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MichMan

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Member since: Mon Apr 20, 2015, 06:44 PM
Number of posts: 2,411

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Would-be Tesla customers wait, wait for their cash back

Detroit News -Daniel Howes

How long could Detroit’s automakers get away with sitting on $1,000 deposits from customers tired of waiting, waiting, waiting for their new electric car?

Not very long. The likes of General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV would be accused of using the cash as interest-free financing to fuel their operations. And the allegations would be directionally, if not literally, correct.
They would be pilloried — by investors, by regulators, by the news media, especially by would-be customers. Any constituency accustomed to calling BS on sketchy tactics would smell more of a money grab by a financially stressed startup than the defensible actions of a crisply run company.

But not Tesla Inc.
The Silicon Valley-based automaker controlled by Elon Musk is slow-walking requests for refunds, Bloomberg News reports. Customers tired of waiting for the company to deliver a legit $35,000 Model 3 compact as promised several years ago say they are being forced to wait as long as six months to get their cash back.

Starting in 2016, Tesla booked hundreds of millions in individual $1,000 deposits eager to get their hands on an affordable Tesla intended for the masses. But the folks who can't afford the upscale versions of the Model 3, much less the flagship Model S, mostly are left to wait, wait, wait because Tesla needed the cash, cash, cash it could book from building higher-priced Model 3s first.
The double standard is stunning, if entirely predictable by now. Flouting common business sense is a core principle of Musk, whose iconoclasm attracts investors, boosts the company's market value and raises a simple question: How long can this kind of stuff go on in one of the country's most regulated industries?

It's yet another example showing how the rules are different for the global auto industry's pre-eminent startup. Its CEO regularly spurns industry convention; its senior management churns repeatedly; its manufacturing quality evokes more Detroit circa 1980 than Silicon Valley 2019. And Tesla mostly gets away with it.

When Tesla sits on nearly $800 million in customer deposits at the end of last year, according to Bloomberg, and continues to assemble a record of customer-service complaints, how long before regulators start asking about what's going on? Customers already are.

What they may lack in brand cachet could be offset by the quaint notions of dependability, the ability to more easily get parts and timely service, and the assurance that it wouldn't take six months to get a customer deposit returned because the automaker couldn't keep its end of the bargain.
Doing what you say you're gonna do still matters — and it should.

[link:https://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/columnists/daniel-howes/2019/02/26/tesla-customers-wait-wait-cash-back/2982332002/|

More than 25K strike at Mexican border factories

Source: Detroit News

Mexico City – More than 25,000 Mexican workers at dozens of factories south of Brownsville, Texas, went on strike Friday after owners of the plants that assemble for export refused union demands for a 20 percent pay hike and an annual bonus.

The Union of Maquiladora Industry Industrial Workers of Matamoros, the SJOIIM, said that by late Saturday nine companies had agreed to meet the salary and bonus demands.

The strikes affect factories that make auto parts, medical equipment, plastics and other goods.
The labor strife comes on the heels of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s promise to double the minimum wage in communities along the U.S. border to 176.2 pesos a day, the equivalent of $9.28 at current exchange rates.

However, workers who were making more than minimum wage in Matamoros factories would not have benefited from the hike in the minimum wage, sparking discontent. The workers are also demanding a one-time bonus of about $1,685.

Read more: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/2019/01/26/strike-mexican-border-factories/38961091/

Marc Edwards Is a Sad Victim of Our Modern Political Era (Flint water crisis)

from Mother Jones


"This is very sad: Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech professor who first exposed toxic levels of lead in the water supply of Flint, Michigan, was initially a hero to the Flint community. Thanks to him, Flint became the target of nationwide outrage, and steps were finally taken to reconnect Flint to the (safe) Detroit water supply. In less than a year, lead levels in Flint water had dropped to safe levels.

So what did Edwards do? Well, he’s a scientist, and just as he had honestly exposed Flint’s problems in the first place, he also continued to honestly report the results of the intervention. When the water was once again safe, he said so—and that turned him from a hero into a pariah."

"But this is not just about one guy who’s faced unfair attacks. It’s way more important than that. Here in the progressive community, we like to criticize conservatives for being too anti-science; too tribal; and too subservient to their most extreme wing. But look at what happened here. The science, as you’d expect, told us that Flint’s water got better after mitigation measures were taken—but the activists on the ground were too angry and bitter to accept that. Instead, they turned tribal on the guy reporting the results, and at that point you were either with them or against them."



[link:https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2019/01/marc-edwards-is-a-sad-microcosm-of-our-modern-political-era/?fbclid=IwAR3ZtWG904_WWw-UA37wIuFEWSzXiHW6UREcPlq2JX5JFwS6yhNuY5o9-rk|

Rep. Debbie Dingell wants to add breathalyzers to cars in honor of Michigan family killed by drunk

Source: MLive

Rep. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat representing Michigan's 12th district, announced plans this week to introduce legislation aimed at reducing drunk driving.

The action is prompted by the deaths of Northville residents Issam Abbas and Dr. Rima Abbas and their three children - Ali, 14; Isabelle, 13; and Giselle, 7, who were killed by a drink driver in Kentucky while on their way home from a Florida vacation.“Their loss has devastated our community in ways you cannot imagine,” Dingell said during a Thursday speech on the U.S. House of Representatives floor. “In every sense of the word, they were a community. Their absence stunned this community and is felt deeply and emotionally.”

Dingell, whose 12th District includes Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Dearborn and the Abbas’ hometown of Northville, is planning to introduce legislation that would require all new vehicles to have interlocking breathalyzers.

These devices are usually attached to the ignition system of the vehicles and require you to test your blood-alcohol content before unlocking and starting your car. Simply put, if your BAC is above the legal limit, it won't allow you to start the car.




Read more: https://www.mlive.com/news/2019/01/rep-debbie-dingell-wants-to-add-breathalyzers-to-cars-in-honor-of-abbas-family.html

American buyers continue to abandon the trusty car


"Automakers largely reported that cars dragged on U.S. sales last month, in some cases despite booming SUV and truck sales. Meantime, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which has been phasing cars out of its lineup, reaped the rewards in November.

The November sales results beat some analyst expectations, as most automakers reported smaller sales slips than expected. But U.S. consumers continue to flee sedans in droves, a trend guiding executive decision-making at the highest levels. Even Toyota's typically best-selling Camry sedan was off nearly 30 percent compared to a year ago.

"The market continues to abandon cars, with no end in sight," said Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book. "Automakers have slowed or stopped production, so inventory is down, and buyers are mostly looking at trucks and SUVs.

A few models have somewhat stabilized in recent months, but generally speaking cars — and brands that depend heavily on cars — don’t have a good story to tell. Every time we think we’ve hit the bottom in car market share another month passes with trucks and SUVs gaining while cars lose."

F-Series marked a record nine straight months topping the 70,000 truck mark, a consistent performance by a high-volume, high-margin product unmatched in the industry," said Ford sales chief Mark LaNeve in a statement.

Toyota's car sales were down enough to drag down booming SUV and truck sales. The automaker reported a 15-percent increase in SUV sales and a 10.6-percent increase in truck sales for its best-ever month of selling trucks — but that was overshadowed by car sales that were off 18 percent.

Nissan Group reported overall sales dropped 19 percent in November, with car sales down 34 percent, and truck sales off 13.1 percent.


https://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/2018/12/03/fca-november-sales-up-17-ford-down-7/2189951002/

Conyers III to run for Congress as independent

Source: Detroit News

Detroit -- John Conyers III is circulating petitions to appear on the November ballot as an independent candidate after being tossed from the Democratic primary in the race for his father's congressional seat.

The maneuver, Conyers III said, is smarter than waging a long-shot campaign as a write-in candidate and he won't be beholden to the Democratic leadership.

"This is a far better position. I can focus on campaigning from now until November," said Conyers, who began circulating petitions after finding out he wouldn't be part of the primary. "Other Democrats in the (primary) race can fight it out for one position."

The crowded 13th District Democratic primary to replace resigned Congressman John Conyers Jr., D-Detroit, for a full two-year term includes Conyers' great nephew, Ian Conyers, as well as former state Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Shanelle Jackson, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, state Sen. Coleman Young III and Westland Mayor Bill Wild.

Read more: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2018/07/02/john-conyers-iii-congress-independent/751205002/

Feds label Fiat Chrysler, UAW as co-conspirators

Source: Detroit News

Detroit — Federal prosecutors labeled the United Auto Workers and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV as co-conspirators in a widening corruption scandal, an allegation at odds with claims the labor union and automaker were victimized by rogue employees.The allegation, contained in a federal court plea agreement obtained by The Detroit News on Tuesday, potentially exposes the automaker and the UAW — a cornerstone of the modern American automotive industry — to criminal charges, fines and governmental oversight, according to a former federal prosecutor.

"This does not bode well for Fiat Chrysler and the UAW," said Peter Henning, a Wayne State University law professor. "All along, the union and Fiat Chrysler have portrayed themselves as victims, but this indicates the government has a different view."
Federal prosecutors say the union and Fiat Chrysler conspired from before 2009 through 2015 to violate the Labor Management Relations Act and the automaker enabled nepotism to flourish at a blue-collar training center. The law prohibits employers or those working for them from paying, lending or delivering money or other valuables to officers or employees of labor organizations — and from labor leaders from accepting such items.

"From in or before 2009 through 2015, FCA executives conspired with one another, with FCA, with officials at the UAW, and with the UAW, to violate the Labor Management Relations Act," prosecutors wrote in the court filing. It's the first time FCA and the union have been identified separately from individuals in the case. The government has not brought charges against either the company or the union.

<snip>

A fight for money central to the criminal case involving the UAW and Fiat Chrysler has intensified in recent days. The UAW-Chrysler National Training Center sued Iacobelli and others Friday to recoup $4.4 million it claims was embezzled during the scheme.
During the time of the conspiracy described by prosecutors, Fiat Chrysler executives authorized Holiefield and other UAW officials to offer sham employment at the training center to friends, relatives and allies, according to the court filing.

At the direction of Holiefield and other UAW officials, "numerous individuals were categorized as being on 'special assignment' status to the (training center) when, in fact, those individuals did little work or no work on behalf of the (training center)," prosecutors wrote.

Read more: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/2018/06/12/feds-label-fiat-chrysler-uaw-co-conspirators/695076002/

Clerk vote: 1 in 5 Detroit precincts cant be recounted

Detroit — City Clerk Janice Winfrey has prevailed in a general election recount that uncovered poll worker errors that prevented about 20 percent of reviewed precincts from being recounted.

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers on Friday certified the results at Cobo Center, declaring Winfrey as the official winner of the race. But with the conclusion came more questions about election operations in Detroit amid the review of votes that turned up missing ballots and mismatched tabulations.

Winfrey’s challenger Garlin Gilchrist II sought the recount after losing to Winfrey by 1,482 votes on Nov. 7, saying his request was prompted by stories of “chaos and confusion” from absentee voters during election season. He requested a recount of 100 absentee voter counting boards, as well as 60 precincts where problems were reported on Election Day. That represents more than 27 percent of the city’s total number of precincts.

Some of the recount findings had the city’s elections director on Friday threatening “disciplinary action” against the poll workers who were overseeing one precinct. At the city’s precinct 156, which is St. John’s Presbyterian Church, only five of the 145 ballots cast on Election Day were in the recount container. Department of Elections Director Daniel Baxter said during the board meeting Friday that poll workers at the church on E. Lafayette failed to place the ballots in the transfer case. “They placed them, unfortunately, in the supply box,” he said.

When asked by a board member what the remedy would be, Baxter vowed his office will take action.
“That entire board will probably be discharged and will not be able to work in future elections,” Baxter said. “We will regroup and look at some of the issues that occurred at this particular election and reinforce training for our poll worker staff.”

Wayne County Elections Director Delphine Oden has said that in some precincts, the number of ballots tabulated on Election Day did not match the number of ballots in the recount container. Friday’s recount results didn’t include the votes from 16 absentee voter counting boards and 17 Election Day precincts because they could not be recounted. Gilchrist called it “unacceptable” and “problematic” that 140 ballots were missing from precinct 156. “There continues to be issues and reasons why people in Detroit do no trust the voting process,” he said.

Winfrey could not be reached for comment on Friday, but previously has touted beefed up poll worker training and new voting machines after a state audit of the November 2016 election revealed an “abundance of human errors” that caused mismatched vote totals.Winfrey told The Detroit News on Thursday that there will always be a small amount of non-recountable precincts “because of human error” but said “the great majority are recountable.”

Gilchrist said after the meeting that there are towns in Michigan where every absentee voting board and every Election Day precinct are recountable.

“I believe Detroiters are capable of the same thing,” Gilchrist said. “We need to have systems in place to make sure everyone is part of the process (and) the staff can function correctly so that we can have recountable precincts. It’s clear that the training has not improved enough.”

Earlier this year, the Michigan Bureau of Elections audited 136 of the city’s most irregular precincts from the November 2016 election — “the worst of the worst,” it said — after a Wayne County canvass revealed “significant discrepancies” in the number of voters and ballots in 392 Detroit precincts.

[link:http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2017/12/08/detroit-clerk-recount/108439064/|

Another John Conyers accuser comes forward, saying he groped her in church

Source: Detroit Free Press


WASHINGTON -- Another former staff employee of U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, came forward late Monday to publicly accuse the congressman of sexual harassment, saying he once slid his hand up her skirt in church.

Attorney Lisa Bloom, who is representing Marion Brown, the former staffer who first accused Conyers, 88, of sexual harassment, on Monday night made public on Twitter an affidavit from Elisa Grubbs making many of the same accusations.

Conyers, who is being called on by many of his Democratic colleagues to resign, is expected to have an announcement about his future at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday in Detroit.

In Grubbs' signed statement, she says she worked in various roles for Conyers for some 12 years, from 2001-13, though her name didn't immediately come up in a search for Conyers' staffers during that time period in the Legistorm.com service or in the U.S. House quarterly Statement of Disbursements. Some past news accounts have listed her as an employee of Conyers however.

It was also not immediately known whether Grubbs could possibly be one of the people who earlier wrote confidential affidavits on behalf of Brown's complaint which were earlier published by the website BuzzFeed. This is the first time her name has been publicly mentioned in connection with the sexual harassment accusations, however.
She said in the affidavit she saw Conyers groping and stroking Brown's legs and the legs of other women in the office and that she saw Brown shortly after an alleged event in Chicago in 2005 where Brown said Conyers' propositioned her in a hotel room. In the affidavit, Grubbs said Brown told her, "That SOB just wanted me to have sex with him."



Read more: https://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2017/12/04/john-conyers-accuser-church/922045001/

Fuyao employees reject UAW bid by a wide margin

Employees at Fuyao Glass America voted by a resounding margin Thursday against joining the United Auto Workers, defeating the union’s more than 18-month attempt to organize one of the Dayton area’s fastest growing manufacturers, in a fight that drew the international spotlight.

The final tally was 886 to 441, according to the National Labor Relations Board, which oversaw the election. 
The UAW offered a slightly different tally, but the same outcome: 868 votes against forming a UAW-represented collective bargaining unit, and 444 votes for the union.

There were 1,608 eligible voters at Fuyao, according to Matthew Denholm, assistant regional director for the NLRB in Cincinnati. Three ballots were void and 186 were challenged. “The union did not receive a majority,” Denholm said. 

The NLRB election process gives the UAW a week to challenge the outcome of the election. 

In a statement, the union said workers “reported irregularities during the election which the UAW is investigating, and it may file objections” with the NLRB.

Fuyao is Ohio’s largest Chinese-owned manufacturing operation, anchored in the shell of a former General Motors plant, and the company itself is just over three years old. The Moraine plant makes automotive and safety glass, with the capacity to make glass sets for one of every four vehicles on North American roads.


[link:http://www.daytondailynews.com/business/fuyao-voting-scheduled-end-soon/heywvRQaCN4kQr7E6bvVDK/|
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