Business & Tech

Qualcomm loses bid to stall $664,000 daily fines in EU battle

VISAS

Homeland Security to release 15,000 more seasonal visas

Amid an outcry over worker shortages from resorts, restaurants, and other seasonal businesses around the country, the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday that it will release an additional 15,000 H-2B foreign work visas this fiscal year. Starting this week, business owners can file for visas and “must attest, under penalty of perjury, that their business is likely to suffer irreparable harm” if it cannot employ H-2B workers, according to DHS. “As a demonstration of the Administration’s commitment to supporting American businesses, DHS is providing this one-time increase,” DHS Secretary John Kelly said in a statement. But the new “irreparable harm” requirement is unclear, said US Representative Bill Keating, who represents the Cape and Islands, and could delay what is already a last-minute attempt to get more workers to finish out the season. “Anyone who understands and supports small businesses should know that introducing new hurdles at the last minute is incredibly damaging,” Keating said in a statement. In May, Congress authorized DHS to nearly double the current cap of 66,000 visas, which are split equally between the summer and winter, but concerns about foreign workers taking jobs away from US citizens have increased under President Trump’s “Buy American and Hire American” executive order. Issuing 15,000 visas likely won’t meet demand, according to Public Strategies Washington Inc., a public affairs firm that represents a coalition of seasonal businesses in New England. The workers could start arriving as soon as the middle of August, according to Framingham immigration lawyer Keith Pabian, who represents many hospitality clients struggling to find workers. American workers don’t want these low-paying temporary service jobs, small business owners on Cape Cod say, and they have been turning down business and closing one or two days a week because they don’t have enough staff. — KATIE JOHNSTON

AIRLINES

Delta pushes back at Ann Coulter’s angry tweets

NEW YORK — Delta Air Lines has pushed back at Ann Coulter after the conservative commentator berated the carrier on Twitter over a changed seat assignment. Coulter began tweeting about the episode Saturday in which she said the airline gave away an ‘‘extra room seat’’ she reserved before a flight from New York to Florida departed. Coulter had booked an aisle seat, but got a window seat. She joked that Delta hires people who seek to be prison guards, animal handlers, or East German police. She also tweeted a photo of a woman she said took the seat she booked and labeled her ‘‘dachshund-legged.’’ Delta responded to Coulter on Twitter on Sunday night that it was refunding her the extra $30 she paid for her preferred seat. It added that ‘‘your insults about our other customers and employees are unacceptable and unnecessary.’’ In a separate statement on its website, the company called Coulter’s comments ‘‘derogatory and slanderous.’’ Coulter was moved to a window seat at the time of boarding as the airline was ‘‘working to accommodate several passengers with seating requests,’’ Delta said in the statement. Delta said that during some confusion over the assignments, a flight attendant asked everyone to move to the seats listed on their tickets. Coulter and the other passengers complied, according to the airline, and the flight departed. Coulter continued her online rant against Delta on Monday.
— ASSOCIATED PRESS

FOOD KITS

Blue Apron stock drops after Amazon files for food kit trademark

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Blue Apron Holdings Inc. dropped as much as 12 percent after Amazon.com Inc. filed a trademark application for prepared food kits, the latest sign that investors are concerned about newly public Blue Apron’s prospects. Shares of the meal-kit delivery company sank as low as $6.51, a 35 percent drop since its initial public offering before closing at $6.57. Amazon Technologies Inc., an Amazon subsidiary, filed a July 6 trademark application for “prepared food kits composed of meat, poultry, fish, seafood, fruit and/or vegetables . . . ready for cooking and assembly as a meal.” Blue Apron delivers boxes of pre-portioned ingredients and instructions to cook meals at home. The meal-kit company already competes with similar startups as well as grocery delivery services. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

CHICKEN

Perdue Farms introduces gentler slaughter practices

Perdue Farms, known for its namesake chicken brand, is rolling out gentler slaughter practices as part of its efforts to reduce trauma and discomfort for birds. The company will increase its use of gas stunning, according to the first annual progress report on animal care released by Perdue on Monday. The process exposes birds to a gas mixture that renders them insensible to pain or distress before slaughter. It’s the latest step in the poultry industry’s campaign to respond to consumers, especially millennials, who are increasingly concerned about animal welfare. The company, the fourth-largest US chicken producer, is pushing for better poultry care, improved relationships with its contract farmers and transparency with consumers, according to Chairman Jim Perdue. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

GASOLINE

Prices drop a penny at the pump

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Gas prices in Massachusetts have dropped by a penny this week. AAA Northeast said Monday that the price of self-serve, regular is averaging $2.17 per gallon. That’s nine cents below the national average of $2.26. The state was averaging $2.19 a year ago at this time. AAA found self-serve, regular selling for as low as $2.05 and as high as $2.41 per gallon. AAA officials say local gas prices remain some of the lowest they’ve seen all year, even as prices rise nationally. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

JEWELRY

CEO of embattled Signet to retire

Mark Light, the Signet Jewelers chief executive at the center of a sprawling gender-discrimination case, will retire due to health reasons and be replaced at the end of this month, the company said Monday. Light, 55, was named CEO in 2014 and worked for 35 years at the retail-jewelry conglomerate, best known for its brands Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Kay Jewelers. He will be replaced by Virginia ‘‘Gina’’ C. Drosos, who has served on the company’s board since 2012. Light’s tenure has been marked by an ongoing class-action arbitration case, during which 69,000 women have alleged a Signet subsidiary, Sterling Jewelers, discriminated against them in pay and promotion practices. Hundreds of women filed sworn statements in recent years alleging they also faced sexual harassment or discrimination, and Light and other key executives were accused of promoting women based upon their responses to sexual demands, attorneys for the women said in a 2013 filing. A company chairman in March called those accusations a ‘‘purported parallel universe.’’ — WASHINGTON POST

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