclusive retail partner, the companies said in an announcement Tuesday. MobileX, which uses Verizon’s network through a wholesale agreement, will be available on Walmart’s website and in stores starting Tuesday, the companies said. It will offer unlimited pay-as-you go plans starting at $14.88 per month, and a lower-cost plan with customizable offerings starting at $4.08 a month. An artificial intelligence-powered guide that can anticipate a customer’s data needs can customize plans tailored to their usage, the company said in a statement. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

A UPS employee unloads a truck before making deliveries on June 29 in New York. John Minchillo/Associated Press


UPS to hire more than 100,000 for the holidays

UPS plans to hire more than 100,000 workers — at higher pay than a year ago — to help with the holiday rush this season, in line with hiring the previous three years. As part of a tentative five-year contract agreement with the Teamsters union approved last month that included a bump up in pay and other benefits for part-time and full time workers, seasonal package drivers will start with hourly pay of $23, while package handlers will get $21 for the holiday period. That compares with last year’s $21 per hour for drivers and $15.50 for package handlers, according to Matt Lavery, UPS’s director of global sourcing, recruiting and onboarding. Despite increased pay for the seasonal UPS workers, the job market is still tight, and it’s uncertain how challenging it will be to find workers, Lavery said. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Struggling Victoria’s Secret unveils feature-length film

Victoria’s Secret has been seeking penance with shoppers after a backlash to its sexy imagery, with an oft-changing cast of executives pledging to reimagine the retailer’s merchandise and marketing. So far, it has little to show for its efforts. The business has lost about $1.8 billion in sales since 2018 and revenue for its last full fiscal year fell 6.5 percent, with net income down nearly half. Shares reached an all-time low in September, down 78 percent from 2021. Amy Hauk, the leader who was named head of the Victoria’s Secret brand in 2022 and touted ambitious plans to rebuild its product offerings, announced her departure after six months. Now, Victoria’s Secret is trying another tack to dig out of its deep sales hole: Revamping the televised fashion show that was a marketing marvel in its 2000s heyday. The Victoria’s Secret World Tour, a feature-length film that was slated to air Tuesday on Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service, is a bid to recapture some of the retailer’s Angel wings-era luster while incorporating more diverse models and designers. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Ford halts plan for electric battery plant in Michigan

Ford Motor Co. is pausing plans to build a $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Michigan as the company faces financial pressure from striking auto workers and political pressure from lawmakers demanding it sever its ties to a Chinese firm collaborating on the plant. The automaker unveiled plans to build the plant in February, promising it would employ about 2,500 workers to make batteries for new and existing electric vehicles. Ford announced at the time that it would use technology from the Chinese firm Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., or CATL, the largest battery maker in the world. But since unveiling those blueprints, Ford has become a focus of congressional investigators, who accuse CATL of doing business with mining firms in the Xinjiang region of China. Rampant forced labor in Xinjiang moved the United States to enact a law last year prohibiting import of any materials from there unless it can be proven they were not made with forced labor. — WASHINGTON POST