The daily business briefing: September 29, 2023

Newsom signs $20 minimum wage for California fast food workers, EEOC accuses Tesla of racial harassment, and more

California Gov. Gavin Newsom
California Gov. Gavin Newsom and workers
(Image credit: Sarah Reingewirtz / MediaNews Group / Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Imagess)

1. California sets $20 minimum wage for fast food workers

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Thursday signed a state law that will raise the minimum wage for fast food workers to $20 per hour starting April 1, 2024. The measure will give the state's fast food workers the industry's highest guaranteed wage. California's minimum wage for other workers is $15.50 an hour — also among the highest in the nation. Newsom said the law recognizes that fast food workers are often primary earners in low-income households. The common belief that most are teens in their first jobs is "a romanticized version of a world that doesn't exist," he said. "We have the opportunity to reward that contribution, reward that sacrifice and stabilize an industry." The Associated Press

2. EEOC sues Tesla over alleged racial harassment

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Thursday filed a lawsuit accusing Tesla of "tolerating widespread and ongoing racial harassment of its Black employees" in violation of federal law. The agency, which is responsible for enforcing workplace civil rights laws, said some non-Black offenders at Tesla "bandied slurs and epithets openly" in offices or vehicle production lines. The EEOC also said the electric-vehicle maker subjected some of the targeted employees to "retaliation for opposing the harassment." Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment from CNBC. A California civil rights agency previously sued Tesla on related allegations. A jury also ordered Tesla to pay Owen Diaz, a Black former worker, $3.2 million in damages for racial discrimination. CNBC

3. French antitrust regulator raids Nvidia offices

France's business competition authority confirmed that it raided Nvidia's French offices Tuesday morning on suspicion of anticompetitive practices. The agency did not disclose what practices it was investigating in the raid, which it said was approved by a judge. The investigation is the first regulatory run-in Nvidia has faced since becoming the leading supplier of artificial intelligence chips. Nvidia declined to comment. The rise of generative AI systems has sent demand for Nvidia's chips soaring, resulting in shortages and pushing the company's market valuation above $1 trillion in June. The Wall Street Journal

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4. Stock futures rise ahead of key inflation data

U.S. stock futures rose early Friday ahead of data expected to show that a key inflation gauge dropped below 4% for the first time in two years. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up 0.5% at 6:45 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were up 0.7%. The Commerce Department is set to release the PCE price index, the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation gauge, before trading starts. Economists expect the overall index to be up 0.5% compared to July, due to higher gasoline prices, but they forecast the August core PCE price index will be up 0.2% for the month and 3.9% on an annual basis. Low inflation readings could give Fed officials an excuse not to raise interest rates again this year. MarketWatch, Investor's Business Daily

5. Netflix ships last DVDs

Netflix distribution centers in California, Texas, Georgia and New Jersey are mailing out their last discs as what is now a video-streaming company ends its DVD-by-mail service. The DVD service helped Netflix transform how Americans get their entertainment, grabbing market share from Blockbuster and other video rental stores. It peaked at more than 20 million subscribers. In 2011, Netflix separated the DVD service from its streaming business, which now has 238 million subscribers worldwide and brought in $31.5 billion last year. The DVD customers, now numbering fewer than a million and accounting for $146 million last year, will get to keep their final discs as a parting gift. The Associated Press

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