business news in context, analysis with attitude

…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• In Minnesota, the Pioneer Press reports that "striking Teamsters in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Indiana will return to work" after United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) agreed to negotiations, returning the supply chain to normal just days before the Christmas holidays.

According to the story, "Nearly 160 workers at a Fort Wayne, Ind., United Natural Foods distribution site had been on strike since Dec. 13. The members of the Teamsters Local 414 accused the company — with corporate offices in Minnesota — of unfair labor practices … Other Teamsters locals at United Natural Foods sites in Hopkins and Green Bay, Wis., joined the strike on Tuesday. About 700 members of Teamsters Local 120 were involved in the Minnesota strike."

• Responding to the House of Representatives' passing of the the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), MI's Vice President of Tax, Trade, Sustainability & Policy Development, Andy Harig said, "“FMI is very pleased with today’s strong, bipartisan House vote to move the USMCA one step closer to completion. The USMCA updates and builds on the benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), bringing it into the 21st century. It secures existing supply chains, promotes economic growth and job creation, and modernizes a number of provisions to reflect current business models and approaches. For the first time, USMCA addresses online commerce and biotechnology products. It also establishes modern, science-based Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary standards."

And from Tom Stenzel, United Fresh President and CEO: “With today’s strong vote by the House, we encourage the Senate to move forward with consideration of USMCA. For the fresh produce industry, this is a welcomed achievement as we continue to meet the demands from consumers for increased availability of healthy fresh fruits and vegetables. Finally, we believe this new trade agreement will strengthen our partnership between the three countries and provide essential cooperation in the fresh fruit and vegetable industry."

• The New York Times has a story about Camp in Downtown Brooklyn, described as "a venture-backed 'family experience store' - what would have recently been called a toy store - that blends play and product in hopes of reviving a tired retail toy scene. After high rents, low margins and intense competition brought down previous iterations of Toys R Us and F.A.O. Schwarz, it seems like a risky time to bet on toys. But Camp is trying something different … The stores seem to hide the selling of toys in plain sight by outfitting their spaces in immersive themes that change every few months."

According to the story, "It’s free to play in Camp’s stores, but the walls, tables, and even the floors are also packed with toys available for purchase. Their stock mixes the usual suspects, like kid-scale play kitchens and L.O.L. Surprise! dolls, with books, balls, figures and craft kits from smaller vendors — a curated variety that helps Camp differentiate from Amazon. There’s also a full schedule of ticketed programs running $20 to $30 each, including crafts (Mason jar snowglobe making, animal masks), physical activities (musical yoga, obstacle courses), and entertainment (children’s comedy, live music). Meanwhile, parents can visit on-site cafes."
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