Lowe's hands out employee bonuses

Lowe's Cos. announced Wednesday that it is handing out another round of bonuses to recognize its front-line employees in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company said all full-time hourly workers will get $300, and part-time and seasonal employees will receive $150 on Oct. 16. The bonuses total $100 million and will affect hourly workers at Lowe's stores, distribution centers and store support centers, the company said. The latest bonus will match the money Lowe's provided to all hourly associates in March, May, July and August, according to the company.

The retailer joins other companies from Amazon to Kroger to Target that have provided their front-line and warehouse workers bonuses.

With the latest bonuses, Lowe's will have provided more than $675 million in financial support to its sales associates this year, the company said in a news release. Lowe's also has committed more than $100 million to support its communities during the pandemic, including $55 million in grants to provide financial relief to rural, minority-owned and women-owned small businesses, according to the news release.

Lowe's has more than 2,200 stores, including local outlets in East Brainerd, Hixson, Fort Oglethorpe and Kimball Tennessee.and about 300,000 full- and part-time employees.


Netflix indicted for 'Cuties' film

A Texas grand jury has indicted Netflix, prosecutors said Tuesday, on a charge of promoting lewdness in the French film "Cuties," which has been maligned by some as child exploitation and defended by others as a complex coming-of-age story about preadolescent girls.

Netflix was served with a summons last week informing it that grand jurors in Tyler County, a county of about 21,600 people 115 miles northeast of Houston, had indicted the company for promotion of lewd visual material depicting a child, according to prosecutors.

County prosecutors said the charge was based on a Texas law that makes it illegal to "knowingly promote" material that depicts the genitals or the pubic area of a child, clothed or partially clothed, and "which appeals to the prurient interest in sex and has no serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value."

"The legislators of this state believe promoting certain lewd material of children has destructive consequences," Lucas Babin, the county's criminal district attorney, said in a statement. "If such material is distributed on a grand scale, isn't the need to prosecute more, not less?"

The indictment said that Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos, the chief executives of Netflix, had "recklessly tolerated" the dissemination of the film.


Consumers reduce August borrowing

U.S. consumers cut back on their borrowing in August, with credit card use dropping for a sixth straight month, reflecting caution in the midst of the pandemic-triggered recession.

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that total borrowing fell by $7.2 billion after a gain of $14.7 billion in July. It was the biggest decline since a $12 billion fall in May when pandemic-driven shutdowns ground the economy to a near standstill.

The weakness in August came from a $9.4 billion fall in the category that covers credit cards, the sixth decline in that area starting with a $25.4 billion drop in March. The category that covers auto loans and student loans rose by $2.2 billion in August, its fourth gain after a $5.6 billion drop in April.

Consumer borrowing is closely followed for signals it can send about households' willingness to take on more debt to support their spending, which accounts for 70% of economic activity.


House panel wants breakup of tech firms

After an investigation that lasted more than a year, a U.S. House antitrust subcommittee has accused Inc., Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and Google parent Alphabet Inc. — whose collective market value is more than $5 trillion — of abusing the power of their platforms to cut off competitors and extend their dominance. It calls for a structural breakup of their businesses.

"These firms have too much power, and that power must be reined in and subject to appropriate oversight and enforcement. Our economy and democracy are at stake," the nearly 450-page final report said. "Our laws must be updated to ensure that our economy remains vibrant and open in the digital age."

Each of the company's anticompetitive practices were presented in excruciating detail in the document. Facebook, for instance, was accused of maintaining its monopoly power among social networks by using its data advantage to stifle and identify potential competitors and then "acquire, copy, or kill these firms."

— Compiled by Dave Flessner