The daily business briefing: September 25, 2023

Hollywood writers reach deal that would end strike, Canadian autoworkers ratify a new contract with Ford, and more

WGA strikers reach deal
WGA strikers reach tentative deal
(Image credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images)

1. Hollywood writers reach tentative deal with studios to end strike

The Writers Guild of America declared victory on Sunday after reaching a tentative deal with the major Hollywood studios that would end a months-long strike. The proposed three-year contract, which must still be ratified by the union’s 11,500 members, would boost pay and residual checks for streaming shows and impose new rules about the use of artificial intelligence. WGA leaders said they were going through the contract details to ensure that "the last 'i' is dotted." The studios are expected to focus now on breaking an impasse to end a tandem strike by the actors union, SAG-AFTRA. The rare dual strikes forced studios to delay TV and movie productions, as well as major film releases because striking actors can't promote their films. Los Angeles Times

2. Canadian autoworkers ratify contract with Ford

Canada's autoworkers union Unifor announced Sunday that its members ratified a new contract with Ford. "Priorities met! Pattern set," Unifor said in a post on X, formerly Twitter. The three-year agreement covers more than 5,600 workers. Under the new contract, Ford is offering union members up to 25% higher wages and improvements to their pension plans, Unifor said. There will be "general wage increases in each year of the agreement with 10% in year one, 2% in year two and 3% in year three," Unifor said. The agreement came as the United Auto Workers union expanded its U.S. strike against General Motors and Stellantis but spared Ford additional walkouts due to what UAW President Shawn Fain called "serious" progress in negotiations. Axios

3. House GOP leaders pressure holdouts to help avert shutdown

Republican leaders in Congress stepped up pressure on far-right lawmakers to drop their resistance to a stopgap funding bill that would prevent a government shutdown starting Oct. 1. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) plans to push for approval of four big bills this week, including military and homeland security funding legislation, to demonstrate progress to GOP holdouts demanding deep spending cuts. None of those bills would avert a shutdown. Biden administration officials warned of dire consequences if Congress fails to act. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said a shutdown could "impact everything from food safety to cancer research to Head Start programs for children," adding it was "time for Republicans to start doing the job America elected them to do." Reuters, The New York Times

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4. Stock futures struggle as rough September winds down

U.S. stock futures were little changed early Monday at the start of the last week in a rough September. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were down 0.1% and the Nasdaq was down 0.2% at 7 a.m. ET, after fluctuating between slight gains and losses. The major indexes fell on Friday, with the Dow and the S&P 500 closing down 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq falling 0.1%. Stocks struggled in September as the Federal Reserve signaled it might hold interest rates higher for longer to bring inflation down to its 2% target. The S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq are heading for what could be their worst months since December. CNBC, MarketWatch

5. Meta to release AI chatbots

Meta Platforms plans to release artificial intelligence chatbots across its social media apps as soon as this week, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing internal documents and people familiar with the matter. Facebook's parent company has developed generative AI bots, including a "sassmaster general" robot that answers questions, in a bid to drive engagement and woo young users, a priority for Meta since the emergence of teenager favorite TikTok, according to the Journal. E-commerce giant Amazon said Monday it would invest up to $4 billion and take a minority ownership stake in artificial intelligence firm Anthropic, which developed the Claude chatbots and is a rival of ChatGPT developer Open AI. The Wall Street Journal, CNBC

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