The Portland City Council postponed its vote on a boycott of goods and services from Texas, saying the city needed an extra week to study the potential impact.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler on Friday announced that the city would vote on the boycott in response to a restrictive abortion law in Texas. A boycott would stop municipal purchases from Texas until the abortion law was struck down.
The vote was scheduled for Wednesday, but the city has postponed it by a week, Heather Hafer, spokesperson for Portland’s Office of Management and Finance, said in an email on Tuesday.
Between June 2020 and June 2021, Portland spent more than $34 million on goods and services that originated in the Lone Star State, the city said on Tuesday.
The potential boycott would also stop city employees from travelling to Texas on official business. In the last two years, there were 19 trips by city officials to Texas, Hafer said. The pandemic stopped this travel between March 2020 and June 2021, she said.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said on Sunday on Twitter that Portland was a “dumpster fire” compared to his “thriving” state.
On Monday, he added that the proposed boycott was “a complete joke.”
“A city led by depraved officials allows lawlessness, putting their citizens in grave danger. A boycott will hurt them, not us. Texas’ economy is stronger than ever. We value babies and police, they don’t,” he said.
Portland said last week that its legal counsel was studying the proposal.
“Support Nabisco workers striking for humane working hours, fair pay, outsourcing jobs. NO CONTRACTS NO SNACKS,” the “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” star said in a tweet that garnered 160,000 likes.
Although boycotts can damage a company’s brand, a fast-moving news cycle and constant barrage of information from social media often leads boycotts to fade within a few days if they don’t have strong and sustained participation.
Mike Burlingham, a worker at the Portland bakery and the vice president of the local union, told Insider’s Juliana Kaplan that the unions had recieved strong support for the strike and that anger had been simmering among workers for a long time.
Unilever slid as much as 6% on Thursday after the company downgraded its margin outlook for the year.
The stock was Thursday’s biggest loser among the FTSE 100.
The outlook adjustment comes as Unilever finds itself caught in a brewing political row over a decision by Ben & Jerry’s, its subsidiary, to cease operations in what it called the occupied Palestinian territory.
Unilever slid as much as 6% on Thursday after the company downgraded its margin outlook for the year.
On a Thursday earnings call, Unilever announced that despite healthy sales growth, rising commodities prices had begun to eat away at its operating margins. The company has raised prices but not quickly enough to prevent margins from compressing. Unilever downgraded its margins outlook to “about flat.”
The stock fell on the news, dropping sharply as British markets opened and trending down slowly thereafter. The stock was Thursday’s biggest loser among the FTSE 100.
The outlook adjustment comes as Unilever finds itself caught in a brewing political row over a decision by Ben & Jerry’s to cease operations in what it called the occupied Palestinian territory. Ben & Jerry’s is owned by Unilever but is run by an independent board, signaling a potential conflict over control of the company.
On Thursday, a Texas official said the state’s pension fund was exploring divesting from Unilever under a 2017 law banning investments in any company that boycotts Israel. Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said his country would “act aggressively” against Ben & Jerry’s and warned of “severe consequences.”
“Unilever remains fully committed to our business in Israel,” Unilever CEO Alan Jope said during the Thursday earnings call.
At least seven people working in partnership with a US labor-rights company were interrogated for several days by Chinese officials, Axios reported.
Chinese authorities questioned people working on behalf of Verité in April, Axios reported, citing several unnamed sources familiar with the matter. Verité is a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that investigates possible labor abuses in supply chains.
The US State Department was “deeply concerned by reports that supply-chain auditors have been detained, threatened, harassed and subjected to constant surveillance while conducting their vital work in China,” a spokesperson told Axios.
It is not clear whether the people were Verité employees or contractors, or which company’s supply chain they were investigating.
Since 2016, China has detained about 1 million Uyghurs in their homeland of Xinjiang in hundreds of prison camps. It claims they are a terror threat. The US government has criticized China for its suspected use of forced labor of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, and human-rights groups accuse China of committing “crimes against humanity.” The Chinese government has denied that it uses forced labor in Xinjiang.
On Sunday, 12 top clubs from England, Italy, and Spain, including Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Manchester United, announced plans to participate in the new, closed league. The announcement sparked a significant backlash in the sports community. Top players, as well as government officials, spoke out against the new league.
Fans also called for a boycott of services that would stream the Super League games, pointing fingers at Amazon and ESPN.
“To all footbalfans: if the SuperLeague arrives, refuse to choose the TVchannels they will use: If they cannot make money, JP Morgan and the greedy clubs will soon loose their appetite,” one Twitter user wrote.
Streaming rights to the European Super League could be a major boon to media groups like ESPN and Amazon Prime, likely on par with the NFL.
Amazon responded to claims the company would stream the Super League events and said it “understands and shares the concerns of fans.” The company said it has not been involved in any discussions about the new league.
A primary concern among fans was that the new league meant increased control over the game from American corporations. The Super League would be more reminiscent of US sports leagues than European ones, as the league would no longer regulate teams to lower levels based on their performance.
Some fans said JPMorgan was attempting to turn European soccer into a “money-grabbing” entity like the NFL.
A close inspection of Miller’s photo also revealed a pair of reading glasses resting on Trump’s new desk – a departure from the man who very rarely allowed himself to be seen wearing glasses. In 2019, The New York Times reported that Trump disliked tweeting in front of other people because he needs reading glasses to see his iPhone screen. Instead, Trump preferred to dictate his tweets to then-White House social-media director, Dan Scavino.
In the corner of the photo, sitting atop a side table and partially blocked by Miller, stands a miniature statue of what appears to be Trump himself; a tangible ode to a self-admittedly, self-involved president.
Major League Baseball’s (MLB) decision to relocate its 2021 All-Star Game could cost Georgia’s economy more than $100 million, a county tourism official has said.
Local hotels were already hit hard by the pandemic, Holly Quinlan, chief executive of Cobb Travel & Tourism, told told CNN.
“The 8,000-plus MLB contracted hotel room nights that will not actualize as a result of the MLB All-Star Game relocation will have a negative impact on Cobb’s hospitality industry and other local businesses, further delaying recovery,” she said.
The league’s decision was likely the “1st of many dominoes to fall,” Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said on Friday.
The divisive election law has led to calls for many calls for boycotts. President Joe Biden called the law a “blatant attack on the Constitution and good conscience.”
Former President Donald Trump, who backs the law, called for fans to boycott MLB. Trump on Saturday added to a list of companies that he’d like his supporters to boycott.
Former ESPN sportscaster Keith Olbermann, meanwhile, called for fans to boycott the Masters golf tournament that begins Thursday at Georgia’s Augusta National Golf Club.
That organization issued a statement opposing “any legislation or action that restricts the rights or impacts access for Black, Brown and underrepresented communities to participate in the democratic process.”
It said: “We believe in a fair, accessible and secure election process for all Georgians.”
Former President Donald Trump doubled down on his criticism of companies that oppose Georgia’s new voting law, and widened his appeal for more boycotts.
“Never submit, never give up!” Trump said. In a statement, he added that his political opponents – the “Radical Left Democrats” – had long used brand boycotts to send messages.
“It is finally time for Republicans and Conservatives to fight back – we have more people than they do – by far! Boycott Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, JPMorgan Chase, ViacomCBS, Citigroup, Cisco, UPS, and Merck. Don’t go back to their products until they relent. We can play the game better than them,” Trump said.
Trump was in opposition to another former president, Barack Obama, who supported Major League Baseball’s (MLB) decision to move its 2021 All-Star Game.
“Congratulations to @MLB for taking a stand on behalf of voting rights for all citizens. There’s no better way for America’s pastime to honor the great Hank Aaron, who always led by example,” Obama said on Twitter.
Elsewhere, Republican National Committee chair, Ronna McDaniel, said she was skipping MLB broadcasts.
“Guess what I am doing today? Not watching baseball!!!!” she said on Twitter.
MLB’s decision to move the game could cost the Atlanta economy about $100 million in lost revenue, Holly Quinlan, a local tourism official, told CNN on Saturday.
Georgia voting rights activist Stacey Abrams said she supported the league’s decision, but didn’t “want to see Georgia families hurt by lost events and jobs.”
Religious leaders of the AME Sixth Episcopal District of Georgia are among those calling for a boycott of Coca-Cola. If “Coca-Cola wants Black and brown people to drink their product, then they must speak up when our rights, our lives, and our very democracy as we know it is under attack,” Bishop Reginald Jackson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Voting rights groups have expressed anger and disappointment, too.
“We are all frustrated with these companies that claim that they are standing with the Black community around racial justice and racial equality. This shows that they lack a real commitment to racial equity. They are complicit in their silence,” co-founder of Black Voters Matter LaTosha Brown told The New York Times.
Many companies expressed support for racial justice last year, and activists see their actions now as missing follow through on earlier statements.
“It seems to me perfectly legitimate for Black voters in Georgia to expect them [corporations] to speak just as powerfully and directly about what is an unwarranted attack on the ability of Black voters to participate in the political process” NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc Sherrilyn Ifill said.
On March 15, protestors held a die-in at the World of Coca-Cola against the bill. Coca-Cola addressed calls for boycotts in an online statement: “You may see comments and calls for protests and boycotts of our state and our company. We have never wavered on our point of view and we have and will continue to meet with a wide array of stakeholders inside and outside of Georgia to hear their views, work together, and advocate for greater voting access.”
Georgia-based corporations have so far only offered broad support of voting rights without addressing many specifics of the bill.
“We believe voting is a foundational right in America and access should be broad-based and inclusive. Throughout the legislative session, we have been active with the Metro Atlanta Chamber in expressing our concerns and advocating for positive change in voting legislation. We, along with our business coalition partners, sought improvements that would enhance accessibility, maximize voter participation, maintain election integrity and serve all Georgians,” Coca-Cola said in a statement to Insider before the bill was signed.
“Last week controversial Georgia voting legislation was signed into law. While we are disappointed in the outcome, we don’t see this as the final chapter,” the Atlanta-based company added after it was passed.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian gave a similar statement.
“Delta believes that full and equal access to voting is a fundamental right for all citizens. Over the past several weeks Delta engaged extensively with state elected officials in both parties to express our strong view that Georgia must have a fair and secure election process, with broad voter participation and equal access to the polls. The legislation signed this week improved considerably during the legislative process … Nonetheless, we understand concerns remain over other provisions in the legislation and there continues to be work ahead in this important effort. We are committed to continuing to listen to our people and our communities, and engage with leaders from both parties to ensure every eligible employee and Georgia voter can exercise their right to vote.”
Home Depot did not comment on the bill directly at all.
“We believe that all elections should be accessible, fair, and secure and support broad voter participation. We’ll continue to work to ensure our associates, both in Georgia and across the country, have the information and resources to vote,” the company said in a statement to Insider, listing examples of how it carried out a Get Out the Vote campaign.
On Monday the US, EU, Canada, and UK placed sanctions on China for “repressive practices against Uyghur Muslims and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.” Following the sanctions, past statements on human rights violations in Xinjiang from retailers including H&M and Nike surfaced on the social media platform Weibo, with users pledging to boycott H&M and other brands that signed a pledge to stop using Xinjiang cotton.
Insider reached out to each of the brands, and have included statements from those who were immediately available to comment.
Here are the affected brands so far.
Swedish brand H&M said in a statement that it would no longer use cotton from the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and ended its relationship with a yarn company in the region. In the statement, the retailer said it was “deeply concerned by reports from civil society organizations and media that include accusations of forced labor.”
H&M’s statement was circulated on Chinese social media platform Weibo. H&M products were removed from shopping sites including Alibaba and JD.com, and Baidu Maps removed geolocations of the retailer. Social media posts showed that at least 50 H&M stores were closed across China over fears of protests.
Nike released its own statement about using cotton from the region, saying “We are concerned about reports of forced labor in, and connected to, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Nike does not source products from the XUAR and we have confirmed with our contract suppliers that they are not using textiles or spun yarn from the region.”
Adidas also stated that it would not use cotton from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Three big stars, Yang Mi, Jackson Yee, and Dilraba Dilmurat, all severed relationships with Adidas as a result, Vice reported.
The People’s Daily, which is controlled by China’s Communist party, named Burberry as a company that would not use Xinjiang cotton.
Chinese celebrity Zhang Yixing stopped promoting Calvin Klein over the pledge.
Under Armour’s statement echoed many other brands, saying “Under Armour is deeply concerned by credible reports of forced labor and other abuses in, and outside, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).” The athleticwear brand is on the list of brands to boycott.
Celebrities have said they will stop promoting clothing brand Tommy Hilfiger over Xinjiang cotton, Vice reported.
The People’s Daily also named New Balance as a company that would not use Xinjiang cotton.
Gap made a statement stating that “We can confirm that we do not source any garments from Xinjiang,” and that the company has “strict policies against the use of involuntary labor.” As a result, Gap was added to the list of brands to boycott on Weibo.
Zara’s website had a statement online that called reports of forced labor in Xinjiang “highly concerning,” which has since been removed. Zara was added to the Weibo list of brands to boycott.