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Wage gap barely budges in Boston area


Wage gap barely budges in Boston area

Women make 76 cents for every dollar men make in the Boston area, according to a new gender wage gap report by the Boston Women’s Workforce Council — one cent more than the gap found by the council’s inaugural report a year ago, which included fewer employers. Broken down by race, white women make 75 cents on the dollar, compared to white men, while African American women make 52 cents and Latina women make 49 cents. The report, set to be released Wednesday, compiled anonymous 2016 wage data from nearly 167,000 employees at 114 companies in Greater Boston; last year, the report examined the 2015 pay of 112,600 workers at 69 companies. Women’s average annual compensation is $73,000, compared to $97,000 for men. The report is thought to be the first in the nation to analyze the gender pay gap using employer data, as opposed to employee-reported wages, which are considered less accurate. The data does not account for differences in occupation, education, and experience between men and women. Bonuses reveal an even greater disparity, with women getting only $3,500 on average, while men’s bonuses are more than triple that amount. African-American women earn just 7 cents to every dollar in bonuses that white men make. The gap also varies depending on the job category. For instance, female service workers make just 57 cents on the dollar compared to men, while female administrative employees outearn their male counterparts, $1.02 to $1. — KATIE JOHNSTON


Poland to limit Sunday shopping

Polish President Andrzej Duda has signed into law a bill that largely limits trade on Sundays, saying it will benefit family life. The legislation, worked out by the conservative government and the Solidarity trade union, is expected to draw protests from large Western supermarket chains that are the main target of the law. A large part of their profit is earned on weekends. As of March 1, shops and markets will be closed on two Sundays per month; in 2019 only one Sunday a month will be open for shopping; and starting in 2020, there will be no Sunday shopping, with a few exceptions. Duda praised the law on Tuesday as giving children a chance to be with parents and giving shop workers some needed time off. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Woman sues Walmart for locking up African-American personal care products

A California woman has sued Walmart, accusing the nationwide chain of racial discrimination because her local store keeps African-American personal care products locked up in a glass case. The woman, Essie Grundy, said she felt humiliated and discriminated against when on three occasions this month she had to ask a store employee to unlock the beauty supplies, including a recent occasion during which she had planned to buy a 48-cent comb. Charles Crowson, a spokesman for Walmart, acknowledged that certain items are kept locked up for security reasons because they are more likely to be stolen. The items, he said, may differ from store to store. “You go into any of our stores — a good part of our items are behind additional security,” Crowson said. “We’re sensitive to this situation and also understand, like other retailers, that some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics, and other personal care products are subject to additional security. Those determinations are made on a store-by-store basis.” — NEW YORK TIMES



The BBC proposes pay cap as it tries to narrow gender wage gap

The BBC proposed a 320,000 pound ($449,000) pay cap for news reporters and anchors Tuesday as the taxpayer-funded corporation tries to narrow the gap between men and women. The BBC unveiled the pay cap just one day before lawmakers are scheduled to question the head of the corporation about the broadcaster’s pay culture. The hearing is likely to be uncomfortable for the BBC, as it is scheduled to include testimony from Carrie Gracie, the China editor who resigned the post in protest after learning her male counterparts doing the same job earned much more. Tensions over the gender pay gap flared last summer when the BBC released a list of top earners that showed many high-profile women earned far less than their male counterparts. In recent weeks, a number of the BBC’s leading male presenters agreed to take pay cuts to help reduce the disparity. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Family sues Facebook over recorded and shared shooting death of family member

The family of a Cleveland retiree whose shooting death was recorded and shared on Facebook is suing the social media company for failing to notify authorities about threats posted by the shooter. The wrongful death lawsuit filed over the April slaying of Robert Godwin Sr. calls Facebook negligent because it has extensive data-mining capabilities but didn’t catch and report the shooter’s threats of violence before the shooting. A lawyer for Facebook didn’t address those specific allegations in a statement to WJW-TV, but she expressed sympathy for Godwin’s family and noted that content violating Facebook’s policies is removed when users report it. Gunman Steve Stephens shared video of shooting the 74-year-old Godwin along a Cleveland street. The 37-year-old Stephens killed himself two days later after a police chase in Erie, Pa. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



FDA asks maker of anti-diarrhea drug to sell it in smaller quantities

US health regulators on Tuesday asked makers of popular anti-diarrhea drugs to sell their medications in smaller amounts to make them harder to abuse. The request comes amid a spike in overdoses from large doses of the over-the-counter drugs, which contain a small amount of an opioid. The Food and Drug Administration wants manufacturers to package their medications in smaller quantities, such as eight tablets per package. Currently, some generic versions are sold in boxes of up to 200 tablets. The FDA said it also plans to ask online retailers to make it harder to order bulk amounts of the drugs. The key ingredient in anti-diarrhea medications like Imodium is part of the opioid family, an addictive drug class that includes morphine and oxycodone. At low doses, the medicine, known generically as loperamide, helps control diarrhea. But recent statistics show a rise in abuse of the drug, including massive doses that can cause heart problems and death. In some reported cases, people attempted to wean themselves off opioids by substituting the anti-diarrhea drugs. Fifteen deaths were tied to the drug between 2010 and 2016, researchers reported in a study last year. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Harley-Davidson to close Missouri plant as sales drop

Harley-Davidson Inc. will close its Kansas City, Mo., plant as part of a cost-cutting move as it continues to face dwindling shipments. The Milwaukee-based company reported a 7.9 percent drop to 241,498 motorcycle shipments in 2017 and expects the figure to continue dropping. It forecast 231,000 to 236,000 motorcycle shipments in 2018. The motorcycle maker reported an 82 percent slide in fourth-quarter profit to $8.3 million. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Home prices up sharply in November as shortage of homes continues

US home prices rose a sharply in November, lifted by a shortage of homes on the market. Standard & Poor’s said Tuesday that its S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index increased 6.2 percent in November from a year earlier after climbing 6.1 percent in October. Seattle saw 12.7 percent price increase, Las Vegas 10.6 percent, and San Francisco 9.1 percent. Washington, D.C., prices rose just 3.3 percent, lowest among the 20 metropolitan areas measured. The national housing index has registered annual gains of 5 percent or more for 16 months. — ASSOCIATED PRESS