Business Stories of the Week: Friday, Jan. 12, 2018

by January 12, 2018

Customers have already ordered 400 of Tesla’s new all-electric semi-trucks — trucks that haven’t even been manufactured yet. (Photo via

Walmart to raise minimum wage

In addition to expanding parental leave benefits and offering bonuses to employees, Walmart increased its minimum wage to $11 per hour, CNBC reports. Full-time employees will receive up to 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of parental leave. Employees will also receive bonuses based on their number of years with the company — up to $1000 for 20 years of service. The company attributes these changes to the new tax code.

Parody cryptocurrency reaches $2 billion

Dogecoin, named after an internet meme and created as a satirical cryptocurrency, has a market value of over $2 billion, according to CNBC. In December, the coin’s value rose more than 400% to $0.0107. As of January 8th, it’s increased 69%. Dogecoin is one of 43 cryptocurrencies with a market capitalization greater than $1 billion — the largest of which is Bitcoin.

NYC says oil companies should pay for climate change

New York City is seeking to hold major oil companies like BP, Exxon, and Chevron financially accountable for the environmental effects of their products, Bloomberg reports. The city claims these companies are some of the largest contributors to climate change and bases a lawsuit on claims of harm made against asbestos and tobacco manufacturers in the past. Mayor DeBlasio and the city’s comptroller also announced that the city will divest about $5 billion in pension funds from “fossil fuel reserve owners” within the next five years.

Sears tries to refinance debt

A slow holiday shopping season at Sears stores is making it difficult for the retailer to pay off nearly $1 billion in debt, according to CNBC. The company is attempting to refinance its debt, but if those efforts fail, its CEO announced the company will “consider all options,” including selling corporate brands like Kenmore and DieHard to Amazon and closing more stores.

Tesla semi-truck already popular

Customers have already ordered 400 of Tesla’s new all-electric semi-trucks — trucks that haven’t even been manufactured yet, Forbes reports. The expected base price for a truck with a 500-mile range is about $180,000. Customers that have placed deposits include UPS, Pepsico, Sysco and Anheuser-Busch. Despite the hype, several key questions remain unanswered, including where the trucks will be manufactured, where parts will be sourced from and how Tesla plans to roll out charging infrastructure powerful enough for the trucks.