LABOR

Union urges GM to temporarily close plant

The United Auto Workers union local in Arlington, Tex., has asked General Motors to temporarily close its large-SUV plant in the city for the safety of its workers as cases of covid-19 rise rapidly in the state.

“Due to the most recent data on the Covid-19 outbreak, the Bargaining Committee has asked General Motors to shut down Arlington Assembly until the curve is flattened for the benefit and well-being of our members,” UAW Local 276 said on its website.

Confirmed covid-19 cases in Texas have been rising by more than 5,000 a day in recent weeks, and the State reported 4,288 new cases Monday, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

“We’re aware of the request and haven’t made changes to our production plans because we have protocols designed to keep the virus out of the facility and have multiple layers of protection in the plant to prevent a spread of the virus,” company spokesman Jim Cain said. “There’s no need to interrupt production.”

— Bloomberg News

AUTO INDUSTRY

Tesla surpasses Exxon market value

Tesla’s market value has surpassed Exxon Mobil’s in a sign that investors are increasingly betting on a global energy transition away from fossil fuels.

Elon Musk’s Tesla, now at $201 billion in market capitalization, is surging on the billionaire founder’s optimism that his company can avoid a second-quarter loss. Exxon, which dropped to $185 billion, is reeling from the worst crude-price crash in history. The largest oil company in the Western Hemisphere is preparing to cut some of its U.S. workforce.

Tesla also is on the verge of passing Toyota as the most valuable automaker in the world by market capitalization. Tesla topped Boeing in March to become the most valuable U.S. industrial company.

— Bloomberg News

TECHNOLOGY

Microsoft to offer free job training

Microsoft and its LinkedIn unit will provide free job training to help unemployed workers prepare for in-demand jobs as the global pandemic pushes U.S. unemployment to levels as bad as those during the Great Depression.

The program uses LinkedIn data to find the jobs that employers most want to fill and offers free access to content that helps workers develop the required skills. The company will cut the cost of its certification exams and offer free job-seeking tools. Microsoft aims to provide additional skills to 25 million people globally by the end of the year through the program for such jobs as software developer, customer-service specialist and graphic designer.

— Bloomberg News