Economy

Regions Bank to refund $141M for illegal overdraft fees

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that between 2018 and 2021, Regions was charging overdraft fees on some ATM withdrawals as well as some debit card purchases, even after the bank told the customers they had enough funds to cover the transactions.

U.S. Steel used convict labor in Birmingham. Has it reckoned with its past?

A century ago, U.S. Steel was one of the companies involved in Alabama's convict lease system. The steelmaker has a mixed record on acknowledging that history.

Confrontations between Alabama miners, strikebreakers a part of a rough labor history

Federal labor officials fined the United Mine Workers of America union $13.3 million for, among other things, property damage at the picket lines.

Dollar store workers are organizing for a better workplace. Just don’t call it a union.

Fired up by a labor movement that’s seen big union victories recently, dollar store workers are organizing in their own way to improve work conditions.

How 3 Gulf South country stores are adapting to high inflation: ‘It’s hurt everybody’

General store owners in the Gulf South are — once again — looking for new ways to get by as high inflation becomes the latest threat to their businesses.

After launching in Atlanta, rural Georgia is the next stop for this guaranteed income pilot

In Her Hands, a guaranteed income initiative for women, is launching soon in Cuthbert, Georgia and its surrounding counties. Here’s how it’s coming together.

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54% of support comes from members

From pig ears to vegan food, Jackson’s oldest Black business district finds new life

For years, Farish Street has been viewed as a failed business district. But Black business owners are working to shift the narrative of the historic street.

Workers at New Orleans Starbucks say yes to unionizing; the 1st in Louisiana

The successful, 11-to-1 vote happened weeks after a former shift supervisor that led the unionization effort was fired by higher management.

With vanpooling, workers and employers find a ‘win-win’ amid a tight labor market, high gas costs

As 2022's economic woes continue, more people are using vanpools as a cost-effective way to get to work. It’s also helping out their employers.

Workers at a Birmingham Starbucks become 1st to unionize in Alabama

Workers at the downtown Birmingham coffee shop cast a near-unanimous vote to become the first Starbucks location in the state to say yes to forming a union.

‘Better isn’t good enough’: Starbucks workers in Birmingham, New Orleans discuss unionizing

Starbucks stores in Birmingham and New Orleans could be the next to unionize. Those leading the efforts sit down to discuss why and what they've learned so far.

What does a successful guaranteed income program look like? Jackson might have the answer

A successful guaranteed income program in Jackson, Mississippi could offer insights to cities in Alabama and Louisiana as they launch their own pilots.

The fate of Amtrak’s Mobile to New Orleans line will be decided by these key issues

Amtrak is making its final pitch for a Gulf Coast passenger train line. The private companies that own the tracks the trains would run on, however, oppose it.

A year into striking, Alabama coal miners are frustrated but defiant as ever

As the strike in Alabama drags on, coal miners say it’s not just about the money. They’re also fighting for their dignity.

Record-high gas prices are cutting into Alabama drivers’ budgets. Here’s how they’re coping

The added expense affects people in Alabama’s Black Belt differently, including road trippers, commuters and even those who can’t drive.

Why Gulf South oil producers can’t protect the region from rising gas prices

Experts say activating unused oil wells could temper the rising costs of gas, but consumers should not expect prices to get anywhere near their COVID low.

A rodent infestation shut down Family Dollar stores. How one Alabama town is coping

A Family Dollar in York, Alabama is one of the few shopping options in town. But it's shuttered due to a warehouse rodent infestation.

Amtrak’s proposed Mobile-New Orleans line is ‘a bad idea’ for Alabama, officials say

Mississippi wants to move full steam ahead with plans to restore the passenger rail, but Alabama worries the line will disrupt the freight rail.

Mississippi wants more tech jobs. Here’s what it can learn from Alabama’s tech success

Louisiana and Mississippi rank at the bottom nationally when it comes to the percentage of tech jobs in the state workforce. Alabama sits in the middle of the list, mostly because of Huntsville’s Research Park.

2nd election for Amazon workers in Alabama will be by mail

A federal labor board says Amazon workers at a facility in Bessemer will re-vote next month on whether to unionize.

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54% of support comes from members

How the social safety net has — and hasn’t — changed in 2021 in 5 charts

Updates to SNAP, TANF and the Child Tax Credit have helped families in the Gulf South, but not everyone has been able to access the improved benefits.

Families in need received more from the social safety net in 2021. How helpful was it?

Experts hail changes like the Child Tax Credit and increases in SNAP benefits as historic. But were recipients better off after getting them?

Supply chain issues in California open up a business opportunity for Gulf Coast ports

Southern ports report higher traffic, but problems on the ground keep them from being a true solution to the supply chain tangle.

Why nearly $910 million meant to prevent evictions in Gulf States has been left unspent

New data shows about $910 million meant to prevent evictions had yet to be used by the end of September in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.

As southern workers quit in record number, restaurants struggle to meet demands

Wages have gone up as restaurants try to hold onto their staff amid a record number of people quitting their jobs in the U.S., especially in the South.

Want to help after Hurricane Ida? Southern charities say the best way is giving people cash

Charities in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana say giving people money is faster and gives them back agency. But experts say cash alone can’t solve all the problems after a storm.

Birmingham hosts the Morehouse Tuskegee Classic for the first time

The oldest football rivalry among historically black colleges has made its way to Birmingham. Tuskegee University and Morehouse College will have their first game in the Magic City.

Pay, Workers Increase In Hospitality Industry, But Some Restaurants Still Face Shortage

Labor data shows recent increases in wages and workers in Alabama’s leisure and hospitality industry, though the number of workers has not reached pre-pandemic levels and some restaurants still are scrambling to hire help. One Birmingham restaurateur says he’s still dealing with major staffing shortages. “It’s crazy … I work more now than I did […]

COVID Drives Up Costs At Jefferson County Jails

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office asked for more money during the final weeks of the 2020 fiscal year. The apparent reason was a hefty cleaning bill at the two county jails. But commissioners learned that increased expenses for feeding prisoners brought on by pandemic protocols contributed to the large request.

Despite Record Number On The Road, Women Truck Drivers Still Face Barriers Getting Into Industry

Experts say trucking can lift women out of poverty, but barriers like lack of access to child care keep them out.

How Historic Food Stamps Boost Will Bring Relief To Southern Families: ‘This Is A Really Big Deal’

Experts say the 25% increase will make huge strides in combating hunger, especially in The South. Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi will get an additional $950 million from SNAP estimated for this next fiscal year.