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Thursday
Jul112019

Are you an 'office mom'? How you might be taking on work that won't lead to a promotion

Deagreez/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Do you ever clean the office kitchen even if it's not in your job description? Been designated the office party planner? Are you always expected to know where the printer paper is?

If you have checked off all of these boxes, you might be known as an "office mom" in the workplace.

"'Office moms' have often been characterized as individuals who are doing what has been described as office home duties in the office," Lise Vesterlund, Andrew W. Mellon professor of the department of economics at the University of Pittsburgh, told ABC News' Good Morning America.

This can include tasks from organizing office birthdays or holiday parties to putting in the group lunch order.

Vesterlund conducted a study published in the American Economic Review examining the tasks people perform in the workplace and "the extent to which individuals are assigned what we characterize as non-promotable tasks."

In other words, looking at who in the office is being assigned to tasks that generate revenue and who is expected to take on service or culture tasks that do not necessarily lead to a promotion.

Her research found that women in particular tend to get assigned to these types of tasks more often than men or are asked to volunteer, and end up volunteering for them.

"What we're finding is women are far more likely to get these less promotable tasks assigned, or volunteer for them as well," she said. "It is in part coming from an expectation that these are tasks performed by women."

Studies show that women are more likely to volunteer for tasks that won't lead to a promotion. Data collected from a large public U.S. university showed that out of 3,271 faculty members who were asked to volunteer for a faculty senate committee, only 3.7% volunteered, but 7% of women chose to do so, while only 2.6% of their male counterparts volunteered, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Making change at the company level

One way to combat these entrenched workplace patterns is for managers to re-examine the assignment process, track who does what, and be aware of these biases.

"Considering how we assign these tasks is really key to improving things," Vesterlund said, adding that companies should also rethink asking for volunteers to take on tasks of this nature since women appear to volunteer more than men. Instead consider having employees take turns or draw a name out of a hat, she said.

Her bottom line: companies should not rely on just women to handle these tasks.

"When a woman comes to work, she has exactly the same hours at the workplace as a man does," she said.

If women "hold tasks that are less promotable than those held by men, then women will progress more slowly in organizations," her research found.

Being an 'office mom' isn't always a negative

For Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo, co-authors of the book Work Wife: The Power of Female Friendship to Drive Successful Businesses, being an "office mom" who takes on tasks to boost morale in the workplace isn't a negative. In fact, at their office, tasks like planning parties, bringing coffee to meetings are considered important, promotable skills.

"It's an important part of company culture to include these tasks in the job description," Mazur said. "If you're good at that, you demonstrate that you can be organized, that you have sensitivity to office culture, so I don't think it has to have a negativity in that way."

While there's no perfect solution to avoiding "thankless" tasks that are not within your job description, experts say that there are ways for you to avoid taking on this extra work.

If you're prone to volunteer for non-promotable assignments, Vesterlund told the Women at Work podcast to sit tight and mimic the body language of others who often do not volunteer.

"Mimic the body language that they have, you know, as they start checking their phones or putting things away, pulling back from the table," she told the podcast. "Just mimic that behavior, so you don’t get in a position where you suddenly feel so stressed by the silence that you’re one who says 'yes.'"

The truth is if you say no to your manager, there could be repercussions you'd face, so instead Vesterlund suggested meeting with your manager one-on-one to discuss the work you're currently being assigned versus projects you would like take on. Raise your hand for those.

"If you’re in a public meeting, saying no in front of a bunch of people, I don’t think is very advisable," she told the Women at Work podcast, "But going up to the manager afterwards and saying, you know, these are the projects I’ve been assigned with recently. They’re all the same character. If I’m taking this on, can I not take on the next one?"

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Jul102019

Uber Copter has landed: Rideshare expands skyward to JFK

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Uber is going to great heights to get around New York City rush hour traffic.

The rideshare company launched its Uber Copter service on Tuesday, offering rides from lower Manhattan to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) on weekday afternoons -- for its Platinum and Diamond Uber Rewards members.

"We’re excited to announce the first step toward building the future of urban air mobility and transforming urban aviation: Uber Copter," the company said in a press release. "Uber Copter is our first aerial ridesharing option."

To hail a helicopter, riders must be in a designated zone, in which "Copter" appears as an option within the app. Chopper rides to JFK can be booked up to five days in advance. On the way home, you book the rides after your flight lands. Currently the chopper service is only available on iOS, so Android users are out of luck.

During a test run of Uber Copter during the late afternoon on Wednesday, an ABC Producer found two differently-priced options to JFK from the designated zone.

From Balthazar, a restaurant in SoHo, to JFK the trip was priced at $216.57. From Brookfield Place near the World Trade Center, the trip to JFK came out to $253.51.

The helicopter flights are operated by HeliFlite, a direct air carrier the Silicon Valley company has partnered with. HeliFlite has earned ARGUS Platinum and Wyvern Wingman safety ratings, according to the Uber press release.

The company also said it was implementing a Safety Management System (SMS) for all future Uber Air services including Uber Copter, using data to analyze trends and hazard reporting.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Jul102019

The mansion that inspired the one in 'Gone With the Wind' is now for sale

Cullman Aerial and Real Estate Photography/Target Auction(COVINGTON, Ga.) -- The best way to celebrate the legacy of “Gone With the Wind” just might be buying the house that inspired its iconic Southern estate.

Twelve Oaks, located in Covington, Georgia, is up for auction, and fans and buyers alike will not believe the updated transformation of the Hollywood home in real life.

“I’m from the area, and it has been my favorite home here for as long as I can remember,” the seller, Nicole Munn, told “Good Morning America.” “It was in really bad shape -- over thirty busted windows, the landscaping was overgrown and it was a mess. I wanted to see it be beautiful again.”

The house was chosen to be the model for Ashley Wilkes’ mansion by “Gone With the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell, who saw the home in a clipping she found in 1939. According to the seller, the interior of the home was set on a soundstage, and whenever the exterior was shown in the movie, it was actually Busch Gardens in Pasadena, California, overlapped with a painting loosely modeled after this home.

Since being featured in the book and the movie, this estate has taken on many roles, from private home, to renowned bed-and-breakfast, an event venue and a tourist destination.

“In any historic city in the South, you can tour the homes," Munn told “GMA.”

"Atlanta, however, was burnt in 1864 by [Union General William T.] Sherman, so this is the only Antebellum house in Georgia which draws in many tourists.”

The Southern abode was built in 1836 and underwent a $2 million renovation in 2017. Brimming with 12 luxurious bedrooms and 12-and-a-half bathrooms, the famous mansion stays true to its antebellum period charm, but with updated amenities and appliances.

Potential buyers can bask in the grand dining room, formal parlor, informal dining and living spaces and a chef’s kitchen.

Did we mention there are 12 fireplaces?

The widely-recognizable estate stretches to three acres of gardens with a poolside chandelier-lit gazebo, a massive deck with pergola and a four-car carriage house. A Southern paradise, this home and its community chalks up to their reputation.

“The historic district of Covington is beautiful," said Munn. "All of the streets look like they did in the 1800s.”

“The home is a short three-block, tree-lined walk past historic homes to the town square with great shops and dining. Covington is a great, charming small town that is close to Atlanta and close to the Atlanta International Airport.”

The home has served as the backdrop for more than 15 movies and television shows, including “Life of the Party,” “Vacation” and “The Vampire Diaries.”

The Georgia residence has made its mark in history, as well -- but to make it a part of yours, you’ll have to hurry. The mansion will be auctioned off to residential and commercial buyers July 25 at 2 p.m. through the Target Auction Company.

For more details, visit here.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Jul102019

Marriott ‘reaped hundreds of millions of dollars’ through ‘drip pricing’ scheme, lawsuit says

tupungato/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Washington D.C. is suing Marriott for alleged "price deception" in its practice of charging "resort fees" that aren't disclosed to customers upfront when they are booking their rooms.

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine filed a lawsuit against the world's largest hotel chain on Tuesday for allegedly reaping "hundreds of millions of dollars" using an unlawful practice called “drip pricing” -- in which fees are added to an advertised price.

"This is a straight-forward price deception case," Racine's office said in the lawsuit. "For at least the last decade, Marriott has used an unlawful trade practice called 'drip pricing' in advertising its hotel rooms whereby Marriott initially hides a portion of a hotel room’s daily rate from consumers."

Marriott, which owns 30 hotel brands including Sheraton, W, Aloft, Renaissance, Westin and Courtyard, calls this "hidden portion" of the room rate a “resort fee,” “amenity fee” and a “destination fee,” according to the lawsuit.

"One key effect of this price deception is that consumers shopping for a hotel room on either Marriott’s website, or an online travel agency site ('OTA') like Priceline or Expedia, are misled into believing a Marriott hotel room is cheaper than it actually is," the lawsuit says.

Racine's office alleges that Marriott acted deceptively in its wording about resort fees, adding them to the "taxes and fees" portions of hotel bills, which suggest they may be collected by a government or municipality rather than the hotel company. The attorney general also alleges that resort fees were not included in "total prices" on booking websites and online travel agency sites, and that the company used smaller and lighter-colored fonts for identifying the fees on its site, according to the lawsuit.

Legal action was taken against Marriott “following an investigation by the Attorneys General in all 50 states and the District of Columbia regarding the pricing practices of the hotel industry,” according to the lawsuit.

Marriott declined to comment specifically on the allegations.

“We don’t comment on pending litigation, but we look forward to continuing our discussions with other state AGs,” a Marriott spokesperson told ABC News.

Globally, Marriott owns, manages or franchises at least 189 hotels that charge resort fees ranging from $9 to $95 per day, according to the lawsuit.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Jul102019

Fed chairman says he wouldn't leave even if Trump tried to fire him

Zach Gibson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday that he wouldn’t leave even if President Donald Trump tried to fire him.

“What I've said is that the law clearly gives me a four-year term, and I intend to serve it,” Powell told House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Maxine Waters, who asked what he would do if the president tried to force him out.

Waters, D-Calif., responded saying, “I can’t hear you” as the committee hearing room erupted in laughter.

President Trump in an exclusive interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos last month said of Powell, “he’s my pick and I disagree with him entirely.”

"If we had a Fed that would lower interest rates, we'd be like a rocket ship," Trump said last week. "But we don't have a Fed that knows what they're doing."

Trump’s repeated public criticism of the politically independent Federal Reserve Board has put its chairman in an uncomfortable position, as Trump has pressured the board to cut interest rates.

A cut in interest rates is normally done during an economic downturn, and is intended to make it easier for consumers and businesses to borrow money.

The Federal Reserve, however, until now has been reluctant to reduce interest rates due to the relative strength of the U.S. economy, in addition to consistently low unemployment rate hovering around 3 percent.

Powell told the committee that an uncertainty in trade relations between the world’s two biggest economies – the United Stated and China—may signal a soon coming interest rate reduction.

“Apparent progress on trade turned to greater uncertainty, and our contacts in business and agriculture report heightened concerns over trade developments, ” he said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Jul102019

Amazon Prime Day 2019: How to navigate the day's big sales

Amazon(NEW YORK) -- Black Friday? Been there. Cyber Monday? Done that.

But what about Amazon Prime Day? The online summer sale offers some of the year’s biggest discounts on a wide variety of products. But are you prepared? Do you have an attack plan?

If not, there’s no need to panic. ABC News called in the reinforcements. RetailMeNot’s Sara Skirboll talked to Good Morning America about all things Amazon: what to buy, what to avoid and what to expect during the online extravaganza.

What is Amazon Prime Day, anyway?

Amazon Prime Day is an online sales event that typically lasts about 36 hours in July. Deals are exclusive to Amazon Prime members and range from TVs to baby wipes to all kinds of products. Despite being called Prime "Day," not all the deals are daylong. Skirboll says to expect certain "lightning sales" on items that have limited quantities. While some bargains will be available for the duration of Prime Day, these "lightning sales" will pop up at random and last only as long as items are in stock.

"It’s like Black Friday, but without all the lines!" Skirboll says.

If you’re not a Prime member already, Skirboll recommends signing up for the free month-long trial. It’ll help you get a grasp on whether or not Amazon Prime is right for you. If you decide it isn’t, just remember to cancel your trial or you’ll automatically enroll and pay the $12.99 monthly service fee.

What will be the biggest deals this Prime Day?

Some of Amazon’s deepest discounts will be on their own branded products including Echo devices, Fire Tablets, Kindles, and more. You should also expect to find deals on Amazon’s services including Music Unlimited and Kindle Unlimited. In addition, shoppers should also be able to find deals on toys, laptops, and TVs.

Last year was the first Prime Day with Whole Foods as part of Amazon and this year, we are already seeing opportunities to score big there. Now through July 16, U.S. Prime members who spend $10 at Whole Foods Market get a $10 credit to use on Amazon for Prime Day. Whole Foods Market will also offer Prime members exclusive weekly deals on summertime favorites with discounts of 25-50% off.

What should you avoid buying on Amazon Prime Day?

While there are exceptional opportunities to save big time on Prime Day, Skirboll suggests waiting until Black Friday to buy things like beauty products, designer products, winter wear, sneakers, cookware and appliances.

What tips and tricks does Skirboll have for a successful Amazon Prime Day?

Planning goes a long way. Make sure you really need what you’re going to buy. Don’t get distracted by deep discounts. That said, there will be amazing deals on things like toys and smart home devices. Sometimes things sell out quickly, so if you need them, get them. And it’s OK to get ahead on your winter holiday shopping.

Also, Skirboll encourages looking around for other retailers offering deals besides just Amazon.

"That pair of sneakers doesn’t need to necessarily come from Amazon," she notes.

RetailMeNot collected data suggesting 250 retailers will compete with Amazon during Prime Day. That’s an increase of 194 last year and from just 7 in 2015. "That's a win for consumers," Skirboll said.

Isn't Target one of those retailers?

Yes. Target announced 15% off for teachers the week of July 13 to kick off the back-to-school shopping season, as well as "deal days" on July 15 and 16. Target states that its sale will include thousands of rarely discounted items as well as their Target-owned brands that span across categories like home decor and apparel. For shoppers looking to score deals outside of the basic Amazon electronics, look out for deep discounts on Target brand apparel like A New Day, Universal Thread, Cat & Jack or home decor brands like Hearth & Hand, OpalHouse or Project62.

Prices on appliances are likely to be slashed, too, Skirboll says. This year, Target will offer deals on some big names -- Instant Pot, Kitchen Aid, and Dyson for example -- and on July 16 they’ll offer 5% off Target eGift Cards.

"If shoppers strategize, picking up a few discounted Target gift cards can benefit them all season long for back to school shopping, Labor Day sales and even into the holiday shopping season," Skirboll says.

Who else is offering deals?

Skirboll says Macy's, Bloomingdales and Petco, among others, have already kicked off their big July sales, and eBay is also hosting a "crash sale" July 16.

"Not only will the site have deals on major brands like Apple, Samsung and KitchenAid, but if the Amazon site crashes, they will drop even more discounts," Skirboll predicts. "If that happens, eBay’s offer may lure customers away from their Amazon tab to check out deals they can actually redeem."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Jul102019

Starbucks debuts colorful new Tie-Dye Frappuccino for summer 

Starbucks(NEW YORK) -- Tie-dye is back in a big way this summer season and Starbucks is jumping on the colorful trend with a brand new blended beverage.

Starbucks announced a new Tie-Dye Frappuccino on Wednesday that will most likely be all over our Instagram feeds in the coming days.

The new drink is made with turmeric, red beet and spirulina to give it yellow, red and blue tie-dye swirls. It's topped with vanilla whipped cream and dusted with additional yellow, red and blue powder.

"The Tie-Dye Frappuccino has a tropical fruit flavor that will take you to your happiest place," the coffee chain said in a statement.

"Just like the peak of summer, the Tie-Dye Frappuccino is available only for a few days," Starbucks said.

The frozen drink will be available at participating Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada on July 10 for a limited time, while supplies last.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Jul102019

Airline apologizes to doctor asked to cover her outfit with blanket

Juha Remes/iStock(NEW YORK) -- American Airlines apologized to a Houston-based doctor on Tuesday after she claimed she was ordered to use a blanket to cover up her summer outfit.

The passenger, Tisha Rowe, called the airline out in a tweet on June 30, saying crew members told her that she couldn't board her Miami-bound flight without putting on a jacket. She acquiesced but said she felt "humiliated" by the ordeal.

"So #AmericanAirlines just told me I couldn't board the flight without putting a jacket over my ASSETS. My shorts covered EVERYTHING but apparently was too distracting to enter the plane," she tweeted. "When defending my outfit I was threatened with not getting back on the flight unless I walked down the aisle wrapped in a blanket."

Rowe, who was traveling with her 8-year-old son, also tweeted a photo of the outfit in question. Social media users rallied behind her and accused the airline of policing womens' bodies.

Rowe said she was targeted due to her curvy figure, and because her body didn't "fit the mold."

"As a physician i know the negative impact of #racism on health and i am speaking up because i hope no one else has endure what i did because they don’t fit the mold," she tweeted.

The airline issued an apology on Tuesday and said it fully refunded Rowe for her travel.

“We were concerned about Dr. Rowe’s comments, and reached out to her and our team at the Kingston airport to gather more information about what occurred," American Airlines spokesperson Shannon Gilson said in an e-mailed statement to ABC News. "We apologize to Dr. Rowe and her son for their experience, and have fully refunded their travel."

Gilson said American Airlines is "proud" to serve customers of all backgrounds and committed to providing a "positive, safe travel experience for everyone who flies with us."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Jul092019

University of Texas at Austin to offer free tuition to students from families that make less than $65K

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(AUSTIN, TX.) --  At a time when college tuition costs -- along with student loan debt -- are soaring across the country, the University of Texas at Austin announced Tuesday that it will provide free tuition for all in-state students whose families earn less than $65,000 a year.

The funding comes from a new $160 million endowment that the the University of Texas System's Board of Regents voted to establish from the state's Permanent University Fund (which includes money from oil and gas royalties earned from state-owned land), and should start benefiting students as soon as the fall 2020 semester, the college announced in a statement.

The median household income in Texas was $57,051 between 2013 and 2017, according to recentU.S. Census data. At the moment, the new tuition assistance would only apply to students at the University of Texas at Austin.

“Recognizing both the need for improved access to higher education and the high value of a UT Austin degree, we are dedicating a distribution from the Permanent University Fund to establish an endowment that will directly benefit students and make their degrees more affordable,” Kevin Eltife, chairman of the University of Texas System Board of Regents, and a UT Austin alum, said in a statement.

“This will benefit students of our great state for years to come,” he added.

The new endowment will "completely cover tuition and fees for students from families that earn up to $65,000 a year who have financial need," according to school's website. In addition, it will also provide tuition support to students who have financial need from families with incomes of up to $125,000.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Jul092019

Passenger describes hearing 'boom' before Delta flight makes emergency landing due to engine failure

csfotoimages/iStock(BALTIMORE, Md.) -- Travelers aboard a Delta plane flying from Atlanta, Georgia, to Baltimore, Maryland, had a frightening midair moment when their flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Raleigh due to a possible engine issue.

Delta flight 1425 left around 12:48 p.m. Monday from Hartsfield-Jackson International and was bound for Baltimore-Washington International, when about an hour after takeoff, the flight crew reported an issue with one of the plane's engines.

"We are declaring an emergency. We will need crews out there on the rollout," a pilot could be heard telling air traffic controllers on LiveATC.

In a statement, Delta said the flight crew had received "an indication of a possible issue with one of the aircraft’s engines."

Video taken by a passenger showed a metal part bouncing inside one of the engine. Delta said it was a contained failure of the left engine and that the part was the nose cone. An orange glow could be seen around the still spinning shaft in the passenger video.

"The captain came on the loudspeaker and said that we had lost an engine and that they were making preparations to have an emergency landing," Jose Bahamonde-Gonzalez told ABC News affiliate WMAR-TV in Baltimore.

There were 148 passengers on board.

"After we heard the boom, we just saw all this smoke come up into the cabin and that's when we really started freaking out. ... It started slowing down a little bit and it was getting hot. The air cut off," passenger Avery Porch told WMAR-TV. "I was about to be the first person to jump off."

Tyler Kreuger, Porch's boyfriend, said that even though he had no service midair, he still texted his parents: "I love you."

In video taken by a passenger inside the cabin, flight attendants could be heard quickly giving instructions, telling passengers to put their heads down and brace for landing, as the plane neared Raleigh.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the flight attendants will come through ... and make sure we are prepared for landing. Fasten your seat belts, loosen your collars, remove ties, scarves and eyeglasses," a flight attendant could be heard telling passengers.

The aircraft -- a 32-year-old MD-88 with the engines mounted on the fuselage near the tail -- made an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International around 2:27 p.m., according to FlightAware.

The plane landed safely in Raleigh as fire and rescue teams waited on the tarmac. There were no reported injuries.

In a statement, Delta apologized to travelers for the inconvenience. WMAR-TV said passengers were given a $30 food voucher to use while they waited for their next flight.

Passengers made it to Baltimore hours later.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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