Hillicon Valley — Tech companies withdraw from in-person CES

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Tech companies withdraw from in-person CES

Hillicon Valley — Tech companies withdraw from in-person CES 3

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Today is Thursday. Welcome to Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Subscribe here:

Follow The Hill’s cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (katanamagmill95), and tech team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (katanamillsrodrigo) and Rebecca Klar (katanarebeccaklar_), for more coverage.

Happy so close to Christmas! Hillicon Valley won’t be publishing Friday this week, but will be back Monday.

The annual Consumer Electronics Show will take place in-person next month, but tech companies have been opting out of participating at the in-person exhibition in Las Vegas. 

Meanwhile, workers at an Amazon warehouse in New York refiled a petition for a unionization vote.

Let’s jump into the news.


CES to remain in-person

Hillicon Valley — Tech companies withdraw from in-person CES 4

© Associated Press/Richard Drew

The annual Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, is moving forward with an in-person event next month despite tech companies opting out of in-person participation as COVID-19 cases rise nationwide. 

It’s on: “Thousands of businesses are relying on us. CES is an essential business event and can make or break a year for small and midsize companies. I've heard from many of these companies, urging us to move forward with an in-person show,” Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Trade Association (CTA) which puts on the show, said in a post Wednesday. 

“We understand that some people may not be comfortable going to CES. With that in mind, we have invited those who cannot join us in Las Vegas to join the event digitally, giving companies and presenters a broader audience,” he added. 

Who’s out: Meta, Twitter and TikTok have all announced this week they would not exhibit in person at the Las Vegas show. 

Companies have pointed to rising COVID-19 cases, as the omicron variant spreads globally, as the reason to cancel their in-person presence at the conference taking place Jan. 5 to 8. 

T-Mobile was among the first companies to back out of the event, announcing Tuesday that it will continue to serve as a CES sponsor but the “vast majority” of its team will not be traveling to Las Vegas. The company also said that its CEO Mike Sievert would no longer be giving a keynote in person or virtually. 

Read more here.


Second Staten Island unionization shot

Hillicon Valley — Tech companies withdraw from in-person CES 5

© Getty Images

Workers at an Amazon warehouse in New York on Wednesday refiled a petition to hold a unionization vote roughly a month after withdrawing their initial effort.

The Amazon Labor Union, a group of workers at a Staten Island facility that is independent of any national union, did not meet the 30 percent threshold of workers signing authorization cards required by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

NLRB spokesperson Kayla Blado confirmed that the agency has received the new petition and is reviewing whether there is a sufficient showing of interest among the 5,000 strong proposed bargaining unit.

A spokesperson for Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the refiled petition.

The e-commerce giant has been vehemently anti-union, initially defeating a push to organize a Bessemer, Ala., facility led by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union last year. An NLRB official recently ruled that that election should be held again because Amazon intervened in the voting process.

The Staten Island workers may be boosted in their efforts to unionize the first Amazon facility in the U.S. by a settlement reached between the company and the NLRB Wednesday.

Read more about the settlement.



Intel has issued an apology after announcing that the company would avoid goods and services from China's Xinjiang region, where the U.S. has accused China of committing genocide against Uyghurs. 

In a letter to suppliers earlier this month, Intel said it was “required to ensure our supply chain does not use any labor or source goods or services from the Xinjiang region,” adding that its decision stemmed from restrictions of multiple governments on products from the area.

On Thursday, the company posted an announcement in Chinese on WeChat and Weibo saying that its letter was intended to comply with U.S. laws, not to take a stance on a political issue, Reuters reported

“We apologize for the trouble caused to our respected Chinese customers, partners and the public. Intel is committed to becoming a trusted technology partner and accelerating joint development with China,” Intel's statement said.

Read more here.



An op-ed to chew on: Will we soon rewrite textbooks on our place in the universe? 

Lighter click: the lucky shot

Notable links from around the web:

A tracking device made by Apple is showing up in suspected crimes (NBC News / David Ingram)

Amazon is building warehouses in ‘opportunity zones’ that provide tax breaks and secrecy (The Washington Post / Cat Zakrzewski)

Beware the Elf on a Shelf, Privacy Watchdogs Warn (The New York Times / Daniel Victor)


One last thing: Cleared for Christmas

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© Associated Press – Matt Rourke

Supply chain congestion has dropped by 50 percent in the past month, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said on Thursday, crediting the Biden administration's actions in clearing up bottlenecks.

“The gifts will be on the shelves, your packages will be arriving on time in the mail and it's really a fantastic story,” Raimondo told CNN's John Berman. “So the congestion is down by 50 percent since you and I last spoke. So it's really smooth sailing and Santa will arrive on time.”

Earlier this year, the Biden administration issued new measures to alleviate supply chain issues, including operating ports 24/7. Despite the disruptions seen this year, it was reported last week that 2021 was a record year for the Port of Los Angeles in terms of cargo volume.

President Biden on Wednesday celebrated the progress made on addressing supply chain disruptions after meeting with industry leaders.

“Earlier this fall, we heard a lot of dire warnings about supply chain problems leading to a crisis around the holidays. So we acted,” he said, “And the much-predicted crisis didn’t occur. Packages are moving, gifts are being delivered, shelves are not empty.”

Read more here.


That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s technology and cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you next week.

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