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City Budget- Your Input Is Important

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City of San Antonio invites residents to participate in virtual FY 2022 budget telephone town hall meetings

The City of San Antonio will host two virtual telephone town hall meetings to inform the public about the Fiscal Year 2022 budget development process, answer public questions and gather input. The virtual meetings will include telephone town hall features, which allow residents to register in advance and receive a call when it’s time to join the event. City Manager Erik Walsh, Deputy City Manager Maria Villagomez and Budget Director Scott Huizenga will lead the public meeting. 

The meetings will be held Tuesday, June 22 and Wednesday, June 23 at 6 p.m. Residents can register here to participate at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FY2022telephonemtg. Registration closes three hours prior to each event. 

“Telephone town hall meetings are a convenient way to hear directly from our residents, from the comfort of their homes. Each of our residents leads a busy life, whether that’s tending to their families, commuting to and from work, balancing schoolwork, or other priorities. These telephone town hall events allow the public to participate wherever they are,” said City Manager Erik Walsh. “The annual budget process sets the framework for our work in the community and our strategic goals.”

The City also opened a brief budget survey, which will remain open through June 21, 2021. The survey gives residents the opportunity to weigh in on their service priorities, as well as share their thoughts on restoring programming from budget cuts made in FY 2020 and FY 2021. City residents can take the survey on www.saspeakup.com or by texting SASpeakUp to 55000 to take the survey on their mobile devices.

More information about the telephone town hall meetings and survey are available at www.saspeakup.com.

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Treasury Department Releases Report on Benefits of Unions to the U.S. Economy

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The Treasury Department recently released its most comprehensive-ever look at the role that labor unions play in the American economy with a new report by the Department’s Office of Economic Policy. 

The report represents over 70 actions the White House Task Force implemented on Worker Organizing and Empowerment. It finds that unions play an important role in addressing the middle class’s longstanding challenges – including stagnant wages, high housing costs, and reduced intergenerational mobility.  

The report’s key findings are:

  • Middle-class workers reap substantial benefits from unionization. Unions raise the wages of their members by 10 to 15 percent. Unions also improve fringe benefits and workplace procedures such as retirement plans, workplace grievance policies, and predictable scheduling. 
  • Unionization also has spillover effects. Competition means workers at nonunionized firms see increased wages, too. Heightened workplace safety norms can pull up whole industries. Union members improve their communities through increased civic engagement; and they are more likely to vote and donate to charity. 
  • Modern unions have broad representation across race and gender. In 2021, Black men had a particularly high union representation rate at 13 percent, as compared to the population average of 10 percent. 
  • Unions can boost businesses’ productivity by improving working environments and giving experienced workers more of an input into decisions that design better and more cost-effective workplace procedures. 

Promisingly, there have been recent signs of a reinvigorated labor movement, as union election petitions in 2022 bounced back from the pandemic to their highest level since 2015, and public opinion of labor unions is at its highest level in over 50 years. Other actions taken by the White House include:

  • Prioritizing the passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and the Public Sector Freedom to Negotiate Act.  
  • Promoting “know your rights” initiatives to provide workers with better information about their organizing and bargaining rights.
  • Announcing a new rule to raise wage standards of construction workers by updating wage regulations.
  • Requiring employers to pay prevailing wages and abide by apprenticeship requirements to claim the full value of many clean energy tax incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act as part of the Treasury Department’s implementation of the law.
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First Black Franchise Symposium and Trade Show Coming to Plano

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The Franchise Game, the U.S.’s first and only African American Franchise Symposium and Trade Show, is coming to Plano, Texas, on Friday, September 15, 2023. The event, spearheaded by “The Franchise Player” Tarji Carter and Marketing Maven Dessie Brown, Jr., will take place at Yum! Restaurants International Corporate Campus from 8am-5pm CST. The symposium aims to bring together experts and industry leaders to discuss the secrets to success, challenges, and opportunities in franchising. The theme for this inaugural event is Doing The Work! 

The day will kick off with a message from James Fripp (Chief Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Officer,

Yum! Brands) and a powerful keynote address from Nicholas Perkins (CEO of Fuddruckers and the first African American to own a National Hamburger Franchise System), followed by an explosive lineup of panel discussions led by franchise subject matter experts including Mike Quinn (Franchisee, Pizza Hut), Tim Williams (Director of Operations, Williams Chicken), Damon Dunn (Franchisee, Dunkin’ Brands and Retired NFL Player), Delmas Arthur (Operations Manager, Dunkin’ Brands, Starbucks, 5 Guys, McDonald’s, and Hardee’s), and “The Franchise Player” Tarji Carter.

“With this event, we are looking to attract multi-unit franchisees, owner/operators, potential investors, athletes, entertainers, and franchise brands seeking to attract franchisees that reflect the communities they serve,” says Carter, who has worked with some of the world’s most delicious restaurant brands, including CinnabonCarvelBaskin RobbinsDunkinWingstopEdible ArrangementsFuddruckers, and Bojangles’. “We want to increase franchise ownership and wealth across the African American community by providing education, resources, and opportunities to aspiring franchisees and small business owners – and we can reach this goal by partnering with franchise brands committed to inclusion, equity, and belonging.”

Fueled by iconic African American magazine/brand JET, the Franchise Game will consist of sessions from franchisees, lawyers, business development officers, and operation managers. Sessions include A Day in the Life of a Franchisee (where attendees will learn from some of the industry’s best multi-unit franchisees), Talk to My Attorney! (where attendees will learn about the legal rights and responsibilities from franchise attorneys), Bag Secured (which is designed to address accessing capital for business), Operational Excellence (which is designed to show attendees how to grow from an Owner-Operator to owning a large enterprise), and How to Get Started and Approved (which is the official guide to franchise ownership).

Before the symposium and trade show, The Franchise Game will also hold a VIP Reception on September 14, 2023, for executives, brands, and select attendees.

To register or for more information, please visit www.thefranchiseplayer.com/events. Early registration is recommended, as space is limited

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Black Life Texas

Supporting Black Business 365

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With the Black community making up 6-7% of the population in San Antonio, it’s critically important that local Black businesses are supported. As in June for Black History Month and August for Black Business Month, the focus needs to be more than twice per year.

There are more than 2 million Black-owned small businesses in the United States. Since the start of the pandemic, the number of new Black business owners has risen 38 percent, with Black female entrepreneurs leading the charge. 

Despite this progress, Black entrepreneurs are struggling to stay afloat, with 8 out of 10 Black-owned businesses expected to fail within the first 18 months, according to a 2021 CNBC report. The struggle is real for African American companies. According to a 2022 report by Bank of America, 46% of Black business owners in the U.S. face problems accessing capital, and 44% don’t have a mentor.

While San Antonio is home to several Chambers of Commerce, two cater to the Black community. The Alamo City Black Chamber of Commerce and the African American Chamber of Commerce of San Antonio provide ways for entrepreneurs to be mentored and learn from others. They offer lunch and learn series, ongoing mixers, resource fairs, and business institutes. 

The Biden Administration has recently made it simpler for many small-business owners to get loans. As part of a series of changes effective Aug. 1, the Small Business Administration has simplified loan requirements to make it easier for financial-technology firms to participate. The SBA is also increasing the scope of licensed non-bank lenders to issue SBA loans. Also, the federal office is providing additional flexibility in credit criteria for loans under $500,000 to reach more credit-worthy small businesses. 

SBA loans, typically made by banks and other financial institutions, help entrepreneurs start and grow small businesses. Entrepreneurs can borrow up to $5 million in SBA-backed loans, making the loans less risky and more appealing to lenders. 

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