Amazon plans to wind down AmazonSmile, its giving program that allows buyers to donate to their favorite charities with every purchase, by February 20th, 2023. In its announcement, the e-commerce giant said "the program has not grown to create the impact that [it] had originally hoped" almost a decade after it was launched. Apparently, the program's ability to make meaningful impact was hampered by the fact that it has over 1 million eligible organizations worldwide. Donations were often spread too thin. Whenever people use the AmazonSmile website to make a purchase, the company donates 0.5 percent of what they paid to the charity of their choice at no additional cost to them. As a parting donation to participating organizations, Amazon will give them the equivalent of three months what they earned in 2022 through the program. Going forward, the company will focus its charitable work "in other areas where it can make meaningful change." It gave a few examples of its future plans, such as investing $2 billion to build and preserve affordable housing, funding the computer science curriculum for 1 million students across thousands of schools and delivering 12 million meals this year through food banks. Amazon didn't expound on what it meant by the program failing to make a meaningful impact. According to Bloomberg through, the company donated almost $500 million to charities over the past 10 years through AmazonSmile, but the average amount per donation is only $230 due to the sheer number of participating organizations. Still, critics can't help but wonder if this is merely one of Amazon's cost-cutting tactics.If you'll recall, Amazon recently announced that it's expanding its planned job cuts to eliminate over 18,000 roles. Amazon was one of the companies that benefited from COVID lockdowns over the past few years and had to hire thousands of new people to keep up with the demand. Consumers eventually went back to their pre-pandemic shopping habits, and Amazon (with its bottomline affected by the shift) reportedly conducted cost-cutting reviews to figure out which units weren't bringing in money. As a result, Amazon froze hiring, closed brick-and-mortar stores and shut down business units, in addition to cutting jobs.
Amazon has failed to convince Cornele Overstreet, a regional director with the National Labor Relations Board, to overturn JFK8 workers' vote in favor of unionization. If you'll recall, the JFK8 facility in Staten Island became the first unionized Amazon warehouse after workers voted 2,350-1,912 in favor of joining a union back in April 2022. Amazon said at the time that it was "disappointed" with the result and challenged the vote, alleging "inappropriate and undue influence" from the NLRB. The Wall Street Journal says the e-retailer also accused Amazon Labor Union organizers of threatening employees to vote in favor of unionization. Overstreet, however, has ruled that the company was unable to present sufficient proof of inappropriate conduct to overturn the election's results. He agreed with the labor board hearing officer who recommended in September that JFK8's union vote should be upheld. In a tweet, ALU president Christian Smalls celebrated being "certified by Region 28 NLRB." He added that the union "beat [Amazon] fair and square" and tagged Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, asking him to "come to the table" so they could sign a contract. BREAKING NEWS 🗣‼️‼️‼️ WE OFFICIALLY HAVE BEEN CERTIFIED by Region 28 NLRB. Congratulations @amazonlabor 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉We beat @amazon fair and square now is time to sign a CONTRACT! Come to the table @ajassy#ALUcertified ✊🏽 pic.twitter.com/ce7YdEXEmR — Christian Smalls (@Shut_downAmazon) January 11, 2023 As The Journal notes, ALU previously said that Amazon's appeal was a stalling tactic to delay negotiations for workers' demands. And it sounds like the company doesn't intend to back down: An Amazon spokesperson said the e-commerce giant will appeal again and take the case to the NLRB's board in Washington. As CNBC reports, Jassy previously said that the case "has a real chance to end up in federal court," because it's "probably unlikely the NLRB is going to rule against itself."
Those in the market for a solid set of earbuds at a good price might want to consider the Beats Studio Buds, which are on sale at Amazon. The moon gray version of the earbuds, which usually cost $150, have dropped by 40 percent to $90 . At $89.99, that's four cents more than the actual all-time low we've seen for this model, but we're splitting hairs. Other colors are on sale too, but they'll cost you a bit more at $100 (a third off the usual price).Buy Beats Studio Buds at Amazon - $90We gave Beats Studio Buds a score of 84 in our 2021 review , and they should fit most people's everyday needs. Engadget’s audio expert Billy Steele found the earbuds to be comfortable and capable of delivering solid, balanced sound despite their small size.Since they're Apple products, the Beats Studio Buds have the company's H1 chipset. As such, pairing them to Apple devices is a cinch, though the earbuds support Fast Pair and Find My Device on Android too. So, they're generally a good choice no matter which phone you're using. On the downside, call quality could be better (we found that the microphones picked up background noise) and there's no wireless charging support or onboard volume controls.Hands-free Siri, some onboard controls and sweat and water resistance make the Beats Studio Buds viable for gym use. But if you're really looking for earbuds that you can use while you work out and have some extra cash to spare, it may be worth considering the Beats Fit Pro, which are currently 20 percent off at a record low of $160. Buy Beats Fit Pro at Amazon - $160They have a similar look to the Studio Buds and match that model's IPX4 sweat and water resistance. But they have secure-fit wingtips to keep them in your ears as you move around and onboard volume controls (albeit with a tradeoff). We found the Fit Pro to offer better audio quality than the Studio Buds and there's spatial audio support as well.