The Sunday Subject – December 26, 2021

Last Sunday West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin reversed his stance on the Build Back Better Act, announcing that he will not vote for the legislation in its current state.

The Build Back Better Act, the centerpiece of the Biden administration’s economic agenda, included an array of progressive initiatives, such as an expanded child tax credit, paid family leave, universal pre-K, affordable housing, and an expansion of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act. After weeks of negotiations, Democrats will likely have to water down some of the bill’s core policies. Jen Psaki, the press secretary, stated, “Just as Senator Manchin reversed his position on Build Back Better this morning, we will continue to press him to see if he will reverse his position yet again, to honor his prior commitments and be true to his word.”

After the Starbucks on Elmwood Ave. became the first company-owned Starbucks store in the country to unionize, a Starbucks executive pledged the company will bargain in good faith during contract negotiations.

Rossann Williams, Starbucks’ North American president, said the company respects the legal process and wants to “get to the table as soon as possible, sit across from management and bargain a fair contract that benefits customers and partners alike.”

On Tuesday about 1,400 Kellogg workers on strike ratified a new contract, ending the strike that began in early October.

The strike affected four of Kellogg’s US cereal plants. Anthony Shelton, the president of the workers’ union, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, said in a statement: “This agreement makes gains and does not include any concessions.”

Mayor Byron Brown has announced plans for increasing development in Buffalo.

His intent is to focus on partnering with both the state and county, in addition to developers and other private companies, to drive further commercial and residential investment throughout the city. According to city statistics, Buffalo has received more than $8.3 billion in development activity since Brown took office in 2006, with most of that being since 2012. “Our goal is to continue that renaissance, as quickly as possible,” Brown stated. “Things are being built in the City of Buffalo, and we are very proud of that.”

Children aged five and older must now show proof of vaccination to enter KeyBank Center or Highmark Stadium.

Children must now be vaccinated to attend concerts and events at these arenas, including Bills and Sabres games. The new policy, announced Wednesday, is in accordance with the latest New York State mandate.

The United States has eased the pressure of sanctions on the Taliban in Afghanistan.

As the combination of the pandemic, a severe drought, the loss of foreign aid and frozen currency reserves have left the country’s economy on the brink of collapse, the Biden administration issued new “general licenses” to help aid flow and mitigate the humanitarian crisis. The United States still does not recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.