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•  From the New York Times:

"Retail sales rose 0.3 percent in February from the prior month, the Commerce Department reported on Wednesday, a slowdown in spending that suggested inflation was taking its toll on American consumers.

"The slower growth — January’s retail sales increased 4.9 percent, revised data showed — followed other indications that consumers were growing more pessimistic as they faced persistently rising prices with no end in sight. Last week, the government said the Consumer Price Index, a widely watched inflation gauge, rose 7.9 percent in the year through February, the fastest annual inflation in 40 years.

"Wednesday’s report did not reflect the full effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24 and triggered a surge in global energy costs. In the United States, gasoline prices have soared past highs last seen in 2008, an increase that will eat into consumers’ ability to spend on other goods."

•  From the Washington Post:

"The National Labor Relations Board has accused Starbucks of retaliating against two employees who sought to unionize their coffee shop in Phoenix, according to a complaint reviewed by the Washington Post.

"Employees Laila Dalton and Alyssa Sanchez were contributing to a national campaign that has set up unions at a handful of Starbucks stores across the country. Starbucks Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, has brought at least a dozen charges on behalf of baristas across the country alleging similar retaliation, according to NLRB case dockets.

If the NLRB prevails in its case, Starbucks could be required to read statements and post physical notices in its stores informing workers of their right to organize. That requirement is a common remedy in labor retaliations cases. The company also could be required to reimburse Sanchez for the hours of work that she lost because of Starbucks’s alleged retaliation. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for June 14.

"In the complaint, the NLRB accused two Starbucks managers of suspending Dalton and giving her a written warning, as well as rejecting Sanchez’s scheduling preferences as a way of discouraging them from raising concerns with managers."

•  Fox Business reports that "Starbucks' iconic white paper cups could soon be a thing of the past.

"In an attempt to reduce landfill waste, the coffee chain will be phasing out its single-use cups in favor of reusable mugs.

"The paper or plastic cups may not completely disappear, but they will be made less attractive.

"'We set a bold aspiration to become a resource positive company – to store more carbon than we emit, to eliminate waste and to conserve and replenish more freshwater than we use,' Michael Kobori, Starbucks chief sustainability officer, said on the company's website. 'This aspiration included setting ambitious 2030 targets to cut our carbon, water, and waste footprints in half.'

"By the end of 2023, customers will be able to use their own reusable cups in U.S. and Canada."