Google/FitBit, United Auto Workers Scandal

Grind for November 9th
“Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.” – Winston Churchill

Take Over

The Headline

Google acquires Fitbit for $2.1 billion

The Grind

Google has announced its decision to purchase San Francisco-based company Fitbit for $2.1 billion, paying $7.34 per share to move ahead in the field of wearable tech.

“We’ve signed an agreement to acquire Fitbit,” tweeted Google on November 1st. “Together, we aim to spur innovation in wearables and build helpful products to benefit more people around the world.”

The Details

As critics point out, the acquisition puts even more personal data in the hands of a company that also controls nearly 90% of the search engine market.

There are an estimated 28 million Fitbit users worldwide.

“So sad,” tweeted Peter, a Fitbit user. “I will not trust my health data with Google. I really like my Fitbit Ionic and the people at Fitbit support, but will now get rid of my watch.”

As part of the deal, Google promised to keep user data private and not use it for targeted advertising.

“We understand that this is a big responsibility, and we work hard to protect your information, put you in control, and give you transparency about your data,” said Google. “Similar to our other products, with wearables, we will be transparent about the data we collect and why.”

Fitbit devices collect personal information including height, weight, sleep patterns, gender, DOB, and GPS location.

The acquisition, which is expected to close sometime next year, will require regulatory approval and a vote from Fitbit shareholders. If Elizabeth Warren is elected president next year, we can expect the deal to fail.

Not So Fast

The Headline

United Auto Workers president leaves office amid corruption probe

The Grind

The United Auto Workers union on Saturday announced the departure of its president, Gary Jones, as federal investigators move forward with a years-long corruption probe into the union’s top ranks.

The investigation, revealed in 2017, has already resulted in nine convictions.

Vice President Rory Gamble, who led negotiations with Ford during the strike against General Motors last month, will serve as acting president while Jones takes a paid leave of absence.

The Details

The leadership change comes days after federal investigators charged Edward Robinson (one of Jones’s top aides) and Vance Pearson (Jones’s former assistant) with embezzlement.

Robinson stands accused of stealing up to $700,000 in membership dues and splitting the sum with Mr. Jones.

“We take any allegation or claim about the misuse of union resources very seriously,” said the union in a statement. “The UAW remains focused on negotiating and completing strong contracts for our members.”

The Background

The UAW signed a new 4-year contract with Ford last month following a 40-day strike that cost GM nearly $3 billion.

Union members, who had demanded fair pay, better healthcare, profit-sharing, and opportunities for temp workers to become full-time employees, still have to vote on the contract. When the deal is signed, union leaders will focus on negotiations with Fiat Chrysler.

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