LABOR

GM appeals directly to striking workers

General Motors took the unusual step of appealing directly to employees in a blog post on Friday that laid out the terms of the automaker’s latest offer aimed at ending a month-long strike, angering the union with which it is negotiating.

While emphasizing GM’s commitment to the collective bargaining process, the letter, signed by Gerald Johnson, executive vice president for global manufacturing, circumvents leadership of the United Auto Workers (UAW) and points to frustration at a lack of progress on ending a conflict that has already cost the company more than $1 billion.

The UAW strike began on Sept. 16, with the union’s 48,000 members at GM seeking higher pay, greater job security, a bigger share of profit and protection of health-care benefits. Credit Suisse estimated the loss could hit about $1.5 billion.

AD
AD

As part of its revised offer, GM boosted the amount it plans to invest in the United States to about $9 billion from its previous offer of $7 billion, a person familiar with the offer said.

Of the new total, $7.7 billion would be invested directly in GM plants, with the rest going to joint ventures including a potential battery plant near the Lordstown, Ohio, factory that has been idled, the person said.

The UAW in a statement said GM was “playing games at the expense of workers” and accused the automaker of half-truths and “purposefully stalling the process to starve UAW-GM workers off the picket lines.”

“At every step of the way, GM has attempted to undermine the ongoing, good-faith efforts the UAW has made to end this strike,” the union said.

AD

— Reuters

TRADE

Parmesan purchases jump ahead of tariffs

U.S. consumers who appreciate the tang of aged Italian Parmesan cheese atop their favorite pasta dish are stocking up ahead of next week’s tariff hike and as dairy producers in the two countries square off.

AD

The Italian agricultural lobby Coldiretti said Friday that sales of both Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano, aged cheeses with a distinctive granular quality that are defined by their territory of origin, have skyrocketed in the United States by 220 percent since the higher tariffs were announced one week ago.

The new tariffs — up from $2.15 per kilogram (2.2 pounds) to around $6 a kilogram — take effect on Oct. 18. Parmesan cheese is on a long list of European Union products targeted by the Trump administration for retaliatory tariffs approved by the World Trade Organization for illegal E.U. subsidies to Airbus.

AD

Coldiretti says American consumers, as a result, will pay more than $45 a kilogram, instead of $40 — which is expected to hurt sales in the United States, the second-largest export market after France.

AD

Nicola Bertinelli, president of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese consortium, says the tariffs threaten the economic health of 330 small dairy producers in the area around Parma and the 50,000 people who work in the production supply chain.

— Associated Press

Also in Business

Hyundai and affiliate Kia have earmarked $758 million to settle U.S. class action litigation and address engine-related issues in the United States and South Korea. The move marks the South Korean auto giant's first major effort to resolve years of trouble over engine defects that have also sparked probes by the U.S. safety regulator and prosecutors.

AD

French carmaker Renault dismissed its chief executive officer, Thierry Bolloré, on Friday, overhauling its leadership once again after the jailing of its previous chairman and CEO. It came days after Nissan, with which Renault shares a deep alliance, named a new CEO, indicating the two companies were intent on cleaning house after a scandal involving former chief Carlos Ghosn. Bolloré will be replaced on an interim basis by current Chief Financial Officer Clotilde Delbos.

AD

Citibank has agreed to pay a $30 million fine to settle charges of repeated violations of real estate holding rules and for failing to meet its commitment to take corrective actions, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) said on Friday. Federal law limits the time a national bank may hold foreclosed and "other real estate owned" (OREO) assets. A Citi spokesman said the bank did not meet the holding requirement in some instances, but customers were not affected.

— From news services

AD
AD