This week in Homebase News we cover the Trump’s tariffs on Chinese-made materials, Amazon’s $15 billion investment into helping small businesses, and more. Read below to get the details on these stories and other happenings involving local businesses and hourly workers.

Small Businesses: Trump’s China Order Will Hurt Us

Small businesses say that complying with Trump’s order to stop dealing with China would hurt them

Business owners say they’ve suffered revenue and profit loss since Trump imposed 25% tariffs on Chinese-made raw materials and products. Since the imposition, the tariffs have been expanded on the goods U.S. companies import, and China has placed tariffs on its own items exported from the U.S. Trump then “ordered” U.S. companies to stop doing business with China and find alternative solutions. 

“It’s not as easy as a tweet to find alternatives. And time spent finding alternatives is time spent not growing the business,” Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council President Karen Kerrigan said. 

Chicago Mayor, Labor Activists Push for $15 Minimum Wage by 2021

Unions and city officials stressed a need for a $15 an hour minimum wage by 2021 at a recent rally. 

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed a bill that would raise the state minimum wage to $14 an hour in 2024 and $15 in 2025, or more if inflation moves faster. However, some officials believe the bill is not enough. 

“2025 is too long to wait for Chicago’s working families,” Ald. Maria Haddon said. “Rents, food, clothing and just about everything else is getting more expensive while wages stay stagnant.”

On the other side, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association said its business owner members are still trying to manage the most recent minimum wage hike, which brought the rate to the current $13 an hour. 

“The concern that we’re having right now is that the costs for those who employ people have gone up tremendously, and you’re talking about making sure those companies continue to employ people and hire more people and give them more hours to work,” IRMA President Tanya Triche Dawood said. “Well that can’t happen if the costs of those businesses continue to go up.”

Amazon to Invest $15B to Help Online Sellers

Amazon announced it is helping small businesses sell more products online through its own platform by investing $15 billion on 150 different tools. 

The suite of tools includes: 

  • An optional pricing management tool that will determine the pricing of products based on business intelligence 
  • Fulfillment tools that provide inventory insights and one-day delivery
  • Analytics tools and reports that provide insight into things such as purchasing trends. 

“Small and medium-sized businesses are the lifeblood of the economy, and we are committed to empowering them,” Amazon Vice President of Small Business Nicholas Denissen said. “As part of our dedication to supporting independent retailers, we have thousands of employees around the globe who work hard on their behalf, developing tools and services to help them grow their sales in Amazon’s stores. Ultimately, our success depends on their success.”

Survey Reveals What Employees Want Most from Workspaces

A recent study suggests that employees are less impressed by wellness programs in a workspace and more concerned about basic needs such as better air and water quality and access to natural light. 

The study, conducted by Future Workplace and View, surveyed 1,601 workers across the country and found that 58% of them said fresh, allergen-free air would increase their wellness, while only 13% said they value access to tech-based health tools.