Autos: Union, Fiat Chrysler accused of bribery
General Motors sued Fiat Chrysler last week for allegedly bribing officials of the United Auto Workers union, said Neal Boudette in The New York Times. The complaint is “based on findings from a broad investigation into corruption at the UAW” brought by the Justice Department. “Three former Fiat Chrysler executives and several UAW officers have already pleaded guilty in cases that revealed a cozy back-scratching culture,” including lavish trips and Rolex watches in exchange for “union acceptance of cost concessions.” The union’s president, Gary Jones, resigned last week over his role in the embezzlement scandal.
Investing: Schwab buys rival broker TD Ameritrade
Charles Schwab agreed to buy TD Ameritrade in a merger of two of the biggest online brokerage firms, said Annie Massa and John Gittelsohn in Bloomberg.com. The deal, for $26 billion, “creates a mega-firm with $5 trillion in assets—a Goliath that may attract the attention of antitrust regulators” but gives Schwab “even more sway over the sector it pioneered nearly a half-century ago,” when it introduced discount investing. Last month, Schwab kicked off a rush to zero-commission stock trading, sending jitters across the brokerage business—and making TD Ameritrade an attractive acquisition target.
Uber: Crucial license at risk in London
Uber again lost its license to operate its ride-hailing service in London, said Parmy Olson in The Wall Street Journal. “Transport for London, the city’s main transportation regulator, said this week it had found 14,000 instances in late 2018 and early 2019” in which 43 unauthorized drivers exploited a loophole on Uber’s platform allowing them to pick up riders. Uber will continue to operate in the city while it appeals the ruling. The company also lost its license in 2017, but won a 15-month probationary license on appeal.
Google: Activists fired as worker relations deteriorate
Google this week fired four employees who had publicly criticized company initiatives, said Johana Bhuiyan in the Los Angeles Times. The search giant said the employees had violated data security policies and leaked internal documents. The relationship between Google and its workers has become increasingly contentious, with activists charging that the once freewheeling company is now trying to “censor those who speak out.” Two of those terminated, Laurence Berland and Rebecca Rivers, had been suspended last week, sparking a rally of 200 protesters outside Google’s San Francisco offices.