Jul 17, 2019

Disruption and scandal set backdrop to auto talks

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 formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.