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GM CEO Mary Barra and UAW President Gary Jones open the 2019 GM-UAW contract talks. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Detroit automakers are kicking off negotiations with the United Auto Workers union on new labor contracts this week.

Why it matters: Auto talks are always contentious over issues such as wages and health care benefits, but this year's bargaining is colored by unusual factors and disruptive forces roiling the industry, notes Bloomberg.

  • Auto workers are furious about GM plant closings in Michigan, Ohio and Maryland and the increased use of lower-paid temporary workers.
  • Fiat Chrysler and the UAW are still dealing with the legal fallout of a years-long corruption scheme that federal prosecutors said diverted money from a union training fund to the pockets of former leaders at the company and the union.
  • GM, Ford and FCA have all seen strong profits in recent years, but executives are sweating shrinking sales and risky billion-dollar bets on future electric vehicles and self-driving cars.

What to watch: Everyone was all smiles for this week's ceremonial handshake at each of the Detroit Three, but the tone will get more serious as talks intensify ahead of a mid-September bargaining deadline.

Go deeper

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

8 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios