Apple just banned a pay equity Slack channel but lets fun dogs channel lie

Business

The Verge 31 August, 2021 - 02:30pm 34 views

The company’s rules around Slack usage are not being evenly enforced

“Slack channels are provided to conduct Apple business and must advance the work, deliverables, or mission of Apple departments and teams,” the employee relations representative told employees.

The company’s rules for the in-office chat app say that “Slack channels for activities and hobbies not recognized as Apple Employee clubs or Diversity Network Associations (DNAs) aren’t permitted and shouldn’t be created.”

But that rule has not been evenly enforced. Currently, Apple employees have popular Slack channels to discuss #fun-dogs (more than 5,000 members), #gaming (more than 3,000 members), and #dad-jokes (more than 2,000 members). On August 18th, the company approved a channel called #community-foosball. The cat and dog channels are not part of official clubs, and all of these channels were specifically created to talk about non-work activities.

Employment attorney Vincent P. White says that invoking the Slack terms may simply be an excuse to block discussions of workplace pay disparities since doing so outright would violate labor law. “Discussing pay equity is a protected activity under federal, state, and local law,” says White. “Everyone agrees on that. For them to try and impair employees’ ability to discuss pay equity and diversity in the workplace is a clear cut act of retaliation.”

Pay equity has been a hot topic among Apple employees over the past few months. The company has shut down multiple employee surveys aimed at gathering data on how much workers make. One survey, started by Apple engineer Cher Scarlett, has seemingly been allowed to stay up. An early analysis of the results showed a 6 percent wage gap between the salaries of men and women who participated.

Now, organizers want to create a space for employees to discuss pay issues. While Apple previously said it did not have a pay equity problem, employees are suspicious. The company’s recent behavior, including shutting down pay surveys and now banning a pay equity Slack channel, has only exacerbated those concerns.

“It sure is very convenient for Apple that these Terms of Use that they wrote are extremely useful for crushing free and open communication among employees,” one source says.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Verge.

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This is an opportunity for Zoom to build its platform: Baird analyst

The Seattle Times 31 August, 2021 - 05:30pm

August sets COVID-19 records for Comal County

Herald Zeitung 31 August, 2021 - 05:30pm

Clear to partly cloudy. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. Low around 75F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.

The city of New Braunfels this week began accepting registra…

County officials on Tuesday reported 156 new cases — 107 confirmed and 49 probable — for a record 1,557 active virus cases and 15,659 total since the pandemic began locally in March 2020. Two recent deaths reported Tuesday increased that overall total to 371. 

Officials confirmed the death of a Spring Branch man in his 80s in a San Antonio hospital Aug. 23 and the death of a New Braunfels man in his 80s on Aug. 25 at a New Braunfels hospital.

Between July 30 and Tuesday, the county totaled 3,082 new cases and 36 deaths. The month ended with 759 more active cases than the 798 reported July 30, but 2,287 recoveries ended the month with 13,731 overall.

The month saw single-day records for new cases and confirmed cases (218 and 170, respectively on Aug. 18); patients in county hospitals (109 on Aug. 17) and on ventilators (20 on Aug. 27). All surpassed marks during the peaks of the two previous surges in January 2021 and July 2020.

There are now 8,838 confirmed cases and 6,797 probable cases. Twenty-six of the new cases are aged under 20; 21 are in their 20s; 60 are in their 30s and 40s; 36 are in their 50s and 60s; and 13 are 70 or older. 

There are 73 COVID-19 patients in county hospitals, which include a mix of county residents and non-residents; some local patients have been treated in hospitals outside the county. 

Of the total, 19 are in intensive care and 14 are on ventilators. The county estimated 98% of those hospitalized are unvaccinated.

The percentage of hospital beds being used by COVID patients across the 22-county region that includes Comal and Guadalupe counties edged back up to 19.16%, up slightly from Monday but still under the monthly high of 22.05% on Aug. 25.

After 1,442 more tests upped the county total to 146,601 overall, Comal’s seven-day positivity molecular rate dropped to 14.8% on Tuesday, down from Monday’s 19.25%. The antigen rate edged down from 9.97% to 9.73%.

The Comal County Public Health is now taking appointments for Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, including a third dose of either vaccine for anyone who is moderately to severely immunocompromised.

“COVID numbers are at an all-time high and getting vaccinated is still our best shield against the virus. We encourage those who have not received the vaccine to consider it,” said Cheryl Fraser, county public health director. “Individuals who are immunocompromised and qualify for the third dose are now eligible to receive it. The hospitals are finding that most of the COVID patients are unvaccinated and very ill.”

Those who received second doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines at least four weeks ago are eligible for third doses of their meet one more of the following criteria:

Those who received either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine series, a third dose of the same mRNA vaccine should be used. No additional doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are currently recommended.

Cary Zayas, the county’s public information officer, said only three residents received third-dose vaccines last week at the public health office. She said third doses should not be confused with boosters, which are not yet available.

“All doses are the exact same vaccines, but the third dose is only for the immunocompromised,” she said. “When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announces that boosters can be available to the general public, even those who received third doses would be eligible for those as well.”

For more, visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/immuno.html.

The county urges residents to talk with their healthcare providers on their medical conditions and whether additional doses are appropriate for them. Those seeking appointments can call the county health department at 830-221-1150.

There are no approved vaccines for those under the age of 12. Those interested in receiving a vaccine can call 830-221-1150 to schedule an appointment.

Visit covidvaccine.texas.gov to find a provider in Comal County and surrounding areas. To vaccinate groups of friends, families, employees and volunteers through the Texas Department of Emergency Management’s State Mobile Vaccine Program, call 844-90-TEXAS and select Option 3. Homebound Texans can also call 844-90-TEXAS and choose Option 1 to request a visit from the mobile vaccine team.

Curative Labs has temporarily closed its testing facility in the New Braunfels City Hall parking lot, but those needing a COVID-19 test can call their primary care physician or visit a local pharmacy, such as Walgreens or CVS.

DSHS provides a map of testing locations available at https://covidtest.tdem.texas.gov/.

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Boosters May Be More Limited, CDC Panel Signals

euronews 31 August, 2021 - 07:36am

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers visit http://www.djreprints.com.

A key Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee may back a more limited approach to Covid-19 boosters than the one announced by Biden administration health officials.

In a joint statement last week, the heads of federal health agencies, including the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, unveiled a plan to begin allowing all Americans to receive booster shots of the messenger RNA-based vaccines developed by Pfizer (ticker: PFE) and Moderna (MRNA) the week of Sept. 20.

Before that can happen, however, FDA staff must authorize booster doses of the vaccine for widespread administration, and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices must issue a recommendation. Comments by ACIP members in a meeting on Monday suggested that their go-ahead wasn’t a sure thing.

“Process really does matter,” said Dr. Beth Bell, a member of ACIP and a professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Washington. “I think it’s really quite important that we’re continuing to highlight what our process is, and how we get to a point of making recommendations.”

A presentation at the meeting made by a CDC staffer, Dr. Sara Oliver, noted that the vaccines continue to offer high protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death, though protection against asymptomatic and mild infections appears to be lower.

The presentation, based on the discussions of a working group, suggested that the priority should continue to be vaccination of unvaccinated people, and that the priority for a booster-dose policy should be “prevention of severe disease in at-risk populations.”

The CDC work group is discussing a booster-dose recommendation approach that targets long-term-care residents, older adults, and healthcare personnel, according to Oliver’s presentation.

That appears to be setting the stage for a narrower set of recommendations than Biden administration officials have been promising. “We expect the rule will be simple,” White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients said at a White House briefing last week. “Get your booster shot eight months after you’ve got your second shot.”

In a note out Tuesday morning, SVB Leerink analyst Daina Graybosch wrote that the ACIP comments should dampen near-term expectations for booster doses. “We read this meeting timing and the additional dose (‘booster’) discussion as an indication that uptick in third doses may not come as rapidly as investors have been expecting,” Graybosch wrote.

In a separate note, Jefferies analyst Michael Yee wrote that ACIP was taking a conservative approach. “ACIP still appears to be hesitant on whether [additional] doses are needed despite waning antibodies and increasing infections,” Yee wrote. “We think the ACIP could be leaning toward just a narrow 3rd dose recommendation for high-risk people (healthcare workers, elderly) vs. the more blanket recommendation the White House favors.”

BioNTech ‘s (BNTX) American depositary receipts dropped 3.8% on Monday, and were down another 1.2% in premarket trading on Tuesday. Moderna shares dropped 3% Monday and were up 0.9% in premarket trading Tuesday, while Pfizer shares climbed 0.3% on Monday and were down 0.1% early Tuesday.

Some ACIP members were critical of the Biden administration’s approach to the booster rollout. One member, Dr. Helen Keipp Talbot, a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University, said that “many many many” hospitals in the south had begun giving boosters to patients and healthcare workers, despite the FDA and CDC not yet signing off.

“Since it was given a date, many assumed it was given a blessing by the White House, and this was the next step,” Talbot said.

Talbot said that these healthcare providers won’t be covered by the PREP Act, which offers Covid-19 vaccinators immunity from liability. “Many people did not read the fine print,” Talbot said.

In her note, Graybosch said that comments at the meeting on the question of whether PREP Act protections apply to vaccinators giving third doses before approval by the FDA and CDC would cut down on near-term demand for boosters. “Physicians expressed their surprise” at this point, Graybosch said, and “we expect early boost demand will pullback until FDA / ACIP action.”

In addition to the discussion of boosters, ACIP also voted to recommend Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine for people aged 16 and above, following the FDA’s decision to fully approve the vaccine last week. “If you have been waiting for this approval before getting the vaccine, now is the time to get vaccinated and join the more than 173 million Americans who are already fully vaccinated,” the CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said in a statement.

Write to Josh Nathan-Kazis at josh.nathan-kazis@barrons.com

A key Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee may back a more limited approach to Covid-19 boosters than the one announced by Biden administration health officials.

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This article has been sent to

Copyright ©2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Boosters May Be More Limited, CDC Panel Signals

CNBC Television 31 August, 2021 - 07:36am

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers visit http://www.djreprints.com.

A key Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee may back a more limited approach to Covid-19 boosters than the one announced by Biden administration health officials.

In a joint statement last week, the heads of federal health agencies, including the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, unveiled a plan to begin allowing all Americans to receive booster shots of the messenger RNA-based vaccines developed by Pfizer (ticker: PFE) and Moderna (MRNA) the week of Sept. 20.

Before that can happen, however, FDA staff must authorize booster doses of the vaccine for widespread administration, and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices must issue a recommendation. Comments by ACIP members in a meeting on Monday suggested that their go-ahead wasn’t a sure thing.

“Process really does matter,” said Dr. Beth Bell, a member of ACIP and a professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Washington. “I think it’s really quite important that we’re continuing to highlight what our process is, and how we get to a point of making recommendations.”

A presentation at the meeting made by a CDC staffer, Dr. Sara Oliver, noted that the vaccines continue to offer high protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death, though protection against asymptomatic and mild infections appears to be lower.

The presentation, based on the discussions of a working group, suggested that the priority should continue to be vaccination of unvaccinated people, and that the priority for a booster-dose policy should be “prevention of severe disease in at-risk populations.”

The CDC work group is discussing a booster-dose recommendation approach that targets long-term-care residents, older adults, and healthcare personnel, according to Oliver’s presentation.

That appears to be setting the stage for a narrower set of recommendations than Biden administration officials have been promising. “We expect the rule will be simple,” White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients said at a White House briefing last week. “Get your booster shot eight months after you’ve got your second shot.”

In a note out Tuesday morning, SVB Leerink analyst Daina Graybosch wrote that the ACIP comments should dampen near-term expectations for booster doses. “We read this meeting timing and the additional dose (‘booster’) discussion as an indication that uptick in third doses may not come as rapidly as investors have been expecting,” Graybosch wrote.

In a separate note, Jefferies analyst Michael Yee wrote that ACIP was taking a conservative approach. “ACIP still appears to be hesitant on whether [additional] doses are needed despite waning antibodies and increasing infections,” Yee wrote. “We think the ACIP could be leaning toward just a narrow 3rd dose recommendation for high-risk people (healthcare workers, elderly) vs. the more blanket recommendation the White House favors.”

BioNTech ‘s (BNTX) American depositary receipts dropped 3.8% on Monday, and were down another 1.2% in premarket trading on Tuesday. Moderna shares dropped 3% Monday and were up 0.9% in premarket trading Tuesday, while Pfizer shares climbed 0.3% on Monday and were down 0.1% early Tuesday.

Some ACIP members were critical of the Biden administration’s approach to the booster rollout. One member, Dr. Helen Keipp Talbot, a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University, said that “many many many” hospitals in the south had begun giving boosters to patients and healthcare workers, despite the FDA and CDC not yet signing off.

“Since it was given a date, many assumed it was given a blessing by the White House, and this was the next step,” Talbot said.

Talbot said that these healthcare providers won’t be covered by the PREP Act, which offers Covid-19 vaccinators immunity from liability. “Many people did not read the fine print,” Talbot said.

In her note, Graybosch said that comments at the meeting on the question of whether PREP Act protections apply to vaccinators giving third doses before approval by the FDA and CDC would cut down on near-term demand for boosters. “Physicians expressed their surprise” at this point, Graybosch said, and “we expect early boost demand will pullback until FDA / ACIP action.”

In addition to the discussion of boosters, ACIP also voted to recommend Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine for people aged 16 and above, following the FDA’s decision to fully approve the vaccine last week. “If you have been waiting for this approval before getting the vaccine, now is the time to get vaccinated and join the more than 173 million Americans who are already fully vaccinated,” the CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said in a statement.

Write to Josh Nathan-Kazis at josh.nathan-kazis@barrons.com

A key Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee may back a more limited approach to Covid-19 boosters than the one announced by Biden administration health officials.

An error has occurred, please try again later.

This article has been sent to

Copyright ©2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. Distribution and use of this material are governed by our Subscriber Agreement and by copyright law. For non-personal use or to order multiple copies, please contact Dow Jones Reprints at 1-800-843-0008 or visit www.djreprints.com.

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