OPERATIONS

Amazon, Blackhawk Network partner on mobile gift card capabilities

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle – Amazon.com and Blackhawk Network Inc., a prepaid and payments network, have teamed up to bring customers a new way to manage and spend their gift cards. Using the new Amazon Wallet app, customers can more easily store, redeem and check the balance of gift cards from dozens of major retailers and restaurants.

Amazon customers can now load information from their existing physical and digital gift cards into their Amazon Wallet. Once the information is saved, card balances can be viewed from the app or online. Customers can redeem their cards online, or present them in-store from their phones. The Amazon Wallet app comes already installed on the new Fire phone, and is also available for download to Android phones running 4.0 or above. The new gift card features are also available online at amazon.com/wallet.

"Blackhawk Network’s expertise in gift card management provides our customers with access to the retailers they want and the digital experience that Amazon is committed to delivering," said Charlie Kindel, director, Amazon Local Commerce. "Together we are helping consumers get the full value of their gift cards with the safety and convenience of storing them digitally. Instead of fearing they might lose or forget about them, they can have them on hand to use wherever and whenever they choose."

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OPERATIONS

NRF honors Sen. Mark Warner and Rep. John Kline

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – The National Retail Federation (NRF) has named Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. and Rep. John Kline, R-Minn.as NRF’s Legislators of the Year. The awards presentation was made during the Retail Advocates Summit, NRF’s annual congressional fly-in.

“We thank Senator Warner and Representative Kline for their service and strong work in Congress on issues important to the retail industry,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Both lawmakers uniquely understand the important impact that the retail industry has on the economy and have taken concrete steps to support America’s retailers. I join our members in recognizing their dedication and commitment to the health and vitality of small and large retailers alike.”

Warner was elected to the Senate in 2008 and serves on the Finance, Banking, Budget, and Intelligence committees. The former Virginia governor has taken a holistic approach to investigating the complex issue of data and payment security, and has been a consistent voice of reason on implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Kline has represented Minnesota’s second congressional district since 2003. He is chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, where he has been an advocate for workers and employers. Kline has worked with his colleagues to pass the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which was signed into law earlier this month.

The NRF Government Affairs Policy Council, the association’s committee for federal legislative and regulatory issues, selected the two lawmakers for the recognition.

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OPERATIONS

NRF slams NLRB decision on franchisees

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – The National Retail Federation (NRF) is highly critical of a decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recommending that McDonald’s and its franchisees should be considered joint employers. According to the NRF, this move would stall job growth and diminish capital investment by making it easier for fast food workers to unionize.

“It is just further evidence that the NLRB has lost all credibility as a government agency established to protect workers and is now just a government agency that serves as an adjunct for organized labor, which has fought for this decision for a number of years as a means to more easily unionize entire companies and industries,” said David French, NRF VP of government relations, in a statement.

“The NLRB’s contempt for hard working business men and women is on full display when they completely disregard established laws that govern the franchise model, a practice that has literally created thousands of small businesses in communities across America and employ millions of citizens of all ages. When a government agency unilaterally decides to unravel the long established and successful business relationships between franchisees and franchisors, the entire business community reacts. And the very people the NLRB was established to protect – American workers – may be the ultimate losers in this decision as those same businesses reconcile with an uncertain future.”

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