Wheels Falling Off: Toyota Recalls First Production Electric Car and Tundra Series

By Jeff L. Tucker, The Chicago Times

June 27, 2022

PLANO, TX – Auto giant Toyota has issued recalls for its first production electric car and Tundra series pickup trucks for problems in which nuts or bolts can become lose causing wheels or axles to disconnect.

On Thursday, Toyota Motor Sales USA issued a warning to owners of BZ4X model electric SUVs to stop driving them immediately because the wheels might fall off. The recall applies to all units sold in the North American market.  According to Toyota, bolts that hold the wheels on can loosen after even a few miles on the road.

Toyota dealers have been ordered to pick up customers’ BZ4X models and return them to the dealership.  Toyota will provide free loaner vehicles to customers.

The BZ4X, a joint project with Subaru, is Toyota’s first production battery-powered electric vehicle that is not based on a gasoline powered model.

In an unrelated recall, Toyota announced a recall for nearly 46,000 2022 Toyota Tundra full-size pickups due to similar assembly issues.  Toyota reported that nuts on the rear axle assembly can loosen causing an axle sub-assembly to become disconnected.

Toyota has ordered dealers to inspect and retighten the nuts and replace parts free of charge to customers. Toyota has not ordered customers to stop driving 2022 Tundra trucks.

Teamsters Threaten U.S. Foods Over Contract Negotiations

By Sloan Wilson, The Chicago Times

June 23, 2022

SALEM, VA – The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has threatened work stoppages as contract negotiations with US foods become contentious.

According to a press release by the Teamsters “Workers at a growing number of US Foods Distribution Centers throughout the East Coast are considering the possibility of walking off the job following an increasing number of unresolved labor contracts.”

Teamsters at these locations claim US Foods “violated” federal labor laws with illegal terminations, unilaterally changing working conditions and negotiating in bad faith with Teamsters officials.

“Unfair labor practices and unsettled contracts are not the way to thank your essential workers.  Local leaders across the country have told me their members have had it with the way US Foods treats them.” said Tom Erickson, Teamsters International Vice President and Director of the Teamsters Warehouse Division.

“We aren’t going to be afraid to strike.  If the members at those locations choose to stand up for their rights and withhold their labor, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters will have their backs.” said Sean M. O’Brien, Teamsters General President.

US Foods is one of the largest foodservice distributors in the US with approximately $24 billion in annual revenue.  US Foods offers more than 350,000 products and employs approximately 25,200 people in more than 70 locations across the US.  US Foods is headquartered in Rosemont, Illinois, and is a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.

“We look forward to returning to the bargaining table on the dates agreed upon by union representatives to continue negotiating in good faith to reach a mutually beneficial agreement that provides our hard-working associates with competitive wages and benefits. We have a strong record of good-faith bargaining with unions and respecting the law and negotiations process. Although we remain confident in our ability to reach an agreement and continue fulfilling our shared responsibility to serve our valued customers, we do have contingency plans in place to help manage potential disruptions.” US Foods released in a statement.

According to the Teamsters, they are prepared for a work stoppage over wages, benefits, and working conditions.

McDonald’s Agrees To Pay France $1.3 Billion In Tax Fraud Case

By The Chicago Times Business Staff

June 18, 2022

PARIS — McDonald’s has agreed to pay over $1.3 billion to the French state on Thursday to settle a tax fraud case after years of alleged tax evasion.

The tax fraud investigation was opened in 2016 after a legal complaint by union members.  The French court alleged that McDonald’s France, McDonald’s System of France, MCD Luxembourg Real Estate agreed to pay a total of $1.3 billion in fines, penalties and back taxes to settle the case.

According to prosecutors, McDonald’s was accused of hiding profits made in France in lower-tax Luxembourg from 2009-2020, and then reporting artificially low profits in France.

McDonald’s Corp. released a statement saying it had already paid 2.2 billion euros in taxes over that period.  The majority of the anticipated tax settlement has already been accrued for and was reflected in the company’s last quarterly earnings with the remainder being reflected in the second quarter.

EU: Hungary Rejects Globalist Minimum Corporate Tax Rate Reform

By Brooks M. Deering, The Chicago Times

June 17, 2022

BUDAPEST — Hungary’s Finance Minister Mihaly Varga announced that his nation will not support a minimum global corporate tax rate.

The European Union was expected to finalize an agreement Friday to set a minimum corporate tax rate of 15%, in accordance with a 140-nation agreement reached in October of 2021 but will now table the agreement as Hungary refuses to take part in the anti-competitive scheme.  According to the EU treaty all member nations must agree on proposed laws before passage.

“Hungary cannot support the adoption of the global minimum tax directive at this stage.  The work is not ready. I think we have to continue the effort to find a solution.” Varga said in meeting of finance ministers.

According to leading economists, a minimum tax rate would stifle competition since corporations (and people) will seek to do business in a low tax burden environment.  In fact, setting a 15% minimum tax will lock in the cost of paying the tax which the corporation will then pass along to the consumer.  In addition, setting a minimum tax will ultimately harm poorer nations since they will not be able to offer rock bottom corporate tax rates to attract corporation to invest in their nation, thus preventing the creation of jobs and wealth.

Ford To Recall 2.9 Million Vehicles

By Jeff L. Tucker, The Chicago Times

June 17, 2022

DEARBORN, MI – Ford Motor Company has announced a recall of 2.9 million vehicles with faulty transmissions that could lead to rollaway crashes. 

The recall covers the following models: Fusion (2013-2021), Escape (2013-2019), C-Max (2018), Transit Connect (2013-2021), and Edge (2015-2018).

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a bushing that attaches the shifter cable to the transmission can degrade or detach, which can prevent the vehicle from shifting into the desired gear. 

Ford has admitted it is aware of four injuries caused by the failed bushing and has received 233 complaints along with 1,630 warranty reports.  Ford has ordered dealers to replace the bushing and add a protective cap. 

Ford will begin notifying owners by June 27.

Caterpillar Flees Illinois For Better Future

By Jeff L. Tucker, The Chicago Times

June 14, 2022

DEERFIELD, IL – Heavy equipment giant Caterpillar Inc. announced Tuesday that it will relocate its global headquarters to Irving, Texas.

Caterpillar’s global headquarters was moved to Deerfield in 2018 from Peoria for over 90 years.  For over 60 years Illinois has represented the largest concentration of Caterpillar workers in the world

According to Chairman and CEO Jim Umpleby “We believe it’s in the best strategic interest of the company to make this move, which supports Caterpillar’s strategy for profitable growth as we help our customers build a better, more sustainable world.”

Caterpillar intends to begin the move to Irving, Texas in 2022.