Two Ridges Pottery opens Monday in St. Elmo and more business news

Contributed photo / Potter Tori Hunt works in her Two Ridges Pottery. She is opening a studio and shop Monday in St. Elmo.
photo Contributed photo / Potter Tori Hunt works in her Two Ridges Pottery. She is opening a studio and shop Monday in St. Elmo.

Two Ridge Pottery opens in St. Elmo

Potter Tori Hunt, who has operated her Two Ridges Pottery out of her Flintstone, Georgia home for more than two years, is opening a new studio and shop in St Elmo on Monday.

The store at 3927 St. Elmo Avenue will be open from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. every weekday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

"We need the extra space to continue to grow and St. Elmo is a great location for us," Hunt said of her 4-employee company.

Two Ridges Pottery features what Hunt describes as "nature-inspired ceramic essentials" - mugs, teapots, plates, bowls, pitchers, sippers, spoon rests, lemon juicers, stemless wine cups and dog bowls. In addition to individual pieces of pottery customized for individual needs and names, Hunt also has holiday gift boxes that come with a coffee or tea blend.

Her signature design is her handmade mountain mugs, inspired by the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, where she grew up. Her studio's name, Two Ridges, is a nod to her favorite views off the Blue Ridge Parkway, where she and her husband, Christopher, have camped and hiked.

Amazon union vote starts in Alabama

The National Labor Relations Board on Friday dismissed objections filed by Amazon over a union vote set for next week at a fulfillment center that employs more than 5,000 people in suburban Birmingham.

The agency said objections by the online retailer didn't raise any "substantial issues" that needed review.

Amazon had no immediate comment, but the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Stuart Appelbaum, said the company should begin "respecting its own employees" and allow them to vote without intimidation or interference.

Amazon had cited issues with plans for mail-in balloting related to the COVID-19 pandemic and asked for in-person voting in the center's parking lot in Bessemer, located just west of Birmingham, over four days.

The NLRB ruled that in-person voting would require people to gather for extended periods, so mail-in voting was justified. Ballots are expected to begin going out by Monday to workers, and votes will be counted on March 30.

New York Daily News staff rejoin labor union

Journalists at the New York Daily News, the 101-year-old tabloid that has fallen on hard times after an ownership change, pay cuts and sweeping layoffs, said Friday that they had formed a union.

Newsroom employees at the paper, once a significant voice for the city's working class, have not had representation since the mid-1990s, when its owner, Mortimer B. Zuckerman, effectively broke their affiliation with the Newspaper Guild of New York.

Workers at the Daily News said they had secured the signatures of more than 80% of newsroom staff members and had organized under the same union, now called the NewsGuild of New York.

"We're thrilled to welcome our hometown paper back into the Guild," Susan DeCarava, president of the NewsGuild of New York, said in a statement.

2020 trade deficit reaches 12-year high

The U.S. trade deficit rose 17.7% last year to $679 billion, the highest since 2008, as the coronavirus disrupted global commerce and confounded then-President Donald Trump's attempts to rebalance America's trade with the rest of the world.

The gap between the value of the goods and services the United States sells abroad and what it buys climbed from $577 billion in 2019, the Commerce Department said Friday. Exports skidded 15.7% to $2.1 trillion, and imports fell 9.5% to $2.8 trillion.

As president, Trump sought to narrow the gap by imposing taxes on imported goods on a scale unseen since the trade wars of the 1930s.

- Compiled by Dave Flessner