Mike Ilitch School of Business in the news

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Sources: GM offers 2% raises to UAW; company ends strikers' health care

General Motors stopped paying for health care coverage for striking workers Tuesday, the company confirmed. That means striking GM union workers are eligible for union-paid COBRA to continue their health care benefits. The latest development added to tension as GM and the UAW returned to the bargaining table Tuesday morning. The two sides negotiated until about 9 p.m. Monday, sources said. Meanwhile, more details emerged about GM's offer to the UAW. Two sources familiar with GM's offer said it called for a 2% wage increase for the first and third year of the four-year contract and 2% lump sum payments the second and fourth years. UAW members are emotional after GM moved to shutter U.S. plants, so the fear that the automaker wants to break the union is understandable to Marick Masters, business professor at Wayne State University who specializes in labor. But he said, it's not realistic. “If that were the case, they could take more draconian measures, such as hiring other workers, encouraging people to break the line and go back to work or GM could have had a workforce ready to hire before this even started,” said Masters. GM likely knows it will have a union for the foreseeable future, which is why it is structuring a contract that allows it to be more cost competitive against nonunion automakers, he said. That means having the ability to have a larger temporary workforce and multiple wage tiers is crucial to the carmaker. But the two sides must reach an agreement in short order for several reasons, he said.  
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UAW corruption investigation casts shadow at the bargaining table as GM workers strike

GM workers have been on strike since midnight Monday. Company and union leaders are back at the bargaining table in Detroit. They’re trying to hammer out a new contract after GM workers walked off the job for their first strike since 2007. But there’s a third, unseen presence at the bargaining table this time. It’s the U.S. Justice Department, and its investigation into alleged corruption by some UAW officials. Peter Henning is a professor of law at Wayne State University and a former federal prosecutor. He says that when the feds investigated union leaders in the past, it was usually over suspected ties to organized crime. But this may be something entirely different. “It appears that it was essentially treating some of the funds like their own little piggy bank,” said Henning. Some UAW officials allegedly devised a scheme to use union member dues for personal expenses, like California luxury accommodations and golf. These are only allegations, and neither Jones nor Williams has been charged. Despite GM’s profits right now, the automaker is looking at a possible looming recession, weakening demand, and tariff challenges. It’s leaning heavily on truck and SUV sales, as the industry is becoming more technologically complex and electrified. Marick Masters teaches business and labor studies at Wayne State. He says the UAW will inevitably have to make a less-than-perfect deal for its members—but with many union members’ skeptical of the leadership’s credibility, leaders are more likely to “play to the crowd” and less likely to make a deal. “And that becomes a vicious circle in which inflexibility on one side leads to inflexibility on the other side,” said Masters. “I think at this point in time, the company has the leverage, because of the cloud that hangs over the UAW leadership.”

GM workers head to picket lines to press demands

General Motors Co.’s factory workers took to the picket lines Monday, hoisting signs reading “UAW on Strike” and blocking traffic into plants, in an effort to secure better pay, more job security and other benefits ahead of an expected U.S. car market slowdown. The United Auto Workers union over the weekend called on nearly 46,000 full-time factory workers at GM to walk off the job starting early Monday morning, after negotiations for a new four-year labor agreement hit a standstill. The nationwide walkout is the UAW’s first in 12 years and involves more than 30 factories across 10 states. It is also one of the largest private-sector work stoppage in decades, coming at a time when unions more broadly have pulled back on striking companies. Work-stoppages involving more than 1,000 employees are down, falling from more than 200 a year in the early 1980s to fewer than 20 annually in recent years. “The strike really has lost its utility as a viable weapon in the private sector,” said Marick Masters, a professor of business at Wayne State University. “You very rarely see an employer willing to buckle.” At the same time, he said both sides have an incentive to reach a deal quickly. “The company knows it’s going to have losses, and workers know they’re going to miss a paycheck,”  Masters said.
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Why Michiganians march on Labor Day

For more than a century, whether in peacetime or war and regardless of the weather, the labor movement in Michigan has traded in its working boots for walking shoes and taken to the streets for Labor Day. Detroit's parade, in past years, has stepped off from Belle Isle and later from Grand Circus Park. More recently it has started at Michigan Avenue and headed east from Corktown to downtown. Detroit's first Labor Day celebration took place on Aug. 16, 1884, and attracted a crowd of 50,000 people to Recreation Park, according to the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University. That was a decade before Labor Day became an official national holiday, observed on the first Monday in September. Over those years the celebration would turn into a march rather than just a rally. "In its early years, the parade was used to voice the concerns of a fledgling labor movement and to celebrate the progress made by organized labor," according to a Reuther Library report on Labor Day in Detroit. Kristen Chinery, a reference archivist at the Reuther library, said "parades were very popular" then and to celebrate Labor Day that way was a "natural choice."
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High school sports participation drops for the first time in 30 years

High school sports participation dropped for the first time in three decades in 2018, according to data from the National Federation of High School State Associations released Tuesday. Nearly 8 million students took part in interscholastic sports in 2018, but that number is down more than 43,000 students from the year before. Some of that is natural, said Scott Tainsky, who studies sports economics at Wayne State University. If you think about that decline in football participation as 1 percent a year, that’s nothing to fret over. The United States has five major participatory and spectator sports (football, basketball, baseball, soccer and hockey). They all jockey not only for eyeballs on TV screens, but also for youth players. Football had a great run of growth in the 2000s, and now the numbers — both in participation and in professional viewership — are inching back down. High school football is still in fine shape. It is by far the most popular high school sport: 400,000 more boys participate in football than the next most popular sport, outdoor track and field. But the same issues you’ve heard before about football, injury concerns and cost, are driving more high school athletes away from the sport. “Those aren’t things that are likely to be resolved overnight, but they’re also not things that would cause some precipitous drop going forward,” Tainsky said. In other words, something else significant is going to have to come along to really dent football’s place as the king of high school athletics. Otherwise, Tainsky said, these participation numbers should level out over time.
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How organized labor can reverse decades of decline

Marick Masters, professor of business and adjunct professor of political science, wrote an article for The Conversation about the future of organized labor in an ever-changing market. “Collective bargaining has long been one of organized labor’s most attractive selling points. In its simplest form, collective bargaining involves an organized body of employees negotiating wages and other conditions of employment. In other words, unions are saying: Join us, and we’ll bargain with your boss for better pay. Unfortunately, traditional collective bargaining is no longer an effective strategy for labor union growth. That’s because employers and many states have made it incredibly hard for workers to form a union, which is necessary for workers to bargain collectively. My own research suggests unions should pursue alternative ways to organize, such as by focusing on more forceful worker advocacy and offering benefits like health care. Doing so would help unions swell in size, putting them in a stronger position to secure and defend the collective bargaining rights that helped build America’s middle class.”
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Universities across Michigan attract Chaldean students with an inclination for business

Looking at Alaa Kishmish’s current career trajectory, one would never guess that the business major on the cusp of graduating was once pursuing a career in anything other than business. With a refined acumen for all things business, Kishmish, 24, is looking at graduating in December 2019 from the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University with a bachelor’s in business administration. The switch from pharmacy to business came after he took on a part time bank teller position at a local bank in Sterling Heights. In his post as a teller Kishmish’s passion for business presented itself and in turn, flourished. “My journey at Wayne State has been extremely rewarding. I have had the opportunity to meet and connect with so many different people that I would not have otherwise met,” he explained. “Some of my closest friends, colleagues, and people I network with I met through the school of business. I would not have been able to do any of this if I had not been at Wayne State; it has provided me with several opportunities.”
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Wages for 12,000 local employees on line when Ford, UAW workers begin contract talks

The wages and benefits of more than 12,000 Louisville workers will be on the line when national contract negotiations between Ford Motor Co. and 55,000 members of the United Auto Workers union begin next month. The current contract ends in September, and a labor expert told Insider that turbulence in the auto industry and the economy as a whole will make the coming tug-of-war the toughest since before the financial crisis. “These negotiations, I think, are going to be tense and challenging on a number of different fronts,” said Marick Masters, professor of management and director of the Douglas A. Fraser Center in the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University. Masters said that the automakers are entering the negotiations as they’re seeing stagnating sales — but at the same time are facing enormous investments into new technologies. The union, meanwhile, will want raises and commitments for investments in American manufacturing plants to increase job security. While automakers always have to spend money on developing new products, Masters said rapid technological changes in the industry are requiring additional investments in electrification and autonomous vehicles. Ford and other U.S. automakers have to invest in new technologies or fear losing sales to foreign competitors. Ford also still is feeling the drag from investments in China that haven’t paid off, and from staying in the small car market longer than competitors, Masters said.
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Detroit, FCA work to match residents to Jeep jobs

Experts say there could be some challenges in finding qualified Detroiters to fill and maintain the production and skilled trade positions to a level that would please city leaders. City officials, however, say the initial response it has received from interested Detroit residents — more than 11,000 — signals that many Detroiters could be willing and able to take on the new jobs. Detroit is leading the effort to screen applicants for the positions. It’s going to be critical that Detroiters are prepared when they apply for the jobs, said Marick Masters, a professor of management at Wayne State University’s Mike Ilitch School of Business. “Today’s auto workers are much more skilled," he said. "It requires a lot more knowledge than in the past. People aren’t just going to… like they did in the '30s and '40s, walk into the plant and say 'I’m ready' and they’re going to take you that very day. I think what we have to do in Detroit is make certain that our workforce is as ready as possible.”
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Wayne State University looking to win Gift of Life Campus Challenge again

As you're reading this, 114,000 men, women and children await lifesaving transplants. You can help make a dent in that staggering statistic with the Wayne State University's Gift of Life Campus Challenge. Wayne State is once again leading the way when it comes to getting people to sign up for the organ donor registry. Alyssa Krieger and Erin Coburn from Wayne State were in-studio guests along with organ recipient Nicholas Giannamore.
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OnlineMasters.com Names Top MBA in Human Resources Programs for 2019

OnlineMasters.com announced the release of their Best Online MBA in Human Resources Programs for 2019. The research identifies the top programs in the nation based on curriculum quality, program flexibility, affordability, and graduate outcomes. In addition to insights gained from industry professionals, OnlineMasters.com leveraged an exclusive data set comprised of interviews and surveys from current students and alumni. Each online degree program was analyzed with only 50 making it to the final list. The methodology incorporates the most recent data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and statistical data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Only programs from accredited nonprofit institutions were eligible. Wayne State University is included among the 2019 Best Master's in MBA in Human Resources Degree Programs.
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OnlineMasters.com names top MBA in human resources programs for 2019

OnlineMasters.com announced the release of their Best Online MBA in Human Resources Programs for 2019. The research identifies the top programs in the nation based on curriculum quality, program flexibility, affordability, and graduate outcomes. In addition to insights gained from industry professionals, OnlineMasters.com leveraged an exclusive data set comprised of interviews and surveys from current students and alumni. Each online degree program was analyzed with only 50 making it to the final list. The methodology incorporates the most recent data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and statistical data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Only programs from accredited nonprofit institutions were eligible. Wayne State University is included among the 2019 Best Master's in MBA in Human Resources Degree Programs.
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UAW grows strike fund, membership as workers head into wage talks

Autoworkers say they’re feeling unappreciated these days. They made wage and benefit sacrifices when times were bad. Now, after record sales, layoffs loom. The shocking announcement by General Motors last month to close four U.S. factories was seen, in part, as a message to the UAW to prepare for cost cuts during next year’s worker contract talks. But the labor union is not without leverage. It has more than $760 million in its strike fund. And officials aren’t afraid to use it. Everyone is watching to see what happens in coming months. These contracts are complicated and the process can be contentious. But it is highly unlikely the UAW would organize a strike to protest anything until the legal agreements allow for such activity, said UAW sources close to the leadership. But these are turbulent political times with all players trying to navigate a “contentious administration,” said Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University. GM has angered autoworkers and politicians with its abrupt announcement about expected closures. And sometimes workers simply don’t care about protocol if they feel there’s nothing to lose, Masters said. “Look at the wildcat strikes that occurred among teachers in West Virginia and other states. Those worked,” he said. “There’s a growing militancy among some workers and people who have reached perhaps the tipping point. People take extreme action when they feel there’s no alternative.”
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Which fork in the road to take? Detroit says both

After a near-death in the Great Recession that required government bailouts for General Motors and Chrysler, the U.S. auto industry has been on a tear. Sales rose steadily through 2016. Since then, sales have softened a little. Now, the industry faces a host of looming political, technological, and consumer challenges, which signal tougher times ahead. One of the biggest challenges is political. A trade war – levied either against Europe or China or both – could be devastating for the U.S. industry. “The concern going into the 2019 negotiations will be largely maintaining jobs,” says Marick Masters, a labor expert at Wayne State University. “With the whole restructuring of the companies … the union is going to be very concerned about product placement, investments in plants in the U.S., and also how they might take advantage of the move toward electrification and ensure that their workforce is trained to perform those types of jobs.”
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Marijuana a sure thing for entrepreneurs?

Jeff Stoltman, a professor of marketing and entrepreneurship at Wayne State University's Mike Ilitch School of Business, said a lot of his students look at opening a marijuana business as a sure thing. Stoltman said he pushes his students who are interested in the pot business to dig deeper into market realities. "They’re looking at this tremendous explosive growth in the states where the cannabis business was liberated a little earlier and there is this ‘Why not here, why not me?’ They don’t dig too deep to find out who is really benefiting the most of those kind of operations and what was the path that they took and can they replicate that here.”
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Most Detroiters in a decade worked in September

Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University and director of its labor program, said to decrease poverty, the city needs to decrease the number of those who are not participating in the workforce. This, he said, can be expensive and requires greater outreach efforts and mentorship, better access to transportation, improving schools and changing laws to make it easier for ex-offenders to be hired. "I think there's room for improvement in Detroit," 

WSU Business students vie for $1,750 In Elevator Pitch contest

Wayne State University business students will head to Detroit’s iconic Guardian Building on Nov. 2 to vie for $1,750 in scholarship money as they compete in the fourth annual Mike Ilitch School of Business Elevator Pitch Competition. The students have a roughly 80-second ride on an actual elevator to summarize who they are, what they know and what they want to do. Executives from Ally Financial, Enterprise, GM, PlanteMoran and Quicken Loans will evaluate the students on their ability to sell themselves and present a positive, professional first impression. 
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Major retailers stepping up their tech game to get you in the door

In an effort to keep people from shopping online, brick and mortar stores are now offering some new technologies to make the shopping experience quicker and easier than ever before. Walmart, Home Depot or Target of apps that help a shopper find exactly where a product is located within the store, down to the isle. Home Depot’s app will tell you exactly how many of that product are left in stock so you can know before you go. “They can use the technology to expedite the movement through the store, to be able to look up items that may not be in the store at a size or color or print that the shopper’s looking for,” said Jeff Stoltman, Wayne State University associate professor of marketing.
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Olympia Development Of Michigan Updates Planning In The District Detroit

A new internship partnership is currently underway with MBA students from the Sport and Entertainment Management program at the Mike Ilitch School of Business. Students are participating in and learning from a wide range of real-world experiences with the Tigers and Red Wings. "This rare opportunity gives Wayne State students unmatched access to one of the densest sports and entertainment districts in the U.S., along with professionals at world-class companies," said Scott Tainsky, associate professor of management and director of sport and entertainment management. "By the end of the program, students would have worked on high-profile projects and gained competitive experience in their chosen field. We are excited about bringing on even more students in Fall 2019."