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Amidst the public uproar over the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border, there was a notable push-back from leading airlines.

United, American, Southwest, and Frontier all announced they did not want the government using their planes to transport separated children, saying it defied their corporate values 

These airlines are just some of the corporations to openly resist the President, pointing to a trend of increased corporate activism. 

Map of Detroit Metro Transit plan
Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan

Audio: A conversation with Daniel Howes, Detroit News business columnist. 

One hot topic at the Mackinac Policy Conference this week is the future of regional transportation in Southeast Michigan — particularly a proposed millage to fund the expansion of the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan.

Daniel Howes is a Detroit News business columnist. He speaks with Stateside about regional divide and larger issues at the core of the RTA debate. 

Three women pose with Lori Blaker in Afghanistan
Courtesy of Lori Blaker

 


 

Think of it as a sort of Nobel Prize for businesses: the Oslo Business for Peace Award

 

The Business for Peace Foundation each year honors business leaders who use their business skills to do good: to help the economy, to help society, and to do it in a way that is ethical and responsible. 

Courtesy of Melissa Butler

Growing your own business means persisting past uncertainty and rejection: having a clear idea of what your product is about, and where you want to take your business.

Detroiter Melissa Butler is proof of that idea. She’s the founder and CEO of The Lip Bar. It is a non-toxic, cruelty-free and vegan line of lipsticks and lip-glosses.

Courtesy of Dan Vermeesch

 

 

A West Michigan company has come up with a remarkable way to address the skills shortage problem we hear about so much in our state.

 

Micron Manufacturing of Walker is a precision machining supplier, and Micron lets workers create their own schedules.

A Techtown building in Detroit
Andrew Jameson / Wikimedia Commons

Grant funding is being extended for a program in Detroit that supports a business startup accelerator for students.

TechTown's Detroit Technology Exchange Business Incubator will receive a $250,000 extension. The funding is part of more than $1.7 million in extensions approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Heard about America’s new parlor game? Global corporations are playing regions and taxpayers off one another to land the richest deal. And Michigan is in the game. So far, anyway.

Earlier this week, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed legislation obligating his state’s taxpayers to pay Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology a cool $2.85 billion in cash. That’s billion with a “B.”

What for? To offset its payroll and capital costs to set up shop in the southeast corner of that state.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Forget the notion that the Chinese are coming to the auto industry near you. They’re already here.

Geely has controlled Sweden’s Volvo for seven years now. Tencent Holdings owns a five percent stake in Elon Musk’s Tesla. Pacific Century Motors acquired Delphi’s Saginaw-based steering division to create Nexteer Automotive Corp. And Chinese companies spent $140 billion last year on mergers and acquisitions, second only to the United States.

Although General Motors CEO Mary Barra wasn't among the business leaders that quit President Trump's advisory councils before they disbanded, Howes says he believes she was leaning in that direction.
Andrea_44 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The businessman president is losing big business.

Donald Trump's promise to turn to America's business leaders for advice and counsel has collapsed.

His refusal to lay complete blame for the weekend violence in Charlottesville led to a revolt by CEOs in his business advisory groups.

two women on laptops
wocintechchat / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The fallout from the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News continues as co-president Bill Shine is the latest to leave the network.

Although Shine has not himself been accused of harassment, a growing number of women at Fox News claim he was quite aware of the inappropriate behavior against them and did nothing to address their concerns.

This dismissive attitude by a top executive doesn't surprise Lilia Cortina. She's a professor of psychology and women's studies at the University of Michigan. She has found that even though more and more workplaces have ways to report sexual harassment, women don't use them.

Courtesy of the Sunny Patch Learning Center

It’s been three years since Flint’s ill-fated switch to the Flint River as its drinking water source.

It wasn’t just people living in Flint that were hurt by the city’s water crisis.

Businesses in the Vehicle City also suffered.

Courtesy of Kyle Bice

The "Beervangelist" is on the road.

Fred Bueltmann is New Holland Brewing Company’s vice president of Brand and Lifestyle. He's touring the nation to understand the popularity of craft-made beer, craft spirits, artisanal cheese, honey, jewelry, guitars and dozens of other products. It’s like the national version of our Artisans of Michigan series on Stateside.

The Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act would require employees to undergo genetic testing and hand over those results to their employer.
Wikipedia.com

How would you feel if your boss demanded you undergo genetic testing and hand over the results? And if you refuse, you could wind up paying a penalty of up to 30% of your health insurance's total cost?

A bill to do just that cleared a House Congressional committee last week. 

Courtesy of Shannon Cohen

Attention businesses and organizations in West Michigan: women of color are more than ready, willing and able to take on leadership roles.

That's the message on this International Women's Day from a study exploring why women of color are so often passed over for leadership roles in Kent and Ottawa Counties.

VERTAS / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Government failed Flint.

It's pretty tough to dispute that statement, knowing what we know about how the Flint water crisis came to be, and how it was dismissed and denied by bureaucrats and officials at all levels of government.
 

Entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist Joseph Sanberg believes we should work through the boardroom to help address working-class problems, not just wait for government to fix things.

MC Sports

MC Sports announced yesterday that the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and has begun the process of store liquidation.

The Grand Rapids-based company operates 68 store locations across the Midwest, including 22 in Michigan, and employs 1,300 people.

In a statement, MC Sports President and CEO Bruce Ullery said that the sports supplier has been unable to compete with online retailers.

More from yesterday's announcement:

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With a new president comes new challenges for America’s business leaders, Detroit automakers included.

In a recent column for The Detroit News, Daniel Howes wrote that President Trump “isn’t making things easy for CEOs.” Today, the Detroit News columnist joined Stateside to explain.

“Essentially he’s saying, ‘Look, we’re going to cut taxes and reform regulations, but I’m going to tell you how to run your business,’” Howes said.

President Barack Obama in Detroit on Labor Day in 2011.
screen grab from YouTube video

President Barack Obama leaves office tomorrow and he leaves behind a complicated legacy when it comes to the auto industry.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes reviews Obama’s relationship with automakers in his latest column.

L. Brooks Patterson defended James Simpson's invitation, saying Simpson was asked to speak specifically because he's provocative.
screen grab of Oakland Co. video

 


According to its website, the Oakland County Business Roundtable began in 1993 as a space for business leaders to “engage” with county leaders on “issues that will enable them to prosper.”

For next month’s lunch meeting, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has invited writer James Simpson to be the keynote speaker.

"The traditional classroom style was not the best way to teach this type of information ... Once the guys were able to see hands on what it meant to run a business using the food truck as a classroom, it completely changed what they thought," Harris said.
Steven Depolo / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

The Skillman Foundation has awarded $50,000 each to six different programs in connection with the My Brother’s Keeper Detroit Innovation Challenge.

One of the six is Giving Them the Business. The goal is to teach young men of color to be owners and operators of restaurants, not just hired help, according to a release from the foundation.

Jerrell Harris coordinates Giving Them the Business. He joined us today.

FLICKR USER FLORIAN BUGIEL https://flic.kr/p/mvyj4a

Human trafficking is a growing problem in our state. Reported cases of human trafficking in Michigan were up 16% in 2015 from the year before.

And that's only counting the reported cases. Many more go unreported.

A 10-cent fee on grocery bags passed in Washtenaw County intends to incentivize the use of reusable bags and reduce waste.
faythe1 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Beginning on Earth Day next year (April 22, 2017), Washtenaw County residents might have to bring their own bags to grocery stores to avoid a 10-cent-per-bag fee approved by the county’s board of commissioners on Wednesday in a 6-2 vote.

The fee applies to all paper and plastic bags that grocery stores provide consumers at the checkout aisle.

But the new ordinance might never be implemented.

Jodi Westrick

The Next Idea

If everyone knows of 20th century Detroit as the Motor City, what's Detroit's identity today and what should it be for the future? Every Thursday on our Next Idea segment, we look at the innovations and we look at the new ideas that could reshape Michigan. 

Courtesy of Dan4th Nicholas from Flickr

While some cities across the U.S. are passing plastic bag bans and taxes, local governments in Michigan may not get to join in. 

The state Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would prevent local governments from regulating bags used in stores. The measure passed by a 25 to 12 vote, and now heads to the state House.

State Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, is lead sponsor of the bill. He said some businesses, though he wouldn't specify which, have approached him and asked to ensure such bag regulations are uniform across the state, which should help business operations. 

Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

Mark Masters of TDM Realtors in Flint says it's hard to keep tenants and even harder to attract new ones.

"I mean one of the first questions I get, it used to be 'is that a good neighborhood' and now it’s 'is that Flint water,'" said Masters.

Last spring he started getting calls from some of the company’s 300 renters that something wasn’t right with their water.

Ralphie taking aim in 1983's "A Christmas Story"
screenshot

For many of us, the holiday season just wouldn’t be the same without the annual viewing of A Christmas Story.

Daniel Howes / https://twitter.com/DanielHowes_TDN

All week long, Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes is accompanying more than 20 Michigan CEOs as they examine the thriving economy of Israel, looking for lessons that can be applied to Michigan. 

Courtesy of Daniel Howes / https://twitter.com/DanielHowes_TDN

This week, more than 20 of Michigan's top CEOs are on what you might call a field trip.

They're visiting Israel to discover what it took to transform that nation from virtually nothing into one of the most innovative economies in the world, all in the span of just 70 years.

Staples

Big businesses often oppose increased regulations. But not always: take the Clean Power Plan. The Environmental Protection Agency’s new rule requires states to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.

The coal industry and some states, including Michigan (Attorney General Bill Schuette joined the lawsuit), are fighting the rule. But, hundreds of businesses have stepped forward to support it.

Photozou

Michigan cities and counties could soon face skyrocketing telecommunications costs. That’s according to some industry experts and local government groups.

They say special rates from the state that go back decades are expiring. They also point to a new law allowing companies like AT&T to phase out traditional landline service.

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