The daily business briefing: November 30, 2023

The UAW pushes to unionize non-union automakers, Disney's Bob Iger says he's 'definitely' leaving in 2026, and more

Bob Iger
Bob Iger
(Image credit: Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images for The New York Times)

1. UAW tries to unionize workers at non-union car makers

The United Auto Workers union, fresh off the success of strikes against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, announced Wednesday that it was campaigning to unionize thousands of employees at 13 non-union automakers — including Tesla, Toyota, BMW and Nissan. "To all the autoworkers out there working without the benefits of a union: Now it's your turn," UAW President Shawn Fain said. The union won raises of up to 33% in its strikes against Detroit's Big Three. After UAW members returned to work, Toyota and other non-union automakers increased pay by about 10%. Tesla repair technicians in Sweden went on strike this month after CEO Elon Musk refused to bargain with their union. ABC News, Vice

2. Disney's Iger 'definitely' stepping down in 2026

Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger said Wednesday he was "definitely going to step down" in 2026 when his contract expires, adding that the entertainment giant's board was conducting a "robust" search for his successor. Iger, 72, retired as Disney's chief executive in 2021 but returned less than a year later. Since coming back in November 2022, Iger has streamlined the company, putting it on track to save more than the $5 billion he promised investors in February. Iger also said Wednesday the company wasn't putting ABC up for sale, despite floating the idea earlier this year, arguing at the time that a migration of viewers to streaming platforms will make the broadcast network less of a "core" business down the road. Reuters

3. Report: Cigna, Humana in merger talks

Cigna and Humana are in talks to merge into what would be a health insurance powerhouse, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The proposed cash-and-stock deal could close by the end of the year if the two sides finalize it, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the discussions. Cigna and Humana shares dropped 8% and 5.5%, respectively, on the news. If the merger goes through, the new combined company would be big enough to rival massive integrated health care leaders like UnitedHealth Group and CVS Health. Cigna has a big pharmacy benefit unit and is strong in commercial insurance. Humana would add its presence in the fast-growing Medicare business. The Wall Street Journal

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4. Stock futures rise as winning month ends

U.S. stock futures gained early Thursday after the Dow Jones Industrial Average neared a 2023 high. Futures tied to the Dow were up 0.5% at 7 a.m. ET. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were up 0.2%. The Dow inched up less than 0.1% on Wednesday, while the other two main U.S. benchmarks edged lower. All three remained on track to finish November with big gains after a rally fueled by increasing hopes the Federal Reserve could be done raising interest rates now that inflation is cooling. "The economic data supporting the Fed to continue to keep rates at bay and possibly decrease is a huge tailwind," Jay Woods, chief global strategist at Freedom Capital Markets, told CNBC. Morningstar, CNBC

5. Google deal with Canada ends threat of blocking news content

Google reached a deal with Canada on Wednesday to pay Canadian publishers for news, backing away from a threat to block their content. The agreement settles a dispute between the internet giant and Canada over a controversial law requiring compensation for news content displayed on digital platforms, according to CNN. Under the agreement, Google will pay $73.5 million per year, indexed to inflation, into a fund to be divvied up among publishers. Instead of negotiating with each publisher, Google "will have the option to work with a single collective" of eligible news businesses, Canadian Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge said in a statement. CNN

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