Alina Selyukh

Five members of a congressional committee say Jeff Bezos and other executives misled lawmakers and may have lied under oath, according to a Monday letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, who succeeded Bezos in July.

If Santa is reading this, his sleigh and reindeer are urgently needed for help.

Toy-makers are warning of emptier shelves and pricier toys this holiday season. Their supplies are ensnarled in an unprecedented shipping crisis — floating traffic jams of container ships wallowing near key U.S. ports.

When Curtis McGill helped launch a small Texas toy company, he did not picture himself in this boat: up all night bidding eye-popping sums of money for space on a trans-Pacific ship.

People lick their fingers, touch money and hand it to you. They take money out of bras or hand you bills soaking wet with lake water. When you become a grocery cashier, says Rachel Baker, you quickly learn that retail is really filthy.

Updated September 11, 2021 at 12:07 PM ET

Six U.S. senators are calling for a federal probe into Amazon's treatment of pregnant employees at its warehouses. It's the latest push by lawmakers across the country to focus regulatory attention on the working conditions for the company's ballooning workforce.

California lawmakers have passed a first-of-its-kind legislation that would give Amazon and other warehouse workers new power to fight speed quotas, which critics say have forced workers to skip bathroom breaks and skirt safety measures.

The bill, if signed by the governor, could also make public more comprehensive details about the demands Amazon makes of its warehouse staff, specifically about the impact of speed quotas on the workers' health.

On a gray, dreary February day, Marguerite Adzick looked out on ice caps floating off a desolate beach along the Jersey Shore. The coronavirus was surging. Mass vaccinations had barely begun. And she had just told her investors she was about to sign a lease on her first brick-and-mortar clothing store.

"They were just, I think, speechless," says Adzick, whose store, Addison Bay, sells women's activewear. "I think me even saying it out loud ... was a little comical. But we ran the numbers. We knew it would work."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama may get a second chance to vote on whether to form the company's first unionized warehouse in the United States.

A federal labor official has found that Amazon's anti-union tactics tainted this spring's election sufficiently to scrap its results, according to the union that sought to represent the workers. The official is recommending a do-over of the unionization vote, the union said in a release.

For a while there, it seemed like things were finally heading back to normal. Now, not so much.

In the span of just a week, plans for a September return to the office have been pushed back. Mask mandates have made a comeback. And a growing number of employers, including the federal government, are laying down the line on vaccines.

Susan Curp was on a quick run to the store when her 13-year-old daughter spotted something she couldn't pass up: back-to-school sales. Notebooks covered with llamas and palm trees. Pens, pencils and even a case for the scented sanitizer — sparkly, of course.

"I think she's excited to ... get organized and just have a little more normalcy in her life," Curp says.

Curp's daughter has a twin brother who's far less into back-to-school shopping. But he, too, will have to do it — because a lot has changed during the year and a half of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pages