In this morning's news...
November Auto Sales
Auto sales rose 17 % in November from a year earlier. Ford sales were up 24%, Chrysler sales up by 17% and GM’s sales were up by 11%. As Reuters explained, the numbers were, “a stronger-than-expected gain that pointed to a slow but steady return in consumer demand from the depressed levels of a year ago.” GM and Chrysler both announced earlier in the week that they were hiring new workers.
Senate Approves Teacher-Tenure Reforms
As the final days of the 2009-2010 legislative session wrap up, the state Senate has approved teacher-tenure reforms. The reforms, passed yesterday, would make it easier for school districts to fire teachers whose students don’t receive adequate test scores. Speaker of the House Andy Dillon says he expects the House to vote on the measure today. Teachers unions say the bills are unfair as they focus on teachers rather than problems with education funding in the state.
Wayne County Cuts Workers' Pay
Union employees in Wayne County are taking a 20% pay cut imposed by Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano. As Sarah Hulett reports, “the move comes after two years of negotiating failed to yield an agreement. Earlier this year, Ficano instituted unpaid furlough days after the union rejected a proposed 10 percent pay cut.” Ficano called the situation disappointing.
Former President George W. Bush will be in Grand Rapids this afternoon. He'll be promoting his new book, "Decision Points" at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. This is the former President's second visit to Grand Rapids this year. He attended the Economic Club of Grand Rapids in June.