business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From the Washington Post:

"Millions of gig workers, janitors, home-care workers, construction workers and truckers could be considered employees rather than independent contractors under a final rule announced Tuesday by the Labor Department.

"The rule effectively expands the reach of federal labor laws that require employers to extend certain benefits and protections to workers classified as employees. Those include the right to the minimum wage, overtime pay, unemployment insurance and Social Security benefits — which employers are not required to provide to independent contractors.

"The rule will 'help create a level playing field for businesses, protect workers from being denied the right to fair pay, and affirm the vital role true independent contractors play in our economy by allowing them to thrive,' acting labor secretary Julie Su told reporters on a call Monday.

"The rule is to be published Jan. 10 and would take effect on March 11, officials said.

"Backed by labor advocates, the rule is expected to face an onslaught of legal challenges from companies. It has faced extensive criticism from businesses and industry groups, including those representing Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and other ride-share and delivery platforms. But labor officials say they have carefully considered possible litigation and are confident that the rule would withstand a court challenge."

•  From Bloomberg:

"Seven & i Holdings Co. said it agreed to pay $950 million to buy the Sunoco LP gas stations and convenience stores in the US it doesn’t already own as it seeks to boost growth abroad … The Sunoco acquisition will bring the total number of Seven & i outlets in the US to 12,996, according to the company."

According to the story, "The Japanese 7-Eleven convenience-store operator will buy Sunoco’s remaining 204 stores located in the western part of Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma, it said in a statement Thursday. It adds to its purchase of 1,030 of outlets for $3.3 billion in 2018.  The acquisition is a part of a longer-term strategy to accelerate Seven & i’s growth beyond its saturated home market in Japan, which also faces headwinds from the country’s declining population."