Business Briefs: Global unions want VW to bargain with UAW

Business tile
Business tile

Global unions want VW to bargain with UAW

IndustriALL Global Union's Executive Committee has adopted a resolution calling on German car manufacturer Volkswagen to bargain with a United Auto Workers group at the company's Chattanooga plant.

A gathering more than 200 union representatives from over the world took place late last week at the Frankfurt, Germany, headquarters of IG Metall, German affiliate of IndustriALL Global Union.

The Executive Committee unanimously passed a resolution that calls on Volkswagen to immediately begin negotiations with the skilled trades workers at Chattanooga by June 22. If not, IndustriALL shall initiate so-called further actions, which could lead to the eventual revocation of the company's global framework agreement between IndustriALL and Volkswagen, according to a news release.

Last December, maintenance employees at the plant voted 108 to 44 to align with the UAW.

The National Labor Relations Board staff has certified the results of the election, but VW is appealing that NLRB ruling because the auto maker says it doesn't want to divide its workers into smaller units within the plant with some hourly workers unionized and some not.

CBL cuts interest rate on $107 loan on mall

CBL & Associates Properties Inc. on Wednesday announced that it closed on a non-recourse $107 million loan secured by Hamilton Place mall.

The 10-year loan bears an interest rate of 4.36 percent, which was priced 1.5 percentage points lower than the loan it replaced.

"The new financing - at very favorable terms - clearly demonstrates the confidence of our lending relationships in CBL," said Farzana K. Mitchell, CBL's chief financial officer. "The Hamilton Place financing and the nearly $130 million in new equity already raised this year are evidence of our continued access to attractively priced capital and strengthening balance sheet."

Proceeds from the loan were used to retire an existing $98.2 million loan with an interest rate of 5.86 percent that was scheduled to mature in August. CBL's share of excess proceeds were utilized to reduce outstanding balances on its lines of credit.

Hamilton Place is owned in a 90 percent/10 percent consolidated joint venture.

Chattanooga adds jobs in construction industry

Construction employment in metropolitan Chattanooga grew by 500 jobs, or 5 percent, over the past year, to 10,000 jobs, according to the latest data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Chattanooga was among two thirds of America's major metro areas that showed gains in building employment over the past year. The Associated General Contractors of America said despite a slowdown from March, April's construction spending was still up 4.5 percent from a year ago.

Private residential spending increased 8.0 percent over the year; private nonresidential spending climbed 3.4 percent; and public construction spending rose 1.2 percent.

"While few cities have returned to their prior peak levels, construction head counts continue to climb in most areas," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer. "Federal, state and local officials should focus on enacting measures to recruit and prepare future workers and improve aging airports, water systems and other public infrastructure."

Uber raises $3.5 billion from Saudi investors

Uber said Wednesday it is getting a massive cash infusion from Saudi Arabia.

The oil-rich nation's sovereign investment fund is putting $3.5 billion into the global transportation company, and will get a seat on Uber's board of directors.

Funding for new tech companies has been slowing down in recent months amid concerns that many startups have been over-valued. But San Francisco-based Uber has been able to raise billions of dollars as it pursues ambitious plans to expand around the world.

Uber says its internet-based ride-hailing service now operates in nine countries of the Middle East, one of its fastest-growing markets. Eighty percent of its passengers in Saudi Arabia are women. The country doesn't allow women to drive.

The Saudi money is part of a larger round of funding by several investors, which valued Uber at $62.5 billion. The company, which has raised well over $14 billion since its founding in 2009, says it now has more than $11 billion in cash and available credit to fund its expansion.

Uber's regional rivals have also reported big investments this year, as on-demand ride services have grown in popularity. Apple recently invested $1 billion in China's Didi Chuxing, while General Motors has put $500 million into U.S.-based Lyft.

Weaker dollar boosts U.S. manufacturing

American factories expanded for the third straight month in May, helped by a weaker U.S. dollar.

The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its manufacturing index rose to 51.3 last month from 50.8 in April. Anything above 50 signals growth.

The index was stuck below 50 from October through February as American factories struggled with economic weakness abroad and a strong dollar that made U.S. products more expensive in foreign markets. The dollar has fallen against other major currencies since the end of January, giving factories some relief.

"Manufacturing has stabilized," Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a research note. "The weaker dollar this year has already made a material difference to exporters."

Upcoming Events