VW workers reject union
The United Auto Workers (UAW) union suffered a major defeat on Friday when workers at Volkswagen Inc’s Tennessee plant rejected its organizing efforts. The closely watched vote came as the US labor movement is fighting for its survival after decades of shrinking membership rolls. The German auto giant’s workers voted 712 to 626 against unionization. The unionization efforts faced stiff opposition from local politicians, who said that a UAW victory would make it harder to attract new jobs to Tennessee and even threatened to withhold tax credits that would help VW expand production.
Spain seeks to charge Google
News media companies in Spain would be able to charge search engines such as Google for displaying copyrighted content under a new law proposed by the Spanish government on Friday. The measure echoes similar drives around Europe. Publishers in Portugal, France, Belgium and Germany have pushed for compensation in some form or another for links, snippets, headlines and lead paragraphs that appear in news search engines and aggregators such as Google News and Yahoo News. The search engines draw revenue from advertising placed near news content and media companies have fought for a share of it. Under the proposed changes, the search engines would not have to seek permission to publish brief fragments, but would have to pay “an equitable remuneration for the use.”
Apple to open Rio outlet
Apple Inc was set to open its first Latin America store yesterday in Rio de Janeiro, featuring the highest-priced iPhone of all nations listed on its Web site. Apple’s 16-gigabyte, contract-free iPhone 5s will sell for 2,799 reais (US$1,170) in Brazil. That compares with US$649 in the US and 5,288 yuan (US$872) in China. The price of the iPhone 5s in Brazil, offered by authorized resellers, has jumped 17 percent since September last year on Apple’s Web site. Brazil marks the 15th country where Apple operates its own stores. Having lost market share to rivals including Samsung Electronics Co, Apple is expanding into Latin America, driven by saturation in the US and the desire for growth in one of the world’s biggest smartphone markets, Strategy Analytics director of global wireless practice Neil Mawston said.
SAC compliance chief quits
SAC Capital Advisors LP, the hedge fund manager that US prosecutors have called a “veritable magnet for market cheaters,” said chief compliance officer Steve Kessler is stepping down after nine years at the firm. John Casey, the compliance department’s chief operating officer, will be interim head of the unit, according to an employee memo obtained on Friday last week by Bloomberg News. The US said in July that the firm’s compliance unit had identified only one example of suspected insider trading in its history. SAC, run by billionaire Steven Cohen, agreed in November last year to pay a record US$1.8 billion to settle insider-trading charges. Six former employees have pleaded guilty to insider trading, and another two money managers, Mathew Martoma and Michael Steinberg, were found guilty of securities fraud.