Trump's NAFTA replacement isn't enough for striking auto workers
- Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump has hardly weighed in on the strike at General Motors, instead offering his own US-Mexico-Canada Agreement as a remedy for what's ailing the auto industry -- but the prospect of the much-touted deal doesn't seem to have convinced workers that their jobs won't move to Mexico.
- The USMCA addresses that by requiring more of a vehicle's parts to be made by workers earning at least $16 an hour in order to remain tariff-free.
- But the American Automotive Policy Council, which represents General Motors, Ford and Fiat-Chrysler, criticized the agency's report for underestimating the long-term investments US automakers will make because of the USMCA.
- A White House report said the auto provisions alone would create 76,000 jobs and lead to $34 billion in new manufacturing investments over a five-year period.
The Trump administration and GM are taking swings at each other as the automaker wades through its largest labor-union walkout in nearly 40 years
- A General Motors representative told Business Insider on Tuesday that the White House "has no involvement" in the automaker's negotiations with the United Auto Workers — the union that represents manufacturing employees at GM, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler.
- The statement comes two days after President Donald Trump urged GM and the UAW to reach an agreement.
- The 49,000 GM employees represented by the UAW have been on strike since Sunday evening, after the union's contract with GM expired.
- Ford and Fiat Chrysler agreed on short-term extensions to their contracts with the union.
- The UAW had designated its new agreement with GM to serve as the template for new deals with Ford and Fiat Chrysler, but the union has been at odds with GM over health benefits, pay for temporary workers, and factory closures.
Amazon open-sources its Topical Chat data set of over 4.7 million words
- Way back in April, Amazon announced its intention to publish a data set — the Topical Chat data set — of crowdsourced human conversations to teams competing in the annual Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge competition.
- Above: To build the Topical Chat data set, workers recruited through Mechanical Turk engaged in instant-message conversations (right) in which they supported their assertions with information extracted from a collection of unstructured or loosely structured resources (left).
- The data was then passed along to pairs of crowdsourced workers in Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, who sometimes received the same information and other times got only a subset of it.
- The Mechanical Turk workers carried on instant-messaging conversations about the knowledge sets they’d received, as instructed by the researchers.
- This week’s announcement comes roughly a year after Amazon open-sourced a data set that could be used to train AI models to identify names across languages and script types.
The GM strike was inevitable. How it will end isn't so clear
- New York (CNN Business) - In November 2016, barely a year after General Motors signed its last four-year deal with the United Auto Workers union, the problems that would lead to this week's strike became apparent.
- The line to this week's strike traces directly back to that layoff announcement, illustrating the very different views management and labor had about the future of the auto industry.
- In some ways that was good news for the auto industry — the more popular SUV was more expensive to buy and more profitable for automakers.
- When it announced plant closing plans last year, GM said much of the $6 billion in hoped-for savings would go to research and development efforts for that next generation of vehicles.
The Shift to Electric Vehicles Propels a Strike Against GM
- When United Automobile Workers members walked off the job at 33 General Motors sites around the US on Sunday morning, perhaps the most … striking detail was that they only numbered 46,000.
- Among other demands, the UAW wants a greater share of GM profits—the automaker has reported $35 billion in operating profit in North America over the past three years—and for GM to reopen an Ohio plant it closed in March.
- Last year, a study by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO found that by 2030, a moderate shift to electric propulsion could leave 75,000 Germans out of work—even accounting for the creation of 25,000 new jobs.
- That’s because batteries and motors are far simpler machines than internal combustion engines, and require a few hundred parts instead of a few thousand.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren slam Amazon-owned Whole Foods' plan to cut medical benefits for part-time workers
- Critics are slamming Amazon-owned Whole Foods over its plan to cut medical benefits for hundreds of part-time workers next year.
- The benefit cuts will affect part-time Whole Foods employees who work at least 20 hours a week, Business Insider reported on Thursday.
- Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren used the decision as an opportunity to advertise their Medicare-for-all proposals for healthcare reform.
- The changes to medical benefits will take effect on January 1 and affect just under 2% of Whole Foods' total workforce, a company spokesperson told Business Insider last week.
- The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which is one of the largest unions in the US, called the move a "brazen" attack against workers.
GM tumbles on first union strike in 12 years, which could cost it $50 million a day
- General Motors shares fell as much as 3.6% on Monday as the United Auto Workers union kicked off its first strike in 12 years, slowing the automaker's production.
- The strike could cost GM as much as $50 million per day in earnings, Credit Suisse analyst Dan Levy said in a note to clients.
- The union is asking for entry-level pay raises, improved health care, and a faster process for short-term workers to earn higher salaries.
- UAW noted that temporary workers are doing similar work as full-time hires for less pay, and that entry-level roles should pay nearly $30 an hour in three or four years.
- While UAW's main focus is on temporary workers, automakers are seeking "added flexibility" amid warning signs of economic slowdown, Levy said.
- The automaker traded at $38.06 per share as of 10:00 a.m. ET Monday, up about 14% year-to-date.
It looks like Uber is getting into the small loan business for its drivers
- The ride-hailing giant sent out an in-app message to some drivers this week saying it’s “building a new financial product” to help Uber drivers with their finances “in a time of need,” and asked recipients to fill out a survey.
- Uber offering financial services isn’t exactly new — the company piloted an interest-free cash advance program for drivers in California and Michigan back in 2016.
- They’re particularly skeptical considering Uber and its ride-hailing competitor Lyft are spending tens of millions of dollars to fight California legislation that could force companies to provide workers with a minimum wage and other employee protections such as sick leave.
- For now, it’s not clear whether or not Uber will officially launch its new financial product, and we don’t know any details about what the potential loans would look like — such as what the interest rate and conditions would be.
Gig workers’ win in California is a victory for workers everywhere
- By making it hard for employers to misclassify employees as independent contractors, potentially millions of California workers who’ve been kept off payrolls will get basic labor rights for the first time, like overtime pay and unemployment benefits.
- Trump’s National Labor Relations Board, which enforces federal labor union laws, recently decided that gig workers are independent contractors, not employees, which means they don’t have a right to unionize.
- Google employees, for example, have changed company policies through sustained action, signaling the growing power of workers and the labor movement as a whole.
- Proponents of NAFTA pushed back against that idea, saying that boosting trade would raise wages for low-skilled Mexican workers, pulling millions out of poverty and making it less attractive for companies to move factories to Mexico.
Beekeeper raises $45M Series B to become the 'Slack for non-desk employees'
- Beekeeper, the Switzerland and U.S.-based startup that provides a mobile-first communications platform for employers that need to communicate with blue-collar and service-oriented workers, has raised $45 million in Series B funding.
- Targeting non-desk employees, including those working in hospitality, manufacturing, and retail, Beekeeper’s mobile-first platform is designed to replace more arcane communication methods, such as pen and paper and consumer messaging apps like WhatsApp. The potential market is said to be big, too, with more than 80% of the world’s workers thought not to be sat at a desk and therefore arguably in need of a “Slack for non-desk employees,” which is how Beekeeper pitches itself.
- Meanwhile, with today’s Series B, Beekeeper’s says it plans to bridge the gap between knowledge workers and their non-desk counterparts, and further expand its offering with new features and integrations.