REFILE-McDonald’s to hire 260,000 staff this summer as restaurants reopen

(Corrects to “summer” from “summers” in headline) June 18 (Reuters) – McDonald’s Corp said here on Thursday it would hire about 260,000 restaurant staff in the United States this summer, as stores reopen for diners after serving through delivery, drive-thrus and takeaway for weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

UPDATE 2-Facebook takes down Trump ads over ‘organized hate’ policy

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc (FB.O) said on Thursday it took down posts and ads run by the re-election campaign of U.S. President Donald Trump for violating its policy against organized hate. The ads showed a red inverted triangle with text asking Facebook users to sign a petition against antifa, a loosely organized anti-fascist movement. In a tweet on Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, said of the symbol: “The Nazis used red triangles to identify their political victims in concentration camps. Using it to attack political opponents is highly offensive.” The Facebook ads were run on pages belonging to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, and also appeared in ads and organic posts on the “Team Trump” page. “Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol,” said a Facebook company spokesperson. “The inverted red triangle is a symbol used by Antifa, so it was included in an ad about Antifa,” Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, said in an email. “We would note that Facebook still has an inverted red triangle emoji in use, which looks exactly the same, so it’s curious that they would target only this ad. The image is also not included in the Anti-Defamation League’s database of symbols of hate.” A spokesman for the ADL said its database was not one of historical Nazi symbols but of those “commonly used by modern extremists and white supremacists in the United States.” He also said that there have been some antifa who have used the red triangle, but that it was not a particularly common symbol used by the group.

Want your pre-pandemic pay back? Work for it, Meritor tells staff

NEW YORK, June 18 (Reuters) – Meritor Inc employees and executives who saw their salaries slashed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic can recoup lost pay for this year as long as the company meets new performance targets, the trucking parts supplier said this week. The Troy, Michigan-based company is one of the first to roll out such a plan after imposing pay cuts of up to 60% for its top brass and staff. It shut down production at most of its manufacturing plants in March amid a global freight downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some compensation experts said Meritor’s move could offer a template for companies that are looking to incentivize staff as the pandemic’s economic fallout eases. Meritor’s plan allows executives and employees to recoup compensation they lost because of this year’s pandemic-induced pay cuts, if the company hits certain liquidity and cost reduction targets, according to a regulatory filing published on Tuesday. The announcement follows an earlier move by Meritor to partially reverse the pay cuts. On June 2, the company said that pay cuts of 50% to 60% it had unveiled on March 25, in the wake of the pandemic, would be reduced to 10% to 20%. About 20% of 1,000 companies surveyed by consulting firm Arthur J. Gallagher & Co cut employee pay in response to the pandemic. The vast majority of those planned to reverse the pay cuts subject to market conditions, according to the survey. Companies have to toe a thin line between rewarding executives and keeping investors, who have suffered losses, happy. Meritor’s shares are down 23% year-to-date, compared to a 4% drop in the S&P 500 Index. Marc Hodak, a partner at Farient Advisors LLC, said shareholders may support the incentive program should Meritor’s shares improve. Socially conscious investors, however, are likely to protest the move on the basis that the pay of already well-compensated executives should not be shielded, he said. Meritor declined to give further details on the plan. Meritor employed 9,100 people as of the end of last year. In June, the company began laying off 8% of its global salaried workforce. It also laid off some hourly workers. (Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Greg Roumeliotis and Aurora Ellis)

Canada’s Co-op Refinery reaches tentative deal with Unifor to end labor dispute

(Reuters) – Co-op Refinery Complex (CRC), western Canada’s third-largest oil refinery, said on Thursday it reached a tentative deal with the country’s largest private sector union, potentially ending a months-long labor dispute. The deal offered to Unifor 594, the union representing CRC’s workers, includes monetary offer along with a return-to-work agreement, according to the refinery’s statement. Federated Cooperatives Ltd, which owns and operates CRC refinery in Regina, Saskatchewan, and the refinery workers have been locked in a dispute for months after the management locked out 800 employees on Dec. 5 over pensions-related disagreement. “The labour disruption has been a difficult process for everyone involved, but we are hopeful that the membership will ratify the deal, and our employees will return to work soon,” said Gil Le Dressay, vice president of refinery operations at CRC. Unifor 594 will hold a ratification vote to finalize the deal and if it’s agreed upon, CRC will begin the process of getting the employees back to work.

UPDATE 1-Hertz seeks bankruptcy loan after suspending stock sale – WSJ

(Reuters) – Hertz Global Holdings Inc (HTZ.N) is in talks for a bankruptcy loan of up to $1 billion to fund its business reorganization after suspending its plan to sell new shares, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. The car rental firm suspended its plan to sell up to $500 million in new shares on Wednesday after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission raised objections to the sale. ( Hertz won a bankruptcy court approval last week to sell its stock and raise capital by taking advantage of a strong rally in its stock since filing for bankruptcy last month. The company had warned that its shares would be eventually “worthless”, but the stock sale could benefit creditors seeking to recover more of their claims during the bankruptcy process. Hertz did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

UPDATE 1-Tesla wants to start building a new U.S. vehicle plant this summer

DETROIT (Reuters) – Electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) wants to start building a large vehicle assembly plant in the southwestern United States as early as the third quarter of this year, the company told Texas officials in documents made public this week. But the company is still pitting Texas and Oklahoma against each other in an effort to secure tax breaks, the documents show. The plant would build Tesla’s electric pickup truck and Model Y SUV, according to reports. Tesla told officials in Travis County, Texas, the automaker wants to invest about $1 billion to build a 4 million to 5 million square foot vehicle assembly plant employing 5,000 people on the grounds of what is now a cement operation near Austin. But it needs tax breaks to make the site competitive with an alternative location in Oklahoma, according to documents filed with Texas officials. The Austin-American Statesman reported details of the company’s filings. Tesla officials could not immediately be reached for comment, but Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk previously hinted about a Texas plant, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott has spoken with Musk about the possibility. Tesla’s sole U.S. vehicle assembly plant in Fremont, California, covers 5.3 million square feet – a large plant, but not large enough for the growing company. Tesla has had to build cars under a tent adjacent to the plant. Musk clashed with California officials after Alameda county officials ordered the Fremont factory to halt production and comply with coronavirus stay-at-home orders that took effect in March. He threatened to move future operations to Texas or Nevada. The California plant has since reopened.

Semiconductor manufacturers reach deal to supply U.S. defense chips

(Reuters) – Globalfoundries and SkyWater Technology have reached a deal to supply semiconductor chips to the U.S. defense industry and work on new technology, the companies said on Thursday, as the industry moves toward more U.S. manufacturing. Globalfoundries, a California-based semiconductor manufacturing firm owned by the United Arab Emirates’ sovereign wealth fund, already supplies defense chips through a number of factories in the United States it acquired in 2015. It purchased the chip-manufacturing unit of International Business Machines Corp. Minnesota-based Skywater was divested from U.S.-based Cypress Semiconductor in 2017 and is fully U.S.-owned. Last year, SkyWater received up to $170 millihere from the U.S. Defense Department to develop chips designed to withstand radiation from nuclear attacks and space travel. Each chip factory is unique, which can make it hard to have the same chip made by two different factories. Under a memorandum of agreement announced on Thursday, the two companies said they would align their technologies to give defense customers reliable access to high-volume manufacturing. “This (agreement) shows proactive industry cooperation that can complement developing government policy focused on restoring American leadership for semiconductor manufacturing,” Brad Ferguson, SkyWater’s chief technology officer and head of government relations, said in a statement. The move comes at a time of renewed interest in making chips in the United States. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world’s biggest chip contract manufacturer, said last month it wants to build a factory in Arizona. Intel Corp proposed creating a consortium of American chipmakers to bolster U.S. manufacturing. Last week, both houses of the U.S. Congress introduced bills that would give the industry at least $22.8 billion in subsidies, most of which would be aimed at encouraging the construction of chip factories.

US STOCKS-Wall Street oscillates amid COVID-19 spikes, muted data

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street struggled for direction on Thursday as investors weighed a resurgence in coronavirus infections and the possibility of a new round of shutdowns against data that suggested the U.S. economy might not bounce back with quick, V-shaped recovery. A range-bound S&P 500 see-sawed through much of the session and was last in negative territory, joining the blue-chip Dow in the red. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was essentially flat. “It’s not unusual after huge moves to trade sidewise,” said Chuck Carlson, chief executive officer at Horizon Investment Services in Hammond, Indiana. “It’s a continuing evaluation of the sustainability of improvement at these rapid levels.” “(Investors) don’t want to sell and they don’t want to buy, so you have days like this,” Carlson added. Initial jobless claims declined slightly last week to a still-bruising 1.51 million, according to the Labor Department. The number was worse than consensus, and continuing claims remain stubbornly high at 20.54 million, suggesting the labor market has a long road to recovery. While several U.S. states have reported surges in new COVID-19 cases after re-opening their economies, President Donald Trump insisted the United States would not enact a new round of restrictions to curb the pandemic’s spread. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 136.7 points, or 0.52%, to 25,982.91, the S&P 500 lost 8.39 points, or 0.27%, to 3,105.1 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.09 points, or 0%, to 9,910.63. Of 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, five were in positive territory, with energy and consumer staples seeing the largest percentage gains. Real estate was the clear laggard. Grocery chain Kroger Co beat quarterly earnings estimates and said it expects to exceed its 2020 same-store sales outlook. But the company did not reaffirm or provide new 2020 forecasts, and its shares fell 5.4%. Shares of Spotify Technology SA jumped 13.8% after the music streaming company inked a deal with AT&T Inc’s Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment to add popular DC Comics character podcasts to its library. Cruise operator Carnival Corp fell 2.8% after reporting a record $4.4 billion quarterly loss after pandemic-related write-downs. Biogen Inc dropped 7.6% after a U.S. district court ruled in favor of generic drugmaker Mylan NV in a patent dispute. Mylan NV rose 2.2%. Industrial services provider Team Inc plunged 17.1% after missing quarterly earnings estimates amid falling demand. Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.23-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.10-to-1 ratio favored advancers. The S&P 500 posted five new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 72 new highs and four new lows.

UPDATE 3-U.S. House panel hears from Facebook, Google, Twitter on election security

(Reuters) – Top officials from Facebook, Google and Twitter were grilled by U.S. lawmakers on Thursday at a virtual hearing on foreign influence and election security ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential contest. Leaders from Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) told the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee that they had not seen evidence of coordinated foreign interference in conversations about absentee voting or about recent protests on anti-racism and policing. However, Twitter’s director of global public policy strategy and development Nick Pickles said the company had seen a shift from platform manipulation to public tweets from state media and government accounts. Democratic Representative Jim Himes pressed Facebook’s head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher on what the company was doing to deal with the concern that its algorithm promotes polarization. “If every single American household is full of toxic, explosive gas, as I think it is today, all it takes is a match from Russia or from Iran or from North Korea or from China to set off a conflagration,” said Himes. Gleicher said Facebook’s users did not want to see divisive content and the platform had refocused to emphasize content from friends and family. The debate over content moderation has intensified in recent weeks. Twitter and Facebook have diverged on how to handle inflammatory posts by President Donald Trump, which Facebook’s Gleicher was pressed on at the hearing. Trump, in turn, has accused social media companies of censorship and called for the government to roll back liability protections for tech platforms. Asked about changes to this law, known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Gleicher said the company would comply with the law if Congress made changes, but that the shield it creates is essential for Facebook to do its work. Richard Salgado, director for law enforcement and information security at Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google, faced accusations that the company’s lack of transparency had allowed it to avoid the heat other tech firms had drawn. Salgado said Google does provide transparency reports around advertising on the platform.