Chattanooga, Tennessee halts its recycling pickup due to a shortage in pickup drivers

  • Residents in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will have to live without a recycling pickup service for now, the city tweeted.
  • Recycling collection will resume once the city can fill 32 open positions for recycling pickup drivers.
  • Competitive rates, employee retention, and ongoing COVID-19 issues are compounding the employee shortage.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The city government of Chattanooga, Tennessee, will be stopping curbside recycling pickup starting July 30 due to employee shortages.

The recycling collection service will be suspended until the city is able to fill 32 open commercial driver positions, it said Thursday on Twitter. City officials are recommending residents personally deliver their recycling to Chattanooga’s recycling drop-off centers.

“This was a difficult decision,” the city said in the tweet, also citing low employee retention and hiring challengesas factor creating an “untenable” curbside recycling effort. The disparity in competitive rates from private sector recycling pickups adds to the difficulty in finding dedicated employees.

The starting pay for CDL (commercial driver’s license) truck drivers is $29,865 – 118% less than the starting pay for drivers recruited by local pickup companies, according to a presentation the mayor’s office made to the Chattanooga city council earlier this week.

The office also presented data that most qualified job candidates are turning down these vacant municipal positions, some of which have been unfilled for more than two years, because of the pay. The city is then forced to hire less-qualified applicants who require more training and manager supervision worker.

“The impact to recycling due to our driver shortage illustrates one of Chattanooga’s most acute problems,” said City of Chattanooga’s Chief of Staff Brent Goldberg. “Pay for city employees is far below the market rate, a problem our budget will address when we present it to [Chattanooga’s] City Council in August.”

A wave of employee retirements, resignations, and COVID-19 illness may contribute to further public work disruptions, according to city spokesman Ellis Smith.

“In spite of supervisors filling in on a regular basis, garbage and brush pick-up could also be impacted if the driver shortage continues to grow worse,” Smith said.

The tweet also linked to an external top application page where people can apply for one of the open pickup driver positions. Applicants will need to have a commercial driver’s license to apply.

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Biden’s infrastructure plan includes massive investments in care for children and the elderly. Here’s how much workers in those jobs are paid.

home caregiver
  • Biden’s infrastructure spending plan includes $400 billion for elderly and disabled care.
  • Insider looked at the typical pay of five different caregiving jobs.
  • Home health and personal care aides made a median salary of $27,080 in May 2020.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Caregivers, like home health aides and personal care aides, are a big component of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan.

But many of the people responsible for caring for America’s most vulnerable make less than the median annual salary of all occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program provides May 2020 data for almost 800 different detailed occupations.

Insider decided to look at five different kinds of jobs that provide care to children, disabled Americans, and the elderly to see how much these jobs typically pay.

For our set of care jobs we looked at caregivers, childcare workers, and various nurses and medical professionals who may provide basic care in addition to other responsibilities. For instance, we included licensed practical nurses whose duties range from checking blood pressure to helping the elderly or other patients eat.

The following chart highlights the median annual salaries of five different kinds of caregiving jobs:

Four of the five occupations in the chart made less than the median annual salary of all occupations in May 2020 of $41,950.

Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses made a median annual salary of $48,820, the highest pay among the selected caregiving occupations we looked at. There were 676,440 licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses in May 2020 with a large number of these workers in nursing care facilities.

There were over 3.2 million home health and personal care aides in May 2020 with a median annual salary of $27,080 per data from BLS. BLS notes that personal care aides are sometimes referred to as caregivers or personal attendants and a lot of these workers work at patients’ homes to help assist them with daily tasks.

The American Jobs Plan includes $400 billion for “expanding access to quality, affordable home- or community-based care for aging relatives and people with disabilities,” according to a White House press release about The American Jobs Plan.

The press release adds that this includes “offering caregiving workers a long-overdue raise,” citing that home caregivers currently make a $12 hourly wage. Insider’s Patricia Kelly Yeo wrote that the $12 rate refers to home care workers of home health aides, nursing assistants, and personal care aides.

Childcare workers typically make $25,460, and 494,360 were employed in May 2020. Biden’s infrastructure plan includes investing $25 billion toward upgrading childcare facilities and adding more in places that need these services.

Politico notes that the American Jobs Plan, or the first part of the infrastructure proposal, doesn’t include an increase in wages for childcare workers mentioned in his campaign, but that could be included in the second part. Insider’s Joseph Zeballos-Roig and Juliana Kaplan reported that this second plan is called the American Families Plan and will focus on social infrastructure, including childcare reform.

The billions of dollars in spending aimed at improving the care economy could add millions of jobs. Insider’s Juliana Kaplan wrote that the combined $775 billion for childcare, home healthcare, and residential care could create 5.3 million jobs in 18 states over a decade according to research from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Additionally, the billions in spending would be beneficial for women in the workplace; the White House press release notes caregivers are disproportionately made up of women of color.

“These investments will help hundreds of thousands of Americans finally obtain the long-term services and support they need, while creating new jobs and offering caregiving workers a long-overdue raise, stronger benefits, and an opportunity to organize or join a union and collectively bargain,” the White House said in a press release about how this plan can benefit caregivers.

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It’s about time for Congress to pay its interns a fair wage – it could help introduce some much-needed diversity on the Hill

congressional interns
Congressional interns wait in line before a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

  • In March, Sens. Cory Booker and Tim Scott introduced a bipartisan bill that would create a paid internship program at the US Department of State.
  • Unpaid internships limit the pool of applicants who can afford to gain this valuable experience.
  • Creating paid government internship programs will increase socioeconomic diversity in American leadership.
  • Amanda Silberling is a writer and activist based in Philadelphia.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.

Currently, there is no legislation mandating that government interns receive pay. But there should be. Paying federal interns a fair wage is not only the right thing to do, but it could also diversify the halls of government.

While Congress recently started paying interns, the caps on pay are still low compared to the cost of living in the nation’s capital, preventing many students from applying.Last summer, Rep. Tony Cárdenas pointed out that there are 1,110 senior staff positions on Capitol Hill, but only 152 people in those positions are Black, indigineous, people of color (BIPOC). This is a systemic problem that starts when our government limits who can afford to intern on the Hill.

And the issue isn’t just limited to Congress, many other parts of the government are lacking when it comes to intern pay. In March, Sens. Cory Booker and Tim Scott introduced the Department of State Student Internship Program Act, a bipartisan bill that would pay State Department interns a minimum wage. Students would also be provided housing and money for travel if they don’t live within 50 miles of their workplace. This is incredibly promising, yet long overdue.

In a press release to introduce the legislation, Sen. Booker’s office wrote that “for years, the State Department has struggled to recruit people of color.” A primary goal for this paid internship program is to make government hiring more equitable, and that starts from the most junior positions.

Barrier of entry

“At intern mixers, it was overwhelmingly white, and overwhelmingly people who went to DC schools,” remembers Chris Bohórquez, who was an unpaid intern for Rep. Bill Pascrell in 2015. “It was the same kind of experience that I had [as a student at George Washington University], that it was traditionally white, traditionally affluent, and I was very much in the minority of every environment I was in.”

An internship in government is the first step toward a career in public service. While congressional internships offer stipends capped at $1,800 a month, other internships in the federal government only offer college credit. Still, a recent report by Pay Our Interns found that the average total stipend per intern was $1,986.75 in the Senate and $1,612.53 in the House, which isn’t a living wage for multiple months of work. Plus, even though more congressional interns are receiving pay, over 76% of those interns are white, revealing that congressional internship classes are still lacking in diversity. Offering hourly wages, housing, and targeted outreach to underrepresented students could help change that.

Paid or unpaid, the low amounts of support make internships impossible for many students – especially those without familial wealth, who need to earn a reliable paycheck to afford rent, food, and tuition.

A 2018 study from Georgetown University found that eight out of 10 students now work a job while they’re in college. But low-income students are more likely to work paid jobs in retail or customer service, rather than unpaid internships like those offered in DC. By graduation, students who lack industry-specific skills they would’ve gained in an unpaid internship are less competitive applicants for entry-level government jobs.

After paying for housing, food, and transportation, internships can cost interns about $6,000. When employers offer college credit in exchange for their unpaid interns’ service, it can actually worsen the financial strain of working for free. After all, tuition is expensive, and those extra credits cost money. But as the job market becomes more and more competitive, internships are essential to getting a foot in the door, especially in politics.

To afford his unpaid internship, Bohórquez saved money from his work-study job. Then, he arranged all of his classes to be on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so that he could intern from 9 to 5 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

“That was the culture and expectation, that in order to get a good job out of college, you had to bust your butt working unpaid internships,” said Bohórquez. “As a first-generation student, I assumed this was normal.”

Now, Bohórquez runs the paid internship program at Invariant, a public affairs firm in DC.

All students deserve compensation for their labor, yet in government, the lack of legislation to guarantee interns’ pay is particularly disturbing. In order for our government to adequately serve the needs of the American people, we need diverse representation in positions of power. The Department of State Student Internship Program Act would be an invaluable start toward leveling the economic playing field, but we need to extend the precedent for paying interns to all government offices.

In 2018, the nonprofit Pay Our Interns worked with bipartisan legislators to secure $13.8 million in funding for interns in the Senate and the House. Despite these massive steps forward, many internships remain unpaid. Pay Our Interns advised Sens. Booker and Scott on their bill, which is a companion to legislation that Representative Joaquin Castro introduced in the House.

Carlos Mark Vera, the Executive Director of Pay Our Interns, says that per the State Department bill, agencies will be required to do intentional outreach to minority-serving institutions and report who their internship programs served.

“Because of COVID-19, this is more timely and necessary than ever,” Vera says. “Last year, summer jobs and internships were wiped away. We’re losing a whole generation.”

One of the most common arguments against creating paid internship programs is that government budgets are already stretched too thin. When hundreds of qualified applicants apply for existing unpaid roles, there’s little incentive to change anything. But promoting equity and diversity in all levels of government should be incentive enough.

“I think it’s a priority and values issue more than [a] money [issue]. The Department of Education spent over $8 million just on a security detail for former Secretary Betsy DeVos,” says Vera. “So don’t tell me, you know, there isn’t $3 or $4 million there to pay interns. It simply is not the case.”

If only the most wealthy, privileged students can intern on the Hill without significant stain, then our government will continue to fail to reflect the diversity of our country.

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Apollo is offering some associates retention bonuses of up to $200,000 to stay on until 2022 after a year of insane hours and rapid-fire deals

Leon Black
Leon Black, who stepped down as CEO of Apollo Global Management on Monday.

  • Investment giant Apollo is offering some associates six-figure ‘retention’ bonuses in the wake of exits in New York City.
  • The bonuses range from $100,000 for first-years to $200,000 for third-years, according to two people briefed on the matter.
  • The bonuses will be paid in April and come with an agreement that associates stay until September 2022, these people said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Investment giant Apollo Global Management is offering six-figure retention bonuses to some of its private-equity associates after several young executives quit the firm, Insider has learned.

Seven out of 30 New York City associates have left the firm in recent weeks, Insider previously reported. Current and former employees who spoke with Insider about the exodus described a relentless workload that has become even more intense during the pandemic as the firm – well-known for its distressed buying strategies – pounced on opportunities.

In an effort to stem the exits, Apollo has extended $100,000, $150,000, and $200,000 bonuses for first-year, second year, and third-year associates, respectively, to be paid in April, according to two people familiar with the matter. The bonuses come with the stipulation that associates stay with Apollo at least until September 2022.

And they come on top of pay packages that are already at the top of the market: First-year associates at Apollo receive a total of more than $450,000, according to these people, who declined to speak publicly to preserve their relationships at the firm.

Apollo executives Matt Nord and David Sambur, who co-lead the firm’s private equity group, have been making the offers to employees via phone calls, according to these sources.

Insider could not determine how widespread the bonuses were. One Apollo employee said several associates they had spoken with had not received the bonuses, meaning that the bonuses could have been offered to a select group of associates.

It could also mean that Apollo is in the early stages of rolling out the bonuses.

Joanna Rose, an Apollo spokeswoman, did not address the specific bonuses when asked, but said that the firm’s private-equity business has been and continues to be “extremely active,” putting more than $12 billion to work in the past year across a “diverse set of opportunities.”

“With recent wins such as Sun Country IPO, Diamond/HGV merger and Synnex/TechData merger, we continue to recognize the impact of our extraordinary teams,” she said.

The offers show how far one of the largest investment firms is willing to go to deal with a talent drain among its junior employees, who have grappled with burnout fueled by long-hours and remote work.

They come as concerns about associate morale have cropped up at financial services firms across Wall Street. Last week an internal presentation by 13 demoralized Goldman Sachs analysts described 100-hour work weeks and a mental and physical toll during COVID.

Firms have been taking steps to address the concerns, though no action has been as extreme as Apollo’s. Jefferies has offered Peloton bikes and other workout gear for junior staffers, while Goldman Sachs has vowed to improve conditions for junior bankers, though it has not yet said how.

The additional compensation will make associate jobs at Apollo – already one of the highest-paying entry points on Wall Street – even more lucrative. The typical starting salary of $450,000 for first-years comes with subsequent $100,000 raises annually; third-years can earn up to $725,000, according to these people.

The position offers a four-year career track to principal and, from there, partner – a position that typically earns millions of dollars annually.

Young executives are key to the private-equity group’s success, handling the grunt work of preparing presentations and analyses that higher executives use to evaluate and pursue deals.

The group has been active in recent months, buying a $1.2 billion stake with Silver Lake Partners in the travel website Expedia and a $1.75 billion interest in the grocery-store operator Albertsons. It also recently completed a $2.25 billion deal to control and operate the Venetian resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Apollo’s new CEO, Marc Rowan, has signaled that he prioritizes making Apollo a more enticing place to work. Rowan has said in recent weeks that one of his primary areas of focus will be to improve Apollo’s famously ruthless culture.

Apollo had previously stated that Rowan, a co-founder at the firm who is credited with building its expansive insurance business, would take over the chief executive role from Leon Black, the company’s chief founder, who would relinquish the role by his 70th birthday in July.

In a surprise announcement on Monday, the firm stated that Black would step down immediately and also vacate his role as chairman of Apollo’s board, a position he had previously intended to keep. The firm’s announcement cited health issues as a reason for Black’s change of plans.

Black’s departure followed revelations in an investigation commissioned by Apollo and released at the beginning of the year that he had paid the convicted pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein, $158 million for tax and business services.

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