Snyder to decide this week whether to expand Medicaid
In his budget address this week, Gov. Rick Snyder will announce whether he'll expand Medicaid. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government would pay for the state to allow an additional 400,000 people in the state to receive Medicaid coverage. The state would eventually have to pay for a portion of the costs, Rick Pluta reports.
Snyder to propose adding $50 to $100 million to Rainy Day Fund
Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to recommend that the state add $50 to $100 million to its Budget Stabilization Fund, better known as the Rainy Day Fund. Some Democrats argue though that now is not the time to be saving. The Detroit Free Press quotes Gilda Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy.
"For lots of families, it is raining right now," Jacobs said. "There really is the opportunity to take a portion of the money that is in the Rainy Day Fund and use it for families that are experiencing hardship."
Chrysler pays tribute to troops, farmers in two Super Bowl ads
Chrysler's two Super Bowl ads were among the most well-received auto advertisements according to the Detroit Free Press. Chrysler's first ad, voiced by Oprah Winfrey, was a Jeep spot that paid tribute to the military. Their second commercial, an ad for Ram pickup trucks, featured the late radio personality Paul Harvey reading "So God Made a Farmer."
In a statement, Fred Diaz, President and CEO of Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico, Chrysler Group LLC, said:
"For the Ram Truck Brand, this ranks as one of the proudest days in our history. Every truck-maker aspires to win the North American Truck/Utility of the Year. I tip my hat to the folks who worked behind the scenes to make the 2013 Ram 1500 a technological triumph."
Italian automaker Fiat, already Chrysler's majority owner, has announced plans to acquire another stake in the Detroit car company.
Fiat currently owns 58.57 percent of Chrysler. The rest is held by VEBA - the Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association. The VEBA was given stock in Chrysler in lieu of cash payments to cover union retiree health care costs, which were shifted to the UAW in 2007.
Fiat says it intends to exercise an option for 3.3% of VEBA's stock, for $198 million.
General Motors was a deeply troubled company in 2008.
Eh. Make that deeply, deeply, deeply troubled.
So was its finance arm, GMAC, which had plunged head-first into subprime mortgage lending, in addition to automotive lending. That left the company awash in billions of dollars worth of bad mortgages.
The federal government had to figure out a way to bail out both companies - because GM wouldn't survive if it didn't have a place to send customers for car loans, and if its dealers didn't have a place to get financing to buy the inventory.
Making his first physical appearances in court, the 43-year-old father from Wixom had pre-examination conferences Wednesday in district courts in Howell and Novi. He faces numerous felony charges, including assault with intent to murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, carrying a weapon with unlawful intent and intentionally firing a firearm from a vehicle.
Neither of Casteel's attorneys would comment after the hearings.
Chrysler will provide more evidence today that its recovery is in full swing as it details plans to invest $238 million in three Michigan plants and add about 1,250 jobs so it can ramp up production of its engines and pickups.
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and UAW Vice President General Holiefield are scheduled to be at Chrysler's Mack Avenue Engine I plant this morning for the announcement.
Firearm deer hunting season starts today
Hunters are taking to their favorite spots as firearm deer season begins today.
The day before the start of firearms deer season is usually the busiest day at retailers who sell hunting licenses. The state has reduced the number of antlerless deer licenses because of a viral disease, known as Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease or EHD. The disease has been present in Michigan for decades. But this year, weather conditions led to an unusually early outbreak of the disease.
State officials say virus has killed more than 13,000 deer this fall in more than 30 Michigan counties.
Adding the third crew now was driven by the mounting cost of overtime Jefferson North's workers have logged in recent months. Newly hired workers start at a lower wage to which the UAW agreed in its 2011 contract.
The CAW union and Chrysler have reached a tentative deal similar to the agreements reached with GM and Ford. Ford workers in Canada ratified their agreement earlier this week. GM workers are expected to do so sometime tomorrow. More from CBC Windsor.
One more agreement, and the Canadian Auto Workers will be on the road to deals with all three U.S. automakers.
The CAW and Chrysler are working on finalizing a labor contract this week.
Ross Marowits of the Montreal Gazette reports the two sides are close to reaching an agreement.
The chairman of the CAW master bargaining committee for Chrysler said the two sides made significant progress over the last 24 hours.
“I think we’re closer and closer by every minute and every hour and again we’re just working at this closing up those loose ends,” Dino Chiodo said Wednesday in an interview from Toronto.
“Unless things completely fall off the rails, which I don’t see happening at this point, I think we’re moving along very well and I’m confident that sometime today or tomorrow we’ll be able to achieve the final task of wrapping this up.”
The bargaining teams are expected to meet tonight after 7 p.m. The CAW and General Motors have reached a tentative agreement. Unionized GM workers in Canada are expected to vote on the proposed agreement today and tomorrow. Ford workers in Canada approved their agreement this past Monday. Altogether, the CAW represents around 21,000 auto workers from the "Big Three."
The CAW's president, Ken Lewenza, knows it's not going to be easy with Chrysler. Company executives have made it clear they want an agreement that lowers labour costs to match those in the United States.
Lewenza said it could be days before there is a tentative agreement between the two sides.
"We can get a deal. I've a great deal of respect for [Chrysler CEO Sergio] Marchionne and his management team," Lewenza said. "I don't hide that and I think he's got respect for our union. But at the end of the day, you can only respect each other when you dot the I's and cross the T's."
If talks stall, the CAW can strike.
But with a deal signed with Ford, and a final deal with GM expected to be approved by GM union workers in Canada this week, a strike at Chrysler plants in Canada doesn't seem likely.
The Canadian Auto Workers and GM announced a tentative contract Thursday night reports The Globe and Mail:
The deal extends by one year the life of a car-assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont., that was scheduled to close next year and adds a new shift of workers at a neighbouring plant. That means GM’s employment level in Canada should be roughly the same as it is today – or about 7,000 people – in 2016.
We’ve got a lot going on in Michigan, to put it mildly, and I would guess that you haven’t been paying much attention to the union negotiations that have been going on in Canada.
That’s understandable -- but they could have a significant impact on the economy in this part of the world. The Canadian Auto Workers union used to be part of the UAW, before breaking off and becoming independent in the 1980s.
Strike captains at the union, which represents about 20,000 members at the three companies, were to meet in Toronto on Monday to advance plans for a triple strike.
"All three bargaining committees are determined to reject these demands and reach a fair deal," the CAW said in a leaflet distributed to members on Monday.
"The union recognizes the fragility of the industry and the need to stabilize fixed costs, while finding a solution rewards members' work. Unfortunately, our efforts have not been met with equal willingness by the companies to negotiate fair terms," the leaflet said.
The last time the Canadian Auto Workers went on strike was in 1996.
Chrysler had its best month since August 2007, according to the AP, and had sales of more than 148,000 vehicles. They say their sales were led by demand for the Dodge Ram pickup truck.
Ford sold 197,249 vehicles in August, and in a press release said high gas prices led more people to their lineup of vehicles.
“As fuel prices rose again during August, we saw growing numbers of people gravitate toward our fuel-efficient vehicles – cars, utilities and trucks,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service.
And General Motors sold 240,520 vehicles in August. More than Ford or Chrysler.
In their press release, GM said it's ready for gradual improvements in the economy.
“The single message Chevrolet communicated this summer was ‘confidence’ and it rang true with customers when they saw how our product lineup is being transformed,” said Kurt McNeil, vice president of U.S. sales operations. “All four of our brands are building momentum behind new products so we’re very well positioned as the economy continues to slowly improve.”
American Axle told the Detroit Free Press this morning it plans to "add 400 to 500 jobs in the next couple years" at its Three Rivers driveline plant in southwest Michigan. The company builds drivetrains and driveline systems and components for auto and truck manufacturers. Its biggest customers are Chrysler and GM.
The Michigan Democratic Party wants the International Revenue Service to investigate Clark Durant. Durant one of the Republicans vying to run against Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow this November. Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer says Durant's salary - and his daughter's salary - use up 95-percent of the money in a charity meant to help children attend private religious schools in Detroit. Brewer says an outside attorney believes that's illegal. Durant says the claim is nothing but political theatre.
The Detroit Free Press' Brent Snavely reported today that Chrysler plans to close its Mack Avenue Engine II plant in Detroit this September. The company plans to replace the engine built there with a different one made in Chrysler plants in Trenton, Mich. and in Saltillo, Mexico, reports the Detroit News.