STELLANTIS “FIAT CHRYSLER” TO LAYOFF 1,600 ILLINOIS WORKERS AT BELVIDERE PLANT

Consolidated Press News File

May 15, 2021

BELVIDERE, IL — As automakers continue to be troubled by a global shortage of semiconductors, 1,600 jobs are being cut at a Jeep Cherokee factory in Belvidere Illinois.

Stellantis, formerly known as Fiat Chrysler, announced on Friday that one of the two work shifts at its Belvidere Assembly Plant would be eliminated as of July 26.  The Belvidere plant has been closed since late March, with Stellantis constantly delaying its reopening, which is now scheduled to take place later this month at the earliest.

The recent chip shortage, which was triggered by semiconductor makers moving their factories to more lucrative consumer-electronics processors has forced the closure of a number of other auto plants, including those operated by General Motors and Ford Motor Company in recent months.

INFLATION ON THE RISE: APRIL WHOLESALE PRICES SURGE 0.6% IN APRIL

Consolidated Press News File

May 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — Wholesale prices rose 0.6 percent in April, shocking economists and providing more proof that inflation pressures are beginning to mount as the world emerges from a pandemic-induced recession.

The increase in the producer price index, which tracks inflationary pressures before they hit customers, was more than twice the 0.3 percent increase expected by economists.  The rise came after a significant 1% increase in March, according to the Labor Department.

Wholesale prices have increased by 6.2 percent in the last year, the highest increase since the data was first collected in 2010.

Food prices increased by 2.1 percent in April, the largest monthly rise since a similar increase in October last year.  The cost of airline services and food retailing services increased by 0.6 percent.  The rise in the total cost was responsible for two-thirds of the increase in wholesale prices.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, increased by 0.7 percent in April, indicating widespread price pressures as demand rises with the economy’s reopening.  Core wholesale inflation has increased by 4.1 percent in the last year.

Officials from the Federal Reserve, including Chairman Jerome Powell, argue that recent price rises are only temporary as the economy reopens and are not a warning of out-of-control inflation.

However, rising prices have jolted Wall Street, which has now dropped three days in a row and seen the largest one-day decline in the S&P 500 since February.

FORD TO REVEAL ALL-ELECTRIC F-150 LIGHTNING MAY 19 WITH LIVESTREAMED EVENT AT FORD HQ 

Ford Motor Company News File

DEARBORN, Mich., May 10, 2021 – Ford’s smartest, most innovative truck yet will be allelectric and alled F-150 Lightning. The all-new F-150 Lightning will be revealed May 19 at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn and livestreamed for millions to watch.  

The F-150 Lightning brings stunning innovation, technologies and capabilities to the F-Series, America’s best-selling vehicle, combined with the power, payload and towing capability that is the hallmark of all Built Ford Tough trucks.

The reveal takes place at 9:30 p.m. EDT, May 19, from Ford World Headquarters and will be broadcast live with 30+ ways to watch across physical and digital destinations, including the Ford Facebook and YouTube channels, Twitter, key national publications as well as 18 impactful out-of-home locations such as Times Square in New York City and Las Vegas Boulevard.

“Every so often, a new vehicle comes along that disrupts the status quo and changes the game … Model T, Mustang, Prius, Model 3. Now comes the F-150 Lightning,” said Ford President and CEO Jim Farley.

“America’s favorite vehicle for nearly half a century is going digital and fully electric. F-150 Lightning can power your home during an outage; it’s even quicker than the original F-150 Lightning performance truck; and it will constantly improve through over-the-air updates.” 

Added Farley: “The truck of the future will be built with quality and a commitment to sustainability by Ford-UAW workers at the Ford Rouge Complex — the cathedral of American manufacturing and our most advanced plant.” 

Production of the F-150 Lightning begins next spring at the all-new Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center. 

Ford Motor Company

GOV. PRITZKER, MAYOR LIGHTFOOT ANNOUNCE THE RETURN OF THE CHICAGO AUTO SHOW AT MCCORMICK PLACE

Office of Governor J. B. Pritzker

May 4, 2021

CHICAGO – Governor JB Pritzker and Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today joined elected officials, tourism backers and labor leaders to announce the return of the annual Chicago Auto Show, a marquee event that draws tourists from around the world. While the Auto Show marks the first large convention to take place since the COVID-19 pandemic began, officials expect to welcome other conventions and tourist events this summer with safety precautions.

The Chicago Auto Show will be held at McCormick Place from July 15 to 19 and will incorporate several innovative safety features – including being held indoors and outdoors for the first time since it was held in Chicago in 1901. It is the nation’s largest and longest-running auto show.

“With strong public health protocols in place, the Chicago Auto Show will be the first large convention to take place in Illinois since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, setting the stage for the safe return of big events in the months to come,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “The lifesaving power of vaccinations and the hard work by the people of our city and state has led us here. In recent weeks, we have seen our statewide COVID case rates and hospitalizations flatten and begin to fall, demonstrating a surge far short of the one we saw over the fall and winter. To be clear, our fight against the virus isn’t over yet – but things are getting better.”

“Around this time last year, McCormick Place was turned an alternate care facility that significantly aided our city during the first wave of COVID-19—making today’s announcement all the more special,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “In the same spirit of collaboration between government, healthcare, community, and corporate partners, we are now able to bring conventions back to our beloved convention center in a way that is safe and reflective of our progress in slowing and stopping the spread of this virus. I look forward to seeing the McCormick Place reopen its doors for the Chicago Auto Show this July and further enhance our city’s ongoing Open Chicago initiative.”

McCormick Place and the Chicago Auto Show have worked closely with health and tourism officials to detail mitigation strategies to ensure the safety of every attendee, starting with a lower overall capacity for attendees. Among the safety measures in place:

  • a move to Hall F in West Building with 470,000 sq ft of indoor space and 100,000 sq ft of outdoor space;
  • timed entrance windows and staggered entry to prevent congestion on the show floor and at arrival;
  • requirement to wear face masks at all times;
  • sanitization stations throughout the event;
  • contactless delivery for tickets;
  • temperatures will be scanned, and a medical questionnaire must be filled out before entry is allowed into the event.

As the State of Illinois prepares to move into the less restrictive “Bridge Phase,” this announcement is also part of the broader “Open Chicago” initiative to safely and fully reopen the city.

Given the continuous downward trend of the COVID-19 numbers, the state of Illinois and City of Chicago have aligned on guidance for conventions returning later this summer. This news follows last week’s announcement of Expanded Phase 4 regulations and the City’s Bridge to Phase 5 of reopening. Chicago has made significant progress in reversing the rise in COVID-19 metrics that started in March and caused the City to pause the reopening plan. Since last week’s announcement, COVID-19 test positivity rate has continued to drop and is now under 5%. 

“The trends are encouraging, but we must be cautious as we move forward,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “As more venues reopen, it is critical that we increase the number of people who are vaccinated.  Immunity is how we stop transmission of this virus, but we need greater community immunity and that requires as many of us as possible getting vaccinated as soon as possible.”

“We have seen steady progress in recent weeks with a downward trend in our leading COVID metrics and more and more people stepping up to get vaccinated, which is so important in getting us out of this pandemic,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady M.D. “That has made this exciting day possible.”

Statewide, 55 percent of individuals 16 and over and 79 percent of individual 65 and over have received their first dose of the vaccine, helping bring down increases in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. As these metrics continue to stabilize and decline, the state could soon move into the “Bridge Phase” of the Restore Illinois Reopening Plan. For conventions, this will mean events with the lesser of 1,000 people or 60 percent capacity. Following a 28-day period of continued stability or decline in key COVID-19 metrics, the state would then move into Phase 5, with all capacity limits lifted. The State is on track to be in Phase 5 in July.

“From day one, our priority has been to ensure the health of our guests and our employees, and as we re-open we will continue to be relentless in this area,” said Larita Clark, CEO of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA), owner of McCormick Place. “Importantly, these health measures will not take away from the experience. We know that our guests, whether it is a family wanting to check out the new Jeep Bronco or a doctor seeking the latest clinical trial data, come here for a reason. We are glad that we are able to continue to provide the outstanding experience our customers expect without compromising on health and safety.”

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, McCormick Place has been worked closely with public health officials and followed all guidance regarding meetings and events. In 2020, the entire McCormick Place campus was awarded GBAC STAR accreditation, the gold standard for health and safety in the industry. In January 2021, Choose Chicago and McCormick Place launched Healthy Meetings Chicago, a virtual experience illustrating the new convention experience.

“Prior to COVID, McCormick Place operations generated more than $1.9 billion in economic impact to the city and state,” said Glenn Eden, Chair of the Choose Chicago Board of Directors. “As we take this step forward and move toward reopening, not only is this a positive development for the health of our city, but also for the health of our economy.”

“We stand committed to providing a safe environment for all involved and will carefully adhere to the health and safety protocols and guidelines set forth by city and state officials,” said Dave Sloan, Chicago Auto Show general manager.  “McCormick Place is an important economic engine for our city and state, and we take very seriously the responsibility that comes with helping to get it running again.”

Based on the trajectory of public health metrics, officials are confident that the Auto Show and other conventions can be safely held this summer in line with best practices. However, if conditions change significantly in an unforeseen way, these plans will need to be adjusted, including the announced guidelines.

If CDPH or IDPH determines that case rates or hospitalization rates are too high to allow for the events outlined above, the guidelines will be modified. 

Office of Governor J. B. Pritzker

PFIZER & BIOTECH SUBMIT REQUEST TO US FDA TO EXPAND EMERGENCY USE AUTHORIZATION OF COVID 19-VACCINE TO ADOLESCENTS

Pfizer News Filer

BREAKING: Today, we requested amendments to the U.S. Emergency Use Authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech #COVID vaccine to expand use to adolescents 12-15 years. This request is based on data from our pivotal Phase 3 trial which demonstrated 100% efficacy and robust antibody response after vaccination. In this analysis, the vaccine was well tolerated with side effects generally consistent with those observed in participants 16-25 years of age. We plan to request similar rulings by other regulatory authorities worldwide in coming days.

Pending regulatory decision, our hope is to make the vaccine available to the 12-15-year-old age group before the start of the 2021 school year.

Learn more about this important step: https://on.pfizer.com/3wFvArj

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has not been approved or licensed by the US FDA, but has been authorized for emergency use by FDA, under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to prevent COVID-19 for use in individuals 16 years and older. The emergency use of this product is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization unless the declaration is terminated or authorization revoked sooner. Please see EUA Fact Sheet at www.cvdvaccine.com

Pfizer