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KFC is launching new mac and cheese bowls this month

Catherina Ploumidakis

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KFC is launching new mac and cheese bowls this month

While debates on the best chicken sandwich continue on the internet, KFC is now inclining its attention towards mac and cheese.

On Thursday, the fast-food chain announced about a new addition in its 5 USD Fill Up menu, a Mac and Cheese Bowl. The customers will be able to buy the new Mac and Cheese Bowl at a KFC restaurant starting August 26.

As per KFC, the dish will be similar to its Famous Bowls, but with mac and cheese rather than mashed potatoes and gravy. The bowls will combine mac and cheese along with popcorn chicken and sprinkled with a three-cheese topping, said Kentucky Fried Chicken in a statement.

The consumers can even buy the bowls in the form of a combo with a chocolate cookie or a medium drink. And, for those who like things a little more spiced up, KFC also has a spiced-up variant with smoky Nashville hot sauce in the offering.

Bowl food is the latest trend which will not end anytime soon while mac and cheese have its own cult-like backing, said Andrea Zahumensky, chief marketing officer of KFC’s in the US. As such, it made the sense to come up with mac and cheese bowls as a side dish, Zahumensky added.

Well, seems like the menus of popular fast-food chains are experiencing a mac and cheese boom. Chick-fil-A had announced about adding its own mac and cheese to its permanent menu across the US previously this month, the first such new since 2017.

According to Amanda Norris from Chick-fil-A, mac and cheese is the classic comfort food and is the perfect pair with the fast-food chain’s nuggets, Original Chicken Sandwich as well as grilled chicken dishes and is also great as a snack.

While the new addition was the talk of the town, it appears that not everyone was happy with it.

Catherina has joined the team as an intern, and she has been working hard to learn things quickly. Now, she handles the Technology and Business columns of the website along with Vicky. She writes the latest US Technology and Business news regularly on the website with accuracy. Since she is the youngest member of the team, she never hesitates to ask for help from other senior team members. That is the reason, she has been learning things quickly, and now she is becoming proficient. Apart from her work, she loves to read books and watch Business and Tech news. She is a fun-loving woman with a graceful personality.

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Macy’s Furloughs Most Of Its 130,000 Workers

Catherina Ploumidakis

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Macy's Furloughs Most Of Its 130,000 Workers

Citing the coronavirus pandemic’s “heavy toll” on its business, Macy’s said it’s furloughing the majority of its nearly 130,000 employees. Workers will continue to receive health benefits through May.

“Across Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and Bluemercury [beauty] brands, we will be moving to the absolute minimum workforce needed to maintain basic operations,” the retailer said Monday.

All of Macy’s stores, closed since March 18, will stay shut “until we have clear line of sight on when it is safe to reopen.” Its online business remains open, but the company said it has lost the majority of its sales due to the store closures.

The company noted that it has taken several steps to “maintain financial flexibility,” including suspending its dividend, using its credit line and freezing hiring and spending. Macy’s said it’s “evaluating all other financing options.”

Along with other major retailers, Macy’s had been struggling even before the coronavirus shut down much of the U.S. economy. In February, Macy’s announced plans to close about 125 stores over the next three years — about a fifth of the company’s retail locations — and that it was cutting 2,000 jobs.

Unemployment is soaring around the country. Nearly 3.3 million people filed for jobless benefits in the week that ended March 21 — a number that shattered records going back to 1967.

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Worker at Amazon warehouse in Salem tests positive for COVID-19

Catherina Ploumidakis

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Worker at Amazon warehouse in Salem tests positive for COVID-19

SALEM, OR – A worker at an Amazon warehouse in Salem has tested positive for COVID-19.

Amazon confirmed the diagnosis and says it’s now taking more steps to protect workers, including extra cleaning and ensuring social distancing.

The company released a statement, which reads: “We are supporting the individual who is recovering. We are following guidelines from health officials and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site. You can read more about all we’re doing to protect employees and partners here.”

The Oregon Health Authority said people should take precautions with any items being handled by others. Washing your hands after handling these items is recommended, a spokeswoman said.

Sunday morning, the OHA reported 69 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 548. The state’s death toll from the virus remains at 13.

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Instacart workers seek strike as jobs get busier, riskier due to coronavirus

Catherina Ploumidakis

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Instacart workers seek strike as jobs get busier, riskier due to coronavirus

NEW YORK – A possible strike by Instacart workers highlights the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the grocery delivery business, where workers are worried about their safety as they try to meet a surge in demand for online groceries.

A group called the Gig Workers Collective is calling for a nationwide walk-out Monday. They’ve been asking Instacart to provide workers with hazard pay and protective gear, among other demands.

Instacart said Sunday it would soon provide workers with a new hand sanitizer upon request and outlined changes to its tip system. The group said the measures were too little too late.

While some workers say they intend to join the strike for at least a day — or have stopped filling orders already for fear of getting the virus — other, newer workers are content to have a paying job at a time of mass layoffs in other industries.

The San Francisco-based delivery app is trying to hire 300,000 more workers — more than doubling its workforce —to fulfill orders it says have surged by 150% year-over year in the past weeks. The company said 50,000 new shoppers joined its platform in just the past week. Some customers are waiting days to receive orders.

Instacart currently has a workforce of more than 200,000 contracted workers who make multiple trips a day to various grocery stores to fulfill and deliver orders that customers make through the app. It also directly employs about 20,000 part-time workers who are assigned to a single store, collecting groceries that are subsequently delivered to clients by a contracted Instacart worker.

Chloe Grozdina, a part-time Instacart in-store shopper assigned to a Mariano’s grocery store in the Chicago area, says workers are seeing “a lot of apocalypse orders” from customers hunkered down in their homes. Panic shopping has cleared out the shelves, meaning she often has to replace a customer’s orders with a lesser item or notify them that it’s not available.

Grozdina, who makes $13 an hour and doesn’t get tips, said the crowds of fellow Instacart shoppers have made it tough to keep a safe distance while racing to fulfill orders. Grozdina said she wears a mask to work that she bought herself and immediately showers when she gets home.

Among their demands, the strike organizers want hazard pay of $5 an order and supplies of hand sanitizer, wipes and cleaning supplies free of charge. On Sunday, the company said it had contracted with a third-party manufacturer to make a hand sanitizer spray that workers can request at no cost via a website starting Monday, with shipments starting in a few days.

Data show online grocery orders jumping even before some cities and states imposed “stay at home” orders. During the week of March 2, Instacart, Amazon, and Walmart grocery delivery services each saw at least a 65 percent sales increase compared to the same time last year, according to estimates from Earnest Research.

Instacart has started offering bonuses of between $25 and $200 for its hourly employees dependent on hours worked until April 15.

Instacart also announced a month-long extension of a temporary policy giving 14 days of paid leave to workers who are diagnosed with coronavirus, or have been ordered to isolate themselves. The strike organizers that policy extended to workers with a doctor’s note verifying a pre-existing condition that could make them more vulnerable to the virus.

They also demanded that Intacart raise the tip default in its app to 10% from the current 5%. Instead, Instacart announced Sunday it would change the default to the amount the customer last tipped, saying tips have increased considerably during the virus crisis.

Instacart said previously that it has added more “promotions” — or extra pay for contracted full-service shoppers to accept certain orders.

That was not enough to lure back Shanna Foster, a single mother who stopped working her Instacart gig two weeks ago out of fear of contracting the virus.

“They need to give us hazard pay right now and it should be guaranteed,” said Foster, of Simi Valley, California.

Other companies such as Amazon and Walmart have also announced hiring sprees to meet a surge for both deliveries and in-store essentials. Amazon has increased pay for its workers, including those at its Whole Foods Grocery stores.

While such low-wage jobs put people on the front lines of the pandemic, many people are applying as layoffs surge in retail, restaurant, hospitality and other industries.

Summer Cooper, 39, started working as an Instacart shopper in the Tampa Bay area recently after losing her position as a server at a hotel restaurant. She was unaware of the possible strike.

“I’m grateful to have some way to make money,” Cooper said.

Darrin Burdette, an Instacart shopper in Colorado Springs, said joining a strike would “not help me in any way.”

An Uber driver, Burdette said he relies entirely on his Instacart gig since demand for ride-hailing services plunged. He said he is earning about $30 an hour as Instacart orders rise. On his app, he can see that many orders have come from people using the service for the first time.

Michelle Ellwood, 43, began using the app shortly after her family returned from a trip abroad and decided to self-isolate for two weeks. She said Instacart shoppers have gone out of their way to fulfill orders. One, she said, returned with a chicken after previously being unable to find meat at local stores.

“It’s amazing that they are doing this. I’m grateful. I’m hopeful they are able to take care of their families through this,” said Ellwood of Canandaigua, New York.

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