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In This List

General Motors faces a new breed of strike

S&P Global Market Intelligence

Cannabis Hashing Out a Budding Industry

The Market Intelligence Platform


General Motors faces a new breed of strike

As this newsletter goes to pixel, General Motors Co. is in the second week of a nationwide strike that has seen some 46,000 employees down tools.

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Source: Associated Press

GM and the United Auto Workers failed to reach an agreement before their previous four-year contract expired Sept. 14. The myriad challenges facing the automotive industry, combined with the company's previously announced plans to shut four plants and slash its headcount in North America meant a new deal was never going to be easy.

But the negotiations have been complicated by the ongoing federal investigation into corruption at the union, which has seen 11 representatives or former representatives charged so far. Marick Masters, business professor and director of labor at Wayne State University, suggested that this has led to a breach of trust between workers and their union bosses, making talks even more fraught.

The strike, GM's first in more than a decade, has divided onlookers. Analysts at Citigroup estimate the walkout is costing the carmaker $100 million per day, whereas Credit Suisse puts the figure at $50 million. Moody's automotive analyst Bruce Clark suggests GM's inventory and cash reserves will allow it to weather a strike no longer than one or two weeks, while Argus Research analyst Bill Selesky thinks it could run as long as four weeks.

The reason for the uncertainty is the unique set of circumstances around this particular strike. Autotrader Executive Analyst Michelle Krebs said: "The circumstances [of the strike] are unlike any we've seen before, with the industry headed for a downturn and a transformation and the UAW leadership under the cloud of a corruption investigation."

How and when this costly affair ends is anyone's guess.

Chart of the week: Probability of default for US department stores, apparel companies

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Automotive

GM could lose up to $100M per day from UAW strike, experts say

General Motors workers went on strike after the automaker and United Auto Workers failed to reach an agreement before their contract expired.

Trump announces move to revoke California's waiver to set clean car standards

The president announced in a Sept. 18 tweet that his administration will formally move to revoke California's waiver to set strict vehicle emission standards as part of his effort to dismantle a key pillar of his predecessor's climate legacy.

California sues Trump administration over clean car rules waiver withdrawal

The state was joined by 22 state attorneys general in a Sept. 20 legal brief challenging the Trump administration's determination that California no longer has authority to set its own greenhouse gas emissions standards for vehicles.

Electric-vehicle battery recycling issue looms over carmakers, regulators

Belgian materials technology and recycling group Umicore is consulting with the European Union on policies to address end-of-life battery packs and has mooted a deposit scheme for EV owners.

Uber, Lyft per-driver costs in California could jump 30% under gig work law

California passed a bill that would require gig economy companies to classify workers as employees, but Uber and Lyft are resisting.

Retail

September retail market: Retail sales up; 2 companies file for bankruptcy

Employment in the sector declined in August.

Potential Forever 21 buyout involves mall landlords Simon, Brookfield

Chart Watch: Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners are reported to be in talks with the struggling teen apparel retailer about acquiring a stake in the company as part of a potential bankruptcy restructuring plan.

Food, Beverage & Tobacco

New cannabis products to boost Canadian sales as legal, illicit sources compete

Canadians sourced more of their cannabis from legal avenues in the second quarter, though illegal sales remained a firm source of competition, according to government data.

US FDA floats new rule for e-cigarette product applications

The federal agency's proposal aims to make sure that e-cigarette companies include enough information in applications to market their products.

Juul faces subpoena threat from Congress over company documents

A congressional subcommittee gave Juul an October deadline to produce documents related to the money it has given schools and the deal it has with Altria.

Experts: Still room for tobacco M&A after potential Altria-Philip Morris deal

The potential for large-scale consolidation in the sector is dying down but Imperial Brands is considered one possible target, analysts said.

Food in Focus: Wholesale prices weigh on grocer margins in August

The month also saw a number of deals and investments in the snack space.

Chlorinated chicken not the only impediment to post-Brexit US-UK trade deal

The U.S. and United Kingdom cannot start formal negotiations until after the U.K. has completed its long-awaited exit from the European Union.

S&P 500 Consumer Discretionary and Staples Indices

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Consumer Edge is a weekly collection of critical developments across the automotive; retail; and food, beverage, and tobacco industries. Drawing on exclusive analysis and value-added content from the Consumer News team at S&P Global Market Intelligence, it is published every Thursday.