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Workers at a franchise of Tudor's Biscuit World are hoping they will soon be members of West Virginia's first unionized fast-food restaurant. The union drive has been led by employees in a state that has a storied history of labor activism. Prep Cook Cynthia Nicholson's late husband belonged to unions as a miner and pipefitter. She says like coal miners who fought for safer working conditions 100 years ago, workers today are pushing for unions because of safety concerns. She said modern workers' concerns center around being on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The unionization effort echoes a larger national movement of organizing among retail and food service workers.

While the vast majority of New Yorkers are hunkering down to ride out frigid temperatures and snow blasts from the latest winter storm, others are seizing on the opportunity to ... pick grapes? One Finger Lakes-area winemaker jokingly calls it “insanity,” but these are the ideal conditions for harvesting grapes for ice wine, a dessert variety grown in the region that is known for its sweetness and intense flavors. December's warmer than average temperatures pushed back the harvesting, but a cold spell this month has the pickers out in numbers. About a dozen upstate wineries make ice win by picking the frozen grapes, while others harvest the grapes during warmer months then freeze them. 

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Shortages at U.S. grocery stores have grown more acute in recent weeks. New problems like the fast-spreading omicron variant and severe weather are piling on to the supply chain struggles and labor shortages that have plagued retailers since the coronavirus pandemic began. The shortages are widespread, impacting produce and meat as well as packaged goods like cereal. And they’re being reported nationwide. U.S. groceries typically have 5% to 10% of their items out of stock at any given time. According to the Consumer Brands Association, the unavailability rate is hovering around 15%.  Experts are divided on how long grocery shopping will sometimes feel like a scavenger hunt. 

Seven years after purchasing San Diego’s Saint Archer Brewery, Molson Coors has discontinued the brand and sold the brewery and local taprooms to Illinois-based Kings and Convicts Brewing. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports the move comes as the craft brewing industry deals with fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and changing consumer tastes toward seltzers and other alternatives to beer. Kings & Convicts, which owns San Diego-based Ballast Point Brewing, will take over Saint Archer’s roughly 50,000-square-foot brewery in Miramar. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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Residents of the Chinese city of Xi’an are straining under a strict coronavirus lockdown, with some complaining of difficulties finding food. That's despite assurances from authorities that they are able to provide necessities for the 13 million people largely confined to their homes. Stringent measures to stem outbreaks are common in China. The country still maintains a policy of stamping out every COVID-19 case long after many other countries have opted to try to live with the virus. But the lockdown imposed Dec. 23 in Xi’an is one of the harshest in the country since a shutdown in 2020. The Xi’an lockdown comes at a particularly sensitive time, as Chinese authorities prepare to hold the Beijing Winter Olympics. 

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9) Skittles